Home > Denied (One Night #2)(7)

Denied (One Night #2)(7)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

I wipe my sopping hair from my face. ‘Your shock when I confided in you, told you about my history, wasn’t because I put myself out there or because of my mother. It was because I’d described your life, with the drink and rich people, taking gifts and money. And. That. You. Knew. William. Anderson.’ I’m doing a grand job of retaining my emotions. I just want to scream at him, and if he doesn’t give me something soon, I might just do that. These are the things that I should have said before. I shouldn’t have goaded him into f**king me or put myself in those women’s shoes to prove a point – a point I still can’t fathom. Anger makes you do stupid things, and I was angry. ‘Why did you invite me to dinner?’

‘I didn’t know what else to do.’

‘There’s nothing you can do.’

‘Then why did you come?’ he asks.

His straight question catches me off guard. ‘Because I was angry with you! Flash cars, clubs and luxury possessions don’t make it right!’ I yell. ‘Because you made me fall in love with a man you’re not!’ I’m freezing cold, but my quivering body is not a result of that. I’m angry – blood-boiling angry.

‘You’re my habit, Olivia Taylor.’ His statement is delivered with no emotion. ‘You belong to me.’

‘Belong to you?’ I ask.

‘Yes.’ He steps forward, prompting me to retreat, keeping the distance between us somewhere near to safe. It’s an ambitious endeavour when he’s still within sight.

‘You must be mistaken.’ I raise my chin and work hard on keeping my voice even. ‘The Miller Hart I know has an appreciation for his possessions.’

‘Don’t!’ He takes my arm, but I yank it free.

‘You wanted to continue with your secret life of f**king woman after woman, and you wanted me to make myself readily available for you to f**k when you got home.’ I mentally correct myself. He called it destressing, but he can call it what he likes. The principle is still the same.

He freezes me in place with adamant eyes. ‘I’ve never f**ked you, Livy. I’ve only ever worshipped you.’ He steps forward. ‘I only ever made love to you.’

I draw a long, calming breath. ‘You didn’t make love to me in that hotel room.’

His eyes clench shut briefly, and when they reopen, I see anguish pouring from them. ‘I didn’t know what I was doing.’

‘You were doing what Miller Hart does best,’ I spit, hating the venom in my tone and the mild shock that passes across his heart-stopping face as a result of my statement. Many women may think that that’s what London’s most notorious male escort does best, but I know different. And deep down, so does Miller.

He watches me for a moment, unspoken words swimming in his gaze. It’s right now that understanding slams through me. ‘You think I’m a hypocrite, don’t you?’

‘No.’ He shakes his head mildly . . . unconvincingly. ‘I accept what you did when you ran away and gave yourself . . .’ He pulls up. He can’t finish. ‘I accept why you did it. I hate it. It makes me hate Anderson even more. But I accept it. I accept you.’

Shame eats away at me, and I momentarily lose my fortitude. He accepts me. And reading between the lines, I think he wants me to accept him. Take me as I am, Olivia.

I shouldn’t. I can’t.

When an eternity passes and I’ve mentally sprinted through every reason to walk away, I hold his gaze and reel off my own version of his words. ‘I don’t want other women to taste you.’

His body goes lax on an exhale of defeated breath. ‘It’s not as easy as just quitting.’

Those words are like a bullet to my head, and with nothing left to say, I turn and walk away, leaving my perfect Miller Hart, still looking perfect in the pouring rain.

Chapter Three

The week is passing painfully slowly. I’ve seen my shifts through at the bistro and avoided Gregory, and I’ve not returned to the gym. I want to, but I can’t risk seeing Miller. Every time I seem to edge forward a little, he seems to sense it and materialises from nowhere – mainly in my dreams, a few times in reality – to put me back at square one.

Nan appears at the lounge doorway and takes a few moments to dust the nearby bookshelf before swiping the remote control from my hand. ‘Hey, I was watching that!’ I wasn’t watching it at all, and even if I had been utterly engrossed and interested in the documentary on fruit bats, Nan wouldn’t give a stuff.

‘Hush your mouth and help me decide.’ She throws the remote onto the couch next to me and runs into the hallway, returning quickly with two dresses on hangers. ‘I can’t choose,’ she says, holding one up to the front of her body. It’s blue with bright yellow flowers scattered all over it. ‘This one’ – she swaps it for a green dress – ‘or this one?’

I sit up a little and flick my eyes between the two. ‘I like both.’

Her navy eyes roll. ‘Fat lot of help you are.’

‘Where are you going?’

‘Dinner-dance with George on Friday.’

I smile. ‘Are you going to rock the ballroom?’

‘Pfft!’ She shakes her head and performs a little jig, making my smile widen. ‘Olivia, your grandmother rocks just about anything she does.’

‘True,’ I admit, scanning the dresses again. ‘The blue one.’

The smile that graces her face replaces some of the lingering coldness that has resided for days, sending a brief shot of warmth to my heart. ‘I think so, too.’ She throws the green one aside and holds the favourite up against her. ‘It’s perfect for dancing.’

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