Tied to the Tycoon

By: Chloe Cox

He knew Club Volare. She didn’t. That much was obvious, from what he’d seen earlier. You didn’t stand around like a piece of mismatched furniture if you knew where you were. There were only so many places she could go, and the security guys would tell him if she left—for a price.

And if that didn’t work, well, he had money now. All that money bought a whole lot of private investigators, if it came to it.

Because Jackson Reed was not going to let Ava Barnett get away a second time. He owed her far too much for that. He had too many things to tell her, too many things to show her, too many things to do for her. Too many things to do to her.

He made his way through the increasingly buzzed couples, now all happily dancing to some kind of retro swing number, and found the door. The hall was deserted, but she’d made it pretty easy on him this time. The door to one room at the end wasn’t closed all the way.

He walked to it quietly, not wanting to startle her in her hiding place. He moved the door open a silent inch and peered through. She stood by a window, the city lights from below wrapping her in a soft nimbus of filtered blue light. She held herself, her hands visible on her sides, as though she was cold or in need of comfort. He thought he saw her shoulders shake. She might have been crying.

No. He wouldn’t let her get hurt again. He wouldn’t let them hurt each other, wouldn’t let them both spend another ten years like this. He hadn’t been able to take charge of the situation back then, but he was a different man now. And he had her to thank for that. He opened the door and stepped inside.

She heard him and stiffened, but didn’t turn around. He saw one hand disappear, move to her face, probably to wipe away tears. She wouldn’t want him to know that she’d been crying.

She spoke first. “I don’t think this is going to work out, Jackson,” she said.

“Man, can you hold a grudge,” he said, advancing another step. “Ava, trust me, I’m different. What happened then—”

“People don’t really change.”

“Bullshit. I have.” Because of you, he thought to himself. He didn’t think it was right to say it yet, wasn’t convinced that something that intense wouldn’t send her running off screaming into the night. But he had to remind himself.

“Really? Since when?” she asked. Her hand was balled in a tight fist at her neck while her eyes studied the glittering skyline. He could tell she wanted it to be true, but she would take some convincing. Well, he wasn’t one to beat around the bush.

“Since the last time I saw you naked.”

He could actually see the shiver run up her spine in that backless dress. He was suddenly struck by the fact that he hadn’t touched her in ten years. Ten years. He had waited all that time, but now he knew he couldn’t wait even one second more.

He came close to her, let her feel his breath on her neck. Then he slipped his hands in the sides of that backless dress, fanning his fingers out over her bare waist and the edges of her taut belly. She shuddered, jolted a bit in surprise. Her breath hitched, and he felt himself begin to harden. He breathed in deep, and pressed his fingers into her warm flesh. He prided himself on his self-control, but Ava…

Ava made it hard.

“What would…” her voice wavered, and she swallowed. “What would the rules be?”

“You come stay with me for a week. You’re mine, the entire time.”

She was still tiny, compared to him. If he stretched his hands, he might just reach down far enough. It was all he could think about, how close she was to being naked. How close he was to being inside her again.

“What does that mean? I mean, are you…?” Her voice was small, uncertain. She had taken off the mask.

“I’m a member here,” he said. “I’m a Dom. You’d be my submissive.”

He held her close, pulling her body into his. He saw her face in the reflection of the glass in front of them and knew she was scared. Not in a mortal way, but in the way people are scared of new things, of powerful things. He wanted to dominate her—he wanted to fuck her, yes, but he wanted to wrap her in his arms, too.

“I don’t really know that works,” she finally said. Her tight stomach fluttered under his fingers.

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