But looking the other way while I had an affair wasn’t harmless.
I had to make sure she never found out.
That would be a tight spot for her. And judging by the way Lucian treated everyone, he would kill her in a heartbeat.
But all of that luxury was nothing compared to this bed—and the man who came with it.
He was sweaty and I was hot, but that didn’t stop me from snuggling into his side and hooking my leg between his. Sleeping with a sexy man like this was a treat that I only got on occasion, and I wanted to enjoy every second I could. I hated touching Lucian, and not just because I was repulsed by him, but because I thought of Evan.
Evan, with his beautiful wife and baby boy.
I was the last thing on his mind.
He’d let me take his place and he’d moved on.
Like I’d meant nothing to him.
I refused to let it bother me, but sometimes the pain was too difficult to combat.
When I was with Balto, the pain was frozen. I felt like a free woman who’d met a stranger in a bar. There were no ropes that bound me anywhere. I didn’t belong to anyone but myself. I could just be me…and I hadn’t been me in a long time. I expected Balto to put me down the way Case did for getting into this situation in the first place…but he was incredibly kind. Balto fascinated me. He was sharp like the edge of a knife, but also soft like a feather. It was impossible to tell which version you would meet because he was unpredictable.
Or maybe he was just unpredictable because I hardly knew him.
I knew this couldn’t last much longer. The more often I saw him, the more likely it was that I would get caught. That would cause a million problems, especially since Lucian actually was starting to care about me. Undoubtedly, he would kill Balto, and I would get a serious beating. Lucian would probably kill Balto right in front of me just to teach me a lesson.
But I was here now—and I might as well enjoy it.
“How long will he be gone?” His fingertips started at my knee and slowly slid up my thigh.
We talked about Lucian often, mainly how to sneak around him so we could keep fucking like animals. “Until Tuesday.”
“Good.” His palm moved up my thigh to my ass. “I get to enjoy you longer than usual.”
“I can’t come over every night. That’d be suspicious.”
“Or you could just stay here—and not go back.”
“Even more suspicious.”
“If he’s not there, what does it matter?” His large palm continued to caress me, his callused fingertips indicating he worked hard with his hands. I had no idea what he did, but I suspected he broke collarbones pretty often.
“He has a lot of people working for him, and they won’t lie for me. He’d kill them if they did—and I can’t live with blood on my hands.”
“How many men are we talking about here?”
“At least fifty at the entrance and around the grounds.”
His fingertips stopped at my knee. “That’s a respectable number.”
“And there’s the staff. They keep an eye on me too.”
His fingers swirled around my knee as he considered what I said. “Your husband is someone. But he must be foolish if he hasn’t caught you yet. This has happened three times, and he obviously has no idea.”
“Because he trusts me.”
He looked down at me, his eyebrow raised. “How could he trust a prisoner?”
“Because I’ve behaved since I became his wife. I’ve done everything he’s asked without complaint.”
“Except be faithful to him.”
“Well…he never actually asked me to be faithful to him. I know it’s implied, but still…that was never a rule he listed. I think he cared more about me submitting and not being aggressive than that. That was why he gave me the freedom to drive around and visit family and friends, because he knows I’ll honor my word and come home at night. A month ago, he might not necessarily have cared that I was sleeping with someone else. He does it all the time. But now that he’s wanting to spend more time with me…it could be a problem.”
Balto turned on his side and looked at me, my leg hiked farther over his hip. He studied me with those beautiful blue eyes, the intensity so strong they almost didn’t seem beautiful at all. “I can make this all go away—if you want.”
My heart thudded in my chest at the offer. Like a drum, it beat.
“I could kill him, all of his men, all of the staff—”
“I have no ill will against the staff.”
“Fine. But I could take out everyone else—and you would be free.”
The idea of having my life back again sounded nice, but my credibility nagged at me. Lucian could threaten to kill Evan again, but I wouldn’t care. But I would care about going back on my word. It would be different if I had been snatched off the street and taken prisoner against my will. But I chose this voluntarily, chose this to save the man I loved. Just because he turned out to be a heartless jackass didn’t mean I wasn’t bound to my promise. “You would do that?”