Beneath These Lies (Page 33)

I wasn’t going to make excuses. I was going to get the hell out of there and back home so I could shower and forget this had ever happened. Already, a small part of me—probably my lady bits—were screaming at me to lie back down and get this show back on track. But it wasn’t right. I couldn’t do this.

Rix stared at me for another beat before turning on his heel and striding out of the bedroom, shirtless.

My body screamed at me to rewind, but I shoved the thought down and hopped off the bed. Gathering my pride with both metaphorical hands, I held my spine straight and tall as I walked toward the door. It was closed and Rix leaned against it.

I paused a few feet away from him.

“You thought I’d make this easy for you?”

“What do you want me to say? I changed my mind. And I have a date tonight.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew they were a huge mistake. Rix pushed off the door and closed the gap between us. My chest touched his as he stared down at me. The muscle ticked in his jaw, and I read caged rage in his eyes.

“With the cop?” The question was gritted out from between clenched teeth.

I should have kept my mouth shut, but it was too late now. “Yes.”

“I can’t tell if you’re brave or stupid. I tell you you’re mine, tell you to stay away from the cop, tell you I’ll get your girl back, tell me you’re gonna pay with this hot little body, and you’re still goin’ with him.” He lifted his hand to my hair and brushed it over my shoulder. It was almost as if he couldn’t help touching me. “So, which is it?”

Brave or stupid? I didn’t have any idea. The only thing I was sure of down to my bones was that Rix wasn’t going to hurt me. I’d just inflicted some wicked blue balls on the man, and he was pissed, but he wasn’t going to hurt me. I didn’t think he would let Trinity suffer either. I didn’t know how to answer his question, though. When it came to Rix, I was probably a little of both.

“Most likely brave and stupid.”

He threaded his fingers through my hair and cupped the back of my head possessively.

“You’re right. So listen up, duchess. I’ll say this one more time. You’re mine. You let that cop have a taste of this sweetness and you’re gonna be tipping toward the stupid side of the scale. Nothing changes. You get that?”

“And because you decreed it, it must be so?”

“Damn right.”

“I guess we’ll see,” I whispered.

“Guess we will.”

Rix lowered his head and took my lips. No asking, no easy kiss. A kiss of possession, as if he were trying to imprint himself on me so I’d be remembering it all night. Which I would be. There was nothing about this afternoon I’d forget.

And that was the problem.

Rix pulled away just as abruptly and spun, yanking open the door. “I’ll be in touch.”

“And Trinity?”

“I’m working on it.”

“If you’re dragging this out to keep me coming back, I promise it’s going to backfire.”

Rix reached out and gripped my chin. “I gave my word. No one questions my word.” He must have read the frustration in my eyes at his response because he added, “Keep it together, duchess. Just a little longer.”

He released me, and I gave him a nod but said nothing as I walked out on legs that I refused to admit wobbled slightly. How could this man affect me so much?

He didn’t close the door until I was pulling away from the curb. Even three blocks away, I could still feel his eyes on me.

RHETT PICKED ME UP IN his Jeep and took me to a little place not far from my house. Dick & Jenny’s was a cute little cottage that had great creole and seafood. I’d driven by it a million times, but only eaten there once. It was funky and fun and completely perfect.

The entire time I was getting ready, I consciously ignored the languid ache in my body left by the orgasm Rix had given me and the promise of more to come. No matter how hard I scrubbed, all I could feel was his touch on my skin.

“So, what else do you do for fun besides sell art?” Rhett asked.

I realized I’d let the conversation fall into a semi-awkward lull after the server took our drink orders. I opened my mouth and shut it again immediately. I’d almost told him that my favorite thing to do was paint. But I didn’t tell anyone that. Apparently Rix’s insistence that my work was good, and Yve and Lucas’s purchase of my piece, was emboldening me.

Instead, I went with my canned answer. “I enjoy volunteering, improving my green thumb, and target shooting.”

Rhett’s smile was quick. “I suspected you were a hell of a woman, and now I’m sure of it.”

I laughed. “It’s the green thumb, right? Don’t get your hopes up, because when I say improving, I mean it’s a work in process. I can’t cook, I’m a terrible housekeeper, and I’m absentminded when I’m tied up in business stuff. So you should probably reassess your opinion until you land on something more realistic.”

“And you’re legitimately modest,” he added.

My cheeks heated with my blush. “I’m aware of my faults and shortcomings. I consider that one of my strengths. Although, I’d rather spend time improving my strengths than working on my weaknesses. It seems to be a better investment of my time.”

“I’m going to add unique to the list.”

The server returned with my glass of wine and Hennessy’s two fingers of bourbon before I could respond, and asked for our orders. I opted for the bouillabaisse and Rhett chose the duck.