EIGHT WEEKS AGO
Four times in the last five days. The woman is killing me.
Gritting my teeth, I open the front door, not giving Eve the chance to ring the doorbell. It’s a moot point when I know her every move.
Her shirt is too tight, and her skirt is too short.
“It’s after midnight. What do you want?”
“Oh, please. Like you weren’t awake.” Thrusting her laptop at me, she struts past, walking into my penthouse like she owns the place. “Delete the spyware.”
She cuts me with, “I know it was you, Angel. I also know you logged in under my profile thirty minutes ago. What was it this time? Were you looking for viruses? Hack attempts? Or were you checking to see if my personal information was safe—from everyone but you?”
Damn, she’s good. “Change your password.”
“Why? You’d figure it out anyway.”
Noticing I haven’t moved, she turns and raises an eyebrow. “Seriously, Angel? I’ve got a paper due in the morning, and I don’t want you creeping me out while I do it.”
I wait, making sure she breaks first.
Huffing, Eve flicks her hair over one shoulder and stalks back. In five strides she’s before me. “Delete the spyware.”
“No?” She scowls, her lush-as-fuck lips pursing. “I need it gone. I have a right to privacy, you know.”
Her perfume is a noose around my neck. “I don’t care what you need.” Lie. She needs me to throw her against the wall, impale her with my cock, and fuck her until she comes all over it. Then, because I’m a selfish prick, I’d tell her she needs me to do it again. And again.
But that’d be suicide.
And I’m not dying tonight.
A woman like Eve is chaos. Seductive pandemonium. Destruction to the organized world I’ve created since my father died.
She. Won’t. Ruin. Me.
Pushing past her, I walk to the living room, dump her laptop on the coffee table, and sit down. Taking out my cell, I check the security feed, already knowing the perimeter is safe.
She gestures to the laptop. “It’s not going to delete itself.”
“Come on, Angel. You’re the resident computer genius. Make it disappear already.”
Standing, I walk toward her. Ducking my head, I get so close my mouth almost claims hers. “Why are you really here?”
Her blue eyes widen, then narrow. “I already told you.”
“I’m not buying it. If you can spot spyware, you can get rid of it. And you’ve written college papers for the past year knowing I’ve been watching your every move. Try again.”
She inhales but doesn’t look away. “But I don’t—”
Eve bites her bottom lip, and I’m seconds away from stripping her naked. “You’re such a jerk.” She pauses. “Okay, fine. I’ll tell you.”
But she doesn’t say shit else.
Christ, this woman.
She exhales and her gaze drops. “It’s Dad.” Her voice lowers to a level of vulnerability I’ve never heard. “He’s in trouble.”
“And?” I don’t give a damn about Neil McNamara. The CEO of Trident Industries is a weak prick. He thinks his corner office on the top floor of Bayside Towers will protect him. It won’t. Nothing will against a man like me.
Or the family I walked out on.
Her attitude comes back. “That’s all you’ve got to say. And?”
Since I never explain myself, I don’t speak.
“You’re such an—”
“Asshole. I know. You said the same thing yesterday and the day before. Question is, what’s your dad done this time?” Pointless question since I already know. Turns out, my obsession with keeping tabs on this woman borders on stalker territory.
She glances away and that small voice I’d never heard her use before tonight comes back. “I overheard a conversation between Dad and his accountant. And before you say anything—no, I wasn’t eavesdropping. They were yelling at each other, it was impossible not to hear what they were saying. Anyway, Dad made a bad investment, and I’m talking really bad. He lost everything. If he doesn’t raise some serious capital soon, he’ll be forced to sell. His properties, artwork, furniture—nothing is safe.” She meets my stare. “Not even me.”
I knew it was coming, I’ve known for hours. But hearing Eve say it… Christ. It makes me want to tear the place apart. “Just so we’re clear, your sperm donor wants to sell off a heap of shit, you included, to pay off his debt.”
“I’m not a piece of shit, Angel.” She pushes past me, and I let her. “And I’m definitely not a commodity for Dad to pawn off when his profit and loss statement doesn’t balance.”
Her fire is gorgeous. “Are you sure your father and his accountant said this out loud?”
“I know what I heard. Dad’s accountant might not write me off as a depreciation expense, but the intention was clear. Dad will do anything for money. He even called Aaiden, asking if he knew anyone who’d be interested in a society bride for a good price. He’s your uncle, so you know what Aaiden’s like. No one messes with the Irish mob boss unless they’re desperate.”
Aaiden is the last person to ask a favor from. The psychotic Irish mob boss will bleed Neil dry, then kill off everyone he’s connected with as a warning not to fall short on a payment. Death is the only way out when it comes to a guy like him.
I should know.
But this isn’t about my dad. It’s about Eve’s.
“What kind of father sells his only daughter?” Eve exclaims. “And to someone like Aaiden, for God’s sake! Does Dad honestly expect me to be okay with this?”
“You think he gives a shit?”
Turning, she walks to the window. “He’s so narrow-minded. I can’t believe he’d hurt me like this.”
There are twenty-eight scenarios out of this situation. Twenty-three of them involve Eve’s deadbeat dad ending up in a body bag—odds I’m okay with. I’ve got the technology, expertise, and contacts to get it done, but the path I take depends on her next move.
And if I can keep my cock in my pants.
Eve turns to face me, except she doesn’t make eye contact. Instead, she does the last thing I’ve come to expect from this bold little vixen. She drops her gaze and wrings her hands like she’s nervous as hell.
But Eve McNamara doesn’t get nervous. Ever.
Her chest rises with a deep inhale. “Okay, listen. I know that for the most part you like to stay behind the scenes and watch life from a screen, but I also know what you’re capable of.” She pauses. “I’ve heard the stories around campus. And I’ve known you long enough to realize they’re not exaggerations. You’re smart, lethal, and for the next two months, I need you to keep me safe from Dad, Aaiden—and anyone who thinks they own me. Once I can access my inheritance, which, thankfully, Dad can’t touch, I can take care of myself.”
Wanting to see if she goes back on her suggestion, I wait.
She doesn’t retreat.
Instead, she does the opposite. But worse. She brings out that voice again, and fuck, breaks me with it.
“Please, Angel,” she begs quietly, looking vulnerable as hell. “I need your help.”
Eve is a problem I don’t need and a temptation I don’t want. But no one will protect her like I can. My cousins, Sin and Saint, are busy with their own shit, Eve’s friends are power hungry wannabes, her mom is on the other side of the country, a shot glass away from rehab, and her dad is a dead man walking.
There’s no one else.
Resigned, insane, fighting myself every step of the way, I stride toward her. “If we do this, we’re doing it my way. No one can know I’m protecting you. Keep your mouth shut, or we won’t do this at all. Got it?”
“The less people who know, the safer you’ll be.”
Her gaze is bold, like I’ve always known it to be, but it’s also helpless and hinting at something I can’t decode.
Damn, this woman is crawling into my head. “Words, Eve,” I growl, demanding what I know I shouldn’t.
“Fine. We’ll do it your way.”
Nodding, I give her a glimpse at what I’m about. “Good girl,” I praise, testing her.
She holds on to her attitude. “Don’t good girl me. Focus on not screwing this up. My life is literally in your hands.”
Seeing right through her to the desperation beneath, I tell her the truth. “It always has been.”