Authors: Karin Tabke
Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Contemporary, #Fiction
aty’s gut told her to trust Simon. Her practical scientist’s brain tossed that notion out the window. But it was her aching heart she listened to. It screamed,
! Not once had he denied being married. He just expected her to trust him based on his claim that his marriage was complicated or that there was stuff he couldn’t tell her. Well, no way. She couldn’t take any more. And there would be more. There would always be more with Simon.
She was about to pull off her gloves and toss them into the trashcan, but the sight of Simon’s blood stopped her. It was blood he had spilled to save her. He’d fought three thugs, one who’d used a knife on him.
No one had ever so much as said a stern word on her behalf, much less fought for her before. Who
this enigmatic man? Why had he come striding into her life only to turn it upside down and completely obliterate her normal?
Because she could never go back to being plain and boring Katrina Winslow. Not after being freed from her cage. Simon had encouraged the shy butterfly to emerge from the cocoon, open her wings, and fly. She could no longer settle for being second best. She would not only take first place in a man’s bed, but his life. That meant she needed honesty. Trust went both ways. She was transparent and she needed the same from Simon, but he was unwilling to go that far.
What he was willing to give wasn’t enough. Katrina Winslow a month ago would have taken it, but Katrina Winslow today would not. How ironic that it was the man who showed her she was worth more than she had given herself credit for and he was also the man unwilling to give her what she deserved.
Cleaning up the mess, she noticed Simon’s jacket folded on the seat of the chair he had been sitting next to. She picked it up and, closing her eyes, she brought it to her nose and inhaled his scent. It stirred her as deeply as if he stood before her.
And just like that, her resolve crumbled again.
Her brain tried to reason with her heart, giving her justifiable reasons why she should just take a leap of faith. But even if she somehow managed to overlook his “complicated” marriage, could she really be in a healthy relationship with a man who enjoyed women as much as they enjoyed him? A man who was only willing to reveal part of himself while she was willing to reveal all?
Was the crazy wild high that was Simon worth the long hard fall that would come? God, she was a fool. A wavering fool.
She set the jacket down with a long sigh.
Let’s try this one more time, Kat.
Simon was special. But they’d found each other in a hopeless place. It was up to her to see her way out of it. And it was also up to her to see her way out of the ridiculous predicament her affair with Evan had produced. Simon had vowed to be her hero. Her knight in shining armor. She scoffed at the notion. Who had she been kidding? This was the twenty-first century and even the Disney princesses came to their own rescue. It was past time she did the same.
To that resolute end, she took a long hot shower, and each time her thoughts turned to Simon and how much she missed him despite his questionable marital status, she forced herself to think instead of how much she was going to enjoy twisting Evan Scott’s balls off, one at a time.
When Katy woke the next morning, she lay for a long time staring at the carved molding that ran the circumference of her ceiling. Wishing for what would never be was going to spiral her down into a place she would have difficulty crawling out of. She needed to focus on herself. The need for vengeance against Evan was what got her out of bed that morning. She had a lot of work to do if she was going to slay that dragon. And she was going to need help. As much as she didn’t want to, she needed to call or text Simon for that attorney’s address.
The instant that thought popped in her head, her cell phone pinged. Her body warmed as she grabbed it a little too quickly before she put her glasses on.
It was a text. From Simon.
Just because you think you’re a woman scorned doesn’t mean you should cut your nose off to spite me. Veronica is expecting you tomorrow morning. You need her. Be on time, she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.
Hrmph! She tapped out a reply on the keyboard.
I’m sure you know from experience.
He followed up with the address.
Katy sat back in a huff, not feeling especially triumphant. So he’d slept with the woman she had high hopes would represent her. Would that be a conflict of interest on the attorney’s end if Ms. Fuentes still carried a torch for Simon?
Rubbing the heels of her hands into her aching eyes, she groaned. Was there a woman in California Simon hadn’t had sex with? She massaged her temples and told herself she would know the instant Simon came up in conversation if Ms. Fuentes harbored feelings for that stud. And if she did, Katy was prepared to walk. But if she was over him, then perhaps the attorney could shed some light on who the enigmatic Simon really was. He said he was a cop. He acted like one, but what agency did he work for? Where did he live?
Telling herself she didn’t care about the answers did no good.
Chewing her bottom lip, she vacillated. It didn’t matter who he was. They were over, history. Done, finito, caput. But if she knew who he was, maybe she’d learn he was telling the truth … because she sure as hell didn’t trust her judgment. But then what? With proof in hand, call him and say, “Hi, yeah, so, Simon, I trust you now, and I really need for you to come make mad passionate love to me.”
If their positions were reversed, she’d tell him to go to hell. Didn’t matter whose point of view it came from, it was a lose-lose situation.
As she padded back to her lonely bedroom, Katy wondered how one found life after Simon.
That question haunted her. But just as mind-consuming was how desperate she was to expose Evan for the lying, cheating, backstabbing thief that he was. She needed a look at his recent text log or e-mails. She’d bet the farm there were all kinds of goodies in there, incriminating him. The cops could pull his cell phone records.
She knew a cop. Intimately.
And she had no qualms calling him, because this was for her job. Her reputation, her career, not for sex or to mend a broken heart.
“Hello,” he answered in a clipped tone.
“Good morning to you, too,” she snipped back.
“Hardly a good morning, Katrina.”
“Are you pouting over the fact that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?”
“You know that makes no sense. What’s the point of having a cake, if you can’t eat it?”
He had her there. “I’m not sure, really, but that’s not why I called. I need your help.”
“What kind of help?” He sounded skeptical.
“I need to get my hands on Evan’s cell phone records, including his text messages, and his e-mails, too. The last year would be good.”
“And you’re telling me this why?”
“You’re a cop! Isn’t that what cops do?”
a cop and because I am a cop I can’t just order those records without a warrant, and if I did have them, they are proprietary. Legally, I can’t hand them over to you.”
“Couldn’t you just let me see them by accident?”
“Now you’re asking me to break the law.”
Katy sat back in a huff. “I don’t want you to get into any trouble, Simon, I just need to prove he’s a liar and to see what else he’s been up to. The more I think about Evan’s duplicity and how methodically he covered his ass, the more I’m beginning to suspect that he may have been the one to steal my research and sell it.”
“Have you gone to the authorities about your suspicions?”
“No—I’m telling you now. And something else, Simon, Evan was in Hong Kong earlier this year. He was vague about why he was going when I asked him, but it was shortly after he returned that there was a firewall breach on the seventh floor.”
“What’s on the seventh floor?”
“The bacterium lab.”
“The bacterium lab is where they grow and experiment with certain strains of bacteria.”
“Good bacteria, bad bacteria?”
“Both, mostly bad.”
“Was there any fallout due to the firewall breach?”
“Not that I know of. But that would be something to check. With the virulent strains of bacteria Genomtec has in the lab, it must be reported to the CDC if there is any security irregularity or inventory fluctuation.”
“What other calamities have followed Evan?”
“I’m sure there are more, I just need to think about it, but in the meantime, I really need his cell phone records …”
“No can do, and even if I could, I wouldn’t hand them over to you. You need to stay out of this. You’ll get hurt.”
“Stay out of it? My career, my reputation is on the line. I’m not staying out of anything!”
“I’ll notify the proper agency to look into Evan’s activities, Kat. If there is something there, they’ll open an investigation. Now give me your word you’ll stay out of it.”
“I’ll do no such thing!”
Tossing her cell aside, she booted up her laptop and began her search.
What she found astounded her. It also gave her hope. She dressed quickly, grabbed her cell and keys, and ran down the hall to Rosie’s.
An hour later, the two of them stood outside of Cup of Crack in Menlo Park, the coffeehouse Evan had said several times was his favorite Sunday getaway. Of course he never took Katy there. After all, weekends weren’t meant for your mistress.
“He’s tucked in a corner at three o’clock with his back to the room,” Katy whispered. “And he’s alone.”
She was dressed inconspicuously in grey yoga pants, matching grey sweater, blonde wig topped off with a Giant’s baseball cap and Greta Garbo sunglasses.
Rosie, who wore her usual
beatnik, consisting of striped leggings and loud patterned oversized multilayered sweaters, peeked around her shoulder and nodded. “Perfect position. Let’s execute!” she said, gnashing her teeth, ready to sink them into Evan’s lying backside.
“Rosie, you watch too much TV.”
“You don’t watch enough. Now let’s get ’em, Dano.”
Katy rolled her eyes but moved aside as Rosie swung open the door and sauntered in like she owned the place. What Kat would do for that confidence. She watched as Rosie moseyed over to Evan and sat down in front of him. He started to get up, but she grabbed his forearm, and by the look on Rosie’s face, she made it clear to Evan that he was going to hear what she had to say. He sat back down and as he did, he set his cell phone on the end table next to his coffee mug.
Heart beating a mile a minute, Katy slipped into the café and slowly backed her way toward the two.
“You broke Katy’s heart, Evan. All she does is sleep and cry. She misses you.”
“I doubt that, Mrs. Lowenstein. If she walked in here right now, she’d kill me if she could get away with it. Besides, she has that cop to keep her warm at night.”
“That cop turned out to be married, too. She got over him quick because she was still pining over you, and while I certainly don’t condone adultery, I can’t bear to watch my best friend hurt like she’s hurting,” Rosie insisted, leaning forward. She pulled out the apple she had in her pocket and took a bite. As she chomped loudly on it, she continued her lies. “Is there any part of you that would take her back? Don’t you miss her, just a little bit?”
“It doesn’t matter how I feel now, it’s out of my hands.”
Rosie took another loud, juicy bite and as she chewed, she nodded. “If I were her, after what you’ve done to her career, I’d have cut your balls off and shoved them down your throat.” She swallowed and took another bite of her apple. “But that’s just me.”
“I think, Mrs. Lowenstein, you had better go.”
“I’ll go when—” Katy snuck a peek just as Rosie dropped the apple and grasped Evan’s forearms. She made a disgusting, choking, wheezy, coughing up mucus sound, and gasped, “I’m choking! Help me!” She pulled him off his chair, knocking him against the coffee table, which sent his phone skittering across the floor as a violent convulsion gripped her. With the death grip Rosie had on his arms, when she went down, he went down with her.