“Why not?” he growls, his brows pulling down and his lips forming an angry scowl.
There’s a million reasons… hell, make that a gazillion reasons that this whole situation is doomed to fail.
And the first reason is because, “Charlie needs to be returned his family.”
“His parents are dead,” he states coldly.
“I know,” I sigh. “But he has to have other family out there. Grandma and Grandpa. Aunts, uncles, cousins…”
Johnathan shakes his head and releases his grip on my chin. “No. I had Simon look into it. His family is shit and he’s better off here.”
“No buts on this, Beth. Both sets of his grandparents are dead. His mother and father were into some bad shit, the whole family was, that’s how he ended up in this mess.”
Fuck. That’s the last thing I wanted to hear. I was still holding out hope that there was someone out there waiting for the little guy to come home.
“So you’re just going to keep him?” I ask while leaning back.
“Yeah,” Johnathan says firmly, his features hardening. “He’s ours now.”
“Ours?” I repeat. I must have heard that wrong.
“Yes, ours,” he says firmly.
I immediately start shaking my head back and forth. “No. No. No. Johnathan, this isn’t going to work.”
Johnathan grabs both sides of my face to stop my head shaking. Glaring into my eyes, he asks, “And why the hell not?”
“Because I can’t stay here!” I blurt out.
He leans close until his nose is nearly touching mine.
“Again,” Johnathan says slowly, calmly. “Why the hell not?”
“Because I can’t,” I say and close my eyes.
He’s too close now for me to concentrate. My lips tingle at just the knowledge that his lips are only a breath away.
I take a deep breath to calm my racing heart.
“My father is going to come for me, he always does. And he always finds me. Always.”
I open my eyes to see Johnathan staring at my mouth.
“You have to give me back,” I implore.
Johnathan stares at me for a long moment like he’s contemplating what I just said, and I have the wild hope that I’m finally getting through to him.
Then he has to go and growl, “No.”
“You don’t understand,” I groan, and try to lean away, but Johnathan pulls me back. “With all his connections, it’s only a matter of a time…”
A wave of hopelessness washes over me. My life has never been my own. For as long as I can remember, everything has been controlled by my father.
“I understand perfectly,” Johnathan says, his face darkening with anger. “Do you want to go back to him, Beth?”
I frown at Johnathan and recoil at his angry look. “Of course not.” It’s not that I necessarily want to stay here. “But I’ve never had a say in the matter.”
Johnathan nods his head and says with a dark look of determination. “Good, because I’m not giving you back. He’ll have to pry you from my cold, dead hands, and even then I’ll fuck him up for trying.”
I shake my head in disbelief. What is he saying? Is he actually saying he’d die to keep me? “You’re insane.”
Johnathan nods his head and his eyes gleam possessively as he says, “And you’re mine.”
His declaration of possession causes my heart to jump into my throat.
Before I even have a chance to truly process how I’m feeling, he pulls me even closer.
His eyes soften and once more his attention falls to my mouth. I can tell he’s thinking about kissing me and my breathing quickens with my own want.
“Your father can come for you, but he can never take you away from me. He’ll have no legal recourse if you’re my wife.”
“Wife?” I repeat dumbly.
My ears are ringing and my brain feels light-headed and full of static. It’s like a bomb just went off in my head.
He can’t be serious, he can’t. I know he was joking about it with his boss earlier, but how could he possibly want to marry me after only knowing me for a couple of days? No, no way. Only an idiot, or someone truly crazy, would be willing to do that.
There must be something else to this. A catch…
All at once it hits me, and I nearly sag with relief as I figure it out.
“Oh,” I start to smile. It’s ingenious really. “You mean like a sham marriage? That would be really awesome of you, but I can’t ask you to—”
Johnathan’s face darkens and he reaches down, grabbing me by the hips. I yelp as he twists me around and forces me to straddle his lap.
I push at his chest and try to rise up but he yanks me back down.
His fingers dig into my hipbones and then he grinds his hard groin against my sex. “Does anything about this feel like a sham to you?” he rasps.
I arch away, trying to escape the grinding friction.