Sweet possession, p.18
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       Sweet Possession, p.18

         Part #5 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 18


  Connor stalked out of the living room and onto the back patio. “She wasn’t arrested. She went to the police for safety. She’s not stupid. ”

  “Where were you when she was doing all this? She shouldn’t have had to go to the police if you were doing your job. ”

  “If you don’t like the way I’m doing my job, then fire me,” Connor said bluntly. “I never wanted this gig to begin with. Lyric ditched me. I took care of the situation. It won’t happen again. We’ve reached an understanding. She’s promised to cooperate. ”

  There was a pregnant silence. Then Phillip let out another curse. “No, I don’t damn well want to fire you. Hell, no one else would take the job and definitely not on such short notice. I’m still interviewing firms to take over her full-time security while she’s on the road. ”

  “If you wouldn’t treat her like a brainless idiot, I think you’d find she’d be a lot more accommodating,” Connor said through his teeth.

  “Look, son. You’ve known Lyric for a week. I’ve known her for several years. I know how to handle her. Just do your job. Sit on her until I find a replacement and then you can wash your hands of her. ”

  The line went dead and Connor shoved his phone back into his pocket. Wash his hands of her. Phillip made her sound like the most undesirable job on the planet. It was little wonder she had such a cynical attitude about life if these were the kind of people she trusted with her future.

  It pissed him off and made him see red at the lack of respect she commanded from people she made a shitload of money for. He wanted to tell them all to go fuck themselves.

  He wanted to . . . Hell, he didn’t know what he wanted. He just knew he hated the fleeting hurt in Lyric’s eyes—hurt she didn’t think others could see and that she tried like hell to cover up. Behind the brassy, ballsy, obnoxious facade was a vulnerable woman that intrigued him. He was dying to know what made her tick.

  And yeah, he was absolutely dying to fuck her too.

  It pissed him off that evidently he wore a neon sign when it came to her, because Kane had been quick to pick up on his attraction. In so many ways it didn’t make sense. Lyric was the type of woman he stayed the hell away from. High-maintenance chicks weren’t his thing. And Lyric definitely qualified.

  She was like an expensive exotic car. You might test-drive one, but you never signed on the dotted line. And you damn sure couldn’t afford the insurance.

  Connor turned when he heard the patio door open. Kane stuck his head out.

  “Connor, the chef is at the gate. My guy is checking him out now. If he’s on the up-and-up, he’ll be waved through. Thought you might want to know so you could meet him. ”

  “Thanks. I’ll go up to get Lyric. ”

  Connor stepped back into the house and went up the stairs to her studio. He drew up short when he saw the metal Do Not Disturb sign hanging from the doorknob.

  He sighed. She’d made it clear that when the sign was out, she wasn’t to be disturbed for any reason. He didn’t believe for a minute she was deeply involved in her music.

  As much as the belligerent Lyric had gotten under his skin, he preferred that to quiet resignation. He’d be damned if he’d let anyone beat her down. She was too vibrant. Too alive. She was like holding a stick of dynamite. You never knew when she’d go off.

  And she didn’t trust anyone—Connor included.

  He put his palm flat on the door and rested his forehead on the wood as he heard the faint sounds of her guitar floating through the air. He remembered the words she’d sung so softly just a short time ago.

  If you only knew

  If you could only see

  If you could only come inside

  And see the heart of me.

  “You’re going to trust me, Lyric Jones,” he murmured. “You’re going to see that I’m not like everyone else in your life. ”

  He turned and went downstairs to meet Lyric’s chef. The man had cupcakes to make.


  Lyric put her guitar down and flexed her neck, then extended her arms above her head to stretch her tired, aching muscles. She glanced at her watch and saw that it was late.

  She was hungry, but she had no desire to go down and eat. What she wanted was a hot shower and a comfortable bed, in that precise order.

  She let herself out of the studio and turned the sign over so that Connor would know she was no longer working. She went straight for her bathroom and turned on the shower.

  A long soak in the gorgeous bathtub would be wonderful, but she was too impatient and edgy to enjoy it. She opted instead for a quick shower, careful to keep her hair from getting wet.

  When she was done, she wrapped herself in a towel and shook out her hair from the clip she’d shoved into it to hold it up. She spent another five minutes removing what makeup hadn’t washed off in the shower and applying moisturizer.

  Eager to crawl into bed, she walked out of her bathroom only to find Connor propped against the wall in her bedroom.

  She clutched the towel although the ends were securely tucked at her breasts, covering most of her from his view.

  “Don’t you think you’ve been hiding up here long enough?” Connor asked as he pushed off the wall.

  She frowned. “I was busy. I have work to do. I told you that. ”

  His eyes narrowed. “You let Kane get to you. Kane and the newscast. I saw you, Lyric. You can’t hide from me. ”

  Her nostrils flared and she turned away. “You don’t get it, Connor. ”

  “What don’t I get, Lyric? Why don’t you explain it to me?”

  She kept her back to him, her arms folded protectively over her breasts. “The whole thing was my fault. I was a complete idiot. ”

  “I believe we’ve established that I had responsibility in that fiasco. ”

  She curled her lips in disgust. “No, Connor. I let you hurt me. I’m a study in don’t-give-a-damn, but I let you get to me. That’s why I left. That’s why I took off the way I did. I didn’t want to let you see how much you hurt me. ”

  His hands closed over her shoulders and he gently turned her to face him. “I’m sorry. ”

  She pushed away from his grasp and had to clutch at the towel to keep it from falling. “I don’t want you to be sorry. I don’t want you to . . . be anything. ”

  “I don’t believe you,” he said quietly.

  Her gaze flew to his and something remarkably like panic skittered up her spine and wrapped around her neck. He had a look in his eyes that she didn’t like. It untied her like a knot and peeled back her skin, leaving her naked and vulnerable. She hated that feeling.

  She opened her mouth but couldn’t for the life of her think of what to say to that. How could he know? How could he possibly know that she had the craziest thoughts about him? She was absolutely stupid when it came to him and she was helpless to control it.

  He took a step forward, closing the gap she’d opened between them. She retreated, bumping against the bed in her haste. He followed, not giving her so much as an inch.

  “I think you want me to be a lot of things,” he murmured. “I think right now you want me to be your lover. I think you want me to show you how different I am from everyone else in your life. You’re afraid that I’m different from everyone else. ”

  She stared at him in helpless fury, appalled at how well he could see into her soul. She blinked back angry tears just as his hands cupped her face and he lowered his mouth to hers.

  It was like being caught in the middle of a lightning storm. Awareness sparked and sizzled, so hot that she gasped from the sensation.

  He kissed her like he owned her, like she was his, like he was the only person to have ever kissed her. His tongue explored her mouth, leaving no part untouched.

  Her body was not her own. Her breasts throbbed, and deep down at her very core, an ache began and spread through her groin until her clit pulsed and her pussy tightened with anticipation.
  All from a kiss. Just the touch of his mouth, and desire swept over her like a tidal wave.

  She loved his hands. How they touched her and held her. How possessive they felt on her skin. He wasn’t tentative and she really loved that. This was a man confident in his ability to make love to a woman.

  She closed her eyes and trembled violently against him. She was in turns terrified of her reaction to him and more turned on than she’d ever been in her life.

  “I won’t hurt you, Lyric,” he murmured against her lips. “I don’t want you to be afraid. I want you to know what it feels like to have someone love you. ”

  She tensed and backed away enough that she could put a finger to his lips. “Please don’t say that word. Please, just don’t. Don’t ruin everything. ”

  His eyes clouded with confusion. “What word?”

  “Love. Don’t ever use that word. ”

  He gave her a searching look and then reached up to brush the hair from her face. “I won’t use any words you don’t want. I’ll simply show you. ”

  She stared back at him and knew he was waiting. Waiting for her to agree. Waiting for her acceptance. It would be so easy to push him away. Far easier than voicing the words that ached to break free.

  “Tell me what you want, Lyric. Give me the words. ”

  Her breath escaped in a nearly violent shudder. “I don’t want . . . I don’t want to be alone tonight. ”

  He came to her again, his mouth brushing over hers in the most tender of kisses. “That’s a start. ”

  Slowly he slid his hands up to where her fingers clutched the towel. He paused for a moment and then carefully uncurled her fingers before lowering her hands to her sides.

  She shook. Her knees quaked and her breath sped up so fast that she became precariously light-headed. Then he lowered his head and pressed a single kiss to her chest, just above where the towel covered her breasts.

  “I won’t hurt you, Lyric. ”

  Just the way he said her name with such aching tenderness undid her. On his lips, her name was something different. It wasn’t just her name. It was an endearment—something very precious.

  He raised his head and met her gaze and she saw herself reflected in his eyes. “Do you trust me?”

  Mutely she shook her head, her reaction as automatic as breathing.

  He smiled when she thought she might have angered him.

  “I think you do,” he murmured. “Even if you won’t admit it to yourself. ”

  “I feel safe with you,” she offered. And it was true. Was that the same as trust? Trust was such a big word.

  “I think it’s a good place to start. ”

  He reached for the end of the towel that was tucked around her breasts. She stiffened and very nearly raised her hands to stop him, but at the last moment, she lowered them slowly back to her sides.

  He didn’t simply tear the towel away. Watching her all the while, he carefully unwound it until it was loose and barely covering her flesh. Then with a gentle tug, it drifted to the floor and she stood naked and painfully vulnerable to his gaze.

  She lowered her gaze and closed her eyes, unsure of what to do next. Never had sex come with such unsettling emotions. She was in control. She drove the action. She played, she taunted. Everything was by her rules.

  But now she found herself at a complete and utter disadvantage, and panic welled from deep within, threatening to overwhelm her.

  “Do you know what I see?” he asked in a husky, deep voice that slid over her skin like soul-deep comfort.

  He nudged her chin up until she was forced to look back at him. Such honesty was reflected in his gaze. Frank appraisal like he’d judged her and deemed her worthy. What did it matter what he thought? Why was she so torn up over the idea that somehow he’d find her undesirable or lacking and back away? Backing away was what she did.

  “What?” she asked in barely a whisper, drawn to the earnest blaze in his eyes.

  “I see a beautiful woman who’s soft in all the right places. Who would be beautiful now or six sizes larger. I see a woman who tries very hard to hide from the world and perhaps herself. But you can’t hide from me, Lyric. I’m learning you. I want to learn more. ”

  She inhaled sharply. His words hit her in the gut, driving the air from her lungs. She stared at him, baffled by his assessment. Baffled by the warmth in his eyes and how his gaze stroked over her body as though she were the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

  It was a silly thought. There were certainly women more beautiful, but in this moment, standing in front of him, she felt like she somehow stood above all the rest.

  No one talked to her when they had sex with her. It was just . . . sex. Hot, sweaty and fast. Get it over with; move on; don’t dwell on emotion.

  But with this man, she had the feeling that it would never be just sex, and that idea unsettled her. It frightened her. Making love was for people who were in love, who used sex as an intimate expression of that love. It wasn’t for people like her, to whom love was an ugly, gray thing.

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