The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella) (7 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
5.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She needs me.

All Emily had to do was say that she needed him, and he snapped to attention. If she needed, he was going to provide. He wrapped his arms around her with a masculine sigh, his body relaxing as he felt her warm, curvy body mold itself against him, making everything right with the world. Closing his eyes, he inhaled against her temple, the silky strands of her hair caressing his cheek, her warm breath hitting his neck in comforting puffs of air.

“Emily,” he mumbled incoherently, every nuance that was uniquely
enfolding him as she wrapped her arms around him, stroking his upper back and the nape of his neck. There was no better feeling than holding this woman in his arms. The Christmas music was even louder here, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t care about the crowd of people he didn’t know or what they were thinking. There was only Emily and the way she fit perfectly against his body.

She didn’t ask what was wrong; she just held on to him, clung to him, sinking into him like they’d been doing this forever, and Grady savored it. He moved to the rhythm of the music automatically, and Emily followed, the two of them lost in their own little world.

The songs changed, but they still danced, Emily finally tilting her head and whispering to him, “Okay now?”

Grady opened his eyes and looked around him. Some people were looking at him curiously, but mostly all he could see was people genuinely enjoying themselves. The kids were squealing over their presents, showing them off to one another. And the adults were laughing jovially and talking, gathered together in groups around the food tables. Somehow . . . he was able to see everything as an adult, and it was just . . . a party. It was a gathering of people who truly seemed to be having a great time in the company of people they actually
. There wasn’t a designer gown or tuxedo anywhere in the room, and these were not the same people who had humiliated him in the past.

“Yeah,” he answered gruffly. “Yeah, I am okay.” How could he not be absolutely fantastic when he was holding the most gorgeous woman in the room, a woman so warm and sweet that he wanted nothing more than to devour her? “Thanks,” he added quietly.

She tilted her head back to look at him with a naughty smile. “No need to thank me. I wanted to dance with the most handsome guy in the room.”

Grady grinned. “And you think that’s me, huh?”

“I know it is.” She winked at him and smiled.

His cock was already hard enough to split diamonds just from holding her. Unable to grow any more engorged, it twitched eagerly, making him swallow a groan. There was nothing he wanted more than to bury himself to the hilt inside Emily and never leave her heat. Dropping his hands to her lower back, he nudged her against him. “I want you so badly I can hardly breathe,” he admitted, not caring who heard him.

Her expression turned beautifully aroused, her eyes heated as she glanced back at him longingly. “Kiss me,” she demanded breathlessly.

“I’m afraid,” Grady answered, falling further under her spell.


“I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stop.”

He felt her body trembling, and he couldn’t deny her or himself any longer. He swooped down and captured her tempting lips, wanting to brand her as his, make sure she never escaped.


The kiss was a declaration for him, a fierce possession to let her know he had no intention of ever letting her go. All pretense of dancing stopped as he threaded his fingers through her hair with one hand, holding her head hostage for his marauding mouth. Then he pressed her hips hard against his groin with his other hand, doing a primal dance that had nothing to do with the holidays.

He demanded, and she gave, submitting herself to his possessive embrace, making him completely lose it.

She’s mine.

Grady’s need was primitive, and all-consuming, his desire fueled by her submission and passionate response. She clung to him like he was her life raft in the middle of the ocean, and he relished it. All he wanted to do was shelter her, protect her from anything and everything that might harm her, make her smile every single day for the rest of his life.

They broke apart, panting and gasping for breath, staring at each other like they wanted nothing more than to tear each other’s clothes off to get closer. Grady nearly groaned at the thought of being skin to skin with her, losing himself in her softness.

I need her so damn much.

He and Emily were in the shadows, but he could see some people looking on with smiles and he heard some wolf whistles, approvals of the show he and Emily had just put on. But he didn’t care. Something feral inside him wanted her drenched in his scent, warning every man in the room that she was his.

“I guess not
thinks I’m the Amesport Beast anymore,” he said gutturally, still trying to get his ragged breathing under control.

Emily looked at him, stunned. “You knew people called you that?”

“Of course I knew,” he answered hoarsely. “I cultivated the image with my charming personality. As long as people left me alone, I didn’t care what they called me.”

Emily smacked him on the arm. “I’ve done everything I can to repair your reputation for the last few weeks. The whole town knows you donated the money to improve the programs here and that you’re responsible for us having this party. I thought you were being very unfairly maligned. You were my hero.”

Grady liked that thought, and he grimaced at the fact that she had used the past tense in her statement. He wanted to always be her hero, but he shrugged. “I’m not exactly . . . social. I’m an asshole, and all I really had to do was be myself.”

Emily sighed and took a breath to respond, but the words never left her lips. Her face suddenly filled with terror as screams began to fill the room and people scrambled. “P-Paul?” Emily stammered, trying to move out of Grady’s arms. “What are you doing?”

Grady’s gaze shot to a man standing about ten feet to the side of them, a handgun aimed directly at Emily’s head. The guy was wavering, his hands shaking as he held his arms straight in front of him, the lethal weapon slightly tilted. A lunatic, cold, and lifeless gaze trained on Emily told Grady several things at a quick glance: the man was drunk or high, desperate, and determined to die.

Oh, fuck no!
He’d just found Emily, and he wasn’t losing her. The bastard could go screw himself. Shifting their positions, he shielded Emily with his body. He could feel her resistance, but she was no match for his brute strength and the adrenaline pumping through his body. The asshole would have to go through him to get to her.

“This your new boyfriend, Emily?” the gunman asked, taking a few steps closer and waving the gun toward Grady. “Grady Sinclair, the billionaire genius. Did you know he’s had agents on my ass for two weeks? Everywhere I go, at every one of my usual hiding places, my friends tell me that Grady Sinclair has had his private security force there looking for me. I’ve had to hide like a rabbit, in some of the dirtiest holes imaginable, because I can’t stay in my usual hideouts. The police never would have found me without you and your boyfriend’s help. He put private investigators everywhere, and they report everything to the police. There’s nowhere left for me to hide anymore. This place is going to be surrounded in a few minutes and I’m not going to prison because his employees are breathing down my neck now along with the police. I’d rather die. But I’m taking you and your asshole boyfriend with me,” Paul said, his voice high, desperate, and slurred. “The police never would have found me without his money and power to put so many people on my ass that I couldn’t escape.”

“Paul, don’t do this. You don’t need to shoot anyone,” Emily cried, panicked. “We can walk out of here right now. I’ll go with you as a hostage so you can get away—as long as you don’t use the gun.”

Grady gritted his teeth, his jaw tight, turning her farther toward safety while his eyes never left the dull, dead eyes of the criminal beside him. His arm gripped like a steel band around Emily’s waist. “Over my dead body,” he growled loud enough for her to hear him.

The bastard might take her, but he’d kill her. Grady could tell by the look on the man’s face that he was determined to die and would be more than happy to take him, Emily, and anyone else who got in his way, along with him. In fact, that was exactly what he wanted. The guy had obviously snapped, his sanity gone. The gun that was swaying in Paul’s hand was a Beretta semiautomatic, and Grady shuddered at the number of kids in the building. Luckily, people were pouring out the front door, taking their children out of danger. “Get ready to run like hell and don’t look back,” Grady ordered Emily in a harsh whisper, mentally wishing everyone would hurry the fuck up and get outside. But not everyone was leaving. There were men in the building who had taken cover, but it was mostly the women and children who were exiting. The men were staying as backup, but sending their women and kids out of harm’s way.

“Close those doors. Nobody else leaves,” Paul screamed in a high-pitched voice.

Go. Go. Go.
Grady could see the last of the women stream out the door with the kids, the door slamming shut behind them.

And then there was silence.

The only thing he could hear was his heart thundering in his ears, his rage at the fact that Emily was still in danger barely leashed. Grady’s eyes narrowed as Paul stepped closer, now about five feet from his woman. He watched as the gunman’s finger started to twitch on the trigger, the wail of sirens making him edgy. Gut instinct was making the call for Grady, and he knew the time was

“Run!” he demanded urgently, blocking Emily with his entire body as he lunged for Paul.

The gun fired once as Grady took the asshole down, but it discharged as the two of them were falling, and he took solace in the fact that Emily should be long gone. Finally, Grady let go of the rage that had been simmering inside of him, tearing the gun from Paul’s hand and sliding it far across the wooden floor for one of the other men to retrieve. He was seeing red, his entire focus on the man who had hurt his woman and put her in danger again tonight.

“You’ll never hurt her again,” he growled, slamming Paul’s head against the hardwood floor.


The sound of the bastard’s skull hitting the floor was so satisfying that Grady never felt the punches Paul was giving back as Grady pummeled him, not wanting to stop until any threat to Emily was gone, the man beneath him dead.

Several uniformed officers came between them, two pulling Grady off the battered gunman and two more rolling Paul over to cuff him.

“Easy, man. Let us take over,” one of the officers told him as they laid Grady on his back. “You’ve been shot.” The police started holding pressure to Grady’s side, his expression somber. Raising his head slightly, Grady could see blood. Lots of blood. He wished it had come from the asshole the police were carting away, but he knew it hadn’t. It was his, and he was finally coming out of his haze enough to feel the pain from the wound.

“Oh, God,” Grady heard Emily cry out as she dropped to her knees beside him, handing a policeman the weapon she had obviously recovered when he had slid it across the floor. “Grady! Talk to me, love.”

“I told you to run. Don’t you listen? Are you hurt?”

“No. And I wasn’t leaving you. I wanted to shoot him, but I was afraid I’d hit you,” she replied, her voice tremulous and scared, making Grady wish he could beat the shit out of Paul all over again.

If Grady weren’t so pissed that she hadn’t taken herself out of harm’s way, he would have been more touched that she’d been so worried about him that she hadn’t run away. “Could you try listening when I’m trying to keep you safe? Stubborn woman,” he grumbled, flinching as the cop applied a little more pressure to his wound.

Emily took his hand and threaded her fingers through his, stroking his hair back from his forehead. “What am I going to do with you?” she asked, forlorn.

“Keep me,” he answered, his vision starting to blur. “And don’t give me any more hassle about the new truck.” Okay . . . he was taking advantage, but he’d use every bit of leverage he could get at the moment.

“You’re going to use the edge you have right now to get me to agree?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yep.” He was using whatever he could get.

“Okay,” she whispered agreeably. “If it will make you happy, I’ll do it. Whatever you want right now.”

It made him fucking ecstatic, or as joyful as a guy could be who had just gotten shot. He felt her lips on his forehead right before everything started to fade to black, and decided right then and there that being fussed over by Emily wasn’t a bad way to go out.


Emily decided almost immediately that Grady Sinclair was probably the worst patient to ever enter their small-town hospital. He’d wanted to leave the minute the doctor had sutured the gaping wound in his side. Luckily, the bullet had just grazed his flesh, but it had left a substantial laceration.

She had cried like a blubbering child when the doctor had said Grady would be okay with some suturing, antibiotics, and an overnight stay for observation. It might have been amusing that Grady had actually been trying to comfort her when he was the one in pain.

It had been her fault—Paul was
crazy ex-boyfriend—but Grady had risked his own life to save her anyway. Honestly, Emily didn’t think he had even given a thought to his own safety. He had only cared about hers, and the fact that he’d been willing to sacrifice his life to protect her completely floored her. No man she’d ever known, except maybe her father, would have protected her without a single thought to his own safety. Now she was determined to take care of Grady.

Keeping him in the hospital had been a challenge, and she had gotten desperate and threatened to break her promise to spend Christmas with him if he didn’t follow the doctor’s orders. He grumbled and protested, but he had finally given in. He’d gotten even grouchier when she refused to leave him, telling her to take her ass home and get some sleep. She slept in the recliner beside his bed, not only because she wanted to be with him in case he needed anything, but because she was afraid he’d get up and leave if she didn’t keep him in the bed.

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
5.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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