Max and Liz spent almost the entire next week in bed, and to Liz it was like a dream come true. She’d loved Max since college and finally he was hers. At least for now.
Liz didn’t have any illusions. Max went through women with almost a timed regularity, and she knew she wasn’t any different. She would simply enjoy herself while he wanted her.
And for now he did want her. They made love morning, noon and night.
She’d been staying in his house when she was protecting him, and now she had just moved down the hall into his bedroom. She thought that perhaps she should spend a night or two at her own house, so Max didn’t get sick of her, but every time she tried to leave, Max coaxed her back into his bed.
Laying beside him in his huge bed, she let her eyes travel over his face. He was so handsome it took her breath away. His naked chest was exposed where he’d pushed the blanket down and she smoothed her hand across his sculpted pecs. She couldn’t believe that she was finally with him, able to touch him like she’d always dreamed.
It was almost too good to be true.
She turned away, intending to go shower, but Max’s arm snaked around her waist.
“Where are you going?” he purred sleepily, playfully holding on to her so she couldn’t leave. “We’re staying in bed all day.”
“Max,” she protested with a smile as she turned back to him, “We’ve been in bed practically the entire last week. I’ve got to run some errands and my kickboxing lesson is this afternoon.”
He smiled, kissing her. “Skip it,” he rumbled, his hands roaming over her naked body.
Instantly she was aroused, but she tried to keep her head. “I can’t skip it, I need to stay in shape, keep my skills up for my job. I’ll be getting another assignment soon.”
“You know I wish you would change jobs,” he said, nuzzling her cheek. “I can’t stand that you put yourself in danger. And now you’re going to leave me and stay with someone else full time.”
“Max,” Liz protested with a gasp as he cupped her breast. “It’s what I do for a living. And we can still see each other.”
He kissed her again. “But not as much,” he complained as his palm slid over her stomach.
“Are you sure you have to go this afternoon?” he rumbled. “I have a much more fun way to keep in shape,” he said with a wink, “and we don’t even have to leave the bed.”
“Max,” she gasped as he stroked over her clit, “you have to get up anyway. It’s your weekly meeting today.”
He growled in frustration. “Okay,” he said kissing her neck, “but it’s not for a couple of hours, so until then…” He let his sentence trail off as his lips closed over hers.
Tess paced in her cell, her mind churning as rage and hate rushed through her. She had been in jail for a week and her emotions had only intensified. Her hand ached to hold her knife so she could get revenge.
But she was also worried and sad, and she was having major Max withdrawals. Usually she saw him every day, or at least she saw the photos of him that she had all over her room. And she was sure that Max missed her. She hadn’t been able to send him any letters, and he would know she wasn’t watching him.
He must be so lonely, she thought. He would have given up on her, thinking that she wasn’t worthy of him. She had failed him. She hadn’t gotten Liz out of his life, and she’d been caught.
She still couldn’t believe she’d been taken so easily, and she was furious it was Liz who had caught her.
After her arrest she’d discovered that Liz had been hired as Max’s bodyguard, but it was obvious Liz wanted much more than to be his employee. She wanted to be a permanent part of Max’s life, but Tess wasn’t going to let that happen.
She was going to kill Liz to prove to Max once and for all that she was worthy of his love.
All week she’d been planning how she was going to do it, and she was getting more and more excited. And once Liz was dead, there would be nothing standing between her and Max.
After they made love several times, Max convinced Liz to postpone her errands and join him after his meeting for lunch.
Each week he met with Maria, his manager, and Alex, his lawyer to discuss any business, and afterward they had lunch together, usually with their spouses too.
Today Max knew Michael and Isabel would be joining them and he was eager for Liz to get to know them better.
He left her in bed while he was in the meeting and afterward he waited impatiently in the study with Maria and Alex, for her to join them.
Every time there was a noise outside the room his eyes snapped to the door. The first arrival was Isabel and then Michael, and Max grew more anxious with every moment that passed. He couldn’t get enough of Liz.
Finally she came down the stairs and Max rushed to greet her, sweeping her into his arms and kissing her passionately.
“I’ve been away from you too long,” he rumbled.
Liz smiled. “We’ll have all night to make it up to you,” she teased.
‘Mmmmm,” he hummed as he kissed her again. “I don’t know if I can wait that long. I’ll just have to convince you to skip your class so I can take you back to bed as soon as lunch is over.”
“You’re insatiable,” she teased.
“You’re right,” he agreed, “I can’t get enough of you.”
“But,” she said, motioning into the room, “we’re not alone.”
“I almost forgot,” he growled. “Well, let’s get this lunch over with, and we can continue this conversation.”
With a possessive hand on the small of her back, he led her into the study where the others were waiting.
Holding her close, he made the introductions again, to make sure that Liz remembered everyone, and then thought how unnecessary it had been. Of course she knew who they all were. She knew practically everything about him from protecting him.
They all stood in a group talking for a few moments, and Max let his hand smooth up and down Liz’s arm, feeling like he needed the contact with her.
He was so caught up in her that he forgot his host duties, and Alex stepped forward, speaking to Liz.
“You don’t have a drink,” he said, motioning to the bar on the other side of the room, “what can I get you?”
“Oh no,” she said, “I can get it.”
Alex shook his head. “I insist.”
Liz followed him, and Max started to go with them, but Michael stopped him with a hand on his arm.
“Can I talk to you?” he said, motioning to the side of the room.
Max nodded and went with Michael, but his eyes followed Liz as she moved away with Alex.
Maria and Isabel were left alone, and immediately started talking.
“I still can’t believe she caught that psycho Tess so fast,” Maria said. “What the hell was his other bodyguard doing?”
“I don’t know,” Isabel said, ‘but I am so glad I was wrong about her. Max said Tess had a knife and attacked Liz and tried to kill her. Liz disarmed Tess and subdued her. Max was so impressed that he couldn’t stop talking about it.”
“Yeah,” Maria said, “he talks about her all the time. And did you see the way he keeps touching her?”
“Yeah,” Isabel said disgustedly, rolling her eyes. “They’re sleeping together, big surprise.”
“And his eyes follow her everywhere she moves,” Maria continued, as she motioned to Max, and then across the room where Liz was talking with Alex. “I’ve never seen him like that was anyone. I think it’s a lot more than just sex.”
“What are you talking about?” Isabel asked, her brow creased. “With Max it’s always about sex. And thank you for bringing that up. It’s exactly what I want to think about is my player brother’s sex life.”
Maria smiled. “Didn’t you ever think your player brother would fall in love?”
Isabel shook her head. “He can’t be…” She trailed off, looking to her brother, who was still staring across the room at Liz even though he was talking to Michael.
“And look how happy he seems,” Maria said. “With all the women he’s dated, have you ever really seen him look happy?”
Isabel thought for a moment. “Well, no,” she admitted.
They both looked at him, his eyes still following Liz, and a genuine smile on his lips.
Maria nodded. “I tell you, he’s a goner.”
Michael noticed the constant smile on Max’s face almost immediately. Max never smiled that much. Instead of his usual broody self, he seemed happy, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out why. His eyes hardly left Liz.
“So,” Michael started casually, “Liz is still staying here?”
Max nodded and his smile dimmed as a look of frustration creased his brow. “Yeah, mostly, but she has her own place, and she keeps mentioning going home. I want her to move in.”
Michael worked hard to keep the smile off his own face. “Max, you’ve never lived with a woman before.”
Max shrugged as his eyes returned to Michael. “I’ve had women stay with me before,” he said defensively.
“Yeah,” Michael teased, “over a weekend. Or there was that one woman who was here for, what, four days?” he said, his smile finally breaking through. “So how long are you asking Liz to stay?”
“No,” Max said frustratedly, his gaze searching for Liz again. “It’s not like that. I want her here all the time.”
The smile faded from Michael’s face as he had a sudden thought. Could Max finally be in love? There was a way to test it. “Well,” he said, watching Max closely, “she is smoking hot, and she must be a wildcat in bed for you to want her here that much.”
Max rounded on him angrily. “That’s none of your damned business,” he hissed. “Do I ask you…” he trailed off as he saw the smile on Michael’s face. “What?”
“Nothing,” Michael said, trying to look as innocent as possible. “You don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.” He quickly changed the subject. “So when are you going to ask her to move in?”
“Tonight,” Max said, “over dinner.”
Liz swung around, kicking the hanging bag as hard as she could.
“Good,” her trainer called out. “Keep your form just like that.”
Liz took up her stance and started again. She had been training for almost two hours and she was sweating and tired, but it had been a good session.
Max had begged her to stay in bed with him, but she reluctantly left him. She had to keep in shape.
Not that she didn’t miss him. Constantly her mind returned to what they could be doing together, and the flush on her skin couldn’t be all blamed on her workout.
And the repetitive motions of her workout also gave her plenty of time to think.
Max wanted her to postpone taking another job so she could spend more time with him. And she was considering it. The opportunity to be with him longer was an incredible possibility. He was so attentive and fun to be with, and he was so good in bed.
Not to mention the fact that she was in love with him.
But she was honest with herself. Max was a womanizer. He wasn’t in love with her. They would be together for a while and he would move on. But she would enjoy the time they had together.
And suddenly she made up her mind. She would postpone getting another job and take a leave of absence, and stay with Max until he asked her to leave.
The voice of her trainer broke into her thoughts.
“Okay, that’s all for today.”
Liz stopped her motion, breathing hard. “Thanks Jesse,” she said with a smile. “I needed my ass kicked today.”
He winked at her. “Anytime.”
Liz chugged down half of her water bottle and gathered up her gym bag, heading for the showers.
The building was an old warehouse that had been converted to a boxing gym. It was huge but there were few people inside this time of day, less than a dozen. A few boxers and ultimate fighters were scattered around using the hanging bags, and sparring inside the several rings. Only the really serious athletes were in the gym so early in the day, and she was one of the few women who worked out there.
Luckily that usually meant she had the women’s locker room to herself.
Even though she ached from head to toe and wanted to stand under the hot spray of the shower for hours, she didn’t linger. Washing herself quickly, she was in and out in a matter of minutes and dressed again.
She wanted to get back to Max because he’d promised to give her a massage before dinner.
Liz waved to the few guys and walked through the always-deserted reception area and outside.
Her car was one of ten or so in the lot and it was parked on the second row toward the back, so she had to weave her way around to get to it. Liz’s phone rang as she walked and she thrust one hand into her voluminous gym bag, feeling around for it.
‘Excuse me,” a female voice called out behind her. “You dropped this.”
As Liz started to turn a feeling of wrongness filled her. For some reason the voice sounded familiar, and she was sure she’d been the only woman in the gym.
And her instinct was the only reason that the large knife plunging toward her heart missed its target.
Liz dodged sideways but wasn’t fast enough to get out of the way entirely, and the knife caught her in the upper arm, the burning pain and spurt of blood telling her it had cut deep.
She screamed in pain, gripping her wound as she spun away around the side of a car, but the damage was already done. Hot, sticky blood coated her hand, but she barely had time to think as the attacker came rushing at her again, roaring in rage.
Liz only had a moment to register a small woman with blonde hair. Tess.
Dodging another blow, Liz slipped around a car as her mind rushed with thoughts. How had Tess escaped? And why hadn’t anyone warned her? And how the hell had Tess found her?
But at the moment none of that really mattered. She had to survive the attack, and then she could get some answers.
Her mind turned back to the current situation.
She had better skills than Tess, but her arm was bad. She couldn’t move it, her fingers felt numb, and with the amount of blood she was losing she’d soon pass out. And then her skills wouldn’t matter. Tess would simply kill her.
Her best option was to go for help.
She tried to run for the building but her arm was slowing her, and the blonde easily cut her off.
“You bitch!” Tess snarled. “You think you can take Max away from me? He’s mine!”
Liz didn’t say anything, looking desperately around. Her car keys and cell phone were in her gym bag which she’d dropped somewhere among the scattered cars, and she wasn’t carrying a weapon. She was in an industrial area and the few surrounding buildings were too far away. She could call for help, but it was unlikely anyone would hear her, and even if they did, Tess might kill them. Liz had to grudgingly admit that it had been a good place for an ambush.
She felt light-headed and dizzy and knew it was from loss of blood. Her only option was to go for the building she’d just exited. She had to move fast, and hoped she had enough strength to get there.
“When I kill you,” Tess continued, “Max and I will be together forever.”
Liz called out to Tess, trying to provoke her. “Max doesn’t want you,” she said, smiling. “He thinks you’re pathetic. He never even kissed you, but he spent the whole last week in bed with me.”
Tess screamed in rage, rushing at Liz, and this time she was ready for the attack. Spinning to the side, Liz swung her leg around, hitting Tess in the back and knocking her to the ground. Then she ran for the door as fast as she could.
When she was about half-way there, she heard Tess running behind her and just hoped she could make it. Her vision was swimming, and the door seemed to sway before her. She was exhausted and felt like all she wanted to do was lay down, but she had to keep running.
The footsteps behind her came louder and louder and Liz knew Tess was catching up with her. If she didn’t get to the door first she’d be murdered on the doorstep.
Finally Liz was there. Without looking back she snatched the door open and quickly turned, pulling it shut behind her and snapping the lock.
Tess was less than two steps away and screamed with rage. Violently she jabbed her knife at the door, trying to break through. The glass cracked but held together.
Liz stumbled back, losing her balance as the dizziness took over. She called out as loud as she could.
“Help me!!! Help!!”
Almost instantly she heard running and shouts behind her.
Tess continued hacking at the door, and the large knife penetrated the glass about two inches. A gleeful, insane smile crossed her face, but suddenly she looked up, and then turned and ran.
Liz’s trainer fell to the floor beside her. He stripped his shirt over his head and balled it up, pressing it to her wound, as he cradled her. “Call 911!” he bellowed.
“Liz,” he said urgently, “you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.”
She could hear activity all around her. Someone was on the phone asking for an ambulance, and several of the other men rushed outside, looking for her attacker.
Her vision was getting blurry and the world felt like it was really far away. And then everything went black.
Saving Max Main
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