Authors: Cristina Grenier
Tags: #bwwm interracial romance
Never before had he been caught like this. He’d never been
Even back when he was a child, and he’d been smart enough to know that if they’d gotten a hold of him it would be excellent leverage against his father, no one had ever gotten close. Between his father and Carlos and the guards they’d had, no one had ever hurt him.
And now he was in a basement belonging to the people who wanted his money. Dorian remembered Breckidge’s words about putting a bullet between his eyes from that day when he’d betrayed him. All these people really wanted was his money, but he wasn’t so stupid as to believe that they wouldn’t try to kill him as well.
Two birds with one stone and all that.
How Ben would find them now, Dorian didn’t know, but at least he could comfort himself by remembering that there would probably be a ransom note or something. They couldn’t get a single cent of his money if he was dead.
“Well, well,” said a voice and the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs alerted them to the arrival of someone else.
A single light swung from the ceiling, but it was enough so that he could see that the man who’d arrived was big and muscular, a thick mustache and beard on his face. He had curly hair and cruel eyes, and Dorian instinctively knew who he was.
“If it isn’t Ethan’s little brat.”
The accent was all England slum, and Dorian knew.
“You. You’re the one,” he said, unable to help himself.
The portly man with the gun took a step forward, but the larger man, the leader, made a motion to keep him from moving. “Let him speak,” the leader said. “I wanna hear what the little boy has to say.”
a child anymore,” Dorian snapped, making an effort to sit up, even though it was a struggle with his hands tied. Through pure stubbornness, he managed, glaring at the large man.
“True enough. You grew into a man. A man who holds all the keys to the places I wanna be.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that since your daddy dearest shuffled off before I could get what I wanted from him, I have to get it from you. And you know, it’s nothing personal, boy. You ain’t the one who messed with me and made a fool outta me. I know that. Just a problem because you inherited daddy’s money, and I want it.” He shrugged. “Soon as I get what I want, you can go on about your business with your lady friend here.”
Dorian stiffened when both men turned to leer at Andrea. “Leave her alone,” he spat. “She has nothing to do with this.”
“Well now, see, that depends on you, boy,” the leader said with a grin that showed several gold teeth. “If you do what I want, then she can stay out of it and go home when we let you go. If you wanna be difficult, well. We ain’t above using a bit of leverage, are we, Carl?”
The man with the gun was still staring. “Nope. We ain’t.”
“How much do you want?” Dorian asked in an attempt to get them back focused on him. He would never forgive himself if he got Andrea hurt because he’d been an idiot.
“Hmmm,” Carl said, scratching his chin and looking up at his boss. “What do you think, Jack?”
The boss, Jack, apparently, laughed. “Oh, now we’re talking. How much are you worth, boy? I know how much daddy was worth, but I’m sure you were a smart little brat and did the investing and all that. Tell the truth now.”
Dorian hated rattling off the numbers. He was more than his money, more than just a number, but in this moment none of that mattered. All that mattered was trying to get them out of this. “Sixty seven point three million,” he said, voice clear in the room.
Andrea’s eyes widened at him from across the room, and Dorian knew that she hadn’t known the number either. All he could hope was that she would still want to have something to do with him when this was all over.
Both goons seemed to be taken aback by that number, but it didn’t take long to see the reaction. Jack grinned and Carl started laughing, both of them clearly pleased to find out that they were going to get a good pay day out of this.
“We’ll need some time to confer, you understand?” Jack said. “See how much we need to get for pain and suffering and all that.”
Dorian made a face. “Pain and suffering?”
“Of course. A bunch of our men got shot in the line of duty. We had to mourn ‘em. And we’ve been chasing you for years now. Gotta get enough to make all that worth it.”
“Of course,” Dorian repeated, voice dry.
“We’ll be back soon. Come on, Carl.”
And for the first time since they’d been brought to this place, they were left alone. Dorian didn’t let himself get his hopes up about that. These men weren’t stupid, for all they were crass and greedy. The building was probably littered with more of them and they were probably all armed. He had no idea where they were or how to get out of the house, so it wouldn’t make much sense for them to try to escape.
He sighed and let his head thunk back against the wall he was leaning against, taking stock of the situation. They were both bound, and they’d never make it up the stairs without one of them falling and probably sustaining some head injury that would only make things worse.
His wrists and ankles were sore, and his clothes were filthy, dust and grime and dirt from the basement floor accumulating on his trousers and shirt.
“Are you seriously worried about your clothes right now?” Andrea hissed from across the small space, and Dorian made a face at her.
“Thinking about how dirty your clothes are,” she replied, but her eyes were darting around the room, clearly trying to figure something out.
“I’m sorry,” Dorian said softly. “I’m really sorry.”
Andrea looked at him, and there wasn’t any blame in her eyes. “It’s not your fault.”
“Yes. Yes, it is,” he insisted. “If I weren’t so selfish and
then we wouldn’t even be in this mess.”
“You aren’t stupid.”
“Yes, I am!” he said as loud as he dared. “I am. Why else would I have insisted that we leave the manor with no guards. I’ve seen what these people can do, and I’ve nearly been hurt by them before, and yet I still brought you out here alone. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be in this mess.”
“Dorian, it’ll be alright.”
“You don’t know that.”
Neither of them knew how this would go, and that was what was so unnerving about the whole situation. Even if he gave them the money they wanted, they could still put a bullet in both of their heads and go on about their business.
It was a grisly thought, and Dorian sighed, slumping down against the wall a bit.
Andrea tried to push herself up more where she was slumped against the wall on her side, but gave up when she started sliding down more instead of moving up. “Ben’s going to kill me when we get out of this,” she said.
Dorian shook his head. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to direct his anger at me, actually. Considering I’m the one who convinced you to leave with me.”
Andrea rolled her eyes. “Do you just think I don’t have a mind of my own?” she asked. “I could’ve said no. I could’ve called Ben or Carlos right then and there and had them talk some sense into you. I didn’t have to go with you, and let’s be honest. If you’d tried to leave on your own, I could have made it so they wouldn’t even let you off the grounds with one text message. But I didn’t. I went with you. So I’m just as much to blame as you are.”
He wanted to argue, but he could see that there was no point to it, really. Regardless of whose fault it was, they were both currently in trouble, and there was no way of knowing if they’d be rescued.
“How is this going to work?” Andrea asked. “Are they going to take you to the bank or something? To get the money?”
Dorian shook his head again. “No, more than likely, they’ll have me call in a transfer to one of their accounts. Of course that will have to wait until morning.”
“So that gives us some time,” Andrea said.
“Time to do what?”
“Plan! We can get out of this. They didn’t take our phones or anything, and maybe we can get a message out to Ben and the others.”
“Except we don’t know where we are,” Dorian pointed out.
Andrea huffed at him. “Don’t they have like. GPS in your phone or something? Some way to track you down when you’re in trouble?”
Dorian opened his mouth to tell her that no, his phone didn’t have that, when he remembered that he had something on him that
have that ability. “The panic button.” he breathed. He kept it in his pocket at all times, just in case, and even now he could feel the edges of it against his leg through his trousers. All he had to do was figure out some way to hit the button and it would send a signal to every guard’s phone with his current location.
In a soft voice he explained that to Andrea, watching her eyes light up. “How are you going to press it?” she asked. He was not in any position to get his hands even close to it, and it would take ages for her to make her way over and push it for him.
Knowing what he had to do, Dorian took a deep breath and then threw himself to the side, wincing when his shoulder cracked against the hard floor and his bound arms protested. He took a second to breathe and then rolled to the side and pushed down, wiggling a little until he felt the button sink into the base. He rolled the other way and then pushed it again just to be on the safe side and then let out a sigh.
“And now we wait, I suppose.”
“Better to wait with hope, than without it,” Andrea remarked with a shrug. “You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”
“Honestly, I don’t even know. I’m probably bruised at the very least. I’ll deal with it later.”
There wasn’t anything else to do but deal with it later.
It was about an hour later when Jack and Carl returned, this time with a woman in tow. She was pretty in a sharp way, with long blonde hair and pale colored eyes that took in the sight of him on the floor with little to no emotion.
“This lovely woman here is Sadie,” Jack said. “She’s the brain of the group.”
“Charmed, I’m sure,” Dorian said dryly. He was still lying on the ground and couldn’t care less about being polite to this woman. “You’ll be in charge of extorting my money, I presume?”
She gave him a smile at that. “Exactly. You know, I met your father once. Charming man. Always running his mouth, though, and that tends to get one in trouble.” She had a crisp accent, and Dorian could tell that she was from England as well. Her smile only grew as she leaned in a bit closer to him. “His mouth got him into trouble, and now you’re paying for it. Poor thing.”
Andrea snorted from her corner, and everyone turned to look at her. She shrank back a bit, but her eyes were still defiant.
“And who might you be, little lamb?” Sadie asked, moving from Dorian to stand closer to Andrea. “Are you his lady friend that he dragged into trouble?” She took in Andrea’s clothes with a dismissive glance. “Or perhaps the bit of rough he picked up in search of a good time.”
Dorian closed his eyes and prayed for Andrea to keep her temper until Ben arrived.
“I was going to ask you the same thing about Jack over there,” she said sweetly. “Or maybe Carl’s more your type? They make you feel pretty and smart and you help them not make idiots of themselves?”
Carl growled and took a menacing step forward, but Jack put a hand on his shoulder. “Calm down,” he said. “No one cares what she has to say. She’s not important. We’re about to be rich, remember?”
Sadie straightened up and clapped her hands. “Jack’s right. To business. Taking into account your considerable wealth, love, and how much trouble you and your people have caused my poor Jack over the years, we’re going to have to ask for half.”
“Half,” Dorian repeated.
“For starters, anyway.” And Sadie’s grin was shark-like. “Maybe a bit more if we come up with some other stuff we think we need to be paid for. That’s not going to be a problem, is it? After all, we wouldn’t want to have to hurt your pretty friend over there.”
Before Dorian could say anything, the sound of yelling and gunshots was heard from upstairs. Sadie jerked back and Jack and Carl traded glances.
“Sadie, stay down here,” Jack ordered. “Carl, you too. I’m going to see what the commotion is.”
He took the stairs at a run, leaving the other two down there with Andrea and Dorian.
“What did you do?” Carl hissed, looking like he very much wanted to hit one of them. Either that or shoot them.
“Excuse me?” Dorian asked. “You’re blaming this on me?”
“One of you did something. I knew we shouldn’t have left you down here alone.”
“I’m not sure what you think we did, considering we’re tied up and can’t exactly go anywhere,” Dorian pointed out.
“You did something!” Carl shouted, and Sadie came over to rest a hand on his shoulder.
“Relax,” she said. “It’s not like they’re going to do be able to do anything. We have enough fire power that-”
She was cut off by rapid fire gunshots and the sound of something heavy hitting the door to the basement. Both of them looked up with wide eyes and Carl shook his head.