Warning: This scene contains violence and/or graphic language that some may find offensive. Please read with caution.
Celeste barged unannounced into Micah’s office. The door slammed against the wall and shimmied. He’d expected her an hour ago.
His assistant, Nicole, made an attempt to peek over Celeste’s shoulder, but she got rewarded with a body slam against the door. Volatile women displeased him and her capricious behavior…is pissing me the fuck off!
“I’m sorry, Mr. Dominus!” Nicole squeaked out beneath Celeste’s forearm to her throat. “I tried to stop her.”
He thought Celeste sneered at her, but couldn’t be certain from his perspective.
“It’s satisfactory.” Micah twirled his pen at them. “Release her, Celeste.” At his order, she shot him a quick glare over her shoulder. His teeth clenched. “Now!”
Or by all of hell’s minions, I’ll feast upon her…With a huff, Celeste jerked away from his assistant. Smart move.
“Nicole, shut the door on your way out, route my calls to the answering agency and depart.” He predicted the atmosphere was about to get violent. No reason for Nicole to be privy to any potential unfortunate incident.
Nicole glanced at her watch and frowned. “But it’s only nine a.m. Much too early for lunch and we have a million motions due today, not to mention trial prep.”
“Take off the rest of the day. Go to the spa, treat yourself on me.” Just leave.
“But we have trial tomorrow and we need to go over the depositions.”
He’d memorized the depositions. Trial prep was simply a formality.
He held her gaze, as he spoke quietly, but with authority, “Nicole.” She lowered her eyes immediately. Submissive, the way he preferred all women.
“Yes, sir. I’ll see you in the morning and…thanks.”
He grinned a welcome and watched Nicole exit quietly, shutting the door with a soft snick. Celeste snorted her disgust and stomped across his office, anger blazing from her face.
“A sexual scandal, Micah?” Using her forearm, she swiped everything off his desk in one sweep. “A sexual scandal!”
Micah elevated his eyebrows, surprised the windows didn’t crack from her shriek.
“You forget your place, woman,” Elias remarked stoically from the bar.
Celeste jerked around to face him and her shoulders went brittle stiff. Micah could imagine her surprise at seeing his brother. He rarely ventured away from home.
“Calling in reinforcements, Micah?” Her question a sneer at his strength, and the tone filled with disrespect.
He didn’t need reinforcements and they both knew it. Neither would he allow her to bait him, so he simply stared at her.
His brother swirled the amber liquor in his glass. “Proceed with caution, Celeste.” She should consider herself lucky because Elias never offered up threats. Typically, his victim received the warning as he delivered justice.
“I forewarned you.” More than she deserved. Micah plopped his feet on his desk.
She whipped back around. “You’re angry with us for some perceived injury we’ve caused Madison and—”
“Perceived?” His temper sparked hotter than the flames of Hell yet surprisingly didn’t ignite a very tangible fire in the room. He knew his anger showed as she took a step backward. And collided into Elias who’d moved in silently behind her. He steadied her with a hand on her shoulder. She blanched at his touch.
“There was no perceived injury, but a very real one.” His voice darkened. “Madison had been distraught. Crying. So hard she sobbed.” Goddamn it! He’d thought something endangered Madison’s life when she called him from the pay phone bawling. He would’ve killed Celeste if he hadn’t possessed the tenacity to reign in his rage. Just thinking about Madison’s behavior had him struggling to hold it together all over again. “If I touch you right now, I’ll be tempted to kill you. At the very least, maim you.” He met his brother’s cool gaze over her shoulder. “Elias, hurt her for me.”
She got out, “Wait!” before Elias clamped his hand over her mouth.
Micah held up his hand. “Let’s hear what she has to say first.”
“You sure, Brother? Her screams might appease your anger.”
“Allow her to speak.”
“Oh, very well.” A reluctant frown flittered across Elias’s brow before he lowered his hand to Celeste’s throat.
“Your actions have harmed her as well. That’s her father you’ve scandalized in the community.” Desperate to blame others for her guilt? He pitied her. She went on. “How do you think the kids at school will treat her?”
Micah bet his heritage Madison cared little about this incident. “Her schoolmates are of no consequence. They fail to appreciate her magnificence as it is.”
“They’ll make fun of her! Tease her about her Christian father being a pedophile…an adulterer.”
“You would have us believe you care about Madison after the way you’ve conducted yourself?” Elias ran his mouth along her neck. Trembling, Celeste’s eyes closed. “The way you’ve allowed her to be ridiculed by your mockery of a husband?” His fingers noticeably tightened on her throat and relaxed.
Entertained by his brother’s terror tactics, and amused by her very evident fear, he taunted with, “Present me one reason why I shouldn’t give you to Elias?”
His brother’s eyes glowed at the idea. Bottom lip quivering, her eyelids snapped open.
“I will do anything you want, Micah, just do not—”
Elias bit her earlobe and she elicited a tiny squeal. Being his brother’s live entertainment would be a miserable existence.
“You’ve abused my future wife and yet you expect mercy from me.” Sarcasm darkened his voice. “The paradox I find myself in.”
“Not,” his brother whispered into her ear. Celeste attempted to strain away, but he detained her with ease.
“You’ve got one chance to redeem yourself.”
Elias sulked silkily, “But I wanted to coax screams from her.”
Having firsthand knowledge of his brother’s torture tactics, Celeste grimaced. “What do you wish from me, Micah?”
He held her gaze, allowing a slow smirk to touch his expression. “That’s for you to determine, Celeste.”
I will not hand feed you atonement, you must earn it.
An amused chuckle emerged from his brother. He released Celeste and walked around to face her, perching on the edge of Micah’s desk. Elias toasted her with his goblet. “I’ll enjoy watching you attempt to earn redemption, but I’ll relish plucking scream after scream from you.”
In other words, his brother didn’t believe she could pull it off. I don’t care either way.
Paling, her gaze darted between them. “But—”
Wild-eyed terror surfaced and he thought she’d argue—bad move—instead she nodded, surprising him. “You’ll handle Bruce’s charges, act like his attorney?”
He shrugged. When I get around to it.
“Very well.” Anxiety crinkled the corners of her eyes and pinched her mouth. She refused to meet his brother’s eyes, amusing Micah. “I’ll let myself out.”
Micah said nothing. Elias taunted her with his raised glass. “To us, bitch.”
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