Sweet possession, p.9
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       Sweet Possession, p.9
 

         Part #5 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 9

 

  Micah was her future. She knew it without a doubt. She rubbed her hand over her protruding belly. Micah loved her. He loved their daughter. He wanted them to be a family. Micah had always wanted a family. Right now she was the one standing in the way of his happiness.

  How stupid and shortsighted she’d been. She didn’t regret not relenting right away. She and Micah had desperately needed time to work out their issues and to find their way amid the tumultuous beginning to their relationship.

  But for the last few months, Micah had done and said all the right things. He’d once told her that when she knew without a doubt that he loved her more than life and when she trusted him fully to cherish her gift of love, that was when he wanted her to marry him.

  “Oh God,” she whispered. How must her continued resistance look to him? Like she didn’t trust him. That she didn’t believe he loved her.

  None of that was true.

  Suddenly she wanted to nothing more than to go home and spend the evening in Micah’s arms. His hand on her belly and them talking about Nia and their future. Tears stung her eyes. Micah had said when that day came. It was here and she didn’t want to wait any longer.

  “I think Angelina must have gotten lost,” Faith said with a sigh.

  “Either that or she made another trip to the bathroom,” Julie said. “Another reason I have no desire to get knocked up in this millennium. I can’t imagine spending that much time in the bathroom. ”

  Lyric raised her brow. It was nice to know she wasn’t the only one with no desire to pop out a kid anytime soon. Or ever.

  “I’ll go see what’s keeping her,” Lyric said.

  Faith nodded. “Thanks, Lyric. I’m going to start on the salad and pop the bread into the oven. ”

  Lyric was relieved to escape the kitchen. It wasn’t that she found the other women annoying, but she was ill at ease around the warm friendship between them. Lyric had no experience with closeness. She’d never allowed herself to have that sort of relationship with anyone. Physical, yes. Emotional, no. And she had plenty of business relationships. Nothing that qualified as an actual friendship.

  When she entered the living room, she saw Angelina standing near the door to the backyard, a peculiar expression on her face. Both hands were palmed over her belly and she looked like . . . She looked like she was upset over something.

  It was tempting to turn back and pretend she hadn’t seen the other woman. Lyric had zero experience with emotional, pregnant women. What did you say to one?

  It wouldn’t kill her to be sympathetic. Everyone had been nice to her. Other than Julie’s snottiness—which, she was realizing, was part of the woman’s natural charm—they’d all treated her like she was normal. To her surprise, she liked it. She liked it a lot. Not that she wanted to start leading a normal life, but it was a nice change.

  She took a few steps forward and delicately cleared her throat. Angelina’s head whipped up and she didn’t look thrilled that Lyric had found her. That made two of them.

  “Are you okay?” Lyric asked gently. “Do you want me to get Micah?”

  Angelina’s lips quivered and she inhaled sharply, like she was tightly controlling her emotions. Then she let out a soft laugh, and her lips turned up into a rueful smile.

  “Have you ever come to the realization that you’re an idiot and that what you thought was the right thing was completely wrong?”

  Lyric snorted. She couldn’t help it. “Honey, you’re talking to the queen of fuckups. If there’s a way to screw something up, I’ve mastered it. ”

  Angelina cocked her head. “You seem so well put together. I’ve watched you, you know. The few TV specials you’ve had and I saw a recording of one of your concerts. You seem so confident and sexy and smart. ”

  Lyric blinked. “Wow. Thanks, I think. But wow. You couldn’t be more wrong. Not that I want to go into all the ways you’re wrong, but I’m glad it at least looks like I have my shit together. ”

  “I’m an idiot,” Angelina said again. “A pregnant, hormonal moron. I’ve spent so much time worrying that Micah would want to walk that it’s a wonder I haven’t made him do just that. ”

  “Nothing wrong with being sure,” Lyric said with a shrug. “I admire you for that. A lot of women don’t look before they leap. ”

  The door opened and Angelina whirled around, a guilty look on her face. Relief lightened her eyes when Connor walked in.

  “Hey, sweetie,” Connor said as he pulled Angelina into a hug.

  Sweetie? Lyric cocked her eyebrow at the endearment and the obvious affection in Connor’s voice. He was such a grumpy hard-ass, it was difficult to imagine him being so cutesy with another woman. Her eyes narrowed. A pregnant woman who was involved with another man.

  When Angelina pulled away, Connor frowned as he stared down at her. “You okay? You look upset. ” He glanced over at Lyric and her eyes widened at the accusation in his. Did he honestly think she was responsible for Angelina’s crying jag?

  Angelina smiled. “I’m fine. You can stop fussing over me. Lyric made me feel much better. I think I’m going to go out and let Micah take over. ”

  Connor glanced up, fleeting apology in his gaze, but Lyric shot daggers back at him with hers. As Angelina walked out the door, Lyric shook her head and turned on her heel to stalk back to the kitchen.

  Connor caught her wrist before she took two steps and pulled her back around to face him.

  “Let me go,” she hissed.

  “I’m sorry. ”

  It was a sincere apology, but hurt still crowded her chest. “I don’t even know why you brought me, Connor. It’s obvious you think I’ll be an asshole to your precious friends. They seem to like me, which is more than I can say for you. They’ve also been nice to me, which again—”

  He pulled her against his chest and sealed his lips over hers, effectively halting her angry tirade. “Shut up. Just shut up,” he growled.

  She went stock-still against him as he plundered her mouth. There was nothing gentle or tentative about his kiss. His lips scorched over hers, stealing her breath and returning it as his tongue probed and explored the inside of her mouth.

  It should piss her off. She should be shoving him on his ass. She should be doing a lot of things, but what she did was kiss him back. She was tentative, and the truth was she wasn’t entirely sure what to do, but his taste intoxicated her and made her dizzy.

  A whisper of charcoal danced through her nostrils and it blended with his natural masculine scent until she wanted to lick him to see if his skin tasted as good as he smelled.

  She’d been kissed before many times but never like this. Most men were intimidated by her and it showed in how they touched her. Connor took charge and it was clear he had plenty of self-confidence.

  He cupped her face, his fingers splaying over the sides of her neck. They pressed possessively into her flesh, branding her.

  Shivers danced along her spine as his tongue rubbed sensuously over hers, stroking and coaxing until she responded in kind. Her response was automatic. She didn’t have to think about whether she wanted to kiss him or whether she wanted him to continue kissing her. It wasn’t like she had a choice. She was a helpless prisoner to his overwhelming power.

  When he finally let her go, she staggered back, her lips swollen. She raised a shaky hand to her tingling mouth and stared wordlessly at him, unable to comprehend that he’d just kissed the daylights out of her. He hated her!

  He closed the distance again, regret in his eyes. He touched her shoulder, a light gesture meant to reassure her.

  “I’m sorry. I was an ass. ”

  She shook her head to rid herself of the lingering effects of his wicked mouth.

  “Not for kissing you,” he amended. “I’m sorry for being an asshole, but not for kissing you. ”

  “Why did you?” she asked faintly. “You don’t even like me. ”

  “You drive me insane. I look at
you and you make me instantly crazy. ”

  Her eyes narrowed and some of the euphoria evaporated. “The feeling is quite mutual. ”

  His grin was cocky and arrogant and it was so damn sexy she wanted to march back over there and finish what they’d started.

  “Every time you get all pissy and mean, I get a hard-on from hell. I wonder if you have any idea how sexy you are when you turn that nose up and start throwing attitude. ”

  Her mouth fell open. It closed and then opened again like a fish out of water. Then she glared. “You’re full of shit. You’re just saying that so I’ll be nice to you from now on. ”

  His laughter rang out. “Well, I suppose that’s one way to get you to stop being a bitch. ”

  She crossed her arms, prepared to give him the look of death when she realized what the result would be. Instead she threw up her hands and stomped back toward the kitchen.

  “That goes double for tantrums,” he called after her.

  CHAPTER 8

  “I wonder if any of you are free tomorrow morning. I need someone to look out for Lyric while I meet with the security firm her record label has hired,” Connor said over the dinner table.

  In the process of raising her fork to her mouth, Lyric dropped it onto her plate with a clatter, and she stared mortified across the table at Connor.

  “What was all that about where you go, I go, and vice versa?” she demanded. “For God’s sake, I don’t need babysitters. ”

  “The team providing peripheral security and I will be deciding what needs to be done to ensure your safety,” Connor said evenly. “You’ll just interfere and argue. We can get it done a lot quicker if you aren’t there. ”

  She stared at him in disbelief. She’d been accommodating so far. She’d conceded on goddamn everything. What else did he want from her? A note signed in blood avowing her compliance?

  She itched to bolt from her chair and get the hell out of there, but he’d expect that. He watched her even now as if waiting for her to throw a fit.

  She decided to ignore him instead.

  She lowered her gaze and stabbed at the meat with her fork. She tuned out what the others were saying. She didn’t give a shit about these people. Or Connor fucking Malone. Every time she thought it wouldn’t be so bad to be tethered to him for the next two weeks, he had to remind her what a huge asshole he was.

  To her absolute mortification, tears stung her eyelids. Hell would freeze over before she’d ever let him see her cry.

  Damn it, she’d tried her best to work with him. She knew she could be difficult and usually she didn’t give a flying fuck, but she’d honestly tried with him and his friends. She’d done everything humanly possible to tone it down because secretly she’d wanted his approval.

  Fuck that and him. She didn’t need anyone’s goddamn approval. Only her own.

  “You are such an asshole, Connor. ”

  For a moment Lyric thought she’d totally lost control of her tongue and aired her thoughts. But when she looked up, she saw Faith glaring holes in her brother.

  Connor raised an eyebrow at his sister.

  Even “sweetie” looked at Connor like he’d lost his mind.

  “It’s not like you to be such a jerk,” Faith continued. “Lyric doesn’t deserve that from you. ”

  “Maybe we don’t have the full story,” Gray said in a diplomatic voice.

  Faith glared at her husband. Then she turned to Lyric, who had her teeth sunk firmly into her bottom lip so she didn’t humiliate herself further by showing how affected she was by Connor’s attitude.

  “You’ll come with me, Julie and Angelina to Serena’s house tomorrow. The men can all go find something else to do. ”

  Connor held up his hand. “Now wait a damn minute. No one’s going anywhere with Lyric. What part of her being in danger don’t you understand? I’m not risking any of you girls by sending you off together on some girls’ day out. ”

  “Damn right,” Nathan said with a scowl.

  Lyric rose as gracefully as she could under the circumstances. She smiled in Faith’s direction. “Thank you for dinner and your hospitality. I had a really good time. But I should be going now. I appreciate the offer, but Connor’s right. None of you should be around me. In addition to having some crazy person lurking after me, apparently I’m a toxic influence. ”

  “Sit down, Lyric,” Connor ordered.

  “Fuck off, Connor. ”

  She turned and stalked away from the table.

  Connor watched her leave but didn’t go after her. She couldn’t get far without the car keys. She needed some time to cool off and he’d just do something stupid again. Like kiss her senseless.

  “Nice,” Micah drawled. “And you once accused me of being an SOB. ”

  “She’s driving me crazy,” Connor muttered.

  “It’s not her you have to worry about right now,” Gray said carefully.

 
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