“What is this?” he asked as he picked up the glass.

“Just drink it; you will start to feel better in about 15 minutes. I’ll pour you some coffee and be on my way.”


I started to feel a little dizzy as I reached for a mug and it slipped out of my hands crashing to the floor.

“Fuck,” I said as I bent down to pick up the broken pieces.

“Hey, you’re going to cut yourself,” he walked over to me and bent down.

“I’m sorry,” I said shaking my head and picking up the broken porcelain.

“Stop!” his voice commanded.

His voice was startling, but I didn’t listen because it was my mess and I was going to clean it up. He grabbed my hands and turned them over taking the broken pieces out of them. Our eyes met when he saw the scars on my wrists. I pulled back quickly and stood up. He continued to pick up the pieces. I took my purse from the counter.

“I’m sorry again for the mug. I’ll replace it for you, and I hope you feel better.” I turned and headed out the kitchen.

“Wait,” I heard him say.

I turned around and looked at him. “At least let me pay you for your trouble last night.”

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“I’m not taking your money, and it was no trouble.” Ok, it was, but he is alive, and I feel better knowing that I probably saved his life. He rolled his eyes, “Then at least have a cup of coffee before you go.” I sighed. I seriously needed it, and one cup wouldn’t hurt.

“Fine, one cup and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

He walked back to the kitchen and put the cup on the island. He drank his cocktail and frowned the entire time. It was fun to watch the disgusted look on his face. He leaned over the counter and looked at me.

“Why on earth would you help me like that? What if I was a r**ist or murderer?”

I laughed, “You couldn’t rape or murder me even if you wanted to. You were so far gone last night; I could barely get you home.” He ran one hand through his hair.

“You should not be doing those kinds of things; it is not safe in this city for a girl to be doing shit like that.” He seemed agitated.

I leaned my elbow on the counter, rested my hand on my cheek, and looked at him intently as he lectured me. He stopped what he was saying and narrowed his eyes at me, “Are you even listening to me?”

I laughed as I got up from the stool, “Thanks for the coffee, but I must go now; I need to get home.” I grabbed my purse and started walking out of the kitchen.

“Have a lovely day Mr. Black and next time don’t drink so much.” I could hear his footsteps following behind.

“Would you mind telling me your name?” The elevator doors opened; I stepped in and turned to face him.

“It’s Ellery Lane,” I yelled as the door began to close.

Chapter 6

I stepped out into the bright sunlight and looked up at the sky. I smiled as I waited for the cab to come. I kept thinking about Connor, his dumb rule about woman staying the night, and the way he looked. There was something about him that made my stomach flutter. I could not stop thinking about his tone and how angry it was when he first saw me. I guess I couldn’t blame him though; I’d probably be the same way if a strange man was in my apartment when I woke up.

I walked through the door of my apartment, threw my purse down and took a hot bath. I was exhausted, and I desperately needed some sleep. I craved the comfort of my pajamas and bed. I texted Peyton to let her know I was going to take a nap, and I’d call her when I woke up. If I didn’t text her, she would probably call or come over, and I just wanted to be alone tonight. I looked at the clock, and it was 3 pm. I had a plan to sleep till 5 pm, make a quick dinner and do some painting.

I was startled by a knock at the door. I looked at the clock, and it was 5:30. Shit, I slept longer than I wanted to. I got up and headed towards the door.

“Peyton, I said I would call you when…” I flung the door open and to my surprise it was not Peyton, but a young man holding a small white envelope.

“Are you Ellery Lane?” he asked. Suddenly, I got nervous; he sounded serious.

“Yes,” I’m Ellery Lane.

He handed me the envelope, “This is for you.”

I took the envelope from his hand. He smiled and walked away. My stomach started to tie itself in knots. I didn’t know what to expect to find in the envelope, and who was sending me something anyway?

I slid my finger across the top and took out the piece of neatly folded paper that was tucked inside, it read, “Miss Lane, I am going to properly thank you for your services last night, I will be waiting for you at Le Sur Restaurant. My driver will pick you up promptly at 7:00 pm.”

Connor Black

First of all, how did he know my address and second of all, why the hell is he so bossy? I should have had that creeper feeling, but for some reason I didn’t. I quickly put it out of my mind when I saw he wants to have dinner at Le Sur.

Since Kyle and I moved here, we have never been able to get into that restaurant. People book months in advance. I called Peyton immediately.

“Hey girl, what’s up?”

“Remember that guy I helped home last night?”


“He wants to thank me for helping him, so he is sending his driver over to pick me up to meet him at Le Sur at 7:00.

“What?” she screamed into the phone. “Elle, who is this guy?”

“His name is Connor Black.”

I heard her gasp, “Are you f**king kidding me Elle? Do you know who Connor Black is?” I frowned and twisted my face.

“No, should I?”

“Do you live in a bubble or something? Connor Black is the CEO of Black Enterprises. He is a 30-year-old mega millionaire who took over his father’s company when he was 28. OMG Elle, he’s hot, and he’s rich, and he wants to take you to dinner?” I could hear the excitement in her voice.

“Peyton, first of all I’m not interested in any guy. I’m in the guy free zone, especially after what Kyle did to me. This man Connor Black is rude, bossy and does not have an ounce of respect for women.” I didn’t want to tell her what he said to me about his rules earlier in the day.

“He can be Elle, he’s rich and hot.”

I rolled my eyes at that last comment and told her goodbye. I didn’t feel like going out tonight and I wanted to do some painting, but it was Le Sur and I’ve been dying to go there, so I made an exception.

I rummaged through my closet trying to find something to wear. I pulled out a black dress that I wore to a friend’s wedding a couple of years ago. It was simple with spaghetti straps and a v neck. I put on some light makeup and wore my hair half up, letting the loose curls from the back cascade around my shoulders. I threw some gloss on my lips and looked at the clock, it was 6:58. I checked myself out in the mirror one last time and headed out the door.

Sitting at the curb was a black limousine with a man leaning up against it. “Miss Lane, I presume?”

“Yes, I’m Ellery Lane,” I smiled as he opened the door and helped me inside. I took in the comfort and plushness of the Limo. I felt like a princess on her way to the ball. I looked to the front where the driver was sitting.

“Excuse me, but what’s your name?”

He looked at me in the rearview mirror, “Denny, ma’am.”

“Nice to meet you Denny; is Mr. Black always so bossy?” I politely asked.

He smiled and shook his head, “Mr. Black is used to getting whatever he wants.” I rolled my eyes and looked out the window, of course he does.

I walked into the restaurant and up to the desk where a tall redheaded woman asked if she could help me.

“I’m meeting Mr. Black,” I answered. Instantly her eyes looked like daggers as she said, “Follow me.” The razor eyed redhead led me towards the back of the restaurant to the table where Connor was seated. He saw us coming and stood up. He walked over and pulled out my chair. Ok, so far he has some manners.

“Good evening Miss Lane, I’m glad you decided to join me.”

I wanted to tell him that I was only here to experience the restaurant and that if he had chosen anywhere else, I would not have attended. I sat in my chair as he walked over to his.

He wore an extremely expensive dark gray suit. His sun-kissed skin glistened more than I remembered from this morning and his hair was perfectly styled in the tousled way that was hot.

“Good evening Mr. Black, thank you for inviting me, but it really was not necessary and please call me Elle.”

He looked at me intently, “Isn’t your name Ellery?”

I took a sip of water, “Yes, but my friends call me Elle.”

He took his menu and opened it, and I was astounded by the next words that came out of his mouth.

“But we are not friends Ellery.”

Ok, I take back the whole man has manners thing, he is just downright rude.

I opened up my menu. “Alright then Mr. Black, why don’t we just stick to Miss Lane?” I saw him slightly grin from behind the menu.

“Order anything you like, it looks like you have not eaten in weeks.” I looked sternly at him.

“I eat every day Mr. Black, not that it is any of your concern.” He suddenly looked intrigued as he set his menu down.

“It’s just you are very thin.”

What the f**k is this man’s problem. First, he says we are not friends; then he calls me anorexic.

“This is the way I was born; I’ve always been thin.”

He pressed his lips together as the waiter came to the table with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. He poured the wine in each glass and proceeded to take our order. I looked at Connor as he sat there staring at me; it was making me intensely uncomfortable, but turning me on at the same time. My heart started to beat rapidly, and a familiar ache rose from down below. Two can play this game.

“So, what’s your story Mr. Black?” He brought his wine glass to his lips and took a sip, never taking his eyes off me.

“My story?” he simply asked.

A small smile escaped my lips, “Yes, your story.”

“What’s to tell, I’m a 30 year old CEO, I have more money than I will ever need; I do not do relationships; I usually get everything I want, and I do whatever I want.” I sat there staring at him the entire time he boasted about himself.

“Now, that we got that out of the way, what’s your story Miss Lane?”

“I don’t have a story Mr. Black; I’m 23 years old; I moved here with my boyfriend a little over a year ago; I work part-time at a small record company; I paint pictures, and I volunteer at the soup kitchen.”

He sat and pondered whether or not he wanted to ask me the next question. “What does your boyfriend think about you having dinner with me?”

“He doesn’t, we aren’t together anymore. He moved out almost 3 weeks ago,” I looked down at the table.

I could sense a tiny bit of sympathy in his voice, “Oh, may I ask how long you were together?” I found it particularly odd that he was trying to get so personal.

“We were together 4 years; we met at college and moved here from Michigan.”

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