Annabelle Wright sipped champagne and glanced at her best friend as she prepared for the “big day,” a deep sense of déjà vu settling over her. “Haven’t we done this before?”
At the last wedding Kinley Kohl had planned, she’d been kidnapped and whisked away to Alaska by three super-hot men. Luckily, they’d saved Kinley from her asshole of a fiancé who, it turned out, made his money by fencing blood diamonds and running other profitable scams while giving the FBI the finger. He also hadn’t minded a little murder just for fun. The trio of guys who had taken Kinley before her nuptials had eventually made her their own, so being abducted had worked out well for her.
Kinley grinned as she fluffed out the veil she’d selected. “Oh, we’ve been here before. Hopefully, this wedding won’t have the same drama as the last. Just in case, I tried to convince Dominic we needed extra security but he gave me that stare. You know, the Dom Dom stare.”
Belle couldn’t help but laugh. Dominic Anthony was part owner of Anthony Anders, one of the top security firms in the country. He was also a Dom in the D/s community. And yes, she’d seen that particular glare, the one meant to convey that Kinley better do what the Dom wanted—and quickly. Belle frequently glimpsed a very similar expression from Kellan Kent. When he turned his blue eyes on her, she ached to fall to her knees and fulfill his every demand. Unfortunately, that stare of Kellan’s usually wasn’t directed at her. “I think we’re safe this time.”
“Probably so,” Kinley
agreed with a peaceful sigh. “Everyone who hates me is enjoying a nice long stay in prison. I heard Becks got shanked. She still managed to live though. Oh, well, maybe next time.”
Nearly being killed by her former fiancé and her sister had made Kinley a bit bloodthirsty. Belle couldn’t blame her. She’d wanted their blood and misery, too, after she’d learned just how close they’d come to ending her best friend. Months later, the thought still made her shiver. But before the happy ending, Belle’s first instinct had been to rush to Kinley’s side and help in any way she could. Kellan had forbidden her.
You’re not going anywhere, Belle. If you try, I’ll tie you up and spank your ass so hard you’ll never forget the feel of my hand on your skin. Eric, Tate, and I will handle this.
Even months later, his edict didn’t make sense. Unlike Eric and Tate, Kell almost never took her to lunch or showed more than a passing interest in her.
When she’d asked why she couldn’t help save her best friend from three abductors, he had frowned and turned away, heading for his computer. Because I won’t have you hurt, Belle. I’ll protect you. Even from myself.
She’d only thought she heard the last part since it had been muttered under his breath, but that moment had been a turning point. While Kellan thought that threatening her with a spanking was the worst thing he could do, Belle had been forced to face the truth: she didn’t want to spend her whole life not knowing what it felt like to have Kellan’s hands on her. Or Eric’s. Or Tate’s. But now it seemed like she would.
She forced the maudlin thoughts aside.
“Dallas has been good to you.” A bit of sorrow crept into her voice. Since Kinley had moved in with Dominic and the Anders brothers, Law and Riley, she hadn’t had a ton of time for her bestie. And now Kinley was pregnant. Though she wasn’t showing yet, Belle knew Kinley would soon be engrossed in all things baby. It didn’t help that she lived in Chicago and her position as Girl Friday at Baxter, Cohen, and Kent consumed all her time. Lately, she’d been thinking about changing that. She couldn’t imagine not being around for Kinley’s child.
Belle had simply thought she’d have one of her own by now. Or at least be planning to start her own family. But she wasn’t even close.
“I miss you,” Kinley said, pulling her in for a hug.
“I miss you, too,” Belle admitted, teary-eyed. She really couldn’t remember a time Kinley hadn’t been her best friend. Even when they had attended different colleges and began their careers a few hundred miles apart, they’d always had each other. Now everything between them was…different. “I’m getting tired of missing you. Maybe I should move closer.”
Kinley pulled back with a shake of her blond hair, her brows forming a concerned V. “Away from Chicago? Away from your men?”
Belle took another long sip of her cocktail and forced herself to swallow the bitter truth. “They aren’t mine, Kinley. They never will be.”