Sweet Temptation

Page 4

“Angel, damn it!”

She opened the door and hurried into the night, ignoring his command for her to get her ass back inside. She didn’t stop until she got to her car, and she refused to look up, knowing she’d see Micah standing there.

Doors locked, she cranked the engine and backed from the parking spot as Micah pounded on her window. With a quick glance in his direction to make sure she wasn’t going to hit him, she accelerated out of the lot and left him standing in the dark, staring after her.


Angelina let herself into her hotel room and tossed her keys onto the bed. The interior was dark and somewhat gloomy, with only a dully lit lamp to offer illumination. It certainly wasn’t the best of accommodations, but this would be the last place someone would look for her. At least she hoped.

She trudged into the bathroom and turned the hot water on in the sink. A shower would feel good, but she didn’t want to erase Micah’s touch or to relieve the slight heat that was still present from his whip.

She washed her face, brushed her hair and pulled it back into a ponytail. A glance in the mirror told her she looked tired. Hollow-eyed and worried.

She stripped out of her clothes, left them on the floor of the bathroom, and walked nude back to where her suitcase lay on the bed. She shoved it off, not bothering to pull on a shirt. Bed was calling her name, and she didn’t waste any time answering.

She lay on her belly, letting the draft from the rattling air conditioner blow over her back. Dreamily, she closed her eyes and relived those moments before Micah discovered who she was, when for a while she’d been his to command.

He’d wanted her, wanted her desperately. She’d seen the lust in his eyes, felt the tremble of his hands on her flesh. The barely restrained power she’d sensed boiling within him had been like a drug to her. Addictive, alluring. Intoxicating.

She’d always known how it would be with Micah, and it seemed she’d spent most of her life waiting and wanting. She’d entertained herself with vivid fantasies of him capturing her, of him forcing her to his will. His possession.

She shivered, her belly clenching as she remembered every single sound he’d made, his breathing, his words. His lips on hers, his taste. How he felt.

Longing didn’t begin to cover the magnitude of her feelings. She needed him as she’d never needed anyone else. David and Hannah were family. David was her brother, and Hannah was as much a sister to her as she could be. But Micah? From the beginning, she’d separated Micah into a whole different category. One forbidden to her but no less tempting.

If it would bring David and Hannah back, she’d give up any hope of having Micah. Micah had loved Hannah deeply, and as much as Angelina herself loved Micah, she’d stand on the outside looking in forever if it meant having her family again.

But they were gone. She and Micah were left. She knew him like no one else did. She knew his secrets, his desires, the man behind the easygoing façade. She could give him what he needed, but would he ever decide she was what he wanted?

“No guarantees in life, Angel baby,” she whispered, smiling sadly as David’s words floated from her lips.

A sound at her window made her freeze. Then she laughed and buried her face in her pillow. What a jumpy moron she was. She was on the fourth floor of a shabby hotel. Who’d be at her window? Spider-Man?

She had to quit flinching at shadows and looking over her shoulder at every turn. Okay, so maybe continuing to look over her shoulder was a good idea. She couldn’t afford to be too careless, even though she knew she’d covered her tracks well. She hadn’t lived in a cop household for years not to learn anything about stealth and evading.

There was no reason for anyone to know she was here. She’d ditched her car, bought another under an assumed name, used cash, and no one in Houston apart from Damon Roche and Micah Hudson knew what her real name was.

Tomorrow she’d start her job search. Thanks to her Hispanic heritage, she could pose as an illegal immigrant and get a job that paid under the table. She had funds stashed, but she couldn’t afford to lean on those unless absolutely necessary.

And God willing, it wouldn’t be necessary. She could start a new life here. Nothing was left for her in Miami. Micah never needed to know about her problems. She didn’t want him to be with her for any other reason than she was what he wanted.


Angelina woke with a strong sense of purpose. She dressed and was out of the hotel early, just as the sun crept over the horizon. Determined to get her job situation squared away as soon as possible, she hit the cafés in walking distance of the hotel, and at the third she scored a job as a waitress. The manager generously offered to let her work for tips only, and she could take what she earned home in cash each night.

It wasn’t ideal, but it could be a lot worse. She was friendly and outgoing, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work. After arranging her schedule, she went back to the hotel and dialed Damon Roche’s number at The House. One of his employees said he wasn’t in but he was expected within the hour. She hung up and collected her keys. By the time she got over there, she wouldn’t have long to wait.

She took her time, stopping at a drive-thru for breakfast. When she drove up the winding paved drive of The House, an hour had passed. Hopefully Damon would be in by now. She wanted to smooth any ruffled feathers and figure out where she stood.

While her cursory investigation into Micah’s life in Houston had revealed his membership at The House, she hadn’t realized he and Damon were friends. She’d be lucky if she was ever allowed back in again. Micah had probably already screeched at Damon beyond his explosion the night before.

She parked close to the entrance, noting that there were only two other cars in the designated parking area, one of which was a slick-looking BMW. Damon’s? She hoped so.

She got out and strode to the door to ring the bell. Within a few seconds, the door opened, and she was greeted by a plain-faced gentleman who peered inquisitively at her.

“I’m here to see Damon Roche,” she said

“Do you have an appointment?”

She blinked. “Um, well, no. I called earlier and was told he’d be in. Can you tell him Angelina Moyano would like to talk to him?”

He gestured for her to come inside, and she followed him into a luxurious sitting room.

“I’ll see if Mr. Roche is willing to meet with you,” he said politely.

She nodded and sank onto the sumptuous leather couch. She studied the room while he was gone, taking in the tasteful decor. Everything about The House spoke of refinement and elegance. No matter what went on behind closed doors, there was a distinct air of class. It was hard to feel cheap or tawdry in such a place, and maybe that was the point.

“Angelina,” Damon said as he strode through the doorway. He stopped in front of her, his expression inquiring. “You wished to speak with me?”

She rose to stand before him, warming to the spark of authority in his voice. This too was a man well used to being in charge.

“Yes, please,” she said, trying to keep the uncertainty from her voice.

He held a hand out to touch her arm. “Come into my office. Would you like coffee or juice?”

She shook her head and followed him down the hall and into a spacious office that oozed raw masculinity.

“Have a seat,” he said as he walked around the desk to his chair. He sat and leaned back, studying her with his deep brown eyes. A wide, gold band circled his ring finger, surprising her. Why, she wasn’t sure, but the idea that he had a wife seemed odd. Did she mind his ownership of a place where sex was as common as drinking water?

“What can I do for you, Angelina?”

She grimaced, twisting her mouth into a rueful smile. “I wanted to know if my membership was still valid.”

His fingers formed a triangle, the tips coming together to rest against his bottom lip as he continued to stare levelly at her. “Is there any reason it shouldn’t be?”

“Let’s not pretend you aren’t friends with Micah. Guy’s code and all that. I’ve witnessed the biggest boys club in the world when my brother and Micah were on the police force.”

“Yes, we’re friends.”

“Are you pissed that I withheld that I knew him during my application process?”

Damon sighed. “What are you really asking, Angelina? If you want to know if Micah has demanded I bar you from the premises—one, he doesn’t have the right to demand anything, friendship notwithstanding. And two, I haven’t heard a word from him since last night.”

“Then I’m welcome here?”

Damon nodded.

She started to rise, but something in his expression stopped her.

“Can I ask you something, Angelina? It’s strictly personal, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer. It won’t affect your standing here. But as I stated, Micah and I are friends. He’s told me about David and Hannah.”

Her eyes widened in surprise.

“Yes, I know,” he said quietly. “Why are you here? I’ve never seen Micah anything but in control, and last night you managed to completely unhinge him. I can’t help but think it was intentional on your part.”

Slowly she nodded.

His eyes narrowed angrily. “What game are you playing? I don’t want him hurt.”

“Neither do I,” she said evenly. “I’m the last person who would ever hurt him.”

One eyebrow rose, and understanding fired in his eyes. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

She raised her hands palms up. “That’s the million-dollar question,” she murmured. “I can give Micah what he needs. I understand him better than anyone else.”

“But does he understand you?” he asked gently.

Her lips tightened. “He doesn’t see me. He doesn’t know me. But he will. He will.”

Damon studied her another moment. “Are you okay, Angelina? Is there anything you need? Are you here in Houston permanently or will you be going back to Miami?”

“I’m fine,” she said quietly. “And there’s nothing left in Miami for me. Everything I want, I need, is here.”

“I see. Then I wish you well, and I’d ask that if there’s something you need, to come to me. Micah can be hard, as I’m sure you well know. You have a difficult task in front of you. I don’t want to see you—or him—hurt.”

She held on to her smile, willing it not to fall as she rose. She hadn’t allowed any doubt to creep in and take hold, and by God she wouldn’t do it now.

“Thank you,” she said sincerely. “It’s always nice to know there are people I can count on. You can never have enough of those.”

Micah stalked into Malone and Sons Security and grunted an acknowledgment at Connor as he passed him in the hallway. Usually he’d amble into Faith’s office, where everyone gathered for coffee in the mornings, but today he wasn’t fit company for a viper, much less people he cared about.

Once in his office, he closed the door and paced back and forth in front of the window. He stopped to stare broodingly out the blinds, his mind about to blow.

Where the fuck was she? Where had she come from? And why the hell had he let her just walk out of his apartment? Of all the stupid stunts he’d pulled, this one had to take the cake.

She’d knocked him so hard on his ass that he hadn’t found out even the most basic information. Like where she was staying. Was she here visiting? Was she thinking of moving? Whoa. And then there was the fact that she’d come on to him like a tornado.

Okay, so maybe she hadn’t exactly come on to him. Technically he’d made the moves, but she damn sure hadn’t done anything to stop him. And that was what was burning a hole in his head this morning.


He hadn’t mistaken her responsiveness. She’d given herself to him as sweetly as any woman ever had. She’d gone quiet and supple underneath his touch. She’d taken everything he’d given and would have given him more. A whole lot more.

Seeing her had been a big enough surprise. Seeing her naked with his marks on her body had been a huge what-the-fuck moment.

He wearily ran a hand through his hair and closed his eyes. He hadn’t slept—how could he? Angelina was here. With her she’d brought back a lot of memories that he’d purposely left behind in Miami. Even though he went back each year, every time he left it all behind and took none of his baggage back to Houston. He liked it that way. It was how he dealt with it all.

Only now his past was staring him straight in the face in the form of a challenge he had no inkling of. What did she want from him?

The idea of her being in Houston—young and alone—burned a hole in his gut. David had always been hugely protective of her. They’d lost their parents when Angelina was a kid and David was barely out of high school. David had been brother, mother and father to her, and later Hannah had taken on the role of mother figure even though only five years separated the girls in age.

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