Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2) (17 page)

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
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“I don’t know.” I sounded lost to my own ears.

She rolled her eyes. “What does your gut say?”

I kicked off my shoes and pulled my legs up to my chest. Being with Knox made me feel alive. Sometimes when he looked at me with barely concealed lust simmering in the depths of his clear blue eyes, my heart raced and my entire body tingled with excitement. I hoped he felt something similar for me. “That it’s possible.”

Her lips flattened and turned down at the corners. “This whole thing is crazy. I’m worried about you.”

I smiled halfheartedly. “Don’t be.”

“Are you going to stay with him tonight?”

“I haven’t decided.” I rubbed the back of my neck as I dug my phone out of my pocket. “I was thinking I’d back away for a couple of days. I could use some space to sort through my feelings.”

She nodded. “That’s a good idea. Things went so fast with Miles. One day he was your boss and the next day you were together. Don’t make the same mistake.”

I stared at my phone, mulling over my options. Everything was so damn confusing. I had so many things to sort through. I didn’t know where to start. I took a deep drink of my wine as if all of the answers could be found at the bottom of my glass. Sighing, I typed a quick message to Knox.

 

I have some stuff to take care of. I won’t be back tonight. I’ll be in touch soon.

 

My hand hovered over the phone for a moment before I pressed the
send
button. Leslie was right. I needed a breather. I needed to take a step back while I still could.

My conviction didn’t last long. The minute Leslie left, guilt, regret, and loneliness overwhelmed me. I forcibly redirected my thoughts.

I thought about the all the things he’d done for me.

How I felt when I was with him.

How he smiled at me like I was special.

Somehow, I convinced myself he must really love me and he wouldn’t walk away forever if I asked for space. I fell asleep on the sofa, clinging to that idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY

 

 

Knox

 

It was past ten o’clock in the evening when I jogged up Trinity’s front steps and rang her doorbell. I had tried to sleep and give her the space she wanted, but I couldn’t do it. I needed to see her in person.

Trinity opened her door and rubbed a hand down her face. Her dark hair was piled on her head. She wore a faded blue t-shirt that stopped at the top of her thighs.

“Why didn’t you come back to my place tonight?”

Silence fell between us, thick and heavy.

She shifted uneasily. “I sent you a text. Didn’t you get it?”

“I did, but it wasn’t much of an explanation.” I peered over her shoulder, my hand resting on the doorframe. “Can I come in?”

Staring at the floor, she scraped her teeth over her lower lip. “Sure.” She opened the door wider, and I stepped inside. She didn’t say anything, so I filled the space with meaningless words. “The place looks good.”

She blew out a ragged breath. “Knox, why did you come here tonight?”

This woman had me on edge. Somehow or another, without even trying, she’d managed to climb inside my head and screw up all my plans. I’d been content with my life until she’d stormed into Lang’s study with her gun pointed at me. I never imagined I would get so wrapped up in a woman that I would want her at my side and in my life as much as I did with Trinity.

It happened too fast, almost like a train wreck. I had this preconceived notion that when I hit my mid-thirties, I’d get bored with the status quo and slowly but surely move to the next step in life—a more permanent girlfriend or even a wife. But this heady, nerve-wracking, merry-go-round with Trinity was insane. And here was the biggest mind fuck of all—if I were honest with myself, I’d have to admit the feelings I had for Trinity sure as hell resembled love, and I never planned on love.

My mom fell in and out of love as fast as the wind shifted. She always thought the next love affair would be her salvation, but every last one of those men used her. And she let it happen. She served herself up on a silver platter over and over again. As crude as it sounded, she was a high paid escort with a
Pretty Woman
fantasy. Love ruined people, or at least I thought so, but now something told me I had it all wrong. Maybe love wasn’t about ruin or salvation. Maybe it was about living your life with the one person who made it bigger, brighter and more worthwhile.

I rubbed the back of my neck. “I missed you tonight. I couldn’t sleep.”

She shuffled her bare feet. “I…I don’t know what to say.”

“Just say what’s going on in your head. Tell me why you changed your mind about staying with me tonight,” I said calmly.

She tugged on the hem of her shirt. “I don’t know where to start.”

I shoved my hands into my pockets. “Start with the truth.”

“I just needed a break from us.” She rolled her shoulders back. “I’m confused and I wanted some alone time.”

My muscles tensed, and I balled my hands into fists, my gut sinking. Maybe I misunderstood everything, and I’d been wrong to think the past few days had been anything more than a fleeting affair. “About what?”

Sighing, she took a couple steps back. “I just ended things with Miles. My life as I know it is dangling from a thread. I’m worried about Derrick and my sister. I don’t know. I’m pretty much a mess.”

Hurt twisted inside my gut. “Is this your way of ending things between us?”

“It’s just one night.” She rolled her head in a circle. “Maybe two.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “Is it?”

“I don’t know, Knox.” She wrung her hands in front of her chest. “I just feel like this is going too fast, and I wanted to take a step back.”

A large part of me wanted her to give us a stay of execution and draw this out for another night. But every second I spent with her would only make it tougher to walk away later.

“I’m an adult, Trinity. We both are. You don’t have to dance around your feelings in order to spare mine. Just say what you want instead of dragging this out.”

“I like you. A lot. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you for the past few weeks. You’ve supported me, you put my home back together, and you’ve given me a place to stay. So many things.” She swallowed. “But we need to go back to the real world. You’ve got your company to run, you have to finish your case and all the stuff that goes along with that.”

“Wow.” My eyebrows shot up my forehead. “So that’s it? You’re done with us?”

She trained her gaze on the floor. “I think it’s probably for the best. At least temporarily, anyway.”

I tipped up her chin, forcing her to look at me. “For who? You? Me? Miles? Or your brother?”

She shook her head. “I’m not saying this is it forever. It’s just no for right now. I need to get this sorted out with Derrick, and I don’t want to drag you through the inevitable minefield with me.”

I ran my fingertips down her arm. “I don’t care about that. You need someone to support you. Let me be there for you, even if it’s only as a friend. I’m not giving up on us.”

“Thank you for the offer.” She smiled gently. “But this is something I need to do alone, and I always have Leslie.”

“Have you heard from Derrick?”

She kept her face carefully blank. “No.”

“Will you call me when you meet with him? I want to go with you.” Trinity might feel comfortable with him, but I didn’t trust him.

“Knox.” She drew out my name. “I can’t bring you with me. You’re investigating him and even though he may have done something wrong, I won’t facilitate his downfall. He may not have been part of my life for long, but he’s still my half-brother, and I need all the family I can get. I don’t want him to alienate me forever because I destroyed his life.”

Anger surged through my veins, but I tamped it down as fast as it came. Yelling at her wouldn’t help. It’d only push her further away, and I sure as hell didn’t want to force any more distance between us.

“So you’re going to play by his rules and keep his secret as long as he wants.”

“I can’t answer that question right now. I haven’t decided what the end game is. Our lives are tied together—”

“Dammit, Trinity.” I clenched my jaw, barely holding my temper in check. “This isn’t just about keeping the Benton family skeletons in the closet. He’s the Speaker of the House, and he’s allowing a foreign government to sway his decisions. His votes. Everything, so he can spare his family the embarrassment of a two-decade-old scandal. Wake up. He’s endangering national security. Don’t you get it? There’s no going back anymore. Just like Lang, he’s going to lose everything. It’s only a matter of time. Once I have enough evidence, he will resign.”

Her eyes widened. “What kind of evidence are you looking for?”

I shrugged. “Anything that definitely demonstrates he’s changed his votes or actions under the threat of blackmail. It could be as simple as the testimony of someone with insider knowledge.”

Her face whitened, and it hit me. She knew. He told her everything. She’d been holding back. “Trinity, did he confess to you?”

“Stop. I can’t talk about it.” She covered her face, shaking her head. “I’ll get him to come clean, so neither of us has to worry about someone holding it over our heads in the future. I can’t deal with the rest right now.”

Stunned, I propped my elbow on the fireplace mantle, my head leaning against my hand. “You have to tell me what you know.”

She pressed her open palm against my chest, her eyes wide and pleading. “Please, Knox, give me a couple of days to get Derrick to do the right thing before you make me turn on him.”

“Fucking hell.” My hand pummeled the wall. The picture of Trinity and her sister clattered to the floor, tiny glass shards showering the slab marble hearth. “Why did you lie to me?”

A tortured groan escaped her parted lips. “I didn’t lie. Not really. I just didn’t tell you.”

Anger wrapped around me and my chest tightened. “An omission and a lie are the same fucking thing.”

Tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes and a strangled sob tumbled from her lips. “I’m sorry. I wanted to exhaust all our alternatives before I told you. I know it was wrong, maybe even a little delusional, but I thought I could find a loophole that would make everyone happy.”

My teeth locked together. I needed to get out of here. I couldn’t look at her. I fucking loved this woman. I told her some of my darkest secrets. I invited her into my life, and she didn’t even trust me. I stalked to the front door without looking at her.

“You have forty-eight hours.”

She grabbed my hand, her eyes wild. “Don’t hate me. Don’t push me away.”

I scoffed, bitter, cutting laughter flowing from my mouth. “You’re the one doing the pushing, not me, darling.” My voice was hard and mocking, but I couldn’t stop myself. Her lack of trust made me feel like she’d hollowed out my chest with a spoon.

“Oh my God.” She tugged on the front of my shirt. “Please tell me I didn’t ruin us.”

I threw my hands into the air. “Why do you care? You already told me you needed space. There is no us.”

“I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.” She draped her arms around my shoulders, bringing her body flush against mine. It felt right to have her in my arms, which only pissed me off more. “This is killing me. You’re the only thing that’s kept me sane in the past month. I wish this would all go away, and I could concentrate on you because I’m falling so hard for you. You know that, right?” She tipped up her head, her dark gaze meeting mine. “But wishing and hoping won’t change reality. I need to work things out with Derrick and figure out a solution I can live with.”

Tired of all the games, secrets, and lies, I pried her arms off my neck. “Like I said, you have forty-eight hours. That’s all I can give you. After that, you’re on your own. I can’t wait any longer. I have a job to do.”

“Thank you. I’ll make it work.” She brushed her hand down the side of my face. “When this is behind us, do you think you can find it in your heart to give me a second chance?” I opened my mouth to respond, and she pressed a finger to my lips. “You don’t have to answer now. I just wanted to put it out there so you know how I feel. My decision to put space between us has nothing to do with how I feel about you.”

Uncertainty billowed between us. She fisted her hands in my shirt, her chocolate eyes rife with confusion and insecurity. I’d never seen such depth in a pair of eyes. I wanted to pull her into my arms, but I didn’t. I stepped back, breaking her hold. As my hand curled around the door handle, a million sentiments swirled on the tip of my tongue, begging for freedom.

I wanted to tell her I loved her.

That I’d wait for her.

That I needed her in my life.

I didn’t say any of those things. Instead, the anger won out, and I drove a stake into both our hearts. “Don’t worry about us. You made the right choice. Just don’t do anything stupid. We still don’t know who’s behind the notes.” My words were subdued, sullen. I shook my head, hating myself for acting like a pussy and hating her for being able to walk away from me so easily.

A weighted sigh escaped her lips. “Thanks for everything, Knox Black.”

BOOK: Sins, Lies & Spies (Black Brothers #2)
10.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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