“Because it’s just not a good idea. And I don’t have anything to wear.”
“Actually, you do,” he says. “Mrs. Naven found some things in the laundry after you left. Problem solved.” He takes both my hands and backs up into the sitting room.
“Tristan, we still have some things to sort out. Tonight was great, but I still don’t think I’m cut out to be your submissive.”
“Just my submissive?”
I drop my head. “No. Anyone’s.”
“You’re afraid you’ll have panic attacks again, aren’t you?”
I feel like I’m about to be swallowed up by the sincere blue eyes tracking and pinning mine so effectively I can’t look away. “Yes. And I’m no use to you if I can’t endure the scenes, particularly the occasional disciplinary consequences.”
“What if there was a way you could?” His finger traces a gentle path down my cheek.
“What do you mean?”
“Just what I said. If there was a way we could work around the panic attacks, would you come back? For good?”
“You mean until you perfect your exit strategy? That’s what you venture capitalists call it, don’t you?”
“Ah, someone’s been paying attention at our semiannual business meetings?”
“I have a rather exacting mentor who insists on being heard.”
“Asshole,” he says and pulls me close.
I place my hands on his chest in an effort to sustain some emotional equilibrium, but he doesn’t let me go. “I’m the one who’ll be ass-out when you lose confidence in your investment and decide it’s time to diversify your portfolio again.”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, Keisha.” He draws me closer, palming my hips, and I get his point. Pun intended. “I can’t seem to get enough of you.”
I slip out of his arms and put some space between us. “Chemistry has never been an issue for us, Tristan. I know your lifestyle is important to you, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up.”
The truth is, I’m hopelessly in love with a man who hasn’t given me any indication that he will ever want a real relationship. Nothing has changed on that front. He still just wants just a Dominant/submissive relationship, which might enjoy a longevity his other arrangements haven’t had, but it will eventually end.
Can I really do this? I certainly don’t think I’ll become any less in love with him over time. Reentering a sexual relationship with Tristan now would be exceedingly counterproductive to the reasons I left in the first place, but I am hard-pressed to make myself walk away again.
Tristan moves so close behind me that I can feel the warmth of his skin, his breath wafting over my ear as he speaks. “We’ll take things slow—again.”
He runs a finger along my arm, and gooseflesh sprouts like ivy in its wake. I feel a pull toward him that can only be described as magnetic—my body eager to be reunited to his. Even though it could conceivably be more painful for me this time around, I’m not sure if leaving him again is within the realm of possibility. I can’t rationalize staying, but leaving becomes increasingly more difficult with each second I remain in his presence.
I turn to face him. “Slow isn’t necessarily going to keep the attacks at bay.” Or guard my heart if he decides he’s done with me.
“We’ll figure out a way to do that together.” He takes me into his arms again. “These three weeks have been ... just please stay.”
I look into his eyes, and all I want to do at that moment is kiss him senseless. He may not have given me a declaration of love, but somehow I know this is as close as I’m going to get with a man like Tristan White. For now.
As an answer, I stand on my tiptoes, throw my arms around his neck, and kiss him with everything in me.