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Bound (Mastered #1)(6)

By:Lorelei James



"Then you'll fight. The goal of this class is to make your reactions instinctive. To give you a tool and a solid mind-set to deal with a physical crisis situation where you don't have time to think-you just react."

Master Black had gotten close to her again, and spoke in the deep timbre that rolled over her like warm honey. "Since you're short a partner, next week I'll show you more options."

They stared at each other, locked in an eye-fuck that was better than any sex she'd ever had.

"Sensei, if I may interrupt, you're needed in the black belt class," someone said behind him.

Master Black backed up and gave her a small bow. "Until next time, Ms. Hardwick."

She returned his bow, not as smoothly. "Thank you for the instruction, Sensei."

After class ended, some students were giving her suspicious looks. Including Molly.

"What?"

"It's just strange, the fact that Master Black took interest in you and-"

"All but made me wear a dunce's cap and sit in the corner when he wasn't beating the crap out of me in front of everyone?"

"Um, that's not how I saw it at all."

Amery was moving her boots off her purse when she felt her phone vibrating. She picked it up but didn't recognize the caller ID. "Hello?" 

"Is this Amery Hardwick?"

"Yes, who's this?"

"Officer Stickney, Denver Police. We received a call from your alarm company regarding a possible break-in. We arrived on-scene and discovered the front window is shattered. We've done a sweep of the main floor and the upstairs. Are you able to return to the property to verify if anything is missing?"

Amery's heart hammered. Someone had broken into her building? Damn, damn, damn. Her computer with all her client files was on the desk in her office, right in plain sight.

"Ma'am?"

"Sorry. Yes, I'm on my way." She jammed her feet into her boots.

Molly sidled up as Amery retrieved her keys. "What's wrong?"

"Someone vandalized my building. The cops are there. I've got to go."

"Since I rode here with you, I'm coming too."

Amery shouldered her bag, Molly close on her heels as they exited the building a lot easier than they'd gotten in.

The dojo was across the Platte River, which separated Platte Valley from Lodo-a nickname for lower downtown Denver. With one-way streets and dead-end alleys, the trip took fifteen minutes. On the drive she spoke with the alarm company and then she called an after-hours window repair company to temporarily board up the window until the new glass could be installed.

Parking was nearly impossible to find-especially with all the cop cars blocking the street. She didn't get the full impact of the damage until she stood in front of the building.

The front window wasn't just shattered; it was completely gone.

Spots danced in front of her eyes. She had to bend at the waist to keep the bile rising in her throat from exiting her mouth. Had she been robbed too? Had they done damage to Emmylou's side? What about her loft? Had that been ransacked?

Keep it together.

A cop moved toward her. "You'll have to move along-"

"I'm Amery Hardwick. This is my building."

"Need to see some ID."

Her hand shook when she removed her driver's license from her wallet and handed it over.

"Okay, ma'am, you can go in. Officer Stickney is waiting inside."

The beat cop tried to keep Molly back, but she snarled at him-very un-Molly-like-and he let her go with Amery.

She stepped over the glass to take a better look at the damage inside the building. Two officers paced in her office. She just about fell to her knees when she saw her computer on her desk intact.

Molly squeezed her hand. "I'll go check and see if anything is missing at my desk."

The African-American cop approached her while the other cop, a young Hispanic woman, talked on a phone.

"Ms. Hardwick? I'm Officer Stickney."

"Do you have any idea what happened?"

"It doesn't appear that anything was taken, so we doubt robbery was a motive. It's sad to say, but there've been random acts of vandalism like this across the Denver metro area in the last six months."

Amery slumped against the wall. "So it's just my bad luck?"




       
         
       
        
"Possibly. Or it might be some freak accident where a car spins its tires, dislodging a rock that hits the window at just the right speed and shatters it. Sounds weird, but I've seen it happen. We weren't able to find any evidence of what was used to break the window inside the store."

"Am I still supposed to check upstairs to see if anything is missing in my loft?"

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