Submission Is Not Enough(14)

By: Lexi Blake

Because he was a fucking child.

The Russian stood up, smoothing down his perfectly tailored suit. “There you go, sweetheart. You say he can’t look at you, but the moment another man does, he goes crazy. I would say that is hope. He might not remember much, but he knows what belongs to him. That’s as primal a memory as a man can have. As for taking me off the case, if you try I will simply work on my own and then you will not have my intelligence. I’ll find her and kill her myself. Should I send you a postcard when I’m done?”

Charlotte moved toward the doors. “Not at all, Nick. Why don’t we find you an office for while you’re here?”

“That would be nice. I have much work to do and I need to call back to London,” Nick said as they walked out of the conference room.

“Are you okay?” Erin asked. “You have to ignore him. He’s an asshole. He was born in Russia so it comes naturally.”

From what he could tell, Erin thought everyone was an asshole. She was surly and at times unfeminine. So why did he feel something every time she walked into a room? Oh, sure that weird feeling was followed by a nasty kick to his brain pan thanks to the doc’s torture therapy, but there was always an instant where he felt something akin to joy.

“I’m fine.” He couldn’t forget that he tended to go blind with rage. He’d proven it twice in a five-minute time span. He took a deep breath, trying to banish the anger. He could hurt her, had hurt her a hundred times in his dreams. Hurt her. Hurt the kid. He didn’t turn her way.

She sighed, a deeply frustrated sound. “Of course. Well, I guess I’ll see you at Kai’s this afternoon. We have a session. Unless you don’t even want to see me there anymore.”

He didn’t. Not really. He wanted to pretend she didn’t exist. “I’ll be there.”

Because Case would force him. Because he saw the disappointment in everyone’s eyes when he came up with excuses about why he couldn’t go to couples therapy. He didn’t even know he was part of a fucking couple, damn it.

He wished she’d just been a girl in a bar. He wanted to go back to that second when he’d seen her and she’d smiled and he’d thought one good thing had happened to him. He could take her hand and buy her a beer and laugh a little. And then he could take her to bed.

If he remembered how to have sex. His dick seemed to, but only when she was in the room. Or in his head. Which was always.

“Come on, then, darlin’,” Liam said in his smooth Irish accent. “Let’s get the boys and meet Avery in the park. She’s got a nice picnic for us. It’ll be good to get outside for a bit.”

He didn’t like the way the Irishman put a hand on Erin’s elbow, hated how proprietary he was with her. Case put a hand out as though giving him the signal to stay still. To sit.

He was always someone’s dog.

The door closed and he was alone with his brothers. The biological ones. The ones who seemed so tired all the time.

“He’s been her partner since she joined the company,” Case said, slumping back into his chair. “Liam is like her big brother. He wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole, but he will touch you if you hurt her.”

He’d already hurt her enough. “It’s fine. She can do whatever she wants. I’m not going to stop her.”

Case’s eyes rolled. “What she wants is for you to try. Can’t you see that? It’s been six weeks and you still haven’t met TJ. He’s here in this office in day care and you don’t even stop by to look in on him.”

“Kai doesn’t think it’s a good idea.” He went to the only crutch he had. He hated those sessions with Kai, but they came in handy sometimes.

“Kai didn’t think it was a good idea in the beginning,” Case shot back. “Now he thinks you’re being too cautious and I want to know why. You have a kid, man. Why won’t you spend time with him?”

“Case, will you give us a moment?” Ian asked.

Case pushed his chair back. “Sure. Why not? It’s not like he’s going to listen to me. I’ve got a meeting with Mike about the Houston job. We leave in a week. He’s going to have to stay with you while I’m gone.”

“Or I could stay on my own.” He was sick of being treated like a freaking kid. He was a man. At least he looked like one in the mirror.

Case didn’t even answer, merely strode out the door, letting it thud closed behind him.

But it wasn’t like he was alone. The main conference room had glass walls and he could feel everyone looking at him. They would avert their stares if they saw him looking, but he knew what they were doing. Pitying him. Or in Nick’s case, hating him for some reason.