“That’s sexy. I’d call him Mr. Burnham. Yes, Mr. Burnham. Whatever you want Mr. Burnham,” Kiera said breathlessly, giggling. “I so need to find a man like that. I want to be dominated.”
“It’s not like that. It’s almost as if he knows that I need that sometimes. And other times, he’s so sweet and gentle.”
“So sometimes you fuck and sometimes you make love.”
Olivia froze in her place. “No, Kiera. We don’t make love. That would entail…”
“What?” Kiera asked, interrupting Olivia. “That would mean you love him. And he loves you. And it’s true. So the sooner you admit that to yourself, the sooner you can move past it. Stop freaking out. I see the way he is with you. Why do you think he feels the need to protect you? Because you’re some girl he’s banging? Hell no. Because he loves you.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Fine, whatever. Keep denying it. You love him. Deep down. You may not realize it just yet, but you will. You’re in deep already, girly, though I know you’re scared to death to admit it. But you need to realize that your fear of getting close to people is not real. It’s merely a product of choice, of thoughts that your mind has created. So get the fuck over yourself, Olivia, and let yourself be happy for once. Because no matter what happens, you are going to get hurt in life. But it’s so much better to have jumped into the ocean and get stung by a jellyfish than to never have felt the salt water between your toes at all.” Kiera turned and walked away, leaving Olivia speechless.
Olivia walked through the front doors of her building and hurried to the elevator, wanting to get back to her office and some sense of normalcy, even though nothing had been normal about her life since she met Alexander Burnham. He entered her life in a whirlwind and had quickly implanted himself in nearly every facet of Olivia’s existence. She thought about him every second of every day. And Olivia didn’t know how she felt about that.
“CHERYL, I need some good news,” Donovan said into his phone.
“I wish I had some, boss. We’re getting there. He has Carter on an unofficial protection detail as of now. She noticed Matthew following her yesterday. It was good that he made it so obvious. That’s got Burnham spooked.”
“Yes, but I was hoping he’d assign you to the protection detail.”
“I know. I’m working on that. But as of now, there’s no official detail anyway. From what I’ve been able to find out, she seems hesitant to agree to it, thinking it’s entirely unnecessary.”
“Well, do something to make it necessary,” Donovan growled into the phone.
“Yes, sir.” Cheryl hung up and threw her burner phone into the nearest trash bin. She walked to a nearby drug store and bought a replacement.
“Hello, Mr. Burnham,” Olivia crooned into her phone.
“Good afternoon, Miss Adler. Come to my place after practice at Mo’s tonight?”
“Is that a question or an order?” she asked as she sat at the desk in her office, looking out the window at the bustling Boston streets below.
Alexander chuckled, listening to Olivia’s voice, happy to break the monotony of pouring over case files. “Maybe a little of both. We’ll order sushi and watch a few movies. Take it easy. Keep you off your feet. You’ll be pounding the pavement pretty hard this weekend.”
“That’s not the only thing I want to pound hard this weekend,” Olivia said coyly.
Alexander inhaled quickly at her words, feeling a familiar twitching in his pants before regaining his composure. “Be there at seven, Love. And be ready to leave direct from my place tomorrow when we get up.”
“Don’t you know it. Till then, Olivia...”
“Bye, Mr. Burnham.”
“Good-bye, Miss Adler.”
She hung up, collected her items, and headed out of her office. She sent Kiera a quick text reminding her to check on Nepenthe over the next few days.
“Bye, Libby! Have fun this weekend and good luck!” Melanie said as Olivia walked out the front doors of the wellness center.
“Thanks, Mel. See you next week.”
When Olivia walked out of her building a few minutes later, a black SUV pulled up front.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she mumbled under her breath.
“Miss Adler,” Carter said, running around to open the rear passenger side door.
“Good afternoon, Carter,” she said curtly as she stared into the passenger compartment of the SUV, hesitant about getting in. If she did, she was more or less agreeing to Alexander’s ridiculous protection detail.
“Please, Miss Adler. It’s just a ride home.”
Olivia looked at her watch and noticed she was already running late. “Fine. But only because I’m short on time.”
“Thank you, Miss Adler.”
Olivia was home in record time and, after Carter did a quick sweep of her house, she began packing for her big weekend.
That evening, rehearsal with the band went by fairly quickly. Before Olivia knew it, she was on her way over to Alexander’s penthouse, courtesy of her chauffeur, Carter. She wasn’t in the mood to start a fight with him, not when they were going away for the weekend. If he was providing her with her own personal driver for the evening, so be it.
“Olivia, Love,” Alexander said, rushing to her when he saw her walk through the foyer. She was dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, but she still made Alexander’s heart skip a beat whenever she was near. He planted a long kiss on her lips. “Have I told you how much I missed you today?”
“Maybe once or twice, but you can tell me again.” Olivia stared into his green eyes, reveling in the warmth coming off his body. He must have just gotten out of the shower. His hair was wet and he smelled of body wash and aftershave. He had changed out of his normal office attire and was wearing a white polo shirt and a pair of jeans.
“I missed you. I missed your eyes.” His thumb ran over the corner of Olivia’s eyes. “I missed your lips.” He brought his mouth to hers, kissing her softly. “And I most certainly missed your tongue.” He kissed her again, coaxing her mouth open as his tongue danced with hers before pulling back, leaving her completely breathless.
“Come, Love. Sushi has arrived.” He led her down the hallway into the den. It was a spacious and homey room with a large pool table set in the far corner. Immediately in front of Olivia was a luxurious leather sofa and a giant flat screen TV. It was the one room of the penthouse that didn’t appear to belong in a museum. Walking over to the couch, Olivia noticed that Alexander had set up a small feast worth of sushi on the large coffee table. Runner sat next to the table, anxious for scraps. When he saw Olivia, he immediately ran up to her, his tail wagging.