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Authors: Brandy Jellum

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BOOK: If I Say Yes
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“Elizabeth Rose!” she shouts. “Don’t you dare turn away! Look at me… see what you have done to me.” Reluctant, I slowly turn my
head back towards her. Tears sting my eyes, and I barely breathe. “Are
you happy now? Did you
get everything
you
wanted
from my
demise?

“Mom…” I choke out. “I didn’t… I never wan—”

“Enough!” she
shout
s again. “You should be
rotting
in jail a
longside
your father, you stupid bitch.” My mother lunges across the bed, arms
extending out in front of her, revealing several jagged cuts along them.
A scream escapes my throat.

I’m awake now. Alone in my dark room. The sound of my cell phone
ringing snaps me out of the nightmare. It’s been a long time since I have
had one. I glance at the digital clock on my night stand; it’s a quarter
after two in the morning. I snatch my phone from the nightstand to see
a picture of
Elias
and me illuminating the screen. A calming wave washes
over me.
It was just a dream.
A really vivid, horrid dream. I sink back against my pillow with my phone in my hand and answer. “Hel—” My voice cracks, and I clear my throat. “Hello.”

“Did I wake you?” Eli’s smooth voice comes over the phone. “I
figured you might still be out.”

“Nope, I’m home in bed and trying to sleep.”

Eli takes a deep breath and sighs loudly. “So, tell me… how was your date?”

I groan. “It wasn’t a date.” The thought of being on an actual date
with Reid Harder is enough to make me want to laugh out loud. He is exactly the kind of man I would date, which is exactly why I have
to stay away from him. I’ve already broken enough rules. “And it was
worse than I ever expected.” That’s a lie.

“What did he do, Elizabeth?” Eli’s voice is cold and hard. I take a
sharp deep breath; it’s been years since he has called me by that name.

“Nothing,” I answer quickly. “What is it with you and assuming he has done something?”

“I don’t like him.”

I laugh loudly. “You don’t even know him.”

“Exactly.” His voice is serious. The doorbell rings and I jump.

“There’s someone at my door,” I whisper.

I hear Eli’s voice catch before he finally speaks. “It’s after two in the morning. Who would be at your door?”

“Hold on…”

“Liza, don’t you ev—”

I lower the phone from my ear, missing the rest of whatever Eli
is saying. I climb out of my bed and tiptoe down the hall towards the front door. My body is trembling, my heart is pounding hard against my chest, and my mind is racing. No one knows where I live, except for Eli and his parents. I can hear Eli shouting on the other end of the
phone, but I hold the phone away from my ear. The doorbell stops
ringing and is followed by loud, aggressive knocks against the door.
I stop just in front of it, flicking on the light and unsure if I want to
open the door. The one thing I never got around to doing is getting a peephole installed so I can see whoever is on the other side. This is a moment I really wish I hadn’t put it off. Another knock comes across
the door, and I start to tremble. My hand is shaking as I crack the door
open, leaving the chain in place, and glance through the tiny opening.

“Reid?” I quickly close the door, remove the chain, and find a
disheveled mess of a man. Reid’s beautiful dark brown hair is sticking
up every which way, his eyes are dark with circles around them, and he seems like he is going to be sick. I bring the phone back to my ear
where Eli is still shouting, but I block out everything he is saying.
“I-I-I’ll call you back,” I say quickly and hang up the phone. I stare at
Reid, who is running a hand through his hair and won’t meet my eyes.
“What are you doing here?”
And how do you know where I live?

Instead of answering my question, he pushes past me into my
apartment. I gaze at him in astonishment for a moment before I close the door and stare at his back. Reid’s body is tense, and I can hear his
ragged breathing loud and clear. Quickly, he turns to face me. Without
saying a word, he crosses the few feet between us in three short strides.
He pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips against mine.

I am surprised by the sudden connection, but it only takes a split second before I succumb and return it. The kiss is raw, full of hunger
and desire. His tongue brushes against my lips, and I open my mouth
to let him in. He tastes like bitter, aged barley from the alcohol he has
consumed, but delicious nonetheless. I run my hand through his hair
and feverishly press my lips against his as if my life depends on it. He
tugs on my lower lip with his teeth and bites down gently, causing a
wave of desire to radiate through my body. His hands wrap around my
waist, pulling me close as he starts to move with me towards the living
room. Not once do his lips leave mine. Reid gently lays me down on the couch and leans on top of me. I run my hand up his shirt, tracing the lines of his muscles, just like I have imagined doing a thousand times since meeting him less than twenty-four hours ago. I moan as
our tongues collide again, doing the familiar dart and dance, and press
my body against his growing erection.

Reid pulls away and looks bewildered. I watch him shake his head,
stand up, and say nothing. He gazes at me once more storming out of
my apartment, leaving me there to figure out what the hell just happened.
The kiss is over as quickly as it started.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

I’M A CATASTROPHIC MESS
over the weekend. Elias comes to check
on me the morning after the kiss, and I don’t tell him anything other than someone had the wrong door. He knows I’m lying, but doesn’t
press me any further. One of the many things I love about him. In reality,
what could I tell him? That Reid showed up to my house, kissed me like
I have never been kissed before, and then left me there. No, lying was
the better way to go. How did Reid know where I lived anyway?

The thought takes over anything else for the rest of the weekend.

To say I am a bundle of nerves as I head to work this morning is
an understatement. I decided to skip my appointment with my therapist
this morning because I really didn’t want to talk about anything. I didn’t
want Reid popping up in our conversation somehow. Not until I try
and make sense of it myself. Now I’m wishing I didn’t miss out, because
I am a train wreck, car wreck, and plane wreck all bundled into one
as I enter the elevator. I nervously tap my foot against the floor as I
wait for the doors to close. My breath catches as Reid steps in at the last minute. No trace of the man who showed up at my apartment at
two o’clock in the morning and kissed me. No, instead, he is looks
amazing in his smoky gray suit that clings to his body in all the right places. Our eyes meet briefly, staring at one another before he breaks
away and presses the button that takes us to our department. The ride
is quiet, unnerving, and tension ripples through the air.

A couple of people join us as we stop on different floors on the
way up. Reid exchanges quick hellos with them and never once glances
my way again. I can’t help but wonder what the hell his problem is. We finally reach our floor, and Reid motions for me to step out first. I nod my head slightly and exit the elevator. I start to head towards
my office when he stops me by touching my elbow, sending energy
humming through my body. I turn to look at him and he pulls me off to side. He seems different, almost angry, and I don’t know why. I’m the one who should be angry.

“My
office
.
Ten o’clock
. Don’t be
late
,” he says in a
cold,
sharp
voice.

Before I have a chance to respond, he lets go of my elbow and walks
away. I’m left there alone, watching him walk away. Again. My pulse
begins to quicken, and my blood boils.
That’s all you have to say to me?!?

I shake my head and storm toward my office. Heidi greets me and I brush her off, slamming the door in her face. I sink down in the chair behind my desk, open the drawer to place my cell phone inside,
and
slam it closed. “What the hell, Liza?” I say out loud to myself.
Why am
I letting him get on my nerves?
I can’t put the blame on him, not all of it
at least. I did nothing to stop the kiss, so I have to take some of the
blame, I suppose. I let out a deep sigh and turn on the computer.

Five new messages. The first four are from authors who are seeking
representation, of course. I spend a few minutes on each of them, trying
to read them before I give up and move on to the next one. The final
email comes from an unknown sender. Curiosity gets the better of me,
and I open the email. My heart stops, and my hands shake as I reread
the message over and over again. It’s simple and straight to the point.

From: Unknown Sender

To: [email protected]

Dear Ms. Winter,

It is my greatest pleasure to indulge you with a bit of information
I have acquired. You see, you are not who you say you are. You are
merely playing the charade of being someone else. How long do you
expect this to last? You cannot hide from being Elizabeth Rose Lewis
forever. The truth will come out. And when it does, I will be there to relish in the delight of your failure. You can run, but you can’t hide.
Watch your back.

Someone knows. Someone, other than the few people who should,
knows the truth. I forward the email to my personal account and delete
it off my work email as quickly as I possibly can. Everything is starting
to slip out from beneath me.
What is going on?
I want to call Eli, but I decide against it. It will only worry him more than he already does. I
lean back in my chair, rub my eyes, and sigh loudly. I glance at the
clock, and it’s nearly ten. Almost time to make my way to Reid’s office.

I’m not going to go. If he is going to be an ass and ignore me like
he did in the elevator, then I’m going to ignore him and pretend I didn’t
hear his demand. With one last deep sigh, I sit up and open my inbox
again. There aren’t any new messages, just the forty old ones that are
sitting in my inbox. I click on a random message and attempt to read it.

I find myself in the same predicament always. I simply cannot get
through a query letter. I attempt five more before giving up and just staring around my office. I catch a glimpse of gray out the corner of
my eye, and I look to see a livid Reid storming my way. I quickly turn
my attention back to the computer screen. Maybe if I act busy, he’ll buy
my story of merely being so caught up in my work that I forgot to go to his office.
Fat chance.

My door flies open, and Reid storms in, slamming it behind him. I
am tempted to remind him to knock, but the deathly glare he is sending
me makes me think otherwise. “Liza.” He says my name like a growl.
“Look at me, goddamn it.” I turn my head and face him. His face is
flushed, and his hair is
slightly
messier
than the pristine style from this
morning, as if he has ran his hand through it multiple times. And he’s
panting like he just finished running a marathon. “I told you to be in my office an hour ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” I smile, which is the wrong thing to do because his
nostrils flare and his eyes darken. I shrink back in my chair ever
so
lightly and glance at him. “I must have forgot. Just as you forgot to
knock once again.” I clamp my big, fat, stupid mouth shut. What am I thinking? I’m only going to piss him off further.
Like I really care.

“Liza.” My name rolls off his tongue like its dripping with acid. “I am your boss. If I tell you to meet me in my office at a certain time,
you damn well better show up.” He’s right. He is my boss, but that doesn’t
mean he has to be such an ass.

Reid circles around my desk, stopping behind my chair, and places
a hand on either side of my arms. His chin nearly rests on my shoulder,
and I can smell the invigorating scent that sends my blood pumping
through my veins. I try not to stare at his lips. The soft, sweet lips that
were pressed against mine just two days ago. He’s staring at the screen,
reading the email I have pulled up. I watch his eyes furtively scan the
message, his eyebrows raising slightly whenever he reads something that intrigues him. He is totally in his element right now. “Sign her.” I swivel my chair around and gaze up at him.

“E-E-Excuse me?”

“I said sign her.” I shake my head. “See, her letter is impeccable. The book she is proposing is just what we are looking to represent. This could be your big break.”

My big break?
I don’t want a big break in Romance. What I really want to do right now is rewind back to Saturday morning and finish
what we started. Reid stares at me, oblivious to the fact that licking his
lips is really turning me on. My breathing slows, and we don’t break eye contact for several long seconds.

BOOK: If I Say Yes
12.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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