Roman (Raleigh Raptors 2) - Page 9

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“Someone who thinks they smell like a funeral?” I suggested, tilting my head.

She looked ready to retort, but after a few seconds, she nodded. “They do.”

“Not arguing.”

She flashed me a quick smile and tucked her hair behind her ears.

Fuck, she was beautiful. Zero makeup, hair down and wild, standing barefoot in her lone pair of shorts, barely visible under one of my Raptor’s shirts. Not that she wasn’t a knockout when she got dressed up—the woman could stop traffic. But there was something about seeing her like this that had me gripping my bottle a little tighter. She was effortlessly exquisite.

“What?” she asked, glancing down like something she wore could explain the way I was obviously staring.

“You’re beautiful.”

“Shut. Up.” She scoffed and shot me a glare, just like always. “Oh, and sorry, I stole the shirt from your closet.”

Just like she had for the last eighteen days. “What’s mine is yours. Though, if you check the medicine cabinet, you’ll see that I may have run out for a few supplies while you were sleeping.”

“Like?” Her brow puckered.

“There might be a new razor in there along with some other little things I know you like.” I downed the rest of my drink.

“Is this because I was using your razor to shave my legs?” Her eyes widened. “Because I—”

“Nope. I couldn’t care less. I just figured you might be tired of smelling like me, and since you won’t let me take you shopping, I have to sneak out of my own house to buy you necessities.” I stared her down.

“I’m not letting you spend your money on me!” She folded her arms. “It’s bad enough that I’ve been in your space for weeks. Every gallery I’ve contacted has a full show schedule, but I should be signing a contract on a new commission this week that will get me out of your hair.”

I crossed the hardwood floor and tossed my empty bottle into the trash, which was almost full thanks to the daily rose deposit. Then I took her chin between my thumb and finger and drew her gaze to mine as her blush deepened.

“For the last time, T. I couldn’t give a shit how long you’re here. I actually like having you around. But you won’t let me buy you new clothes or even art supplies. And my shirt looks pretty damn good on you, but I know you’re getting tired of living in my clothes. Let me help. Please.”

She tugged her lower lip between her teeth.

“At least let me go pick your stuff up.”

“No!” She shook her head, pulling free of my light grasp. “I’ve already put you in the middle once. I’m not sending you over to Rick’s. No way.”

I sighed and lifted my hands to the top of my head. “Fine. If you won’t take my money or my help getting your things, then at least sell something he’s sent you. I bet that diamond necklace would get you enough supplies to complete that commission.”

She glanced back toward her stash of gifts, then scrunched her face slightly. “I can’t risk it.”

“Risk what?”

“He knows I have no money, and I won’t take yours. He probably sent that necklace knowing I’d return it. My guess is he’s camped out at the jewelry store waiting for me to show up or he’s paid someone to let him know when I do. I can’t risk it.” Her lips thinned.

My arms fell to my sides. “Jesus Christ, T. You think he’d…” I shook my head and took three breaths to calm my temper. The last thing she needed was to see me lose my shit, but I was seriously close. She clammed up every time I’d asked her about the abuse—just the word shut her down. “How bad was it?”

Her gaze fell away. “Bad enough that I know his methods for keeping tabs on me, and just how far he’ll go for control. The fact that I’m still here—and not already back at his place is actually pretty remarkable.”

The blood drained from my face. “You’re not considering going back, are you?”

“What? No!” She did the hair tuck thing again, this time out of nervous habit. “I just hate being a burden on you, especially since I know that you’re the only reason he didn’t haul me back the night I ran. It’s not the gate, or the security system, Roman. It’s you.”

Two steps and I wrapped my arms around her, tucking her against my chest and resting my chin on the top of her head. “You’re not a burden,” I said softly. “And the only way he’s getting you out of this house is over my dead fucking body.”

“I’d never let that happen,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around my waist.

“Press charges,” I begged for the hundredth time.

Usually, she just shook her head and blew me off.

Tags: Samantha Whiskey Raleigh Raptors Romance