The Ghost (Professionals Book 2)(10)By: Jessica Gadziala
“Good morning,” I said, reaching up to flatten my hair, a self-conscious move I wouldn’t normally be known for - fidgeting, fussing. But I also wouldn’t usually greet someone in the morning without at least taking a short look in a mirror. “I didn’t know when you would be coming, or I would have set an alarm. What time is it?”
Four-fifteen meant the sun wasn’t even thinking about kicking the moon out of the way yet.
I was an early riser by most standards.
But that meant I was up around five, then at work before six.
Four-fifteen, that was just insanity.
But he had been clear. When I’d signed the papers, I had signed my life over to him.
Everything was on his schedule now.
And, apparently, his schedule started at four-fifteen in the morning.
I could adjust. I’d have to.
“Okay. Noted. I just need to get dressed,” I explained, waving at my obvious pajamas before moving over toward my bags to rummage through.
“We need to talk about your luggage.” His voice seemed to come from right behind me, like he had followed to tower over me where I was squatting down beside my collection of bags.
“What about it?” I asked, trying to stuff my panties under my slacks before he could see them.
“You can take maybe a third of it,” he informed me, catching me off-guard, my body jolting, losing balance, falling to the side.
A strong hand closed around my wrist, stopping me from slamming onto my back on the unyielding hardwood floor. But the stretch pulled at my wound in my stomach, making me do the unthinkable.
Cry out in pain.
“Fuck,” he hissed as soon as my butt was safely on the floor, releasing my wrist, and dropping down on his knees beside me. His hand swatted mine away from where I was clutching my stomach, ripping at my carefully tied sash, going inside, and yanking up the silky material of my tank top to inspect the wound. “It’s alright,” he said, tone somewhat remorseful even though all he had tried to do was stop me from whacking my head off the floor. “Didn’t break back open. Gonna have to baby that for a while,” he went on, and suddenly the hand at my stomach didn’t feel quite as clinical as it had a second before.
I could feel scars and callouses there - the hands of a man who actually used them - against the skin I slathered twice daily with creams meant to keep it soft. The contrast sent a strange, warm feeling over my skin, traveling across my stomach… sinking down.
No, that couldn’t be right.
Except there was a definite fluttering sensation between my legs.
“I’m okay,” I said, sounding a little winded, making his gaze shoot up to my face, eyes doing that see-into-me thing again, like he knew exactly what was going on in my confused body. His hand lifted, pulled my shirt back down, then he moved away.
“Good. So you get to bring three bags. Everything else will be sent to you. Eventually. When it’s safe.”
“No one needs twelve bags, duchess,” he said, turning to my luggage, zipping open a bag with a tag that clearly labeled it clothes, took out a handful of items, then dug his hand into my undergarment bag, shoving undies into the clothing bag.
“I can do that myself,” I insisted, trying to slowly get onto my knees, pretending to ignore the pain that was constant and distracting.
“Yep. And you’d take three times as long,” he said, opening the bag for pajamas, throwing a few mismatched pieces of my silky sleepwear into the main bag. “Figure one of these is your shampoo and shit. I will let you sort that. Third bag can be personal items if you have them. You can do that too. Go get dressed, so you can get on that.”
It wasn’t a suggestion.
It was an order.
I took my clothes, making my way down the hall, trying to stifle the swirling discomfort inside at having to take orders. It was a foreign thing, not having any control.
I could get used to it.
Like my mismatched pajamas.
Like not knowing what clothes I would have to wear.
Like literally everything else.
I went into the bathroom, avoiding the shower. I tried to convince myself that it was because of time constraints. Though it was clear that I was not ready to get back in there just yet. I wondered a bit fleetingly as I slipped into tan slacks if there would possibly be a tub at our next stop, if maybe that would help.