Sweet Temptation

Page 18

Jesus. It was a miracle he hadn’t gotten to her before she left Miami. Only because of her sheer intelligence and determination had he not kidnapped her from the club. Thank God for Nathan.

“What do we do?” Connor asked when Micah put the last of the notes back into the box.

Micah blew out his breath in an effort to control the wash of emotion that threatened to overtake him. He was angry—oh yes, he was pissed beyond belief—but he was also scared.

Before he could answer or even think of what the hell to say, Angelina turned, her eyes no longer reflecting fear or upset. No, determination burned deep and red-hot.

“The logical thing for me to do is leave,” she said evenly.


Neither Micah nor Connor had any liking for her statement. Both got this pinched look on their faces, and Micah reddened, looking like he was about to erupt.

“Don’t be stupid,” he growled.

Angelina sighed. “I was stupid to come here, Micah. I thought I was playing it smart. Had a plan in place. Was meticulous in its execution. I’d hoped I could come here, start a new life and forget the past. That was stupid. Leaving is smart.”

Micah gaped incredulously at her. Connor frowned and eased up from his chair.

“Think I’ll just go into the kitchen and let you two hash this out.”

Micah waited until Connor had left the room and then rose from the couch, crossed the room and took her shoulders in his hands.

“You aren’t leaving, Angel. Where the hell would you go?”

“Back to Chicago first. After that? Anywhere I want.”

He looked up at the ceiling, his cheeks puffing out with his breath.

She reached up and loosened his hands on her shoulders then stepped back, eager to put distance between them. He unnerved her when he got this close.

“Think about it, Micah. I’ve put a lot of people in danger here. Your friends. Their wives and girlfriends. I like Faith, Serena and Julie. They don’t deserve to have this brought to their front door. I’ve only been here a few days. Just a blip on the radar. I’ll be forgotten in a week and everyone can get on with their lives. It just makes sense.

He stared disbelievingly at her. “You really believe all that bullshit, don’t you?”

Her eyes narrowed and she frowned. “Look, I’m not being a martyr here, Micah. It’s stupid to involve all of you in this. It’s not your problem. It never was. I’m not an idiot. I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time. Did he scare me? Hell yes. I was terrified. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be an easy target for him. I’m not a victim. I never will be. But I’m not stupid either. And I won’t allow your friends to get involved in this.”

“They’re your friends too,” Micah said.

She shook her head and sighed. “They’re loyal to you, Micah. They love you. They feel a certain responsibility to me because of my association with you.”


“Let’s not argue,” she pleaded. “I need help planning a way to get out of town unnoticed. The sooner the better. He wouldn’t expect me to put together a plan this fast. If I could leave tonight, I’d get a jump on him while he’s still so pissed about missing me at the club.”

Micah closed the distance between them again. “You don’t get it, do you? You aren’t leaving, Angel. I bailed on you once. It won’t happen again.”

“Guilt is bullshit,” she snapped. “I don’t need it. Don’t want it.”

“Fuck guilt. Guilt isn’t what I’m feeling right now. I’m so pissed I can’t see straight. You think I’m thinking about David right now? Or Hannah? Or the fact that I walked out on you when you needed me the most? Hell no. I’m thinking about what would happen if that bastard got his hands on you. I’m thinking about how the fuck I’m going to keep you safe. I’m thinking about how I can keep you close and not take you over.”

Her belly fluttered in awareness and a tingle snaked its way up her spine. He looked so furious, so intense. So focused on her. She shivered as goose bumps raced across her arms, her breasts, beading her nipples into tight little knots.

“You’re so sure that I’m a mindless puppet who’d be content to let you pull my strings, that I’d be some brainless rag doll. No wonder you don’t want me, Micah. I wouldn’t want me either if I thought those things.”

“I don’t think that,” he growled.

Her mouth twisted. “I’m capable of making my own decisions. David didn’t raise me to be a fool. I know precisely what I’d be walk ing into with you, and yet you’re so determined to be noble and save me from myself. Personally I think it’s all bullshit. You’re not saving anyone but yourself. You’re scared of the way I make you feel because you don’t want to feel anything. Okay, fine, but quit being a coward and pretending this is all about me and what I’m not getting. Man up and tell me you don’t want me, but quit making excuses.”

For a moment she thought she’d pushed him too far. He stepped forward and she retreated. They repeated the process until her back met the wall and there was nowhere else to go.

He pressed against her, his body melding with hers.

“Oh, I want you,” he said in a hoarse, raspy voice. “I want you so goddamn much I ache. But I can’t give you what you deserve, Angel. All I can offer you is sex. Fucking. I can’t be any more honest than that. You deserve more than that from a man—any man. I want you. No doubt. But I can only give you so much.”

“If that’s all you have to give then that’s what I’ll take,” she said calmly.

Micah swore and looked away. “Goddamn it, Angel. Tell me no. Send me packing. Tell me you never want to see me again. Find a man who can give you everything, body and soul. Tell me no.”

She reached up to touch his lips. “I’ll never tell you no, Micah. You think I don’t know you, that I don’t understand you, that I can’t handle what you’ll throw at me. You’re wrong.”

He placed his hands on either side of her neck, his thumbs brushing her cheeks, his fingers thrust into her hair.

“Be sure, Angel girl. Be very sure this is what you want. I’ll own you. There’s no part of you that won’t belong to me.”

Her heart did a crazy flip and damn near burst out of her chest.

“Don’t you know, Micah? I’ve always belonged to you.”

His pupils flared, and a predatory light gleamed in his dark eyes.

“You go nowhere and I mean nowhere without me until we nail this bastard,” he said. “There’ll be no more talk of you leaving. You’re mine and I protect what’s mine.”

She swallowed and nodded, her eyes never leaving his.

“We can’t stay here, but until I work something out, you’ll stick with me at all times.”

“Okay,” she said huskily.

There was savage triumph in every line of his face, the look of a predator who’d captured his prey. She might not mean anything to him on an emotional level ... yet, but he wanted her, and pure male satisfaction greeted his conquest.

She belonged. Her own savage satisfaction gripped her, spreading like wildfire through her soul. Wholly and utterly to him. She didn’t fool herself into believing it was forever. He’d already set a time limit. They’d be forced into close proximity until her stalker was apprehended, and he was as willing to take advantage of the situation as she was. But he was already deciding to walk away when it was all said and done.

Determined not to dwell on things she couldn’t change, she opted instead to focus on the here and now and the fact that Micah was hers, even if only for a little while.


Angelina stood in the corner of the big meeting room at Malone and Sons, where there were more people packed in than sardines in a can. The flurry of activity bewildered her. She’d expected Micah to turn over the letters to the police and then they’d wait to see where the investigation went, but this?

Micah, Connor, Nathan and Gray were sitting at one of the long tables, heads bent in conversation with four police officers. Even Damon was present, though he stood to the side, his hands in the pockets of his expensive slacks. Though his pose might seem bored, his eyes were tuned in to every nuance of the conversation going on.

Pop Malone sat at the head of the table, and every once in a while he waded into the conversation with his gruff, raspy voice.

There were three other men, not in uniform, who Angelina could only surmise were either off-duty cops or just friends of the group.

They were going through the notes, using gloves, discussing and analyzing the stalker like a bug under a microscope.

It wasn’t that police work was something new to her. She’d witnessed David and Micah and any number of other Miami cops deep into their cases. At any given time, Hannah had made dinner for a dozen cops when they were over discussing a particularly hard case.

But Angelina herself had never been the focus of any of it. Stalkers didn’t rate up there with rapists and murderers, and other than getting a restraining order, provided the identity was known, there wasn’t often a lot that could be done.

She wondered where Faith, Julie and Serena were. As fiercely protective as all the guys were, she couldn’t imagine they’d been left alone somewhere.

It was as though she’d been forgotten in the intensity of the meeting. She didn’t like standing on the edge, didn’t like the feeling of helplessness that gripped her. She didn’t like the idea of these people, Micah’s friends, her friends, putting themselves at risk for her.

It wasn’t until now that she’d realized how much she missed being part of the camaraderie and absolute loyalty of the police force David had belonged to. Until they’d turned away, thinking the worst of her brother.

“You want something to drink, sweetie?”

She blinked and looked up to see Connor standing in front of her. Her gaze went to the table, to see that the overall meeting was apparently over and now everyone had split into smaller groups, their heads bent in conversation.

“I’d love something with caffeine,” she admitted.

He curled his hand around the back of her neck and squeezed and massaged gently.

“You look tired. You just got out of the hospital. You need to be resting.”

“I’m not sure I’ll ever rest again,” she said honestly.

“We’re going to take care of you,” he promised. “Micah’s not going to let this asshole get to you.”

She wanted to believe it, but Micah was only one man. He wasn’t invincible. If intentions were all it took, then nothing would ever hurt her. Micah was fierce in his intent to protect her.

“Stay right here. I’ll get you a Coke.”

She smiled faintly. “I’m not going anywhere.”

If she stood any longer, she was going to collapse. Her legs felt all rubbery, and her knees trembled. Since there wasn’t a free chair in the room, she simply slid her back down the wall behind her until her butt hit the floor.

In the next instant, Micah crouched down in front of her, his worried gaze seeking hers.

“Hey, Angel girl, are you okay?” he asked softly.

When Connor arrived, Micah reached up to get the Coke he extended. He popped the tab and put the cold can in her hand.

She sipped gratefully at it. The adrenaline was definitely wearing off, and she was crashing hard.

“What’s the plan?” she asked after taking several gulps.

“I’ll tell you everything later. Right now I need to get you home. You’re dead on your feet.”

She shivered when he trailed a finger over her cheek. No matter how fatigued she was, her body jumped to life whenever he touched her. He was a craving, dark and erotic, one she had absolutely no control over.

His nostrils flared, and his features went tight. He felt it too, this intense connection that sizzled between them. Right now she could see the war he waged with himself. He was so readable. He wanted her. He wanted to take her and use her, but he also wanted to care for her. He thought her too weak and tired for what he wanted.

Didn’t he know that he was all she needed?

“Take me home,” she whispered.

He pulled her to her feet and tucked her securely against his side. Damon stopped them when they got to the door.

“I have an idea,” he said in a quiet voice.

“I’m listening,” Micah said.

“You and Angelina should stay at The House.”

Micah looked at Damon like he’d lost his mind.

“I’m not stashing her in a fucking sex club.”

“That’s just it,” Damon said patiently. “It’s probably the last place this asshole would look. Cover your tracks, take Angelina to The House. It has all the amenities. Kitchen, bathroom. You could have your choice of the upstairs bedrooms. I can close it to the public for as long as you need a place to stay. The security is impeccable, but I’m open to having your men do whatever updating or beefing up you feel is necessary.”

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