Authors: Cristina Grenier
Tags: #bwwm interracial romance
Eventually they needed to breathe, and they broke apart, both a little dazed and panting for breath.
“Wow,” Andrea murmured, licking her lips and staying pressed all along his front. “Didn’t think that was going to happen.”
“I’ll admit that I’ve spent time trying to make sure it doesn’t, but.” Dorian shrugged. “I don’t want to stay away from you.”
She grinned at him and leaned up for another kiss. “Then don’t.”
All things considered, it was still a terrible idea. But kissing in the entryway was a worse idea than kissing in the first place, so they left and headed for Andrea’s room by unspoken consent. It never went past the sitting room, but then, it didn’t have to. They spent most of that evening on Andrea’s couch, kissing, hands roaming, mouths pressed to necks and wrists and cheeks, until Andrea’s stomach growled loudly and Dorian realized it was nearly nine and neither of them had eaten dinner.
They managed to get themselves put back together and then head down to the kitchen. It wasn’t late, but there was no one around, and Dorian was only too happy to prepare a simple meal for them to share.
He was still concerned about how this could inevitably go wrong, but with Andrea looking at him with her lovely eyes, smiling and leaning against his side, he was finding it hard to believe that anything at all could ruin this.
Really, he should have known better. There was no such thing as something that
be ruined, and with the way his life tended to work, he had so much more to lose and so many more opportunities to lose it.
The next morning started off like this: Andrea was already gone by the time he got up for the day, but he had the lingering memory of her lips on his to get him through until he saw her again. There were probably things he needed to say to her, things they needed to work out about what they were even doing together, but he was having a hard time believing that those things couldn’t wait until later.
Proving that he was well worth his salary, Ben was getting everything set up for the security team. Three members of the team showed up that morning to start moving their things in, and Ben brought them by to be formally welcomed by Dorian.
He liked all the people they had picked.
Four men (including Ben) and two women, all of whom had exemplary records. He said hello to Marta, David, and Sam, the three who were moving in that day, and shook their hands, thanking them and making sure they knew that anything they needed, they only had to ask.
Marta was a tall woman, right on level with Dorian’s over six feet of height. She nearly towered over Sam, and had a background that included time in the army and skill at martial arts. She had lean muscles and an easy smile that brightened her tanned face, and Dorian liked her instantly.
David was dark skinned and quiet, and he seemed to be one of those people who was always alert. He, too, had a background in martial arts, but his real skill was technology and weapons.
Sam was barely five and half feet tall, but he had some of the best references, military training, and medical knowledge, making him an asset to the team.
Libby and Kyle, the other two members of the team were similarly skilled, and Dorian felt better about his safety than he had in years.
He left Ben and the others to finish their tour and get settled and made his way to his office. There were some files that needed to be given to his financial advisor and some new information about holdings that were recently discovered to be in his father’s name, which meant a lot of reading about them and figuring out whether to keep them or sell.
None of it sounded interesting, but if everyone else was busy, he supposed he might as well be, too.
Dorian was halfway through the first file when the phone on the desk rang.
“Dorian Kingston,” he answered it, not thinking twice about it.
For a moment, no one said anything and the line was filled with the sound of crackling static. Dorian frowned and was going to hang up when a rough, metallic sounding voice stopped him.
“You’ve been a bad boy, Mr. Kingston. Like your daddy. You know what happens to bad boys?”
Something like fear and anger twisted in his stomach, and Dorian gripped the phone tightly. “I beg your pardon?”
“So polite. Your daddy was polite. Right up until the end. You can’t hide forever, Mr. Kingston. We always get ours. One way or another.”
The sound of high, sharp laughter jolted Dorian out of his almost trance like panic, and he glared at the desk, phone clenched tight in his hand. “Is that so?” he said back, anger lacing his tone. “Well, you’re going to have to do more than threaten me if you want me to be afraid. I’ve been threatened all the bloody time. Ever since I was a child, and I am no longer a child.”
“You’re still powerless,”
the person opined, and Dorian’s eyes narrowed.
“That’s what you think. I am
with living my life in fear of you people. There is nothing you can do to hurt me!”
He hadn’t even realized he was yelling into the phone, and when a hand touched his shoulder, he realized he hadn’t been aware of his surroundings either. He jumped and then was relieved to see that it was just Carlos who had entered the room at some point during his rant.
“Give me the phone,” Carlos said firmly, holding his hand out for it.
Dorian looked from the phone to Carlos and then handed it over, fingers trembling a bit. He watched as Carlos put the phone to his ear, wondering if whoever had called him was dumb enough to still be on the line.
It seemed they weren’t because Carlos shook his head. “We will need to discuss some sort of phone tracing with Ben, I think,” he said. “And the next time someone calls and tries to intimidate you, it might be wiser not to engage with them, Mr. Kingston.”
“I know, Carlos,” Dorian replied with a sigh, slumping back in his chair now that the adrenaline had worn off. “I just got mad. It’s bad enough that they make me live in fear when I’m out, but now I can’t even answer the phone in my own home without having to worry? This is getting out of hand.” He dragged fingers through his hair and sighed again, shaking his head. “Still. I let my temper get the better of me. It won’t happen again.”
Carlos studied him for a moment, lips pressed into a thin line. “I am not your father, Mr. Kingston,” he said, gently. “But I do care for your safety, all the same. And I know this is hard for you. But please, we need you to stay alive and antagonizing the very people who would see you dead is a terrible idea.”
Dorian just nodded. He already knew that, and he knew that Carlos was just scolding him because he was worried. Carlos had watched him grow up, and with his parents dead, he and Anita were the closest thing he had to family.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured.
“Chin up, Mr. Kingston. All will be well.” Carlos smiled at him and then gave an informal salute. “I’ll go have a word with Ben. Perhaps you should let off some steam?”
“Yes, of course,” Dorian replied, nodding vaguely. “Sounds good.”
He watched until Carlos was gone and then sighed, letting his forehead thunk against the desk. All of his anger from before had drained out of him, leaving weariness that seemed to drag at him. All he wanted was to be able to live his life. Dorian had long ago made his peace with the fact that his father’s mistakes were going to haunt him for most of his life, but sometimes it was just a little bit too much to handle.
Chapter 8: Making a Move
The rest of the week was a flurry of activity. Ben spent the better part of it meeting with different companies that offered call tracing software. After the incident with the phone call, none of them wanted to be in that position again, and Ben worked hard to make sure that if someone else had the bright idea to make a harassing phone call to Dorian, they would get caught.
The rest of the guards got their things moved in before mid week, and Ben spent time showing them around and introducing them to all the household staff. They needed to be familiar with everyone who regularly came and went at the manor and every nook and cranny of the place as well.
Andrea didn’t envy them, considering the place was massive.
Ben introduced her to them as well, and they all promised to keep an eye on her for the man who was ostensibly their boss. She liked the guards well enough, though she’d made a face at the notion that she as someone who needed to be protected. After all, she wasn’t the one with a crime syndicate after her. They needed to be using that energy to keep Dorian safe.
For his part, Dorian seemed pleased. He’d been shaken up after the phone call, but now he seemed to be more relaxed, watching with his usual placid expression as his security team made themselves at home.
The two of them had talked briefly about the phone call and Dorian’s reaction to it, and Andrea was pleasantly surprised to find that Dorian didn’t have any problems with opening up to her. Maybe it was because he’d been alone for a while or maybe he just trusted her, but they’d spent a good couple of hours in her rooms chatting one night, and it had ended with Dorian’s head in her lap while she’d carded her fingers through his hair and tried to ignore the way her stomach flip flopped whenever he smiled at her.
They hadn’t really discussed much about what was going on with them. They’d kissed a few more times that week, but there was no discussion about taking things further or trying to define what they were.
Honestly, Andrea was fine with that. She wasn’t so deluded as to think that she was the kind of person that someone like Dorian Kingston would end up with anyway. Because of how her life had turned out and all she had to do to take care of her mother, it had been years since the last time she’d gone on a date, and Andrea was very much rusty when it came down to it.
Dorian didn’t seem to be in any hurry either way, and she was glad for it, even while she wished that something more would happen.
Before they knew it, everything was ready to go, and the weekend was upon them. Andrea had a Saturday morning shift at Hollybrook and then the rest of the day was free for her. As she’d predicted, the diner had let her quit right on the spot with no hard feelings, and her former boss had told her that if she knew anyone else who wanted to wait tables they should use her as a reference.
Andrea had been grateful, but the fact of the matter was that she barely had any friends left after devoting all of her time to taking care of her mother. Unless Ben or Dorian wanted a job serving greasy burgers and mediocre coffee to college students and insomniacs (not that the two were mutually exclusive), then there was no one for her to recommend.
Only having the one job was sort of amazing, though. Even with extending her hours at the coffee shop now that she had the time, she was still done by four or five on most days and was getting more sleep than she had in years.
It was doing amazing things for her mood, so not even having to be at work on a beautiful Saturday morning was putting a damper on things.
She greeted customers with a smile and a ‘good morning’, weathering even the grumpiest of them without taking it personally.
The morning rush was just dying down when she stretched and looked out the window, surprised to see Dorian striding up to the door. Her brother wasn’t anywhere to be seen, and Andrea thanked whoever was listening for that.
She knew that keeping Dorian and her brother separate was impossible seeing as Ben was Dorian’s personal bodyguard, but she was definitely trying to put off the awkwardness of the conversation that would happen when Ben found out about her and his boss.
Dorian was smiling, and Andrea knew that some of that was because he was thrilled to be out of the manor. It was a large place, but being cooped up there had to get old. He’d been unable to leave since he’d dismissed his former security team, and Andrea couldn’t help the little smile that curled over her lips at the sight of that grin on Dorian’s face.
He was so
and while he made a solemn expression look very good indeed, the smile was doing amazing things for his face, and her stomach flip flopped right there.
,” went a voice from behind her, and Andrea turned to see Camille standing there with wide eyes.
“Do you know who that is?” Camille said. “That’s Dorian Kingston. He’s probably the most eligible bachelor in the state right now.”
Andrea snorted. “What is this, a Jane Austen novel? Are you hoping he’s in want of a wife?” She was secretly amused at her coworker’s awe, considering Andrea spent time with Dorian often and knew that he wasn’t, in fact, in want of a wife.
“No,” Camille replied. “Just. He’s gorgeous and
Nothing wrong with fantasizing.” The bell over the door chimed merrily as Dorian pushed his way inside the warm shop, Libby and Sam bringing up the rear.
Libby caught sight of her behind the counter and her eyebrows went up. She glanced from Andrea to Dorian and then smirked, giving Andrea a tiny wave.
Andrea acknowledged it with a nod of her head and tried to keep her smile professional as Dorian approached the counter.
“Good morning,” she said, tone mild. “Welcome to Hollybrook Grounds. What can I get you?”