Read The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance) Online

Authors: Violet Jackson,Interracial Love

The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance) (10 page)

BOOK: The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance)
11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


“What does my schedule look like today?” I asked.


“You have a meeting with Sorrel Alkmaar, a phone conference with the IBO Group and today’s the deadline for the offer. You still have to tell them yes or no on the shipment.”


“I’ll fax you the paperwork you need for the shipment now. Postpone the rest, I’m taking a personal day.”


Margaret hesitated.


“What?” I said and my voice was hard. It was my office voice. It was the voice that made everyone sit up and listen – I preferred it that way.


“I don’t know if you should postpone the IBO Group again. You missed them twice while Grace was in the hospital. You might lose them at this rate.”


I was suddenly angry. I slammed my fist down on the desk hard enough that my coffee jumped.


“Do I pay you to do my job for me?” I asked.


“No, sir,” she said and her voice was soft.


“Just do what I ask, dammit.”


“Yes, Mr. Wilson,” she said. “Is there anything else?”


I was suddenly aware of someone standing behind me. From the corner of my eye, I saw a dark figure with curves. My heart constricted. I didn’t want Grace to see me losing my temper. When I spun around, it was Shonda standing in the doorway. She looked apologetic and nervous.


I took a deep breath and blew it out again, trying to release the tension that had crept back into my shoulders. I had to get my temper under control if I wanted to keep Grace. I had to get a handle on this thing if I wanted to make it work. I wasn’t going to get this kind of chance again, this kind of miracle only came along once in a lifetime.


“Thank you for mentioning it, Margaret. I’ll phone IBO and see if I can smooth it over later in the week. If I can’t, we’ll have to cut our losses.”


There, that sounded a bit better. The line was quiet for a moment.


“Yes, sir,” Margaret finally said in a breathy voice and she sounded like she wasn’t sure what to say. I hung up the phone and turned around.


“Sorry about that,” I said to Shonda. “Problems at the office.” I forced a smile and hoped it looked at least a little sincere.

“I’m sorry to bother, I just wanted to know if I could take some of the coffee upstairs. Grace said she wasn’t sure if you were expecting a meeting at home.”


I hadn’t had meetings with clients at home in months. But then again, I’d stopped that just before she’d moved in. That information was lost in the void that was her forgotten memories now. I nodded.


“Take as much as you like. It’s just to get me out of bed in the morning. I’m a monster without it.”


Shonda chuckled but the look on her face was a little more knowing than I liked. So maybe sometimes I was a monster even when I had coffee. But I was going to change that.


I got dressed and then walked to Grace’s room. They were still sitting on the bed, but her eyes were swollen like she’d been crying.


“Come on, we’re going out for lunch. I need to get out of this house a little bit.”


Grace looked hesitant, but Shonda nodded and nudged Grace.


“We’ll be ready in half an hour.”


Grace wore the yellow sundress I loved on her. It made her skin glow and it accentuated her thin waist, her beautiful curves. It fell just above her knee, making her legs look even longer.


Shonda wore a dress that was a twin of the one Grace was wearing, just in red, and it didn’t look nearly as good. We made our way out to the car, and I opened the door for Grace. She flushed and smiled at me in a way that made my chest tighten. I hadn’t seen her shy like this in almost a year. It was beautiful to see it again.


I held out my hand and helped her into the car.


We drove to the café on Church Street where we always went. Grace looked around as soon as we stepped through the door and breathed in, almost like she was remembering the place like she hadn’t been here in years.


“I really like this place,” she finally said and looked at me. I smiled at her. I liked it too. It was here that I kissed her for the first time. It was here I’d asked her to be my woman. It was here we’d fought about Justin, the fact that there was another man. And it was here that she’d told me she’d made her choice and she would move in with me because I’d asked.


A waitress appeared and led us to our booth in the back. Before we could order drinks, Shonda looked at her phone.


“I can’t believe this, I have to go.”


“What?” Grace asked.


“They need me at the office,” Shonda said. “There goes my lunch.” She gave me a knowing smile and squeezed Grace’s hand before getting up and leaving again.


“I don’t believe she really had to go,” Grace said after she’d watched her all the way out the café door.


“Well, I’m glad I get to spend some time with you. It feels like we haven’t been alone since the accident.”


Grace frowned. “I know. It’s just been so crazy. I can’t seem to make all the pieces fit.” She pushed the heel of her hand against her forehead and closed her eyes. “I don’t even remember what half those pieces are. Maybe that’s my problem.” She opened her eyes and looked at me, smiling. I smiled back at her and stroked her arm with the back of my fingers.


She didn’t flinch or pull away. It was the first sign that she accepted me again.


“I never thanked you for everything,” she said.


“For what?” I asked. It was the last thing I expected from her. I half-expected her to shout at me every time she opened her mouth. I knew I deserved it.


“For everything you’ve been doing since the accident. I know it can’t be easy. And it’s a lot of money you’ve been spending on me.”


“You know money isn’t an object,” I said. She nodded, fiddling with a paper napkin, twisting it around her fingers and then into a knot. Finally she sighed and leaned back in the chair, and then slowly she moved toward me, until her head was on my shoulder. It was such a small gesture, and it made such a big difference. I wasn’t the enemy anymore.


Chapter 11 - Grace

I’d known Justin for a full two weeks before something happened between us that was more than just friendship. It was more than anything I’ve felt before. A terrible storm had been building for days, black clouds hanging, threatening in the sky, only to dissipate again.


By the time the clouds broke over Fort Atkinson, it caught everyone off guard because it had only threatened for so long.


I’d just come from work, and I’d tried to protect my hair from the shower with a manila file. I would have to retype the document that was inside, but that was going to be easier than to have someone re-braid all my hair.


Justin stood in front of my apartment building. The rain had soaked his cowboy hat and the leathers he wore around his jeans so that it was a dark wet brown, and rain streamed in rivulets down his arms.


“What are you doing here?” I’d asked.


“I wanted to see you again,” he said in his Texas drawl.


“How did you know where I live?” I asked.


He shrugged. “It’s a small town. People talk. It wasn’t hard to find out where the new girl stayed.”


I looked up. The rain was getting torrential and there was no form of a roof in front of the door that I had to go through to get to my apartment. I looked back at Justin.


“You better come inside or we’ll both drown out here,” I said. He shook his head.


“I’ve got to get back to the ranch. They’ll need help with the cattle in this weather.”


“Okay,” I said. I turned to the door, but he was suddenly next to me. He grabbed me and kissed me. It was so out of the blue I froze. The rain fell around us, but his hat protected my face. His lips were cold on mine, but his tongue was warm and his hands on both my cheeks were so big they stretched the length of my face.


When he broke the kiss, I gasped.


“What was that for?” I asked.


He shrugged. “I didn’t know how to tell you what I thought of you,” he said. “Can we go out sometime?”


I nodded. This man had appeared out of nowhere, and he was like a breath of fresh air – the opposite from anyone I’d ever dealt with. He flashed a brilliant smile at me when I agreed.


“Here,” I said and fished in my handbag. I found a business card and gave it to him. He looked at it and nodded, putting it in his back pocket. If it survived this weather he could call me. He tipped his hat to me, like they do in the movies, and then he walked into the rain. He strolled like he was on a lazy walk in the park, not trying to cross a road in a downpour that was enough to wash me away.


I pushed the door open to get out of the rain, and wondered what the hell had just happened.


Justin had managed to save the soaked business card because he phoned me that same evening. He asked me if I wanted to go out to the Brazen Ox Grill. Apparently it was a restaurant on a cattle farm.


I agreed.


We were halfway through our meal when Elijah came into the restaurant with business clients. He stilled when he saw me sitting there with Justin. Dread filtered through my body and the food I was chewing turned to powder in my mouth.


But he didn’t own me. I just worked for him. He’d kissed me few times, but we hadn’t slept together and he treated me like a dog at the office. I hadn’t promised him anything. I could date who I wanted.


With that mentality, I sat up straighter and flashed Justin the best smile I had. He grinned back at me.


I was having a good time with him. A great time. I felt good around him. Around Elijah I always felt like I had to impress him, or like I had something to prove. He had the huge company, all the money, and the respect – or fear – of everyone we met. It wasn’t the kind of relationship I would be comfortable with.


Elijah and his party walked past our table and I deliberately didn’t look at him. They were taken through to a private room. Out of sight, out of mind, I decided.


We were done and heading out when I noticed Elijah was standing outside the door alone. He moved his weight from one leg to the other and back, rocked on his heels, checked his watch. I recognized it. It was expectation.


When we stepped out of the restaurant, he stepped in front of us.


“Hello, Grace,” he said to me. “Who’s your friend?”


“Justin,” Justin said, speaking for himself. He didn’t hold out his hand. It was a bit of a slap in the face to Elijah, but if Justin had held it out, I didn’t think Elijah would have accepted. They disliked each other immediately.


“What are you doing with him?” he asked me.


I frowned. “Does it matter?”


Elijah looked to his side at something in the distance.


“I was just wondering how you were planning on explaining this to me on Monday when you came back to the office.”


I shook my head, glancing at Justin. I’d expected him to look upset about the fact that Elijah made it sound like he had some claim on me. But his face was expressionless. In fact, he looked bored.


“I don’t have to explain anything to you. Who I see outside of work hours has nothing to do with you or the company.”


I’d said it nicely, but Elijah still looked angry. He balled his hands into fists before he stuffed them into his pockets. Like that would make any kind of difference.


“I don’t think this is appropriate,” he said. I wasn’t sure what he meant with ‘this’ but it didn’t matter. I wanted to say so, but Justin jumped in.


“Look here, the lady doesn’t want to be bothered. She made it clear how she feels. If you’ll excuse us…” he started walking past Elijah, but Elijah grabbed his sleeve and spun him around.


“Who do you think you are?” Elijah said and his face was a shade redder than before. The thick vein in his neck stood out and I could almost see his pulse.


“Elijah, don’t,” I said. Justin looked down to where Elijah was still holding his sleeve.


“Let go,” Justin said.


“Don’t you take that tone with me,” he said. “Do you know who I am?”


“Elijah Wilson,” Justin said. His blue eyes were bright, rimmed with something darker, something dangerous.


“You don’t forget that. Grace works for me. I’m not just going to disappear.”


Justin shrugged.

BOOK: The Love Triangle (BWWM Romance)
11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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