“What’s the matter?” He asked, stepping inside and pulling her up against him, not wasting a single second before touching her. When she wrapped her arms around him, pressed her face against his chest and began sobbing, he experienced that same killing rage he’d felt once before. Whoever had made her cry would be sorry.
Instead of pushing her to talk, he held her against him, soaking up the feel of her, running his hand down her spine, through the long, glossy tresses flowing like satin down her back. When her body stopped shaking, he eased back a step, cupping her face in his hands, forcing her to look up at him.
“She wants me to quit.”
Leading her to the couch, Luke sat beside her, still holding her close. Who wanted her to quit? Before he could ask the question, Sierra exploded into words and motion, pushing up from her seat and pacing back and forth across the room.
“Susan called me to her house, and when I got there, she proceeded to tell me that I needed to quit.” Sierra kept pacing, not looking at him. “If she was going to fire me, I was going to be ecstatic, but the bitch said I needed to quit. I’m not going to quit. I’m not a quitter.”
Luke hadn’t seen this side of Sierra. She was fiercely adamant, and the use of the B word nearly made him smile. He still wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but he didn’t interrupt.
“She, of all people, wants to tell me that it’s wrong to be in a relationship with two men. But how would she know anyway? The hypocrite. She didn’t give me a choice, telling me that it’s wrong, and I should be embarrassed.” Then she did turn and look at him. “But I’m not embarrassed, Luke. That’s the problem.”
He definitely didn’t see a problem with that.
“I’m happy being who I am and going after what I want. I’ve spent my entire life wondering what was wrong with me. Then she all but tells me that if I ever plan to work in this town again, I needed to quit, or she was going to sue me. Sue. Me. Can you believe that?”
Ok hold up just a minute. All of the pieces clicked into place and Luke prayed that it wasn’t true. “Are you telling me Susie told you that you needed to quit because of me and Cole?”
“Yes.” Sierra said before stopping and tossing her hair back over her shoulder. “She implied that I’m not normal and that I’m an embarrassment for being in a relationship with two men and that if I didn’t quit, she would sue me for misrepresentation. How could she?”
Luke couldn’t sit still any longer. He made his way over to Sierra, standing in her path so that the next time she paced, she came in direct contact with him. He reached out and held her in place, smiling down at the woman. His woman. “What did you tell her?”
“Everything that was on my mind.” Sierra smiled, and Luke’s heart turned over. God he loved this woman.
“I told her that I wasn’t going to quit. That I wasn’t going to end my relationships because this is my life, damn it, and I can do whatever I choose to do. She doesn’t have any say in the matter.” Taking a deep breath, Sierra closed her eyes, then opened them once more. “Then I told her to remember that I wasn’t the one keeping secrets.”
Chapter Thirty One
Standing there, staring down at her, Luke was beaming with pride. This woman had stood up for him. For Cole. So their relationship wasn’t normal. It would never be normal in the eyes of most people, but he didn’t care. What he felt for both Sierra and Cole couldn’t be changed by the harsh stares of others, or their ignorant comments. And to know that Sierra stood up for them had his heart swelling in his chest.
“I love you.” He blurted the words out.
Sierra stumbled back a step, still staring up at him. “What?”
“You heard me.” He said, stalking her as he moved forward and she took another step back.
“Say it again.”
“I. Love. You.” He told her before he pulled her up against him and crushed his mouth to hers. He filled his hands with her luscious body, while letting his tongue tease hers. When she tried to pull away, he kept her close, a little worried about what she would say. And yes, maybe he was a little insecure. But, Luke knew one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt. He loved this woman fiercely and with everything that he was made of.
Sure, it took him longer than it should have to say it, almost as long for him to accept it, but now that the words were out there, he felt an overwhelming sense of relief.
To think that his own actions could have very well pushed away this woman because he was too insecure to have something of his own, scared that she would be taken away from him and he would be left with another empty space inside of him had been too much to bare. It had happened with his parents. They had been torn from his life so easily and Luke had vowed, even as a young kid, that he would never have something stolen from him again. Yet he had almost done that to himself.