Authors: Ella Miles
“Okay. Just help me find my purse.” I must look disappointed as I stand and gather myself from the bed.
“Don’t. Don’t think that. I want you. I’m desperate for you…” He looks down. “I just can’t. I’m not going to be the guy you lose yourself in because you are running away. When I fuck you, it will be because you want me as much as I want you right now.”
I laugh nervously. “I thought we were done after today.”
He looks at me even more seriously, if that is possible. “No. Today is just the beginning.”
I try to smile, but I can’t. This man is insane. No, he’s bipolar. One minute, he can’t keep his hands off of me, and the next, he’s a knight in shining armor. I just wish I knew which was a facade and which was the real Killian.
I walk out of the bedroom and back into the living area. I hear Killian following me, but I don’t turn to face him. I just walk.
“Here,” he says, holding out my purse.
I take it from him. I see he is also holding my phone in his hands. He types something in before handing it to me as well.
“I put my number in your phone.”
“What makes you think I want that?”
He cocks his head to the side as he stares at me. “You will. I have a feeling you will want it really soon.”
God, this man is arrogant, but his confidence is alluring. I could use an ounce or two of his confidence, if only for just a day. Maybe then I wouldn’t be marrying a complete stranger in six months.
I walk to the door. He follows.
I open the door and stand in the doorway. “Thanks for the wine and—”
His lips crash with mine before I can say anything. He’s promising more, I realize. With his tongue pushing further into my mouth, he’s demanding that I call him.
When we finally break away, my breathing is fast, much too fast. I touch my hands to my chest, trying to calm my breathing. I stare at him for a second longer before turning to leave without a word.
“Don’t run anymore. You’re stronger than you think.”
I pause at his words, but I don’t turn around. He doesn’t follow me or say anything else.
He’s left me his number to call. And I will. I’ll call. He knows it as well as I do.
I walk into the elevator alone. I touch my fingers to my lips that are still tingling from his kiss, a kiss I want more of. Maybe he’s the answer. He’s smart, probably a businessman. He’s older and responsible. There’s not a tattoo or piercing on his body—at least not one that I noticed.
What if I found someone capable of running the company on my own? What if I found my own love?
Then, I could marry who I wanted while still making sure the company would be in good hands.
I just have to find a way to convince Granddad. I need to find a way to buy myself some time. And introducing Granddad to Killian might just be the way. I could show him that I am capable of dating strong, intelligent men.
Killian might not be the best choice, but right now, he’s my only choice. And, maybe, he might be the right choice.
I step foot back inside the Felton Grand. Even though I was just in the hotel earlier when I was with Killian, this is the first time since my father’s death that I’ve really let myself take in the casino. Before, I was busy focusing on the game. And after that, I just let Killian rush me to his room as fast as possible. Now, I’m walking slowly, taking in everything.
I notice the gentle calming sound of the expansive fountain at the entrance to the hotel. I see the light that twinkles off the water from the large crystal chandelier overhead.
I walk through the long hallways filled with shops and restaurants. The hallways are calm. It’s early, and only a few people have woken up to enjoy breakfast at one of the many restaurants. I smile as I look up and see the details of the arched ceiling overhead. When I was a kid, I used to lie on a bench in the hallway and just stare up at the beautiful ceiling.
I walk to the casino floor. I take a deep breath. I feel my father all around as I walk past the flashing lights of the slot machines. This is where my father spent most of his time—here on the floor of the casino, mingling with guests and making sure everything was running smoothly.
I walk off the casino floor to a door that says
. I flash my card in front of the door and watch as the light changes from red to green before I open the door. I enter and take the stairs up to the second floor.
I take a right and head down to my father’s office that is at the end of the long hallway. I take the key out of my pocket and unlock the door. I push it open, and the smell immediately overwhelms me. It smells like expensive cologne and cigarettes. It smells like my father.
I miss you
, I think as I walk in and close the door behind me.
Tears fall fast as I make my way over to my favorite couch on one side of my father’s office. I let them. I cry. I let everything out. I let go of the pain. I let go of the guilt. I leg go of all of it. It all comes out.
When the final bits of pain and guilt have washed away, all I’m left with is anxiety over speaking to Granddad. I begin pacing back and forth in the large office that was my father’s while I wait for my grandfather to arrive.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
I try to keep my eyes on the ground instead of looking at the numerous things that remind me of my father.
I don’t have to look up to know that a picture of me and Dad is sitting on his desk. I was five, riding on his shoulders. There’s another of the whole family sitting right beside it.
I don’t have to look up to know the most comfortable couch on the planet is leaning against the far wall. I have fallen asleep on it countless times while reading a book, waiting for Dad to take me out to dinner.
I don’t have to look up to know a huge stack of every magazine I have been in is piled in the corner.
I don’t have to look up to know a picture of my first modeling job when I was twelve is in a frame on the wall.
Instead, I try to rehearse what I’m going to say when my grandfather gets here.
Granddad, I love you and respect you, but I’m an adult. I can make my own decisions in the best interests of myself and this company. I’ve already found someone that I think would make a good candidate, and I would like you to meet him soon…
I keep repeating the speech I practiced all night, but my mind quickly goes back to Killian. I bite my lip, remembering how his lips felt on mine, how he pulled every emotion out of me. I tuck my hair behind my ear, remembering how his touch there sent shivers all over my body. My heart speeds up as I think about how I had the most explosive orgasm of my life with his tongue buried inside me.
I try to stop thinking about him, but I can’t. I haven’t called—yet. It’s only been a few hours since I saw him, but I have a feeling that I’ll be looking for something comforting after this meeting, and I will need someone to talk to. No, I’ll need someone to help me forget. I’ll text him this afternoon. It won’t hurt to ask if he is free.
“You’re on time,” Granddad says as he walks into the office.
“Yes,” I say as I stop pacing. I immediately lose any thoughts of Killian. I know my face is flushed, so without having to look up, I walk to the corner of the room where there is a container of water. I take one of the white plastic cups and fill it with water before walking slowly back to my chair that is pointed at the desk.
I slowly sip my water, trying to drain my face of its overly pink color, while stalling from giving my speech.
I’ll wait just a few minutes longer. No need to rush the speech and get it wrong.
“He should be here soon,” he says, staring at his watch, as he sits behind the desk my father used to.
I don’t think I could ever sit there. That’s Dad’s chair, not his.
“Last time I spoke with him, he was just wrapping up a meeting.”
I nod and drink my water faster. I don’t have much time then.
“Granddad, I’ve been thinking. I, uh…how do I say this?” I start talking, but I have no idea what I’m saying. “I, um…I don’t think marrying whoever is going to walk through that door is the best idea. I think…I think I should have a say in who I marry.” I make the mistake of looking up to see Granddad frowning at me with his eyes raised, but it doesn’t stop my mouth from spilling every dumb thought on my brain. “I think I’ve already found someone whom I could fall for. He’s smart and handsome, and I think you will like him. He’s a businessman. And he’s a great kisser.”
Damn it, why did I say that?
“Hush, girl,” he says.
But I don’t hush. I keep talking. “And I don’t think I even want to get married anytime soon. I want to find more boys to kiss. I’m young, much too young to get married this year. I need to live a little first. And if I’m honest, I think I could run the company by myself without a husband by my side. I think that’s what Dad would have wanted.”
“Hush,” he says more sternly this time.
I stop, mainly because I can’t believe the words that just came out of my mouth.
What the hell has come over me? I don’t want to run the company myself, do I?
I grab my cup of water sitting on the edge of the desk. I take a long sip, waiting for the lecture.
But it never comes.
I hear a deep voice clear his throat from behind me. I don’t have to look up to know the man I’m supposed to marry is standing in the doorway. I just hope he wasn’t standing there long enough to hear that embarrassing speech.
“Come on in, son,” Granddad says, standing from the desk with a huge smile on his face.
I’m screwed. He just called this man son. He’s probably more in love with this guy than he is with me. And after that epic speech I just gave, I have no doubt that I’ll be marrying this man behind me.
“I would like to introduce you to my granddaughter, Kinsley,” he says, as he walks toward the man behind me.
I take one last sip of water before I plaster on the biggest fake smile I can manage while I turn to meet my future husband. I wonder if he knows.
Has he already been told that, in order to get complete control of the company, he is going to have to marry me? Or is he blissfully ignorant to that fact?
I bring my eyes up to face my future husband. The man standing in front of me isn’t my future husband. It isn’t a complete stranger. It’s Killian.
I choke. That’s what stupid thing I do in response to seeing the man who had his tongue down my throat only hours earlier. I cough and choke on the remnants of the water that still clings to my throat. That’s what I do while I watch my grandfather place his hand on the shoulder of the man who just brought me my first orgasm that wasn’t given by a vibrator.
“Are you okay?” Killian asks.
I nod as I choke again. I grab my throat, trying to get it to stop. It doesn’t, not until I get three more coughs in, causing my cheeks to turn an even brighter shade of pink.
When I finally lift my eyes back up, I see two pairs of eyes intently staring at me. One pair looks at me with concern. The other looks at me with shame.
I try to recompose myself by bringing back the smile I wore moments earlier.
“Let’s try that again,” Granddad says. “I would like to introduce you to my beautiful granddaughter, Kinsley Felton.”
“Kinsley, this is Killian Browne.”
Killian steps forward and extends his hand to me. I slowly place mine in his, already anticipating how his strong handshake is going to start off tiny fireworks inside me. It does the second his hand touches mine.
“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Felton.”
I narrow my eyes but nod anyway. He’s not going to let on that we have already met. I’m grateful.
I notice Granddad smiling brightly behind him at our encounter.
“Please take a seat. We have lots to talk about,” Granddad says as he takes a seat behind the desk again.
I walk back to my seat, aware of Killian’s eyes taking in all of me from my high heels to my knee-length high-waist pencil skirt to my magenta top.
I sit down and glance at him sitting in the chair next to me.
Killian looks much the same as he did last night. He’s in a nicely fitted suit with a blue tie. His hair is gelled slightly to keep it spiked to the side. The only difference is his five o’clock shadow is gone.
I look back to myself. I look completely different from the last time he saw me. I’m no longer wearing casual attire. Makeup covers every flaw I showed him before. Even my long, curly hair is perfectly styled, compared to the mess I must have looked like earlier.
Does Killian know why he’s here—to marry me? Is that what he was referencing this morning when he talked of family obligations? Is he being forced to marry by his family? Did he know when he saw me at that table last night that I was whom he was going to marry?
No, there’s no way. He would have said something. He wouldn’t have led me on like that.