Good morning! Sorry for being MIA. Uploading all the books took it out of me as well as a super busy personal schedule. I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a May release of Nails for a Billionaire, but it might be the last day of May.
Please enjoy Episode 9:
Conor woke up to diffuse light on either side of the blue drapes in his cottage bedroom. Charisse faced away from him on her side with her brown curls spread out behind her almost close enough to tickle his cheek. His cock was hard and ready for her, but he had something to do before she woke up. Plus, he wasn’t sure if she’d be up for lovemaking.
He stared at the scarlet scratches against the bruises on her right arm and clenched his jaw with a fresh surge of anger. She’d been attacked in his house by someone he’d invited. A sheet covered her body, but he drew the comforter over her arms and shoulders to ward off the chilly morning. And so he wouldn’t have to see the bruises and scratches. It was over. She’d stood up to Josh and given him back some of his own. But he worried about what would happen while he was gone, especially if Becca broke up with Josh.
He pushed aside his worries by recalling last night. They’d cuddled on the couch and listened to music after dinner. They hadn’t talked much, but it was a comfortable silence with the contact of their bodies being what they needed most. He kissed her cheek gently, glad when she made no indication she was waking up.
Reluctantly he rolled away from her and slid out of bed. He grabbed his jeans and shirt from last night and slipped out to put them on downstairs.
When he was dressed, he located the box that had contained the rose necklace he’d given to Charisse and lined it with damp paper towels. He grabbed the pruning shears from below the sink and went out behind the house where there were still many miniature roses on the branches. A breeze chilled him, but he stood close to the bushes and studied each one carefully, trying to find three perfect roses to be immortalized in gold.
When Raul pulled up he’d managed to find two roses to clip.
Raul got out and walked towards him.
“Good morning, sir.”
Still studying the roses, Conor said, “Good morning. I told Charisse last night that you were staying behind to be her personal assistant. She’s fine with it.” He actually wasn’t sure how fine with it she was. She’d put up a brief protest until he suggested hiring a bodyguard instead.
Raul didn’t answer him. He probably didn’t believe him.
After a moment Raul said, “Did Charisse give you a prescription for me to fill?”
Conor frowned. All the roses seemed too flawed. He stepped to a new section. “No, she said she’d get it in the morning.”
Silence answered him again. He turned and faced Raul, wondering what Raul thought about Charisse claiming she had an ear infection. Raul held the small ice chest he’d requested.
Conor lowered his voice. “I’m worried there’s something she’s not telling me. The whole thing with her ear doesn’t seem right.”
Raul gave a glance towards the side of the house like he was checking to see if she was there. He said, “She had a rough afternoon, but she didn’t sound like herself when she was talking about the doctor’s visit. I was hoping to know better what was going on before you left.”
“Me too.” Conor turned back to the roses. He didn’t want to leave her, not while she was so vulnerable.
The situation in China wasn’t his fault, but he still needed to go. He couldn’t allow the company to crumble—there were too many jobs at stake. He needed to remove the CEO and a few people close to him, but the termination laws in China were a mess. He was taking a team of lawyers with him to make sure he got everything right. More importantly, he needed to choose their replacements.
As he went through possible solutions to his problems, he found a rose with symmetrical petals and no blackened edges. He clipped it and set it in the necklace box with the other two.
“This one’s for the ring,” he said, pointing to the rose he’d just picked, “and the other two are for earrings. They seem to be close to the same size.” He gently closed the lid.
Raul took the box and paused.
“Is there something you have to say?” asked Conor, wary of Raul’s opinion.
“You know I adore Charisse, but a ring so soon after everything she’s been through…”
Conor shook his head. “I know. I plan to hold off for as long as I can, but I know I won’t want to wait until these roses bloom again.”
Raul smiled and shook his head. “Very well. But I know you. You’ll ask as soon as it’s in your pocket.”
Conor had no defense. He gave a grin and shrugged. He always went after what he wanted. “Be sure the earrings are done and to New York by Tuesday. He’s already agreed to do it as a rush job.”
Raul set the ice chest down, opened it and took out two acai bowls wrapped in plastic. He handed the bowls to Conor and took the box, setting it on top of the ice. After he closed the lid, he stood up. “Your private plane will be ready to leave at noon. Darnell and his team confirmed they would be there.”
Conor sighed. “That’s not very much time. How much do you want to bet Charisse won’t want to talk about what’s really going on until I get back?”
“You’re very persuasive, Mr. Grishin.”
Conor shook his head, walking back to the front door carrying the breakfast bowls. He could be persuasive in a business deal, but everything with Charisse seemed too fragile right now. Still, they were a couple. A real couple. She needed to open up to him.
He walked inside, determined to get to the bottom of whatever was wrong with Charisse, but when he stepped towards the kitchen, he nearly dropped the bowls.
Charisse stood with her back to him, fixing a pot of coffee. She’d changed from her knit pajamas into a violet lace camisole with her perfect round ass peeking out at the bottom. Lust surged and took over his thoughts. Round one to Charisse.