Page 54 of Corrupt Kingdom

“You can lie to yourself, Sun, but I felt the way your body ached for me. Every shudder, every goose bump told me how bad you want me to fuck you. You want to play puritan? Fine. But you’ll have to beg me to fuck you.”

She huffs. “You fucking pig. I wouldn’t touch you if you were the last person on this godforsaken island,” she spits.

“Have it your way.” I sit back on the couch and get settled in for the night.

“You can’t be serious. You aren’t sleeping down here,” she screeches. “I need some distance from you.”

I smirk at her haughty attitude. She’s so damn hot when she’s angry, and at that moment, she looks like she could spit fire.

“If you’re sleeping down here, then so am I.”

She stiffens, looking at me with just barely contained rage. “Why, you . . . you . . .”

With every word she says, my smile grows bigger.

“You asshat!” she finally bellows. I throw my head back and laugh. The whole scene is comical. I haven’t laughed this much in years. It feels good.

“Don’t laugh at me,” she barks. “You are a complete dick.”

When I finally get myself under control, I shake my head. “All true. I’ll give you that.” She crosses her arms across her chest, which only manages to show more of her cleavage. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past day, it’s that you do what you want, and there’s no use in fighting you.” She takes a deep breath and looks at me tensely. “But can I trust you to be a gentleman?”

I frown. “I’ve told you I will not touch you unless you want me to, Ivy, and I mean it.”

She nods, taking deep breaths and seemingly calming down. “Here, you can have this pillow.” She throws it at me.

“I don’t need it,” I respond.

“Please take it. You’re hurt, and I’ll feel better knowing you’re comfortable.” This woman is a conundrum. One minute, she looks as though she’ll kill me, and the next, she is kind and thoughtful. I’ve never met a woman like her in my life.

She gets to making up a bed on the couch adjacent to where I’ll be sleeping. When she is all settled, I shut off the lights. For several minutes, we just lie in the dark, neither one of us saying anything until Ivy breaks the silence.

“I love the smell of this fabric softener. It reminds me of my mother.”

The mention of her mother has me paying attention. I know little about her family, and I always wondered how her mother factored in.

“Smells like lilacs,” she continues. “Flowers always remind me of her. She loved to garden. She’d spend all summer planting new flowers, pruning . . . anything to be outside,” she says wistfully. “She taught me everything I know.”

The reverence in her voice mixed with the tinge of sadness tells me that her mother isn’t around. “What happened to her?” I ask. I know Ivy was concerned about her well-being, but I never thought to find out why.

“She’s basically dead.” She buries her head in her hands and then looks back over at me. Unshed tears linger in her eyes. “Not truly, but she might as well be.”

That’s all Ivy offers, and I don’t press. I don’t deserve any more.

“Someday, I want to open my own floral shop. It’s always been my dream.”

“I think you’ll do great,” I offer, not understanding why I’d say such a thing.

I know nothing about flowers or what experience Ivy has with them. But now I feel like a dick for screaming at her when I found her in my greenhouse. Thankfully, I already gave her free rein to use it again, or I would feel like a bigger dick. I want to make her happy. It’s a strange feeling, but not unwelcome.

“If you want it, you should do it.”

“Kind of hard to open a business on a deserted island.”

I think about her words for a while. I don’t have any intentions of keeping her here forever, but I’m sure as hell not going to let her leave until I know the danger has passed. The reality is, I have no idea how long that will take. What possesses me to say the next words to her, I don’t know, but I do anyway. “You won’t be here forever, Ivy. I can’t tell you how long, but one day you’ll be able to leave, and I promise you’ll start your business.”

She inhales sharply. “Do you promise? I’ll be able to leave here?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you,” she whispers into the dark.

I only hope that I’ll be able to keep that promise.

* * *

My leg hurts more today than yesterday. I despise that Ivy has to see me like this. Weak and hurt, and not able to stitch my own leg.

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