And I would rather have all of the above than have a single penny.
There was a knock on my door and I snapped the lipstick close, shoving it in my pocket, "Come in."
Lucy peeked into my office, "Scott is here."
I grunted and settled back in the huge leather chair, "Let him in."
Scott walked in and raised a fist at me to bump.
"What are you doing here?" I asked as our fists met and he took a seat across from me.
"Can't I meet my bestie at work?"
I raised a brow, "Low on clients recently?"
"Quite the contrary. In fact, I have some news for you."
He opened his mouth to answer but instead got distracted by my hands, fiddling with the silver wedding ring.
"You're not over her are you?"
I groaned, my head pounding hard. I popped a dose of aspirin into my mouth and gulped it down with water.
"Get on with it Scott," I grumbled and put the glass down with a thunk.
"There is news about your father."
My forehead creased, "My father's dead."
"Exactly why I'm here. Rumours about your father have been circling. None of us know why."
"He was a businessman that died in a car crash with his wife, what's there to gossip about?"
"Just giving you a heads up man, I don't know how the tide is moving within the gangs at the moment. But if your father is suddenly mentioned in the circles, I don't think your name is far off on the list."
"I can take care of myself," I grimaced as my migraine continued torturing me.
Stupid pills can't work any faster.
"You look like shit."
"Can't wait for me to get out of here and leave you alone huh?"
I gave him a slight nod and he eyed me for a moment before shaking his head and standing up to leave.
"I don't want to say it but you're forcing me here dude," he mumbled offhandedly as he strode to the door.
"I didn't force you, just keep your mouth shut."
"You love her Kieran Knight. Stop thinking you can't love her just because you've dipped your feet into the dark side. Even a villain has a heart."
"Ironic how you're the one to give me such advice."
"Believe it or not, I'm the only one who has the balls to tell you. I'll relieve Lucy the pain of hearing such harsh words from the boy she's cared for since he was a kid."
I fucking hate Scott.
I gritted my teeth, I needed to shoot something or I'll implode, "How's Connor?"
"Being a pain in the ass as usual. Why do you care? Are you worried that he'll look for her?"
"Will it kill you to stop mentioning her?"
"Well if it makes you feel any better, would you want me to go check on her? I mean, I am counted as her friend."
I glared at him, "You met her once you prick."
"Caveman-Kieran-possessive. Do-you-want-pretty-girl-Caveman-Kieran?" He mocked me with a cartoonish accent.
I ignored him and started opening my emails, anything to distract me from the fire in my veins.
"Nice ring by the way, suits you," he commented and slammed the door shut as he left.
I rubbed my forehead to ease the headache when I heard another knock on my door.
Lucy peered in, her expression grave, "You're needed immediately."
- Alina -
Four weeks have passed since our agreement ended. Four weeks of having Kieran’s face in my mind every day, every hour, every occasional minute.
Four weeks since the ache in my heart started and burned in me, refusing to let me go of its torturous ways.
He stuck to his word like he always has, never coming back to interrupt my life or even appear in front of me.
I’m alive but dying on the inside.
Work has been my constant. The meetings, proposals and clients have been pushing me to the brink of snapping. But I won’t, I enjoy it in some way. Keeping my mind off my emotions and off a certain someone.
“Wilson is on the phone, Miss Simmons. Line 1,” Louis rang through my intercom and my heart stalled.
Wilson never calls the office unless there’s an emergency.
My hand flew to the phone and pushed ‘1’, “Where’s dad?”
Wilson cleared his throat, “Mr Simmons is in the hospital, things don’t look good.”
Louis led me to the car quickly and he drove off without another word. My expression must’ve been ghastly.
Doctors and nurses were in his private ward, Louis held me back from rushing in as they worked. My mind was spinning, my heart was racing and worry spread through my body.
Wilson came up to us and placed a hand on my shoulder, his face was distraught, "He was looking through your family's photo albums when he started having difficulty breathing. When he arrived at the hospital, his attending doctor said he won't last the rest of the day."
My knees shook, "What are they doing now?"
"Keeping him in check, making sure he's as comfortable as possible."
My legs gave out on me but a strong arm caught me and I was held against his broad chest. His cologne wafted into my space and I knew immediately it was Kieran.
But it didn't settle the immense sadness and loss I felt.
Kieran spoke with Wilson but I didn't catch on to a single thing they said. My grip on Kieran's lapels was the only thing keeping me conscious.
"I want to see him," I whispered.
Wilson continued talking but Kieran bent his head down to listen to me, "What was that?"
"I want to see my dad, please," my voice came out soft and frail even to my ears.
Kieran held me by his side and took me into the ward, the two doctors and many nurses left the room to give us some privacy.
My dad looked used, spent. His wrinkles were more prominent and he seemed weaker than ever.
Kieran sat me down on a seat and I took my father's hand in mine. His eyes seemed glazed over as he looked at me, "Linda?"
My heart cracked painfully, "Dad it's me, Alina."
A wobbly smile appeared on his face, "Ah Alina, I'm sorry my dear. You look so much like your mother sometimes. I thought I was gone already."
"Fucking hell dad don't joke like that," I sniffed, tears blurred my vision and I wanted to break down right there.
He squeezed my hand and I leaned down for him to plant a kiss on my forehead, "Good Lord, even on my deathbed you're swearing."
"If I don't swear then I'm no longer your daughter."
"You sound exactly like your mother. I wonder what she will say to me when I meet her again."
"She'll be pissed that you made her wait that long to see you again. But it doesn't matter, I'm glad I had you with me and I want you to stay."
He chuckled breathlessly and brushed my hair, his eyes looking elsewhere, no longer focusing, "I bet she'll be as beautiful as she's always been."
My heart wrenched, "She will be."
He sighed, closing his eyes a few seconds at a time, "I'm so tired sweetheart, keep talking to me will you?"
I closed my eyes and let the tears stream down before looking at him again, "I love you dad."
A single tear made its way down his face and he patted my hand, "I love you too Alina."
- Kieran -
The moment Alexander's last breath was taken, Alina didn’t shed another tear. Not a single one.
Her face seemed frozen in time, with disbelief plastered on. She held on to me like I was the only beacon of light in her dark forest and I noted the irony in the whole situation.
A dark, heartless man like me, was a light to this woman.
The funeral went as planned and I stayed close to Alina’s side as I told her father I would. I would try at least.
We were in the car to go back to her place after the funeral service ended. I placed her on my lap in the backseat of the car, patting her back as she hugged me like a baby koala. Wilson drove in silence and Alina tightened her grip on me.
“You don’t have to stay with me, I’ll be fine,” she whispered hoarsely.
“I know, I just want to hold you.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
She sighed and rested her head on my chest, closing her swollen eyes, “Thank you.”
I felt my heart beat again.
We arrived at her mansion and I carried her out, her head tucked into my neck as she slept. I placed her on her bed and pulled the covers over her, caressing her cheeks before planting a kiss on her forehead.
Something was stirring inside me, a familiar need that I had felt from Hawaii. The need to protect and care for this woman.
Was I ready to make the commitment?
I had Alina checked on. Since our agreement ended, it meant that I could find out more about her. Scott found out that Alina’s mother died in the hands of the mafia due to an external dealing which ended in a shootout. It explained why Alina was so angry with Connor when she found out he was involved in a gang and why she was so protective of her father. She went as far as to hide her father from the public eye, not wanting anyone to know what was going on with him and his accident.
Would I bring danger to her then?
I didn’t dabble in illegal matters or the mafia much. But there were the occasional enemies we made through the PI agency and they would sometimes look for me at my Insurance Firm. Stupid gangs were getting smarter and sharper each day, somehow finding out who I was and where to find me.
Would Alina even want to be with me once she found out about it?
I went downstairs and Wilson stood by the door, a grim look on his face, “Can I get you a taxi Sir?”
“Can I have some whiskey instead? It’s been a long day.”
He nodded and went to grab a bottle of alcohol from the cupboard with two rocks glasses. He set it down on the table and poured two fingers of whiskey into each cup. He handed one to me and we tapped each other’s glasses before drinking.
It soothed my nerves and migraine significantly.
“Will you be staying?” He asked and I shrugged.
“I don't think so, I don’t want to be kicked out of here like Connor.”
He chuckled, “Yeah that’s true, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.”
I drank some more, “Do you think she’ll blow her top if I’m related to some mafia stuff?”
His eyes widened slightly but he swallowed the liquid in his mouth, “That depends I guess. She was very firm about not getting involved in gangs because of her parents. Are you involved in such matters though?”
“Not exactly, some gangs use our PI services. I don’t get into contact with them much but when I do, it's only because they sought me out first. And then I let them deal with the authorities.”
"I don't care how it's dealt with Mr Knight, it is still very dangerous. You're playing with fire. Can you take care of Alina? Under such circumstances, if one day something were to happen, do you think you can protect her?”
I poured more whiskey into my glass and gave him a sad smile.
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?