“Relax, Allison.” Logan split his attention between her and the road. “You need to take steady breaths. Not too deep, not too fast—”

“Stop telling me what to do!” She felt sick to her core. Everything was wrong. She felt like Alice in Wonderland when she was stuck upside down on the ceiling, while life went on as normal for everyone below.

“I know how to talk someone through panic, honey.”

“You don’t know,” she said bitterly. “You don’t know me at all.”

That shut him up for the next few miles. Gradually, she talked her traitorous body down from the brink until she felt more in control.

Then she let him have it. “How dare you stick one of your watch dogs on me?”

Logan arched an eyebrow. He didn’t reply.

“Did you think I wouldn’t figure it out?”

He waited before answering. “I assessed the situation. I calculated the dangers. I did what I knew was right.”

“Bravo.” Anger swelled inside her. “You go ahead and do whatever you want. Forget about what matters to me. Forget about my needs and my choices.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “Look, I knew you wouldn’t like it, but I couldn’t be there constantly to guard you. I didn’t want to argue with you about it.”

“Because you knew I’d say no.”

He lifted a shoulder. “Right.”

“You withheld the truth.” Her eyes flashed. “You decided for me—not with me.”

“I kept you safe. How does that make me the bad guy?”

How did he not get it? “After everything I’ve been through with Trevor, you should know better. This is not some business strategy, Logan. This is my life.”

“So I didn’t tell you.” His tone intensified. “My decision saved your life, and the baby’s. Let’s call it even and move on.”

Her hands shook as she tried to contain her fury. “You betrayed my trust, and you expect me to move on like it never happened? Like you’ll do whatever you please, and I should shut up and deal with it?”

His jaw hardened. “I did what I could to protect you—”

“To protect your baby.”

“Well, yeah.”

By removing her choice, he’d removed her from the equation. This wasn’t about her at all. She’d let herself believe he respected and cared about her, not just wrapped up in the child she carried. “If I mattered to you in any of this, you would’ve talked to me. Instead, you went behind my back as if I don’t count. Like you did when you moved me out of my apartment without my knowledge or permission. You can’t keep shoving your ideas down my throat and expecting me to swallow them with no questions asked!”

Exhaling, he tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “Okay, I get it. Point taken.” He shook his head. “I don’t get why you’re so upset.”

“I’m starting to see that.” It was a depressing discovery.

“What’s done is done. I can’t take it back.”

“Would you? If you could do it over, would you make the same choice to exclude me from choices about my life?”

He stared hard at a point in the distance. “Considering the outcome…probably.”

“Then there’s nothing more to talk about.”

Liquid heartbreak welled in her eyes. Any hope she had of reaching Logan, of him changing his MO out of respect and understanding, crumbled. Her chest felt hollow, like she’d been scraped raw. The dreams and hopeful images of the future floated away like bright balloons into distant nothingness.

Blinking rapidly, she refused to cry. She fought the devastation sweeping through her. He’d removed every choice except one. She knew what she had to do.

Logan pulled into his driveway. He took the curves slow, mounting the hill at the top. The second he cut the engine, Allison climbed out and slammed the door.

Frowning, Logan watched her disappear into the house. He didn’t like where this was heading. She’d made him out to be some self-centered jerk, when everything he’d done was to keep her safe.

Why didn’t she trust him?

Moving her in with him was a no-brainer. Yeah, he probably should’ve told her about the extra detail he’d put on her. Which he only did because he couldn’t be her bodyguard every second of the day. His choice had saved her and their baby from Trevor.

Why couldn’t she accept that he’d made the right call?

He wasn’t perfect, but if he had one talent to his name, he knew how to keep people safe. She conveniently ignored his valid concerns. Instead of understanding, even a trace of gratitude, she’d handed him empty accusations. Worst of all, she’d put him in the same scumbag league as her ex. He didn’t deserve that slap in the face.

He entered through the garage, threw his keys on the kitchen counter. He roughly discarded his coat and called to her. “Allison, we need to talk.”

She showed up minutes later with a suitcase in hand. “For now, you’ve said all I need to hear.”

His gaze fixed on the suitcase. Its significance triggered a rising tide of volatile emotion. “That’s it. You’re leaving.”

“I wanted a life with you, Logan. Not a golden cage.” The hurt in her eyes twisted his insides.

“This is not over.”

“Sorry,” she returned, “you’ve used up your chances to make decisions for us. From now on, my choices count, too. I’m not going to be a bystander in my own life.”

He spread his arms. “You’re blowing this all out of proportion.”

She gave him a steely stare. “Am I?”

“Yes, damn it. I’m not Trevor.”

“Could’ve fooled me.”

Rage exploded in him. “Don’t you dare compare me to him.” He spoke through clenched teeth. “I’m not the enemy here, Allison.”

“You’re not acting like my partner. I won’t be ordered around to satisfy your need for control.”

His face went hot. “I have never controlled you.”

“I need time apart. To figure out if we have anything left worth saving between us.”

That hit him like a punch to the chest. For a second, he couldn’t breathe. “Why are you punishing me for doing what I’m best at?”

She looked away.

“Allison, I make a thousand judgment calls a day.” He was the CEO for a reason, and he was good at his job. “Do you expect me to stop before I decide anything and run it past you?”

Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense
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