Shattered by the CEO(6)

By: Emilie Rose



“Sex?” Her lips stretched in a tight smile.

“Love.” He almost couldn’t say the word. He didn’t do love. Would never do love.

He was, according to his family, a carbon copy of his father. He’d learned the hard way not to allow himself the luxury of the destructive sentiment.

He’d seen how loving his unfaithful father had destroyed his mother and driven her to take her own life. And Rand had repeated the pattern when he’d broken up with his high school girlfriend before going away to college because he’d wanted to experience all the campus—meaning the female students—had to offer.

He was a selfish bastard, and because of that Serita had swallowed a bunch of pills that night after he’d left her. She’d been luckier than his mother. Someone had found her and called 911 before it was too late. Serita had survived loving a callous Kincaid.

“Ah. This is about what I said that night.” Tara ducked her head, but not fast enough to conceal her pink cheeks. And then she lifted her chin and met his gaze. Her eyes were such an intense cobalt-blue that when they’d first met he’d believed them to be colored contacts. He’d been wrong. “I goofed, okay? If you’d hung around long enough for me to apologize and explain that I was lost in the moment—”

“Lost in the moment? You said you loved me, that you wanted to marry me and have my children. You practically named them.”

The minute she’d said those words he’d bolted—to protect her from the curse of loving a Kincaid. And he’d worried about her for three solid weeks before returning to find her sneaking out of his father’s suite after midnight.

Tara Anthony had played him for a fool and he’d fallen for her innocent act. Never again.

Her color darkened and her gaze bounced away again. “Um, yeah. Sorry about that. But you’re…really good in bed.”

Once more looking directly at him she added, “We can live here or at your condo. Either place is about the same distance from the office.”

Every cell inside him balked. “I’m not playing house with you.”

“Then I guess this discussion is over. I’ll show you out.”

Dammit.

Rand snagged her arm when she walked past him, and awareness shot through him on contact with her warm, satiny skin. The electricity between them had been there from the first time he’d shaken her hand on the day she’d signed in as his father’s PA. He’d ignored the attraction between them—or tried to—for seven torturous months before saying to hell with it.

It had taken him a month to get Tara to go out with him and another one to get her into bed. Had she been playing him against his father the entire time?

“I no longer own the condo. I live in California.”

Her eyebrows lifted and what appeared to be genuine surprise filled her eyes. “I didn’t know you’d moved.”

That reminded him of her earlier comment. He’d ignored it before because he thought she was lying. “How could you not know I’d left the company? My departure from KCL had to have caused an upheaval, and my father must have hit the ceiling when I accepted a job with his West Coast competitor less than twenty-four hours after leaving KCL.”

“I didn’t know because I never returned to the office after…that night.”

“The morning I caught you leaving my father’s bedroom.”

Thick lashes descended to shield her eyes. She stubbed a toe into the carpet. “Yes.”

The same day he’d told his father to go screw himself because he was through screwing his oldest son. Those were the last words he’d spoken to Everett Kincaid.

“Why did you leave? My father wouldn’t marry you, either?”

Her teeth clicked audibly. She jerked her arm free. “To borrow your words, that offer was never on the table. You need to leave, Rand.”

He wanted nothing more than to walk out that door and never look back. Her demands were absurd. Was he going to meet them?

Searching for another option, he stared into the eyes he’d once thought guileless—man, he’d been an idiot—and came up empty. For Mitch’s and Nadia’s sakes he had no choice. Not one his conscience would let him live with. He wouldn’t abandon his brother and sister again.

“You won’t get anything more than sex from me. No gifts. No rings. No promises. And definitely no children.”

Her breath hitched and her eyes rounded when she realized he’d accepted her terms. She blinked and swallowed and then dampened her lips with the pink tip of her tongue.

Hunger for her taste instantly consumed him.

Damn the desire. Damn her for making him want her.

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