“Let’s go,” he orders, and the room pulses with the push of power behind the softly spoken command and, yes, the anger.
Tristan says something in French, and I’m not sure if he’s speaking to Chris or Amber. I think Amber.
Chris’s stare lingers on me several seconds before he casts a hard look on Tristan. Tristan gives him a nod. “Long time, man.”
“Maybe not long enough.”
Tristan smirks. “You say that every time you come home.”
“Because you’re always here.”
Holding his hands up, Tristan laughs. “You’re the one who keeps coming back.”
They begin speaking in French, and a subtle tension builds.
They don’t hate each other, but Chris simply doesn’t want me around Tristan. I have the sense that he’s making sure Tristan is just as clear as I am on that point.
Hating that I can’t understand what’s being said, I reach down to grab my bags. Chris is there to help before I have time to gather them. Our hands collide, warmth climbing up my arm, and my eyes meet his. His stare is a pure, possessive demand that once would have set my defenses into overdrive.
Now I see beyond his surface to the acid I’ve stirred to life with my actions. If I could turn back the clock ifteen minutes and change my decision to come here, I would.
“Chris—” Amber starts.
“You’ve said enough, Amber,” he snaps, not even looking at her. I realize he hasn’t looked at her since he arrived and I wonder what that means, but, honestly, I don’t care. I shouldn’t have come here. There’s plenty about Amber I have to learn, and as impatient as I feel to know those things, Chris needs to decide when to tell me.
Still watching me, Chris bends and claims my last bag, leaving me with my purse to hold. “Anything else?” he asks.
I shake my head, unable to speak for the guilt eating me alive. I did this. I made him feel whatever bad thing he’s feeling. I don’t care about anything Tristan and Amber could show or tell me, but he doesn’t know that. So I haven’t done a good enough job of showing him how much I love him, or he would.
I step to his side and we head for the back door, and he motions me in front of him to exit down a long, narrow hallway. He reaches around me to open the door, and for a moment his hand lingers on the surface, his body close to mine but not touching me. I want him to touch me. Seconds tick by and I hold my breath, waiting for what he will say, but there’s only silence. He opens the door, and disappointment ills me at the lingering tension between us. But this isn’t the place to clear the air—not with a potential audience.
Outside I ind a parking lot that holds only six cars, and Chris’s silver 911 is one of the three present. I quickly head for the passenger door, eager to be alone with him and explain myself. Impatiently, I wait while Chris places my bags in the backseat.
He turns to me, his jaw set hard and a reserved look in his eyes. “Get in the car, Sara.”
I decide now isn’t the time to get through to him. “All right, Chris—but not because you bark a command at me. Because I want to be far away from here when I make you hear me out.” I fold myself into the leather seat.
He just stands there, staring down at me, but I don’t look at him. Sometimes, I’m not sure he knows how to digest my responses to his demands. Sometimes I don’t, either, but this time I do. No matter how much I might deserve his anger, he isn’t my Master. So my snapping back at his orders shouldn’t surprise him.
He joins me in the car and we are closed in the darkness and his wrist settles on the steering wheel, but he doesn’t look at me. I sense him struggling with himself and I think he’s going to say something, but he doesn’t. And I don’t. He starts the engine and puts the car in gear. I’m pretty certain the next few blocks are going to feel eternal, and I’m right. They do.
Feeling the stuiness of both the car heater and our pent-up emotions, I’ve taken my jacket of by the time we pull into the garage at our house, and Chris is out of the 911 almost instantly. He rounds the car and opens my door, but he doesn’t look at me. I grind my teeth. One incident, this easily, and he’s shutting me out. It cuts like splintering little pieces of glass in my heart.
I step back to allow him to retrieve my bags, and ight the instinct to emotionally withdraw myself as well, to protect myself. I’m still ighting that feeling when we head toward the elevator entrance, neither of us looking at each other, still locked in a silence I can barely stand.
He punches the elevator button and I stare at his proile, wisps of blond hair framing his handsome face, and I watch the pulse of a muscle in his jaw. I sense his distance, his withdrawal, and suddenly I’m angry all over again.
I’ve traveled across the world for Chris. I came here to ight for us, and I intend to do just that. He is notshutting me out and tearing us apart over one stupid mistake. I won’t let him do this to me or us. Never again.
The elevator opens and he waits for me to enter, and I do. I rush inside and whirl around to confront him. He stalks forward and this time he doesn’t avoid looking at me, his expression etched with pure determination and some raw, dark emotion I can’t fully name. I don’t get the chance to try.
Before a word is out of my mouth, the bags he’s holding hit the loor and Chris has pressed me back against the wall.
My purse tumbles from my arm and his powerful thighs encase mine; his h*ps mold my hips. I gasp with the rough tangle of his ingers in my hair and the blaze of his eyes as they capture mine.