She walked away and left me sitting there pondering her words. The way she spoke led me to believe that she was a victim of Connors. I did not want to think about it as I got up and headed to the bar for another glass of wine. I glanced over to the side where there was a small hallway and raised my eyebrow when I saw Connor talking to the same woman who slapped him at the club. His eyes looked angered as he grabbed her arm and led her out of sight. My stomach tied itself in knots, what the hell was I doing here? I don’t even know anything about this man I was with.

I was standing at the bar when a gentleman approached me. “Hello, I’m Andrew, I was wondering if a beautiful woman such as you would like to share a dance with me?” I looked around, and Connor was nowhere to be found, the nerve of him just to leave me alone like this.


“It would be my pleasure,” I smiled.

I didn’t mind dancing with Andrew; he was handsome with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was tall, and as he put his arm around my waist, I could feel his strength. Before we had a chance to finish our conversation, Connor came up from behind.

“Excuse me Andrew, but she is here with me.”

Andrew looked at Connor. “Mr. Black, I apologize I did not know she was yours.”

He stepped away as Connor took his place. His? I’m not his or anybody else’s. Connor stared at me as he put his arm around my waist and took my hand in his, “I leave you alone for a minute and you go off and start dancing with strange men.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, “You leave me alone to go disappear with the woman who slapped you at Club S.”

His look turned to fire, “You saw that?”

I shook my head, “Yes, I think a lot of people saw that.”

“So, let me get this straight, you saw me before you found me drunk outside?”

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“Yes, I was sitting at the bar, why?”

The corners of his sexy mouth curved up, “Interesting.”

I cocked my head at him, “What’s interesting?” Then it hit me. “Oh I get it, you think I had my eyes set on you from the start.”

He wickedly smiled at me, “Your words Miss Lane, not mine.”

I rolled my eyes and leaned into him, taking in his alluring scent as I whispered in his ear, “You are a delusional man Mr. Black.”

“Why this specific charity?” I asked.

He looked at me and took in a breath, “Why not?” I dropped the subject about the woman in the hallway and where he disappeared to, but I would not let this one go.

“Why though?”

He stopped looking at me and looked straight into the crowd. “It’s just a charity my company is involved with, why is it so important that you know a specific reason?” His words came across cold, almost as if he didn’t trust me enough to tell me.

“Just forget I asked,” I kept my eyes straight ahead refusing to look at him.

“You’re mad,” he spoke.

“You’ll know when I’m mad Mr. Black,” I responded.

The song ended, and we walked back to the table that was now filled with some associates from Black Enterprises. Connor went around and introduced me to some of his staff. I glanced over at the next table, and there she sat, the beautiful tall woman from the club. Her straight, jet black hair sat just above her shoulders, and her tanned skin glowed beneath the ballroom lights. She sparkled in her silver long dress and silver high stilettos. Diamonds took their place in her ears and neckline, and she did not miss a beat when it came to applying makeup. She was a stunning woman, and she kept staring at me, or should I say glaring at me.

Dinner consisted of Filet Mignon or Fish. Connor took the liberty to order me the Filet since he felt I needed to put some meat on my bones as he so kindly put it. During dinner, a man stepped up to thank everyone for coming and thanked Black Enterprises for donating five hundred thousand dollars to the charity; everyone applauded.

I excused myself to the restroom as I heard someone call my name. I turned around and froze when I saw Dr. Taub coming out of the men’s bathroom.

“Ellery, fancy meeting you here,” he said.

“Dr. Taub, I am here as someone’s guest and would appreciate it if he did not see us talking.” My stomach felt sick, and my heart was beating faster.

“You haven’t returned my calls or rescheduled your appointments. You need to finish our sessions Miss Lane; it’s important and you know it.”

“Dr. Taub,” I whispered as I looked around to make sure no one, especially Connor, saw us talking, “I will, just give me some time please.”

“Time is not on your side Ellery, it is important you schedule your appointment.”

“I cannot talk about this here, please Dr. Taub.” He walked away shaking his head.

I walked into the restroom and checked my hair and makeup. I glossed up my lips, and as I opened the door to step out, I was startled to see Connor standing against the wall with his arms folded. He glared at me as I spoke, “Uh, hi? Why are you standing there like that?”

“Because you have been gone for quite a while and I was checking to make sure you are ok. I was giving you five more seconds before I was opening the door and coming in after you.”

I walked away from him, “Wow, stalker much?”

I heard him sigh, “I’m not a stalker for the last time; I was concerned for your safety.” I rolled my eyes; he had safety issues, and it was starting to annoy me.

We walked back to the table, and as we passed the “one” next to us, Connor looked over at the tall beautiful woman. She smiled at him.

“Are you ready to leave?” He asked.

“I am if you are.”

He smiled, and we walked outside where Denny was waiting for us. He stopped and turned to me, “I’m going to have Denny take you home, I have something I need to wrap up here.” He took my hand and lightly kissed it, “Thank you for coming with me tonight; I hope you had a good time.” His lips were warm on my skin, but I too was focused on the fact that he was not coming to drive me home.

I looked into his eyes, “I had a wonderful time, thank you for inviting me.”

He nodded and opened the door. I slid in the back seat and waved goodbye trying to hide the disappointment in my eyes.

“Good evening Miss Lane," Denny said as he looked in the rearview mirror. “Hi Denny,” I replied as I looked out the window.

Chapter 12

The night air was exceptionally warm for September, and I wanted to do something other than go home to an empty apartment. “Denny, could you please drive me to the beach?”

He looked up in the rearview mirror, “Sorry Miss Lane, but my orders were to take you straight home.”

I politely smiled, “Denny, either you can drive me to the beach or I will call a cab the minute you drop me off at home. Mr. Black does not own me nor does he have the right to tell me what to do. I do not care if he told you to take me home; I’m telling you otherwise. Now, please drop me off at the beach.”

“Fine Miss Lane, if you say so,” he sighed.

“I do say so and if Mr. Black has a problem with it, then I will deal with him.”

I took off my shoes and carried them as my feet hit the soft warm sand. The ocean looked beautiful at night with the moonlight shining down, illuminating each wave that pushed its way to the shore. I threw my shoes down and ran to the edge of the water. I laughed as the cold water stung my feet making me feel alive and exhilarated. The peaceful sound of the waves lapping against the shore and the sweet smell of the salt water was enough to let me escape into a world of my own, a world I created. I was enjoying the serenity of my world when I heard, “What the hell do you think you are doing?” I sighed for I knew all too well that angered voice. I turned my head to see Connor standing a few feet away from me.

“What are you doing here Connor; don’t you have things to wrap up?” I considered the possibility that his wrapping something up involved sex and the tall beautiful woman.

“I’m here because you didn’t make it home and forced my driver to disobey my orders,” his voice sounded angry.

“Well, it was such a beautiful night, and I wanted to be here; it’s my favorite place.”

“There’s a time and place for here Ellery and now is neither.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m not done here yet, and I’m not leaving.”

He raised his voice, “Ellery Lane let’s go.”

Who the f**k does this man think he is? “Don’t be so grouchy and if you want me to go then you will have to catch me,” I laughed as I started running down the beach.

“For f**k sake Elle, you’re pissing me off,” he yelled as he started chasing after me.

I turned my head and looked behind me as he was catching up; I swear I saw a small smile escape his lips. He was a good runner, but he had an advantage, he wasn’t wearing a long dress. I started to run out of breath and slow down as he came up from behind me, picked me up and put me over his shoulder. I kicked and screamed, “Put me down Connor Black.”

“Not a chance, you will just run again, and I’m done playing games.”

Out of breath I said, “I won’t I promise, anyway I’m out of breath if you couldn’t tell.”

He gently put me down, and I sat on the sand. He looked down at me shaking his head as I held out my hand for him to sit next to me.

“I’m not sitting in the sand in this tuxedo.”

“Live a little Connor, life is too short,” I said as I stared out into the moonlit water. He sighed and sat down next to me.

We sat in silence for a moment, and I was feeling somewhat emotional; I’m blaming the wine, when I started to speak.

“It was my sixteenth birthday when I was diagnosed with cancer.” I felt him look at me as I just stared ahead listening to the whispers of the ocean. “Hey, happy sweet sixteen, guess what, you have cancer.” I felt the tears starting to sting my eyes.

Connor took my hand and whispered, “You do not have to do this.” I would not look at him because if I stared into his beautiful green eyes I would have lost it. I proceeded with my story.

“I could not bear the thought of my father having to go through that torture and pain again like he did with my mother, so I decided I was going to spare him from having to.

“Ellery,” he whispered as he leaned closer to me.

“He was going out on one of his drinking binges, and I knew he wouldn’t be home till the middle of the night, if at all, so that was my opportunity to put my plan into action. I filled the bathtub with hot water, laid back and took a razor blade to both my wrists.” I heard him take in a sharp breath as he was gently rubbing my scar with his thumb.

“Can you believe it was the one night he forgot his wallet and came back to the house; talk about fate right? He found me and called 911. I almost didn’t make it; I had lost so much blood.”

Connor didn’t say a word, but he didn’t have to; I could tell he was choked up.

“I guess God had other plans for me. I went through a year of chemo and went into remission. I was given a second chance at life, and for that I’m grateful. Like I said yesterday, I was young and stupid, and I made a terrible mistake.”

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