But I knew damn well that with Kill, I had to fight back if I wanted to earn his respect, his trust, and a place in his life.
He stared at me, cracking his fingers under the stirring wheel.
“You, my darling husband, kiss like a hungry Rottweiler.”
“You really need to work on your tongue-to-lips ratio. And you use way too much saliva.”
He continued staring at me, ridiculously unmoved.
C’mon. Feel something. Anything. Anger! Wrath! Disgust! I’m insulting you.
“I guess I can teach you.” I let out a sigh.
“Drop it, Persephone. In order to insult me, I’ll first have to value your opinion, and as established five minutes ago, I don’t value anything.”
“Never heard any complaints.”
“Of course you haven’t!” I got out of his car, slamming the door in his face. “You don’t pay them to grade you. Good night, hubs.”
Turning around, I walked away, feeling his eyes on me the entire time.
I entered my new golden cage, knowing full well that for all its gilded beauty, it was, after all, still a cage.
The three weeks after my wedding day were littered with almosts.
I almost called Persephone when the urge to go to Europe and satisfy my needs torched my blood. It was nothing short of a miracle I’d managed to take care of business in my shower with a hand propped over the mosaic tiles, rubbing one out like a crazed teenager.
I almost drove straight to her apartment when I spotted Sailor prancing around my office with her tiny baby bump, bringing Hunter lunch and finally looking like an expectant mother and not like a six-year-old scrawny boy who had an extra serving of Brussels sprouts.
I almost texted my wife when I saw a paparazzi picture of her in a local gossip column Devon had sent me in which she headed to a hot yoga class with her sister clad in tight yoga pants and a sports bra.
And I almost used her as a consolation prize this morning when I arrived at the office to find a billboard the size of a goddamn building—one that was directed to my office window—with my face on it, fake blood dripping from the corner of my mouth.
The #1 Western World Villain is here to kill the polar bears
And your planet.
Goddamn Andrew Arrowsmith.
Every time I was about to make a move, I remembered how she deliberately tried to anger me the night I dropped her off at her new apartment.
Everything about my wife was messy, annoying, and inconvenient. The worst part was that somehow the docile little creature had managed to put me at a spot of disadvantage.
In order to impregnate her, I needed to see her.
Which I very much didn’t want to do.
The ball was in my court, and I wanted to kick it across the world where I wouldn’t have to see or hear her. Where I wouldn’t have to taste her.
I was struggling to remember what made me agree to stay celibate.
I was even more puzzled by the fact I had kept my word.
With a trip to my mistresses firmly off the table, I drowned myself in work while trying to think of loopholes of how to impregnate her without touching her. She and I had very different ideas of what sex should entail, and tarnishing her with my filthy hands and mind was not something I was willing to entertain.
My phone danced across my office desk.
“Devon.” I hit the speaker button. “To what do I owe the displeasure?”
“I’d say to being a world-class cunt and collecting enemies around the globe like they were Royal Mail stamps.”
“I pissed someone off,” I concluded.
“You’ll need to specify.”
“Look out your window.”
“Already did. Not my best picture, but I just redirected three mill to PR and advertising to buy this spot—and all the others in the city—and replace it the moment Andrew’s lease is done with positive ads.”
“The sodding billboard is nothing. Your old mate, Andrew Arrowsmith, went for a grander gesture to profess his hate for you. Look down.”
I sauntered to my floor-to-ceiling window. There was a demonstration outside the Royal Pipelines’ building.
No. Not a demonstration. Complete chaos, consisting of hundreds of activists waving Green Living flags and holding Strike for the Climate signs and giant cardboard prints of the melting Arctic.
Some of them marched with enlarged printouts of penguins standing on melting icebergs, starving polar bears with ribs poking out of their fur, and various dead oceanic animals smeared in oil.
I took a deep breath. I knew my pulse would stay in control. It always did.
“How did I not know about this?”
“It’s a spontaneous demonstration. They didn’t clear it with the police. It’ll disperse in the next hour or so. I already made some calls.”
“And where is Arrowsmith?” I gritted out.
“Town hall.” The soft click of Devon’s smart shoes told me he was walking somewhere and fast. “He’s filing a public lawsuit against Royal Pipelines for drilling exploratory wells in the Arctic. He wants them shut down.”
“How worried am I?” I grabbed my laptop, getting ready to go down to the fourth floor and rip my legal team a new one for not smelling this from a hundred-mile radius.
“Considerably. You own the land, but Andrew is suggesting some amendments to international laws,” Devon admitted. “What’s your game plan?”
“Make him lose his pants by prolonging the trial until Green Living won’t be able to afford a package of lettuce,” I said right off the bat.
“That’d stall him, not stop him.” Devon sounded thoughtful. “I’m on my way. Meet me on the fourth floor.”
I stormed out of my office, passing a desperate Casey, who flailed on her heels, trying to chase me down to figure out what I wanted for lunch.
Andrew’s head on a platter.
“Kill?” Devon asked on the other line as I punched the elevator. “Arrowsmith made a bloody good move. We might need to negotiate.”
“I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Besides, I knew Andrew didn’t give two damns about the polar bears or fluffy snow foxes. If anything, he must’ve known drilling the Arctic wasn’t half as dirty and controversial as hydraulic fracking, also known as Royal Pipelines’ method of choice until I came into the picture.