Page 71 of Corrupt Kingdom

“And what is it you actually do, Cyrus?” I cock my head to the side and raise a brow with a full smirk lining my face. I’m teasing him, goading him.

“You know this. I run a bank.” He looks bored by my line of questions.

“There has to be more than that,” I say.

Because no way does it make sense. Why would a billionaire banker want me? That’s not to say I’m not good enough for him, but I have always known there is more.

People talk about Cyrus Reed in passing. At least Trent does. It’s as if he’s a legend.

“I hold a very exclusive and private poker game.” He shrugs.

“More.”

“The rest I can’t tell you.”

“Or what? You will have to kill me,” I joke, but the moment the words leave my lips, I realize just how not funny they are.

He surprises me when he takes my hands in his and lifts them to his mouth. A kiss is placed on each knuckle. The move is slow, soft, and completely out of character. “I would never hurt you, Sun.”

“Why Sun? You told me it’s not because of my sunny personality, so then why?”

“As I’m sure you know, I speak many languages. When I first saw you, spoke to you, you were like a poison the seeped into my veins. I knew you would be bad for me. So, I called you Sun.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Sun means poison in Somali. But that isn’t why I call you Sun now.”

“You called me Sun ’cause I’m poison.”

“Yes, Ivy. When I first met you, you were like poison ivy that creeps into your skin, burning you. But over time, and as you took care of me, it changed.”

“And now why do you call me Sun?”

“Because you brighten my dark world. You make me feel like maybe . . .”

“Like maybe?” I beg him to continue, but instead, he stops, then stands and pulls on my arms.

“What are you doing?” I ask, confused by his change of topic.

“Taking you outside.” He starts to walk, still holding on to me.

“It’s raining,” I whine.

“And you say I’m no fun,” he jokes, and his playful voice warms my heart.

“You want to go outside and what, dance in the rain?” I stop walking and so does he, looking back. His face serious.

“No, I want to go outside and fuck you in the rain.”

Holy.

Yes. Please.

But then I let my lip tip up. “Dance first, play later.” And then I take off, knowing full well he will follow.

I run as fast as I can into the greenhouse, grabbing the supplies I need. I know Cyrus doesn’t like me being in here, but I want to do this, so I will.

Grabbing a tarp, I head back to where I left him and then walk toward the outdoors.

“What are you doing?” he asks, his footsteps sounding from behind me.

I’m at the front door now.

“Why are you holding a tarp?”

“Wait and see.”

“Ivy.”

“Not Sun? Am I not brightening your day?” I waggle my brows at him. He just shakes his head like he doesn’t know what to do with me. “I have cabin fever. You mentioned going outside, so I’m taking you up on your offer.”

“And doing what with the tarp? Going fishing?”

I roll my eyes at him and continue my trek. “Hardly. What fun would that be?” I ask before stopping again to make sure he’s following. When he doesn’t move closer, I furrow my brow. “Were you ever fun?”

He stares at me blankly.

“Okay, better question. Were you ever a kid?” It’s a dumb question. Of course, he was a kid, but I wonder if he ever was different. Or has he always been this way? I’ve seen him let loose and relax, but more often than not, he’s uptight and angry.

Again, his expression doesn’t change. However, his jaw tightens, and I file that away. Cyrus doesn’t want to think about his childhood.

I push the thought away before I take a step outside, tarp in hand.

“Come on, when I was searching for an escape off the island, I found a smaller hill to the beach.”

“And . . .?”

“I thought we could make a slip and slide.”

When he says nothing, I go on. “Like when you were a kid. Okay, fine, maybe not when you were a kid, but when I was. When we were younger, we used to live by Central Park. When the weather was like this, Trent and I would grab one of Mom’s tarps, and we would go to Central Park and slide down it.”

He doesn’t look at all amused. “We didn’t have a lot of toys. Dad thought they were beneath us. There was a time when he was present. When he would laugh and play with us . . . but that stopped when I was around ten. But Mom . . . she used to come with us, help us.”

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