“Maybe another night, but thank you for the offer. I’m pretty tired, anyway.” She smiled at him, not wanting to be rude but really in no mood to go out.
He stared at her for a second with a stoic expression, and then he started to crush the flower in his hand, shocking her. His face turned red, and he took a step toward her. Her heart started racing even harder as she gripped the armrests of the chair. Never had she seen Theo lose his temper.
“You know what, Neeka? I think I’ve been pretty fucking patient with you. I’ve given you space, time, and even a shoulder to cry on. What do I get in return?” His voice was raised now.
She stood, not feeling comfortable with this at all. “I think you need to leave right now.”
He smirked and tossed the now crushed flower to the ground. “What? You don’t want my comfort anymore? No, Neeka. I’m not fucking leaving, not until you realize you’re mine.”
She squared her shoulders, even though fear was starting to take root in her. Picking up the phone, she dialed Charles’s cell number, the security guard on the property that had been working for her father for the last five years. “Charles, could you please escort Mr. Millian out?”
Theo laughed, but it wasn’t a sound of amusement, but crazed lunacy. “I’ve sent him home for the evening. That’s the good thing about having the trust of the ones around you.”
She sidestepped the chair and inched her way toward the door when he moved closer. Theo had gone insane. That was the only explanation for how he was acting. She tried a sweeter tactic, because right now she had no clue what in the hell to do. “Can we talk about this downstairs? Maybe over a glass of wine?”
He stopped advancing on her, his eyebrow cocked. He shook his head and straightened his shoulders.
“For years, I’ve been trying to win you over. Have you been so oblivious to that?”
Yes, clearly I have.
“I’ve been nothing but gentle and patient with you, and what do you do in return?” He chuckled as if what he just said was comical. “I’ll tell you. You fuck the man who was hired by your father.”
She felt her eyes widen.
“Surprised? Give me a little credit, Neeka. I saw the way he looked at you, the same way a man looks at a woman he just screwed.” He ran a hand over his hair, mussing the perfectly slicked black strands and moving toward her again. “And to say that piece of information didn’t infuriate me would be an understatement. No, from now on, we do things my way.”
He charged for her, and she jumped out of the way, tearing off toward the door and running down the hall. The panic button Gage had given her was in her purse, a stupid move, she now realized. But she’d felt safe at home.
How wrong you’ve been.
She raced down the hallway, Theo’s heavy footsteps right behind her. Neeka swallowed her scream, her fear, and thought about staying calm, or trying to at least. She chanced a look behind her shoulder, and her eyes grew wide at his close proximity. Reaching out, she grabbed a decorative vase sitting on a carved podium. The porcelain crashed to the floor, shattering.
She could hear Theo grunt, and she looked over her shoulder again. He stumbled over the shards of porcelain as he tried to right himself. She took the stairs two at a time, each landing seeming miles away.
When she finally reached the bottom, she raced toward the kitchen, grabbing her purse off the counter and tossing its contents out. She rifled through everything, grabbing the small metal button that glinted off the kitchen light.
“You’re being a very bad girl, Neeka.”
Her gaze shot up toward Theo. She reached over and grabbed a butcher knife off the wooden kitchen block, holding it out in front of her as she pushed the panic button over and over again.
“Stay away, Theo. I don’t want to hurt you, but I swear I will.”
He laughed at her as he reached behind his back. He pulled out a small, strange-looking gun and pointed it at her, his gaze roaming her body as he licked his lips lasciviously. “I’m going to have so much fun with you.”
She shoved the panic button in her pocket and held the knife with both hands, her entire body shaking as she stepped backward.
No. I won’t be taken. I can’t go through that again. Please let the panic button work.
Theo grinned before he pulled the trigger. She ducked, slipping on the floor because she only wore socks. The knife clattered against the tile as she tried to catch herself, her socks not giving her any traction as she ran into the dining room. She heard something whiz by her.