Authors: Cristina Grenier
Tags: #bwwm interracial romance
Well, at least he was efficient. “Should we pull over?” Carlos asked.
“Yeah. Better to have this out when we’re not moving.” Breckidge looked down at Dorian. “Stay in the car until I call for you. Not gonna let one of these idiots shoot you.”
All he could do was nod helplessly. Pulling over sounded like a bad idea to him, but what did he know? He knew stock options and investment properties and how to make a proper cup of tea. Not how to stay alive in the middle of a gunfight on the road.
The car slowed to stop, and as soon as it had completely stopped moving, Breckidge was out and on the pavement, using the open door as a shield and the SUV for cover. Dorian didn’t dare poke his head up to see what was happening, listening to the sounds of Carlos calling the police and the gunshots being traded outside of the vehicle.
He had no idea how much time had passed before all went quiet outside, and he was still crouched low, waiting.
For all he knew, Breckidge had been killed and the others were advancing on the SUV, ready to kill Carlos and take him. Or kill them both, Dorian didn’t know. He supposed they couldn’t get his money if he was dead, so they’d need him alive to set up a transfer or something.
He didn’t have anyone in his life for them to use as leverage, so it would just be him.
“Are you alright, Dorian?” Carlos asked softly. He was crouched down as much as he could be in the front.
Dorian nodded. “Yeah. I’m just brilliant, really. This is so exhilarating, like a morning jog.”
Carlos chuckled and shook his head. “If you’re still able to be sarcastic, then you’re fine.”
“It’s my last line of defense,” Dorian pointed out. “Why is it so quiet out there?”
“I’m not sure. The police are on their way, though. Hopefully things will stay quiet until then.”
“Right,” Dorian replied, letting out a messy breath. “Why is this still happening. I always thought it was Father they were after more so than the money.” Which had perhaps been a very foolish thought to have.
Carlos shook his head again. “It’s all of it, sir. Your father instigated the whole thing in a way, but they aren’t going to rest until they have his money. Or they’re dead. One way or the other. What I would be very interested to know is how they knew where you would be. It was a snap decision to go see Barney this morning.”
That was a good point. Dorian had called Barney at eight that morning to see if he had time for a meeting, and they’d left less than an hour later to go to his office. “Do you think Barney’s involved?” There was a horrifying thought. Ethan had always said that if you couldn’t trust the person handling your money, then you were in trouble indeed. Considering Dorian very much already
he was in trouble, with the people shooting at his vehicle, he didn’t need
trouble to be added to the list. And he really didn’t want to have to find a new accountant.
“I don’t think so,” Carlos was saying, though. “There’s nothing in it for him to betray you, really, and he was a friend of your father’s. He was checked out extensively before he was hired.”
“Yes, and so was anyone else who had information about where I’d be today,” Dorian said, a sinking feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. He was going to end up throwing up before all of this was over, he just knew it.
Carlos swore. “You’re right. God above, this is going to be a mess.”
Before Dorian could point out that this was
a mess, something hit the back of the SUV, making him hold his breath. If Breckidge was dead and their assailants were coming for him, there was very little he could do to protect himself.
He sighed with relief. The voice belonged to his guard, so maybe he wasn’t about to be killed.
“Yes, I’m here,” Dorian replied, putting his head up and wincing when his knees protested how long he’d been crouched down there.
“I need you to come out here,” the guard said. “See if you recognize any of these people.”
The thought of looking at dead bodies was massively unappealing, and he seriously hoped he wouldn’t recognize any of them. With a groan he moved until he was sitting in his seat again, and then slid out of the vehicle, stretching and moving around the door and into the open.
They were on the side of one of those roads that maybe saw two cars an hour on a busy day. It was mostly quiet, and he could see the green Honda a few paces back, doors open. A body was slumped on the ground in front of it, and Dorian didn’t need to get closer to see that the person was dead.
He swallowed hard and looked around for Breckidge, who seemed to have disappeared in the moment.
A hand reached out to touch his back, and Dorian jumped, spinning around to see the burly guard standing there, gun in hand.
“I’m fairly certain I don’t pay you to scare the wits out of me,” he snapped, letting his fear run his mouth for a moment. “Good grief.”
“Then maybe it’s time for a raise,” Breckidge said, a grin splitting his face.
Dorian was pretty sure he’d never seen the man smile before, and it was disconcerting. “Haha,” he said. “You get paid plenty already. Can we get on with this? Believe it or not, I’m not thrilled about being out here in the middle of who knows where, and I’d like to get home sometime before the second coming.”
The grin on the guard’s face twisted into something ugly then, and Dorian frowned. It took him a minute to realize what was going on. Well. It actually took him until Breckidge raised the gun and pointed it at his head to realize what was going on.
“You’re not as clever as they like to pretend you are, Kingston,” Breckidge said. “Coming out here with only one guard? Not even knowing his name? Not good business.”
“We ran background checks, though. How did we miss the fact that you’re a traitor?”
He shrugged. “You’re not the only smart one, Kingston. And it helps that I didn’t start working for these people until after I started working for you. There was nothing for your checks to find.”
Dorian was used to loyalty. He knew that any of his father’s guards would have jumped in front of a bullet to save him without a second thought, and here he was, staring down the barrel of a gun wielded by someone who he had trusted with his safety. With his
“What do you want?” he asked, trying to keep his voice from shaking. This was the closest he’d ever come to danger like this. Never had he had a gun pointed at his face, but he knew he was going to have to use his brain if he wanted to get out of this. Carlos was still in the car, maybe he’d realize something was wrong and come help him.
“Money, obviously.” Breckidge said. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Those idiots,” he jerked his head in the direction of the Honda. “Weren’t supposed to make a move on the car so soon. They were supposed to let us get back to the house first.”
“What good would that have done? My entire security detail is at the house.”
“Yeah, but how many of them do you think you can trust?” Breckidge asked, showing teeth. “And anyway, I had it all planned out. I was gonna take charge of your ‘safety’ and then smuggle you out to the car so the rest of them could take you.”
Anger welled hot and thick in Dorian’s throat. It was a good plan, he had to admit. No one would have thought twice about Breckidge taking him somewhere for his safety. Even
wouldn’t have been able to argue about that. Bless the rest of them for being idiots, then.
Anger was good, though. Anger was more productive than fear. It cleared his head of the thoughts of how much he didn’t want to die and how worried he was, and let him think. All he had to do was hold onto that feeling and he could get through this without going to pieces. That was what they wanted, after all. They wanted him scared and vulnerable, and he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction, no matter how true it was of his current emotional state.
“You’re not going to shoot me,” he said, pitching his voice loud enough that Carlos would probably hear it. “If you want my money, you’ll need me alive.”
“I’m not an idiot,” Breckidge said. “I know that. I’m coming up with a new plan.”
“Do try not to hurt yourself with over thinking,” Dorian remarked, making his voice sound bored and disdainful. He needed to hide his fear. The police were on the way. If he could just keep things going until someone intervened then he would be fine. In theory. There was only one Breckidge, after all.
Now the guard looked angry, and he took a step closer to Dorian, gun still raised. “You think you’re so clever. Always thinking you’re better than the rest of us. You just wait. As soon as we have the money, I’m gonna put a bullet between your
, Kingston. Right in that brain of yours. Just wait.”
“Mm, well, you’ll excuse me if I’m not very afraid of empty threats.”
But whatever he had been about to say was cut off by the single ringing shot of a gun and the bullet that slammed into his side. He was down in seconds, bleeding out on the pavement, and Dorian had to fight the urge to collapse himself.
He looked up and saw Carlos standing there with a mild expression on his face, gun held in his hand.
“Apologies for the wait, sir,” Carlos said.
“No need to apologize. I’m just glad you came.”
“I realized rather quickly that no real bodyguard would have you out in the open that long. Plus I could hear snatches of the conversation.”
“Well, thank goodness for that,” Dorian murmured. All he wanted was to go home and sleep for a week, but the wailing of sirens in the distance was a pretty good indicator that the police had arrived, and Dorian had been through the aftermath of this enough times to know that it was going to be a good long while before he got to relax.
He sighed and leaned back against the SUV, pushing fingers into his hair.
“Sir… Dorian,” Carlos began, and Dorian held up a hand.
“I know. I remember how this goes.”
“Very good. I’ll call ahead and make sure that Anita has something ready for you to eat when we get back home.”
“Thanks, Carlos,” Dorian said with a sigh. “And thanks for…” he motioned to Breckidge’s body. He didn’t know if the man was dead or alive, and at this point, he didn’t much care either way.
“Of course, sir. I may only be your driver, but I am tasked with keeping you safe the same as anyone else in your employ is, and beyond that, losing you would be more than a professional loss.”
It was as much of an affectionate statement as Dorian was likely to get out of the stoic man, but Dorian knew what he meant. He offered him a small smile as the flashing lights of the police cars and the shrill whine of sirens cut into the peaceful moment and heralded the end of Dorian’s reprieve.
Now it was time to straighten up and pull his wits about him so he could recount what had happened over and over again. There were bodies everywhere, which looked bad, especially since Carlos had shot one of them, but Dorian already knew that the local police were familiar with his story and his family.
There wouldn’t be any legal trouble, just headache after headache. And when he got home, there would be the tedious task of firing his entire security team.
He wasn’t going to be able to leave the manor for a good long time, at this rate.
Chapter 2: Breaking Point
“If you don’t like it, you can get outta my house!”
The shout was so loud that it shook the trinkets on the shelves and rattled the windows of the small house. In the middle of the living room, Andrea Samuel stood, hands clenched into fists at her side, face red with anger. Her teeth were gritted together so tightly that she could hear the groan of her jaw, but she knew that if she opened her mouth, she was going to say something she’d regret.
Instead she let out a slow breath and sidestepped the broken bottle in the middle of the floor. Apparently, trying to get her mother to stop drinking vodka from the bottle in the middle of the day was acceptable grounds for her mother to throw the bottle at her.
Luckily Andrea’s reflexes were sharp, and she’d managed to jump back before the bottle could hit her, instead watching as it shattered on the floor, the remnants of the liquor splashing on her bare feet.
Her mother stood near the couch, breathing like a winded animal. Her nostrils were flared, and there was a wildness to her eyes, that Andrea didn’t like.
The drinking was old news, as was the yelling, but the throwing things was new, and if her mother was going to add physical abuse to go with the verbal and emotional varieties she inflicted on her regularly, then she wasn’t going to stick around for it.
The house was in her mother’s name only, anyway. The bills and mortgage might have come to Leandra Samuel, but Andrea was the one who made sure they got paid. She was the one working two jobs just to make sure that they had enough money to cover everything each month, and to be quite honest, she was tired of it.
She forced herself not to flinch as she walked past her mother, heading down the dark hallway to her bedroom. As she moved around, shoving clothes and her laptop into a bag, she heard Leandra muttering to herself and heading into the kitchen.