Though Tasha Nelson presents the world with the picture of a happy, dedicated and submissive wife, on the inside she is a woman slowly dying. Her man, Polo, is the devil personified, and their home holds dark secrets.
Kian Harper didn’t believe in happily-ever-after until he met Tasha. She is everything he wants in a woman; warm, loving and loyal. She is also married! His head tells him to walk away but his heart refuses to budge. It’s Tasha or nothing!
Tasha shifted further away from him as the doors closed. The obvious tension in her posture, the hands gripping her arms and the way she was staring at the doors as if willing them to open even though the elevator had just started moving said she was not happy with him.
Kian pressed the emergency button bringing the elevator to an abrupt stop. Tasha’s eyes shifted towards him in surprise, then quickly back to the door as her lush lips straightened into an uncompromising line. He took in her profile. Even angry and stiff Tasha was still a sight for sore eyes. The blue of her dress brought out the dark richness of her skin and the curvy fullness of her body. Her stiff stance only heightened his protective instincts. It hurt to even think that someone could hurt her as Polo had done.
“Are you okay?” He edged closer to her, wrapping his arms around her waist as he pressed his chest to her shoulder. She was stiff and unyielding, studiously staring at the elevator doors like they were a Math test. He coerced, “I was only trying to help.”
“Nobody asked for your help.” Her tone was curt but her body began to yield to the proximity of his.
Kian pushed her hair away from her cheek. “Let me see that.”
She was too dark for any imprints to show but to Kian, Polo’s hand was as visible as neon words on a blackboard. The thought of Polo having marked Tasha caused an alarming anger in him. Sighing deeply, she relaxed in his arms. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
“He shouldn’t have hit you,” Kian returned, turning her to face him but instead of meeting his eyes, she bent her head. “What the f- what was I supposed to do? Just stand there and watch him beat you up?”
“You’ve only made things worse,” she mumbled.
“What does that mean?” he asked. Only silence met his question. He tipped her chin up, but Tasha refused to meet his eyes. It suddenly struck him. She was embarrassed. He tagged her closer till she was so close to him, he could feel her breasts pressed against his chest and her thighs pressed against his. Soothing his hands over her back, he said, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
She didn’t say anything, only rested her forehead against his suited shoulder.
He repeated, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
It was only when he felt a hot tear drop on his neck that he realized she was crying. Her shoulders heaving with the quiet sobs only cut a track of pain through Kian’s heart. He offered soft, soothing, empty words as he caressed her back but inside he was seething. He should’ve done more to Polo than just bust up his shin. He should’ve strung him up by his balls.
“Sorry. I ruined your tux.” Tasha sniffed as she tried to wipe the moisture for the midnight black fabric.
Kian didn’t care about the tuxedo. She could douse him in a bucket of water if that was what it took to make her feel better. He tilted her chin up until her still teary gaze met his. “I’m sorry he hurt you.”
She didn’t respond, but the air of vulnerability in her gaze that touched him. The pain that they reflected was so real, he could almost feel it. His head lowered before he could stop himself and he touched his lips to hers. “You deserve so much better.” She stiffened in his arms, but didn’t pull back, or stop him when he pressed another small kiss to her mouth. “I’m sorry.”
This time when their lips met, he deepened the kiss instead of releasing her. He nibbled on her lower lip urging her to let him in and when her lips parted on an indrawn breath, he took it as a sign of acquiescence and dove in. He captured her lips, tasted her tears and soothed them with his mouth.
Her tongue met his tentatively almost as if she was scared of this new frontier he was urging her to explore. Kian set out to convince her, letting her taste his passion and desire. He ached to make the kiss harder and unleash his hunger, but cautious of scaring her, he kept it soft somehow knowing that tenderness was what Tasha needed right now.
She wove her arms around his waist beneath his jacket to fit her warm curves into his hard planes. She was so soft and so tempting. Kian ached for nothing more than to lower his hands from the small of her back to her ass, lift her against the elevator wall and fuck her but something told him that if he did that Tasha would run faster than his next breath. Instead he eased the kiss back into soft pecks on her lips before separating their lips.
“Don’t go back to him.”
Stepping away from him she said, “I have to.”
Mentally smacking himself for not remembering that she had more than just herself to think of, Kian started, “We can pick up the kids and then-”
“I’m not leaving him,” Tasha interrupted him.
Why would she want to go back to a man like Polo? Tasha didn’t seem like the kind of woman who would take abuse lying down. Despite her reserve and occasional flinching, Tasha came off as someone of quiet strength. Had he misjudged her? “Why? Why do you stay with him? Do you love him that much?”
There was a long pause during which she met his eyes. There was no emotion as she stated firmly, “He’s my husband.”
“That’s no a reason to take his bullshit.”
“I have to go.” She moved to press the emergency button but Kian stopped her with a hand on her arm.
“You think I’m just going to let you go back to him after what I witnessed tonight?” He arched his eyebrow. “What do you think he’ll do to you when he gets back to the house?”
Kian had seen enough violent men in his lifetime and he knew how hot-headed temper-driven cowards reacted to being bested – they looked for weaker prey. The moment Polo was well enough to move around, Tasha and the kids would be in his sights. The idea of them in such a vulnerable position made Kian sick.
“Kian, just let it go,” Tasha pleaded.
“No, I won’t sit back and watch him hurt you again.” He’d done enough of that already. Kian was almost as angry with himself as he was with Polo for not noticing the signs earlier.
She didn’t deny the danger. “I can’t leave.”
“Kian, they’re probably close to the hospital and if I don’t get there soon, it’ll only mean more trouble.” She inched closer to him and fitted her arms around his waist. Her eyes were beseeching, “Please!”
Watching her plead brought a bad taste to his mouth, but her safety was his priority right now. “We’re not leaving this elevator ‘til you tell me why I should let you go back to the same house as that bastard.”