With two words, she turns my world upside down.
She deserves better.
I should stay the f*ck away from her.
Instead, I get her pregnant with my baby.
I gave society the middle finger. Left my cushy job in the city and moved to the rugged mountains, where I started working for the mafia again. Life was good.
Then Harper shows up.
She stands in the middle of the rain, soaking wet and shaking like a leaf. She stares at me. As tears roll down her porcelain cheeks, she asks me to kiss her.
When I do, she melts in my arms, tempting me to devour her.
I want to rip her clothes off and get my dirty paws all over her alluring curves. Make her scream out my name as she submits to me. I"ve never wanted anyone like this.
But I don"t know what her deal is. And someone as pure as her doesn"t belong in my world. So I walk away, back to my solitude.
I don"t expect to see her again. . . until she knocks on my front door.
She has no idea what kind of danger she"s gotten herself into.
But it doesn"t matter. She"s my responsibility now"she and my baby in her womb. I"ll keep them safe from my enemies and from her haunting past.
There"s only one problem. I can"t protect her from myself.Books by Author:Nikki Chase Books
"What did you say""
"Okay, you can . . . fuck me." The way she pauses before saying a curse word is adorable.
Harper is shaking. Unfortunately for her, that"s exactly the kind of thing that turns me on.
My grip on her hair tightens as my other hand yanks her flush against me. She gasps, and I shut her up by crushing her lips with mine.
These lips . . . They"re so hot. So soft. So full.
Ever since she got here yesterday, I"ve been salivating over the prospect of taking them again, and now I am.
My hand on her back pulls on her towel, hard. I hear it fall softly on the tiled floor and pull away just enough to look down at her naked body.
Fuck, she"s an angel with the body of a succubus.
Am I in trouble"
My heels click-clack across the shiny, tiled floor toward the conference room. They sound way too loud. They echo.
It"s not every day that Mr. Robert Foster himself, the founder of the company, wants to see me"alone. And I"m terrified.
Even though the man is already wrinkled and gray, he"s no frail, old senior.
From the stories I hear through the grapevine, he runs the city. He worked his way up from a poor "delivery boy""no doubt transporting some questionable substances"into the kingpin he is today.
The hotel I work for is completely legit, of course.
Mr. Foster is cleaning up his act and is apparently letting go of his shadier businesses. Now that he"s got enough money to last generations, there"s no longer any reason to deal with something that dangerous.
I grab the handle and push the door open, then scan the oversized room.
A large, rectangular table stands in the middle of the enormous space. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels line one wall. Normally, they would allow me to see the skyscrapers outside and some tiny, little cars, too.
But today, the conference room is dark. The blinds are drawn.
It"s quiet, too. Other than the sound of my footsteps as I enter the room, I hear nothing.
No Mr. Foster.
All of a sudden, there"s a click behind me. The lights switch on all around me.
"Surprise!" a chorus of voices shout, all at once.
Out of nowhere, heads spring up from behind and under the conference table. I see grinning faces staring at me with twinkles in their eyes.
Damn it. It"s a trap.
I force a smile as my colleagues sing the all-too-familiar birthday song. Tracy from HR holds up a chocolate cake on both her hands, the candles casting a warm, flickering yellow glow onto her face.
It wouldn"t be polite to run out of the room, letting the door slam shut behind me, even though that"s exactly what my instincts tell me to do.
Melinda from Legal puts her hand on my shoulder and gently pushes me closer to the table.
"Blow out the candles," Tracy says with an excited grin as the song ends, and she puts the cake on the side of the table closest to me.
I do as they want, keeping a smile pasted on my face and looking down at the cake, letting my straight, red hair cover my face like a veil.
Tears prick my eyes, and I hope they don"t notice any outward signs of me wanting to cry. That would be a total buzzkill.
They"re being nice. I should appreciate their effort. They have no idea they"re only reminding me of the worst day of my life. The day when I lost everything.
It"s not their fault. I"ve never told them. I don"t talk about it anymore. It"s not like anyone can help me.
I blow out the candle and smile, keeping my gaze down as clicks and flashes from my colleagues" phone cameras go off. I take a deep breath and blink away my tears before I lift my gaze and flash everyone the happy smile they expect.
"Thank you so much, everyone," I say. "You didn"t have to."
Seriously. You didn"t. You"d be doing me a favor if you pretended like this was just another day.
"Aww . . . But, we had to, Harper," Melinda says. "It"s your birthday and you"re stuck at work. It"s the least we can do."
"Yeah. I"m sorry we couldn"t approve your leave today. I"m sure there are better things you could be doing than staying here in the office," Tracy adds.
I try my best to pretend it"s someone else"s birthday as Tracy, who has taken on the role of the person-in-charge for the cake, distributes paper plates with generous slices on them.
"So, twenty-four, huh"" Tracy gives me a smile. Working in HR, she knows exactly how old I am.
"Yup." I cut my slice of the cake with the side of the fork and put it in my mouth. It"s creamy and sweet, and I"m sure it"s perfectly good, but I can"t taste anything. I never have much appetite on my birthday. Not since my nineteenth, anyway.