I hadn’t been staying at the house lately. Suddenly, it seemed I had turned into Ben before Livy came along. I had a big fancy house and refused to stay in it. I’d only opted to stay in the house tonight because I had a meeting on this side of town in the morning. But I’d avoided my own staff by slipping in through the back during a shift change.
I wasn’t going to subject any of them to my mood.
What the fuck was wrong with me?
What’s wrong is that the woman you thought you loved was hired by your fucking father.
It was like the old man would never cease to be a thorn in my side.
He wanted nothing to do with me publicly, but he still wanted to control me.
I grabbed the pillow and rolled over in the bed again. I was hot. Tight. Itchy. I just wanted out of my own fucking skin. Sleep was so far off in the horizon, I felt like giving up. I was in the process of rolling over again when I heard something in the other room.
What the fuck was that? It sounded like a light scraping noise.
I sat still, calmed my breathing, and waited. That was definitely a muttered curse coming from the living room of the suite.
Fucking Christ, that was the last thing I needed. There had been a time when I’d been a different person, rough around the edges, the one that was likely to end up in jail. Angry all of the time, and I was angry for reasons I couldn’t control. I’d smoothed those rough edges and made something of my life, but now, it seemed like the old me needed to come to the forefront or something very bad was going to happen.
Under my bedside table, I reached for the one thing vested in my former life that I kept handy. The switch blade was just as I remembered it. Cold. Delicate. Deadly.
Just like Mina.
I shoved the thoughts of my ex out of my head. I didn’t want to think about her and all her lies.
I sprung up out of bed. As usual, I slept commando, so I padded over to the closet and eased the bottom drawer open on the far left. I took a pair of boxers from it and tugged them on. If I was about to have a fight, there was no need to have the lads flying about uncovered.
Luckily, I slept with my door slightly ajar, so easing into the living room didn’t cause any unwanted sound. Then I saw it. The shadow in the study, going through my things.
What the fuck? How had anyone gotten in here?
My feet moved of their own volition. My rational brain was chirping up with things like, ’Call security. You are closer to the door than to the study, so just leave.’ Or the oh so helpful, ‘At least put a fucking shirt on.’
No, I wasn’t going to do any of those things. I was going to find out who the fuck was in my suite.
The study door was open, and I saw someone dressed in all black. One of my fucking employees? I could play this scenario one of two ways. I could approach, turn on the lights, and ask them what the fuck they thought they were doing, or I could jump them. I was irritated enough that option two seemed excellent to me.
With a step-over-step motion, I slid against the window to the living room. And then, it was easy.
One arm in a choke hold, the other pressing the knife against the jugular, leaning close. The person was small, delicate. A light floral scent hit my nostrils and I inhaled deep. A woman? The slight stature, the curves, definitely a woman. Not Mina though. She was shorter and not as strong. The woman in my arms delivered a half decent elbow to my ribs. Enough to make me grind my teeth.
And why did she smell so fucking familiar?
My fucking dick didn’t seem to know any better. This wasn’t some game with a girl who liked it rough. This was deadly serious. But God, why did she smell… and then I knew why. I whipped my intruder around so fast that she squeaked, and with my hand on her throat, I backed her up against the wall and placed the knife to her jugular again.
“What the fuck are you doing here, Emma?”