“Are you nuts? I’m not leaving. This is my home and my business. All my stuff is here. I can’t just pack up and ship off to parts unknown.” Just like a man. Not thinking things through before just issuing dictates.
Jack pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes.
“It doesn’t matter, Nora. You aren’t safe here. Breaking into this house is child’s play. To be honest with you, I’m amazed that this is the first time. What if next time you wake up and Max is standing above your bed with duct tape and zip ties?”
That was not a good image and Nora winced. She most definitely did not want that, but what about her business? What about her life?
“Where would you take me?” She focused on the main question first.
“I’ll take you to my apartment. Since I live above the Winterman offices it’s locked down so tight you’ll be safe there. Now, go pack a bag and let’s hit the bricks.”
Just like that, making assumptions and dictates again.
“I didn’t say I would go. I just asked where you would take me should I agree to leave with you.”
“Nora, you obviously are not grasping the gravity of the situation here. You need to listen to me and do what I say. I’ve got the experience and I know how best to handle the situation.” She could see Jack’s frustration boiling inside him, but decided to risk it anyway because now her fire was lit.
“Suck my figurative lady dick, Jack Coleman. I don’t have to do what you say. I am woman, hear me roar, girl power, Spice Girls, rah rah, and all that.” Nora was glad she’d saved her raspberry because she needed to use it now. She blew it at Jack lest he misunderstand her furious petulance.
“I know exactly what’s going on here. I’m the one that came to you, remember? I’m the one you turned down flat in your office because you weren’t worried about my problems. Well, you can’t just barge in now that you understand the gravity of the situation and start making my decisions for me. “
Overcome with frustration she poked Jack in the chest and he backed up a step.
“If I decide to come with you it will be my choice not because you say that I have to. I have a lot of options other than you.” She poked him again as hard as she could and he backed up another step. “I have Sebastian, I have Matt and Sam, and I have Belle and the girls. Matt could put me up in one of his hotels under a false name, or Belle could have Mason and Cal set me up in a suite at Sin. I even have the CIA. Evan Branders can protect me. You made your choice a week ago when you called me Glitch and kicked me out of your office.”
“You.” Poke. “Don’t.” Poke. “Own.” Poke. “Me.” Poke.
And that seemed to be one poke too many. In the space of a heartbeat her hands were enclosed in his much larger ones and held behind her back, out of poking range.
“Yes, I called you, Glitch, but it was on accident. I have called and texted all week to try and apologize, but you’ve been childishly ignoring me. As for the rest of your little speech, no, I don’t own you, but I am the best choice to keep you alive and out of trouble. Can we please make up and stop fighting? I just want to keep you safe and I won’t be able to function if I’m worried about you all the time. If I’m not the one taking care of you then I am going to worry all the time.”
“Please, just let me take care of you.” Jack bent his forehead to touch hers and spoke so softly that he practically breathed the words across her lips. It had the effect of wiping away all of her anger and leaving her in a gooey puddle of emotion.
Nora drew in a deep breath to steady herself before answering.
“All right, I’ll go with you. But you can bet your sweet britches that you’re going to have to come back over here and haul out the kitchen equipment I’m going to need. I’m not toting that stuff myself. It’s heavy.”
Nora pulled back from him with a brief thought of regret at the loss of his arms around her. She turned and made her way upstairs to pack a bag with enough clothes and toiletries for a week.
If it took more than a week to catch Max then she’d have to reconsider her plans. She didn’t think her inner sex goddess could last much longer than a week in Jack’s continued presence.