Found (Not Quite a Billionaire Book 3)

Found (Not Quite a Billionaire Book 3) by Rosalind James

Book: Found (Not Quite a Billionaire Book 3) by Rosalind James Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rosalind James
Tags: Romance
I knew it must be because you were afraid, but I couldn’t see how to fight that or how to reassure you enough. You’re so strong, and even if I could have held my own—I grew up with fighting. I hate it, and I’m no good at it. I don’t want to live that way. I want to have peace, but if the only way to have that is for me to do everything you say, that’s not peace at all. That’s powerlessness, and it’s ownership. I can’t be powerless, and I can’t let myself be owned. Love can’t mean giving up myself, like I’m not allowed to be a separate person. That’s a choice I can’t make. I’m no Cinderella. I can’t be. I know what happens to her.”
    She stopped as if she were out of breath, as well she might be. I said, “And I’m no prince, I reckon,” and earned a startled laugh from her. “Did I really do all that?”
    Now she was the one hesitating, then going on. And she’d been wrong. She had courage and strength to burn. “Don’t you think you did? And whether you see it or not—maybe you could think about where that might come from.”
    I forced myself to confront it. You didn’t solve a problem by running away. You solved it by seeing it, learning the ins and outs of it, and then attacking it. I thought about the swim lessons, the news about my marriage, the article in the Journal , and the job interviews I’d known would come to nothing. About all the ways I’d let Hope down.
    “Could be I did what I always do,” I finally said. “I focused, and I got the job done. And when things got hard, I got myself under control, and then I controlled everything else I could. This time, maybe that included you. Could be I don’t know how to do this. How to be in a . . .”
    “A relationship,” she said. “Just like I don’t. The only one I’ve been in—my only long-term relationship—is with Karen. I had lousy models at home, I don’t know how to do it as equals, as real partners, and neither do you. But we have to learn.” She turned to face me. The wind was blowing her hair across her face, and she put up a hand to shove it back and said, “I want to tell you something, and I want you to try to hear it. The only way you’ll lose me is if you shut me out and push me away. I don’t want to go. It killed me to leave. But I couldn’t get your attention. I couldn’t get through, or I didn’t try hard enough, and I was out of ideas. I felt myself being swallowed up in you, and then the baby thing came along and made it worse, and I panicked.”
    “Because I didn’t do this,” I guessed. “I didn’t take you on a walk, I didn’t take you to Paris, and I didn’t send you flowers. I thought I was done. I thought the courting was over, and I could go back to . . . normal. Back to work.”
    “That’s not what matters,” she said. “It isn’t about sending flowers, even though I love getting them. I knew you loved me. I still know it. But I needed more . . . you. I felt like a doll. I felt myself acting like a doll. I want you to hold me, but I want to hold you, too. I want to feel like part of your life, and I need to know you need me.”
    I laughed, and she stiffened. “Sorry,” I said. “I don’t need you much, no. Only as much as I need air, maybe. Only as much as I need to breathe.”
    Her eyes were so intent, her heart so open, and she was twisting my own heart, finding my most vulnerable spots. It was terrifying. “Really?” she asked. “Because I didn’t feel that way.”
    “Maybe it scared me to show it.” There. I’d done it. It was out there. “I don’t do weakness, and I don’t do fear. I can’t afford to.”
    She’d stopped walking. She had her hands on my forearms as if she needed to touch me, needed to hold me. Maybe for strength, or maybe to give it to me. Maybe so.
    “Last night,” she said. “When you were willing just to lie with me and hold me and keep me warm. That night in San Francisco, a long time ago, when we’d almost broken up, and you

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