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  • Home > Raine Miller > All In     

    Prologue

    2012 June

    London

    I left Ethan at the elevators begging me not to go. It was the hardest thing I had to do in a long time. But leave him I did. I’d opened my heart up to Ethan and gotten it stomped. I’d heard him when he told me he loved me and I’d heard him when he’d said he was only trying to protect me from my past. I’d heard him loud and clear. But it didn’t change the fact that I needed to get away from him.

    All I can envision is the same terrifying idea over and over again.

    Ethan knows.

    But things are not always what they seem. Impressions are made without full disclosure. Ideas are formed based on emotion and not on factual events. Such was the case with Ethan and me. I found this out later of course, and in time, when I could back away from the events that had shaped me, I was able to see things a bit differently.

    With Ethan everything was fast, intense…combustive. From the beginning, he told me things. He told me that he wanted me. And yes, he even said he loved me. He had no problem telling me about what he wanted with me, or how he felt about me. And I don’t just mean the sex. That was a big part of our connection, but it wasn’t everything with Ethan. He can share his feelings easily. It is his way—not necessarily mine.

    I felt like Ethan wanted to consume me at times. He overwhelmed me from the first and was definitely a demanding lover, but one thing was certain, I wanted everything he’d ever given me.

    I found that out once I left him.

    Ethan gave me some peace and security in a way I’d never really felt as an adult, and certainly never before in regards to my sexuality. It’s just how he is and I think I understand him now. He wasn’t demanding and controlling because he wanted to dominate me, he was that way with me because he knew it was what I needed. Ethan was trying to give me something I needed in order to make us work.

    So while those days without him were agonizing, the solitude was critical for me. Our passionate fire had burned white-hot, and we’d both been burned by the heat that sparked and raged so easily when we were together. I know the healing time was necessary for me, but it didn’t make the painful ache hurt any less.

    I kept coming back to the same idea I had when I’d first found out what he was doing.

    Ethan knows what happened to me and there is no way he could possibly love me now.

    1

    My hand throbbed along with my heartbeat. All I could do was breathe at the now sealed doors of the lift that was taking her away from me.

    Think for one moment!

    Chasing after her was not an option so I left the lobby and went into the break room. Elaina was in there getting coffee. She kept her head down and pretended I wasn’t there. Smart woman. I hope those idiots on the floor do the same or they just might need to find new jobs.

    I threw some ice into a plastic bag and shoved my hand inside. Fuck, it stung! There was blood on my knuckles and I’m certain on the wall next to the lift. I walked back out to my office with my hand in the ice. I told Frances to call maintenance to come and fix the bloody ding in the wall.

    Frances nodded without missing a beat and looked at the bag of ice at the end of my arm. “Do you need an x-ray for that?” she asked, her expression like that of a mum. What I envisioned a mother would look like at least. I barely remember mine so I’m probably merely projecting with her.

    “No.” I need my girl back, not some cocksucking x-ray!

    I went through to my office and shut myself in. I pulled out a bottle of Van Gogh from the bar fridge and cracked it. Opening my desk drawer, I fumbled for the pack of Djarum Blacks and the lighter I liked to keep in there. I’d been plowing through the smokes at a record pace since meeting Brynne. I’d have to remember to stock up.

    Now all I needed was a glass for the vodka, or maybe not. The bottle would do me just fine. I took a swig with my busted hand and welcomed the pain.

    Fuck my hand; it’s my heart that’s broken.

    I stared at her picture. The one I took of her at work when she showed me the painting of Lady Percival with the book. I remembered how I’d used my mobile to take the photo and was pleasantly surprised to see how nice it came out. So nice in fact, I downloaded it and ordered a print for my office. Didn’t matter it was only the camera in a cellular phone—Brynne looked beautiful through any lens. Especially the lenses of my eyes. Sometimes it almost hurt to look at her.

    I recalled that morning with her. I could just see her in my mind’s eye—how happy she was when I snapped the photo of her smiling down at that old painting…

    I parked in the lot for the Rothvale Gallery and shut off the engine. It was a dreary day, drizzling and chilly, but not inside my car. Having Brynne sitting next to me, dressed for work, looking beautiful, sexy, smiling at me, had me soaring, but knowing what we’d just shared together this morning was the f**king bomb. And I wasn’t talking about the f**king. Remembering the shower and what we’d done there would hold me throughout my day—just barely, but it was knowing that I’d see her again tonight, that we’d be together, that she was mine, and that I could take her to bed and show her all over again. It was the conversation we’d had too. I felt like she’d finally let me in a little. That she cared about me in the same way I cared about her. And it was time to start talking future with us. I wanted so much with her.

    “Did I ever tell you how much I like it when you smile at me, Ethan?”

    “No,” I answered, dropping the smile, “tell me.”

    She shook her head at my tactics and looked out the window at the rain. “I’ve always felt special when you do because I think you don’t smile much in public. I would describe you as reserved. So when you smile at me I’m kind of…swept away.”

    “Look at me.” I waited for her to respond, knowing it would come. This was another thing we had yet to discuss but was crystal clear from the very beginning. Brynne was naturally submissive to me. She accepted what I wanted to give her—the Dom in me had found my muse, and it was just one more reason we were perfect together.

    I sweep you away, huh?

    She lifted her brown/green/grey eyes to me and waited while my c**k pounded in my trousers. I could take her right here in the car and still want her minutes later. She was that much of an addiction.

    “Christ you’re beautiful when you do that.”

    “Do what, Ethan?”

    I tucked a strand of her silky hair behind her ear and smiled for her again. “Never mind. You just make me happy is all. I love bringing you to your job after I’ve had you all night.”

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