Let’s see how long you’ll last, Schuyler mou.

His hooded gaze flicked back to hers. “Ioniko, by the way.”

“Schuyler.”

The way she tried to cut their conversation short with her curt answer only served to amuse him. “And that’s it?”

“That’s it.”

They parried with words, one after another, and he almost felt pity for her. Ah, Schuyler mou. She was so damn innocent that she failed to realize her words and actions were doing the opposite. If she wanted to turn him off, then she should have simply shut up and played dumb. But instead, every second only proved he was right about her. She would make the perfect mistress, and so when the elevator finally lurched back into movement…

It was another perfect opportunity to make a move, and he had her backed into a corner in the next second. He saw genuine fear flash in her eyes, but along with it he also saw the way her lips started trembling in unconcealed excitement.

She’s scared of me, but she still wants me.

His gaze locked with hers just as he heard the doors open behind him.

She’s still scared.

His jaw tightened.

A moment later, Schuyler had ducked under his arm, and he deliberately made no move to stop her as she made her escape.

Fuck.

His grim mood remained even as he made it back to his hotel suite, and his mood only became blacker when he received a call from his sister first thing in the morning the next day. “I saw the security footage,” Katya told him. “Or rather, I heard the guards talking, so I managed to take a little peek…”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said curtly.

“Too bad,” Kat retorted, “since we are going to talk about it. Schuyler’s a nice girl who deserves an equally nice guy—”

“And you’re saying I’m not?”

“You eat girls like her for breakfast then spit them out like trash.”

“Are canned insults all you can do now?”

“I’m being serious about this,” Kat growled. “Schuyler—”

“Is my business,” he snapped, “and not yours, so stay out of it.” He cut the call short right after, furious at the way his sister had successfully stung his conscience.

Of course he damn well knew Schuyler was a nice girl, ergo forbidden. He could’ve stopped her from leaving at any point in time yesterday. He could’ve kissed her to submission. But he hadn’t. Because she was a nice girl, and when he had seen Schuyler’s frozen expression…it had made him want their first kiss to be different. To be something that he didn’t force on her or something he had to seduce her into wanting…

Which meant what, he asked himself savagely. Did this mean he was going to wait for Schuyler to kiss him first? If so, then he might as well fucking wait for the sky to turn pink and pigs to start flying.

A phone call after breakfast allowed the siblings to mend fences quickly, but it helped that Ioniko also promised he wouldn’t ever deliberately hurt Schuyler.

Not the most reassuring promise, Katya acknowledged to herself, but she also knew she wouldn’t be able to pin him down to anything better or more straightforwards. Anyway, her brother’s honor had always been unimpeachable, and she trusted Ioniko to ensure that Schuyler would be alright before whatever it was they had ended.

After learning from Katya that Schuyler hadn’t shown up in Associate, he resorted to checking her Instagram and saw right away that she was sipping latte at a Starbucks nearby. This was another first for him: he had never resorted to using social media to stalk a woman’s whereabouts before, and while the truth chafed…it wasn’t enough to keep him away.

When he reached the block of buildings pinpointed by Google Maps, he held back from crossing the street just so he could feast his eyes on her.

She was seated by the windows, hair pinned up in its usual careless bun, and dressed in another oversized hoodie that couldn’t quite hide the fullness of her breasts. No sweat pants though, and Ioniko couldn’t help frowning at the way her track pants molded to every curve of her shapely long legs.

Fuck.

He noticed the way other guys at the cafe were eyeing her, and he didn’t waste any time after that. “Kalimera, Schuyler.”

He saw surprise and confusion flicker in her gaze at the sight of him, but after that he also saw longing. It was the briefest of flashes, but it was enough, and the tension inside him eased a little. He still hadn’t forgotten how irritated he had felt, seeing her speak to another man at Associate, and had not wanted to feel the same thing again here.

Schuyler made the usual expected fuss about him coming, and he responded per usual by ignoring her protests, knowing that it would eventually die down and she’d buckle back to work. Having watched her for so many hours at Associate, he had noticed early on how dedicated and disciplined she was to her job.


Tags: Marian Tee Billionaire Romance
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