Home > Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(9)

Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(9)
Author: J.S. Scott

She sighed as she watched the woman set the strawberry daiquiri in front of her with a kind smile. Chloe smiled back at her as she took the straw and started to stir the whipped cream into her drink.

James had directed his charm at Chloe at one time, too. But those days were long gone. He seemed to change personalities like he changed his clothing. She recognized his smile and charm for what it was now...nothing more than an act.

Had any of his affection for her ever been genuine?

The waitress left, and his expression immediately morphed to one of disapproval as he stared at her across the table.

I know what that look means now. If she went home with him, they wouldn’t be discussing anything rationally. He’d vent his fury by causing her pain.

“I’m not going home with you. I’m done,” she answered casually, even though butterflies were flapping around in her belly.

She rarely went home with James, and she could count on one hand the number of times they’d had sex since she’d returned to Rocky Springs. She actually dreaded those encounters because sex for James was just a way of punishing her, of asserting control now. She’d avoided it as much as possible, and lately she refused to be alone with him. After his last punishment, she hadn’t given him a chance to force her into sex again.

Taking a long sip of her drink, she watched James covertly, startled as his hand came across the table so fast that she didn’t have time to react. Wrapping long fingers around her wrist, he squeezed. Chloe flinched, knowing that the gesture might look romantic from a distance, but it was an action meant to inflict pain…and it did. The rough grasp of his hand tightened until she was afraid the bones in her wrist would crack.

“I’ve wasted all this time on you, Chloe. Do you think I’m going to just let you go? I want all of the things I’m entitled to have,” he told her angrily. “I want the cars we talked about and the home. I want to build my practice and become the most popular physician in the county. I deserve that after all the time I’ve put into you.”

James wanted a lot of toys, expensive playthings that only her money could buy. At one time, she’d been willing to share everything with him because he was going to be her husband. “I’m sorry,” she said automatically to make the pain stop.

“Then stop the talk of breaking up,” James insisted, his grip tightening cruelly. “Stop it now.”

Tears started to form in her eyes from the pain of his vicious hold on her. “I can’t,” she squeaked out, giving him a pleading look. “I won’t marry you.”

She tried to free her arm, struggling with him. “That hurts.”

“It’s going to hurt more when we get back home,” James said viciously, retaining his grip. “Stop making a scene, Chloe.”

She yanked at her arm, not caring anymore whether people noticed. “Let. Go.” For the first time, real anger rose from her belly, hatred for a man she had once thought she loved.

I don’t deserve this. No woman deserves this.

“I’m not going to stop until you stop acting like a stupid bitch,” James answered. His voice became louder, his face red with annoyance, his expression turning violent.

Chloe was just considering screaming when an arm seemingly came out of nowhere and instantly made James release his hold on her. She gasped as he released her and grunted as he yanked his own arm back in pain.

She looked up at her rescuer.


She was breathing fast and shallow, her heart racing as she gently rubbed her sore wrist, trying to get circulation back into her hand.

“When a lady asks you to let go, you let go,” Gabe told James in an exaggerated drawl. “You okay, Chloe?”

She looked at Gabe with panic in her eyes. “Yes. I’m fine.”

James was still cradling his arm from the brutal twist that Gabe had inflicted when he’d forced James to release Chloe.

Gabe nudged his black Stetson up with his index finger, revealing the anger in his fiery eyes. “Good. Meet me out at my truck,” he told her calmly, his ire still aimed directly at James.

Chloe’s body relaxed as sensation returned to her hand. She wanted to obey, run from the restaurant like a frightened deer with a predator on its tail, but she didn’t want Gabe getting involved in her troubles. “Come with me,” she asked beseechingly. “I’m not feeling well. I want to go home.” She stood and reached out for his hand.

Gabe hesitated as he looked down at James as though the doctor was a cockroach he’d like to squash. Then he looked at Chloe and he grasped her outstretched hand. “You come first, no matter how much I’d like to kick his ass right now,” he told her huskily. “Come on.”

“This isn’t over, Chloe,” James hissed as Gabe began to lead her out of the restaurant.

Gabe turned. “It’s over,” he assured James, giving the man seated at the table a deadly look before he gently tugged Chloe with him out of the restaurant.

Chloe followed, unaffected by the violent look in Gabe’s eyes. Unlike James, somehow she sensed Gabe would never hurt her, even if he was angry.

“What the hell was that about?” Gabe opened the door of his truck as they arrived at his parking spot.

Chloe reached for the handle inside the truck and put her foot on the running board to help her hop into the seat of the large vehicle.

Gabe stopped her by gently grasping her arm and wrapping it around his neck before he lifted her and placed her into the seat like she weighed almost nothing.

“I was breaking off our engagement,” she told him honestly, thinking he deserved to know since he’d helped her. He’d probably figured it out anyway from the few comments that he’d obviously heard being exchanged between her and James.

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