Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

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Next: Chapter Six

Chapter Five


“Blake Carter! Wait up; I want a word with you!”

From behind him, Blake heard Kira call angrily to him but he walked on, crossing the wide foyer and headed for the study wing of the ground floor. He’d just about reached the right turn leading to his destination when he felt her hand grab his shoulder. He let her jerk him forcefully round to face her even as he suppressed his temper.

“I said, I want to speak to you,” Kira gritted out, glaring up at him with those gorgeous brown eyes surrounded by thick, spiky lashes. He was getting used to seeing the gleam of anger blazing back at him.

He quenched a smile. “I heard you, lady. I just can’t stand to listen to another lecture right now.”

“Well, you’d better. Because I’m not backing down until I let you know what an unfeeling, disrespectful brute you are.”

Blake’s lips tightened in anger at that. “Why? Because I let him know he couldn’t push me around?”

“No. Because you displayed to the world how little respect you have for your father. Those are his most important friends and associates in there. And after he took all the trouble to put together such a nice welcome party for you. How could you be such a-”

“Jerk?” Blake put in before she could find the word to finish. “I wonder why it’s just my father’s feelings you seem so worried about. What about mine, hmm? Do you have any idea how it feels when every time I try to act civil he lets me see how much he enjoys controlling other people’s lives - and without a care for what they really want? I don’t think you understand what’s going on here, Kira,” he said dismissively.

His words seemed to calm her a little as she said with far less venom, “Oh yes I do. I don’t think you realize how much he loves you. Yes, he does try to stick his nose in sometimes. That’s how he is. You don’t know how lucky you are to have a father even remotely concerned about your welfare. Why, if I had someone like him for a father, I...” She stopped abruptly, her voice choking as tears stung her eyes.

“Oh please,” Blake said cuttingly. “Do you really think I’ll believe that all he is to you is some “father figure”? You must take me for a fool to think I can’t see that you’re his pretty little plaything on top of everything else.”

Kira’s eyes blazed with fury and she lashed out to slap him but he easily grabbed her wrist. So she raised the other one and he caught that too.

“Don’t even think about it,” Blake warned, jaw clenched. “Or you’ll realize what a jerk I really am.”

Her big, brown eyes suddenly brimmed with tears, surprising him. Her voice was filled with hurt when she finally choked out words. “How dare you!  You really don’t think much of him – much less know him, if you think he’s capable of what you’re suggesting.”

Blake was staring fixedly down at her, at the tears streaming down her beautiful face. Her gaze held anger and a look of injustice. Damn; he hadn’t meant to be mean to her or make her cry. But she should have known better than try to get in the middle of this. His family had issues no one could even begin to understand. And that only made him madder.

“Oh, and you know what he’s capable of? Trust me you have no clue what it is to have a father like him,” he scorned though not harshly. “Just because you’ve known him for a few years you think that gives you the right to interfere – to judge me? Whatever’s going on between my father and I need not concern you, Ms. Taylor.” As he said this he pointedly dropped her hands.

It was either that or making a grab for her. She had no idea the thoughts raging through his mind with her this close. She had him semi-hard each time she was near; and each time he caught a whiff of that maddening perfume of hers that was a mix of sex and woman. Hell, sex was all he could think about since he’d set eyes on her. And it didn’t help matters that she looked even hotter when she was mad, like now. When her eyes were shooting daggers at him as she tried not to rub at her wrists.

“You’re wrong, Blake,” she said firmly. “When you care about someone enough, everything about them becomes your business. Try and remember that!” And she turned angrily to march away.

“Oh I will,” Blake murmured. He wasn’t ready to have her walking away from him just yet. He took her arm in a firm grasp and twisted her back to face him again. She struggled in his grip but he was too strong for her as he stared deeply into her stormy face. “And I’ll also remember how you look with your mascara streaking down your cheeks, like some beautifully tragic heroine.”

His lips slanted in a half-taunting, half-humorous smile and he could see her confusion. Could tell she seemed distracted by his sudden change of mood, and so was totally unprepared for what happened next.

“Hmm. Now that’s got me also wondering what you’ll look like with your lipstick smudged,” Blake murmured thoughtfully, right before he grabbed her shoulders, slammed her against him and seized her lips roughly in a hard, moist kiss.

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Next: Chapter Six