I grunted and sat up, turning to the bedside table. I spotted a sticky note.
- I have a convention to attend. See you tonight after work. Alina -
I smiled and the heaviness in my heart from waking up alone, dissipated.
My phone vibrated and I picked it up, "Good morning Lucy."
"Kieran, I've sent your suit to the address you've given me. You have an event to attend in an hour. Please get ready, Richard is waiting out front to drive you to the place," she instructed and I held back a yawn.
I pushed the sheets aside and strode to the bathroom, "Got it, I'll go get ready asap."
"Are you at Miss Simmons' house Kieran?"
"Will you be there for the next two days?"
"I'm not sure, I'll have to ask Alina about that."
"Of course. But just in case, I've placed a few extra sets of clothes with Richard."
"Thank you Lucy."
"Treat her right Kieran, she's just as broken as you are."
Maybe, but my soul was darker.
I hung up and shrugged a bathrobe on, retrieving my clothes and toiletries from Richard who was invited into the vast living room.
After a quick shower, I dried myself off and stared at the man in the mirror.
His dark eyes seemed oddly lighter, the muscles in his face weren’t as sunken as usual and his expression was overall happier.
What has happened to me?
“We’re running late Mr Knight, please hurry. I won’t hear the end of it if Lucy finds out you’re late to an event,” Richard called out and I took a deep breath, ignoring the strange man staring back at me.
I got dressed in the sharp tuxedo Lucy ordered for me to wear and was soon on my way to the venue.
"This event is for Alina am I right?" I asked Richard.
He nodded and looked at me from the rear-view mirror with a smile, "Yes it is. It's for her appointment as the new CEO. I heard from Lucy that you're dating her, even gave her a ring."
Well, I did but she gave it back to me.
"Stop by a florist, I need to buy something for Miss CEO."
- Alina -
The crowd was streaming into the halls. I kept my business smile on and welcomed all the well wishes for my takeover.
It was disorienting, everyone wanted my attention to talk about the future prospects of having sponsorship from my bank. As much as I was in the zone, I couldn’t hold it up for the full six hours of the event.
And barely 30 minutes have passed.
Plus last night's activities with Kieran really drained me.
I took a deep breath, I'll be fine. Grace and poise.
And my mother's favourite line, "Be as bold as your lipstick."
Only, this bright shade of red didn't make me feel half as confident as the one my father gave me.
“Miss Simmons, this way please. It’s time to give your speech. Most of the guests are here,” Louis whispered to me and I slipped my arm through his, letting him lead me through the crowd and behind the stage.
I released him the moment we were out of the guests’ sight and smoothed my dress down.
“Is my father here yet?” I asked and he checked his watch.
He lifted his hand to the earpiece in his ear and looked at me after receiving confirmation, “Your father is here. We’re keeping him out of sight but he’ll be able to see you.”
I smiled and nodded, “Thank you.”
I heard the person on stage introduce me and Louis gave me a small pat on the shoulder for encouragement.
I stepped onto the stage and was greeted by the immense crowd. I started my speech as the new CEO, subtly looking out for my father and finally spotting him on the balcony just outside the hall.
He was in a wheelchair and Wilson stood behind him, pointing at me and smiling widely.
Relief washed through me upon seeing my father, glad that he was well enough to come. He seemed to be healing well and that gentle smile on him was enough to wipe my worries clean.
I ended my speech and weaved my way through the crowd to get to him, strategically avoiding small talk with anyone who wanted my attention. No one could know about my father’s condition, I couldn’t let them know he was hurt because of a gang.
It would damage our reputation again and place my family in greater danger. My mother was already gone, I couldn’t risk my father as well.
Laying low would be best.
The police have already caught the idiots that caused my father harm, but Connor escaped the sentencing and the head of the gang was still out there. With the broken engagement, who knew what Connor would do?
If he was smart, he would leave. I wouldn’t stop till his boss was caught and if he hung around, then I hope he enjoys jail food as much as his leader does.
“Dad! You made it!” I hugged my father carefully and he chuckled lowly. Wilson left us alone and I nodded at him gratefully.
“I told you I wouldn’t miss it. It’s a big day for me you know? I officially take my hands off work and retire, work on healing my body and getting back up. Your mother would’ve been proud to see that I’m finally letting go of the company.”
He always does this, talking about himself when he really wants to praise me. I don’t mind at all.
“How’re the old bones doing? Wilson scared me when he said you’ll come see me even on your deathbed, you know I don’t like it when you say things like that,” I pulled away and kneeled down to look him eye to eye.
“You know I’m joking, I feel great. But I feel bad that the convention had to interfere with your vacation. Stupid Connor always messes things up, can’t even schedule an event for my daughter properly,” he complained and I smiled.
There’s my papa wolf.
“So tell me, how is your holiday so far? I heard the weather is perfect there, sunny beaches and blue waters. Your mother used to say the men there look like those lifeguards in ‘Hawaii Five-O’,” my father asked and my mind immediately thought back to Kieran.
“Dad, actually I met someone-”
“Alina?” Kieran’s voice sounded from behind me and I quickly stood up.
Speak of the devil.
- Kieran -
Same silver eyes and sharp facial features. I've seen him every once in a while on news articles about his next big venture.
There weren't even much news of his family.
Why was he in a wheelchair? The news outlets didn't mention anything about Mr Simmons getting into an accident of some sort.
"Kieran, what are you doing here?" Alina asked and I wondered if she hadn't meant for anyone to see her, or her father.
Mr Simmons took her hand in a comforting gesture, "Is this the man?"
I straightened myself and stepped forward, holding Alina's gaze. She was wearing a gorgeous long, black, off-shoulder dress with a sexy slit down the side of her skirt to reveal her slender legs.
She didn't move, her eyes were as hard as stones. As if she was testing my trustworthiness.
Was I that hard to trust?
I stopped in front of the well-dressed man in his wheelchair and my nervous wife. With a huge bouquet of roses in my hands. I handed it to her and she gasped before taking it from me, almost in a trance.
I cleared my throat, “'Knight Insurances' was invited to your convention, you didn’t know?”
Alina’s gaze flickered up to me for a moment and she shook her head before looking back at her father, “Dad, this is Kieran Knight from ‘Knight Insurances’. We um- We met at the hotel lobby in Hawaii.”
I shook the old man’s hand and he gave me a good hard look, “You met him during your vacation?”
The question was directed at Alina, but I felt his words digging into my back.
“Yes sir, it was a coincidence really. I was there for a short break and happened to see her there,” I answered and let my hand fall to my side after he let go. Alina looked between the two of us.
She seemed to be sending signals with her eyes but it only made me furrow my brows in confusion.
“Do you like her?”
My attention refocused to Mr Simmons, “I do.”
He chuckled breathlessly, “You have your work cut out for you then. My daughter declared that she won’t marry any time soon and that statement is enough to send me into a seizure.”
Alina’s cheeks were as pink as a strawberry lollipop, “Stop saying things like that dad. And Kieran and I aren’t-”
“I’m sure I can change her mind, given time of course,” I cut her off and the thought of having Alina as my real wife briefly flashed in my mind before burning out into ash. I can’t love her the way she deserves to be.
What was I doing?
“Well, that sounds like something Connor could never do. I’m sure you know her dick of a fiancé? I mean ex-fiancé.”
I let a small laugh slip, “I do, I can promise I’m nothing like him.”
He nodded satisfactorily, “You’ve already passed the first test. I would hate to see my girl with a man who doesn’t have the balls to talk to me. Can I interest you in having dinner with us tonight?”
Alina knelt down and took her father’s hand, “Dad please, Kieran is busy-”
“I’m sure I can make time, anything for your daughter,” I told him and Alina looked at me like I hung the stars but with a hint of panic.
I wanted to reach out and hold her in my arms but Mr Simmons grunted, “Can you give my daughter and I some time to talk Kieran? I’m sure you’ll enjoy the snacks and drinks provided.”
My hands were clenching and unclenching, the need to hug and comfort her was almost too much to bear. But her father was here, a man who loved Alina like his life depended on it. He could soothe her.
I shoved my hands into my pockets and nodded, “Of course, I hope to see you later Mr Simmons.”
- Alina -
“Dad, please recant your dinner invitation. Kieran and I aren’t together and we don’t intend for this to be long-term.”
I stared at my dad, “You knew?”
“That you and Kieran were playing pretend? Yeah, I knew.”
“I’m not even going to ask how you knew, Wilson must’ve told you.”
“He worries for you Alina and I do too. You literally kicked Connor out and now you have a new man, I’m going all papa wolf on you if I have to.”
“So the dinner invitation is just to rile me up?”
“No, I know you’re not ready to start anything new, but Kieran seems to be doing a good job in keeping you happy. He doesn’t have to you know? He’s only doing this because he cares for you, I’ve never seen Connor this concerned about you before.”
“You’re comparing him to Connor a lot.”
“I hate Connor, I’m not going to lie. But are you going to lie about having feelings for Kieran?”
I looked back into the hall, seeing Kieran in his fitted, tailored black suit. He grabbed a drink from the passing waiter, making casual talk with a group of businessmen.
There was a sort of air to him, confident yet gentle, fierce yet loving.
He didn't even seem to notice his own traits.
I felt it, my heartstrings tensing as it stretched further, tighter. The air around me seemed to become thicker.
The memory of him holding me, a firm arm holding me steady and his warm gaze piercing my icy heart.
It burned on my skin and behind my eyes, the sensations of him being replayed on the big screen in my brain.
Mr Kieran Knight, CEO of an Insurance Firm and Co-Owner of a Private Investigation Agency.
A handsome and sexy man with no emotion whatsoever. Growing up without parents and the occasional mafia running into his office drained the blood from his dark heart.
Easy nights with a line-up of women for him to pick from are common and plentiful in his attempt to fill that hollow void of his heart.
For a man empty of emotion but full of charm and money, would he ever expect to feel something for the engaged woman who just burst into his office?
Miss Alina Simmons, soon-to-be-married to a businessman and heiress to one of the world's biggest International banks.
After her mother's death as the result of a mafia dealing gone wrong, it has become her life's mission to keep out of any gang business and to protect her father.
Her wedding is only a day away, but with her father in the hospital and her fiancé's shady 'car accidents', she decides to make a trip to the Insurance Company handling the claims for her fiancé's many cars.
With trust issues, insecurities, a shit load of money and a hot body, how will Alina fare against the very alluring Kieran Knight?