Authors: Lauren Hammond
Copyright © Lauren Hammond
No part of this novel may be reproduced, copied, recorded or used by any means without written permission from the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the authors imagination or used fictitiously. They are not to be misconstrued as real. Any resemblances to any persons, either living or dead, or locales and events, are completely coincidental.
More than anything, I just want to thank my fans and readership. Thank you a million times over. I can’t fully express how much I appreciate your support, loyalty, and patience.
Teagan Reilly was a mouthy little bitch.
“Do you know how much trouble you’re gonna be in?” Connie made sure Aidan duct taped her to a chair so that she wouldn’t be able to escape. “Do you know what my brother is going to do when he finds out what you’re gonna do to me? He’s gonna cut your—”
Connie shut her up with a palm across her jaw. He half expected her to cry, but when he saw her lift her head, blood trailing down her smooth ivory skin from her pink lips, a mixture of hatred and rage flashing in her eyes, he knew she wouldn’t shed a single tear. She was strong like her mother was.
And had her temper too.
She squirmed beneath her restraints, moving the chair she was tied to and let out a scream loud enough to shake the whole building. She panted, and continued squirming, but she was starting to wear herself out. Connie nodded at Aidan who stood in the doorway. Aidan then with a furrowed brow came over and placed a piece of silvery duct tape over her mouth. He turned on his heel, shook his head, and gave Teagan one last tortured glance before making his exit.
Connie closed his eyes, let out a calming breath, straightened out the lapels of his suit jacket, and took a seat on the edge of his desk. He glared at Teagan and his lips quirked in a wicked grin. Picking up a tiny flat circular object, he held it an inch away from Teagan’s face. “Do you know what this is?”
Teagan grunted and shook her head. He picked up his cell phone and took the back off. He demonstrated how to insert the object into the back of the phone. “It’s a phone tap,” he informed her. “Aidan planted one in your phone so that we were able to monitor your phone calls.” Teagan trembled violently, not out of fear, but out of rage. “We found some very incriminating things, Teagan. Very incriminating.” Connie stood and walked around the back side of his desk. He sat down, hands behind his head, and leaned back in his chair. “I think you know that I can’t stand a rat.”
“I’m not the rat!” Teagan screamed, her voice muffled from the tape over her mouth. “I’m not the rat!”
“Your phone conversations say otherwise.” Connie closed his eyes and sighed in frustration. “Teagan, Teagan, Teagan,” he tsked. “You can argue this all you want, but it’s not going to make much of a difference. Let me ask you this, who is Emerson?”
Teagan’s jaw clenched and she lowered her head.
“Oh,” Connie’s eyes widened. “Silent now, aren’t we?”
Teagan’s eyes cut into him flashing pure and utter hatred. She started wiggling again, trying desperately to free herself.
Connie let out a deep, booming laugh. “There’s no use in wearing yourself out, Teagan.” He lowered his voice. “You’re not going anywhere.”
And shrieked louder.
She continued shrieking.
Even though her voice was muffled it was starting to get on Connie’s nerves. “Enough of this shit,” he grumbled under his breath. He stood, strolled over to Teagan, whipped his gun out from the inside of his suit jacket, flipped it around, and whacked her on the side of the head with the butt of it, hard. Teagan’s head slumped forward and Connie nudged her.
She was out, cold.
Tucking his gun back into the inner pocket of his suit, he sat back down at his desk. He leaned his chair back, and propped his feet on the top of his desk before crossing them. He didn’t doubt what Teagan said earlier about her brother coming for her. Connie knew he would before she even said anything. The truth was her threats involving her brother doing anything were mild. Connie knew just how violent Sean could be when he wanted to be. Especially when people he cared about were involved. And he intended to use that to his advantage.
“Big boy!” Connie shouted.
Seconds later, Murphy O’ Fallon hustled through the door and his eyes immediately centered on Teagan, widening. “Holy shit!” He glanced back at Connie. “Is that Teagan?”
Connie gave him a slight nod then said, “Call together a meeting of the brotherhood. Tell them we’ve found our rat.”
Murphy’s mouth dropped open, but he closed it quickly. He hesitated, glancing in between Teagan and Connie. His hesitation irritated Connie. “Did I stutter, boy?”
“No, Connie.” And just like he entered, Murphy O’Fallon hustled through the door, the sound of change jingling in his pockets as he made his exit.
You see, Connie knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that the big guy was Sean’s best friend. In a way this was also a test of Murphy’s loyalty to Connie and the brotherhood. He had this gut feeling that the guy would fail, being that he and Sean had been friends for decades, but then again the kingpin had seen stranger things happen. Like people turning against their own just to save their own ass. Cowards. Connie was the type that would rather go down guns hot than rat someone out.
Teagan stirred in her restraints as she slowly regained consciousness. Connie kept his eyes on her. In a way, Teagan reminded him of Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. But unlike the Trojans, Connie was prepared for the battle he knew Sean would bring when he saw that he had his kid sister, and when he found out what his intentions were for her. But Connie was the ultimate strategist. He wouldn’t let any wooden horses sneak past his gates. Yes, Connie loved a good battle. Especially this one.
Because it was one he was certain that he would win.
Teagan Reilly wore the blackness surrounding her like a cloak of uncertainty and fear. She squinted into the distance, hoping that she would be able to make out her surroundings. It was no use. Wherever she was, wherever Connie had taken her, that bastard made damn sure she wouldn’t be able to see anything.
The entire room was draped in a curtain of black.
When she first arrived she fought against the restraints. Her legs and arms were bound to the chain she was duct taped to, but it didn’t matter how much she fought, she couldn’t break free.
She tried screaming. She even tried rocking back and forth, but then decided against it, stopping after a few rocks.
She kept thinking about what if she fell over. What if she hit her head? Who would help her? Would she be left in this black hole to die?
Good old Uncle Connie.
When his name and the thought of him crossed her mind, she thought about screaming. Better yet, she thought that if her hands were free she’d even consider stabbing herself in the temple. Maybe with a brain injury she’d forget him. Forget his name. Forget his face. Forget that for almost her entire life that she and Sean considered him to be family.
Their only family.
Teagan hung her head down and sucked in a deep breath. The she held in that breath with forehead bunched together. She could feel her eyes watering. She could feel the sob lodged in her throat.
She fought the biggest internal struggle of her to life to keep the tears from falling, but she lost the battle when one, tiny intricate tear dripped down her right cheek.
That one tear that slipped away turned into a downpour of tears.
The simple fact of it all was that she was so frustrated and angry. She couldn’t decide what pissed her off more, that Connie accused her of being the rat, or that a man she had loved all her life was the one to betray her.
It wasn’t until she realized that all of the crying was for nothing. That her tears were wasted crying over a shell of a man. She swallowed hard and maintained the mind-frame that she would make it out of this situation alive.
It’s only a matter of time until Sean or Emerson finds me, she thought.
Because deep down inside she knew that when Sean or her husband found out what happened to her the only thing Connor Doyle would be able to do….
Is pray for mercy.
Hadlee looks so fucking sexy when she’s flustered.
A hint of pink takes up residence in her pale cheeks.
The lip chewing and mumbling commences.
I don’t know why seeing her like this turns me on, but it always does.
Standing in the kitchen, I cross my arms and watch fumble through the fridge in search of the milk. Whenever she’s thinking too much or can’t sleep she drinks a glass of milk. “I can’t explain why, but some reason it always calms me down,” she’ll tell me.
“Shit,” she huffs as a bottle of ranch dressing falls from the middle shelf and rolls on to the floor. I continue watching with a mischievous smirk as she bends of over and her light pink night gown hikes up a little just below her butt. She reaches for the ranch, grabs the bottle by the neck, but it slips from her grasp and thuds on the floor again.
Hey, I never said my girl was the most coordinated person. That really doesn’t matter anyway. I didn’t fall in love with her because she could dribble a basketball like Scotty Pippen.
I’ve been with more women than I count on my fingers and toes. I’ve been with supermodels, beauty queens, women with killer bodies, and women who know their way around the bedroom (if you know what I mean). And to me none of them have ever had the effect on me that Hadlee has. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to explain why.
Hadlee sets the ranch back in the fridge pulls the milk out and sets it on the counter. The light from the dome light fixture in the center of the ceiling bounces off the stainless steel and I wonder if Hadlee will notice from my reflection that I’m standing right behind her.
I take that as my cue.
Right when she opens the cupboard door and has her hands on the rounder glass, I swoop up behind her, placing my nose into her hair and my hand over top of hers. “You need some help with that?” There’s a playful tone in my voice and a wide grin on my lips.
At first she freezes and given everything she’s been through with being attacked from behind, I know that I shouldn’t use this approach, but she’s been staying with me for a couple months now. I know she’s used to it. After a minute her shoulders relax and she mumbles, “You ass.” I laugh into her hair and take a step back. The first couple times I did this, she elbowed me in the gut. It didn’t really hurt, but there were a few times where that elbow got dangerously close to my nuts. I love her, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to let her damage my prized jewels.
I remove my hand from hers and she sets the glass on the black counter top. “What is it with you?” There’s frustration in her voice. “Why do you always, always do that?”
“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little surprise, baby. Especially if it’s a good one,” I comment.
“Yeah, but you know I don’t like it when you sneak up on me like that.” She tosses me a sneer from over her shoulder and I hold back the soft laugh stuck in my throat.
For a minute I just stare at her.
I stare hard.
Swept in a daze of her plain beauty.
Lost in the glint of anger in her pale blue eyes.
Lifting my right hand, I caress her cheek with my fingers. I love the way her skin feels like satin against mine .I love how when I twirl my fingers through her unkept hair, it feel smooth and silky. She’s still staring at me, but the sneer has dropped from her face. She shakes her head slightly with an ‘I know what you want’ look on her face’.
And that’s when I say, “Enough talking,” and press my lips against hers.
Sean’s lips brush against the back of my neck and I suck in a deep breath as tremors of want travel down my arms and legs.
My stomach flutters, a field full of Monarchs flapping their wings.
Hot breath falls against my lower earlobe and I choke on a moan lodged between my tonsils and tongue. Sean lets out a raspy chuckle, followed by, “Somebody missed me.”
He has no idea how I ache for his touch when he’s not around.
He can’t even fathom the feeling of how my heart hangs heavy, pulling, weighing me down like an anchor drifting to the bottom of the ocean floor the second I feel the mattress dip down when he gets out of bed at night.