Page 17 of The Good Bad Man

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My feet move toward the sound of Kane’s voice. I see one of his men lingering in the entryway by the elevator. Does Kane still think I might make a run for it? The man quickly turns to face the wall as I approach, finding it rather interesting.

Yes, I wanted to go home with Kane, but even if I hadn’t, there wasn’t a chance in hell I would have told the police anything. I think that might have been a poke too far. I’m honestly not sure what would have happened to me if I had. A place deep inside of me longs to believe Kane would never hurt me, but I know in the end, men always choose themselves.

I pause when I see Kane’s office doors closed, another shout coming from inside it. I never go into his office. A few times, the door has been shut, but more often than not, he leaves it open a sliver.

“Is there something you need, Laurel?” Ned asks me. The man can really pop out of nowhere night or day. He’s never far.

“Is everything okay?”

“Of course.” I jerk my head back toward the closed doors when more shouts ensue. It sure doesn’t sound okay.

“He doesn’t usually yell,” I mutter, thinking back to all the times I’ve provoked Kane. No, his tone is enough to cut right through someone and make them piss their pants. “Does he?” Maybe he gets riled up outside of the house, but I hadn’t heard shouts coming from his office before. I have seen people run from it as if their asses were on fire, though.

“Not typically.” He’d been so calm when the detectives showed up here. Eerily so. That same calmness stayed when he’d brought me back to the house and into his bed. I think I wanted him to be livid for some reason. I might be getting what I wanted. Only he’s hiding it from me.

“So everything isn’t okay,” I rebuff.

“Mr. Santino is doing a few things differently as of recently.” I study Ned, reading between the lines.

“Has he been doing them differently since I got here?”

“Possibly.” Ned is actually my favorite of all the people that work for Kane. Constantine is a close second. Ned has a dry sense of humor that can peek out at times. Most everyone else pretends to not see me. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. I hadn’t found myself wanting to talk to them, but it stung when some acted as if I didn’t exist.

I raise my hand and knock on the door.

“Wait.” Ned lunges to grab one of the handles of the double doors. I think he’s trying to stop me, but he starts to pull it open instead.

“I said I was not to be disturbed unless—” Kane stops speaking when he sees me. Sham, Luca, and a few other men along with Mara are in his office. Mara smirks at me.

“What are you doing?” His eyes narrow on me. My face flushes at being scolded. Kane’s anger is now directed right at me. Everyone turns their attention back to Kane except Luca. He’s the one person that doesn’t avoid stealing glances my way. I always get this sense from him that he wants to say something to me but holds it back.

It’s on the tip of my tongue to give him a smartass comment, but with Kane in his office with all his people around him, I don’t think this is the time. Besides, a slash of sadness fills me being on this side of his cold, deadly anger.

I’m not sure what I thought I was going to get after our moment in bed and his claim to me. Kane might have been possessive and greedy with me, but there was this undertone of sweetness, I thought. Then again, there were no words of love. No, it was only possession. I was obviously mixing the two up, having been starved of affection for so long I made myself believe it was more than it was.

I’m his favorite toy that isn’t where it’s supposed to be—in his bed where he’d left it. Sure, he promised that my life here would be beautiful and plush, and I’d never want for anything. I don’t know if Kane realizes people want more than beautiful things. Well, I do anyway.

“Nothing.” I step back and close the door, almost tripping over the sheet I have wrapped around me in the process. It’s giant, having been on his king-size bed until I made a dress out of it. Ned grabs my arm to make sure I don’t land on my ass.

“Don’t get me in trouble next.” He lets go of my arm when he knows I have my footing.

“Thanks.” I spin, half running toward the bedroom.

What is wrong with me? I know who Kane Santino is. I’ve heard the stories. I was letting my mind make up fairy tales about the man. A man that I’ve only ever heard nightmares about. I should know better. His name doesn’t haunt the streets of our city for no reason. He owns them.

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