Chapter 16 She tried calling him, but he was out of reach. What trouble are you in now, Dave?
A shot of sorrow impaled her. A temporary luxury of self-sympathy pulled her through. If she’d known she would have ended up broke anyway, she should’ve stopped cleaning her own room years ago and employed assistance. Dammit! This was way worse than she thought. Two years ago, her own life savings had been cleaned out by Jason, and now, her own brother? What the hell was happening in her life? A girl could dream big, but really? She would have used it for her decent future and now had nothing. She was broke and could not even pay her bill.
Or better yet, she should’ve spent extravagantly on parties, clothing, make-up, and expensive shoes. She should’ve taken holidays to some warm, exotic places like Dubai, or whatever. She heard it was too b****y expensive there, but who knows? She might have found her own Arab prince and been his sixteenth wife, with massive villas and ten sports cars, while being pampered with massages and royal pedicures. She d**n well wouldn’t have scrimped and kept every penny, relinquishing anything that didn’t fit into her utmost goal of financial security an objective that had disappeared as quickly as the Dubai sand storm trailing behind Tom Cruise. 6
Oh hell, s*x deprived and now pennyless again? This needs to change.
She folded her laptop bag on the floor and bit back bitter tears as the truth of her prevailing situation slammed her like Jacky Chan’s punch. It was that fast and unbearable. Not only was she broke, but she was in a hole of nothingness. Her brother must be in really deep s**t to not even tell her about his money troubles.
Now, she was like being stranded on an island with only an old, rotted volleyball for company. Or she’d plunged from a small mountain she’d carefully ascended to the top of, and everything was gone. Her ambitions and plans of settling down someday and having a family went pop in a flash, along with her financial haven. And yet, she realized in her disposition that she was glad she’d fetched every dime to give more time to her brother to explore his arts. Her only real guilt was that it wasn’t adequate
enough. She regretted not giving him their parents’ ambition for him. Either way, she wouldn’t change the past even if she could. She wouldn’t exchange any of those things for what she was doing for all the flawlessly Arab princes and painted neon toenails in the world. Besides, her childhood had made her self-reliant and tough, never relying on others’ shoulders.
Two years ago, with her arsehole of a fiancee, the whole ordeal had taught her an important life lesson early on. Under the right episodes of her boring life, even the ones who cared for her most would let her down and leave her behind.
But Catherine Brown depended on no one.
Her body scorched from how frustrated she was at not considering her brother’s problems before he left. And what if she couldn’t get him back in time? In time, from his own pit of desperation and financial ruin?
But how could Dave be so selfish? Didn’t he understand her need to fight for their future? Why couldn’t he fight for his own just once?
It can’t always end like this. He needed to stand on his own. It’s not every time she was there for him. Not when there was so much left unsaid between them after he left for Scotland.
She trembled, gritted her teeth, and then fired off a request to boost her credit limit, fully aware of Mr. Richmond’s fierce attention. She couldn’t afford to lose control in front of him now. Her instincts intervened, telling her not to reveal more than she absolutely had to, not to show any signs of weakness or stupid tears. Feeling the alarm of Mr. Richmond’s gaze provided an outstanding hint to concentrate. “What are you doing on your phone?” He leaned forward and raised his brow. She gulped a cry, and stood. “I’m just checking the flight schedule. Thanks, but I’m fine.” Her chin jutted out. She needed to get a grasp of their reality. “So shall we go and bring these planners, documents, and computers to your mansion? I might consider going there tomorrow.”
“You didn’t answer my question, Catherine. Are you willing to have a one-night stand? Don’t go on berserk with me, this is without commitment, no string attached.” he mumbled icily.
The sharp words pained her. She already knew that the man was nothing but a jerk How could he think that one night again with her wouldn’t be a problem? Especially now that they’ll be living under the same roof? It’s not like she didn’t think about it. In fact, she had been thinking about the hotel incident far more often than she could imagine.
She loosened her attitude, readying to take control of the dilemma by changing her strategy.” So, you mean by a one-night stand, it wouldn’t happen again?” she raised her eyebrows and looked him straight in the eye. “…It’s a difficult predicament, especially when.. me b-being your secretary and we’ll be l-living under one roof. How sure are you that it won’t ever happen
“Look, you all know I hate being on the wrong side of the situation, Mr. Richmond, but if you discard this ridiculous proposal, then it would be no problem for both of us, and I was just hoping for a bit more privacy in your mansion.” “Then close the door if you want privacy,” he shot back, taking the rest of her things from her, and they went their way to the nearest elevator. If only life were that easy. She thought to herself. The man must really be out of his mind, and it hurt her even more. As she kept her frustration in check, disappointment roared through her mind. She wanted nothing more than to just cry and heal her shattered heart. Thirty minutes later, they arrived at their destination. With laptops, papers, and folders in hand, Catherine glanced around at the perfect enormous mansion. From the outside, it already looks so lavish, modern and well maintained. It has been built with white bricks and has grey brick decorations. Tall, rounded windows add to the overall look of the building and have been added to the house in a very asymmetrical way. She was gaping at the grandeur of his home, looking at the roof, which was high and triangular and covered with stone slabs. Four chimneys sat on either side of the mansion, with rows of enormous glass windows letting in plenty of light inside. The house itself is surrounded by grass and a beautiful garden with a
huge tree in the center and bushes on the borders of the plot,
Going inside, Catherine gawked more at the well equipped with a five star – like gleaming, kitchen, a ball room, a lavish living room, and fifteen bedrooms, plus a luxurious dining area and a bar.
She could get used to staying here even as she reminded herself of the danger in that thinking. “This room will be fine then.”
He took in a real swift move between them in one long stride, backing Catherine against the wall.
“What the…” she panicked.
The solid mass that was Shawn pressed against her, and she felt him, hard, against her abdomen. His hand touched her cheek before his finger lingered on her lips. “Miss Brown, it will have to do until you move to my bed, where you belong for a night. After all, this thing between us needs to be resolved before I lose my mind and take you here right now.”
D**n if she wasn’t wet. Under different circumstances, it would be too hot and too s**y for his part.
However, her stomach quivered. Her breath hitched. “You are seriously out of your goddamn mind, Mr. Richmond. Take your hands away from me.” She replied with the same intense glare that could heat up the northern hemisphere. Yet, heat flooded her thighs. Taking a deep breath, she utilized enough air in her lungs to power her arms to push him away, but it was like moving a brick of the warm, amazing body of a superhero. He didn’t even shift a bit. “I repeat, I am here to work and e-earn my living and n-not p-play with your… whatever g games you are playing.” “Hmp!” He mumbled while breathing in her sweet strawberry shampooed hair. “I need to see the r-oom…n-now.” She added as she drew her lower lip between her teeth and she nibbled on it like her life depended on it while she tried to close her eyes. His breath gave her warm, affectionate needs and she thought the man really knew how to make a woman lose her mind. 1
“Such, naively hard to get. Y-you know what, Miss Brown? I can almost feel that you need this out of your system as well. See? My point is,” he went to the other side of her neck and gave her a little kiss that earned her an undesirable moan. “Well, your room… hmp, Is that an invitation? You didn’t ask for one before. Besides, I only go where I’m invited,” he answered, staring straight through her with a tone that made her heart ache for needs.
“Oh, really? B-but you don’t know me well enough? Mr. Richmond, I don’t play with fire.” She snapped. She tries to offset her out-of-control physical response by urging her hand by sheer will to reach over and slap him away, but doesn’t have the heart to do so.
“Play with fire? I am more than that, Miss Brown, I’ve tried to ignore our connection since day one. Why are you so… hard headed? By law, you are still my wife, remember?”
“Mr. Richmond, it was just a stupid mistake on my part, and besides, I’m trying my best to be able to afford a divoce or annualment. For now, though, you just have to wait a bit until I have enough money to do so. So stop this nonsense because it won’t let you have me on your bed any time soon.”
“Oh wifey, you’d do well to mind your manners.” He released a haughty snort as his gaze roamed over her. “But why do I feel like you want me to touch you? To have me close enough that I can almost see the l**t in your eyes now, guess what? You need this out of the tour system too.” Dammit! She wondered how naive she could be if she accepted his offer. This needs to stop.” Is that what you think I’m doing? Acknowledge your touch on me?” she inquired, her tone every bit as incredulous as the look on her face.
Shawn grinned, his coy half-smile. Quietly, he murmured a few soft-spoken phrases that made her blush, “But you are thinking of me too, right? Licking, tasting you from head to toe?
Oh, so help me God. Catherine throbbed from that thought as he kissed her neck again and nibbled a little. She understood on a primal level as his perfect lips pressed against her lower neck even more, tasting her again.
Frozen, Catherine lost all will to fight against the swell of desire rising up.
“Why did you really come to the hotel the other day when I told you so?” he asked. His gaze was on her. Evaluating. Analyzing her face as he halted on whatever he was doing that made her want to protest, but she sighed and fixed her shattered mind instead. She was worried he’d break through her guards and see right through her.
Two years ago, for a few months as his secretary was never easy, she tried her best to stay away from the man and did her best to ignore his advances. She’d stood on the ridge of almost giving into him once, but luckily, his fiancee arrived on time. Yes, it was the last time. She got the hell out of there before she lost everything. Her heart would never survive the fall.
Even with that in mind, now, with his seductive action again bringing so many memories of their history together. Those forgotten memories in Vegas, and, of course, Shawn would know her well enough to know all the thoughts it would evoke. Little did he know, there was so much more at risk for her than blowing an agreement or hurting his pride. She leveled her eyes and straightened her back.
It was time he knew the risks. “Mr. Richmond, you’re testing my very own patience, which might be able to save us from these stupid games you are trying to play.” “And why is that?”
“First of all, you are not my type, nor the likes of you. Second, I don’t want to lose my job because I’m in deep s**t. Third, I know I’m not your type either, so help me God, I was never your type, so for old time’s sake, stop playing with my heart. You don’t know how shattered it was already.”
Chapter 16 She tried calling him, but he was out of reach. What trouble are you in now, Dave?