Survival Games
stomach and she wondered if he even caught
the significance of the choice. “God almighty,” Jessica whispered and looked at
her reflection, the dream she remembered was still dancing around in her
memory. She closed her eyes and the ring he held up for her in the snow-covered
yard sparkled in her memory. I can’t. She thought and her eyes opened.
    The scene rewound
from the fade of her on the bed to the fade up of him walking in the room with
the tray of fruit and sitting next to her. The morning seduction unfolded
before her eyes and she watched him onscreen. When the scene faded, she had no
more doubts and tears poured down her cheeks, blurring her vision.
    * *
* *
    He watched her
running and switched off the feed. Only the music stream flowed into her room
now. He could hear her sobbing and finished tying up the end of the video,
fading to black.
    He sat in the room
watching her through the glass. He had been doing this for a while and she was
still running. He slowly got up and headed to her room.
    They looked at
each other without a word and tears streaked from her bloodshot eyes. He
approached the treadmill tentatively, turned it off and freed her hands. He
took a step back as she got off on wobbly legs.
    “What do you want
me to say?”
    “That you want
me,” he said very softly. That you feel the same things I do.
    Jessica hung her
head and she sank to the floor, a sob escaping while she shook her head. “I
can’t,” she whispered her voice barely audible. “I can’t,” she repeated.
    “Why?” his voice
laced with bitterness.
    She looked up at
him. “Because, you’re a monster.”
    Ty stepped back as
if he’d been hit with a powerful blow. He backed out of the room, slamming the
door behind him. He sank to his knees in the hall struggling to catch his
breath, the weight of what she said crashed down on him. He closed his eyes and
leaned against the door. With a shaky hand, he slowly wiped his face.
    “What the hell am
I doing?” he asked the empty hall.
    He sat with his
head leaning against the door, arms resting on his bent knees. She’s wrong. I’m
not a monster. But he knew well enough that she hit the nail on the head. He
looked around, knowing he’d live up to that label by the time this was all

Chapter 22
    Mike lay on the
mattress and as Ty predicted, the images looped in his mind in a sick cycle,
replaying again and again whether he wanted it to or not.
    He closed his
eyes, escaping into the past, to the first time he saw her, roughly seven years
before. He had been assigned a project that was out of his realm of expertise
so he called the players into a meeting to get up to speed. Jessica was one of
the major knowledge foundations and when she walked in the room, she set him on
fire. He remembered the disappointment when he looked at her left hand. Damn ,
she was wearing a wedding band.
    Jessica was smart.
She also was an amazing flirt and she knew how to use her assets to her
advantage. She even had rendered him speechless once, which was not an easy
thing to do.
    He had scheduled
an offsite for the group and she called him to ask if everyone could wear jeans
and be comfortable. He had said he didn’t care and her response was “As long as
we wear something, right?” He smiled at the memory. She insisted it was an
innocent slip; she was just trying to be cute. He could still hear her laughter
when he replied, “I don’t know how to respond to that.”
    He would kill to
hear her laugh like that again. Mike’s eyes flew opened. He had killed for her.
He ran his hand over his face, shoving that thought aside and slipped back into
the past.
    The offsite
increased his appetite for her; just seeing her operate a room full of people
was awe-inspiring. She had an interesting combination of freedom and
intelligence that was sexy as hell. He would have given anything to take her up
to one of the rooms in the hotel and do to her what Ty had done.
    Soon after the
offsite, a heat

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