“My parents are ruthless. But they’re also human, which means they’re fallible. So what if we failed to bring them down the first time around? We keep trying.”
Gabriel was quiet for a long time, staring into the distance, his expression thoughtful.
“If they find out who you are and what you’re doing, they’ll kill you, Andy,” he muttered before his intense gaze swung back and caught me by surprise, my knees nearly going out. “We do this my way. You want to go back into the viper’s nest, then fine. But I have conditions.”
Gabriel really had forgotten who he was talking to, but I was kind of liking this obey or else tone in his voice.
“I know I’ve never said this, but when you disappeared all those years ago… my world fell apart.”
I completely forgot what I’d been about to say. My heart twisted at the vulnerability in his voice, the look of emptiness on his face. “You were the only good thing in my life, and then you were gone, just like that,” he whispered quietly.
God, this whole time I thought he’d hated me, when maybe it was the exact opposite.
“After you left, I was alone. No one to talk to. No one to trust.” He indicated the stark office around him.
“This place is a poor replacement, but work served the purpose of keeping me from thinking about you.” He smiled slightly. “Until you roared back into my life. Once you did… I promised myself no one would take you away again. Not ever.”
Shit, he really wasn’t kidding.
“You built Vanguard Enterprises because of me?” Nobody had ever built something because of me before, except maybe a sandwich.
“I decided to build my company the day you disappeared. I figured your parents had killed you, but I couldn’t prove it. So, I decided that since they took away what I loved, I’d do the same to them.”
With those blue eyes locked on me, he stalked closer. “So the answer is yes. I will help you take down your parents.”
Heat flared to life in my stomach. I chuffed out a low laugh, my eyes riveted on his ridiculously beautiful face. “You never needed protection from my parents, did you?”
“No more than you do,” he countered, though he didn’t sound happy about it.
“What if…” I held my breath. “What if instead of protecting each other—which clearly isn’t working—we combine forces? You know, like old times?” I suggested.
“We always did make a good team.”
His answering grin was blinding, and my heart thundered in approval.