Hudson (Page 89)

Hudson (Fixed #4)(89)
Author: Laurelin Paige

She spins toward me. “How the f**k do you know everything I do? Jordan? Your security cameras?”

“I’m not going to feel guilty for the lengths I go to in order to protect what’s mine.” I’d do so much more. I’d kill for her if I had to.

I expected my dominating male routine to irritate her. Instead, she licks her lips.

Jesus, I’m half-hard.

I’ve wanted her for days, but now that she’s here, I remember why I can’t have her. It’s not fair. Until I deal with the lie between us, I have to keep my distance.

Which means, I have to get her out of here. “Alayna?”

She tears her eyes from me, leaving me instantly cold. “Yours, huh? Don’t make me laugh.”

“Jesus, how many times do I have to go through this with you?” I can’t keep up with her. She’s hot one minute, cold the next. Much the way I feel, actually.

“I don’t know. Maybe a couple hundred more times. Because I’m obviously not getting it.”

I turn away from her and shove my hand through my hair. I’m torn between screaming some sense into her and ripping off her clothing and claiming her with my cock. Neither would be very productive, though both would feel f**king fantastic.

No. I have to remember my agenda. I turn back to her, hoping I seem more in control. “Why. Are. You. Here?”

“I came to see Norma.” Finally, she’s honest.

“About Gwen?”

She covers her face with her hands in frustration. When she drops them, she says, “About you, you dummy. I don’t give a shit about anything but you.” Her voice is tight. “Jesus, how many times do I have to go through this with you?”

Her admission renews my earlier irritation. “You came to talk to my employee about me?” Maybe irritation wasn’t a strong enough word. I was f**king pissed.

And yeah, I was mostly pissed at myself. How did I let us get to this? She and I on different sides. We’re supposed to be on the same side. Always.

She throws my own words back at me in defense. “Don’t guilt me for protecting what’s mine.”

It’s then I know she gets it. Or maybe it’s me who finally gets it. She’s fighting for me in the same way that I’m fighting for her. We aren’t against each other—we’re for each other.

If she’s willing to keep battling after all I’ve put her through, maybe we do have a chance. Maybe Mirabelle’s right. Maybe Alayna can love me anyway.

“I only wanted to see for myself if she was into you,” she says, softer now. “If you had something going with her.” Then she points a finger at me. “And don’t you dare talk to me about trust because you know I get jealous about her, and you aren’t around to help reassure me.”

I lean against the couch and study her. How can I blame her for things I’d do? Things I’ve done? I can’t. “Did you get what you came for?” I ask her.

“I did.”

“And?”

She bites her lip. I’m so jealous of that lip. “She thinks a lot of you. She respects you and admires you, and she recognizes you’re physically attractive—don’t let that go to your head.”

“But…”

“But she’s not into you anymore. I can see it in her eyes.”

Or she discovered Norma’s secret affair with her assistant. Either way, I’m pleased that this jealousy has been nipped in the bud. “Good.” Perhaps it was a good thing she talked to my employee after all. “Then you believe the things I’ve told you.”

“It was never the things you’ve told me that were the issue. It’s the things you haven’t told me.”

“They aren’t your things to know.” It’s not fair, but it’s for her own good. Always for her.

She just doesn’t see it. “What the ever-living f**k? I could say the same thing about you—spying on me, digging into my history before you’d even met me—maybe I think those aren’t your things to know. Still, you did—and do—whatever the hell you want with no regard to boundaries or personal space.”

She faces me head on. “And while that’s out there, let me be clear—since you aren’t able to explain things to me, I’m digging on my own.”

Panic streaks down my spine. How much digging until she discovers the truth?

“That’s right. I’ve been through all of the books Celia sent. I’ve been to see Stacy. And Norma. I’m collecting my own facts. Don’t you think it would be better to tell me your secrets than have me find them out on my own?”

“Alayna, stop digging.” I step toward her. She’s a smart woman. If she tries hard enough, she’ll figure it out. And it will destroy her.

“You’re protecting Celia again, aren’t you?”

Is she so blind to not see? “Celia’s not who I’m protecting.”

“Who then? Yourself? Me?”

I’m close now to telling her—telling her everything. Because I hate that she doesn’t understand. How can she not understand how much my past will hurt her? How I want to save her. And, God, I don’t think I can.

She has to go. For her own good. Before she pushes me too far. I grab her at the elbow. “You need to leave, now.”

Alayna winces like she’s just gotten the wind knocked out of her. Like I’ve just knocked the wind out of her. It’s unbearable to see her like this, tears spilling down her cheeks. “Shutting me out again. Like you always do. Hiding behind your thick walls.” Her pain is palpable. “What’s the point of me even fighting for you if you’re never, never going to let me in? Who are you protecting, Hudson? Who?”

It’s the end of my rope. I can’t let her believe that I’m not fighting just as hard. For her. “Yes, you, dammit! I’m protecting you. Always you.”

Then, because I can never tell her in words the way I feel, I have to tell her with my body. I crush my lips against hers, tasting her, devouring her. I’m so goddamn desperate for her kiss—because I have to tell her how I feel. Because I need to feel how she feels about me.

It’s only meant to be a kiss. Or it’s not meant to be anything because there’s no thought involved. But when she wraps a leg around mine, when she tilts her h*ps against me, rubbing against my hard cock, then I have no choice but to continue. She’s like a roller coaster ride. Once you get on, you’re there for the whole ride.