The Insiders

Page 37

“I meant Mr. Francis.” A pause. “Sir.”

“You’ll tell him I have her, and escort him to his own place.”

“And when he asks where you’re taking her?”

Kash stopped again, rounding with a snap. “Excuse me?”

The guard sounded apologetic. “You know he’ll ask, sir. He’ll come around to look for her too.”

Kash’s voice rumbled from his chest, and he started forward again. “Tell him I have her and I’m taking her back to the estate.”

“And are you?”

Kash stopped and pivoted back once again.

The guard added, “Sir.”

“How the hell is that any of your business?”

He waited.

No answer.

I lifted my head up. The two were in a stare-off. The guard took me in, and his features tightened. He dropped his face, saying, “She’s cared for, sir. By others now.”

“Fucking hell.” Kash’s arms tightened under me, his hand digging into my thigh. “You’ll relay my message to Mr. Francis, then you’re relieved for the night, Helms. Don’t come to work for three days. You and I will have a meeting before you’re back on duty. Or, I swear to God, I will drop you right now.”

I frowned. My head was pounding. I didn’t understand the animosity, but Helms dipped his head in an abrupt nod. “Yes, sir.” One step back, his eyes flicked up to mine, and he was swallowed up by the crowd. He had stood out before, following me from the upper level. Now he hid.

“What was that about?” I tried to ask. My tongue was heavy, and I mumbled out two of the words to sound like “Whahsssthadabout?”

Kash shifted his hold on me, lifting me higher so he was back to holding me up with only one arm. He said, roughly, “Nothing. Lay your head back. We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“This way, Mr. Colello.” That same female from before.

I saw it was the girl who had given me the free drink. She was extending her hand toward a back hallway, a clipboard in hand, an earpiece in place. She met my gaze for a second, swallowing, and looked away.

All these people clambered under Kash. No one had spoken against him, no one—until tonight, and he got suspended from his job for three days.

A shiver went through me.

Feeling my reaction, Kash was moving down the hallway, but he turned so his eyes could catch mine. His face was right there. One move and our lips would touch. One brush. He frowned, his eyes dipping down to my lips, staying there.

“This way, Mr. Colello.” The same girl. She slipped past us, opening another door.

No one was down here, until we turned into the second hallway. Voices echoed across from us. We were in a kitchen area. Kash was following her, walking us through a maze of hallways and doors.

He held me until she opened the last door, a cool breeze from the night greeting us.

“Mr. Colello.”

“Mr. Colello.”

Two voices greeted us, both male.

A door was opened. Kash ducked, holding me, and placed me in a backseat. He shifted me over so I was in the middle before he climbed in next to me. The employee had followed us, and she waited off to the side.

Kash dug into his pocket and pulled out some money. He held it out. “Thank you for your discretion.”

“Of course, sir.” She stepped forward, took the money, and her eyes slid to mine again. “Feel better, miss.”

I sank down onto the seat, my body molding to it, and my eyelids were closing again. Quinn’s rejection. The drinks. The shock of Kash showing up.

I wanted to sleep for days.

The door still hadn’t shut, and Kash was saying something short and clipped to the woman. She dipped her head down, stepping back. “I’ll see to it myself.” Then she was gone, going back into the club. The back door was shut. A front door opened. A driver got in, and we were off. There was a car in front of us. As it turned, we turned. As it slowed, we slowed. There were other guards in there, or so I was assuming.

Kash waited a beat before turning to me. He took one look, and all the tension lifted from him as well. He reached for me at the same time I went to him, climbing into his lap.

I had missed him. I mean, I hadn’t missed him.

I was letting him hold me. Yeah. I was doing him a favor.

It wasn’t long, maybe twelve minutes or so, until we pulled into a basement garage of an apartment building. When the SUV stopped in front of some elevators, Kash nudged me. “Bailey?”

His arms felt so warm, so strong. Sheltered and protected. That’s what I felt, along with a whole host of butterflies and tingles that I knew I shouldn’t be feeling. My blood was on a slow boil, getting warmer and warmer the longer I stayed in his lap. It was so hard, my eyelids felt like a pound of cement were on them, but I forced them open and tipped my head back to look at him.

Then I paused.


Beautiful. Dangerous. Mysterious. And I was in his arms.

My tongue swelled up. A whole host of sensations were sending my body on vibrate. Gone was the exhaustion, in that mere look, as his eyes were smoldering down at me. I felt zapped, as if he had touched my chest and gave me an electric jolt.

I was breathless too.

Unthinking, unable to think, my hand raised, and I touched his cheek. “You’re back.”

He stilled, blinking a second, then a slow grin spread—and holy hell. That smile, in that moment, in the way he was looking at me, holding me, and my heart was stampeding out of my chest. My whole blood just wooshed over itself, a wave crashing hard on me, and I was sputtering in its wake, in his wake.

I wanted him.

“I came back.”

The world went away.

It was only Kash and me, and his eyes went to my lips, holding there. I was yearning for it, for him. I wanted to feel his mouth on mine. I wanted to feel more, so much more, but his mouth first and foremost.

I was lifting up.

He was leaning down—

His phone started ringing.

Just like that, the spell was broken.

Kash’s entire body turned into a cement block. He drew in a sharp breath before turning his head away from mine. He warned, darkly, “Someone needs to be in the hospital or a body bag, otherwise I’m going to be putting them in the hospital or a body bag myself.”

An awkward cough as we waited. Then, “It’s Mr. Francis. Matthew. Sir.”

“What is it?” Kash clipped out, a savage growl right behind it.

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