The Wedding Rescue, Book Five (An Alpha Billionaire Club BBW Romance) (5 page)

BOOK: The Wedding Rescue, Book Five (An Alpha Billionaire Club BBW Romance)
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8
Leigha

S
pying
the gorgeous bracelet on my wrist, I decided to try one more time to talk to Dylan about his extravagance. I was finally ready to admit this was more than a weekend fling. I cared about him, and I didn’t want money to come between us.

“I know that you like buying me things, and I think I must be crazy to be saying this, but you have to stop.”

Dylan didn’t say anything, just looked down at me and raised one eyebrow. I went on, trying to explain in fumbling words.

“It’s just that you don’t need to do this. And it feels unbalanced. Now that my house is gone, I need to get my life organized and I don’t want to feel like I’m a bottomless pit of need in your life. I want to be on equal footing. Do you understand?”

He stared at me, his gaze penetrating, giving me the unsettling feeling that he was reading my mind. After what felt like an eternity, he said, “I’ll take a break from buying you things. For a while, not forever. And only if you promise me two things.”

“What two things?” I asked, suspicious of his easy capitulation.

“One, you accept the car that’s downstairs in the garage.”

“What kind of car?” I asked. If the man could go overboard with a dress, what would he do when he decided to buy a car? His Maserati wasn’t exactly a Ford Focus.

“An Audi TTS roadster, white with camel leather interior.”

Wow. I wanted to say no. At least, the good girl in me wanted to say no. The rest of me was too busy drooling.

“Is that the convertible?” I asked, afraid I sounded too greedy.

“Yes.”

Oh, I was in trouble. I liked that car. A lot. I’d looked at the TT a few years before, but it had been both impractical and way out of my budget. Every time I saw one, I drooled a little. How had he known? I shouldn’t accept it. But I was going to.

“What’s the second condition?” I asked, stalling.

“Agree to the car first,” he answered. The elevator hit the ground floor with a barely perceptible shudder. Dylan reached out and hit the STOP button. Suddenly nervous, I said,

“Okay. I shouldn’t, but okay.” Then, after an awkward pause, “Thank you.” He rewarded me with a brilliant smile.

“You’re welcome, sweetheart.”

“And the second condition?” I asked, a little anxious.

“Move in with me.”

“What?” What? I couldn’t move in with him. “I can’t move in with you,” I said, my voice loud and high pitched in the small space.

“Why not? You don’t have anywhere to go right now. And it’s going to take time to get the insurance settled. So stay with me.”

“Are you asking me to move in, or just to stay for a while?” I asked, suspicious.

“Whichever one will get you to say yes.”

“You’re freaking me out,” I confessed.

“No I’m not. You
think
you should be freaked out. You think this is too much. But if you take a deep breath, I bet you’ll realize you’re
not
actually freaked out. A part of you knows this is right. That we’re right together.”

His eyes on mine were intense, yet calm, as if he could will his own certainty into me. Closing my eyes to shut him out, I did what he’d suggested and took a deep breath, or as deep as I could in the tight bustier.

With nothing to see but the dark of my closed eyes, I tried to steady myself. Was I nervous about this because I was scared? Because I’d never imagined a man like Dylan would ever be interested in me? Or because this was all sex and the thrill of adventure, destined to wear off as soon as we went back to our normal lives?

I thought of the past three days together. It had started with need and want. I’d needed a date. And the moment we’d met, we’d both wanted sex. That was the simple part. If this was just about sex, I would have been shouting yes.

But I knew myself. I couldn’t live with a man if all we had was sex. Even the best orgasm wouldn’t make up for all the annoyances that came with sharing living space with a virtual stranger. And if sex was all he wanted, he could install me in one of his hotel rooms and have me close, but not in his space. So this was more than sex. I took another deep breath, remembering my favorite times with Dylan that weekend. Not counting the sex - I’d already covered that part.

It wasn’t the shopping, though that had been fun. And it wasn’t walking into the rehearsal dinner and seeing jealousy on the other women’s faces. No, it was the conversation over lunch the day before. His hand rubbing my back in the hospital. The way he’d brought me to my house that morning, knowing I’d need to see the fire for myself, then brought me back home and tucked me into bed, already knowing I’d needed a nap.

It was his intelligence, his kindness, his sweetness. It was that beneath the movie star good looks, he was a man worth loving. And if he saw even a fraction of that in me, I really would be crazy to walk away just because I was scared. Still, I was nothing if not sensible, even when I was ready to take a huge risk. Opening my eyes, I said,

“Okay. I’ll move in with you. But once my insurance stuff is worked out, we’ll talk about how it’s going and if either of us is having second thoughts, we’ll make other arrangements.”

“Deal.”

Dylan’s arms came around me, drawing me close, the look in his eyes one of heated tenderness. At that moment, I was ready to ditch the wedding and head right back upstairs. His lips took mine in a kiss of pure possession. I kissed him back, ready to be brave, to claim this man as my own.

I was trying to wipe the edge of my lips discreetly when the Dylan pressed the button to release the elevator doors. They slid open to reveal my mother, whose eyes widened for a moment before she let loose with a wide smile.

“I was wondering where you two were. Come on, we’re almost late. Though you know Christie won’t be ready on time. But we should be there. You look beautiful, Leigha, just wonderful.”

She kept up a steady stream of chatter as she led us to the Delecta’s wedding chapel. Taking in the elegant room, it was clear the casino did a big business in weddings. We slid into our aisle after Dylan scowled away the usher who tried to take my arm. Not too many minutes later, the music kicked in and the ceremony began.

Thankfully, it was a quick wedding. Neither the bride nor groom was particularly religious or spiritual, and they stuck with the basics. A few words, some back and forth on the vows, a kiss and they were done. I was ready to get to the reception, then escape to be alone with Dylan as soon as possible.

I was thinking about luring him into another dark hallway, though this time we’d keep it clean, when my mother linked her arm with mine and drew me away from Dylan. He caught my free hand in his and said, “Don’t leave my sight, not until Steven is in custody.”

“I won’t,” I said, letting my mother pull me toward the chapel exit.

“Dylan can do without you for a minute or two,” she said, tucking my arm in hers as we walked. “I’ve never seen you look so beautiful, honey. You’re glowing. Is it love? Or just really amazing sex?”

“Mom!” I was a fully grown woman, but my Mom could still make me blush.

“I think it’s both,” she said with a satisfied smile. I remained silent, admitting nothing as she went on, “I knew you’d hook him, honey.”

“Mom, he’s not a fish,” I said, my need to defend Dylan forcing me out of my mortified silence.

“No, he’s a whale.” She giggled. “Seriously, honey, I knew you’d get him. The way he looks at you. Whew!” She pretended to fan herself.

“I’m moving in with him,” I admitted. She patted my arm.

“Good girl.”

“It’s not about that,” I protested, worried that she thought I was after Dylan for his money.

“What?” she asked, “The money or the sex? I know you, Leigha, so I know it’s not about the money. Anyway, greedy bitches don’t get men like that. The only way to get a man like Dylan is just to be you.”

It was exactly what I needed to hear. Most of my uncertainty over my relationship with Dylan melted into a warm glow in my chest. I was lifting an arm to hug my Mom when I heard a shout off to the left. Curious, I turned to see Steven bearing down on us, wildly waving a gun in one hand.

I backed away in horror, shouting Dylan’s name and trying to shove my mother behind me. I was taller and bigger, but she had a mother’s need to protect her child, and we ended up scuffling when we should have been running. All the while, Steven came closer, shouting in unintelligible bursts.

I couldn’t see Dylan in the suddenly screaming, milling crowd on the casino floor. From the sides of the vast room men in identical black suits melted out of the sea of people, some of them speaking into clear plastic earpieces, a few brandishing guns. They would have been comforting if they hadn’t been so far away.

In slow motion I watched Steven raise the gun and aim it at me, shouting, “I’m going to kill you, you bitch.”

Out of nowhere, Dylan launched himself through the air, catching Steven in his gut, taking him to the floor in a tangle of limbs. A blast echoed as the gun went off, followed by a crash as the bullet hit a chandelier above. The impact of hitting the floor jarred the gun from Steven’s hand where it was picked up by one of the black suited security guards. Shards of crystal fell around us as I rushed toward them, heedless of the danger in my need to get to Dylan. A hard arm caught me in the midsection, dragging me back. I struggled until I heard a familiar voice in my ear.

“Stay back Leigha. Dylan’s fine,” Axel said.

“How did Steven get in here?” I demanded.

“We’re working on figuring that out. The police are already here. He’ll be gone in a minute.”

I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to talk to him before he was taken away. Wrenching back from Axel, I headed for Dylan and Steven. Axel was clearly unwilling to wrestle me down because he followed without further discussion.

Dylan held Steven on the floor with a knee to his neck. Steven wasn’t struggling, but Dylan scowled at me and said,

“Leigha, get back.” Looking at Axel, he growled, “What the fuck?”

“I want to talk to him,” I said.

“No,” Dylan answered. “There’s nothing this asshole has to say that you need to hear.”

“Dylan, I want to talk to him. Please.” Dylan scowled at me, but slid his knee back and pulled Steven to a sitting position. Axel moved behind Steven, producing a set of handcuffs. He secured Steven’s hands with the smooth skill born of practice.

“Why?” I asked Steven, finally meeting his enraged brown eyes. “You stole from me. You burned my house to the ground. Now you try to kill me.” Behind me, I heard my mother gasp. “Why?” I demanded. “Why me? What did I do to you?”

“This is all your fault, you stupid, fucking bitch. Everything was fine until your fucking ten grand. That was the money that put me in the hole with Tsepov. I haven’t won a hand of cards since I bet that money. You killed my luck and then you couldn’t make it right. Burning down your house should have broken the curse, but it didn’t. I need you dead.”

I stared at him, dumbfounded. “You did all this because you think I’m responsible for your bad luck at cards?”

“It’s you. It’s your fault. All of it.” He started to mumble under his breath. Now that I was closer, I could smell the sour scent of stale liquor coming off him. I looked over at Dylan, who had come to his feet and moved beside me.

“He’s insane,” I said, hearing the amazement in my voice. “Completely nuts. He tried to kill me because he had bad luck at cards after betting the money he stole from me? Is that what he just said? Seriously?”

“It is,” Dylan agreed sliding his arms around me from behind. Abruptly the jolt of adrenaline from seeing the gun faded, and I leaned back into Dylan’s warmth. Together, we watched five policemen separate the crowd as they headed for Steven. His prone body disappeared under the swarm of blue. They yanked him to his feet, escorted him across the main floor of the Delecta, and out of my life.

I was sure I’d have to deal with him again when he went to trial, but for now I was free from the threat of further destruction.

“Don’t do that again,” I said to Dylan, turning to brush a stray piece of carpet fluff off his sleeve. “He could have shot you.”

“He was
going
to shoot you,” Dylan said. “Don’t try to stop me from protecting you again, Leigha. I won’t do it. You’re mine. I’d take a bullet if I had to.”

My heart swelled. Dylan was sweet and terrifying at the same time.

“Okay, how about I just stay away from crazy men with guns, and then you won’t have to go near any bullets?”

“That works for me,” he said, pressing a kiss to my lips. I wanted more, but we were surrounded by people, one of whom was my mother. As I leaned into his arms I heard my sister’s shrill voice say,

“Is the drama over yet? I’d like to get back to my wedding!”

Typical. I almost get shot and she’s worried about it interrupting her party. Any other day she might have bothered me, but not today. Not when I’d just decided to move in with an amazing man who’d saved my life.

“Come on,” Dylan said, wrapping his arm around my shoulders in a possessive hold. “Let’s go. I want to dance with you at the wedding.”

That I could do. Though the way he said ‘wedding’ made me a little nervous. Three days and I’d agreed to move in. He wasn’t going to get any ideas about weddings, was he?

Mentally, I shrugged. I was done worrying about the future, at least for now. Life was too good to stress. Instead, I was going to hang on tight to Dylan and enjoy the ride.

Thank You

T
hanks for reading
The Wedding Rescue, Book Five.

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BOOK: The Wedding Rescue, Book Five (An Alpha Billionaire Club BBW Romance)
2.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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