Boxed Set: Traitorous Heart Volumes 1-6 (The Traitorous Heart Series) (7 page)

BOOK: Boxed Set: Traitorous Heart Volumes 1-6 (The Traitorous Heart Series)
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“I’m fine.” I swallowed. “How are you?” Sweat beaded along my hairline and under the frames of my glasses. They started to slip and I pushed them back into place. I wanted to disappear. 

“Good.” He reached out and took my hand. “But how are you really?” His stormy eyes searched mine. I noticed they were lined with a yellow ring. In the soft light they seemed to glow. It surprised me that he could read my emotions so easily. Was I that much of an open book? It also shocked me that he took the time. If the talk I’d heard about him held any truth, he was a man out to bed women, not make small talk…not give a shit about their personal lives.

I shrugged.

How was I, really? That was the two million dollar question.

Not happy, that was for sure. I felt foolish because I’d allowed myself to love someone I hadn’t really known. Sad, too. Reid and I had spent years together. Up until a couple of weeks ago I believed he and I would spend our lives together. My whole life had been planned out and Reid was in it. I’d intended to have children with that man.

I was also angry—furious, actually—that he’d played me. I’d gone to school to become a lawyer. I was supposed to be able to read people, and I’d totally misread Reid.

Griffin lifted my hand, interrupting my thoughts. “Katie?”

“I….” I shook my head. Griffin’s thumb stroked the inner part of my wrist. Electric currents shot up my arm, making it hard to think. “I’ve had better days.”

“Griffin.” A man’s voice barked from the doorway.

I followed the sound and noticed an extremely handsome older man shooting daggers at Griffin.

“Who’s that?” I asked. Griffin’s mischievous gleam was gone.

He dropped my hand. “My father.” He took a step, then turned back. “Nice talking to you.”

I watched Griffin walk over to his dad. It was strange; they looked a lot alike, but there was no warmth between the two of them. I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was between those two.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3

Griffin

 

 

 

“What wer
e
you doing with that girl? Another nasty groupie?”

“She’s a friend,” I said, following after him and the hostess. I knew my father was referring to the way Katie had been dressed. I actually found her outfit sexy, incredibly hot. I wanted to take her hair from its messy bun and rip that red sweater from her body, kiss a trail down her chest to her stomach and slide those old jeans over her milky ass. I wanted to smell her skin. It reminded me of a flower-infused breeze and I wanted to explore every inch. Those thoughts made my cock jerk to attention. I wanted her. God, what was wrong with me?

Once my dad and I were seated my gaze wandered over to where Katie had been sitting. Her table was empty.

Fuck.

She’d been on my mind a lot over the last two weeks. It surprised me how much. I had her number but hadn’t used it. She had mine, although I doubted she realized it. I’d pulled up the text with her number on it several times. Even added her name to my contact list. It was a fucking shock. Calling her was out of the question.

My drummer had hooked up with her roommate. He’d told me about Reid and the scene in their apartment. And I was torn. I didn’t want to get her hopes up. Or mine. The plan for my band, for my life didn’t include a girlfriend.

“Griffin, did you hear me?”

I picked up my napkin and smiled. “I’ll have whatever you’re having. I’m not that hungry.”

My father glared. “Excellent.”

He gave our order to the waitress. He was the epitome of a gentleman, laying it on so thick it made me want to puke. As soon as she walked away the anger that had been a permanent fixture on my father’s face when it came to me was back.

“So tell me about your band? Any headway?” His smirk was laced with sarcasm.

There had been some headway. A scout from a prominent record label had approached me. I’d spoken to him a few times, but there’d been no commitment made. The label seemed to be mostly interested in me; they would bring in their own musicians. It wasn’t unheard of, but my band mates were more than just background noise, they were family. The label would sign all of Crushed Velvet or none of us. I’d made that clear. And, as expected, it’d been a few days since I’d heard from them.

It was disappointing, but there was no way I was dumping the rest of my band. If we were going to hit rock star status, it would be as a group. I didn’t need the money. We would wait until the right set of circumstances availed itself.

My father didn’t need to know that, though. I’d share when we had a contract.

“Not yet.”

The waitress brought us each a tumbler of iced bourbons. I hadn’t realized that was what my father ordered, but I was more than happy to drink it. I gulped down the liquid, enjoying the flavor and the burn. My dad was many things: arrogant, a liar, deceptive, and cruel. On the plus side, he had great taste in the world’s finer offerings, including women and alcohol.

“You’re wasting your time, Griffin. It’s embarrassing to have to tell my collogues that my son doesn’t want to go into the family business because he’d rather get on stage and sing to a bunch of drunken sluts.”

I gritted my teeth. Took another gulp of the liquid. “Tell me how you really feel.”

He leaned forward. “Stop being a fuck up.”

Fuck. You.
I stared into the glass, watching the ice melt. We’d had this conversation more than once. I’d tried everything to make him understand. Sure, the endless line of women was awesome; no way I would ever complain about that. But it was so much more. Writing songs helped me deal with the death of my mom and the heartbreak of having a father who, when he looked at me, saw only a murderer.

Writing allowed me to deal with life—the good and the bad. I’d even started working on a song about Katie. It was a strange feeling when the words came to me about her. I’d never written a love song before. It evoked all sorts of strange emotions. Most of which I wasn’t ready to deal with. But that was one of the great things about writing a song. 

“It’s what I want to do with my life.” I brought the tumbler to my mouth and scavenged for more of the fiery liquid. When it was gone I shook the glass at the waitress.

“Would you like another?” She batted her lashes.

“Thank you.”

She took my glass and walked away. My father took a sip of his drink, his eyes on the waitress’s ass. It was times like those that I wondered about the relationship between my mom and dad. What had it been like before she died? Had she loved him? Had he been kind to her? Watching the way his eyes slid over the girl’s body I thought I had a pretty good idea what sorts of thoughts were running through his mind.

“Life is about more than dicking around. You need to make a life for yourself.”

“I know.” Our weekly dinners were miserable. My father started them on my twenty-second birthday, but after seven years I still didn’t understand why my father kept them going. He seemed to hate them as much as I did. He hated me. That much had been clear a long time ago.

My father chuckled, a harsh, unfeeling laugh. “You don’t know shit. You stay out late, drinking and partying, wake up late, and consider it your job playing music and drinking beers with your buddies. That isn’t making a life for yourself, that’s wasting it!” He flung the words at me. They stung. I could see his point; in his eyes and probably in the eyes of a lot of people, I was wasting my life.

But that’s because they didn’t know me. They didn’t see that there was much more to what I did than that. And I accepted it.

Truthfully, I didn’t give a shit.

Maybe that was my secret trust fund talking. It probably was. Money would never be an issue—my mom had seen to that. It’d been her gift to me on my twenty-first birthday. My mom’s lawyer had shown up at school and advised me of its existence. He’d explained that I was never to tell my father. Mom wanted to keep it a secret. Sometimes I wondered why. What made her keep a billion dollar secret from my father? I doubted I’d ever find out, but I would keep her secret. It was easy.

My dad and I never talked. We argued and occasionally had a drink or a cigar together, but never fucking had a conversation.

If and when my dad decided to stop providing the lifestyle I was used to I’d tap into my mother’s gift, but only if necessary. I was still banking on Crushed Velvet making it big.

I leaned forward, wondering where the fuck that waitress was with my drink, when Katie walked back into the restaurant. She appeared frantic. Some unknown instinct demanded I help, but I resisted and kept my ass firmly planted.

The hostess walked over to her and they spoke. Katie kept indicating the table she’d been sitting at.

They walked over together and Katie picked up a pink scarf. Relief washed over her face. I wondered what was so special about it that she would make such an effort for something so trivial.

I watched her wrap it around her neck and thank the hostess. She glanced quickly over. Her beautiful eyes caught mine. I felt my breath catch in my throat, my father and his fucking ramblings forgotten.

I gave into my instinct, stood, and tossed the linen napkin from my lap onto the table.

“Where do you think you’re going? Our dinner hasn’t arrived.”

I glanced at him. Time seemed to stand still as I took in his furious features. 

“I’ve got to go. Something urgent has come up.”

His mouth fell open. I was publicly shunning my dad, something that went against everything I’d been taught. With him I wasn’t a man of nearly thirty, but a boy. A needy, lost boy. And I despised the feeling.

“Don’t you dare walk away from me.” My father leaned into the table, his blue eyes shining with fury.

“See you next week.” I dropped a hundred dollar bill on the table just to rub salt into his freshly fileted wound and turned away.

Katie had already gone back outside. If she were taking a cab she’d be gone already. I hoped not, but either way I was done sitting through another scolding from dear old dad.

“Have a good night, Mr. Maxwell,” the hostess said.

“Thank you.” I didn’t bother to look in her direction. I focused on what was happening beyond the doors. I was looking for Katie.

Every fiber in my body wanted her, desired her.

 

Her body feathers mine

Fire stokes my veins

Intimate desire

She calls out my name…

 

The words fill my mind. I want to pause and type them into my phone so I won’t forget them. But I don’t have time.

Katie was at the curb, trying to hail a cab. I couldn’t help but admire her slim waist, the curve of her hips, and the way her calves flexed as she stood on her tiptoes. Her body was hot, even in the darkness.

She swayed and nearly fell backward. I stepped out and caught her just in time. Beneath the soft scent of her hair was the smell of alcohol.

“I have you,” I whispered, my lips touching the soft skin on her cheek.

She shuddered, her face turning so that her eyes could search mine.

That was all it took.

I was going to break my cardinal rule and fuck the same girl twice, and I was good with it. Fucking great, in fact. My lips found hers and I turned her so that her body, wrapped in that ridiculously gorgeous outfit, pressed against mine.

She felt good there, in my arms, with her lips against mine.

I pulled away just long enough to read her expression. Fuck yeah this was happening.

“Let me get a cab.” My words sounded gravelly.

In response she undid the button on my jacket and slid her hands around my waist. “Hurry,” was all she said.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

Katie

 

 

 

I wa
s
like an addict and Griffin was my fix. I craved him. Every cell in my body was attuned to his touch, to the way my body felt in his arms.  Everything around us: the chilly night, our breaths making clouds in the air, the sounds of New York City at night, all of it seemed to blur into the background. It was just Griffin.

A small part of my mind wondered what he was thinking. I looked like a fucking orphan, yet he wasn’t discouraged. I could tell by the hardness pressed against my lower belly that he wanted me.

A cab pulled over and we climbed in. Griffin gave his address. I didn’t have it memorized or anything, but… okay, I knew that was exactly his address.

I didn’t dwell on it too much because his hand was on my thigh, stroking, caressing, his hand moving higher and higher. My body responded to his touch, yearned for more.

A fucking Griffin junkie. That’s what I’d become. I’d heard that a person could become addicted to heroin after one use. That’s all it took to develop an unquenchable need for the rock god.

The taxi pulled up in front of his building. Griffin paid and we got out. As soon as we were in the elevator his body pressed mine against the wall. His hands cupped my ass and I moaned against his mouth. His tongue shoved its way inside my mouth.

BOOK: Boxed Set: Traitorous Heart Volumes 1-6 (The Traitorous Heart Series)
2.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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