Authors: Carole Mortimer
Gabriel wanted to ask what the fuck she meant by that, when she had walked out of his life eight years ago, denying him his son as well as her. But now wasn’t the time for contention—
contention—between them. Right now, he needed to decide how he was going to get Daniel and Lena back. The past, and the details of how they were going to deal with sharing Daniel in future, could be worked out once this was over.
“He does,” he confirmed abruptly, Daniel’s image now firmly etched into his brain. “Which means he and Sinclair together are going to stand out, be memorable, to anyone seeing the two of them together.” A blond-haired, blue-eyed man with a dark-haired, green-eyed son. “It’s a start.” He nodded.
“You’re going to help me?” Angel looked at Gabriel hopefully.
“I’m going to get Daniel and Lena back, yes.”
That wasn’t exactly what Angel had asked. But she would take what Gabriel offered. Would take whatever Gabriel chose to dish out, give him whatever he wanted, if he would only bring her son back to her.
“You have a seven-year-old son?” Gabriel’s brother Asher raised dark brows. “How did that happen?”
“The same way it usually happens, A slots into B, bodily fluids are exchanged, a child is born nine months later,” Gabriel said impatiently.
He’d had two of his men placed outside his apartment building and then called a family meeting at his penthouse apartment with all three of his brothers and his brother-in-law, Jonas. The building was under surveillance 24/7 by Knight Security anyway, but the added security of the men outside couldn’t do any harm.
They had picked up some of Angel’s and Daniel’s clothes on the way here. He had also ensured Angel had eaten some of the takeaway food he had bought. From the looks of her, Angel hadn’t eaten properly in days. After their meal, Angel excused herself and went to lie down in the spare bedroom he had told her she could use.
Angel hadn’t wanted to come here with him at all, until Gabriel pointed out how vulnerable she was, staying completely alone in a rented apartment. If Sinclair had known Daniel’s movements, allowing him to abduct the little boy on his way home from school, then chances were the billionaire was also having Angel watched.
Angel had gone to lie down an hour or so ago, leaving him alone in the sitting room to wait for his brothers to arrive.
And think of his son.
He had only known of Daniel’s existence for a matter of hours, and yet that knowledge had already changed him. Gabriel felt fiercely protective toward the little boy. And a wrathful anger toward the man who had taken him.
Which was the reason Gabriel had called this family meeting. He and his brothers would need to work together if they were going to get Daniel and Lena safely away from Sinclair.
“How come none of us ever knew about this woman Angel until today?” Ethan prompted curiously.
Gabriel stood, too restless to remain seated any longer. “Possibly because it was none of your fucking business,” he snarled.
That wasn’t the whole story, of course. He had known Angel for only five weeks before he was called away. Five intense weeks. First their initial meeting. Then another three weeks of returning to the club night after night, searching for her so he could be with her again. Followed by two weeks of intense lovemaking once he had found her. Two weeks when Gabriel hadn’t wanted to share any part of her with anyone, not even her name. He had been frightened of breaking the spell, of losing her.
In the end, he had lost her anyway. And, as a consequence, also his son.
Ethan held his hands up in surrender. “I only asked.”
“And I only answered you,” he said. “I don’t ask about your personal life. Don’t ask about mine.”
“I’m only… You’re always so much in control. So reasoned. I’m just surprised— Never mind,” Ethan muttered as Gabriel scowled.
“You’re surprised there’s a baby,” he guessed. “Well, welcome to the fucking club, because so am I.”
Eight years ago, the passion between himself and Angel had been red-hot. Off the charts. Out of control. Even his own legendary one. He’d tried to be responsible, to always use birth control, but he knew he had slipped up a time or two. Not surprising: Angel had driven him out of his mind with lust, and all he had wanted was to be constantly inside her. Part of her. Possessing her.
He shook his head to clear it of those memories. “What’s important right now is that we locate Clive Sinclair, find where he’s keeping my son, and bring Daniel and his nanny home.” He had already explained that situation to his brothers and Jonas. “If any of you would rather not be involved, then say so now—”
“Stop being so fucking defensive, Gabe,” Asher snapped.
“Of course we’re all involved,” Jonas said softly. “Daniel is family.” As a new father himself to a beautiful baby girl, Jonas could perhaps relate the most to how Gabriel felt right now in regard to Daniel.
Asher nodded. “As Ethan said, we’re just a little surprised is all.”
“Then I advise you get over it and move on,” Gabriel rasped. “Because I don’t intend for Sinclair to have my son any longer than absolutely necessary.”
“Will he do anything to hurt Daniel?” This came from Caleb.
As Gabriel might have expected. As Caleb had been a prisoner himself, beaten and tortured, Daniel’s welfare would be his first consideration. Caleb and Ethan were twins, but not identical, and they were also completely different in temperament, Ethan was laid-back whereas Caleb was intense. Even more so since Afghanistan.
Gabriel shook his head. “Angel doesn’t think so. Apparently, Sinclair thinks of the boy as his heir,” he added bleakly. He was relieved to know Sinclair wouldn’t harm Daniel, but at the same time, he felt jealous of Sinclair’s relationship with the little boy. Daniel was
son, damn it.
“Okay,” Asher accepted briskly. “We need to come up with a strategy to locate Sinclair before we take the next step.”
The next step, Gabriel knew, would be to effect a rescue.
“What about the nanny?” Again it was Caleb who asked the question. “No one gets left behind,” he reminded them darkly.
“We’ll find her too,” Gabriel assured him. “And once we know they’re both safe, I’m going after Sinclair. Alone.”
“I don’t fucking think so!”
“I think we all know that isn’t going to happen.”
He gave a hard smile at their protests, having expected that reaction.
Their parents had died fourteen years ago, when all the brothers were in their early to mid-twenties, and their sister, Lily, still a teenager. It had made them closer, a unit that looked out for each other. Hell, the brothers even worked together now. Gabriel might head the company, but all four of them were involved in the running of Knight Security. Even Jonas, Lily’s husband, was a consultant to the company and was often called in to assist them. Bringing him in on Daniel’s abduction was a foregone conclusion. Lily would never forgive Gabriel if he didn’t involve the two of them. Although he had a feeling she was going to insist on a full explanation from him tomorrow after Jonas told her what today’s meeting had been about.
He nodded. “We’ll all go after him. But if it comes to it, I make the kill.”
“Agreed.” Asher spoke for all of them.
“I didn’t like to interrupt…”
Angel had heard the murmur of male voices out in the sitting room of Gabriel’s apartment, but he had made it perfectly clear earlier it was a plan-of-action meeting with his brothers, one to which she wasn’t invited. Not that his unwillingness to have her there would have made a lot of difference to her. If she had wanted to be there, then she would have.
But the trauma of the morning, telling Gabriel he had a son, along with the strain of Daniel’s abduction, had already drained her. She wasn’t sure she was up to meeting any more of Gabriel’s brothers after that brief encounter with Caleb earlier today.
There was something a little…off about Caleb. A fierceness in his green gaze and a tension radiating from his body that spoke of an intensity that wasn’t quite within normal bounds. God knows Gabriel was focused, but she had sensed something feral inside Caleb that took the intensity to a whole new level.
She suspected Gabriel’s other two brothers would be equally alarming, and she simply wasn’t up to facing the curiosity they no doubt felt regarding the fact she and Gabriel had a son.
And so she had stayed in the bedroom Gabriel had said she could use for the duration of her stay here, while the men talked. Cowardly, perhaps, but one Gabriel was more than enough to contend with. Four Knight brothers together was unimaginable. She had heard the men leaving a few minutes ago, though, so decided it was probably safe to come out now.
Her breath caught in her throat as she took in Gabriel’s change in appearance. He was no longer wearing that perfectly tailored business suit and formal shirt, but now wore a tight black T-shirt that clearly showed the musculature of his upper body and arms, along with fitted and faded jeans resting low on his lean hips. His dark hair was also tousled, as if he had been running agitated fingers through it.
Gabriel turned from pouring himself a scotch at the sound of Angel’s voice, drawing in a sharp breath as he looked at her, the ice clinking against the side of the glass as his hand shook slightly.
Earlier today, Angel had looked every inch the cool and sophisticated wife of a powerful, rich man. She had now changed into a casual T-shirt and fitted black jeans, and looked more like the Angel he had once known. Except for the expertly styled and shorter hair…
“I preferred your hair longer.” He spoke gruffly, watching her over the rim of his glass as he took a sip of the scotch.
She shifted uncomfortably under the intensity of his gaze. “This style is more suited to the fact I’m twenty-eight and a mother, not twenty and single.”
Gabriel’s preference for Angel’s hair being longer had nothing to do with her age and everything to do with the fact that once, long ago, he had liked to grab those long blonde tresses and wrap them about his fingers, holding her captive as he kissed and laid claim to her mouth.
“Who told you that? Sinclair?” he taunted. “Was he a satisfying lover, Angel?” he rasped challengingly. “Did you go wild in his arms in the same way you always went wild in mine?”
Color bloomed in her cheeks. “This isn’t an appropriate conversation—”
“You’re in my apartment, under my protection. As such, I’ll decide what is or isn’t an
” Gabriel slammed the glass down on the drinks tray, slopping some of the whisky over the side of the glass, before crossing the room to her side.
He knew how his six feet five inches in height loomed over her more diminutive form, possibly even threateningly, but for the moment, he didn’t give a damn. He had just had one of the most uncomfortable conversations of his life with his three brothers and brother-in-law, and he wasn’t feeling particularly charitable. Even so, he would never hurt a hair on Angel’s head, long or short. How could he. This was
“How the hell did you end up married to Clive Sinclair in the first place?” he bit out.
“My father was a director in Clive’s airline. The two of them were friends.” Her gaze couldn’t quite meet his. “He kept a protective paternal eye on me after my father died.”
“Obviously it wasn’t just his eye he wanted to keep on you.”
Color appeared in her cheeks. “If you’re expecting me to say our marriage was platonic, then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.”
Gabriel had never expected that to be the case. No man could be married to Angel and keep that marriage platonic. “Did he touch you the way I did?” he taunted. “Did he caress and kiss you in the same way? Intimately explore and know every inch of your body in the way I did? Did he make you scream when he fucked you, when he thrust into you? Make you scream even louder when you came? Not just once but each and every time?” He grabbed her by the tops of her arms, fingers biting into her bare flesh. “Answer me, damn it!”
“No! Yes! No…” The last came out as a sob. “No,” she choked out emotionally as she all but fell against him. “I know you’re angry, Gabriel, and you have every right to be,” she accepted as he snarled. “But don’t be like this with me. Please!”
“How do you want me to behave?” He spoke into the softness of her perfumed hair as he pulled her in his arms. “What do you want, Angel? Tell me.”
“I…I don’t know…”
“Do you want me to take you to bed? Strip you naked and make you mine again? Take you totally, in all the ways I did before, so that there isn’t an inch of you I haven’t claimed as mine? Do you want that, Angel? Do you want me to show you exactly who it is you belong to? Who you will always belong to, no matter how many other lovers you take?”
Did Angel want that?
To know that Gabriel still wanted her was… She hadn’t expected that. Had thought… She didn’t know what she had thought. Nothing, probably, beyond getting Daniel and Lena back.
Gabriel had looked at her so coldly in his office earlier today, almost as if she were a stranger, someone he didn’t know. To now hear him talking to her so fiercely, so possessively, filled her with a longing she had buried long ago because it hurt too much to be without him. To think she might have that again, even if only for tonight, was a thrill in itself.