Читать онлайн "Capital Risk" автора Grayson Lana - RuLit - Страница 10

 
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“You would have considered how dangerous it was to impregnate a woman with this kind of uncontrolled asthma. You would have thought how terrifying it’d be for me to be taken from my home, my school, my life, and forced into a prison where your father—”

The choked cough interrupted me before the memory doused me in weeping fear. I puffed the inhaler. Nicholas stood before me, his eternal, frustrating stillness. I hated it. I envied it. I needed it.

I had to escape from it.

From him.

My words trembled. I met Nicholas’s gaze and adopted his authority as my own.

After all, what did I have to fear?

Darius took what he wanted. My step-brothers fulfilled their obligation to the family name. I was rutted, seeded, and left to suffer the consequences with my life destroyed and another growing in me. Had they considered the baby beyond what rights it would inherit?

Even tiny, hardly a flutter within me, the child was more powerful than any of us—the billions he’d inherit, the names he’d possess. The only thing the Bennetts wanted more than me was their heir.

And while he grew in me, I would own them all. The stock. The child. The future.

It was mine.

“I didn’t come to tell you about the pregnancy.” I held Nicholas’s stare. “I came because I need your help.”

“Sarah—”

I didn’t let him speak. “I’m pregnant, but Darius and the Board don’t know. You will ensure it stays that way.”

Max was always the observant one. “They’ll notice eventually, don’t you think?”

“No.”

Reed tried to be reasonable. “You aren’t running again. You’re pregnant, Sarah. You need to be at home. With doctors and rest and good food and—”

I finished for him. “And a life free of stress and fear and the constant dread that sometime, somewhere Darius will…” The memory sickened me. “Hurt me.”

“He won’t,” Nicholas vowed.

The damned fool. It’d be tragic if his father’s touch didn’t linger like grease over my skin.

“No, he won’t hurt me or this child,” I said. “Because you won’t let him.”

“That is my promise to you.”

Broken without even realizing it.

“I ran because he would have found me. I’m sick. I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept a full night since…” Hell if I knew. Not since before the attack. Not since Nicholas saved me from his father and the board. Not since I stole the trust and tried to protect myself with the money and power Darius coveted. “I need to feel safe.”

“You will be safe with me.” Nicholas stepped too close, promised too much. “You and the baby. Sarah, let me help you. Let me take care of you—”

“There is nothing you can do while Darius is still alive.” I retreated from his arms. “If you really want to protect me, you will kill him. As soon as possible. Before…”

Before he found out about the baby.

Before he reveled in the rape.

Before he ruined everything like he tried to ruin me.

The tears and sickness ripped me apart only to force the raw pieces back together in a broken array, just disjointed enough to render me unrecognizable, pained.

Heartbreak struck me harder than any attack, hurt me more than any assault, and left me mourning a love more wonderful than my lost innocence.

“We are going to kill Darius,” I said. “And then I’m leaving you, Nick. It’s over. The captivity. The false promises. I refuse to put myself or my baby in danger.”

I expected Nicholas’s challenge, but nothing he did would force me to submit to him.

Not ever again.

“My son will never know his father is a Bennett.”

It worked.

Sarah Atwood was pregnant with my child.

We left her alone as she requested. The deck jutted into the darkened woods, muffling the words we hadn’t the courage to speak. Max cracked open a beer and pushed it into my hand. Reed leaned against the balcony rail, his perpetual disappointment memorialized in a frown as we, yet again, mistreated the girl.

I hadn’t sipped my beer. I preferred whiskey. We all did. Why hide who we really were? Certainly not now, not when every depraved and monstrous obsession burning in our blood suddenly realized within the tears of the woman we promised to protect.

Reed offered her his bed for the night. Sarah took it without protest, shutting the door behind her.

Then locking it.

Did she honestly believe a wooden door would keep me from her?

Did she think she could hide her pregnancy from me and then cast me from her life?

She threatened to keep me from my son—a word she spoke with such certainty I didn’t know if it was mother’s intuition or her own fear for a male heir that dared us to think otherwise.

I captured her once. I secured a collar around her fragile neck, and I bound her arms above her head while I mounted her morning, afternoon, and night.

Sarah Atwood never had the privilege of escaping from me. Not when we first stole her. Not now that she carried my child.

Not while I suffered in the twisted, agonizing relief that was finally seeing her, touching her, hearing her voice.

Even if she meant to break my heart.

I loved Sarah Atwood. I wanted her more than I ever wanted her heir.

And I had one, but not the other.

This disaster required something stronger than a drink brewed into brown glass.

Then again, we were supposed to smoke imported cigars for this victory. Clink our glasses of vintage brandy and chuckle in satisfaction.

Sarah upped the bet by a thousand dollars. Reed folded. Max swore and chucked his cards over the table.

I matched her bet and called.

“Seriously?” she laughed. “We’re billionaires. This hand getting a little too steep for you, Bennett?”

Tough words for a girl who was down to her panties from our first few rounds of the game. Of course, we ganged up on her. In more ways than one.

“Thinking of changing the stakes.”

She rolled her eyes. “Clothes, money. I’m your prisoner remember? What can I possibly bet?”

I grinned. “Something very important.”

“Name it.”

“Exactly.”

Sarah adjusted her arm, trying to hide her breasts while holding her cards. “I don’t understand.”

“If you get pregnant this month—”

If.”

“Winner gets to name the baby.”

“Oh, you’re sick.” She rolled her eyes. “But you’ll never beat my hand.”

I held four of a kind, and her eyebrow twitched when she bluffed.

I hoped she liked the name Adam.

“So.” Max chugged his beer. “Who wants to tell her we were about to kill Dad. You know, before that idiot ruined the plan?”

“Hey.” Reed swore. “She called me and asked for help. What the hell was I supposed to do? Tell her to fuck off because we were busy?”

Max shrugged. “She might have wanted to help.”

“No.” Shock and perverse joy bound my words. “I won’t let her be involved in something like this. She’s pregnant. We’re not endangering her or the…my child.”

“You did it.” Max toasted me with a sarcastic nod of the beer. “How’s it feel, Daddy?”

Like I betrayed an innocent, beautiful woman. Like I fulfilled the promise I made each time I took her to my bed, seized her in my sheets, and violated her while pretending to make love.

     

 

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