“It’s not like I’m doing any marathons,” she bit out between her teeth, and he cursed, knowing she wasn’t listening.

His phone started ringing again. “I have to go. Please.” He slid his hand to her neck. “Wait for me.” He kissed her and then took off at a fast trot to the door.

She didn’t wait. She gathered her things as quickly as she could and headed for her car, and to the E.R. where she knew she had to go for that cortisone shot.

Over the course of the next three hours, Sam called her over and over, and she refused to answer. She was exhausted and it was midnight when she left the E.R. and the painkillers had kicked in.

And she knew Sam was going to know the instant she arrived. She knew he was going to be upset, that he was going to demand answers, demand to know why she didn’t wait for him. Fine, then. She was going to see him. She was going to walk right into the security house and right into his bed. She was going to take charge of what happened, she was going to make sure there was no talking. Sam had too much control, and she was taking it back.

* * *

SAM PACED, CURSING THE TIMING of Sabrina’s phone call. Though the call was important to Meagan in ways he was hoping to share with her very soon, it had allowed her to escape him. And he was kicking himself for not being honest with Meagan about his leg in the first place. Maybe, if he had, she’d have felt more willing to tell him about her own.

“You’re wearing out the carpet,” Josh said from the couch. “Seriously, man. You haven’t slept in like two days. Go rest and I’ll call you the minute she shows up at her place.”

Sam forced himself to stop moving and scrubbed his jaw. He needed a shave, he needed sleep. Josh was right. He couldn’t even think straight.

“I’ll call you,” Josh said, “the absolute instant she appears. We know she’s okay. She answered her phone when Carrie called her.”

Right. She’d answered Carrie, but not Sam, and made some excuse about visiting a friend. “Okay. Call me.” He turned away. He had to face facts. Meagan had shoved him away again. Everything male inside him wanted to throw her over his shoulder, carry her off someplace, and hold her captive until she came to her senses, until she understood how much she meant to him. Until he could erase her pain.

He hit the shower and changed into shorts and a T-shirt, and was somewhat clearer headed. As long as he knew she was safe, that would have to be enough even though he wanted to go after her, he wanted to demand they talk now. To see with his own eyes that she was okay. But every logical instinct he owned told him that was a mistake. To back off, to let her come to him. Fear that she never would, though—that was killing him.

He remembered a saying his mother had always told him. “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never yours.” He had to let go. He had to know if she’d come to him. Sam crashed on his bed and forced himself to close his eyes.

And that was when the door to his room opened and shut again.

23

SAM SCOOTED UP the headboard, but he didn’t dare move any farther, and instinctively, he knew if he said anything, it could set off a firestorm of…he didn’t know what, but it wouldn’t be good.

“Undress,” she ordered. And Sam knew then that this was the Meagan from the first night in the truck, the one who’d planned to use sex to put him in his place, to control him. He wondered if she even realized what she was doing. But he did. He did, and he knew he was treading some rough terrain, because he couldn’t let her do that. He reached for his shirt and pulled it over his head, then made quick work of sliding his shorts and boxers down.

He lay back down against the headboard, his shaft hard and jutting forward. Her gaze raked over him, her teeth digging into her bottom lip, and it was all he could do not to reach down and wrap his hand around his cock. But it was so clear though, that she wanted complete control.

“Here I am, Meagan. Now what are you going to do with me?”

Her eyes lifted to his, glinted with a hint of anger. She’d told him not to call her sweetheart, and he hadn’t. Though having her tell him not to had definitely hurt, once he would have laughed it off and just called her sweetheart again.


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Books Stepping Up Series Books Romance Books
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