Page 10 of The Good Bad Man

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“The feeling is mutual, little bird.” My breath catches when he lifts his hand and runs his finger down my jaw. “Don’t be long, or I’ll come and get you.” He drops his hand, turning to leave the bathroom but doesn’t close the door behind him. I stand there frozen for a second before I grab the pile of clothes and head toward the massive shower.

I turn the shower on, then drop my robe before stepping inside. With the sound of the water giving me coverage, I let myself cry. A whirl of emotions I don’t understand flood from deep inside of me. They’re almost as consuming as Kane.




Ned meets me at my office door. “I heard back from Bjornsson.”

“Based on the tight expression on your face, I’m not going to like what he has to say.”

Ned’s mouth flattens further. “He has no information for you. He says, and I quote, ‘I’m not starving this girl just because she won’t snitch on her friend. Find a different source.’”

I walk into my office and call Bjornsson. “Since when are you squeamish about extracting intel from a female?”

“If you’re okay with torturing her, I’ll send her back.”

Now we’re just playing chicken. I call his bluff. “A car will be at your door in fifteen.”

There’s a pause and then, “Do it and your driver gets returned in a body bag.” He hangs up.

I stare at my phone in surprise. A week ago, maybe I would’ve driven over myself, but since I have a girl stashed in my home that I can’t bring myself to hurt, I have some sympathy for Bjornsson. “Old man, we’re getting soft,” I mutter. I turn to Ned. “Are we ready for the demo today?”

“Yes, it’s all set.”

“I’ll be down in the garage in fifteen.”

When I leave my office, I find Laurel struggling around the kitchen, hobbling like a baby chick with one working leg. I grab the milk container that she’s about to spill and set it on the table. “What are you doing?”

“Eating or trying to. Why don’t you have cereal?”

“Because food is prepared by the chef.” I point to the telephone. “I told you this the other day.”

She wrinkles her nose and it makes her look cute enough to eat. And I’m not the type of man to find things cute. “I thought that was for the one day. You don’t cook? You have eggs in your refrigerator.”

“I can make a few things,” I admit grudgingly. “But we don’t have time for that. We have an appointment to make.”

She glances down at her sweatpants and one of my workout hoodies. “I’m not really dressed to go outside.”

“No one will be taking photos.”

“You’re wearing a suit.”

“It’s my uniform.” I pick her up in my arms.

“Wait. I can walk.”

“Not fast enough.” I stop at the elevators. “Press the down button.”

She reaches down and slaps the button. “You can’t carry me everywhere.”

“I can if I want.” She fits in my arms. I’ve never held a woman before, never wanted to, but she fits. I like it—maybe too much. A frown creases my forehead, and abruptly I lower her to her feet. “Here. Hold on to the bar.” I wrap her hand around the brass railing and move to the side.

A flash of hurt winks across her face. I pretend not to notice. The elevator arrives at the garage, and I escort her into the back of a black SUV, which takes off as soon as the door is closed.

“Where are we going?” she asks, her voice quieter and not as full of spirit as earlier. I don’t like it when she’s timid. It makes me feel like a monster.

I frown harder. I am a monster, and it’s good that people view me as one. That’s what keeps the wolves at bay. I don’t want her at bay.

“If you frown like that all the time, the lines become permanent.”

I swing my head around to scowl at Laurel. “What would be wrong with that?”

This time, she’s not timid. It’s as if she’s made up her mind to not be cowed. “My mom said it when I was a child. She said I was too sad for my age.”

My heart squeezes. Another abnormal feeling. “Why were you sad?”

She makes a face. “If you had a dad like mine, wouldn’t you be sad too?”

“What happened to your mom? Did your dad kill her?”

“No. I suppose that’s the one thing he didn’t do. He loved her, and when she died of cancer at forty, he had no reason to be kind anymore. Plus, she wasn’t around to make sure that I wasn’t out whoring around.”

“A real prince. I should’ve killed him.”

“You didn’t kill him?” Her eyes widen. “I thought—”

“I only needed him to sell his building and he agreed. Killing people creates a lot of problems that I avoid if necessary.” The SUV stops. It was Sham that alerted me that he was still alive.

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