The emcee gives me a nod. “It’s our pleasure, Ms. Kilgore.”
I swallow the emotions threatening to burst free of my chest and make my way back down the stairs. Mount is waiting at the bottom with a surprising expression on his face.
“Congratulations, Madam President.”
As much as I want to spend the entire trip home initiating Keira into the mile-high club, I have to deal with business, and she busies herself doing the same. We work in silence for most of the flight, breaking our respective concentration to eat only once.
In my organization, I expect everyone to work hard, but even then, I rarely see someone with the same work ethic as I have.
But in front of me right now, and all this week, I’ve seen it in Keira.
I was a fool thinking I could take her, fuck her, and keep her in a little box on a shelf like any other toy.
But what the hell am I going to do with her now? Last night was an anomaly. When we get back to New Orleans, things have to return to the way they were. There are no other options.
Are you fucking kidding me? the voice in my head challenges. You’re Lachlan Mount. You have the gold. You make the rules. That means you can have whatever the fuck you want.
And what I want, more than anything, is to hear Keira call me by my first name again.
But this time . . . sober.
I’m not looking at him.
I’m not looking at him.
I. Am. Not. Looking. At. Him.
I fail and glance up for the hundredth time on this interminable flight, and take in the man before me.
I’ve used the word never so many times when it comes to Mount, only to break my vows, that I don’t know what to think anymore.
Why does he have to be who he is? That’s the conflict I can’t get past. Somehow on this trip, I’ve convinced myself that if he were anyone else, everything would be different, and I would finally have found the one man who can give me everything I want and need. A partner.
But with each hour we spend in this plane, I can feel darkness gather around him like a tangible cloud, snuffing out the easiness of his posture that loosened more each day we were in Dublin.
I want a do-over.
I want a chance to revel in the differences that I didn’t appreciate enough while we were there.
But I can’t have that either.
When the wheels of the jet touch down on the runway at Lakefront Airport, I will go back to being Keira Kilgore, in debt to Lachlan Mount up to my eyeballs, my body his to use as he wishes in repayment.