“Shut up,” he ordered with a finger in my face. Then he looked over at one of the men who had just walked in. “Go to her place and get all of her shit. Then meet us here,” he said, tossing my purse at the guy.
“Got it,” he said, digging my keys out of my bag and leaving the room.
“What’s going on? Why are you here?” I whispered.
Thad turned towards me. His hand went to my jaw, his thumb and middle finger on either side, where he squeezed hard.
“I’m taking you home and you’re getting married. Mom is going to be so happy,” he smiled.
I felt bile fill my throat, making it hard to breathe. “What are you taking about?” I finally got out through my fear.
“Oh, princess, there is so much you don’t know.” His hands went to each arm of the chair and his body caged mine in. “Don’t worry though. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about it.” He licked my neck, making my stomach roll.
When he pulled away, my eyes locked on the man’s across the room, the man who had been in my shop all day. Something flashed in his eyes, but he turned his face away from me before I could catch it.
“We have a busy day ahead of us,” Thad said.
I looked around, trying to plan my escape.
I realize I’m being shaken. My eyes focus in on Kai’s face above me, and I quickly scoot back in the bed, hitting my head on the headboard in the process.
“Careful,” he complains as I rub the top of my head.
“Don’t apologize.” He looks away from me to the view outside. “Do you want to talk about what happened?”
I shake my head and then realize he’s still looking out the window. “No.” I lean my head back and close my eyes. “I’m sorry about telling the detective we were dating. He caught me off guard and I was already flustered, and honestly, I had no idea what to say. We probably should have talked about that. I mean, I don’t even know if you have a girlfriend.” My eyes fly open and connect with his, and I can see laugh lines around his eyes and a smile on his lips. “Do you have a girlfriend?” I hiss, watching as his smile gets bigger.
“You talk a lot,” he chuckles, shaking his head.
“Well, do you?” I growl. I never even thought about that for one moment, and something about the thought of him having a girlfriend makes me feel a different kind of nausea.
“Good.” I nod, and his smile gets bigger. “I just mean good because I would feel horrible if you were dating someone and then got married to someone else.”
“Myla, I know.” He rubs my knee, and a tingling sensation begins to fill my lower belly.
“How badly did I mess up with Nero?” I question, sitting up farther and moving away from his touch.
“You did fine. We spoke before you came in, so he understands you’re still trying to deal with what happened.”
I bite my lip while wrapping my arms around myself. Then I look out the window. “So, now what?”
“Now what?” he repeats, and my eyes travel back to him.
“Yeah. Now what do we do? You said we needed to talk to your lawyer.”
“You do nothing. I canceled the meeting with my lawyer when Nero showed up, and now, I have business to take care of. If the gods are working in my favor, we can get everything resolved and things can get back to normal,” he says softly.
I dip my head slightly in agreement, even if my normal was lost a long time ago.
I Know You
I look over my shoulder at the house behind me when I hear Kai yelling. I push my sunglasses up to the top of my head and put my Kindle down on the table next to my lounger.
“Stay here,” Aye says, taking off towards the house.
When the voices begin to get louder, I get up and head inside. I walk softly down the hall and peek around the corner, seeing the guy who let Thad into the bakery. He’s standing in the kitchen alone, his body pressed close to the wall, his head tilted back like he’s waiting for the moment to strike.
My gut twists with anxiety, but I battle it back, head down the hall, and open the bathroom door, looking for anything to use as a weapon. It’s a half-bath with a pedestal sink and a mirror; there are no drawers or cabinets. I’m about to give up and go search out somewhere else when the plunger catches my eye. I pick it up and test the weight in my hand. It’s a heavy, wooden one with a large, black, rubber end. I take it with me down the hall and wait just outside the kitchen.
The guy is no longer there, but Aye is standing next to the counter. I start to walk towards him, but the guy begins to sneak up on Aye. Without thinking, I charge at him with the plunger over my head and bring it down hard on his head. The rubber end flies off and bounces across the kitchen floor as the guy crumples to the ground.
“Wh—” Aye looks down at the guy, who is now knocked out, then looks back at me with wide eyes. “Why did you do that?” He takes the plunger stick from my hand and looks at it then back down at the guy.
“He was sneaking up on you,” I tell him, turning the guy onto his stomach then pulling his hands behind his back, using the skills I learned in a self-defense class I took, to make sure he is immobilized. “Do you have cuffs or something?” I ask, looking up at Aye from my bent position.
“We’re not cuffing Pika,” he mutters, shaking his head while looking at me like he has no idea who I am.
“This is one of the guys from the bakery,” I tell him.
His eyes flash with understanding, and Pika starts to moan, so I grab the stick from Aye’s hand and start to hit the guy again, but then it’s snatched away from me.
I turn my head towards the kitchen opening when Kai says my name. His eyes travel down my body, over the bikini I’m wearing, making goose bumps break out along my skin. When his eyes reach my toes, they widen at the sight of the guy lying at my feet.
“What’s going on?” He steps into the kitchen and over to my side.
My belly dips as his smell surrounds me. He smells like spice, coconut, and the hot sun. Every time he’s near, I have to stop myself from leaning closer.
“This is the guy who let Thad into my bakery. The one who said he left his phone,” I tell him.
His eyes go soft, and he unbuttons his shirt so he’s wearing nothing but a pair of black dress pants and his shoes. I watch as his abs flex. Then he opens the shirt and slips it around my shoulders. I pull away slightly and push my arms through the holes, holding my breath for a moment, keeping his scent in my lungs as long as I can.