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

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Next: Chapter Nine

Chapter Eight


Kira tidied up her desk, clearing up for the weekend. She slung her purse over her shoulder and then left the near-empty office. Her boss, Mr. Carter had long since gone. As she took the empty elevator down to the ground floor she let her mind go over the past few days.

Thankfully she’d heard nothing from Blake since that one call on Monday. As far as she was concerned they had nothing to say to each other. Whatever had happened, she intended to put it far behind her. This was her one act of impulsive madness which she had no intention of repeating again in her life.

Though a part of her felt a twinge of regret at how easily he’d backed off. Obviously he’d been faking being so desperate to see her again. After all he’d already got what he wanted so what else was there to hang around for?

Kira remembered her father always telling her she was no good for anything but being some man’s cheap floozy. He’d always berated her for her full-figured shape and warned her that with her kind of ‘porn-star body’ the only thing a man would want her for was to bed her, not wed her.

It was a horrible thing for a father to say to his young daughter barely over nineteen at the time. But it was one of the reasons why she’d held on so long to her virginity even until age twenty-four. She’d been so sure she’d only give herself to a man who loved her truly and who’d love her back. She’d been saving herself for marriage, yet Blake had easily snuck through her defenses and she had surrendered to the darkest rage of passion she’d ever experienced. Why on earth would she want to see him again and remind herself how far she’d fallen from her own standards?

Trying to get him out of her mind hadn’t been as easy as shutting him out of her life. Each time she closed her eyes, she’d see them once more, clinging with heated lust. She hated herself all over again for letting it happen.

Wrapping her coat around her now chilled frame, Kira finally stepped out of the elevator and was soon outside the office and onto the street. Only to stop short when she saw Terry, leaning against his car, arms folded, in front of the office building. When he saw her he straightened and she waited nervously until he came up to her.

“Hello Kira,” he greeted, but his expression was far from cordial. His eyes were narrowed to slits, his jaw taut. She hadn’t seen him this mad before – and she could understand the reason why he was pissed.

She knew he’d been expecting her to call after the party, undoubtedly to apologize and explain why she’d walked off that night, leaving him and not coming back. Kira hadn’t been able to call him and had certainly been reluctant to face him again.

“Um...hi Terry. Look, I’m on my way home now...”

“Not yet,” he said shortly, gripping her arm. “Come into the car and let’s go where we can talk.”

Kira didn’t waste her breath trying to argue. Terry deserved an explanation. He’d probably grown tired of waiting for her to contact him and decided to make the first move. And that had made him even more pissed Kira was sure.

Inside the car he didn’t drive off immediately but instead turned to face her. From the way he looked Kira knew he wouldn’t wait until they got to their destination before he gave her a full inquisition.

“Why didn’t you call?” he asked abruptly.

Kira stared straight ahead through the windscreen. “I’m sorry. I should have. I’ve been so crazy busy at work.”

“Is that really all you can say?” Terry said with quiet anger. “I don’t know what the hell has gotten into you lately, Kira. Especially the night of the party. And that reminds me – why the hell did you go after Bretton Carter’s son?”

This time Kira twisted in her seat to face him. “I don’t know why you have to question me about my actions. But I guess you deserve to know. Mr. Carter is my boss; you saw how Blake behaved at dinner. I had to give him a piece of my mind!”

“You had to do zilch! It was none of your damned business! You shouldn’t have interfered. A stunt like that could get you fired.”

Kira winced. Terry cursing at her and looking like he could strangle her was not was she was used to. She sighed heavily. “I know what’s going on between them Terry. I was hoping I could help.”

“You have no idea how it looked to everybody when you dashed after him like that, do you?” Terry asked with astonishment, and Kira stiffened.

“And when you never returned; even when your boss finally decided to put an end to the evening you still weren’t back. No one else seemed to notice but I certainly did. I waited around forever for you to return and you never did.” Terry’s eyes bored into hers as he asked, “Are you going to tell me what happened?”

Kira tried to keep her gaze steady and not shift from his. “Nothing happened, Terry.” She wasn’t even sure why she was lying. Maybe not just because she was ashamed, but because Terry didn’t look like he could handle the truth. He’d never forgive her and she already couldn’t forgive herself.

“Blake and I just talked. I’d met him earlier and I felt I could have a word with him and let him know his behavior just wasn’t appropriate,” she said quietly and then bit on her lip hard. “Look I know you’re angry and I’m sorry, okay? I shouldn’t have done it and I wasn’t thinking of the consequences. I apologize if you felt hurt by my interference. You’re right; it was stupid of me to try to jump in between the two of them. If I had it to do all over, I wouldn’t have. I hope we can put this behind us.”

“I wish I could,” Terry said bitterly, fist clenched on top of the steering wheel. “I mean I’m not sure how much more I can stand with the insults. I know that snooty boss of yours doesn’t like me for whatever reason. If I didn’t trust you completely, I’d say there was something fishy going on with you and him.”

“What do you mean?” Kira asked angrily while inside she quaked. Could he possibly suspect?

“I’m just saying be careful. I don’t like the way you’re getting involved with the Carters. For one thing I don’t trust that boss of yours. I mean who invites his secretary to a family event anyway? You’ve only been with his company a year and now he treats you like one of them? Yeah right. That’s why I insisted on escorting you to that party. Not like it did much good; you went ahead and did what you wanted to do anyway. I was so mad when you ran off.”

“I said I was sorry,” Kira said with an impatient sigh. “Now can you please drive me home or do I have to get the bus? I’m really tired and I want to get some rest.”

Terry suddenly groaned. “Damn! I was going to take you out tonight!”

Kira almost smiled at his change of mood and how he didn’t think he should have asked first before thinking she’d go out with him tonight. That was the way it was about their relationship; they took so many things for granted and now there were so many blurred lines – one of which Kira had already crossed when she’d had sex with Blake.

Now Kira wondered what Terry would say if she actually told him what had really happened. She could only guess his reaction and it wouldn’t be pretty. She figured that Terry was one of those type of guys that could be really cool on the surface but when they snapped...shit hit the fan really quickly. She shuddered inwardly and called herself all sorts of a coward from keeping the truth from Terry just to save her own skin. What kind of person was she turning into? Terry was right. She didn’t like the Kira she’d become either.

Previous: Chapter Seven
Next: Chapter Nine