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Home > The Billionaire's Salvation ~ Max(12)

The Billionaire's Salvation ~ Max(12)
Author: J.S. Scott

Mia felt her hand trembling as she reached for her wine, taking a healthy sip. He needed a break? Had he wanted out of their marriage? “Was I suffocating you because I loved you too much?” It was a hard question to ask, but she needed to know. Max had been her whole world since they’d met, and maybe it was too much for him. She had a tendency to be a bit extreme in everything she did, while Max was exactly the opposite. Maybe he couldn’t bear her intensity for long periods of time, even though she’d really tried to tone it down for his sake, not wanting to scare him away.

Max twisted the top off his beer, laughing harshly as he tossed the cap in the trash. “It wasn’t you; it was me. I wanted to be smothered by you; I wanted to be the only man you saw, the only man who existed for you.”

“But Max, you were—”

“It wasn’t enough,” he told her roughly as he slid into his chair again, piercing her with a possessive stare that Mia had never seen before. “The things I wanted weren’t right in my mind. My dad loved my mom and treated her with tenderness and devotion. Although I felt those things too, there was also this total obsession that I didn’t think was right, natural. You’re my wife, a woman who deserves my respect. I never wanted you to leave me. I didn’t want to scare you away by acting like a lunatic. The way I felt wasn’t rational. I wanted to kill any man who looked at you.”

Oh, God. He’d felt the same way she did, and he hadn’t been able to deal with it. The crazy love, the over-the-top desire to rip his clothes off and have wild, crazy sex until they were both so sated they couldn’t move. Her levelheaded Max, her sensible husband, her tender lover really felt the same savage emotions. He just hadn’t wanted her to know.

“So you’re really a closet dominant male?” she asked, shivering as she watched his face, the turbulent emotions making the flecks of gold in his eyes glow as he stared at her as though he wanted to swallow her whole. Her core flooded with heat as she watched him struggle, secretly hoping the alpha would break free. Just once…she’d like to see Max totally lose control, not in a bad way, but in a very, very good way. It would make him more human, more real, and she welcomed it.

If that’s a part of Max I haven’t seen…bring it on!

“I think I’m beyond that, and I don’t think I’m in the closet anymore. And I’m still perfectly rational with everyone and everything except you. You’re the only woman who’s ever made me feel this way,” he growled, his face damp with perspiration.

Mia tried to hide the longing that she was certain was showing on her face, wanting to do nothing except crawl into his lap and make him completely lose control. The feminine power she had over him was suddenly a heady, dizzying feeling. This man, who was her entire world, wanted her above all things, above any other woman on earth, and she knew she could make him lose it. But he had trusted her with his feelings, and she wasn’t going to use them against him when he was struggling, vulnerable. She loved him too much. What he’d been taught growing up by the parents he’d loved and the way he was feeling now were warring against each other.

Everything inside of her rejoiced, elated to know that he’d felt the same as she did, that his love was anything but lukewarm and tepid, controlled and sane. Now, it seemed almost ridiculous that they had both never fully revealed the intensity of their emotions for fear of losing the one they loved to the point of insanity. “You can be whoever you really are with me, Max. I’ll never stop loving you.”

“I think that’s the problem. I was never truly alive until I met you. I was the guy who never lost his temper, never let emotions get in the way of a business deal, and I was pretty much indifferent about everything. The only thing I wanted was to be a good son to my adoptive parents because they had given me so much. I guess I thought I needed to be in their image, act like a Hamilton, to make up for the fact that I wasn’t their blood child. I didn’t even know who I was,” Max admitted.

“And do you know who you are now?” Mia asked softly, loving him even more for being able to bare himself to her.

“Not completely,” he said with a masculine sigh. “But I can guarantee you that I’m not indifferent, especially not when it comes to you. I know exactly how I feel about you. I always have. I just wasn’t sure you could handle it.”

“I can,” she told him emphatically. Trying to give him a reprieve, she glanced away from him and asked calmly, “Tell me what happened after you found out I was missing.”

Max took a deep breath before he answered, “Obviously, there was an extensive search, but it only lasted about a week because there were no leads. After that, they were convinced you had either drowned or there was only one possible suspect if you were murdered. They weren’t really looking at other possibilities because nothing else made sense.”

“Who?” she asked him, confused.

“Me,” he answered, his voice low and hoarse. “A woman with no real enemies vanishes and can’t be found, the usual suspect is her husband.”

“Oh, God. Max, I’m so sorry.” It had to have been awful for him, being suspected of murdering his own wife. “There was no motive, no reason to even suspect you.”

Max shrugged. “Crime of passion? Another woman? Another man? Money? Believe me…they checked every possibility, dug through every record to make sure I hadn’t done anything to you for any of those reasons. When they finally decided I wasn’t guilty, they assumed you had drowned. They said they didn’t suspect foul play. There was never a demand for ransom, no reason to believe you were abducted. There was no activity on any of your accounts. It was like you had just…vanished.”

Tears sprung to Mia’s eyes as she watched him trying so hard to impersonally state just the facts when he’d so obviously suffered. Had their positions been reversed, she wasn’t sure she could have come out of it still sane. “The media must have been horrible.”

“Luckily I was spared that part of it. They kept the investigation quiet. I cooperated, gave them whatever they wanted.”

Whatever she had done, Mia hated herself for putting Max through hell. He was a man with pride, a man of integrity, and being stripped of all that he was for the investigation had to have been devastating. Squeezing her eyes closed to prevent her tears from falling, she whispered softly, “I wish I could remember. I wish I knew why I did this to you.”

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