Home > No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs #1)(9)

No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs #1)(9)
Author: J.S. Scott

Dante gaped as she stood and carefully started mopping up blood from the floor and picking up the large pieces of glass. “Leave it!” he ordered in a low, dangerous voice. He got up, wrapped his arm around her waist, and lifted her feet off the floor, unable to stop a low groan of pain from leaving his lips as he took her weight and her body collided against his chest when he swung her away from the glass. He was panting as he lowered her feet back to the ground, but he didn’t loosen his hold around her waist. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Sarah. I only wanted to get rid of the pills. I didn’t mean to hit the glass. I didn’t mean for it to break.” Shit. He was babbling like an idiot, but for some reason it was important to him that she understood that hurting her wasn’t intentional.

She moved away from him as she muttered, “I’m sure you didn’t.” But she didn’t sound completely convinced.

Dante followed her as she grabbed her purse from the living room and slipped her bandaged feet into her sandals at the door. After pulling the door open, she looked back at him. “Look, I understand that you lost your partner, and I’m sorry for that. But think about Patrick, Detective Sinclair. Would he want you to be doing this to yourself, acting this way? If you had been the one who died, would you want him to behave the way you’re behaving now? You’re not helping your partner right now.”

“I didn’t mean for you to cut yourself,” Dante grumbled, still concerned about the blood he’d seen on her foot.

Sarah shot him a stubborn look. “If you’re really sorry, take the damn pills.” Without another word, she left, pulling the door closed behind her.

Incredulous that Sarah had just walked out on her injured foot, Dante moved forward and yanked the door back open just in time to see her get into her car and head back down the driveway.

“Damn stubborn woman,” Dante muttered irritably, unable to shake off the guilt of what he’d unintentionally done to her.

Would Patrick want him to act like an idiot? Hell no, he wouldn’t. His partner would have chewed his ass about getting his temper under control and made him stop doing stupid shit that was self-destructive. In their early days as partners, Patrick had jerked Dante forcibly back more than once from acting on emotion, and Dante had learned the lesson quickly enough back then. Over the years, Dante had learned to keep a lid on his anger, knowing one stupid action could jeopardize an investigation.

Back in the kitchen, he slowly cleaned up the mess on the kitchen floor, cringing as he removed every droplet of blood from the tiles. He was panting by the time he finished.

You’re breathing short and shallow.

Annoyed that Sarah Baxter’s words kept haunting him, he took a deep breath and coughed hard, grabbing on to the edge of the cupboard to keep his balance as a pain so sharp and excruciating that he almost lost consciousness lanced through his chest. He was definitely seeing stars.

I’m an asshole. If I really wanted to torture myself, all I had to do was cough!

He could have saved himself the effort of going downstairs to the basement and lifting weights just by taking a deep breath or coughing. It sure as hell hurt just as badly—probably worse. Dante wasn’t certain what the hell he’d been thinking when he’d done that. Truth was, he hadn’t really been thinking. He’d been reacting. Maybe he’d been hoping the pain would keep him numb, stop him from thinking, reliving every moment of Patrick’s death.

Would he want you to be doing this, acting this way?

Sarah’s parting words were taunting him as Dante pulled a beer from the refrigerator, removed the cap, and sat down at the kitchen table. He and Patrick had had each other’s backs for the last five years. When they were working on a hot case, they sometimes spent twelve to fifteen hours a day in each other’s company. There wasn’t much that Dante hadn’t known about Patrick. They’d spent a lot of time giving each other shit, but he knew exactly how his partner would have reacted to Dante’s behavior.

“You would have kicked my ass, buddy,” Dante said quietly to himself before he took a swig of his beer and set it on the table. Scrubbing his hands over his face, he was careful not to irritate the healing laceration on his cheek. The way he was acting right now wasn’t for Patrick, it was for himself. His partner would have wanted Dante to watch out for his family, make sure Ben and Karen were okay. He’d made sure they’d never have financial problems, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to call Karen or Ben since they’d visited him in the hospital. Just seeing them reminded him of Patrick, and the fact that he was alive when Patrick was gone. Karen and Ben had a lot of family in California, but it didn’t matter. His wife and son had been the most important people in Patrick’s life, and he would have counted on Dante to make sure that they were doing all right emotionally as well as physically.

Karen and Ben don’t blame me. They cared enough to come to the hospital. I’m being a total asshole. I cut myself off from them because I felt guilty. Me. Me. Me. This has all been about me and not them.

Dante stood, grimacing as he reached for the pain pills, which were still on the table.

“Pity party time is over, Sinclair,” Dante said in a disgusted whisper, using an expression that Patrick had used on him whenever Dante needed a kick in the ass.

He’d been acting like a jackass from the minute he woke up from surgery and realized Patrick was dead. He’d been distant with his siblings, even though every one of them had come running when he’d been injured, Evan flying in from across the damn world. And he hadn’t even bothered to check in on Karen and Ben since he’d been in the hospital.

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