“I suppose so.” I get up from my chair, walk over to the bar and pour myself a drink. I raise it to Ryan in invitation, but he shakes his head.

“You know, you look at the monitor about every ten seconds. If you’re wondering if you have a tell. But I guess it doesn’t matter with how you were staring at her through the whole meeting this morning.”

I shoot my drink and slam the glass down on the bar harder than I mean to. “You’re supposed to be watching her, not me,” I bite out.

Ryan smirks. “Watching her means watching everyone who’s watching her.”

Part of me wants everyone to know she’s mine, but another part doesn’t. Right now, people aren’t paying attention, but when the whispers start, they’ll be looking. Looking at my Mallory. It’s coming either way, so I might as well rip the Band-Aid off. Well, as soon as she’ll let me. I promised her time, space. It’s going to take everything in me to give her that, but I’ll do it for her.

I’d do anything for her…but give her up. Which brings me back to where we are now.

“Paige isn’t going to help us anymore,” I reaffirm. “We’ll need to be prepared for this. I know she’ll keep an eye on her, but she won’t give me anything. Hell, she barely has since they arrived in New York.”

“I’m already on it. I’ll make sure we have eyes on her if she isn’t in her apartment or office. But, sir, I’d like to let Jordan do that. I should be on you. You’re at higher risk and—”

“No,” I cut him off. I might be at a higher risk, but Mallory is more important. Ryan is the best, and that’s why he wants to be on me. I want the best on Mallory. Without her, I wouldn’t last. If something happened to her, I’d be done for. I don’t tell Ryan this because it’s fucking crazy and I know it. He already thinks I’m losing it as it is. I need him to do as he’s told.

“Are you saying your team isn’t good enough?” I look over at him and watch his jaw tighten. No one is more anal about their work than Ryan.

“I’ll make sure I’m on her detail.” He rises from his chair. I give him a nod as he exits the room, and then look back at the monitor. Paige still hasn’t come out and I’m not thinking she will.

I go over to the couch, kicking off my shoes and unbuttoning my shirt, getting ready to lie down. I don’t want to go back to my bedroom. The bed is unmade from when we made love. I’m not sure how I’d react if I still smelled her on the sheets, or worse, if the smell was gone.

I think back to the bathroom today. I’d waited for the perfect moment to corner her. Ryan had told me she was on her way back up to her desk. I needed to talk to her. Just a little taste to take the edge off. Even more so after I’d seen how the little prick next to her in the meeting was looking at her. I need to remember to have Ryan pull his file for me.

“Time,” she’d said after she kissed me. And she had kissed me. I may have taken her mouth first, but she came back at me just as hungry. It was there. I know she felt it. There was no way I was alone in this.

I’d give her what she asked for, but I’d do what I’d planned to do from the beginning: try to get her attention, date her. Slowly make her fall in love with me. It was going to be damn hard after I’d rushed so much already. Now I know what it’s like to have her in my bed and under me, where she belongs. Her legs spread for me as I come inside her, never taking my mouth from her body.

My cock jerks at the reminder. Reaching down, I pull myself from my slacks and think about the next time I’ll get her to myself. Maybe this time I’ll tie her to the bed so she can’t slip away in the middle of the night. Crawl between her legs and bury my face there. Make her beg me to eat her until she begs me to stop. Until she can’t move because I’ve exhausted her with pleasure.


I moan her name as the erotic thoughts flash through my mind and come lands on my stomach.

“Fuck,” I growl, sitting up.

I’m never going to make it.

Chapter Twenty-Two


* * *


“Delivery for a Ms. Mallory Sullivan.”

I turn to see a man standing in our office and holding a bouquet of pale pink peonies. Skyler stands up, leans over to my cubicle and lets out a whistle.

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