Authors: Katie Reus
Love thy Enemy
Red Stone Security Series
She refuses to trust him.
Red Stone Security employee Dominique Castle knows all too well that there are people in this world she just can’t trust. After losing both her parents, Dominique keeps her distance from anyone tied to her past—especially the man she’s hated for years. And Viktor Ivanov isn’t going to change her mind about who he really is—no matter how determined the infuriatingly sexy Russian is.
He’s determined to win her over.
She may hate him and not trust him, but Viktor is determined to crack through Dominique’s icy exterior one way or another—even if it means taking the game into his own hands. With a past like Viktor’s, he’s made more than a few enemies along the way—enemies who’ll stop at nothing to take him down. When Viktor realizes Dominique’s life is in danger because of him, he’ll stop at nothing to protect her—whether she likes it or not. Now it’s up to Dominique to trust the one man who’s linked to the agony of her past. Can she find a way to love the enemy she always loathed?
Love Thy Enemy
Red Stone Security Series
Copyright © 2016 Katie Reus
Cover Art by Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs
Editor: Julia Ganis, JuliaEdits.com
Digital Formatting by Author E.M.S.
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.
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For my wonderful sister
Six years ago
“Mom!” Dominique called out as she shut the front door of the crappy two-bedroom duplex they lived in behind her. She hated this place, hated that they’d had to move here after her dad’s gambling debts had taken everything from them. Thanks to nonexistent insulation, she was pretty sure their new neighbors were dealing drugs too.
Everything was surprisingly quiet now, but it was noon. She figured the jerks next door were probably sleeping off a bender.
Her mom hadn’t been answering any of Dominique’s texts, though. And that wasn’t like her. Not to mention her mom had missed work yesterday, according to the owner of the restaurant she waited tables at. When he hadn’t been able to get a hold of her mom, he’d called Dominique, worried. The older man had taken both of them under his wing and had been trying to find them a better place to live.
Since she’d just graduated high school yesterday Dominique had celebrated by staying over at her best friend’s house last night instead of coming home. The thought of coming back here had been too depressing and her mom had been okay with it. She’d said she was headed to work and that Dominique should have fun. For the first time in a long time she’d actually seemed happy.
They’d even talked about moving out of this place soon. Dominique had been saving from her part-time afterschool job and her mom had picked up extra shifts at work so they finally had enough to find somewhere safer.
“Mom!” she called again as she reached the living room. An empty bottle of cheap red wine was on the coffee table along with an empty bottle of pills. Xanax.
Panic punched through her as she raced down the hallway to her mom’s room. Her mom had struggled with depression over the last six months. Understandably.
But Dominique had thought things were different now. Her mom had seemed so freaking happy yesterday… She stopped in her tracks outside her mom’s open bathroom door.
The water in the tub was…dark. Red. Her mom’s head was laid back against the wall, her eyes closed, her face unnaturally gray and one arm draped over the side of the tub. Dried crimson streaks trickled down the outside of the tub and stained the square black and white tiles.
Bile rose in her throat as terror streaked through her. She tried to force her legs to move, but couldn’t cross the threshold into the bathroom.
“Mom?” The word just slipped out even though she knew her mom couldn’t hear her.
She wasn’t stupid. She knew her mom was dead. She wasn’t breathing and that blood was from slit wrists. Stepping back, Dominique lost it, all the contents of her breakfast coming back up and onto the floor until she was on her hands and knees, sobbing and dry heaving.
When she eventually found the energy she crawled away from the doorway opening and collapsed back against the wall. With trembling fingers she managed to dial her older cousin Quinn. He’d been a cop and now worked for some big deal security company. She wanted him to help, not some random strangers, and she knew he’d call the police.
Her mom had cut that side of the family out of their lives because she’d been ashamed of how ‘far we’ve fallen,’ as she’d put it. It was stupid and Dominique didn’t care about any of that right now. She needed help. She needed family.
She needed her mom not to be dead.
When Quinn answered the phone she lost it and started sobbing again.
She’d thought her dad dying was the worst thing that could have happened, but this was way worse. Her mom had
to take her own life, leaving Dominique all alone in the world.
Viktor Ivanov could barely hear what his acquaintance was saying as he stared at the tall blonde beauty he’d seen talking to various employees of Red Stone Security. She had a body made for pleasure and right now all he could envision was burying his face between her thighs, listening to the sounds she made as he made her come over and over.
He’d never had such a visceral reaction to anyone before—and he’d been with his share of beautiful women. Lately not so much, as even sex had started to become more of the same. That was what happened, he supposed, since he only employed escorts for sex anyway.
He managed to get in a few grunts of acknowledgement until Abram, his business partner/half-brother, subtly stepped on his foot.
Blinking, he turned back to Shane Hollis—the man who’d been bothering him the last ten minutes with inane conversation about an investment opportunity. The truth was, he didn’t give a shit what this guy said. He wasn’t going to do business with Hollis. He’d already bought some of the man’s restaurants a year ago because Hollis couldn’t manage his money. The trust-fund baby liked drugs too much, something Hollis didn’t think Viktor knew.
Tonight Viktor had simply been trying to be civil because that’s what normal people did. They behaved in certain ways because it was socially acceptable.
He hated it the majority of the time but he was a businessman. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t stand most people. He could put on an act. Most of the time anyway.
Tonight he couldn’t stop staring at the curvy woman with legs that seemed to go on for miles. He wondered if she worked for Red Stone. Or maybe she was just friendly with the wives of the brothers who ran the company because he’d seen her talking to Elizabeth Martinez Caldwell a lot. Lizzy, as her friends called her, came from a very wealthy, influential family and she’d married one of the Caldwell brothers a couple years ago. They’d just had a kid not long ago too, something he remembered seeing in his files—because he kept files on anyone in the city who was important.
“She is not for you,” Abram murmured next to him.
He blinked and realized he’d been staring again and that he and Abram were alone once more. Hollis must have left, thank fuck. If Viktor hadn’t just invested in a new restaurant—that had a big display here tonight—he wouldn’t even be here at the Celebration of Chefs. “Who?”
“Don’t pretend. You and half the men here tonight are watching her. She works for Red Stone, I hear. She’s not for you.” Abram shook his head. “That kind of woman…she wouldn’t look twice at men like us.”
Viktor just grunted, dismissing his brother’s words. The owners of Red Stone were fucking Boy Scouts and the people they hired were the same. That didn’t mean he couldn’t
to the woman. Talking was harmless.
Mesmerized, he drank in the sweet lines of her body as she waved at a friend and said goodbye to the people she was talking to. When he saw her headed to speak to a couple he knew—the man, anyway—he straightened.
In her heels she was over six feet tall, a virtual goddess. Most women with that much height would choose to wear shorter heels, but she clearly owned who she was. He could see it in every confident step she took. Those curves were enough to make a man want to lock a woman down for a marathon of sex. And a woman who looked like that—he didn’t think any sane man would want to let her go.
If she truly worked for Red Stone, it was…annoying. Maybe she was a former spook like the founder and one of his sons. She was young though, under thirty. Maybe even closer to twenty-five. It was difficult to tell.
When Rhys Maxwell, one of the people she’d been talking to, broke away from her and another woman, Viktor headed in Rhys’s direction. He stopped next to the British businessman at a display of champagne glasses.
“Maxwell,” he murmured, nodding politely.
The other man smiled, nodded. “Ivanov. Surprised you’re here. Thought you hated stuff like this.”
“Just bought a restaurant.”
“Ah, that makes sense.” Maxwell’s gaze turned back to the two women, his interest in the shorter brunette clear. Unfortunately for Maxwell, Viktor was fairly certain the woman didn’t plan on sleeping with him. He was good at reading people and her body language screamed she wasn’t interested.
“Is that the same woman you brought to the last event?”
Maxwell turned to look at him, his expression turning slightly possessive. “Yes.”
“Who is her friend?” The words came out harsher than he’d intended, but he wanted to know.
Maxwell blinked, seemed to relax at the question. “Ah, one of Raegan’s friends. They work together.” He tilted his head in their direction. “I’ll introduce you.”
A burst of anticipation hummed through him as they headed over, but as they started walking, the blonde darted away and into the crowd, moving with clear purpose. He was surprised by the disappointment that slid through his veins.
As they reached the brunette, he said, “Who is your friend?” The question came out demanding and he had to remind himself about those stupid social niceties, to act normal.
Maxwell cleared his throat, looked slightly annoyed at him. “Ah, Viktor, this is Raegan. She works for Red Stone Security. I believe you have some acquaintances in common.”
He turned to look fully at the woman. She had an innocent quality to her and he could see he frightened her. Or at least made her nervous. He did that a lot to people without meaning to. It was his size. He was six foot five and big all over. He hid most of his tattoos, but some still peeked out and he couldn’t do anything about the ones on the backs of his hands. Not that he gave a shit what people thought of him. Hell, most of the time he used his size and appearance to his advantage, especially in business. But he didn’t want to frighten random women.
“It’s nice to meet you.” He smiled politely, held out a hand and was careful to shake her smaller hand gently.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” There was a wariness in her gaze as she eyed him before she dropped his hand and turned to her date. “Will you give me a few minutes?” she murmured to Maxwell.