Page 70 of Corrupt Kingdom

“Come on, just tell me.”

I grow quiet, trying to think of an evasive answer to this question. No wonder Ivy is wearing a shit-eating grin. All the times when we played questions and answers over food, I was able to sidestep all her questions, but this one won’t be as easy. There is no plausible answer other than the truth that would do. But I can’t tell her the truth.

That I have chains in the basement because in order to become the banker to the underworld, I had to become the monster my competition was and take anyone down who got in my way. I can’t tell her that in order to get the contacts I needed to have men like Alaric on my Rolodex, I needed to lie, steal, and apparently torture. Nope. That won’t be my answer. Leaning closer to her, I place my hands on her face, tilt her head back to expose her neck, and then kiss the pulse that thumps heavily beneath my touch.

“They came with the house.”

“Seriously, you won’t answer.” She lets out a puff of air. “Fine. But I’m not done asking questions.”

36

Ivy

I expect him to say no after my last question. To be honest, I expect him to actually stand from the couch and leave. I’m just barely scratching the surface of who he is, so to put him on the spot like that . . .

The thing is, ever since we both finally gave in to our desires, I want to know more about him.

But I don’t just want to know what his part in my life is. I want to know everything.

Most people would think I’m crazy. Hell, half the time, I think I’m crazy. The man kidnapped me, for fuck’s sake. But for some reason—and the reasons elude me completely—when he said he was protecting me, I believed him.

I still do.

Cyrus Reed might be a cold man. He might also be the villain in most people’s stories. Heck, he could even end up being the villain in my story, but I’m not afraid of him.

I shouldn’t think he wants to help me after everything, but I do.

Some people might look at me and think I’m a foregone conclusion, a weak woman with a weak mind who fell for her captor, but I think it’s the opposite. I know what I feel, and Cyrus isn’t the bad guy.

Yes, he might act that way sometimes, but I also know what I see when I look into his eyes, and that is a protector.

He wouldn’t hurt me.

I know the truth still hovers over us, and once I find out, it will surely change things, so that’s why I don’t press. Because like him, right now, I’d prefer to live in this fantasy bubble just a little while longer.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to know more, and being stranded on an island alone with this man is the perfect excuse.

“Or we don’t have to talk at all,” he offers up gruffly.

I tilt my head in his direction, allowing my left brow to lift. “We aren’t having sex again.”

If Cyrus Reed could pout, he would, but since that’s not on his list of facial expressions, I have to assume by the way he furrows his brow that he doesn’t agree.

“Talk first, sex later?” I suggest with a raise of my shoulders.

He studies me for a minute in full thought before he nods his head. A man of many words.

“By agreeing to my terms, you will answer anything?” I joke.

“No. I will answer what I want.”

“You aren’t very fun.”

“You’re wasting your chance. Goad me, and I’ll have you on your knees. That will shut you up.”

I lift my hand up in the air. “Fine. Fine. Jeez. You’re no fun.”

Cocking my head, I look at him and try to decide how to use this opportunity. I need to ask him questions, but at the same time, I don’t want to ruin the remainder of the time we have together.

“Do you watch TV?” I ask. His brown eyes widen, and it makes me laugh. Yep. That was not what he was expecting. “See? No questions about chains.” I wink.

“No.”

Now that answer I was expecting.

“Why do you ask?”

“You’re so serious. I can’t imagine you lying in front of a TV and being able to rest.”

“I rest.”

“No . . . you don’t.”

He doesn’t say anything for a minute, and then he inclines his head. “You’re right. I don’t.” His hand lifts, and he runs it through his hair. “The first time I have rested in years is here with you.”

“That hardly counts,” I respond, rolling my eyes.

“Of course, it counts.”

“You were dying.” I throw my hand up in the air dramatically. He scoffs at my display.

“First of all, I was not dying. Second, if I’m not working, I’m resting.”

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