“Don’t push me away, Mallory.” His tone is firm. A warning just like this morning in the elevator.

“Just leave me alone. I can’t do this right now. And I definitely can’t do it here,” I bite out at him, having forgotten for a moment where we are. Then I wonder if anyone saw him slip into the bathroom with me. It’s not like the man isn’t noticeable, and I’m sure people pay attention when he walks through the department.

“I can’t leave you alone.” The way he says it makes a chill run up my spine. There’s so much need in his voice. Possession. It’s like he can’t live without me, and I don’t know what to do with that. “You’ll hear me out.” He moves back in, crowding into my space again. One hand comes up to my cheek, cupping it, and it takes everything in me not to lean into his touch. “I never meant to hurt you. All I’ve ever wanted from the moment I laid eyes on you was to give you everything.”

I close my eyes tightly so his deep blue eyes don’t pull me back in. When I open them back up, I’m determined.

“Give me time,” I say, the words paining me as they come out of my mouth.

His hand drops away and he nods, taking a step back. He grits his teeth, and it looks like he’s a breath away from snapping.

“I’ve given you a lot of time, Mallory. More than you know. I’ll try, but you do things to me. Things…” He waves one hand in the air like he can’t find the word he’s looking for. “Things I can’t explain.” So much emotion plays across his face, I have to look away and remind myself he’s not who I think he is.

I can’t see him as the man who lit up my life for the past week. He isn’t the man who had me falling hard and fast for him. He isn’t the man who made the sweetest love to me, like he’d been waiting his whole life to do so.

I’d never felt more cherished than when I was with him. It was something I’d never experienced before, and maybe never will again.

As if he can’t help himself, he leans in, running his nose up my jaw. My breath hitches, and I want to curse at not being able to restrain myself. His warm scent surrounds me, and I’m conditioned to crave him now. The dampening between my legs is beyond my control, and I try to hold my breath to make it stop.

He places a soft kiss right next to my ear. “I’ll try, baby. For you, I’ll try anything. But don’t let anyone else touch you. I won’t be able to stop myself if that happens.” He places another soft kiss. “I will try but one way or another you’ll be mine. Don’t fight what will be. I’ve been holding back for you but I can only hold it for so long.” Then he’s gone.

I don’t know how long I stand there before I’m finally able to breathe again. I use the bathroom and try to put myself back together as much as possible. Inside I’m a mess, but outside I seem to be holding up okay. I go back to my desk, losing myself in my work and trying not to think about Oz’s dark promise.

I’m actually glad when Linda piles more work on my desk, making us work long past normal hours. I don’t think about anything other than what’s in front of me, and the distraction is pure bliss.

Skyler and Eric took off an hour or so ago, and finally at nine I decide to call it a night. I shut down my computer, grab my purse and head out.

When I get to the lobby of the building, I don’t make it five feet before the big guy, still dressed in his suit, steps out to let me see him. Captain is clearly following me.

My anger spikes because Oz said he’s giving me time. I pick up speed as I make my way the three blocks toward my building. Walking in, I give Chuck my normal wave and look behind me to see Captain loiter at the entrance. He’s watching me get on the elevator. I want to hate him, too, but I don’t know if I have room with everything I have going on in my heart.

I know Miles owns the whole top floor, and to get to it you have to have a key. I pull out my set of keys for our apartment and notice the ring holds three keys. One is for our mailbox, one is for our apartment and the third Paige said was for storage. But the more I look at it, the stranger it looks. It appears to be too small. In fact, it looks more like one you’d need for the elevator. Curiosity gets the better of me, and I slowly slide the key in. It turns smoothly. Before I can stop to think what I’m doing, I hit the button for the penthouse and it lights up. The elevator moves toward the top floor.

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