Page 8 of The Good Bad Man

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“How did you know to come here?” I counter.

“The guy wearing the black suit at Laurel’s dad’s shop told me that Kane Santino owned the place now, which I know isn’t true because Laurel’s dad would never sell to you. He said he’d rather eat his own toes then give you the satisfaction of building whatever it is you’re going to build there.”

“Eat his own toes. Interesting. I didn’t know that was an option.” I press the elevator call button, and the doors open. “You’ve satisfied your curiosity, so you may leave now.”

“I’m not leaving until I see Laurel,” the girl says with an obstinate jut of her chin.

With one finger pressed to the elevator call button, I flick a number on my phone. “Constantine. I have trash in the foyer. Please take care of it.”

Seconds later, my butler appears. He’s not your standard butler. He’s a former Marine, built like a brick shit house and can deadlift nearly a thousand pounds. One tiny girl is no match for him. He has her off her feet and into the car of the elevator before she can take enough breath to scream.

I give her a jaunty salute. “Thanks for the visit and the information.”

As the elevator doors closed, I’m treated to a vision of her struggling in Constantine’s arms. I call down to Ned. “Extract as much information from the girl as possible and report back to me.”

“Are there limits?”

“No killing. No visible bruising. She’ll probably report us to the police, so have her sent over to Bjornsson. Tell him she’s a gift from me and that it’d be nice if he could keep her.”

“On it.”

With that, I decide that I’ve spent enough time away from Laurel. Besides, I have her name now. She can share the rest when she’s ready.



Fear grips me, wrapping around my throat in a tight hold. I try to scream, but nothing comes out at first. Finally, it rips free, my eyes flying open to darkness.

“Don’t move.” Firm hands grip my shoulders, pinning me to the bed. I hear the sound of a door opening and light suddenly floods the room. I close my eyes again. “I said no one enters unless called for,” Kane shouts at someone. His voice is easily recognizable. The firmness it always holds often makes me almost want to do what he orders out of a knee-jerk reaction. He doesn’t demand anything. Kane commands it.

“Sorry, sir,” someone says before I hear the squeak of a door closing. Slowly I open my eyes, allowing them to adjust to the light. As they do, my gaze meets Kane’s. I always think his eyes are darker than they really are, but I’m wrong every time.

“Are you going to let go?” My voice cracks. I hate when I have nightmares. Even my dreams are out of my control.

“I didn’t want you to jump up and rip a stitch.” His fingers flex against my skin. Kane’s hold doesn’t hurt, but it’s firm, letting me know that I’m not going anywhere unless he allows it.

“Are you suddenly my knight in shining armor?” I smirk, trying to annoy him.

“Little bird.” I think it’s supposed to be a warning, but he lets out a long sigh before releasing me from his hold. I should know better. This is a man that’s used to dealing with some of the baddest men and coming out on top. My small jabs don't faze him.

Kane shifts back to the other side of the bed. My eyes follow him as he gets up. Had he been lying next to me in bed on top of the covers? He still has his slacks on, and his sleeves of his buttoned-up shirt are rolled up. His clothes definitely looked wrinkled, as if he were lying down for a while.

Normally when I woke, he was in the chair working on his laptop. I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. It’s been a cycle of eating and sleeping for the most part. The pills always make me a bit loopy and knock me out. The days are fuzzy and blend together. I know I’ve had a handful of meals.

It’s then I realize I’m in a robe. That’s right. He’d given it to me after he carried me upstairs to the bathroom that first day. He told me to remove my clothes and put it on. I was about to challenge him, but he said he’d do it for me if he had to before he turned, giving me his back.

I’d done it and had been rewarded with the best non-shower I’ve ever had. He gently stroked me, washing away any dirt from my body with a cloth. I never would have thought a man like him could be so gentle. It was oddly sweet. Come to think of it, all of his actions toward me have been that way. Well, all of them except for the kidnapping one. The only thing that could hold a bite at times were his words.

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