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By´╝ÜFiona Davenport

Chapter 1


My eyes strayed to the doorway once again and Ma laughed, prompting me to return my attention to her.

“She’ll be back any minute, Brandon. She’s not going to run away from you.”

If she only knew...

I wasn’t really worried about her running. I was confident Carly loved me. But with every passing minute she didn’t arrive back in the room, my gut tightened, my instincts screaming that something was wrong.


My head whipped around and my heart stopped as Thomas yelled my name, racing into the room alone, his face awash with alarm.

I didn’t give him a chance to get out another word as I took off for the front doors, yelling orders to my men to find her. I heard Nic doing the same with his own and was more grateful than ever for our alliance.

Bursting out into the twilight, my head swiveled from side to side, taking in everything around me. I heard the screech of tires and caught a glimpse of a long black limousine barreling around a corner several blocks away. I felt my chest split open as I lost sight of it, positive it was carrying my heart away.

Nic called to me as a he raced towards a parked car. “I’ve got this, you find out what’ s going on. I called Breck, he’s going to hack the GPS on the limo.” I barely got in a nod of acknowledgment before he was burning rubber down the street with three more cars following behind. They would split up and take different routes, hoping to cross paths with the runaway vehicle.

Nic’s friend Brecken was a security specialist and had resources we didn’t have access to. He’d been invaluable when we’d been protecting Anna several weeks before. It gave me a tiny level of comfort to have him on our side once again.

Thomas was suddenly at my side and I spun around, fisting my hands in his dress shirt, pulling his face up to mine, which lifted him a couple of inches off of his feet.

“What the fuck happened?” I ground out, doing everything I could to tamp down the rising need to pulverize someone.

He shook his head, his eyes filled with guilt and fear, some of it directed at me, but I could tell it was mostly from concern for the woman we both loved, albeit in very different ways. “She needed to use the bathroom and I told Greg to watch out for her while I took a piss. When I came out they were both gone and Greg’s comm was off.”

“Who the fuck is Greg?” I roared, shaking Thomas violently.

“He’s one of my men. I’ve known him my whole life. I didn’t think—”

“No,” I interrupted, “you didn’t fucking think! I don’t know him. I specifically instructed you not to leave the safety of my wife with anyone who wasn’t on the list I gave you. Where is he?”

“He’s—he’s gone too,” Thomas stuttered.

I dropped him and delved my fingers into my hair, pulling the strands in an effort to keep from killing him.

“Sean won’t hurt her,” he insisted. “He’s after power and the easiest way to gain it is by marryin’ Carly.”

“She’s already fucking married!” I bellowed.

“There are ways around that.”

“Over my dead body,” I growled.

“Yeah, that’s one of the ways. The other would be an annulment.”

“He can’t annul it,” I croaked.

“He doesn’t know she isn’t a virgin. Catchin’ her before the weddin’ night...” he trailed off. “He won’t hurt her.”

It felt like someone had my heart in a grip, twisting it tighter and tighter until I couldn’t breathe. I fell to my knees. “What about when he finds out she’s pregnant? Are you still confident he won’t harm her or our child?” My voice was hoarse, betraying how broken I felt. She was everything to me. My whole life.

Thomas looked shell-shocked for a moment, then I watched as worry turned to fear, then to terror. I surged to my feet, my riot of emotions finally causing me to lose the reins of my control and my fist slammed into his face. I heard the crunch of bone as Thomas flew backward from the force of the blow.

“If we don’t find her, if he harms her in any way,” I threatened savagely, “you’ll pay for it with your life.”

He stared at me silently as he tried to stem the bleeding from his nose which was most likely broken. I was stunned at what I didn’t see in his gaze. There was no anger, no fear, only guilt and acceptance. He simply nodded and began to turn away. But, he stopped and looked back at me, “I’ll hand you the rope to hang me with.”

Blood trickled down Greg’s neck as I ran the very tip of my knife across his skin, leaving a shallow cut below his jaw, from ear to ear.