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Chapter Eleven


The sheriff headed inside the resort first, speaking with the clerk at reception along with the security staff who appeared more like rent a cops than anything else. They were worthless and should have been fired.

Assuming she was in the suite, they were on the first floor, just down the hallway, but the clerk hadn’t seen anyone matching either of their descriptions come through the front door.

That didn’t mean anything. There were numerous entrances and exits for the resort.

If Ben was here, he wouldn’t have waltzed in through the front door bringing an unconscious woman with him. It would have aroused suspicion.

Ben may have been a first-class asshole, but I doubted that he was a complete idiot.

Did he have a plan?

Did he intend to kidnap Ariella, force her to marry him again, or change her mind and win her back?

My stomach somersaulted at the thought of Ben putting his hands anywhere on her.

I’d kill him if he hurt her.

She was mine.

I should have protected her, kept an eye on her. It was no secret Ben had made it known that he was coming to find her. I just didn’t have the slightest notion what it had meant.

Guilt swept over me.

I could have stopped this before it ever started.

I should have put a security detail on Ariella.

Though she’d have killed me if she’d have ever found out, it would have been worth her anger toward me, knowing that she’d have been safe.

Officers rushed guests back into their rooms as SWAT barreled down the hotel room door and busted inside.

I followed a few feet behind them, catching sight of Ariella tied up on the bed, her face bruised and cheek bloody. Her shirt was torn, her red lacy bra exposed.

I untied her hands and she pulled her shirt closed, bunched together in her hands.

SWAT and the accompanying officers cleared the scene.

A broken window beside the bed held a trace of blood.

The curtain blew with the wind.

“He knew you were coming,” Ariella whispered, her bottom lip trembled. “It isn’t over.”

* * *

Declan picked up Izzie from daycare.

It was late by the time we finished up for the night and headed home.

Ariella had to give her statement to the sheriff, and then we had to get a ride back to the lot to pick up my truck. She handed me the keys, but I kept hers.

I wasn’t letting her drive back to the house. We’d drive into work tomorrow if she was up for it.

The sun began to go down beyond the horizon, but it wasn’t dark yet.

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