Read Been Loving You Too Long Online

Authors: Seraphina Donavan

Tags: #Romance

Been Loving You Too Long (6 page)

BOOK: Been Loving You Too Long
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“Glad to be of service,” he replied sarcastically as he walked back to the bench where Ophelia was waiting.
 

“Didn’t I tell you she was good?” she demanded.
 

“I have to get to the hotel and check on things. I’ve played hookie for long enough.”
  

Her happy expression fell away.
 
“You’re not going to tell me what she said?”

“I’m going to be very successful, I’ll meet a beautiful woman who will only want me for my money, and I should avoid black cats, ladders and the number 13,” he joked.
 

“Fine.
 
Don’t tell me. I’m going to catch the street car and head over to check on Thomas.”

“You do get days off,” he chided.
 
Part of him was glad that she was there for Thomas, that he had someone with him other than nurses during the day.
 
But she needed time for herself whether she acknowledged it or not.
 

“I do. But I don’t want them right now.
 
I hate leaving him.
 
I love Thomas, and I want to be with him as much as I can.” She walked away, a sad smile touching her lips.
 

He sighed, hearing the underlying message in that.
 
Everyone knew that Thomas’ time was limited.
 
“Just get home before dark, will you?
 
I didn’t realize how bad your neighborhood was till last night...and we’ll discuss how we’re going to fix that later.”

She waved at him dismissively as she kept walking.
 
Watching her go, Vincent couldn’t stop the psychic’s words from replaying in his head—the thing he wanted most.
 

 
 

CHAPTER THREE

 
 

Ophelia walked through the house one last time.
 
It was empty.
 
All the mourners had gone. Along with the sycophants and social climbers who’d come to Thomas' funeral because it was a place to see and be seen. Most hadn’t any affection for the man himself.

However, it wasn’t just that.
 
The house was empty because Thomas’ presence could no longer be felt in it.
 
Even sick and weak, he’d filled the space somehow.
 
Perhaps, it wasn’t the house that was empty, she thought.
 
Maybe it was her.

She’d loved Thomas.
 
He’d been like a doting grandfather to her during her childhood, and taking care of him as she had over the past few years, she’d bonded with him even more.
 
She felt useless at that moment.
 
What would she do with herself?
 
A job was the first order of business, but it wouldn’t be the same.
 

Of course, nothing had been the same since that night in the kitchen.
 
Eight days had passed since then, a scant week since she and Vincent had called their truce, so to speak, with that walk through the quarter.
 

In that time, as Thomas had become more and more ill, Vincent had stayed at the house with him.
 
Seeing him day in and day out, recalling the way he’d touched her, the taste of him, it had been nothing but torture.

It was only made worse by the fact that she could see it in his eyes, as well.
 
When he looked at her, she knew that he was remembering it too, in spite of their mutual agreement that it would be horrible mistake.
 

The more she’d thought about it, the less convinced she was that it was the right choice.
 
She was no longer sure whether it’d been a bigger mistake to send him away than it would’ve been to simply give in to the temptation.
 
Perhaps Brenna was right, and it was time to stop playing things so safe.
 

As soon as it crossed her mind, Ophelia scoffed at the thought.
 
Temptation was one thing, but having the courage to simply brazen it out and go after what she wanted was another.
 

She made one last walk through of the kitchen.
 
Everything had been put away, perfectly in place.
 
Her heels echoed on the hardwood floor as she exited toward the library.
 

Kaitlyn was just vanishing out the front door, obviously dressed to go out.

Ophelia frowned at that.
 
The two of them had been friends, or at least playmates as children. It was only as they’d gotten older and the difference in their social stations had been pointed out by so many of Kaitlyn’s other friends that it’d changed.
 

Ophelia didn’t mind that so much.
 
She’d never been comfortable with the wild parties and the insatiable need for attention that so many of them seemed to possess.
 
Still, it worried her for Kaitlyn. Hurting as she was, what sort of trouble would she get into?
 

It also worried her for Vincent.

Justin had left earlier.
 
Always the quiet one, he’d simply walked out while most of the mourners had still been gathered and hadn’t bothered to return.
 
He was probably looking at the world somewhere through a camera lens.
 

With both of them gone and Vincent left alone, she couldn’t help but worry.
 
Alone was the last thing he needed to be.

At the service, he’d been stoic.
 
Afterwards, with the guests gathered, he’d been polite, if somewhat aloof.
 
But she’d seen something in him, and it frightened her for him. She was more attuned to him than she needed to be.
 
Certainly more so than was good for her.
 
Her own grief was overwhelming enough, but every time she looked at him, she ached for him and the pain he was going through.
 
Heading for the study, she knocked softly on the door.
 

“Yes,” he called out.
 

Sliding open the pocket doors, she stepped into the room.

He stood at the window with his back to her, staring out into the small garden.
 
He’d discarded his jacket and tie, and the sleeves of his white dress shirt had been turned back.
 
In his hand, he held a glass of bourbon.

 
“I saw Kaitlyn leaving.
 
I wanted to be sure that you were all right before I left,” she explained.

Vincent looked angry.
 
Unsure how to proceed, or even what she should say to him, Ophelia stood there for the longest moment, feeling completely out of her depth.
 

 

~~****~~

 
 

The rage inside him was a surprise and the swirl of confusion left him wanting to lash out at anyone and everyone.
 
He didn’t really understand where it was coming from.
 
He’d known that Thomas was dying.
 
There’d been no denying it for months.
   

But lashing out at Ophelia, letting the darkness inside him strike at her was unacceptable.
 
Not that it mattered.
 
His rational mind wasn’t really in charge.
 
Her quiet concern and softly spoken words were like striking a match to gasoline.
 
“Are you going to console me if I’m not?” he asked sharply.
 

At his remark, she drew herself up, her shoulders pulling back and her chin notching upward. He’d definitely struck a nerve. “This has been a difficult day, Vincent.
 
I’m sorry for that.
 
I’ll come by tomorrow to collect anything that I’ve left behind.”

“Coward,” he said softly, and sipped from his glass, but his gaze stayed locked with hers.
 
Equal parts challenging and beckoning.
 

He wanted to forget, to think of anything but the emptiness that was burrowing inside him. He glanced at the glass in his hand and knew the bourbon wasn’t cutting it. The burn of liquor was a poor anesthetic, but the heat and passion which flared between them only a short week earlier, would burn up in anything its path, he thought.
 
He could lose himself in her, just for a while.

“Fine, yes.
 
I’m a coward,” she conceded.

“What if I asked you to stay?
 
Told you how much I needed you?” The questions were pointed and sarcastic, but they held enough truth to make them both uncomfortable.

Ophelia’s sigh was heavy and weary, filling the room.
 
“He wasn’t my family, but I loved him too.
 
I miss him already.
 
We’re both hurting, Vincent.”

He moved towards her, stopping an arm’s length away, giving her an opportunity to retreat if she chose.
 
“Stay with me.”

“And what happens tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” he answered honestly.

 

~~****~~

 
 

Ophelia felt herself slipping.
 
Whether it was his pain or her own pushing at her, she couldn’t be sure.
 
She only knew that in that moment, she didn’t want to be alone and she didn’t want to live her life regretting something she didn’t do.

With two steps, she closed the distance between them.
 
His breath fanned across her lips, just before his mouth touched hers.

This kiss was different from that first heated exchange.
 
There was a vulnerability in them both that hadn’t been there before.
 
Each touch, each press of his lips against hers, each sweep of his tongue as it glided sensually against hers was somehow more.
 
“Vincent,” she whispered, as his lips left hers.

He kissed her jawline, then down her neck, finding each sensitive spot along the way and paying it extra attention.
 
“I haven’t been able to stop thinking of you like this,” he confessed.
 

By the time he reached the hollow of her throat, she was gasping. “I couldn’t stop thinking of you either.”

There were no words after that.
 
With every touch, every kiss she felt herself falling into the abyss.
 
There would be no coming back from this point.
 
Everything she felt for him, all the emotions that she’d held at bay, locked up inside herself were bursting forth.
 

She had no illusions that he was offering her anything other than a moment, but it didn’t seem to matter.
 
Even as he reached for the zipper at the back of her dress, her fingers were fumbling with the buttons of his shirt.
 
The need to feel him against her, skin to skin was insistent—consuming.
 

When her dress gaped, the straps falling down her arms, she shed it quickly. She saw how his eyes narrowed, the pupils dilating as he took in what she’d worn beneath it.
 
Lingerie was her weakness, and the black satin and ivory lace bra and panties with the matching garter belt and stockings were her favorites.
 
She’d donned them that morning because they worked with the dress.
 

If she’d thought about it, she would’ve taken a moment to be grateful she’d worn something so suitable to seduction.
 
Although, it was a tossup at this point as to which one of them was the seducer. She now returned to the task of removing his shirt.
  

“If I’d known this was what you were hiding under those prim dresses, I’d have gotten you out of one a long time ago,” he purred, his voice a hot whisper against her neck.
 

Ophelia shivered in response.
 
“We all have secrets.
 
This is my one vice.”

“And I’m thankful for it,” he responded, shrugging out of the shirt that she’d finally managed to loosen.
 
Her hands skimmed over his chest, her nails scraping lightly against his skin.
 
“Christ, you’re killing me.”

“But we’re just getting started.”

She gasped when Vincent grasped her hair, just at the base of her skull and tilted her head back.
 
It wasn’t painful, but commanding.
 
The position arched her neck and thrust her breasts forward until they strained against the satin and lace cups that covered her.
 

With just the tip of one finger, he traced a line from the hollow of her neck to her cleavage.
 
The contrast of that subtle, gentle touch against his forceful hold was both exciting and frightening.
 
He had her head spinning so much, Ophelia wasn’t even aware that he’d somehow backed her up to the desk until the backs of her thighs bumped the edge of it.
 

He kissed her again, and it was more demanding than before, more consuming. He lifted her without breaking the kiss until she was perched on the edge of the desk.
 

She parted her thighs and sighed with relief when he moved between them, pressing against the part of her that ached for him.
 

Whatever had flared between them seemed to have a life of its own.

With his shirt gone, her hands stroked over his hot skin, mapping the curves and lines of each muscle.
 

Then, his hands were on her thighs, skimming up to the black satin underwear that covered her.
 
“We should be in a bed,” he murmured, his breath a hot caress against her neck.
 
“Slow, easy, taking our time.”

BOOK: Been Loving You Too Long
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