When we stopped again, it was in the basement parking lot of a hotel.
Vehicles surrounded us, and I was stunned that Kai had let us get so close to others. The guards stood around us. Kai stepped to the side and talked to one of them before the man nodded and left us, hurrying across the lot.
A door closed in the distance.
We could hear conversation, a laugh, a baby crying.
“We’re in Kelowna.”
I didn’t know what surprised me more, that we were in a small city a few hours from Vancouver, that Kai had told me, or that Blade had sent us here.
I only said, “Oh.”
Kai eyed me again, his eyebrows up. “You’re not surprised? You expected this?”
I shot him a look. “I thought you were better at this than I could ever be?”
He grinned. “I am, and you seem confused. I’m wondering why.”
I shrugged. “Maybe I’m just surprised you told me where we are.”
He laughed. “Maybe I’m lying, checking to see if you’d be surprised at our location.”
The guard was returning, hurrying with a hotel worker alongside him.
Kai glanced over and saw them, but turned back to me. He ducked his head down, stepping close, and everyone else was pushed aside. It was just the two of us.
“I thought you’d be happy to be returned to your friend.”
I flushed, but it was an angry flush. I was heated all over. “I would be happy, if that were the case. If it is, you get your sister, the sister who ran from you. And maybe I don’t trust you, and I don’t believe you’ll hand me over when and if everything works out.” My eyes narrowed. “Maybe I don’t believe a word you say.”
He was silent, observing me.
I had a feeling he was considering my words, sifting through them.
And then I knew he had been, because he said, “I don’t believe you.”
“What a surprise.” I sneered.
He stepped even closer, softening his tone. I could feel the heat from his body. “You have claimed over and over that you don’t know where my sister is. That’s what I don’t believe. You do know where she is.” He stepped back, and when he spoke again, tone matched his gaze, both suddenly cold and calculating. “My sister isn’t here, but it’ll be fun to find out how your friend thinks he can fool me.”
With that, he turned and started forward.
I was stunned enough that I didn’t move, and a guard had to grab my arm and guide me forward.
I almost stumbled over my feet, but I couldn’t go there. I couldn’t think about Brooke, or Blade, or what was going to happen next. If I did, I was going to do something to get myself killed. And I couldn’t do that. Not yet.
I had people to live for. I had a mission to live for.
Pay attention! I heard Blade reprimand me in my head.
He was right, or my training was right.
I had to take note of what we were doing, always. I had to remember everything.
We went to a back elevator, in a back hallway. It was the cargo elevator, the one the workers used for food and laundry and who knew what else. It took us to the top floor, and the hotel worker seemed nervous. She dropped the key card twice before the guard used it instead.
The doors opened.
We stepped out to a small hallway, turned immediately to the left, and another door opened for us.
It was the penthouse. Or so I assumed because it was grand enough to overlook the bay behind the hotel.
It had a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and there were three rooms just off the main one. Three bedrooms.
I knew, without looking, without asking, that Kai Bennett had rented the entire floor. He wouldn’t let his privacy or security be challenged by having outsiders so close.
The worker spoke to him as I walked to the window, looking out over the pool and water beyond. She was still nervous, but there was also a hitch in her voice. She wanted to impress him. She would’ve slept with him. I heard that too in her voice. She was offering her body, and when he didn’t reply, but his guard did, it was a rejection.
Why I cared was beyond me.
It just made me burn even more with hatred. I hated Kai Bennett.
He could fuck whoever he wanted.
The worker said her goodbyes, adding that if we needed anything, her number was on her card. She was the manager, I realized, but it didn’t matter. She still wanted Kai, not even noticing there was a female in his presence being kept there against her will.
Maybe that was on me? Maybe I should’ve made it more apparent, but chancing a look at Kai where he stood a few feet away, I knew it wouldn’t have mattered.
Power oozed out of him. I could’ve told her I’d been kidnapped, and he would’ve just laughed, saying I was making a joke, and she would’ve believed him. He could’ve said I was sick. I was bipolar. I was off my meds. Anything, and she would’ve believed him.
The door shut behind her.
Kai nodded to his guards, and they all dispersed as well.
I didn’t look. I knew a handful would stand guard outside our door. They would all take their turns, and the rest would either sleep in the other rooms or relax.
For all the badness in him, Kai treated his guards well.
He spoke from behind me. He was close, but I didn’t know how close. I didn’t look to see. “You can have the room on the right.”
I could’ve baited him, said something about not trusting me, not making me sleep with him, but I didn’t. I bit my tongue, and I felt him leave the room. The other bedroom door closed.
I still remained. A full minute, maybe more. My eyes were blinded, with emotion or tears, I didn’t know.
I felt trapped.
And… I wasn’t sure the exact reason for either of those emotions, because under both of them was another one, one I didn’t want to feel at all.
Instead of naming it, I turned for my room.
I stopped short in the doorway. He’d given me the bigger of the two rooms. This was the master suite, with a king-sized bed in the middle of the room and an ensuite bathroom—glass-walled shower, clawfoot bathtub, two sinks.
I turned and found that yes, there was a balcony, but as I moved toward it, my heart sank. Like the one at the house, it was at least thirty floors up.
There was no pool underneath, just the edge of a golf course. Two golf carts drove by down below, and I noticed Kai sitting on his balcony. He watched me, seeming almost curious as to what I would do.
“You’re not worried I’ll climb down?”
He frowned, just slightly. “Why would you, if I’m going to return you to your friend soon?”
He had me there.
The side of his mouth tugged up. “Unless you think, like I do, that your friend is lying to us?”
I straightened, my head rising. I grabbed the railing and my hands curled around it, tightening enough so my knuckles stretched.
“Blade wouldn’t lie.”
Not even a blink. “I would, for the woman I loved. There’s nothing I won’t do to get my sister back.” A glimmer of a smile showed. “So yes, your friend would lie. For you.”
I felt a punch from his words. Good or bad, I didn’t know, but I felt it. I loosened my hold on the railing.
He stood, nodding toward the view. “Climb down, if you want. I’ll just find you again.” Goddamn him. He smirked now. “There’s nowhere you can hide from me. And you know it.” He turned to go inside, but said over his shoulder, “Sleep, Riley. You need some rest. We meet your friend in two hours.”
My arms were suddenly shaking. I smoothed a hand over my stomach, trying to calm myself, but it was pointless.
I had two hours, until what?
Blade wasn’t a liar. I knew him, but Kai was right. Blade might not lie, but he would set a trap. He would choose his words carefully, and I didn’t have a good feeling about whatever was going to happen in two hours.
I just didn’t know what I could do about it.
? ? ?
Two hours later, I hadn’t slept.
How could I?
Something was going to happen, and it was going to be very bad. I felt it in my gut. When I heard Kai open his door across the suite, I sat up in my bed. I felt him coming toward me, literally felt him. There were no sounds. No warning, just a trickle of energy that spread over my body. I stood, crossing to the door just as I knew he was on the other side.
Holding my breath, I could hear my pulse pounding in my eardrums. After a moment I heard his voice. Quiet, a tender whisper. “Riley.”
It wasn’t a question, as if he were wondering if I was asleep and didn’t want to wake me. It was a statement, resigned.
He knew I was standing a few inches from the door as well.
Reaching out, not saying a word, I turned the handle, and there he was. He was suddenly so close. His presence was overwhelming. I felt him sliding inside of me, taking over, and I gulped because my body responded to him, to his closeness.
He had a hold of me, whether I wanted him to or not. I couldn’t deny it any longer.
Biting my lip, and feeling fucking parched, I asked, “It’s time to go?”