Maid for the Billionaire
Page 15

 Ruth Cardello

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“I stayed with friends for a few days, but that option dissolved when news spread of the change in my financial situation. My father hoped to break me by removing my options, but his interference only made me more determined to find out what had happened.”
“And Thomas wouldn’t help you,” she guessed. Abby imagined a much younger version of the proud man before her turning to the one male figure in his life he trusted, only to be abandoned by him also. The image was heart wrenching.
A ragged, shudder tore through the man beneath her, bringing tears of empathy to Abby’s eyes. His voice held little emotion as he said, “I begged him to help me, but he said some things were better off left alone. Maybe he was afraid of my father after all or maybe there was no profit in remaining too close during such a scandal. I don’t know. Before seeing him at the reading of the will, I hadn’t spoken to him since I left my father’s house.”
“You never found your mother? I can’t believe your father was never forced to produce proof that she was alive.”
Dominic’s face twisted with disdain. “Money made him untouchable. At least that’s what he believed, but I was bringing him down. If he hadn’t died, I would have gotten the truth out of him.”
“Do you really think he hurt her?” Abby asked through the trembling fingers of one hand.
“He was capable of incredible cruelty in business and he often forgot to leave that ruthlessness at work.” Dominic took her shaking hand in his and kissed it softly. “I thought that kind of anger was normal when I was young; the price you had to pay to get and stay on top.”
“Oh, Dom….” She couldn’t help the tears that slipped over her lashes and dripped onto his silk shirt.
He brushed her tears away with a light touch that seemed uncharacteristic of such a powerful man and that only made her cry all the more. Abby had seen men grow uncomfortable or impatient around tears, but Dominic was the first man to treat her like a delicate and precious creature he simply wanted to comfort and was afraid of crushing. How could she have doubted him at all? Tears for him turned to tears of shame that she buried in his quickly dampening shirt.
He didn’t seem to care that her mascara stained his clothing. He let her cry softly against him, gently pushing the hair out of her face. His heart thudded loudly in his chest. When she quieted, he said, “Don’t waste your tears on me, little one. You wouldn’t look at me with such tenderness if you knew half of what I have done to get where I am.”
Abby sniffed and raised her head. “We all carry regrets with us, Dominic. Today is what is important. The choices we make from now on are what define us.”
He wrapped a long curl around one of his fingers thoughtfully. “You make it sound so easy, Abby, but you don’t know me. I’ve been angry so long, I’m not sure who I am without it. My sister was right, you should run, not walk away from me. I destroy everything beautiful I touch.”
Abby put a hand on either side of his face, forcing him to look down at her. “I may not have known you long, Dominic, but I know one thing. You’re not nearly as awful as you think you are. Mrs. Duhamel wouldn’t treat you like the son she never had if you were the monster you’re describing.”
Dominic shifted uncomfortably beneath her. “When you look at me like that, I almost believe I could be the man you think I am. It’s not that simple, though. People don’t get a shot at that kind of redemption.”
Abby pulled his head down and whispered against his lips, “I have to believe they do.”
He groaned against her lips, keeping the kiss feather light, as he fought some internal battle. His hands held her just below her shoulders, held her like he was afraid she’d pull away. “What great wrong have you done, little one?”
Abby’s hands dropped to her lap. This was the perfect time to tell him that she had withheld information from him partly out of fear and partly out of selfishness.
Just say it.
What if Zhang is right and he doesn’t believe me? Am I ready to lose him tonight?
She opened her mouth to tell him, but stopped at the expression in his eyes. When they settled on hers, dark with emotion, she could almost imagine that his next words were going to be a declaration of some kind.
I am going to tell him, I just need a little more time. She said, “I did everything wrong after my parents died. I thought that if I sounded like I knew what I was doing, Lil would feel more secure. But when Lil needed me the most, I lectured and judged instead of listening to her. I treated her like she was unable to make good decisions on her own. My actions ate away at her self-confidence which only took more of a beating from me each time she made another mistake. Mistakes that I helped push her toward. I see that now. If I hadn’t met you, I might have lost her. I have to believe that I’ll have a second chance to get it right…to make things right.”
He buried his face in her neck. “Lady, you scare the hell out of me.”
She looked up at him in surprise. “I thought you said I calmed you.”
He eased her off his lap and stood, running his hand through his hair with frustration. “It was selfish of me to bring you to China. I don’t want you to think …”
Despite the sinking dread in her heart, she walked over and silenced him gently with her finger. I’m a big girl. I stopped believing in happily ever after a long time ago. “It’s ok, Dominic…”
He took her hand in his and scowled down at her. “What exactly is ok?”
She disentangled their hands and forced herself to meet his stormy eyes. “You don’t have to worry that I’ll make a scene when we go back to the states. I won’t regret this trip, Dominic, no matter what happens between us when we return.” And that’s the truth. It has to be.
His expression grew darker, exhibiting none of the relief she’d expected in response to her statement. The incredible male ego! So, it was alright for him to warn her not to think that this trip was more than a casual fling, but not for her accept it?
Did you think I’d fall at your feet and beg you to stay, Dominic? You’ve got a lot to learn about Dartley women. Abby said, “Take it as a compliment, Dominic. You’ll be the man I measure my future dates against.”
He took both of her upper arms in his hands and held her immobile before him with a gentle touch that was in direct conflict with the steel in his eyes. He looked like he wanted to say something.
For just a moment, Abby let herself hope. Could he be jealous of the mere thought of her with another man? The thought had her heart jumping wildly in her chest.
What would it be like to be loved by an intense man like Dominic? No, stop it. Dominic is the transitional man, the inspiration to hold out for the real thing. Men like Dominic don’t settle down.
Or did they?
He wasn’t like any man she’d ever met. They would have crumbled beneath the financial and emotional pressure his father had applied. He hadn’t let ultimatums stop him from looking for his mother, not even when it had meant losing his inheritance. That spoke to the strength of his character. His subsequent financial success revealed a tenaciousness that Abby couldn’t help but admire. Dominic went after what he wanted, regardless of the risk.
But could he want the kind of life Abby needed? She craved the warmth of her parents’ marriage. Somehow it was difficult to imagine Dominic helping her plan their child’s first birthday party. Where would someone like her fit into his fast paced life?
She laid a soft hand on his chest, instantly becoming distracted by the tight muscle she felt there. “You don’t have to say anything, Dominic. I’m actually grateful for this trip.”
“I don’t want your gratitude,” he growled, pulling her against him and leaving little question as to what he did want.
Maybe he didn’t love her, but he did want her. There was no denying the urgency of the excitement stretching his pants’ seams. She doubted even Dominic knew what the future held for them when they returned to the US.
So, stop over-thinking it and just enjoy yourself for a change.
He might not be hers forever, but he was hers tonight. Abby slowly unbuttoned her shirt and let it fall to the floor behind her. “Ever since I walked into this suite, I’ve been wondering why someone would put a bathtub right in the middle of the living room.”
An entirely different expression chased away Dominic’s earlier irritation. He flashed her a smile she was starting to recognize as proof that she could muddle his thoughts as quickly as he could hers.
"Why do I get the feeling that you're not as tired as I thought?" he asked huskily.
Abby squirmed against him and was rewarded by a jerking movement that made her want to reach down and release him, but she knew how to get him even more excited. "I’m not sure what you mean,” she said and took a teasing half step backwards
He advanced as she retreated one sultry step at a time until they were clearly headed for the bedroom. His shirt lay discarded behind them along with his belt which had quickly followed. "What are you doing to me?” he whispered. “Even in the midst of the negotiations, I pictured you here, waiting for me and I could barely concentrate on the concessions they were suggesting." The back of her legs hit the side of the bed. His kisses moved down her neck and across her shoulder.
“So, no bath?” she gurgled with pleasure as his evening whiskers tickled the sensitive flesh he revealed with each article of her clothing he removed. His mouth was driving her over the edge.
“Later,” he mumbled against one breast before taking her nipple gently into his mouth. He suckled, lightly nipped, and circled her excited tip with his tongue. When she thought she couldn’t take anymore, he moved his attention to her other breast, repeating the process until she was panting beneath him.
His tongue followed the curve of her softly rounded stomach until it met the fabric of her pants. He knelt swiftly, never lifting his lips from her skin as he slid her pants and lace thong down. Unimpeded by clothing, he gently parted her lower lips and thrust his tongue inside her. At the hot rhythm of this intimate caress, Abby’s knees buckled beneath her. Dominic caught her easily, guiding her back to rest against the mattress and parting her legs further to allow him greater access to her.
She writhed and grabbed handfuls of the sheets beneath her. He was relentless in his attention to her pleasure. He plunged, licked with excruciating accuracy and tantalized her further with strong hands that knew just how to move her beneath him to drive her wild. His hands clenched on her buttocks as her cries of release filled the room. He turned his face to kiss her inner thigh as shudders racked her body.
He stood, swiftly unbuttoned his pants and stepped out of them in one smooth move. She should have felt vulnerable, lying there on the bed, fully exposed to him, but instead she felt powerful, liberated. His need for her held him rock hard above her and, if only for a moment, completely at her mercy. “Tell me you thought about this, too,” he said in a ragged voice.
Abby rolled backwards onto the bed into the pile of pillows. “Well, I was really busy,” she said coyly, lowering her lashes in blatant flirtation.