Read What He Resists (What He Wants, Book Nine) (An Alpha Billionaire Romance) Online

Authors: Hannah Ford

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What He Resists (What He Wants, Book Nine) (An Alpha Billionaire Romance)

BOOK: What He Resists (What He Wants, Book Nine) (An Alpha Billionaire Romance)
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WHAT HE
RESISTS (WHAT HE WANTS, BOOK NINE)

by
Hannah Ford

 

Copyright 2015, Hannah Ford, all rights
reserved.
 
This book is a work of fiction,
and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 
 
 

CHARLOTTE

 

It was two hours before I was able to
peel myself off the floor.

I dragged myself to the shower, hoping it
would wash off the night and the trauma of what had just happened – both
at Force and after. The steam from the water brought down the puffiness of my
eyes, and opened my sinuses so that I felt like I could breath again.

But instead of making me feel better, all
it did was allow a fresh batch of tears to overtake me.
 
I’d thought I was all cried out, but my
body and my heart proved otherwise as the sobs overwhelmed me once again,
causing me to rest my forehead against the cool smoothness of the mosaic tiles
that lined the shower.

I was too exhausted to attempt something
as easy as washing my hair, so instead, I just let the water wash over me until
my skin was pruned and the room was so filled with steam I could barely see.

I thought briefly about tending to my cut
– I’d ripped off the gauze before I’d gotten into the shower – but
I didn’t care enough to make the effort.

I fell into bed.

But I didn’t sleep.

The room was pitch black, the shades the
kind that didn’t allow any light in.

The sounds of the city did their best to
invade through the silence, but they were reduced to background noise this far
up from the street.

I existed in a weird dreamlike state,
halfway between wake and sleep, letting the muted sounds and the darkness lull
me into a half-sleep, where I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t.

But at six am, there was a hard knock on
the door that caused me to bolt upright in bed.
 

I rushed to the door, grabbing a robe out
of the closet on the way and throwing it on.

Noah.

It had to be.

But when I flung open the door, the
hallway was empty, except for a room service cart sitting there unattended.

I opened the metal domes.
 
Pancakes.
 
Fruit.
 
Bacon.
 
Eggs.

I hadn’t ordered anything, which meant it
must have been a standing order, one Noah had placed to be delivered at six am
every morning when his suite was occupied.
 
I stared down at the food, the smell of it making me want to
dry heave.

I hated that it was meant for him, hated
that he had such control over everything in his life that even his food would
just show up, perfectly prepared, without him needing to do anything.

And then I noticed something else.
 

Next to the room service cart were two
sleek black bags – one was a standing suitcase, the other a laptop bag.

I picked up the suitcase and tipped it
over on its side, then unzipped it.
 
Inside were the clothes I’d been keeping at Noah’s.
 
All of them had been washed and neatly
folded -- no doubt by some faceless housekeeper or assistant -- before being
laid carefully inside.
 

I knew without even opening it that I’d
find my computer in the other bag, but I unzipped it anyway, just to be sure.

My laptop was there, along with a shiny
new iPhone.

I took out the phone.
 
All my contacts had been migrated onto
it, along with all of my text messages and music.
 
Noah had somehow figured out a way to not only get me a new
phone, but to make sure it was set up with everything I’d had on my old one.

I had felt weak lying in bed just a
moment ago – the crying had zapped my energy and depleted my strength.

But it was a trick.

I wasn’t weak.

My strength wasn’t gone.

He’d tried to take it.

But I wasn’t going to let him.

I reached down and grabbed the room
service cart, and then, with a powerful scream, I tipped it over.
 
Plates crashed to the floor, glasses
shattered, and food spilled everywhere.
 

I’d given him a night to make me feel
helpless.

And now I was done.

 

***

 

The first thing I did was shower, for
real this time, using the expensive shampoos and conditioners that came with
the room, blasting Katy Perry’s Roar on repeat from the iPhone speakers that
wirelessly pumped music through every room.

Then I dressed carefully for class,
taking my ruined dress and Noah’s sweater and balling them up before tossing
them into the trash.
 
There was
something satisfying about pushing his beautiful, expensive piece of clothing
into a hotel wastebasket.

But just as quickly as the satisfaction
had come, it went, leaving me with a feeling of regret.
 
The sweater was the only thing I had to
connect me to him.
 
(The bracelet
he’d given me had also been lost at some point last night, a fitting metaphor
for everything that had happened.)
 
I resisted the urge to pull the sweater back out of the garbage, instead
turning my back on it and walking out of the room.

For the first time since my decision not
to let him get the best of me, longing overtook me, threatening to pull me back
into the abyss of missing him.

Keep
moving.
 
Focus on something else.

The library.
 
I’d go to the library before class, I decided.

Once I was there, I’d immediately get to
work on finding a new place to live.
  
It wouldn’t be easy – New York City real estate
was cutthroat even if you had unlimited funds, which I most certainly did not
-- but at least the process would be started.

I didn’t want to stay in this hotel any
longer than I needed to.

My decision made, I took the elevator
down to the lobby.
 
The city was
already bustling with activity, and as I stepped out onto the street, I took a
deep breath and told myself everything was going to be okay.

I was halfway to the subway when my phone
rang.

Noah.

It had to be.

He was calling to take it back, to tell
me what happened last night had been a mistake, that we needed to talk.

But it wasn’t Noah.

It was Professor Worthington.

Calling me at 7 am.

Whatever he was calling about, it
couldn’t be good.

I cleared my throat before answering, but
even so, I could tell my voice sounded scratchy from lack of sleep.
 
“Hello?”

“Charlotte,” he said.
 
“It’s Professor Worthington.”
 
His voice was more muted than usual,
almost like he was tired.
 
Usually
Professor Worthington was no-nonsense, barking orders and trying to get things
done.

“Hello,” I said.
 
I gripped the phone in my hand, not
sure what else to say.

“Are you able to stop by this morning to
chat?” he asked.

“Of course.
 
I was on my way to campus right now, shall I come to your
office?”

“I’m not going to be on campus today, I
have…” He trailed off.
 
“I’m taking
a personal day.
 
Is there any way
you could meet me for coffee?”

“Sure.”
 

He rattled off the address of a coffee
shop on the Upper East Side, and I jotted it down dutifully on a pad.

“Can you be there in an hour?”

“Yes.”
 
I hesitated.
 
It
wasn’t
that
weird for Worthington to
be calling me -- after all, he’d done it before.
 
But still.
 
It
was early, and there was something off-putting about his call, something weird
about him asking me to meet for coffee instead of just waiting until he was
back in the office.
 
It felt like
something urgent and important had come up, but he didn’t
sound
 
urgent or
hurried.
 
It was a strange
disconnect,and it made me nervous.

“Is there anything wrong, Professor?” I
asked finally.
 

There was a pause on the other end of the
line.
 
“We’ll talk about it when I
see you.”

“Okay.” I swallowed.
 
“I’ll see you in an hour.”

“Good bye, Charlotte.”

“Good bye, Professor.”

 

***

 

The coffee shop Worthington had chosen
was one of those hipster places, the kind that served kale smoothies and
wheat-free, dairy-free, everything-free pastries.
 
I ordered an almond milk latte and found a seat by the
window.

I was a couple of minutes early, and I
used the time to set my email up on my new phone, taking a certain pleasure in
the fact that Noah hadn’t been able to migrate over my addresses.

Professor Worthington appeared a few
moments later, wearing jeans and a loose sweater, looking more relaxed than he
usually did during class.

“Have you been waiting long?” he asked.

“No.”
 
I shook my head as he slipped into the chair across from
me.
 
He’d already gotten his
coffee, plain black in a white ceramic mug.
 

A moment of silence stretched between us,
the kind of silence I knew I should attempt to fill with small talk, but I
didn’t want to waste time on the weather or how good the coffee was.
 
I wanted to know why I was here.

“I’m sorry for being so forward, Professor,
but I have to admit I’m quite curious as to why you invited me here.”
 
I congratulated myself on how
professional and formal I sounded, how my voice didn’t shake even after
everything that had happened last night.

Professor Worthington sighed.
 
“Have you been happy, Charlotte?” he
asked.

I frowned.
 
“I’m not sure what you mean.”

He smiled.
 
“I mean, have you been happy working on the Cutler case?”

“The experience is gong to be
invaluable,” I said.
 
“I’m so
honored to be included.”

He waved his hand, like he was shooing my
words away.
 
“No, I know the
experience is great.
 
What I meant
is, have you been happy working with Mr. Cutler?”

His eyes bore into mine, and my face
flamed.
 
I gripped my coffee cup
with both hands, letting the hot ceramic warm my skin.
 
I needed to choose my words carefully.

“Noah can be difficult,” I said.
 
“But every case has its
challenges.
 
Why do you ask?”

“Noah called me this morning,
Charlotte.
 
He asked me to take you
off his case.”

“Take me off his case?”

“Yes.
 
He said he wanted you to be removed, that he wouldn’t be
speaking with you any more about it.”

“Oh.” I nodded.
 
I could feel the words bubbling up to my lips, could feel
them already forming.
 
I’m sorry he feels that way.
 
Of course I understand.
 
I’ll respect his wishes.
 
I’d love to be considered for any
future cases.

But none of that was true.

I
didn’t
 
respect his wishes.

Noah was being a jerk, plain and simple
– requesting to take me off the case after the things he’d done to me
last night?
 
Dropping my things off
at my hotel room this morning, without a note or an explanation or
anything?
 

How
dare you.
 

He thought he could just brush me under
the rug like I was a crumb, like I was something that could just be erased, the
way he’d erased all traces of me from his apartment.

Fuck
that.

“Professor Worthington,” I said,
thrusting my chin in the air.
 
“With all due respect, I wasn’t aware that attorneys were in the
business of letting their clients dictate who they want working on their case.”

He shook his head.
 
“Charlotte, I understand this might be
–”

BOOK: What He Resists (What He Wants, Book Nine) (An Alpha Billionaire Romance)
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