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As soon as they checked into their room in the hotel, Elise kicked off her shoes and flopped onto the bed, flinging her arm over her eyes. Her mind spinning, she’d never felt more exhausted or conflicted. Never expecting seeing her father again, she was shocked that seeing him again after so many years hit her as hard as it did, especially knowing that he didn’t have much time left to live.
Nicholas stood at the end of the bed and watched her for a moment, and finally asked, “Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?”
Getting up onto her elbows, looking at him, she shook her head. “No, thank you. My stomach’s in knots and I don’t think I can eat anything right now, but you go ahead without me if you’re hungry.”
Although he nodded, he didn’t bother picking up the room service menu, but just sank down on the end of the bed feeling stunned. He could still hear her words echoing in his head, informing him that she would be gone the moment her contract was up. Clenching his fists, more angry at himself than he was at her, he couldn’t believe he’d been foolish enough to think they could actually have something together, and that she actually really cared. Of course for her, it was obviously just a business arrangement and nothing more, and he knew he’d be wise to remember that.
When he turned his head and noticed she’d fallen asleep, he carefully covered her with a blanket, pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead, turned and left the room and headed downstairs to the bar. What he needed right now was a drink – and the stiffer the better.
As he sat in the dimly lit bar, nursing a double Glennfiddich, he told himself there was no way in hell he’d ever let himself get wrapped up in another woman like he had with her. Elise had proven to him that he was unworthy of being loved, no matter how deeply she’d gotten to him, and he’d assumed he’d gotten to her. He knew then that losing her was best done quickly, like ripping off a Band-Aid. It would hurt like a bitch at first, but then it would be over. And then this unrelenting pain in his chest would stop – at least he hoped.
Later that night they walked over to the hospital hand in hand, and saw her dad again. But her father was so tired that he barely spoke, looking weaker by the minute, all he seemed capable of doing was smiling into her eyes. Stepping out of the room, giving them some time alone, at the nursing station, Nicholas gave the nurse on night duty his card with his cellphone number, just in case. And told her they’d be staying nearby if she needed to call Elise if anything changed with her father.
After they left the hospital together, with Elise’s arm tucked tightly through his, Nicholas pressed a kiss to the top of her head, and asked, “How are you doing?”
Looking up at him, she told him, “Guess I’m okay,” and hugged him to her side as they walked, so glad to have him with her. “I have a feeling he’s ready to go now that he’s seen me again.” She sniffled and wiped at her nose. “I just wish he hadn’t stayed out of my life for so long, or we might have been able to have some kind of relationship. But it’s a little too late for that now.”
Blowing out a breath, he knew just what she meant. On the rare occasions he thought of his mother, he’d wondered what it would have been like growing up with her in his life, if she hadn’t walked out and abandoned both he and his father when he was only six. Without asking, he led Elise into a little French café, and held up two fingers so the waiter would find them a table for two. They’d eat, and they’d get through this together. And he knew that soon, he’d have to let her go.
But sitting across the table from her as they waited for their food to arrive, Nicholas couldn’t get over how just the sight of her did something to him, his heart actually clenching in his chest as he looked into her eyes. So fair, and just so pretty, with her flawless translucent skin, incredible sapphire eyes and the most kissable mouth he’d ever seen, with just the most perfect body; but even worse a tender heart, that he foolishly believed could have a place in it for him.
Belatedly realizing that despite how good it had been with her, that she was no better than the rest of the women he’d had in his employ, he had to accept the fact that it was just a job for her and nothing more. A healthy salary could convince almost anyone to pretend to be involved, when all they could think of was struggling through a year with him and then finally getting out with their check in their hand.
Smiling into his eyes, Elise reached across the table and covered his hand with hers, telling him, “I really appreciate you being here with me, Nicholas. It would have been so much harder getting through this without you on my own.” When he just nodded and didn’t respond, she tipped her head and asked, “Is everything okay?”
“Sure,” he lied then looked up, relieved to see their server arriving with their meals to put a stop to her asking any canlı bahis şirketaleri more.
Her father died in the night just after midnight. And Nicholas wrapped his arms around Elise and held her while she cried after she’d gotten the call. Pressing his lips to the top of her head as she clung to him and sobbed, he felt helpless. Never having experienced a relationship, he had no idea what to say or do. So he just held her and stroked his hand up and down her back and let her cry against his chest.
Finally, she pulled back, looked up into his eyes and said, “Oh god, and now I have to plan his funeral, and I don’t even know where to start.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” he told her, figuring it was the least he could do to lessen her burden.
Once he’d called the hospital and told them he’d be making the arrangements for her father, Nicholas crawled into bed beside her and hugged her to his side, gently stroking her hair until she finally dozed off. And as she slept and he stared at the ceiling with her curled in tight to his side, he wondered why she couldn’t love him the way that he loved her. And there was no getting around it anymore – he’d fallen in love with her, hopelessly and completely. But since she didn’t feel the same, as nice as it would be to just carry on with her and pretend that everything was fine, he knew he had to let her go. It would be just too painful to know that she was pretending to care, when all she’d be doing was counting down the hours until she could finally collect her last pay check and walk out of his life for good.
The funeral was small, with just a few relatives and couple of her father’s closest friends. Nicholas stood at Elise’s side while she thanked the mourners and even shook a few hands that were offered, wondering if everyone thought they were an actual a couple, when nothing could be further from the truth. Although they slept together, he was just her employer.
Glad when it was finally over, and they’d finally buried her father, Nicholas kept his arm around her as she sniffled and wiped at her eyes with a tissue on the drive back to his estate. Looking up at him, Elise gave him a weak smile and told him, “Thank you so much for helping me get through this, Nicholas. I don’t know what I would have done without you. You’ve been my rock.”
If only things were different, he actually could be. In fact, he’d be anything she wanted him to be, but since he’d never really be hers or she his, once they got back to his estate, he knew what he had to do.
That night, Nicholas was unusually tender with Elise in bed. And he had to say he enjoyed just savoring her lips and taking his time with her, exploring every last inch of her sweet little body. The feel of sinking into her nice and slow, with their eyes locked firmly on each other, was something he’d never forget. And the way she cupped his face in her hands, gazing deeply into his eyes had him almost thinking that she cared. But now all he could do was tuck this moment away as something he’d not only savor for later, but also as a reminder to never again let himself get too involved with the women he’d hire after she was gone. Perhaps he’d shorten their contracts to only a few months at a time. Then he’d be sure to never allow himself to get too taken by any of them. Although he already had his doubts that there was another woman in the entire world who could ever make him feel this way again, he knew he had to move on.
But as she pulled his head down and worshipped his mouth with the most tender kiss he’d ever experienced, as he sunk his cock into her deep, cradling her ass in his hands, he wished so much that he didn’t have to let her go and lose this incredible feeling forever.
As he felt his body beginning to quake and the way she was moaning against his mouth, quivering in his arms, he filled her with all he had to give, only regretting that she couldn’t somehow find it in her to love him back, even just a little. Especially when what they had, felt so mind numbingly good that it rocked him to his very soul.
Nicholas groaned in his throat as he pumped his hips and froze, emptying his balls deep inside her. And looking down at her beautiful face, for the first time in his life, he wondered what it would feel like to impregnate a woman with his child, especially her. Already imagining how beautiful she’d look carrying his baby. His dick pulsing hard in the depths of her pussy at the thought of not only filling her belly with his seed, but actually creating a life together, filled him with an odd sense of longing that he never thought he’d feel.
Annoyed with himself for even thinking they could have anything more, once he’d pulled out, he rolled off her, got up and left the bed. They were done. And no flight of fancy about having an actual life with her was going to change that.
Nicholas couldn’t look back at her as he walked out, since it would hurt too much to see her naked canlı kaçak iddaa in his bed, especially knowing it would be for the last time.
Surprised at the way he left, Elise just stared at his retreating back, pulling a sheet up to cover herself as an eerie chill ran through her. Something had shifted, she could feel it, but had no idea what it was. And yet how was it possible when he’d been so tender, and almost loving. She couldn’t understand why he’d just get out of bed without a word, and leave her like this, especially after they’d shared something as heart-melting as that.
As confused as she was hurt, tossing and turning for most of the night alone in his bed, Elise had such a fitful night’s sleep that she overslept in the morning. Normally an early riser, she couldn’t believe that she was still in bed at almost ten o’clock. Quickly throwing back the covers, she hurried into the bathroom and got a shower, dried her hair, threw on a little makeup and got dressed as fast as she could. As she raced downstairs, anxiously biting into her lip, her heart pounding, she wondered what he’d think of her being so tardy, praying that he wouldn’t be angry with her, since she knew from experience with his temper, where that could lead.
But the moment she pushed open the door to the library, her eyes went big and round when Nicholas looked at her with a smug smile on his face as he pushed some papers and a pen across his desk at a stunningly beautiful Asian woman with long black hair and warm dark eyes. Looking across the room at her, the other woman tipped her head curiously as Nicholas explained to her, “Ah. And now here’s the woman you’ll be replacing, Lily. Elise, this is Lily, and she’ll be my new, uh – Assistant.”
Her hand flying to her chest, Elise gasped, shocked to discover that she was being replaced, especially not even knowing why. Things had just been so good lately, he’d seemed so much calmer and more content, and yet she knew she must have done something wrong for him to want to replace her with someone new, and without any warning.
With a quick nod of her head, she managed to choke out, “Nice to meet you, Lily.”
Then she turned on her heel and ran as fast as her legs could carry her back upstairs to his bed chamber. Sinking down onto his big canopied bed, she wiped at her eyes, clenching the sheets in her hand. Turning her head, she could see the imprint of their heads still on the pillows and yet she knew they’d never share his bed again. Obviously he was done with her, and probably had grown tired and wanted someone new to enjoy.
Blindly wandering into the massive walk-in closet that housed her clothes, she picked up her suitcase, put it on the luggage stand and began to fold and pack her things, wiping at her eyes and struggling to get herself under control so she could at least see what she was doing. Never having met a more infuriating man in her life, she knew she had to leave. This time he left her with no choice but to abandon him. He’d gone too far, replacing her without even giving her a heads-up about his plans. And now there’d be no going back. They were done.
Finally she sank to the floor and ran her hand over her eyes as it occurred to her that he’d actually played his final card, sure that he’d succeeded in driving her away. But knowing him the way she did, aware of the tormented life he’d led, it just didn’t feel right to walk out on him and leave him to flounder on his own – no matter how much he seemed to want her gone. Though he was so much better now than when she’d first come, he was still far from being healed. She had a feeling he’d fall right back to his old ways if left to his own devices. And poor Lily would have to pay the price, as would all the women who came after her. Squeezing her eyes closed, just the thought of him taking another woman to his bed, never mind the others who would undoubtedly follow soon after Lily walked out on him, made her feel sick to her stomach. Though she’d been foolish to get so wrapped up in him, she loved him too much to walk away and just leave him without a backward glance, sure that it would only leave them both hurting.
Heaving a steadying breath and getting back to her feet, Elise went and got her toiletries out of the bathroom and finished packing, sure that there had to be another room in a house this size where she could sleep. And if he chose to have Lily in his bed now, as much as it would hurt, there wasn’t much she could do about that.
Determined to stay, Elise was just leaving his bed chamber, heading down the hallway, dragging her two suitcases behind her, when Nicholas came bounding up the stairs. Stopping in front of her, he nodded at her bags. “So, I see you’re all packed. Good. I can mail you your final check, or if you’d like to wait, I can sign it for you now and you can cash it right away.”
“That won’t be necessary,” she told him, attempting to walk around him.
Looking confused, sure canlı kaçak bahis that she’d want to be paid, Nicholas put a hand on her arm to stop her, and asked, “What do you mean, don’t you want your check?”
Heaving a sigh, she said, “What I mean is, I fully intend to stay here until my contract is fulfilled, just as I promised I would. But since you’ve got someone new to fulfill my duties, I’m sure I can find something else to occupy my time. Perhaps Mary could use some help in the kitchen preparing meals, or I could do a little work in the garden or whatever else needs doing around here.”
“I don’t understand why you’ve even packed then, if you’re not planning to leave.”
Narrowing her eyes on him, she told him, “Well, I’m sure as hell not sharing a bed with you and some other woman, so I’ll just have to look for somewhere else to sleep, won’t I? Maybe even in your special room, since it also happens to have a bed that I’m sure I could use – to sleep on my own.”
Clenching his jaw, leaning closer, he told her, “Well, I think you’re forgetting that I can do whatever I please, which includes fucking whomever I want.”
Tempted to tell him to go and fuck himself, Elise just stood her ground glaring daggers into his eyes, somehow managing to hold her tongue, although she was dying to tell him that he was behaving like an ass.
“But can’t you understand that you’ve been replaced?” he asked her, not even sure why she’d want to stay. “And if I’m releasing you from your contract and you’re free to go, then why don’t you just take your money and leave?”
Looking up at the ceiling, a part of her wondered the same thing. All she’d have to do was walk out the door with her check in hand and never look back. But then she’d be leaving a part of herself behind – a huge part of herself if she was going to be honest. And of course worst of all she’d be giving up on him, like everyone else before her. Though he was doing his damndest to push her away, she knew he had to care for her, even a little, or he wouldn’t be fighting so hard to make her go. Sure that he was scared of what he was feeling, only made her more determined to stay. Finally she looked him in the eye and told him, “I’m not leaving, because I’m not prepared to give up on you, Nicholas, or what we have. And shouldn’t you be down in the library now breaking in your assistant, instead of standing around arguing with me, since you’ve made it abundantly clear that you don’t want me working for you anymore.”
Eyeing for a moment, he narrowed his eyes on her and told her, “Fine. If you’ve decided to stay, then you will share my bed. I won’t have you sleeping god knows where every night, when you should be beside me, where I can do with you as I please.”
Pushing past him and squeezing herself around him, tugging her suitcases behind her, she called over her shoulder. “Not with another woman in your bed, you won’t be.”
Clenching his fists, he rolled his eyes wanting to shout the house down. Never in his life had he ever come across a more stubborn woman. “Damn you. I will pay you ten years salary to leave right fucking now,” he called after her.
But when all she did was call back, “No thanks, I’m fine where I am.” He couldn’t decide if he wanted to punch his fist straight through the wall, or run after her and beg her to reconsider leaving his bed. Damn, no woman had ever made him this crazy.
Heaving a weary sigh, shaking his head, he made his way back downstairs. Tempted to rip the clothes off the one waiting patiently for him at his desk, and fuck her till she screamed her damned head off, knowing that none of what he was feeling was her fault, he somehow managed to temper his pique and walk back into the library calmly, even managing an anemic smile…
Elise stood in the middle of the room, glancing around his kinky domain, wondering what she should do next. It was hardly a relaxing place meant for sleeping, with all the erotic devices scattered around the room – especially with the shackles hanging from the headboard. But if he thought she’d happily crawl into his bed with another woman already there, he could give his head a shake. Never into women, even if she was, the idea of sharing him made her feel queasy, and surprisingly territorial. Unaware, until now, that she had a jealous bone in her body, she wanted to go back downstairs and scream at the other woman to back off, no matter if Nicholas wouldn’t appreciate it or not.
They’d come so far, and yet somehow he refused to accept it. She knew he was scared, probably of feeling too much, and even losing her for good. Although kicking her out and dismissing her was a pretty strange way of showing it.
Sitting on the edge of the black satin clad bed with the spot lights pointed down at her, Elise was surprised when Nicholas came striding into the room, thankfully alone, muttering, “So you’re still here, are you?”
She held up her chin and straightened her spine. “Yes. And as I’ve told you before, Nicholas, I have no intention of going anywhere.”
“Then get your clothes off,” he told her point blank, his jaw clenched rigidly tight along with his fists. She was about to learn what happened when she pushed him too far.
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