What Lies Beneath - Page 61

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“So?” she challenged.

“So,” he said, taking a few steps closer, “I wanted to know if that was true. Have you fallen out of love with me?”

Adrienne looked up, the most defiant expression she could muster plastered on her face. She wasn’t about to fly into his arms and confess her love just to get cast aside again. “It is true,” she lied. “I don’t love you anymore, Will Taylor.”

* * *

Will tried not to smile. He’d lied when he walked out of the hospital room that day. Adrienne was the worst actress ever. She couldn’t lie her way out of a paper bag, much less feign almost two months of amnesia. No way she could be the master of deception he’d accused her of being.

But more important, she was lying now. She still loved him. He was certain of it. She just wasn’t going to admit it. Will understood. He had hurt her, betrayed her. He knew how that felt. He didn’t deserve her love, but he wanted it anyway. He just had to get her to admit it.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” he said.

“You broke my heart, and I’m not about to trust you with it again.” Adrienne’s voice trembled slightly as she spoke. He knew how hard it had to be for her to say that, especially knowing she did care for him. She was still his fighter.

Will nodded. “I’d like to help fix what I’ve ruined, but I understand if you’re not interested. It’s a shame, though,” he said, taking half a step backward.

“Why’s that?” she asked, moving forward as he moved back.

He could tell she was putting up a brave face but wasn’t ready for him to walk away just yet. “Well, you see, the man is friends with a real-estate developer and got talked into investing in some property, but he’s very particular about who he rents to. He’s head over heels in love with a woman, but if she doesn’t want the shop and doesn’t want him, he’ll be forced to lease it out to some overpriced teenage outlet.”

“No!” she said, reaching out with a look of panic on her face.

“No, what?” he pressed, seeing the crack in her stern façade. “No, you want the store? No, you want me? Or no, don’t rent it to a chain store?”

Adrienne shook her head, the fight abandoning her. “No to all of it.”

Will slowly closed the gap between them and held out the flowers. “I brought these for you.”

She accepted them, taking a deep breath of their fragrance. “Thank you.”

“I’m sorry for how I acted. I’m sorry for not believing you. I was having trouble dealing with all of this, with how I felt about you and Cynthia, and I took it out on you.”

She looked up at him, her expression open but not entirely sold. The flowers had been a nice touch, but they hadn’t quite worked the magic he was hoping for. He’d have to take it up a notch. “The other day George came by the office and agreed on the e-reader deal. It took years of long hours to pull that together, and it meant nothing because I couldn’t share the moment with you. Not Cynthia. You. Adrienne. In that short period of time, you became more important to me than anything. Than anyone.”

She still didn’t speak, but her gaze dropped to the roses, her knuckles gripping the stems and turning white with strain.

He moved in closer, bringing his hands up to gently hold the backs of her upper arms. He wasn’t about to let her get away. “I know that I was horrible to you. And I don’t deserve your forgiveness. But I’m asking for it. Because I love you, Adrienne. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, and frankly, it scared me. But those weeks without you were like living with a part of me missing. And even if I can’t have you, if I’ve ruined it, I couldn’t bear to know you hated me.”

He tilted Adrienne’s chin up to look at him, and he saw the tears swimming in her green-gold eyes.

“I don’t hate you,” she whispered, trying to look away, but he wouldn’t let her.

“But do you still love me?” he pressed.

“Yes.” She nodded, a tear escaping and rolling down her cheek. “I love you, Will.”

He took the roses from her, threw them onto one of the dressing tables and pulled her into his embrace, nearly crushing her against his chest. Will buried his face into the naturally kinky waves of her chestnut hair and breathed in the scent he’d missed.

“I’m so glad I didn’t ruin it,” he said, pulling away. “I was hopeful, though, so I brought this with me just in case.”

Will took a box out of his pocket and eased down onto one knee in front of her. He watched with amusement and a touch of concern as the blood drained from her face. He wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

Tags: Andrea Laurence Billionaire Romance
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