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

Previous: Chapter Twelve
Next: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Thirteen


It was over a week later before Kira was finally out of hospital. She’d lost quite a bit of weight but other than that she felt fine and no longer winced when she made any sudden moves.

Blake visited her every day and always with flowers, candy and gourmet snacks. She almost managed to convince herself that seeing him each day was something she didn’t look forward to. Even if she did, she made sure not to show it. He’d never be able to tell how his smiles brightened the room and how his tender looks warmed her to her bones. Even their conversations were a high point of her day even though she let him do most of the talking. He wouldn’t know how much she loved listening to his stirringly deep and resonating voice especially when he brought a book along to read to her.

If he was trying to wear down her defenses, it was working, though he wouldn’t be able to tell from her attitude. Kira had no intention of letting her guard down yet, even though having the attention of a warm, gentle and giving man like Blake would be enough to thaw even the most frozen of hearts. He did everything he possibly could to make her see he had more sides to him.

He talked about his mother who’d passed on and the life they’d had back in Britain. He talked about his aspirations and the dreams he had about his family and future. When he asked Kira about her own family, Kira was glad to tell him she had none and watched his expression.

“What, no one?” Blake asked with a smile like he thought she was kidding.

“My mother was hooked on prescription drugs,” Kira suddenly blurted, staring at him. “She died when I was nine. There was only me and my dad and he was a drunk. He didn’t even bother making sure I went to school. Luckily, the neighbors took it upon themselves to watch out for me. I never really knew any of my extended family. I just figured we didn’t have any. When I grew older, I discovered that my mother was turned away by her folks when she chose to marry my dad, and his family didn’t approve of the marriage either. So yeah, I pretty much grew up not knowing any of my aunts, uncles or cousins. You could say I was practically raised by parents of my friends or the people at church who took interest in my welfare.”

When Kira finished, she smiled thinly. “Maybe you’d like to take back your marriage proposal now. I came from a dirt poor family with a father with no ambition. He didn’t care if I ended up on the street, selling myself or drugs.”

Blake didn’t look away, his expression calm as he asked gently, “Where’s your father now?”

Kira swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. Her eyes stung and she looked away. “I don’t know. Last time I heard from him was two years ago. He came by my apartment demanding money. I gave him some and he was gone after that. I never saw him again and for all I know, he’s dead.”

Kira heard Blake sigh and she closed her eyes, waiting for the words of rejection.

“When will you finally understand that none of that matters to me?” Blake asked gently, causing Kira to catch her breath. She looked at him and saw his intense look of sincerity. “I don’t care about background or your family history. That doesn’t define who you are. Just look at you. There’s a quality about you that steals my breath every time you walk into the room. You’re not just beautiful, you’re determined and smart. I’ve seen you handle situations at work that would cause other women to tear out their hair in panic. You have this infinite grace about you and you never lose your cool.”

“I lost it with you,” she murmured, looking at him with her chin tilted high. “That night at the party when I let a man I barely knew rip my pants off and fuck me on the couch in his father’s library. Would you consider that to be an act of a woman with high quality?”

His smile tilted his lips into a curve and Kira couldn’t help thinking about how sinfully sweet those lips had tasted.

He looked at her then and a glint of darkness turned his grey eyes to a feral black. “You’re the one woman I’ve met that makes me want to kiss her, protect her forever and fuck her crazy all at the same time,” he said huskily, eyes scanning her frame.

To Kira, she’d hardly say she looked in any way sultry in the light gown she wore in the hospital. But the way Blake looked at her, it felt like she had on nothing at all, just bare skin that singed from his mere glance.

“I want every part of the woman you are; the tough as nails Kira, the sweet Kira, the Kira that blows my mind. It makes me so glad that it was only with me that you were able to unleash that side of you that’s hot, sexy and hungry for my touch,” Blake continued, his eyes lowering to where he trailed the back of his knuckles up her bare forearm. Kira felt a hint of enticement in that light touch and she found the distinctions of dark and light very enthralling as his fingers skimmed her flesh. Just like that, she immediately had flashbacks of their first time and how he’d left her gasping for breath with each thrust as she’d taken him deeper and deeper.

Suddenly the room felt too warm and Kira drew her arm away, her neck flushing. He had a way of getting under her skin and the things he said made her imagination run wild. How long she could keep him at arm’s length she couldn’t say, not at the rate he was melting down her defenses. She’d always been afraid this would happen and now there seemed to be no escape. Would she be foolish enough to fall?

Previous: Chapter Twelve
Next: Chapter Fourteen