Home > Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(4)

Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(4)
Author: Carly Phillips

She lifted her shoulders. “I spent years under Keith’s thumb, letting him take care of things, and look where that got me. Why do you think I changed my name back to Sullivan? I want… need to stand on my own. And in this case, I didn’t want to be a burden.” She reached out and took his hand. “You’d have been there for me. You always are, but you don’t need my problems in your life.”

That hurt. As much as he understood her rationale, he had always wanted to be the person she could turn to. “You could never be a burden.”

“I’m about to be one because I have nowhere to go. I had a friend I planned to move in with, and at the last minute, she changed her mind. She wants her boyfriend to move in instead.”

“Some friend.”

A small smile lifted her lips. Lips he couldn’t tear his gaze away from, no matter how desperate her situation. Which made him a jerk.

“And I can’t ask my mother for anything. We barely speak. I really do have nowhere to go.” Her eyes shimmered with tears.

“Of course you do and you know it. You can stay here until we figure out your next step. I have three bedrooms. It’ll be fine. You won’t even be kicking me out of my home office.”

She met his gaze, gratitude in her expression. “It won’t be for long, I promise. Just until I figure a few things out. I told you I have resumes sent in to civil law firms. The partners at Keith’s firm agreed to give me a letter of recommendation as long as I stay away from criminal law. I’m hoping to make a fresh start. If I live carefully, I can save and be out of here—”

“Maxie, stop. You’ll stay here as long as you need,” he said, refusing to think about what that close proximity between them would mean.

Of course, his cock immediately registered the fact and began to perk up. Sister-in-law, he harshly reminded himself. Grieving widow. Woman who’d suffered a severe loss. He had no right or intention of making a move on her.

“Thank you,” she said on a shaky exhale. Without warning, she rose from her seat and threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tight.

He cradled her back, breathing in her familiar strawberry shampoo scent, and a sense of longing shot through him. The kind he’d pushed aside for years because he had no choice. She elicited emotions from deep inside him, and his body grew even harder at the feel of her soft curves in his arms.

He grasped her shoulders and separated them before she became aware of his reaction to her nearness. “It’ll be okay,” he said, taking in her glassy eyes.

“Thanks to you.” She straightened her shoulders. “I really wanted to stand on my own two feet, but every time I turn around, another hit comes. There was so much Keith did behind my back…” She shook her head. “But it doesn’t matter. Thank you for helping me. I hope it won’t cramp your social life,” she said, not meeting his gaze.

“I’m more than happy to share my video controllers,” he said with a wink, hoping to lighten the mood.

The pathetic fact was, since canceling his date the night he’d come to her rescue, he hadn’t been out with another woman.

She grinned and he breathed out a groan of relief.

“So you have thirty days to pack and get your belongings into storage before you have to be out?” he asked.

“A week. I thought I had somewhere to go, remember? I already have some things boxed.”

“We’ll finish up this weekend,” he said.

“What do you mean, we? I can handle it,” she assured him.

Did she really think he was going to leave her to handle everything alone? “Have you planned for storage or donation?”

She shook her head. “I was just focused on my things.” She glanced down. “Your parents want Keith’s things, so I figured I’d call them about storage.”

He braced his hand around the tight muscles in the back of his neck. “I’ll take care of it. By the time the weekend arrives, I’ll have arranged for a unit for everything. I’ll also contact Goodwill for a large pickup—”

“Lucas, I can do it.” He heard the steel in her tone.

“I know you can. I want to help.”

“Just this once.” She let out what sounded like a relieved sigh, giving in. On such short notice, she had to really need the help.

“I meant what I said about standing on my own.” A warm smile lifted her lips. “I don’t know how to thank you.”

He didn’t want her thanks, but he could never have what he truly desired. “That’s what family is for.” He forced the words out of his mouth. The ones that created distance and reminded him of his place in her life.

She immediately jerked back and he knew he’d hurt her. “Right. Well, then, I should get going.” She turned and headed for the door.

His gaze fell to the seductive sway of her hips as she walked out. Her body had filled out, become curvier, and his mouth watered at the sight. He shifted positions and readjusted his cock in his pants. Somehow he’d managed to ignore the fucker during Maxie’s visit and subsequent conversation, but she’d gone and hugged him. And his body had reacted.

Which only served to reinforce how difficult his life was about to become.

* * *

Maxie soon discovered that, unlike his brother, Lucas was as good as his word. By the time Saturday rolled around, she had more boxes, tape, and everything she needed to help with the arduous work of packing up her house, sorting through what she could keep with her in his apartment, what she would put in storage, and what she chose to throw or give away.

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