Atlas (Billionaire Titans)(4)By: Alison Ryan
I looked down at the salmon salad on the table, my cheeks flushed. It was embarrassing to know that Atlas knew about my break up. He must’ve thought I was a complete idiot for getting involved with someone who beat the shit out of me and threatened me almost daily. Atlas was so strong. He’d never been one to tolerate much weakness, according to his dad. Hell, the guy was an ex-Navy SEAL for god sakes. He’d seen things most people never see, had taken his body and mind to the edge of what most men are capable of and easily surpassed those limits. Did Atlas Titan even have limits?
And even so, all I could think about was how that translated to the bedroom.
Good Lord, what was wrong with me?
“Oh,” I managed. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to impose on you, Atlas. I know you have so much going on in your own life, you don’t need to be my babysitter.” I looked up at him, meeting his eyes. “Not that I don’t appreciate it.”
Atlas shook his head, “It’s no imposition, Piper. I’m glad to do it.”
Emerson was staring at Atlas now, looking a little surprised at this response.
“Well, good,” Emerson smiled. “I have you set up at the Four Seasons in the Royal Suite for the next few weeks. Plenty of room for both of you. There’s two bedrooms, a gym, an office, and if you need anything, concierge is available and my men will be at the ready.” Emerson took my hand. “You’re safe, my dear. I promise you that.”
Tears stung my eyes and I pulled him into a hug, “Thank you, Emerson. I don’t know how I can ever thank you enough.”
Emerson patted my cheek, “You thank me by being happy and building something new. You’re too young, beautiful, and smart to have this kind of trauma in your life.”
I nodded. He was right. If only he knew what he’d now gotten Atlas into. As much as I wanted to tell them to run from me, I couldn’t. I needed them.
I needed Atlas Titan.
Of course Piper Kipton had to be fucking beautiful.
As soon as she strutted into Old Ebbitt, I knew this was bad news. Even in a simple pair of chinos and a cotton shirt, she couldn’t hide her curves. Every eye in the place was on her as soon as she started moving towards our table. Her brown hair fell in soft waves past her shoulders and there was fear in her large blue eyes.
Fear I wanted to take away.
I shook my head. No. There was no getting close to her. I was doing this to help my father. For whatever reason he only trusted me to take care of this, and it was something I took very seriously. As a son of Titan, my loyalty would always be to my father and my brothers. So in this case, it couldn’t be about Piper. I couldn’t even think about it.
But that body. Jesus.
While she ate and talked to my father, I tried my best not to stare at her. But I was also assessing the situation. I suspected bruises under her clothes. She’d looked like she was in pain when Dad hugged her. She was also incredibly skittish. A waitress dropped a tray and Piper had practically jumped out of her skin. I recognized it immediately. I’d seen it in too many of my buddies.
Piper had PTSD.
What monster had done this to her? That was my first order of business. I needed to know what I was up against, who Piper was up against. With my money and connections I could get out of most any bind. But I knew all too well the kind of binds you can’t buy your way out of.
I guess my dad knew that too. It’s why he’d asked this of me.
“So I guess we should go,” I interrupted. “I have some stuff I need to get done since I won’t be going back to San Francisco for a while.”
Dad nodded, “Yes. Of course. Wrap up whatever you need to wrap up. I’ll go back with Piper and make sure everything is taken care of at the hotel.”
I slapped my American Express on the table, “Sure thing. Be there in about an hour.”
My father stood up to let Piper out of the booth. He looked at me and placed his hand on my shoulder, “Thanks, son. Glad I can always depend on you.”
I shrugged. I was always uncomfortable with endearments.
“Atlas,” Piper said my name and my eyes couldn’t help but meet hers. “Thank you for doing this. I’ll do my best to stay out of your way. I know you have a whole other life you’re putting on hold. So… I don’t really know what to say. Except that I’m grateful.”