Hold Me (Love The Way #2) - W. Winters Page 0,2

my professional obligations? What kind of coward would I be?

I jerk the wheel to the right at the next intersection, my mind racing. My blood pumps hard in my veins. This isn’t that night with Quincy. This is a different morning. A far more complicated relationship. I didn’t know what I wanted with Quincy. I have to be with Ella. That is the only thing I know right now.

That’s the truth. The one truth that keeps me sane.

In the rearview mirror, I watch Damon’s car come after mine, his tires squealing. He’s swearing in the front seat, his expression pissed, and that anger won’t leave once he finds out what I intend to do. What I have to do.

If Ella doesn’t have feelings for me or if she doesn’t see any need for me at all, then I’ll leave her be. I’ll let her go on with her life. I’ll step back and allow her the space to get well. I’ll never bother her again.

But I’m not going to take anyone else’s word for it or allow them to make that decision for her. My heart slams against my rib cage over and over and over. Her manager and the rest of The Firm can claim she doesn’t want to see me all they want. I’ll believe it when she tells me and not a moment before.

They’ll have taken her to one of the properties The Firm hires out in conjunction with every client. We always have a backup safe location in case the need arises. It’s typically nondescript. Meant to keep from drawing attention. We still followed this protocol even though Ella is a custodial client and not someone needing strictly personal protection services.

It’s a few miles from here. Not far although I’ve driven a good distance in the opposite direction.

Another sharp right and I’m heading in the right direction. Damon honks behind me. He’ll know where I’m going. He doesn’t have any choice in the matter unless he decides to crash his car into mine. That’s the only way I’ll stop.


This sinking feeling in my chest is one I haven’t felt for a long time. A very long time. I’m not unfamiliar with the sickening churn in my gut or the heaviness that presses down on my shoulders, begging me to cave to it and make myself small.

After the last year and a half, I’m quite used to its abuse and the screaming that accompanies it in the back of my mind. This particular feeling, though, is one that used to come often as a child. I imagine so many people feel it. All of us, really. The gut instinct that warns a child they’re in trouble. That they’ve done something very wrong and disappointed the ones they love.

The memory of my father’s dark eyes narrowing as I stood there, my fingertips fiddling with the hem of my shirt or my sleeve, forces me to swallow although my throat is dry.

The men surrounding me aren’t my father, but they have authority over me and it’s not until now that I feel both immense regret in this decision and an anxiousness as I question the consequences of my impulsive actions. It’s all too much.

The expression on each of the men who sit across from me tells me disappointment is only one of several emotions. Anger, betrayal … Concern. Kamden’s fidgeting, and his readjusting in the simple black mesh office chair next to me makes me even more uncomfortable.

He’s barely looked at me. None of the men have since I sat down. It’s eerily quiet and the squeak of the wheels rolling as Silas takes a seat next to Cade marks the first noise I’ve heard apart from someone clearing their throat.

I woke up expecting to find Zander, but his shift had ended and instead Silas waited for me downstairs. He was polite but firm that I should dress quickly. Silas was my driver to this less than appealing meeting.

He’s been vague and his tone far less pleasant than it typically is.

My heart may be rampaging, beating against the cage that contains it, but I endeavor to keep my shoulders squared and my expression emotionless, neither positive nor negative. Even if every man in this room wears a stone-cold expression to match the dark gray of their power suits.

I could have worn black for mourning and to reflect this deep-seated emotion that brews inside of me, but that’s uninspiring so I opted for a dark red silk blouse and high-waisted