Authors: Delka Beazer
Give Me All Of Yo
Mina closed one file and reached for another, a movement from the corner of her eyes drew her gaze to the heavy mahogany door of her home office. It swung open silently on its well-oiled hinges.
A distinguished head of gray
hair peeked in, polite green eyes met hers. “May I come in?”
stab of resentment pierced her. She shoved the thick file to the corner of the mahogany desk, forced a wintery smile to her lips and nodded.
ermile Bronswort, her father, made his way into the room. This was the epicenter of their hotel and resorts empire which sprawled throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
had been his enclave for the last thirty years until several months ago when he had supposedly passed control over to her, his only child.
narrowed on the perfectly sleek coif of his hair which as usual boasted not a strand out of place.
e wheeled himself to a stop in front of her desk.
An ache shot through her at the
sight of her formerly robust and aggressively healthy father restricted to the cruel conformity of a wheelchair, courtesy of a horrendous automobile accident several years before.
the inside of her lip hard to stop that train of thought. Hermile detested only a few things, betrayal and weakness. He had never tolerated either from her or anyone else.
They weighed each
other for several tense seconds.
She stiffened, she wouldn’t break the silence a
nd give him the opportunity to claim the upper hand.
“How is the building going on Jacobe Aisle?” His green eyes were bright and eager at the newest and by far riskiest venture for their struggling company.
she might she couldn’t deny that she shared some of the same enthusiasm. It thawed a tiny particle of her heart.
She shrugged, wrinkled
her nose. “On schedule … so far.” She scoured her father’s face, apart from enthusiasm, nothing else showed in his eyes. At sixty his strong aquiline features were still sharp and handsome, his face a perfect mask for his thoughts.
This had always
irked her, even more so now when she knew what he was really asking. “Hunter is fulfilling the role you gave him,” she winced at the slip.
This was exactly what she didn’t want to talk about but try as she might
she had to forcibly swallow the next thought which sprang rebelliously to mind.
would never get a chance to play the role her father had in mind for him.
wasn’t fooled for a second, his eyes lighted with a small flicker of triumph and sly amusement. He had been waiting for her to stumble.
grounded her teeth but remained stubbornly silent.
“I’ve read the papers.
” His voice was deceptively mild, uninterested, as though he had dismissed her earlier comment about Hunter.
He was bidding his time, waiting for the right moment to outflank her.
er fingers clenched on the ballpoint pen she’d forgotten she was still holding. She forced her fingers open. She watched as the pen slid across the smooth, glossy surface of the table and came to rest against the wall of files in the corner.
She sucked in a steadying
breath, “And? What enlightening tidbits have you gleaned from the news this time?”
didn’t answer, instead he wheeled himself towards the tall, elegant bay windows behind her desk which looked down onto the lush grounds below.
She turned to watch him.
He stared out at the vast expanse. “They’re jabbering that my hiring Hunter was a dumb mistake. Some even called it racially insensitive.”
She sucked in a harsh breath
. Bitterness poured into a deep well of rage and immediately boiled to the surface inside her. It threatened to choke off her air supply.
Her eyes became slitters
. “And whose fault is that, Dad?”
Hermile pivoted to face her
, his face belied his abrupt movement. Rather than anger, his expression was neutral. Except for his eyes, they were cold and filled with distaste.
For her outburst.
She recoiled from the lack of empathy she’d grown to detest in him. He hated her decision to impose limits on the things they were willing to do to salvage their failing company.
towards her and the harsh grinding sounds of the wheels of his chair bit unforgivingly into the aged wooden floorboards beneath her feet. It sounded like a pained groan in the tense silence of the room.
She reared back instinctively not beca
use she feared physical abuse but because her father’s stare from this close could melt the flesh off a grown man.
, he pierced her with green ice. “Don’t you dare talk like that to me young lady. The deal I made was for your future,” he hissed savagely, crushing the words into tiny pieces.
tossed her head back and shrieked, furious that she couldn’t just leave the room, but that wouldn’t solve the problem.
He’d done it f
or her future?
he idea was downright laughable.
he would laugh if she could muster the extra strength to divert away from her anger, but there wasn’t nearly enough to go around.
She glared at him, pouring
all of her pent-up fury into her eyes. She thrust herself forward over the desk. “You’re such a hypocritical liar. You’re doing this for you,” she spat, “not me. I’m simply the tool you want to use to accomplish the only thing you’ve ever cared about.”
s snapped shut as if she’d struck him, his chest rose and fell rapidly as he battled against whatever kind of demon rode him.
She hoped it was the demon of pain
smarted as their gazes remained gridlocked.
There was no pity in his eyes, none.
Fresh evidence of his callousness brought about the same old response. She was helpless to stop the sense of control slipping away, her mouth trembled.
He was bent on selling
her, his own child. And he expected her to go meekly along like some mindless twit from the Dark Ages.
blinked first, breaking their silent confrontation and had the grace to look away. Then he turned back and she flinched at the change of tactic.
There was no longer cold distaste in his gaze, instead h
is eyes were naked, vulnerable like a crushed leaf. There was nothing he wouldn’t stoop to.
She didn’t have to take this
. She lunged from her seat, away from him and his cruel manipulations.
er heart thumped wildly in her chest. He was once again trying to twist her right to choose. That’s how this insane scheme of offering her like a platter of meat to an unknown stranger in payment for his architectural talents had come about.
He watched her
race across the office. “I’m doing this for you Mina, this is your heritage, our family’s legacy,” his voice was hoarse with pent-up emotions. “You’re a Bronswort, you cannot allow the business our family took two hundred years to build to go under because you don’t have the stomach for some sacrifice,” he finished scathingly.
stopped in her tracts and quivered. She muffled a wordless cry of rage. She was damned either way. The Bronswort hotel and resorts was her life. It had been in her family for several generations.
was the only thing that hadn’t changed, hadn’t been torn apart by pain and loss.
t was in danger of doing so now.
Because of her.
She ached to scream in his face.
How dare you pin all your hopes on me!
But she couldn’t.
asn’t she the CEO of their company? Shouldn’t she do whatever was necessary to save it?
but this …. this was asking too much. It would require the last part of her that she could possibly give, the most vulnerable and easily broken part.
raised a hand to her eyes, it came away wet. With mounting horror she rubbed a hand further along her cheek. It was moist, soaked, she’d been crying without knowing it.
ngrily she rubbed away the tears. She looked through him. “I can’t do this,” she flinched at the whine which had crept into her voice. She was begging. She had sworn she wouldn’t beg him.
e was her father, his job was to love and protect her.
r breakdown had an immediately negative effect. He recoiled from her as though she’d just blasphemed God. The narrow lines of his face went stiff with intense disapproval.
He turned away from her and she knew she’d lost him.
She stormed through the door. He made no move to follow her. She had expected that. Her father didn’t follow, he commanded. He’d done it her whole life.
Within seconds she was at the foot of the
huge, winding staircase which dominated their Georgian Mansion.
she slid into her car. It was only later as the tears finally dried up and the emptiness inside her hardened into a cold lump that she realized where she was headed.
owards the cause of all her turmoil.
The men’s attention fell away like dried autumn leaves and Hunter needed only one guess as to the reason why.
Hot on the humid wind blowing across his face, he caught
whiffs of the creamy coconut shampoo she used in her hair.
The smell of her skin was not far beyond, citrusy and fresh, it mingled with the coconut and produced a musk that would enslave any man’s senses.
Hunter eyed his workers frigidly. A few were already grinning like besotted idiots as she drew near.
He frowned but kept his
annoyance in check and his back firmly to her.
There wasn’t much he could do a
bout the men or … himself he reasoned starkly.
He turned without warning
, wanting to catch that first glimpse of dislike which always colored her hazel eyes whenever their gazes clashed.
Instead he caught a gossamer glimpse of something
raw and painful in her eyes before her customary scowl overtook her flawless oval face.
He sighed. Obviously he’d just imagined that something had caused Mina pain, it
was more likely the other way around.
He shrugged and r
eturned her withering stare.
Mina, her unconcealed dislike didn’t matter.
She needed him. More specifically her company needed him.
And that made him a lucky man. He allowed a small smile to play around his mouth.
It should be impo
ssible, but her gaze grew nastier as she stopped in front of him. Her entire body tensed with unconcealed animosity.
s of Hunter’s mouth tilted up into a cocky smirk.
He enjoyed riling her.
And she succumbed to it like a moth to a flame.
She did her bes
t to look down her cute nose at him, though he stood nearly a foot above her.
Damn but he
loved when she tried her best to grind him beneath her heels. She was a magnificent woman, carved from fire and ice.