My eyes lifted to his, but I didn’t see regret or pity. Just understanding. I felt it inside of me, deep in my core.
I spread my fingers out over his chest, enjoying the feel of that thump-thump-thump. Strong and firm. Like Kai himself. Assured. Confident. He damn well knew what he wanted, and he would take it, or do it, or demand it—no matter what anyone said. He was going to do what he was going to do, and everyone else better get out of the fucking way.
I envied that about him.
If I’d been like him… Pain sliced through me.
I wasn’t in this room anymore. I was back there, back on the day they’d told me she was gone.
Now. Now was the time to tell him. There was no more hesitating or second thoughts. I couldn’t doubt myself, because it was time for him to pay.
“I want to help you hurt my father,” I told Kai. Hardening, I said again, “I want to help you kill my father.”
His eyes darkened. “I’m going to kill your father regardless.”
“You said you would help me before.”
“That was before he turned one of my guards against me, before he sent him to you. He changed the rules of the game. I’m taking him down.”
He began to move away. I grabbed his wrist and stepped in to him, bringing our bodies in contact. “But I want to help.”
He gazed at me for a long time before he gently extricated his wrist from my hand. He cupped the side of my face instead.
He said, “No.”
And he walked out of the room.
“No?” I walked right after him.
“I said no,” he tossed over his shoulder, going down a hallway.
“I want to know why.”
He took a back hallway to the kitchen. Brooke and Jonah were still in there. They’d moved to the table, two bottles of wine and a box of pizza open between them. Their conversation paused as we came in.
“You’re not ready,” Kai said as he turned the corner.
“What do you mean I’m not ready?”
Brooke’s mouth fell open. Even Jonah seemed startled, though I wasn’t sure the reason for their reactions.
Kai picked up one of the wine bottles, along with the two glasses.
“Hey!” Brooke sputtered, but she quieted after she looked at Kai’s face. “Never mind.” She swept a hand out. “Proceed.”
He inclined his head and moved forward, back out into the hallway. I followed, and he spoke over his shoulder.
“You want to hurt your father, but that’s all right now. You’re not ready for the rest.”
I thought we were going to my bedroom, but he turned left when he should’ve gone right. Where were we going?
There were stairs, back stairs, and we were going up.
“Where are you taking me?”
I heard a soft chuckle, and he held up the wine. “Keep following. You’ll thank me.” He glanced back with a cute grin.
Cute. I wanted to smack my forehead.
Kai wasn’t cute.
He was hot. He was sizzling. He was alluring.
He wasn’t cute.
But holy hell, there was a dimple, and my knees buckled. I’d never seen that dimple before.
I scowled. “Guys shouldn’t be allowed to have dimples.”
He barked out a laugh. “Come on.” He transferred the wine and glasses to one hand, reaching behind and taking my hand with his free one.
I had a moment. One moment.
Time slowed down.
I looked down at our joined hands, at his smile, at the wine in his hands, at where he was leading me, and a thrill spread through my body. It tickled me from the inside out, and I had to contain myself because it was like we were normal.
Like we’d been to dinner and a movie and this was the end of our date.
Or hell, maybe we were on the second or third date. We were going somewhere to drink wine and neck—like normal couples.
We were a couple.
Wait. Were we?
What was going on here? Where were we going? And I didn’t mean that literally, because I could see he was taking me to a room over the garage. The roof was slanted, with a skylight above. A large couch that was really a huge bed sat underneath, and as if all the romance movies had conspired against me in this moment, I saw it had begun raining.
It was officially the sappiest moment of my life.
I let go of Kai’s hand and stood in the doorway.
He turned, backing toward the couch/bed, holding the wine out. “What’s wrong?”
That dimple. He knew damn well the effect of that thing. It was a weapon.
He smirked. “Don’t like skylights?”
I growled, “Dipshit.”
He tipped his head back to laugh. “Come on.” He put the wine and glasses on a stand next to the couch, opening a drawer to pick up a remote. He hit a button, and I watched a partition on the slanted roof slide away. A television screen moved out. It was large enough to fill the entire ceiling, so lying down, it was as if we had front-row seats to our own movie theater.
“Here we go.” Kai looked at me, turning the screen on. “What do you normally watch?”
“Not politics.” I said with a straight face.
Actually, that was all we watched. We had to, in case a new ruling made our job harder.
Kai chuckled and turned to the movie channels. “Fair warning.” He paused on a romantic flick. “I’ve not watched a movie for…forever.” He glanced at me. “I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie.”
I snorted, shaking my head. “Do the latest action one.”
Another firm nod. “Yes. No chick flicks for me.”
“Okay.” He selected a movie that had just hit the theaters two days ago. How he got it here, I wasn’t going to ask. I wasn’t even going to be surprised.
I spread out on the couch and got comfortable.
Kai shut the door, casting the room in complete darkness except for the movie and the random flash of lightning above us. He crawled onto the couch with me.
“Did you want some wine?”
Instead of answering, I rolled over, grabbed the wine bottle, and moved back. I held it up in salute. “Let’s be a little dangerous tonight.”
Another soft laugh, and then he took hold of me. He lifted me up, scooted back, and deposited me on his lap. I could feel him hardening beneath me, and he stretched me to completely rest on him, my head nestled against his shoulder.
He skimmed a hand down my front, his fingers grazing the side of my breasts. He took the wine from me. “No glasses?”
I felt his chest vibrate with a laugh before he tipped the wine back to take a sip. He handed it back after he was done, and I grabbed it, almost desperately.
I needed it. I needed it to ward against what was going on here, because I was crumbling more quickly than I wanted to acknowledge.
I shouldn’t have been this ridiculously happy for something as cheesy as a movie, a private room away from the rest, and a thunderstorm overhead, but I was. I felt so much that my throat was clogged, and I slurped that wine down, trying to push my feelings out of the way.
“Hey.” Kai ran a hand up my back, sliding deliciously around the front before he took the bottle from me. “What’s that about?”
He didn’t ask again, but he didn’t need to. He was watching me. He knew. Taking a sip himself, he settled back, his hand running down the side of my body, sending sensations in its wake.
But I ignored them. I settled back in his arms, resting my head against his shoulder, and I tried to ignore the way he ran a hand down my arm, and how his palm smoothed over my stomach, how his fingers traced over my skin.
I moved, hoping the throb would lessen, but it didn’t.
I was beginning to pant.
Goddamn this man.
The movie was on. Someone was speaking. I couldn’t care less. I was way past trying to follow, so I turned, my mouth half on his neck, and I asked, “What did you mean before about how Tanner didn’t have a semblance of a life and the others do?”
He stiffened beneath me, pausing the movie.
“Really? You want to know now?” His eyebrow dipped.
I was half crazed and desperate from feelings I really couldn’t afford to be feeling for him, so I nodded. “Yep.”
“Okay.” He leaned back, and I did what I’d been fighting against.
I moved to straddle him, but I sat back, leaving some space between us. I could feel him beneath me, and though he was hard, it was as if he didn’t even know.
“There’s a council in Canada,” he said.
“A council?” I echoed. My mind raced.
God. I’m falling for him.
I can’t fall for him.
He nodded as if I was listening, as if I totally understood every word he said, as if my world wasn’t crumbling to pieces inside of me.
“There was a mafia war years ago, and it was so bad that our ancestors decided it’d never happen again. Too many innocents died.” He ran a hand down my arm, grazing the inside of my wrist. He circled it, feeling my palm. “So they made a council instead.”
I was repeating myself, and my heart jackhammered away.
“Yeah.” He frowned, his eyes narrowing. “And because our father was a jackass and soulless and ruthless, he became the leader of the council.”
Oh. Wait a minute.