The Billionaires Love Curves 2(28)

By: Cj Howard

“Then why are you here, Horwood?” Cole wiped his hands over his jacket and advanced on Nate who was now standing in the middle of the office. “You know you can't get Lacey back, don't you?”

Both men were of equal height, their eyes hardened and staring with malice at the other.

“You made a big mistake trying to keep your relationship secret,” Cole said. “A big mistake. All it did was backfire on you because she thought you didn't care about her. It made it so easy for her to wind up in my consoling arms. All I had to do was sit back and wait for you to have enough rope to hang yourself. You are a fool, Nate. Admit it.”

“I know I got that wrong. I was trying to protect her from you. You're right, it backfired on me but this isn't about me.”

“Then who?”

“You know I'm here about Lacey.”

“At last, the truth.”

“Listen to me, Cole, I can't stand back and watch you ruin her life, too. Let her go, Cole.”

“You think I'm going to fall for that. I let her go and you swoop back in? No, no, no.” Cole stepped away, a half-smile on his face. Nate stepped up close to him again, holding his hands in fists but not in a threatening way. Cole looked down at his hands. Nate lowered them, quickly.

“Look, you idiot. I won't try to win her back. Believe it or not, I care about her but I would rather not have her at all if it meant you keeping your distance. If you have a heart in there, you'd let her go.”

“It's too late for that now, Nate. You can't bargain with Lacey. Not at this stage of the game.”

“Is that all this is for you? Why go through the whole charade of a wedding?”

Cole did not answer.

“Wait,” Nate said. “Don't tell me you're in love? Is that it? Do you actually love her, Cole?”

“Nate, let's get down to the real business here.”

The two squared around each other like two fighters in a ring. There was no referee, nothing to stop either going just that bit too far.

The temptation was there, with all their years of history they could just slug it out, blow for blow until one of them walked away, the victor. But their feud went far deeper.

At one time, they were like brothers, a friendship so close they would do anything for the other. In fact, Nate had married Grace even though Cole had seen her first, but knowing that his friend was so taken with her, he was prepared to walk away. He did that for his friend but he could never, and would never, forgive Nate for, what he called, stealing from him.

“Cole, we've been down this road before. I can't do anything more than apologize. Let's face it, I used your ideas but I was the hands-on person and I made it work. There was no guarantee you would have had the same success, anyway.”

“You say that because you think you are better than me.” Cole's face was stony.

“I'm asking you, for the last time, Cole. Leave Lacey out of this. This is our fight and as far as I'm concerned, it was over a long time ago.”

“Well, not for me. I told you once before, Nate Horwood, and I'm telling you now – one more time. Give me back what you owe me or I will continue to do whatever I can to make your life a living hell. Until you pay me back every last cent you took from me, I will never, ever let you rest.”

“You want to see me on the streets? Is that what you want?”

“That would be a start.”

Nate backed away from Cole. He shook his head in disgust and opened the door to leave. Turning for one last time, he held out a finger, aiming it between Cole's eyes.

“Never, you will not win this. I will never let you get the better of me again.”

He slammed the door, leaving Cole with a knowing smirk on his face. This was not over.

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