Taming the Billionaire(8)

By: Dani Wade


Straightening, he then let his gaze track back to the woman in the middle of the mess. “Don’t guess you will be sleeping here tonight. There must be some damage to the roof. In this part of the house, there’s only the one floor above you. It was fine during the last inspection, but something might have hit it or the wind must have ripped something loose.”

Reaching out, he plucked her from the bed. Her squeal echoed around the room. The distinctly feminine sound jump-started his heart. He hadn’t heard someone make a sound like that since he was a teenager. The women he met now didn’t squeal. They wouldn’t consider it sexy.

“Let’s get you settled somewhere else,” he said.

She was already shaking her head, sending her hair flying once more. “We need to clean up first,” she insisted. To his surprise she started gathering the mess into the middle of the bed.

While the thought was appreciated, her movements afforded Tate an even better view. The T-shirt barely covered her upper thighs. The expanse of smooth skin was mouthwatering. “I’ll get something to catch the water,” he murmured.

Escape was a relief, but a brief one.

When he returned with a large plastic tub, he found himself eye level with a pair of silky panties he’d have been better off not seeing. “What are you doing?” he growled.

Willow jerked, her shock unbalancing her and the candle in her hand as she stood on the bed.

“Woman,” he snapped. “Let’s not catch the bed on fire, too.”

She frowned at him. “This isn’t my fault. I was just trying to see what had caused the leak.”

“I’ll investigate in the morning.” He glanced over the now-stripped bed and soggy mattress. “And get this all replaced.”

There was no helping it. His gaze snagged on creamy white thighs below the edge of her T-shirt. She might not have realized how she looked before, but now was different. Her delicate hand came into view, tugging the hem down. He flicked his gaze up to her face, only to see a red stain spreading across her skin. Yep, she was fully aware now.

“Let me help you,” he murmured, then had to clear his throat as his voice deepened without his permission.

Still she accepted his hand for balance as she climbed down. The shocking chill of her skin as it met his made him shift gears from lust to more practical matters. Like where she was going to sleep…

He placed the tub carefully in the middle of the bed to catch the dripping water. Good thing it wasn’t coming down heavier. “This should halt the damage for a while. It should stop raining in a couple of hours,” he said.

Willow offered a brief nod, then skirted around behind him. “I’ve got to see about some clothes,” she said, her voice sounding strangled.

He shouldn’t have made her uncomfortable, but the rest of the night would make matters much worse.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked as she scooted toward the open doorway.

“I guess I’ll have to go out to the car to get my bags.” She paused, then inched back inside. “I should probably put on some shoes for that.”

“You aren’t going out in this weather.” As if to back him up, lightning flashed outside, then thunder rumbled loud enough to rattle the windows. “We will find something else for you.” He gestured for her to go out into the hall, but she hesitated.

Tate had a feeling this was where living as a single man and not as part of a family was going to bite him in the ass. He turned smartly on his heel and headed back the way he’d come, silently gesturing for her to follow. He ignored her questions, trying to get everything straight in his own mind first. With a sense of trepidation that he kept well hidden, he walked straight into his bedroom and opened the top drawer of the bureau, pulling out a well-worn T-shirt. He turned back to see her hovering in the doorway.

“You might as well come inside,” he snapped.

“Why?”

Her obvious hesitation reminded him that the situation wasn’t her fault and was completely out of both of their control. He tempered his tone.

“Because this is where the only other bed in the house is,” he said with a voice full of resignation.

She stepped through the doorway, her eyes wide with shock. “What?”

He spoke a little more slowly. “This is the only bed… And the only decent sofa is right there.” He pointed back toward the living area that comprised half the large master suite. “We’re going to share a room tonight, I’m afraid.”

Even in the dim light he could see her eyes cataloging everything she’d seen tonight—which wasn’t much. Still, she tried. “But there are so many rooms—”

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