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Chapter twenty-six

Gordon held the elevator door open for Abbey as he motioned her in.  He followed her inside then turning to the control panel he pulled a key from his pants pocket.  He slipped it into the panel, turned it and pressed the button to the penthouse.  The elevator lurched to life, lifting them up through the floors of the building.

Abbey wondered grimly to herself just how many people held the magical key to Sloan’s apartment – and how many of them were women?

“So, how many nights have you been watching me?” Abbey asked Gordon.

“Watching over you, Abbey,” Gordon answered.  “Ever since New Year’s Eve.  But not just me.  Sometimes it’s been Bartholomew.  Robert has even taken a few shifts.”

“Oh.”  The elevator shuttered to a stop and opened its doors before she could ask any more questions. 

Gordon once again held the elevator door open for her then escorted her through the vestibule to the frosted glass and steel doors.  He held one open for her.  Abbey took a step inside and froze.

There Sloan stood, his powerful, dark, sophisticated, sensual self.  The soft lights from throughout the penthouse illuminated his silhouette against the black city night that painted the walls of windows behind him.  He was distracted by the conversation he was having on his cell phone, his silky deep voice cold and calculating as she negotiated business.  He stopped as she turned to see who entered his home.

“I’ll call you back,” he murmured as he stared at her, pressing the button on the screen of his smart phone to hang up the call.

Gordon stepped past her to the edge of the foyer that met the living area.  With a quick flick of the wrist he summoned the other occupants of the penthouse.  Within moments Robert and Bartholomew were following his into the vestibule.

“Hello, Abbey.”  Robert smiled at her darkly stopping for a moment to stare her down before slipping from the room, closing the door behind him.

Abbey’s heart thundered in her chest.  She was alone with Sloan.  He betrayed her.  She couldn’t stop thinking about him.  It was time for answers.  Her stomach twisted with the thought of asking them.

“I’m glad you are here.  I was running out of gift ideas,” Sloan crooned.  “Does this visit mean you’ve accepted my offer?”

“I want you to answer some questions first,” Abbey demanded.

“Of course.”  Sloan motioned Abbey into the penthouse.  She timidly stepped into the living area.  Compared to the opulence of the penthouse and its owner, she in her waitress uniform was certainly the thing that didn’t belong.  She took a deep breath.

“Why did you lie to me?” Abbey asked quietly.

Sloan paused.  “I couldn’t have you leave.”

“Why not?”

Sloan didn’t answer.  Abbey repeated.  “You said it wasn’t the money or the visa.  Then why?  Why couldn’t you let me leave?”

Sloan slowly crossed the room to Abbey.  He gently caressed her cheek with his fingertips.

“I needed to know if there could be something between us,” he answered softly.

“Oh wow,” Abbey thought as her knees turned to jelly.  “And do you think there could be something between us?”

Sloan’s mouth turned up in a sexy smile as he gazed into her warm hazel eyes with his ice blue ones.  “I’d like to think there could be.”

“Oh double wow.”  Abbey’s heart picked up its rapid pace again.

“Sloan, I’ve been wondering.  Did you ever get to a lawyer?  I mean, I didn’t.  I didn’t have the money.  Are we still…”

She felt his breath on her cheek as he leaned closer to her.  “Married?  Aye.  We’re still married.  I did not get an annulment.”

“You are still my…”  Abbey’s voice failed her again.

“Husband.  Aye, luv, I am.”

“And I’m still your…”

“My beautiful wee wife.”

It was all too much – his presence, his confession, the realization they were still married.  Abbey felt the hot rush of tears as a sob caught in her throat.

“I can’t, Sloan.  I can’t do it.  I’m sorry.”

Sloan’s lips tightened to a thin line as he took a step away from her.  She felt void from just that little bit of distance from him.  His voice was suddenly cold.  “May I ask why not?’

“The second book…was on my laptop…I forgot to back it…up to my flash drive,” Abbey stammered between heaving breaths.  “The guy at the…pawn shop wiped…the drive clean.  It’s gone.”  Her sobs quickly turned to hiccups, a trait that irritated her to no end.

Abbey felt Sloan’s warmth as he enveloped her in his arms.  She looked up to him through tear swollen eyes and obnoxious hiccups.  His sexy smile was back.

“Luv, it’s not gone.  It’s here.”  He gently tapped her forehead.  “And here.”  He tapped her chest.  “We just have to find it.”

Abbey returned his smile.  His faith was reassuring.

“So,” he coaxed.  “Should we try?”

Abbey silently nodded.  She didn’t know Sloan’s smile could grow wider but it did.

“Very good.  I will send Robert and Bartholomew to your apartment tomorrow to pack your things.  And you will resign immediately…”

Abbey stepped out of Sloan’s arms and held up her hand to silence him.  She swallowed hard to suppress her residual hiccups.

“No,” she began.  “I appreciate you getting our contracts back.  But it doesn’t erase the fact you lied to me.  That and Michael stealing all my money and running away with my supposed best friend…”

“He what?”  Sudden fury blazed through Sloan.  Abbey could feel it roll off him in waves.

“Sloan, it’s ancient history.  Michael disappeared.  I’ve made it on my own.  I want to keep it that way.  I don’t want to be dependent on anyone.  I don’t want to fall like that again.”

“That neighborhood is dangerous,” Sloan warned, his voice deep.

“It was before and it will be when I get home.  I will be ok,” Abbey assured.  “You haven’t had your posse looking out for me the entire time I’ve lived in Brownsville, have you?”

Sloan glared at her silently, his hands clenched on his hips.  Abbey continued.

“Thank you for the offer to move into your beautiful home.  But, no.  I’m agreeing to write a second book with you.”  Abbey took a deep breath.  “Nothing more.”

She could tell be the way his eyes glanced away that he understood everything she meant.  There was a cold silence between them for several moments.

“Shall we start tomorrow?” Sloan proposed.

“Sure,” Abbey agreed.  “I will take the subway and get here…”

“Nonsense,” Sloan interrupted, irritation evident in his brogue.  “Gordon will pick you up after you finish work just as he will take you home tonight.”

There was danger in Sloan’s voice.  Abbey pushed him as far as he would go before his Irish temper would rear its ugly head.  It was time to concede.

“Of course.  Thank you.”  She shuffled her feet.  “It’s getting late.  I should be getting home.”

Sloan silently strode across the foyer to open the door for her.  Abbey followed.  She stopped short before crossing the threshold.  She looked into his eyes, seeing the storm brewing within them.  She timidly touched his chest.

“Thank you for everything, Sloan.  I appreciate it.”  Abbey pressed a soft kiss on his cheek before she slipped out the door walked across the vestibule to the waiting elevator.

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About triciaandersen

I am the author and illustrator of the children's book "The Peculiar Princess". I am also the author of two adult fantasy romance novels, "The Sorceress of Savon" and "The Woodcutter King of Muladin". Along with being an author I am married to a wonderful guy and have three beautiful children. I coach youth track and field, sew and chase my children around to their various activities.

Posted on June 2, 2012, in author, books, fiction, novel, romance, story, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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