Tobias knelt beside her, and ran a hand down her back. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Don’t … touch … me.”
She didn’t expect him to listen to her, but he stopped touching her. He didn’t leave her alone, staying close.
Minutes passed, and slowly, she got her breathing under control, and finally, she was able to stand up, and face him. Embarrassment overwhelmed her, and she quickly averted her gaze.
“Please, don’t ruin my mother’s job. She’s really good and loves working for you.” She didn’t like how hard it was for her to not burst into tears.
“I’m not going to leave you here on the sidewalk, Adora. I won’t hurt you, and your mother’s safe. Just listen to me.”
“I don’t want to have sex with you, or to be with you in any way.”
She held onto her bag like a lifeline. Tobias was a sexy, good-looking man, and even though he’d blackmailed her, she actually liked his cheeky smile.
From the moment she read her mother’s diary, she’d promised herself she’d have a different life from her. It was why even at twenty years old, she was a virgin. Boys and men held no appeal.
Her studies mattered to her.
The plans she had in place were what she’d been focusing on all of her life.
“I don’t want to just fuck you, Adora. I want you to be the mother of my child.”
She stared at him, expecting for him to start laughing, but he didn’t start laughing.
“No. I’m not. I want you to be the mother of my child, and for that honor I’ll pay off all of your student loans, and set you up for life. You’ll be at my beck and call whenever and however I want you.”
For several minutes Adora stared at him, expecting him to say something else. There was no way she’d just heard that. Not after he’d threatened her mother, and attempted to blackmail her.
Tobias had expected this to go much smoother. Any woman would kill to be in Adora’s position, but she acted like he’d forced her down the green mile. His initial plan only included using her to mother his child, but he’d spent the weekend unable to get her off his mind. He knew there was no chance of cutting her loose once he got what he wanted, so he’d set her up in an apartment to use at his leisure. She wouldn’t have to worry for anything, so he didn’t see an issue with it. Without his assistance, she’d end up scrubbing toilets like her mother.
“Don’t look so shocked,” he said. “I’m forty-five, and my parents are tired of waiting for an heir.” He held the car door open for her and waited for her to take a seat, then joined her.
“You shouldn’t have to pay someone to be with you. Why can’t you fall in love like everybody else?”
“It’s not so simple. I don’t do love,” he said. All his life, he’d been taught that love and empathy were weaknesses. The only way to move up the ladder of success was with a ruthless business drive and putting the almighty dollar above all else.
“Then why have a baby?”
“I need someone to pass my wealth to when I’m gone. It’s important to keep the bloodline alive. Otherwise, it was all for nothing.”
“Not everyone has children. Like me, for example, I’m only interested in my education.”
He leaned back against the leather seat and massaged his temples, wondering why he tortured himself. Of all the women in the city, the one he wanted wasn’t on board. He’d dealt with risk assessment and financial forecasting all his life. Taking his offer was in Adora’s best interest, she just didn’t realize it yet. “Did you know I play golf with the president of your college every other Sunday?”
She twisted in her seat, her face blanched. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Tobias sat up straight, leaning into her personal space. “Use your imagination.”
“You can’t do this,” she whispered. “You can’t force me to be with you. Why would you want to?”
“Don’t fight it. I promise you won’t regret taking my offer.” She looked so innocent, her lips full, her eyes wide with uncertainty. Part of him wanted to console her, but he knew he couldn’t backpedal now.
“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” Tears welled up in her eyes. “I’m nobody. And you’re old enough to be my father.”
“Is age that important to you?”
She paused. “No, but loyalty is. I don’t want to be used and discarded. I deserve better than that.”
He’d never had a deep-seated desire for any woman, young or old. Tobias always assumed he was a sociopath like his father, but fuck, he wanted Adora, regardless of her age. She tore down his resolve, making him weak, making him want things he’d never cared about. He held the side of her head, using his thumb to wipe away a tear. “It has to be you, Adora.”