Giving In(3)

By: Maya Banks

Only now she got the distinct impression he’d been thinking about her. A lot.

She mentally went through every single one of her favorite four-letter curse words and added a few with extra syllables for good measure.

“Let me make this simple for you since you love a challenge. I’m not a challenge, Jensen. I will never be a challenge because you don’t have a chance in hell with me. You’re out of your goddamn mind anyway. What the hell would a man like you see in me? According to you I’m scared of my own shadow. I’m timid, apparently I look like hell and have as many issues as People magazine.”

He rose, ignoring her outburst, which only infuriated her more. He seemed utterly unfazed by her cutting remarks. Then he leaned over the desk so they were nose to nose. To her surprise he traced one finger over the dark smudges under her eyes.

“Get some help, Kylie,” he said softly. “Go to a doctor. Get something to help you sleep. See a shrink if that’s what it will take. You can’t keep up like this forever. Sooner or later you’re going to crack. And then you’re going to fall apart and shatter. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the people who love you and are worried sick about you.”

And then before she could respond to that particular bit of nonsense, he turned and strode out of her office, closing the door with a soft bang.

She sagged into her chair and dropped her face into her hands, suddenly so weary that she couldn’t even hold her own head up.

He was right and that pissed her off even more. She was walking a very fine line between sanity and insanity. She wasn’t sleeping. Her sleep was too fractured by nightmares. Of the past. The demons of her past and how they still controlled her present.

But see a shrink? Ask her doctor for sleeping pills? That would be like admitting defeat and she was not a quitter, damn it. Not her. She’d survived hell and she was past that now. Wasn’t she?

Or was she every bit the prisoner now that she’d been as a child? Her father’s abuse was as recent as yesterday in her mind. Because she couldn’t forget. She couldn’t just get over it. Couldn’t make peace with her past.

She closed her eyes, another wave of fatigue nearly flattening her. Sleep. She just needed one night without the nightmares that visited her so frequently. Maybe she’d stop on the way home and get some over-the-counter sleep aids at the pharmacy. Then there would be no embarrassing, weak trip to the doctor and certainly no visits to a damn shrink where she’d lie on a couch and bare her soul.

Oh hell no. Hell would freeze over before she ever allowed anyone to know her torment and shame.

WHAT was it about the woman that drove him to the brink of insanity? Jensen was absorbed in his thoughts as he stalked back to his office. He had a mountain of paperwork, contracts to look over and sign, if no changes were necessary. For the next two weeks, he was solidly at the helm while Dash took Joss away on their honeymoon.

Dash was happy. Disgustingly so. Now that he’d made up for his fuck-up of monumental proportions. Joss was a good woman. The best. Dash was damn lucky to have his heart’s desire. A beautiful, submissive woman who’d granted Dash everything. Her trust, her love and her complete surrender.

In other words, the complete opposite of the woman who preoccupied so much of Jensen’s thoughts lately.

Kylie Breckenridge was as prickly as a cactus and yet every time she sent him one of her withering gazes, he got a hard-on from hell. He wanted her so damn much that he couldn’t breathe around her. And that pissed him off.

She was a woman who was strictly off-limits to him. The complete antithesis of the women he liked to fuck. And he said fuck because that’s what it was. His heart was certainly never involved. His need for control precluded any warm and fuzzy thoughts.

It wasn’t that he was a bastard to the women he dominated. He made certain they were cared for, provided for and that they were sexually satisfied.

But Kylie?

Hell. A dominant, alpha male was the very last thing she wanted. If she wanted any man at all. Not that he could blame her. Dash had told him of Kylie’s childhood. It made him shake with rage that she’d been so abused, so shattered by the one person in her life she should have been able to trust for absolute protection. Her father.