Except for my sisters, no female had ever leapt to my defense like Ruby did. My ex-fiancée had been a selfish woman, and I’d somehow just let myself fall into a routine of trying to make her happy. Unfortunately, I never really did pull that off. The more I’d given to Lisette, the more she’d wanted. When I’d had the audacity to change my appearance by getting badly injured, she thought she was the one who had the right to be angry because I’d screwed up her vision of a perfect future.
I hadn’t been lying to Ruby when I’d said that I knew I’d made a lucky escape.
The deadness I felt inside me had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t marry a woman who had never loved me. But Lisette had left me a legacy of doubt, and a whole lot of wondering whether she was right about me never finding somebody who would overlook my flaws.
After the accident, my priorities changed. I had changed.
I’d realized that life would never be without challenges for any couple, and I preferred to be alone if I didn’t have someone who cared enough about me to be there during the difficult times.
And I wanted somebody who would want me there with them, too.
Unlike my two older brothers, I’d never really been a player. I’d never had any desire to go through a bunch of different women in a short period of time.
All I’d wanted was a woman who loved me.
I didn’t have a reluctance to trust or commit like Carter and Mason seemed to possess, either.
Unfortunately, I’d chosen the wrong woman to settle down with, and I was relieved that I hadn’t married her.
Everything had been okay with Lisette when things were easy, and we were a golden couple with no problems before my accident. I guessed that the real test for Lisette and me was when shit hit the fan, because she had bolted when things got ugly, and not without a scathing lecture about how I’d messed up her perfect life.
Luckily, I’d had plenty of family. Maybe we’d drifted apart, but my siblings had been there when I was in the hospital.
My self-worth suffered sometimes, but I’d never been completely by myself to deal with every challenge I’d faced.
Not like Ruby.
Although her scars were on the inside, I knew that she was damaged in a way I’d never understand because I’d never walked in her shoes. Maybe the fact that she still seemed amazed by small things, and the way she seemed to live in the moment instead of dwelling on her past surprised me.
Hell, I wanted to give her everything just so I could see her reaction every single time she got something new. But I knew she’d draw the line on expensive stuff.
I should have told her that I have more money than a person could spend in a lifetime of complete gluttony.
But it felt pretty good that she liked me as a regular guy and not a billionaire.
Ruby was smart, and I was surprised that she hadn’t yet connected the Lawson name to Lawson Technologies.
But then, I’d never really hinted at the fact that my company was anything other than a small business.
Honestly, I hadn’t cared much about anything except getting her to go home to Seattle with me, because there was no damn way I was leaving her here in Miami. Yeah, maybe I’d offered to set her up here, but that wasn’t what I wanted, and if she’d chosen that option, I would have found a way to change her mind. Either that, or I would be spending a lot of time down south.
My main objective was to make sure she was never hurt again.
Ruby belonged with me, and I wanted her to be somewhere that I could watch out for her, even if it killed me.
“It’s definitely going to kill me,” I mumbled at the ceiling.
Every day I spent with her was another day that I wanted nothing more than to make her mine.
I craved her with an intensity that made my gut ache, but she’d been abused, and she’d had nobody she could trust in the world. I was determined to be the guy who Ruby could believe in, regardless of the fact that I couldn’t be around her without getting blue balls.
I can’t fuck her.
It was good enough for now that she didn’t cringe at my scars in the car that first night.
I could make Ruby my friend.
But I wasn’t about to make her my lover, no matter what my dick was demanding. It would make things way too complicated for her. I was going to have to be patient.