Make me say it, p.1

Make Me Say It, page 1

 part  #3 of  Make Me Series


Make Me Say It

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Make Me Say It

  Titles by Beth Kery













  Because You Are Mine Series





  One Night of Passion Series




  One Night of Passion Specials



  Make Me

  Part 3

  Make Me Say It

  Beth Kery

  InterMix Books, New York




  An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author

  Copyright © 2016 by Beth Kery.

  Excerpt from The Affair copyright © 2015 by Beth Kery.

  Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

  INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

  For more information about The Berkley Publishing Group, visit

  eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-98823-7


  InterMix eBook edition / April 2016

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



  Titles by Beth Kery

  Title Page


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Excerpt from The Affair

  About the Author

  Chapter One

  Jacob glanced up when Elizabeth tapped on his office door and entered carrying some files. He made eye contact with her and could tell by her arched brows she had something to tell him.

  “I don’t want to argue with you anymore about it,” he said quietly to the woman on the screen. “We agreed before you moved into the coach house that you would have to meet my requirements.”

  “Your requirements are even more strict than my shrink’s,” Regina Morrow said. “But at least I can count on seeing Dr. Fielding regularly. When will I see you next?”

  “Hard to say. I’m working on a few deals that are taking up a lot of my time. I can’t get away at the moment. My presence shouldn’t be a requirement for you to do what we agreed upon.”

  Regina made a predictable sound of dissatisfaction, a pout marring her otherwise stunning features.

  “You just need to focus on one thing: taking care of yourself,” he said. “I’ll call tomorrow and you can tell me what the new therapy group is like.”

  “You’ll call to check up on me, you mean? You’re a pain in the ass, Jacob. I don’t know why I love you so much.” His mouth went hard at the grudging quality to her tone of voice. Regina had a habit of imagining herself victimized . . . and acting out accordingly. He hoped her fit of pique wouldn’t be an excuse for sabotaging her current treatment.

  “Your feelings for me—or for anyone—shouldn’t affect how you take care of yourself. Regina?”

  “I know, I know. Don’t lecture me.”

  “I’ll talk to you tomorrow . . . and I’ll try not to lecture,” he added dryly.

  “Promises, promises,” she teased, bringing a smile to his mouth before he said good-bye and disconnected their conversation.

  Without looking up from his computer, he spoke to Elizabeth. “Please call Dr. Fielding and tell him that he should administer a drug test on her visit this afternoon. If she doesn’t show for her outpatient group therapy appointment, have him call me.”

  “Of course,” Elizabeth replied. She’d been given the same or similar instructions too many prior times to question him. His history with Regina had been a roller-coaster ride.

  “Cyril is here. He wants to know if you’d like lunch at his place,” Elizabeth said.

  Jacob closed his eyes as regret and annoyance flickered through him. He knew Cyril would want to talk about the film. About Harper. He’d rather avoid the subject at all costs. But as much of a pain in the ass as Cyril could be, and as different as he and Cyril were, he was also one of the few people on the earth Jacob considered a friend.

  He may as well just get this over with.

  “We’ll give him lunch here, if he’ll have it,” he said as his fingers flew across the keyboard. He looked up after a moment. “Out on the balcony?”

  “I’ll let Lisa know,” Elizabeth said briskly, setting the files on his desk and turning to go.

  Ten minutes later he sat across from Cyril Atwater at a table set for two. His office balcony overlooked the lake, and made a good location for working meals as well as a refreshing escape where he could clear his head.

  He’d shared a workday lunch with Cyril too many times in the past to count. They’d known each other for about seven years, ever since they’d become neighbors in Tahoe Shores. One of Cyril’s hallmark characteristics was his single-minded, bullheaded determination to see a project through, a quality that was both admirable and annoying, depending on which side of Cyril you were on. Cyril tended to wheedle, flatter, or bulldoze his way to get what he wanted, and Jacob had definitely erected a barrier to one of Cyril’s targets the other night.

  He knew that Cyril had been a small, sensitive, and sickly child growing up, which had led to a long history of bullying—both by other kids and an overbearing, coarse, heavy-handed father. Cyril’s artistic brilliance had been a foreign language to his father, and Jarvis Atwater was not a man to tolerate anything foreign. What had infuriated Jarvis was not only his son’s open homosexuality, but a stubborn streak that ran a mile wide. Cyril refused to bend or alter, no matter the amount of threats and physical abuse.

  Predictably, Cyril brought up the topic of the film before Lisa, his cook, had even served the soup.

  “I might have complicated things for you in regard to that,” Jacob told his friend.

  “What do you mean?” Cyril demanded, peering at him through a pair of antique Edwardian pince-nez glasses that Cyril was particularly proud of.

  “I might have . . . insulted Ms. McFadden.”

  “Insulted her.” A flabbergasted expression slowly broke over his thin face. “Good Lord, you don’t mean insulted in the antiquated sense of the word, do you?”

  Jacob gave him a bland look.

  “You slept with her?” Cyril nearly shouted.

  “Quiet,” Jacob insist
ed as Lisa stepped out on the balcony with a tray in her hand. Cyril snapped his mouth shut into a frown as Lisa served them.

  “I’m shocked. And I disapprove,” Cyril said when Lisa had left.

  “I didn’t ask for your approval,” Jacob replied, his mild tone disguising his irritation.

  “That girl isn’t your type, is she? I mean . . . she’s stunning, of course. But she’s a bit on the sweet side for someone of your tastes, isn’t she?”

  “And so we get to the portion of the story where I insulted her,” Jacob said stoically, picking up his spoon.

  Cyril shook his head, clearly bewildered. “She lives here in Tahoe Shores. What about your policy on avoiding local complications?”

  “You make it sound like I have it printed out in a company policy regulation manual. It’s just a preference, not a hard-and-fast rule.”

  “You’ve followed that policy like you were a devout Catholic and it was strict dogma. I’ve seen you walk away from considerable temptation when it comes to local women. Why is Harper McFadden worth the exception?”

  “I did make an exception. Let’s just leave it at that. And now I’m facing the unpleasant consequence,” he grated out. “Not just from Harper. From you, too, apparently.”

  He took a bite of Lisa’s usually delicious-tasting tomato bisque and frowned. Discussing his mistake could make ambrosia taste bitter on his tongue. He had gotten where he had in life by making smart, often risky choices accompanied by strict, unwavering self-discipline. His complete lack of self-control in regard to Harper had been plaguing him every waking second since she’d jumped off his boat last night like she was leaping from the mouth of hell to safe ground. She’d walked away on the dock without looking back, a fact that still infuriated and agitated him as he recalled it presently.

  He hated when Harper walked away.

  “It can’t be all that bad,” Cyril decided. “You’ll just have to apologize to her for whatever you did.” He paused in the action of bringing his spoon to his mouth. “What did you do?”

  “I was distant in the aftermath, apparently.”

  “You really shouldn’t have seduced a woman like that. She’s not the type to be satisfied with your limitations in regard to relationships.” Cyril set down his spoon abruptly. “I can’t imagine what you were thinking, although I suppose I shouldn’t be completely shocked. I saw the way you were looking at her the other night.”

  Jacob stiffened.

  “Everyone was talking about it,” Cyril said, shrugging. “It’s not every day you see Jacob Latimer panting to go and greet a girl.”

  “I wasn’t panting.”

  Cyril’s gaze on him was annoyingly sharp. “You think she’s special. That’s why you brought up the topic of her story and the film. Why?” Cyril asked, his irritation seemingly replaced by fascination.

  “If you want the second course, mind your own business.”

  Cyril was chastened only briefly.

  “I think you should apologize. What’s more, I think you think you should apologize. She makes you feel vulnerable.” He shook his head, a smile breaking free. “Will wonders never cease? I’ve never seen you worked up over a girl, except for Regina upon occasion, of course, but that’s entirely—”

  Cyril put up his hands in a surrender gesture when he finally took in Jacob’s furious expression.

  “Don’t kill the messenger for stating the truth. It’s just common sense, to apologize to her,” Cyril insisted. “Embarrassment isn’t good cause to insult a person. Neither is liking them more than you think you should.”

  Jacob refused to rise to the bait, taking another sip of his soup. Inside, he was boiling.

  “She’s smart. Compassionate. Very pretty—even if not your typical taste,” Cyril mused maddeningly.

  “How do you know what my taste is?”

  Cyril gave him a disgusted glance. “I see it regularly, why wouldn’t I know? Long legs, a stunning face, a heart as cold and conniving as your own can be. The women you sleep with are lionesses, while the women you save are sad. Vulnerable.”

  Jacob looked up sharply at that, an unpleasant, freezing sensation shooting through his veins.

  “What are you talking about? Saving people?”

  Cyril shrugged, as if he couldn’t believe Jacob was asking for clarification on such an obvious topic.

  “Let’s see,” Cyril began, ticking off his fingers. “There’s Regina, then that housekeeper of yours at Sea Cliff. Marianne, isn’t it? There’s Elizabeth, of course, whom you rescued from that battered women’s shelter and turned into a titan of business. And that’s not even mentioning all the unknown people and animals you save through your charities. You can keep most of your philanthropy from being commonly known, Jacob, but you aren’t fooling me on that score.”

  “You’re babbling,” Jacob said coldly.

  “But Harper McFadden . . . she’s not a classic victim or a heartless lioness. And yet, against all odds . . . you like her. Ah—I’ve got it! The scar,” Cyril said, pointing to the corner of his mouth, indicating the location of Harper’s scar. “She’s the gorgeous, brave reporter with a soul sensitive enough to write stories like Ellie’s. She’s the vulnerable lioness.”

  Jacob hissed a curse, his spoon plinking loudly against his bowl. Cyril’s observations struck too close to home about many things, one of them being that he encapsulated his internal conflict about sexually dominating Harper with shocking precision.

  “She’s a reporter,” Jacob bit out, as if that explained everything. “I should be avoiding her like the plague. And I don’t like her. What is this, the fifth grade?”

  Cyril twirled his iced tea glass. “You like the way she makes you feel, then. Anyone could have seen that the other night.”

  “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  Cyril just arched his brows in a sardonic challenge.

  “Because in point of fact, I don’t like the way Harper McFadden makes me feel,” Jacob declared loudly. He snapped his mouth closed when he heard the glass door slide open behind him.

  He blinked. He couldn’t believe he’d let Cyril get a rise out of him. It hardly ever happened. Lisa appeared with their second course. He stewed in his irritation while she served. What he’d told Cyril was true. Harper McFadden made him feel torn and restless. She made him feel like this: uncomfortably bewildered and prickly. She made him feel like he wasn’t himself . . . like he was Jake instead of Jacob.

  So why couldn’t he stop thinking about her, then? He couldn’t seem to rid himself of this craving to possess her sexually, yet . . . he felt remorse over that. His guilt wasn’t dampening the need, though. There was a charge to his lust that was undeniable.

  It was because it was Harper. He was like a stupid kid all over again, unable to control either mind or body . . .

  And what if Cyril was right, and she was vulnerable in addition to being strong?

  It doesn’t change the fact that you want to tie her up and have her until you can’t see straight, with absolutely nothing to stand in your way.

  So you don’t like her,” Cyril agreed when Lisa left the balcony. He’d said it just to keep the peace, but in typical Cyril fashion, couldn’t resist sounding sarcastic as hell. “You’ll still apologize to her for my sake, won’t you?” He popped a cherry tomato into his mouth. “For the film’s sake?”

  “You just want that damn film made because your new actor boyfriend is so perfect for the part of Ellie’s homeless friend.”

  “Of course I do. I like Miguel, and I want him to be happy,” Cyril said simply, taking a sip of iced tea. “But I want it for me, as well. And for Harper. It’s an amazing story. You think so, too. You’ll call her?”

  “You don’t know what you’re asking. You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jacob repeated before he began mechanically eating his s

  “No,” Cyril said with a sigh that set Jacob’s teeth on edge. “I think it’s you who doesn’t know, Jacob.”

  * * *

  Maybe Cyril was right, Jacob thought later that evening as he looked out over the shimmering cerulean lake.

  He’d managed to get through the rest of lunch without allowing his friend to get a rise out of him again . . . or without making any promises he’d regret in regard to Harper McFadden. He’d successfully pushed out any thoughts of what had happened on the yacht last night while he methodically worked on the ResourceSoft acquisition this afternoon.

  But then Elizabeth had left early for the night, and his phone had stopped its steady, rhythmic buzzing, and the sun had started to set. Thoughts of her began to intrude once again.

  It both gratified him and rankled at once, that he was so completely different now that there was never even a hint of recognition on her face. He’d gratifyingly imagined for years that Jake Tharp was effectively dead. But seeing the evidence of that truth broadcast large on Harper’s face was firsthand proof. It seemed so strange that she could have forgotten so completely when he remembered so well.

  Even though he wished like hell that he didn’t.

  Chapter Two

  Twenty Years Ago

  His hand shook as he portioned out the powdered animal sedative into the carafe of water. For a few seconds, he was frozen with fear. He knew from helping out Emmitt on several occasions with new or overly aggressive animals what the appropriate portion was for both a pup and an adult dog. He had no idea what might work for humans. But Jake was good at math. The only thing he could do was figure an appropriate ratio based on a pit bull’s weight versus his uncle’s.

  He wasn’t sure what he was more terrified of: that he’d kill his uncle with a lethal dose, or that the amount wouldn’t knock him out at all, and Emmitt would discover that he’d already sedated the animals in the barn and was intent on betraying him.

  You decide: What’s worse? Uncle Emmitt dying? Or you?

  The thought steadied him. He couldn’t die. He had to help Harper. Determinedly, he added more of the powder into the coffee carafe and then shoved the bottle into his jean pocket.

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