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Authors: Kelly Favor

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TROUBLE (The Billionaire's Rules, Book 9)

BOOK: TROUBLE (The Billionaire's Rules, Book 9)
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TROUBLE
(The Billionaire’s Rules, Book 9)

By Kelly Favor

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved

The police had taken Cullen away.
 
Taken him away from Ivy’s apartment in
handcuffs, like a common criminal.

He’s
been arrested.

Arrested
for homicide.

Ivy was shell-shocked by the sudden
upending of everything she’d taken for granted.
 
Cullen had always seemed invincible,
like nothing and nobody could ever truly hurt him.

And yet the police had handcuffed him and
led him out of her apartment and there hadn’t been a thing he could do to stop
them.
 

It was as if she’d expected Cullen to be
able to snap the handcuffs like he had superpowers.

The silence in the wake of his arrest was
devastating.

She didn’t know what to do, where to go,
whom to turn to for help.
 
There was
only one person that came to mind.
 
One person that Ivy had always depended on, come thick or come thin.

There was one person who’d always been
there for her, and so Ivy picked up her cell phone and placed the call.

Her mother answered almost
immediately.
 
“Ivy,” she said.
 
“Is everything okay?”

And it was as if she knew, as if she
could read Ivy’s mind from a distance.
 
Ivy felt the tears breaking free, trailing down her cheeks as she tried
to explain what had happened.

“Mom, I’m in trouble,” she said.

“What happened?” her mother replied,
anxiety tingeing her voice.

“The man I’m in love with just got
arrested, Mom.”
 
She crumpled to the
floor and tried to regain control of herself.

“Who got arrested?
 
And what’s this about love?” her mother
asked.
 
“Ivy, please.
 
You need to back up.
 
I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Ivy curled her legs up against her chest
as she sat with her back to the wall.
 
“I fell in love, Mom.
 
With a
wonderful man.
 
An amazing,
brilliant man and I want to spend my life with him.”

There was a lengthy silence.
 
“How long have you been seeing each
other?”

Ivy sighed, her breath quivering.
 
“Not long.
 
I’m sure you’ll think that I jumped the
gun.”
 
And now the moment was upon
her, and she knew she had to tell her mother the one thing she’d been terrified
to say.
 
“We got married, Mom.
 
We eloped.”

There was a sudden intake of breath on
the other end of the line.
 
“You’re
married?” she said.
 
“If this is a
joke, it’s in very poor taste, Ivy.”

“No, I’m not joking,” she said.
 
“His name’s Cullen Sharpe and we got
married in Las Vegas.
 
I wish I
could’ve included you, but…it’s complicated.”

“Clearly,” her mother replied, and now
her voice dripped with sarcasm.

“Mom, don’t be mad right now.
 
I can’t deal with that.”

“And I suppose this is all about you and
what
you
need,” her mother retorted.

“Yes,” Ivy said, a little anger burning
her stomach.
 
“Be angry with me
later.
 
Right now, I need your
help.
 
I need you to just listen and
tell me what I can do, because I’m really scared.”

Her mother sighed, a sound of
defeat.
 
“Okay, so you’re married to
this man.
 
Cullen, you said?”

“Yeah,” Ivy agreed.

“And now he’s been arrested?”

“Yes.”

“What was he arrested for?”

Ivy tried to stay calm, her hands shaking
as she hugged her legs closer with one arm and held the phone tightly to her
ear with the other hand.
 
“I believe
they said he was being charged with…ummm…negligence…negligent homicide.”

“Homicide?” her mother said, her voice rising
almost comically high.

“I know, it sounds terrible.”

“I have to ask this, Ivy.
 
I have to ask.
 
Have you been doing drugs?”

There was a long, stunned silence as Ivy
took in the question.
 
And then she
started laughing wildly.
 
She was
still crying a little, but it felt good to laugh.
 
“Oh, Mom…” she muttered, trying to
control her giggles.

“I don’t see what’s so funny.
 
If you’re taking drugs, I need to know
right now.”

“No, I’m not doing drugs.
 
If I were, it would make things so much
easier.”

“I hope you’re being honest with me.”

Ivy rolled her eyes.
 
“I got married to a man who’s being
accused of murder.
 
Isn’t that
enough for now?
 
Do we really need
to add illegal drug use to the list of my problems?”

Her mother chuckled a little too.
 
“Fine, then.
 
No drugs.
 
At least we have that going for us.”

“Mom, I really need your help.
 
He’s gone.
 
They just took him away and I don’t know
what I’m supposed to do.”

“I’m coming there,” her mother said.
 
“Right now.
 
Where are you?”

Ivy sat up straighter, a rush of
adrenaline flooding her.
 
“Coming
here?”

“You can’t be alone right now.
 
First things first, we need to see about
getting you a quickie divorce.
 
How
long ago did you elope?”

“Wait a minute…” Ivy said, but her mother
was on a roll.

“It’s possible you could even get an
annulment, especially under the circumstances.”

“I don’t want to divorce Cullen.
 
Didn’t you hear me say I want to spend
my life with him?”

“This is not a game, young lady.
 
Clearly, this man has a hold on
you.
 
I imagine he’s much older than
you.
 
I imagine he’s got you
convinced that he’s smart and capable and you’re just some cute young thing.”

Ivy was stunned that her mother had come
to those conclusions, and it hurt how close to the bone some of her
observations cut.
 
“He’s a bit older
than me, yes.
 
But that’s
not—“

“And how did you meet him?
 
Tell me.”

Ivy felt like she was suddenly backed
into a corner.
 
“At work.”

“Is he in a position of authority?”

“Mom, I told you I didn’t want to be
grilled right now.”

“That’s because you’re under this man’s
spell.
 
I knew something like this
would happen to you, Ivy.
 
You’ve
always been very susceptible to strong-willed people.
 
Remember your friend Alana, and how you
practically worshipped the ground she walked on.
 
And then she turned around and savaged
you to your entire circle of girlfriends?
 
I always told you that Alana wasn’t a good person—“

“Mom, knock it off,” Ivy said forcefully.

Her mother went silent as if a plug had
been pulled.

Ivy waited a long moment before
continuing in as calm a voice as possible.
 
“This isn’t about my friends from junior high.
 
I love Cullen.
 
I’m going to help him get out of this
mess.”

“If that’s your choice, then that’s your
choice.
 
Clearly, you didn’t need my
help after all.”

There was a tightness in Ivy’s chest
now.
 
“Maybe I didn’t need your help,”
she shot back.
 
“And I certainly
didn’t need you reminding me about past mistakes just so you can day I told you
so.”

The blows were becoming more and more
painful on both sides, but Ivy didn’t know how to stop it.
 
It was as if years of old wounds were
being ripped open, and there was no choice in the matter.

“Ivy, don’t expect me to tell you that
this is all okay.
 
I’m your mother,
I’m not just going to say it’s all fine because that’s what you want to hear
right now.
 
You married your boss
and want me to give it my stamp of approval?
 
After you tell me he’s also in trouble
for murder?”

“Negligence,” Ivy said.

“Whatever it is, this is completely out
of control and you need to end things with him as soon as possible.”

“Well of course you don’t want me to stay
with him.
 
Because if I’m married
with a family, then what purpose would you have in life?”

There was another long silence as Ivy’s
words hit home.

“I have plenty of purpose, dear.
 
It’s unfortunate you can’t see it.
 
But then again, you have always had a
tendency to believe the entire world revolved around you.”

Now it was Ivy’s turn to feel the pain in
her gut.
 
“Thanks, Mom.
 
Real helpful talk.”
 

“I don’t know what else to say.”

“Fine,” Ivy said, getting to her
feet.
 
She felt so cold.
 
“I have to go, Mom.”

“Good luck,” her mother said, and then
the line went dead.

No ‘I love you,” nothing.

Ivy stared at the dead phone in her
hands.
 
She felt a sick wave of fear
and dark despair threaten to overwhelm her completely.

Had she been in the wrong?

Saying those things to her poor mother,
who’d done nothing but care for and loved her and made Ivy the center of her
life for years and years…

But
maybe that’s the problem
,
Ivy thought.
 
I didn’t want to be the center of Mom’s world forever and ever.
 
I didn’t ask to be so sheltered and ‘taken
care of’ that I could hardly see straight.

Still…the conversation hadn’t gone the
way Ivy had wanted it to go.
 
She’d
deeply hurt her mother, and that didn’t sit right.

In any case, Ivy knew there was nothing
to be done about it right now, and she had bigger fish to fry.

Leaving the apartment, Ivy went out and
hailed a taxi and told them to take her to the precinct where one of the
officer’s had mentioned Cullen was going to be held.

She didn’t know what she was going to do
when she arrived there.

None of this was something she had
experience with at all.
 
Ivy had
never been arrested in her life, nor had she ever had reason to even step
inside a police station.

This was a new and unfamiliar world.

The taxi brought her to the police
station, and she walked towards the front entrance, trying not to be
intimidated when seeing all of the police cars parked in the lot.
 
Everything about the place screamed
authority, and power and as a whole it made you feel small and powerless.

Somehow, just walking inside, Ivy felt
guilty, as if she’d committed a crime and was about to be discovered.

I
haven’t done anything wrong.
 
I’m
not guilty of anything and neither is Cullen.

Are
you absolutely sure of that?
 
How
well do you really know him?

Her mind continued spouting arguments and
refutations as she continued into the precinct.
 
There were some chairs and benches, and
across the room, a window looking into a back office of some sort.

The
police don’t just arrest people for no reason.

Perhaps
you are under his spell, like your mother said.
 
Does a person know when they’re under a
spell?

Ivy’s mouth felt dry, and her heart was
pounding an unsteady rhythm in her chest as she approached the window, behind
which a uniformed female officer sat talking on a landline.

Ivy waited until the officer got off the
phone before approaching.
 
“Hi,” she
said, uncertainly.

The officer was short and squat, with a
flat nose and dull brown eyes.
 
“How
can I assist you?”

Ivy took a deep breath.
 
“My husband was arrested and brought to
this—“

“Name,” the woman replied, moving to her
computer keyboard.

“My name or—“

“His,” she interrupted, chewing gum as
she typed.

BOOK: TROUBLE (The Billionaire's Rules, Book 9)
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