Home > Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(10)

Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(10)
Abbi Glines

“Saw her walk out there before I came after you,” he replied.

I wasn’t letting Woods near her, either. He would hurt her. He’d use her, and no one was going to use Blaire. No one. Ever. I would fu**ing make sure of it. “I gotta go get her. I upset her,” I said, heading for the door.

“He knows she’s innocent. Woods isn’t an as**ole. He’s a good guy. Stop acting like he’s a fu**ing horndog.”

I tightened my grip on the door handle and took a deep breath. “Don’t tell me what to do, Grant.”

He let out a short laugh. “Never, brother. Never.”

I jerked the door open and stepped back inside, intent on finding Blaire and sending Woods home.

“Heeey Ruuush!” a female slurred excitedly and she latched on to my arm. I glanced down to see one of Nan’s friends whose name I couldn’t remember holding on to me.

“No,” I replied, and I kept walking. She didn’t let go. Instead, she kept giggling and talking about her wet panties. This shit used to turn me on, but the smell of Blaire and the thought of her big eyes as she crawled closer to me so she could study my tongue made everything else seem cheap.

“I’m Babs. Remember? I used to stay the night with your sister in high school,” she said, pressing against me.

“Not interested,” I told her, trying to jerk free when we stepped into the kitchen and my eyes locked on Blaire. She was alone. No Woods. And she was watching me. With . . . Babs, or whoever this was on my arm. Shit.

“But you said,” Babs started to argue. I had no idea what she thought I said. Then she kissed my arm. Fuck. “I’ll take off my panties down here if you will,” the girl continued, not taking no for an answer. She was wobbling on her heels and clinging to me even more now.

“Babs, I’ve already told you no. I’m not interested,” I repeated loudly, keeping my eyes locked on Blaire’s. I wanted her to hear me. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted. Who I wanted.

“It’ll be naughty,” she promised me, then started laughing. Nothing about her was appealing.

“No, it will be annoying. You’re drunk, and your cackling is giving me a headache,” I said, still looking at Blaire. She had to believe me.

Blaire dropped her eyes from mine and turned to go to the pantry. Good. She was safe in there, and she needed sleep.

“Hey, that girl is going to steal your food,” Babs whispered loudly.

Blaire’s face turned bright red, and I threw Babs off my arm, letting her stumble to catch herself. “She lives here; she can have whatever she wants,” I informed anyone else who might say something to embarrass her.

Blaire’s eyes swung back to meet mine again.

“She lives here?” Babs asked.

The hurt in Blaire’s eyes burned a hole in my chest. I couldn’t take it.

“Don’t let him lie to you,” Blaire said. “I’m the unwelcome guest living under his stairs. I’ve wanted a few things, and he keeps telling me no.”

Fuck.

She slammed the door behind her. I wanted to go after her, but I knew if I went in there, I wasn’t coming out. I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands and mouth off her.

Woods walked into the kitchen and swung his gaze to me. “You don’t deserve her,” he said coldly.

“Neither do you,” I replied, then turned and headed for the stairs. I had to get away from these people.

Grant met me in the hallway.

“Make sure Woods leaves. If Blaire comes out of her room, come get me,” I said, without stopping to look at him. Then I headed for my room. So I could remind myself, yet again, why I couldn’t touch Blaire.

Could you not be good for just one kiss? Please ? Those words had kept me up all damn night. How the hell I’d walked out of that little room I had no idea. I had to stop this. I couldn’t let her in anymore. She didn’t know the truth. I had to protect her. My feelings for her were already too dangerous.

As much as I wanted to tell her about Nan, I couldn’t. She’d hate me, and I was too far gone now. I couldn’t live with Blaire hating me. At least not this soon. I wasn’t ready for her to leave me. I glanced back over my shoulder at the closed pantry door. Last night, Blaire’s parting comments about her being the unwelcome guest had pissed me off. I was changing that. Maybe I wasn’t ready to move her upstairs yet, but I would feed her. I wasn’t sure what she was eating in the mornings, but since she was sleeping in late today, I had time to make her breakfast.

The pantry door opened behind me, and I glanced back again to see Blaire staring at me with a surprised look on her face. We hadn’t ended things well last night. This morning, I was going to change that.

“Good morning. Must be your day off.”

She didn’t move and gave me a forced smile. “Smells good.”

“Get out two plates. I make some killer bacon.” I was going to soften her up. I knew she was still mad at me for leaving her last night, but dammit, I had done it for her. Not me.

“I’ve already eaten, but thank you,” she said, then bit down on her lower lip as she looked longingly at the bacon. What the hell was that all about? And when had she eaten? I’d been up for two hours, and she hadn’t been out of her room.

I set down the fork I was using and focused on her instead of the bacon. “How have you already eaten? You just woke up.” I watched her carefully in case she decided not to tell me the complete truth. If this was about her not wanting to eat in front of me or some ridiculous girl issue like that, she was going to have to get over it.

“I keep peanut butter and bread in my room. I had some before I came out.”

What the hell did she just say? “Why do you keep peanut butter and bread in your room?” I asked.

She nibbled nervously on her lip a moment, then let out a sigh. “This isn’t my kitchen. I keep all my things in my room.”

She kept all her things in her room? Wait . . . what? “Are you telling me that you only eat peanut butter and bread when you’re here? That’s it? You buy it and keep it in your room, and that is all you eat?” A sick knot had formed in my stomach that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. If she told me all she ate was fu**ing peanut-butter sandwiches, I was going to lose it. Had I made her think she couldn’t eat my food? Fuck!

She nodded slowly. Those big eyes of hers were even bigger now. I was an as**ole. No . . . I was worse than an as**ole.

I slammed my hand against the counter and focused on the bacon while I tried like hell to get control of myself.

This was my fault. Fuck me, this was all my fault. She never complained when any other woman on the planet would have. And she was eating motherfucking peanut-butter sandwiches every day. My chest hurt. I couldn’t do this anymore. I’d tried. I was done keeping her at a distance.

“Go get your stuff and move upstairs. Take any room on the left side of the hall you want. Throw that damn peanut butter away, and eat whatever the hell you want in this kitchen,” I told her.

She remained frozen in her spot. Why wasn’t she listening to me?

“If you want to stay here, Blaire, move your ass upstairs now. Then come down here and eat something out of my motherfucking fridge while I watch,” I growled. She stiffened at my response. I needed to calm down. I didn’t want to scare her; I just wanted her to move upstairs, dammit. And eat some bacon!

“Why do you want me to move upstairs?” she asked softly.

I moved the last piece of bacon to the paper towel before looking at her again. Seeing her hurt me physically. Knowing that I’d treated her so poorly and that she’d taken it was making it hard to fu**ing breathe. “Because I want you to. I hate going to bed at night and thinking about you asleep under my stairs. Now I have the image of you eating those damn peanutbutter sandwiches all alone in there, and it’s a little more than I can deal with.” There, I’d said it.

She didn’t argue this time. She turned around and walked back into the pantry. I stood there and waited until she walked back out, carrying her suitcase in one hand and a jar of peanut butter and some bread in the other. She put the jar and the bread on the counter without looking at me and walked toward the hallway.

I was working to hold on to the edge of the counter to keep from grabbing the jar of peanut butter and smashing it against the wall. I wanted to hit something. The ache inside was taking over, and I needed to hurt something to ease the anger. Anger that was directed completely at myself for being a self-absorbed ass. I had been so fu**ing worried about not touching her that I’d neglected her in other ways. She was living off fu**ing peanut butter.

“I don’t have to move upstairs. I like that room.” Blaire’s soft voice broke into my thoughts, and I had to grip the counter even tighter. I’d mistreated her. Neglected her needs. All I wanted was to touch her and fu**ing smell her and hold her, but I’d let her down. I wasn’t going to be able to forgive myself for this.

“You belong in one of the rooms upstairs. You don’t belong under the stairs. You never did,” I said, without looking at her.

“Would you at least tell me which room to take? I don’t feel right picking one out. This isn’t my house.”

I was scaring her. One more thing she didn’t deserve. I let go of my grip on the counter and looked over at her. She seemed ready to bolt back to the pantry at any minute.

“The rooms on the left are all guest rooms. There are three of them. I think you’ll enjoy the view from the last one. It looks out over the ocean. The middle room is all white with pale pink accents. It reminds me of you. So you go choose. Whichever one you want. Take it, then come down here and eat.”

“But I’m not hungry. I just ate—”

“If you tell me you ate that damn peanut butter again, I am going to throw it through a wall.” Fuck, the thought of that made me furious. I took a deep breath and focused on sounding calm. “Please, Blaire. Come eat something for me.”

She nodded her head and climbed the stairs. I should have taken her suitcase for her, but I knew she didn’t want me near her right now. She needed to do this alone. I’d just acted like a crazy man. I washed out the skillet that I’d cooked the bacon in. Once it was put away and Blaire still hadn’t come back downstairs from choosing her room, I took a large plate out of the cabinet and filled it with eggs and bacon before sitting down at the table. She could eat off my plate.

Blaire stepped into the kitchen, and I looked up to see her staring at me. “Did you choose a room?” I asked.

She nodded and walked over to stand on the other side of the table. “Yes. I believe so. The one you said had a great view, is it . . . green and blue?”

“Yes, it is.” I couldn’t keep from smiling. I liked that she’d chosen the one I thought she would. Even if it was the room closest to me.

“And you’re OK with me staying in that room? It is really nice. I’d want that room if this were my house.” She was still making sure that I wouldn’t change my mind and toss her back under the stairs.

I smiled at her reassuringly “You haven’t seen my room yet.” I had said yet. I was going to cave in. I didn’t take girls to my room. It was mine. But I wanted to see her there. With my things.

“Is your room on the same floor?” she asked.

“No, mine takes up the entire top floor,” I explained.

“You mean all those windows? That’s all one big room?” The awe in her voice was hard to miss. I would be taking her up there to see it before it was all over.

“Yep.” I ate a piece of bacon while trying to correct my wayward thoughts of Blaire in my room. That would never be a good idea. “Did you already put your things away?” I asked, trying to think about something else. Anything else.

“No, I wanted to check with you before I unpacked. I should probably just keep everything in the suitcase. By the end of next week, I’ll be ready to move out. My tips at the club are good, and I’ve saved almost all of it.”

No. She couldn’t live alone. That wasn’t safe. She thought she had to move because of me. Her sorry-ass father hadn’t even called to check on her. She had no one, and she was so damn vulnerable. Someone needed to protect her. She wasn’t moving out of this house. I couldn’t stand to think of someone hurting her. I kept my focus on the beach outside, hoping it would calm me, but the panic setting in at the thought of her living alone was taking over. “You can stay as long as you want to, Blaire,” I assured her. I needed her here.

She didn’t respond. I pulled out the chair beside me.

“Sit next to me and eat some of this bacon.” She sat down slowly, and I pushed my plate over to her. “Eat,” I told her.

She picked up a piece of bacon and took a bite. Her eyes did a fluttery thing that made her lashes fan across her cheekbone. Fuck me, that was sexy as hell.

I nudged the plate toward her again. “Eat another.” She was grinning at me like she found this funny, and the ache inside me eased. I could keep her here. I would make it so that she never wanted to leave. “What are your plans for today?” I asked her.

“I don’t know yet. I thought I’d look for an apartment, maybe.”

There went my ease. Fuck no, she was not looking for an apartment. “Stop talking about moving out, OK? I don’t want you moving until our parents get home. You need to talk to your dad before you run off and start living alone. It isn’t exactly safe. You’re too young.”

She laughed. That soft, musical sound that I heard so infrequently. “I am not too young. What is it with you and my age? I am nineteen. I’m a big girl. I can live on my own safely. Besides, I can hit a moving target better than most police officers. My skills with a gun are pretty impressive. Stop with the unsafe-and-too-young thing.”

The idea of Blaire and a gun excited and terrified me all at once. As sexy as that sounded, I was also worried about her hurting herself. “So you really do have a gun?”

She grinned and nodded.

“I thought Grant was just being funny. His sense of humor sucks sometimes.”

“Nope. I pulled it on him when he surprised me my first night here.”

Now, that made me laugh. “I’d love to have seen that.”

She just smiled and kept her head down. She wasn’t looking at me, and I knew that her first night here wasn’t a pleasant memory.

“I don’t want you to stay here just because you’re young. I get that you can take care of yourself, or you at least think you can. I want you here because . . . I like having you here. Don’t leave. Wait until your dad gets back. It sounds like you two are way overdue for a visit. Then you can decide what you want to do. For now, how about you go upstairs and unpack? Think of all the money you can save living here. When you do move out, then you’ll have a nice padded bank account.” I had just said way more than I wanted to. But I needed to get her to stay.

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