She gave a slight shrug. “You and Case played nice while I was gone?”
“Did anyone die today?”
She shook her head slightly. “You two are a lot alike. Maybe that’s why you bump heads so much.”
We were a lot alike, actually. But the real reason he despised me was because of what I did to his sister. I refused to give her up, and that just made him feel worthless. All he wanted was to protect his family, but I made that impossible. I was simply too powerful to take down. It would be a suicide mission. “Yeah…that must be it.”
I pulled into the compound, and then we rode the elevator to the top floor.
“Is your brother moving out?”
“No.” I shed my jacket and hung it up on the coatrack near the elevator doors.
“Why not? I don’t want him barging in here if I’m watching TV on the couch in just my underwear.”
“He already did it once.”
“And he won’t do it again.”
She turned to me, her arms across her chest. She was pissed she wasn’t getting her way. If only she understood that I would do anything to protect her. If I really thought Heath was a threat, I would remove him.
“You’re really going to stick your neck out for him?” she asked. “Or are you just blinded because he’s your brother.”
I wasn’t blinded by anything. “I understand my brother is a pain in the ass. He’s more emotionally driven, less pragmatic than I am. He can be sleazy and cross the line. But I can tell you with complete confidence that he would never do anything inappropriate toward you.”
“It won’t happen again. And nothing worse will happen. He apologized to me and seemed sincere. He said he wants to patch up things with you.”
“Why would he want to do that?”
“Because if I’m not around, he is. If you need something, he can help you. If someone bothers you, he can protect you.”
“He doesn’t seem like the protector type.”
“I’m your woman?” she asked incredulously. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means what it means.” I swallowed my pride at the insult in her tone.
“You mean, I’m your prisoner.” She stepped closer to me, her heels tapping against the floor. “Big difference.”
“Maybe you’re my prisoner. But you’re also my woman. You’re the one in my bed every night. You’re the one sleeping on the couch until I come home. You’re the one always worried that I’m going to be in between another woman’s legs. You see me as your man so let’s not pretend otherwise.”
She pressed her lips together tightly, having no rebuttal.
I knew I’d won that argument. “We’re getting a drink at his place and watching the game tonight.”
“I spent the day with your brother. You can spend the evening with mine.”
“Whoa, hold on.” She raised her hand. “Are we a married couple going back and forth between families now?”
“No. I took you to see your brothers because it’s important to you. Would you rather not do that anymore?”
“That’s not what I said—”
“Then you’re spending the evening with my brother to give him another chance.”
“What if I don’t want to?”
“I don’t care. You’re my prisoner, as you pointed out. You do as I say.”
Both of her eyes heated and shot lava like two little volcanoes. “He’s a creep—”
“You really think I’d let anything happen to you?”
“I don’t have to be in the room to keep you safe. My presence, my power, follows you everywhere you go. You’re untouchable as long as you’re mine. I know my brother didn’t make a good first impression, but he’s a good guy. He may be a criminal, but he’s never forced himself on a woman or treated one with disrespect.”
“And I’m just supposed to believe that?”
“Yes.” I stepped closer to her. “Because I wouldn’t lie to you. So we’re doing this, and you’re giving it your best effort.”
“You seem to keep forgetting that he’s the one who started all of this. He could have walked inside and introduced himself instead of saying he wanted to eat my pussy. I promise you, the conversation would have gone much differently.”
“In his defense, any guy who looks at you wants to eat your pussy. So get over it.”
Her hands moved to her hips. “Oh, you’re definitely not getting sex tonight.”
“Whatever you say, baby.”
We rode the elevator down to the third floor, and the doors opened on a floor identical to the one Balto had.