Authors: Delaney Diamond
Tags: #seattle, #billionaire, #friends to lovers, #family series
She swirled away from him again and continued
the march to her Lexus. The car he had bought, which made her want
to cry even more.
“Wait. Please, Alannah, don’t go. Talk to
He caught her arm, but she yanked away and
shoved him. He hardly moved, which made her even angrier. She
wanted to push him so hard he fell to the ground. She wanted to
hurt him, the way he’d hurt her. He needed to suffer.
Her fingers curled into angry fists. “I hate
you, Trenton,” she said in a broken voice. He flinched, as if she’d
dealt him a physical blow. She shook with the anger and pain that
filled her, and tears welled up and fell onto her cheeks. She
didn’t care anymore if he saw. He needed to see that he’d done a
horrible, terrible thing. “I
Slowly, she backed away. He didn’t follow
this time, but he continued to stare at her. The further away she
backed, the harder it was to see his face against the backdrop of
Alannah swiped a hand across her cheeks and
spun toward the car. She unlocked it, jumped in, and started the
engine right away. Sniffling, she slammed the accelerator and drove
off, not looking back at him. She turned a hard right out of the
iron gates and onto the main road, but didn’t get far. The tears
streaming down her cheeks made it difficult to see, so she had to
pull over onto the shoulder.
She shoved the car into park and switched on
the hazard lights. Sobbing, she hugged the steering wheel and
pressed her wet cheeks against her arms. The only explanation for
such gut-wrenching pain was that her heart must have been torn
completely in two.
Her shoulders heaved from the severity of her
sobs. And Alannah cried…and cried…and cried.
“Are we boring you?”
Cyrus’s voice pulled Trenton into the
“What?” he said.
“Are we boring you?” Cyrus asked again.
Ivy, across from him, arched a brow. They
were seated in the small conference room adjacent to Cyrus’s
“No, you’re not boring me,” Trenton said.
“Then please give me the most recent reports
on the racial demographics of our customers. I’m particularly
interested in seeing if the target marketing to the Latino
community has expanded penetration in specific pockets around the
country.” Cyrus held out his hand.
Trenton shuffled through the stack of papers
in front of him. He saw Ivy’s data on the restaurant group and the
figures Cyrus had disbursed about the overall health of the
“I must have left them in my office,” he
mumbled. He could feel his cheeks turning red. Normally, he was
better prepared than this. From the corner of his eye, he saw Cyrus
and Ivy look at each other.
“In that case, there’s nothing further to
discuss,” Cyrus said, sounding annoyed. “Our meeting is
The three of them rose from the chairs and
Trenton filed out behind his siblings. Halfway across the floor of
Cyrus’s office, he realized he’d left his siblings’ reports in the
small conference room. No point in going back and highlighting his
absentmindedness. It was better to leave, but luck was not with
“Hang on a minute, Trent,” Cyrus said.
He groaned inwardly. Ivy sent a look of pity
over her shoulder before she exited.
Taking a deep breath, Trenton turned to face
his brother, now standing behind his immense desk, the Seattle
skyline spread out like a giant photo behind his back.
“What’s going on?” Cyrus asked.
Trenton affected a frown of confusion.
“Nothing. I’m human and sometimes I make mistakes. I’m having a bad
day, that’s all.”
“You’re having a bad week.” Cyrus dropped the
stack of reports on his desk.
Trenton stiffened. “What?”
“You’re having a bad week.”
“I heard you the first time,” Trenton bit
“Then why did you ask me what I said?”
“I’m not in the mood for this.” He didn’t
want to be picked apart. “I’ve got a lot on my mind, okay?”
They stared at each other in silence.
“Have a seat.” Cyrus waved toward one of the
guest chairs in front of him. Trenton didn’t move. “
Reluctantly, Trenton trudged over to the
chair and sat down. He gritted his teeth and prepared for the
berating his brother was about to dish out.
Cyrus sank into his executive chair and
crossed his legs. “You slept with her.”
Startled, Trenton’s head reared back. “What
are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb. You slept with Alannah, and
I know because she abruptly canceled on our Fourth of July lake
party. I can’t remember the last time Alannah didn’t go out on the
boat with us for the Fourth. She canceled
Mother of all people, and without explanation, which is very unlike
her. It was obvious when you showed up you had no idea she wouldn’t
be there, and it’s also very obvious how screwed up in the head you
are.” He let his observations sink in before he continued. “I told
you not to sleep with her. You did it anyway, and now everything’s
Trenton fisted his hands on the arms of the
chair. “Goddammit, Cyrus, does it really make you feel good to say
‘I told you so’ right now?”
“Believe me, I wish I were wrong. You have no
idea what a burden it is being right all the time.”
“Unbelievable.” When one corner of Cyrus’s
mouth pulled a fraction higher, Trenton relaxed. “You’re such an
The smile stretched to the other side of
Cyrus’s mouth. “What happened?”
Trenton stood from the chair, suddenly
feeling restless. “Like you said, I slept with her, and now I’m all
screwed up.” He ran both hands over his head and down his face. “I
don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” It took a lot to admit
that. He walked back and forth across the carpet. Cyrus didn’t say
a word, just watched his movements.
Trenton needed to fill the void of silence,
so he kept talking. “You want to know the best part?” He came
closer and rested his hand on his brother’s desk, careful not to
disturb the meticulously laid out pens along the edge. “She was the
best sex I ever had. I’ve slept with countless women, but Lana…she
was the best I ever had. Can you believe it? You’d think I never
had any ass before.” Trenton pushed away from his brother’s desk.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I know that was a rhetorical question, but I
have an answer. You’re in love with—”
Trenton reared back even further. “No way. No
fucking way. In love? What am I, a chick who catches feelings after
some good dick? No. Hell no.” He shook his head to emphasize the
“I’m not saying you fell in love with her
because of great sex. I’m saying you—”
“Shut up, Cyrus.” He pointed a finger at his
brother. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I know you
think you know everything and think you’re always right, but this
time you’re dead wrong.”
Cyrus lifted his hands in mock surrender.
“Okay, I’m not going to push it, because you’re obviously not ready
to accept the truth.”
“No, you’re wrong.”
“Okay, whatever. But you still have a
problem, and it’s causing you to be distracted.”
Trenton sighed heavily. “Yeah. The problem
is, she won’t talk to me.” She wouldn’t even return his texts. He
went by her house once and rang the doorbell. He heard Angel
barking like crazy on the inside, but Alannah never came to door.
When he tried to use his key, he couldn’t get in. She’d changed the
“Why won’t she talk to you?”
“I did something stupid.” Cyrus raised a
brow, as if to silently say that was not unusual. Trenton rolled
his eyes at his brother’s judgment and kept talking. “I’m not
telling you what I did, but I have to figure out how to get through
to her. She’s special to me, and I just…I want…” He swallowed. “I
want her back.”
He didn’t even know why he’d behaved the way
he did—why he’d run, why he’d hooked up with Beth. All he did know
was that he couldn’t lose Alannah. She’d been such an important
part of his life for so long, he couldn’t imagine never having that
camaraderie again. He’d never had it with anyone else. Didn’t want
it with anyone else.
“You want her back on your terms,” Cyrus
“What’s that supposed to mean?’
“You say she’s special, but I’m willing to
bet you treated her like every other woman you’ve ever slept
He’d been having sex since he was thirteen
years old. How was he supposed to reverse that many years of the
Cyrus went into lecture mode. “You know her,
probably better than anyone else. Think about your relationship.
Think of it as…a sales and marketing project. How do you normally
tackle issues regarding new demographics or increasing sales? You
look at the research, and you have plenty of it. You have over
twenty years of information and data you could mine to figure out
how to get through to her. Use what you know. That’s how you’ll get
her back. That’s how you’ll convince her that she’s special to
Trenton nodded and saw the wisdom in his
brother’s words. “You’re right.” He grinned, the heavy load of loss
lifting somewhat from his shoulders. “You’re absolutely right.”
Excited, he rushed toward the door, energized by the prospect of
winning Alannah over. He rubbed his hands together, his mind
turning over the possibilities. He’d start slow, with something
Cyrus called out to him, and Trenton paused
with his hand on the door. “I know, I know, I’ll get those reports
to you.” Cyrus may have been helping him with a personal issue, but
the bottom line was, they had a business to run.
He opened the door but paused to look over
his shoulder. His brother was already back to work, writing notes
in the pad on his desk. The times Trenton saw him truly relax were
with his wife, Daniella. They’d recently reconciled after a long
estrangement and were expecting their first child. The entire
family agreed that she was good for him. She worked hard, too, but
she made Cyrus slow down. With a baby on the way, he imagined his
brother would slow down even more. It was no secret how much he
looked forward to fatherhood, and Trenton was pretty sure he’d be
good at it, like he was everything else.
“Hey, Cyrus.” His brother looked up, a frown
on his forehead from being in deep thought. “Thanks.”
Cyrus waved his hand dismissively and
returned his attention to his notes. Trenton smiled and closed the
door on his way out.
Trenton slid in beside a
royal-blue hybrid SUV in Alannah’s driveway.
Not recognizing the vehicle, he frowned and
turned off the Range Rover’s engine. He sat in the darkness,
staring at the light behind the drawn drapes of the living room
window on the first floor. Maybe he should leave and come back
But almost as soon as he had the thought, he
changed his mind. He’d been determined to see her, even if it meant
waiting out front all night until she let him in. So he’d go
through with what he had planned. His heartfelt apology should be
even more impactful when done in front of an audience, complete
with the bouquet of pink and white carnations he’d picked up at a
Taking a deep breath, he exited the SUV and
walked up to the door. He shifted the bouquet to the left hand,
slid one of his winning smiles into place, and rang the
Seconds later, the door swung open and the
smile died on his face. A man he’d never seen before, in the flesh
at least, stood in the living room—Caucasian, dirty blond hair, and
a surprised expression on his face. Mr. Perfect, Connor Aaron
“Hi. You’re Trenton Johnson.”
Being from a high-profile family, he was
accustomed to people knowing who he was, but this greeting
irritated him. Mainly because Connor was on the inside while
Trenton was stuck on the outside.
Connor extended his hand. “I’ve heard a lot
Trenton took his hand and gave it a few hard
pumps. “I haven’t heard that much about you.”
“Well, Alannah and I haven’t been dating
long.” He looked at the flowers and a frown arrowed down between
“Who’s at the—” Alannah had come from the
kitchen and stopped talking the minute she saw him. Her features
settled into a scowl. “What are you doing here?”
Trenton’s gaze passed over the tight jeans,
which fit so close they could have been tattooed on her body. The
black top she wore wasn’t much better, clinging to her small bust
and narrow torso. His mouth tightened. “Don’t you look nice,” he
Her chin jutted out. “Thank you.”
Her eyes passed over the flowers in his hand,
but her expression didn’t change. “He’s an invited guest. You’re
“I’ve never needed an invitation before.”
Trenton barged in, forcing Saint Connor to step out of the way.
Trenton and Alannah stared at each other
across the living room. Behind him, he heard the door close, and on
the television a
film was playing. Of course.
“We need to talk,” Trenton said.
“Now is not a good time.”
“Now is the only time I’m available.”
Alannah let out an exasperated sigh and
rolled her eyes. “Excuse me, Connor. We’ll be able to get back to
our evening as soon as I get through with this inconvenient
interruption.” She shot a dark look at Trenton and then stalked
toward the kitchen.
Trenton cast a glance over his shoulder at
Connor, now seated on the sofa and watching him with a curious
He went into the kitchen and found Alannah
standing with crossed arms in the middle of the floor.
“You should have called first,” she said in
an angry whisper.