Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(17)

by Meghan March

Rhett answered the question without me having to wonder for very long. “I’m not going to kiss you. Yet.” But he moved in closer anyway, and my gaze locked with his. “Well, maybe that’s a lie.” And his lips lowered . . . to my forehead. Rhett stepped back and smiled, and I couldn’t deny it—the man was incredibly attractive. “I wanted to make that kiss count, but I’m gonna let you get used to me first. I’ll drop by the gallery, and we can work out our next date.”

I couldn’t help but smile back, and turned to my door as he headed toward his car. How in the world did this happen? A date . . . with the guy I was certain would never see me as anything but a victim?

Maybe things do change.

I slid my key into the lock and twisted, pushing the door open at the same time. Stepping into my darkened foyer, I pushed the door shut and locked it before deactivating the alarm and then setting it again immediately. I didn’t take chances with my safety.

I flipped on the foyer light, but nothing happened. The bulb must have burned out. Strange.

I moved up the stairs, a niggle of apprehension stalking each step. I flipped on every light as I went, but nothing hid in the shadows.

Working through my nightly routine, I stripped off my skirt and blouse and hung up what was still clean, tossing the rest in the laundry hamper. Making my way to the bathroom, I turned on the sink and reached for my face wash.

And then a shadow moved in my bedroom.

What the hell?

My heart kicked up as I pushed the door the rest of the way open. My gun was in my purse on my dresser. The shadow moved again. I reached for my phone on the counter, hands shaking as I punched in my pass code.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” The deep voice was familiar.

I froze when he came into view, leaning against the footboard of my bed, arms crossed nonchalantly.

“What in the ever-loving hell are you doing in my house?” The words came out on heaved breaths. I slapped a hand over my chest. “You almost gave me a freaking heart attack.”

I glanced down when my palm met skin and lunged for the door, intent on slamming it shut. Rix moved faster than I could, shoving a foot between the door and frame before it could close.

What is he doing? Fear clawed up inside me.

“Ain’t polite to slam the door when we’re having a conversation,” he drawled, his gaze drinking me in from head to toe.

My lacy black bra and panties left just enough to the imagination to be sexy without being prudish. And Rix did not need to be seeing them. I reached up and yanked my robe off the back of the door, shoved my arms through the sleeves, and knotted the belt tighter than I’d ever knotted it before.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Rix pressed a hand on the door to the bathroom, pushing it open all the way.

“I told you not to talk to the cops. So, what the hell was that?” He jerked his head to the front of the house.

“None of your business.”

His silver eyes flashed molten. “I don’t share.”

My mouth dropped open at his ridiculous statement. “Excuse me? I don’t even know how to respond to that. Oh, wait. How about I’m not yours. And how the hell did you get into my house? That’s breaking and entering and illegal.”

His chuckle was dark as he continued to stare at me, completely ignoring the most pertinent questions. “You are, you just don’t realize it. And here I was trying to give you time to get used to the idea, and you’re out on a date with a cop.”

I backed up until I hit the glass block wall of my shower. “Get used to what idea?” My heart thundered anew, but this time, it wasn’t fear causing the spike in my blood pressure.

Rix crossed into the bathroom, stalking me until he pressed his palms against the glass on either side of my head. And yet, I didn’t feel trapped. I felt . . . alive.

“You walked into my world, totally clueless it even existed. You stood your ground, never giving up on finding your girl, even when you should’ve been hoppin’ in your fancy car and runnin’ away home.”

I swallowed, unsure where he was going with this. “These are all things I know.”

“But what you don’t know is I’ve never met a woman like you. High class, but worrying about someone who isn’t even yours to worry over. Fascinating as fuck. I’m guessing the cop sees the same thing I do. So I’m gonna say this once more so you understand. I don’t share. There’s something happenin’ between us, and we’re gonna see how it plays out. I was gonna wait, but you just pushed the timeline with your move.”

I hadn’t taken him seriously today when he’d told me that we were going to see what could happen between us.

“Don’t I get a say?”

Rix shook his head slowly. “You’re as rare as a Picasso at a fucking flea market, to put it in terms you understand. And when a man comes across something that rare, he ain’t just gonna let it go without seeing what could come of it.”

His words floored me. I’d never felt rare or precious or anything else like that. But still, was I going to let him dictate to me? Knowing that Rix was fascinated with me, my boldness grew. Instinctively, I knew he wouldn’t hurt me, so I gave my tongue free rein.

“I hate to break it to you, but you’ve got no choice but to let it go if I say so.”

His scowl darkened. “I don’t take orders. I give them, duchess.”

“Maybe in your world, but right now you’re standing in mine.” My gaze sharpened on him with that thought. He must have come here for a reason. “Why are you here? What’s the update?”

His eyes stayed firmly fixed on mine. “The update is there’s no change, but I did talk to her.”

He talked to Trinity? And he’s just now telling me?

“Don’t you think you should have led with that? What did she say? Did she say she was scared? Hurt? Hungry? What?”

“Calm down, woman, and I’ll tell you.”

My hands trembled, and I barely restrained myself from grabbing his arm and shaking him. “Consider me as calm as I’m going to get.” If he didn’t spill what he knew right now, I was going to lose my grip on my emotions.

Rix nodded and pushed off the glass, and as he talked, he paced out of the bathroom into the bedroom. I followed, not willing to miss a single word.