Home > The Proposition: The Ferro Family(8)

The Proposition: The Ferro Family(8)
Author: H.M. Ward

Lifting my hand, I tap my fingernail against the door and lean one hip on the wall, like I’m bored. When Bryan doesn’t answer, I tap again, forming patterns that sound like Morse Code. The door is suddenly yanked open and Bryan is standing there in his tux, no shoes, and his tie undone. The top button on his shirt is open and reveals his toned chest beneath. His emerald eyes flash as he takes me in. “You’re here.” He sounds surprised.

Pushing off the wall, I straighten and walk past him, dragging my finger across his shirtfront as I enter the room. “And you’re surprised because?”

“Because I didn’t think you’d come.”

I smirk. “You didn’t really give me a choice.” The top of my bag is open, so I know his words are being recorded. It’s a crappy thing to do, but then again, he’s evil, so I don’t care.

He watches me for a moment and looks displeased. “I have my reasons.”

“So do I.” I fold my arms over my chest and turn on my heel to look him over. Bryan’s jaw is covered in a dusting of stubble and is clenched tight like he can’t stand the sight of me. “Explain it to me, just to make sure I have the facts straight.”

He steps toward me, invading my personal space, with a look of malice. My heart sky rockets as he rips my purse out of my hands and throws it on the bed, spilling the contents. The phone lands facedown. Then he slides his hands over my dress and cups my br**sts, before slipping his hands down my waist and thighs. “One second.”

“What the hell?”

“Just checking. I’m finding it harder and harder to find trustworthy people.” Bryan had to be looking for a wire, but he didn’t find one. “And don’t play dumb with me, either, Hallie. You know what the terms are—your body for my silence.”

“You said one night.”

“I say lots of things, but since you’re here, let’s be more upfront with my intentions. You come to me when I call for you and your secrets stay quiet. You can go on telling your lies and I won’t say a damn thing.”

“So, this doesn’t stop? Is that what you’re saying?”

He glares at me and his brow wrinkles. Bryan steps within a breath of my face and hisses, “You know what I’m saying, and I swear to God, if you try and f**k with me, I’ll make you wish you’d never been born.”

The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, but I don’t back down. Our gazes are locked like it’s a goddamn showdown and I’ll be damned if I look away first. This doesn’t make sense. My gut is telling me that he’s threatening me with more than he’s letting on. There has to be something else there, a piece of my deplorable past that he’s holding over my head, but I don’t remember telling him that. Maybe he already knows. Maybe Bryan will make something up and flame me with lies. It no longer matters what he has on me, the point is that he’s forcing his hand and he can—God, knows he has the power to do it.

I avoid looking at my purse, even though my eyes are drawn to it. That’s my only safety net. If he finds my phone and sees the recording, I’m toast. I don’t understand Bryan and his anger—the resentment. Where did it come from and why is it being pummeled at me? I don’t deserve this.

This is so different than the last time I saw Bryan, but some things are the same. The intensity in his eyes and the way his scent fills my head and makes me long for more. Those things haven’t changed and no matter what this man is telling me, he still arouses me. Desires that have been long dormant awaken and I wonder again what made him so irate that he’d do this to me. The thought repeats over and over again, flashing like a bolt of lightning and frying my other train of thought. Even if I maliciously wrote those things about him, it wouldn’t warrant this response.

Pressing my finger to his chest, I breathe, “Don’t make threats you can’t keep.” I’m insane. Why’d I say that? I puff up and straighten my spine.

Bryan’s lips part as he sucks in, as if he’s been burned, but his gaze remains locked on mine. “Don’t tempt me.”

My eyes sweep over his face and then to the floor. I can’t contain the fury building within me. “No one asked you to be here. No one asked you to show up now and ruin my life. I’ve had enough shit hurled at my head recently and God knows that I didn’t need this, too.”

“I’m not sorry for ruining your picture perfect world, and making you cheat on your boyfriend.” His words are utterly calloused, like he never cared about me at all.

A bitter laugh escapes from me before I can stop it. “Yeah, it’s not cheating if he knows, and he does. Guess who sent me here?” The tension on Bryan’s face drains and he steps back, surprised. “Don’t pretend to give a rat’s ass, Ferro. My life is as far from picture perfect as it could be. My father died, I got thrown out of my own f**king house, and I wrote this book and poured my heart out into it, reliving the past so that I could walk away and keep my goddamned mind in one piece. That’s why you were in it! That’s why it happened in the first place! And then you come along just when things are about to get better and shoot them all to hell.”

I step toward him, so that we’re nearly lip to lip. Each of my words is laced with venom and dripping with scorn. His green eyes are burning a hole through me, but I don’t shy away. “I will not back down. I will not lose this round, so do whatever the hell you want. I’m not walking away.”

I’m in Bryan’s face, breathless, and the pull to his mouth is stronger than anything I’ve ever felt. My skin is charged, tingling, in anticipation of his touch. Before I know what I’m doing, I grab his shirtfront in my fists and speak in a low voice, slowly moving my mouth so that my lips brush against his as I say each word. “I completely and utterly hate you.” My jaw is so tight, and I’m breathing too hard in short, fast bursts that make my ribs expand and force my br**sts to brush against his chest.

For the first time in a long time, I feel something. It’s not the normal numbness that’s consumed me for days on end. It’s raging anger, burning hot and bright. I want to fight. I feel the need coursing through me and can’t imagine where this surge of strength is coming from. Bryan has always been intimidating, but when he’s angry, he’s frightening, and here I am, wound tight and ready to throw punches.

There’s a slight pause before Bryan’s lips come crashing down on mine. His hands sweep back across my cheek and tangle in my hair. The kiss is not kind or soft. He doesn’t ask me or wait. There’s nothing civilized about it. His tongue forces mine back, fighting for control as he holds me tighter, and presses harder. Our bodies slam together and I find my hands groping at his shirt, trying to get to the skin underneath.

Bryan pushes me backward as the kiss grows hotter, step by step, until my back hits the wall. The jolt makes me more aware of him, of the hard length pressing against my stomach through his slacks. He isn’t shy about it—he never was. Bryan shoves himself against me, smashing me into the wall and I let him.

Gasping for air, I claw at his neck and kiss him harder. I’m lost, floating through the past, and escaping the pain of the present. Emotions fill me to the brim and overflow in anger and rage. My hands fist and slam into his muscular arms, but that only makes him devour me more.

I don’t understand what’s happening. I hate Bryan for what he’s done. How could he demand something like this from me? How could he threaten to destroy me? The thoughts swirl through my mind and vanish as the needs of my body consume all other thoughts. The throbbing within deepens and I realize that Bryan is striking a chord that hasn’t been touched in years. The kiss, the way his mouth is all over mine, the way there’s nothing tame about it. It’s every part Bryan and the polar opposite of Neil. This is lust, carnal attraction and I let my body take control of my mind. I stop thinking, because more rational thoughts won’t help me now.

When I finally get my hands under his shirt, I grab a fistful of his back and dig my nails in. I want it to hurt. I want to hear him cry out, but he doesn’t. Instead, it seems to turn him on more. Bryan finds my arms without breaking the kiss and slams them into the wall. I’m pinned in place with my hands above my head and Bryan Ferro’s tongue in my mouth with his hard length shoved against my hip.

My body flushes with heat that makes a straight shot and lands between my thighs. A noise comes from the back of my throat, a little moan of pleasure. I should be horrified, but I’m not. The truth is, I don’t care. I’ll take what I want and I know I can be reckless with Bryan. He won’t judge me the way Neil does.

This is one aspect of sex that Neil doesn’t understand. Letting go and caving into your body’s desires isn’t animalistic, it’s the epitome of trust because it’s impossible to be vulnerable with some guys, but Bryan is a different story. I don’t understand why, but I’m willing to let things be the way they were. I know he won’t hurt me even though by asking me to be here, he already did.

Bryan’s knee comes up and separates my legs as he presses his h*ps to mine. He rubs against me, driving me wild as his tongue dances in my mouth. I can’t breathe or think and I don’t want to. Bryan suddenly pulls away and cold rushes between us. I stagger forward and try to hide my raspy breaths.

Bryan’s entire body is tense, each muscle is perfectly sculpted and completely lickable. He rips his shirt off and buttons go flying, before discarding it on the floor. With every step he takes toward me, my desire increases tenfold. The look in his eyes and the way he moves his fingers, like he wants to own me, excites me even more.

Bryan’s voice is strained, like he’s having difficulty controlling himself. “Tell me no. If something’s too much, and you don’t want to do it—say so.” He stops in front of me and looks down, cupping my face in his hands. “Do you understand?”

I nod.

His grip on my cheeks tightens. “That’s not good enough. Say it. I own you tonight, Hallie. This is the only say you have in anything.” His bright green eyes burn as he watches me, waiting for an answer.

Part of me resists. I hate being told what to do, and he knows it, but the other part is absurdly aroused by his desire to dominate me. My pulse responds to his words and to the way he holds me. It’s possessive, like I belong to him. Sucking in a slow breath, I do the unthinkable. “I understand...”

His thumbs sweep across my temples and he watches me for a moment. “You like that idea, belonging to me. Being mine in every conceivable way.” At first I only meet his gaze. “Answer me.”

I could lie, but this is Bryan. He used to know what I was thinking before I did. “Yes.” If he does everything, I don’t have to think. I’m not responsible for once, and that appeals to me.

Bryan seems lost for a moment. He hesitates, like he wants to say something. Emotion floods his eyes and is gone in a blink, like it was never there. He’s hardened, and shut off. I swear that it’s like looking in the mirror. We’ve both been emotionally gutted, but I have no idea what caused his pain. It’s impossible to miss now that we’re standing so close like this. For the moment, I don’t want to talk about pain, I want to escape from it.

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