She brushes the hair away from her face, showing me her vulnerability as she closes her eyes, and calms herself down.

I can get lost in her.

I lock the door to my office as I make my way to her, letting the keys clink against one another. My thumb runs along the jagged teeth of the key to the guest room as I think about stealing the fight from her, dragging it out of her and giving her so much more.

I’m careful with the lock, even more careful as I silently push open the door to her room. I don’t stop at a crack, I keep pushing until the door is wide open and I can easily step through the threshold. It’s quiet, so quiet in fact, that at first I don’t see her.

Her small form is still on the bed, and only the sound of a page turning alerts me to where she is. With the overturned dresser, splintered wood and ripped curtains, she could have been hiding anywhere in here.

She ripped out every drawer. She threw two across the room, denting the drywall and cracking the walnut furniture.

Fragments of wood litter a corner of the room where she demolished a drawer, slamming it on top of another.

What a waste of energy. She should’ve saved it for this moment.

Instead the poor girl is still, curled up in a ball, and has her nose buried in the book.

She still doesn’t see me, not even as I take a step forward, carefully stepping over a broken drawer.

The empty dresser, thick damask curtains and neatly made bed with bright white linens were all that were in the room. And now the fabric is heaped on the floor, the curtains ripped from the oil-rubbed bronze finishings and the armoire is … wrecked.

And little Miss Bethany sits in the middle of the bed, worn out and oblivious.

Her hair’s a chaotic halo around her shoulders. The faint light from the setting sun casts a shadow around her, but it highlights her hair and when she tucks a strand behind her ear, it hits her face. Her fair skin’s so smooth, it tempts me to brush my fingertips against it. The light falls to the dip in her neck, to the hollow there and it dares me to kiss her in that spot.

My cock hardens as I wonder what sounds would spill from her lips if I were to do just that.

“Looks like you had some fun.” My voice comes out harder than I anticipated, startling her. She practically screams and slams her book shut as her body jostles.

She stands abruptly, backing off of the bed and clutching the book to her side as she squares her shoulders. “Let me go.”

The huff comes back to me, but this time it’s with a hint of humor.

“You’re good at making demands when you have no authority, aren’t you?” I question her, feeling a smirk play at my lips.

Silence. It’s so fucking silent in this room, I think I can hear her heart pounding.

“Did you think destroying your room would … upset me?” I ask her with a deliberate casual tone to my question. Rounding the bed, moving closer to her, I kick a scrap of broken wood away from me. I follow her gaze as she glances at it, and then to the chunk of wood she left on the bed where she was sitting.

“Leave it there.” I give her the command and watch her resist the urge to lunge toward it.

Her plump lips tug into a feigned smile. It’s faint, but it’s there. She is a fighter. There’s no denying that.

“Did you want to anger me, Bethany?”

She flinches every time I say her name. That hint of a smile vanishes and the smoldering hate returns.

“I don’t care what you do with this room. I won’t be cleaning it up.” I shrug as I add, “I hope it calmed you down to make such a mess.”

With a gentle shake of her head, she huffs a humorless laugh at me then says, “Whatever you do to me, know that it won’t hurt me. Whatever it is, I’ll give you nothing.”

She practically sneers her words, even as her eyes gloss over.

“We need to come to an agreement, and seeing as how you’ve gotten some of your… displaced anger out of the way-”

“Fuck you. I’m not agreeing on a damn thing with–”

“Not even to get the hell out of here?” I ask and cut her off.

The anger wanes from a boil to a simmer as her glare softens. “Just like that?” she asks skeptically.

“I don’t want to keep you locked up… breaking all my shit.” I make a point of kicking a piece of broken wood to the side. “I didn’t plan this. And I want something else.”

“So you’re going to just let me go?”

W. Winters Books | Romance Books | Irresistible Attraction Series Books