“Get you worked up?” He laughed. “Woman, I’ve barely touched you.”
“That’s not the point.”
“You need to get your stuff together or not. Either you go naked as the day you were born or you put your damn clothes on. Personally, I don’t give a shit.” He stepped toward her, done with this conversation. “But I have the feeling the driver that I have waiting for you doesn’t want your naked ass on his seat.”
Her cheeks flushed red as he stalked to the bar. “Do you even know my name?” she said.
Oh hell’s bells.
He poured himself a drink, knowing this was going to go downhill as fast as a ball on ice.
“It’s Cindy, by the way, you asshole,” she snapped.
Tossing the drink back, he was glad to know that he had been in the ballpark of guessing her name. Finished with the drink, he faced her.
Cindy was shimming the black scrap of lace up her thighs. “Do you have any idea how many men would literally die to be in your position right now?”
“I’m sure there’s a long list of them,” he replied dryly.
Snatching her dress off the couch, she glared at him. “Oh yeah, you sound so genuine.” The material slipped over her head. “Do you even know who I am?”
“I know exactly who you are.”
“You didn’t even know my name, so I doubt that.” Grabbing her purse off the end table, she flipped blond hair over her shoulder. “But you’re going to know who I am when I’m done—”
She gasped when he moved faster than he knew she expected. He curled a hand around the nape of her neck like he had earlier. “Just because I didn’t remember your name, doesn’t mean I don’t know exactly who you are.”
“Is that so?” she whispered, lashes lowering.
“You’re a walking, breathing trust fund who’s used to getting every damn thing you ever wanted from your daddy. You don’t understand the word no and have an absolute lack of common sense when it comes to self-preservation.”
“And you’re so different?” She leaned in, wetting her lower lip. “Because it sounds like you’re discussing yourself.”
He dipped his head, holding her hooded gaze as his grip on the back of her neck tightened. “You absolutely don’t know fuck about me if you think that’s the case. There is nothing you can do to me or my family that I can’t turn back on you three times worse, so keep your pretty little threats as thoughts unfinished.”
Her hand landed on his chest as her eyes fluttered shut. “You sure about that?”
She was turned on by this.
Disgusted, he dropped his hand and let her stumble back. “You were not here. You were nowhere near this house tonight. If you give anyone the slightest indication that you were, I will ruin you.” He paused, making sure he had her attention. “And before you say whatever is on the tip of your tongue, I want you to take a moment to think about who I am and what I can do.”
Cindy had snapped her mouth shut at that point. She got it and didn’t give him an ounce of trouble after that.
Once she was safely ensconced in the car that was waiting behind the house, he joined his brothers in the main living room.
“Took long enough,” Dev said, his gaze moving over him. “And yet you somehow couldn’t find the time to put on a pair of shoes or tuck your damn shirt in?”
Lucian’s eyes narrowed as he stalked past his brother. “You do realize it’s nearly five in the fucking morning and I doubt anyone is going to be paying attention to the way I’m dressed.”
“Lucian has a point,” Gabe said from where he sat perched on the couch, playing the middle man per usual. “It’s really late—or really early. It’s not a big deal.”
Dev tilted his head to the side. “Did you check on her?”
He nodded. “She’s the same as she has been.”
Gabe tucked back a strand of hair. The ends nearly reached his shoulders. Their father hated that he kept it on the longer side, claiming it made him look like—what had he said—a ne’er-do-well? “What are we going to do if they start searching the house and they find her? Not even Troy knows about her.”
“There’s no reason for them to search the house,” Dev answered. “Just as there’s no reason for Troy to know about her. It’s bad enough—”
“What’s bad enough?” Lucian cut in, feeling a flash of anger light up his veins like a match to gasoline. “That she’s here? That she’s actually alive?”
“I was going to say it’s bad enough that we basically had to fund the new office Dr. Flores has been wanting to build for the last five years to make sure he respects the discretion that is needed in this situation.” Dev’s tone was bland. No emotion. Nothing. “And who knows how much money . . .” His gaze flicked toward the entrance a moment before there was a knock.
Dev had this preternatural ability of knowing when anyone outside the family was nearby. It was actually kind of creepy.
Lucian sat beside Gabe as Dev left the room, and lifted his hands, dragging his palms down his face. “Fuck.”
“Yep,” Gabe replied and that was all he said.
Dev was back and behind him was Detective Troy LeMere. Troy looked like he’d been in his bed, happy with his new wife, when he’d gotten the call. The tan khakis were as wrinkly as Lucian’s brain felt. The light windbreaker didn’t conceal the gun at his hip.
They’d encountered Troy one summer they were home from the boarding school they’d been shipped off to in the north. They would sneak off the property and end up at the courts a few miles down the road. That’s how they met Troy, and even though they came from backgrounds that couldn’t be any more different, a strong bond had formed.
Their friendship had annoyed their father until Troy had gone into the police academy. Then, their father was all about that connection, because he saw how he could now exploit it.
Sometimes Lucian wondered if that was why Dev still associated with Troy.
“What in the hell, guys?” Troy asked, rubbing his palm over the close-cropped dark hair. No condolences. He knew better. “The whole way over here I thought this was some kind of joke.”
“Why would we joke about something like that?” Dev asked. “At this time in the morning?”
Lucian rolled his eyes as Gabe muttered something that suspiciously sounded like “fuck me” under his breath.
Troy was used to Dev and basically ignored him. “So, he hung himself?”
“In the old study.” Dev stepped aside. “You may as well come and see for yourself. I’ll show you the way.”
Troy didn’t point out that he knew exactly where the study was, but as he passed Lucian by, he sent him a look. Lucian shook his head slightly.
Gabe sighed heavily and rose as they disappeared down the hall that led to the study. “I better go change before Dev realizes I’m still not wearing a shirt.”
He snorted. “I’m pretty sure he has realized that, but giving you shit isn’t his favorite pastime.”
“True, but I’ll do it anyway.”
Watching his brother leave the room, he leaned into the cushion and threw his arm along the back of the couch. Troy and Dev weren’t gone long. Maybe five minutes before they returned.
Dev stood in front of one of the many fireplaces never used, arms across his chest and his expression as stoic as a statue’s. Troy looked a little shaken under his dark brown skin as he sat on the arm of the nearby chair. “I’m going to have to call in the ME, but we can try to keep this a small crew.”
“I’d appreciate that,” Dev replied.
Troy eyed him a moment and then said, “Before everyone gets here and this turns into a circus, what’s the story?”
“What do you mean?” Dev frowned. “I told you already. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and saw that the light was on. I found him like that.”
“Are you seriously telling me you believe that man actually killed himself?” Troy asked, brows raised. “I know your father. That bastard would survive a nuclear bomb just to—”