The Villain

Page 38

He was after the Fitzpatricks.

Me, specifically.

Unfortunately for him, I had two rules:

I never shied away from a good, gory war.

I always won.

After an urgent meeting that bled into late afternoon, I took the elevator back to the management floor.

Devon and my entire legal team had advised me to bide my time, stay silent, then release a public statement in a few weeks’ time, indicating Royal Pipelines would cease its exploration in Arctic water due to insufficient quantities of petroleum.

In other words, I was asked to retreat and wave the white flag on the grounds that going to war made my knees look bloated as opposed to because I was afraid of losing to Andrew Arrowsmith.

Little did they know, I never lost.

I wasn’t angry or unruffled, but I definitely wasn’t in a giving mood. Just because I didn’t feel didn’t mean I was immune to a bad temper. Andrew was trying to screw me over, and I did not appreciate the way he went about it.

I sauntered past Hunter’s glass office, pausing when I realized he had company.

Sailor sat on his desk, throwing her head back and laughing. Emmabelle was there, too, in heels more fitted for a drag show and a red leather skirt. She probably frequented the same shops as Ms. Brandt.

Then there was my wife.

Persephone wore a designer black chiffon dress with silver stars, swinging a new pair of Gucci boots as she sat on the edge of Hunter’s desk, sucking on a lollipop.

She moved like a siren gliding out of the water. Healthy, radiating, and happy. At least a few pounds heavier than she was at our wedding. The extra weight gave her curves and arches that would make the Pope’s mouth water.

My wife was glowing, content, and gorgeous.

And it made me want to strangle her.

She was living the life while I picked up the tab. New apartment, new wardrobe, cleaners, and meal kit services, plus a full staff waiting for her to snap her fingers and tell them what to do. She still hadn’t fulfilled her part of our bargain.

I got a raw deal, and if there was one thing I wasn’t—it was a bad businessman.

Smoothing a hand over my waistcoat, I walked over to Hunter’s office and opened the door without knocking.

“Hey, bro.” Hunter looked up from something he showed the women on his phone, still smiling. “’Sup? You look like someone pissed in your soup.”

Ignoring him, I moved toward Persephone, who stiffened the minute I entered the room. I leaned down and kissed her cheek, watching the color rising on her porcelain-grained complexion.

“Kill,” she said, bizarrely surprised by bumping into me in my own office building. Was she expecting me to run my meetings at the local Chuck E. Cheese?

“How have you been?” I asked coolly.


I bet, sweetheart.

“May I have a word?”

She looked around us, hesitating as though I’d pounce on her. We both knew we had the opposite problem.

“Is the honeymoon phase over?” Sailor raised a ginger eyebrow. “Oh, that’s right. Kill didn’t take Persy on a honeymoon.”

“Don’t make me take off my earrings.” Belle stepped toward me, folding her arms. “Kill will get killed if he messes with my baby sister. I’ve already told him that.”

That’s right. Emmabelle paid me a visit shortly after news of my engagement to her sister broke. I still mourned the ten minutes I had to listen to her rambling.

First, she’d offered herself as a bride if I’d let her sister go. It had obviously been a test, meant to see if I’d wanted Persephone specifically, or any woman with a uterus and of good health. When I’d told Emmabelle my interest in touching her rivaled my desire to step on every piece of Lego in North America barefoot, she’d proceeded to make idle threats and flex her nonexistent biceps, bullying me with bodily harm.

I’d stared at her impatiently for the duration of her speech, then sent her back to where she came from.

However much I disliked both my sisters-in-law, they seemed completely unaware of what went on in my marriage, and that was good news. It meant that Persephone had kept her mouth shut. Sure, Hunter, Sam, and Devon were privy to the truth—I uttered it aloud in front of them that poker night—but they were my allies.

My wife hopped from Hunter’s desk, sticking the red lollipop back into her mouth.

“All right, hubs. Make it quick.”

I led her to my office, then continued into the private en suite, where the walls weren’t glass, and no one could see us.

I closed the door behind us, then fixed her with a look.

“What are you doing here?”

“Having lunch with friends.” She popped the sucker out of her mouth. The scent of watermelon filled the air, making my dick stir. “Having a good day, hubs?”

“Not particularly.”

“Yeah, I saw in the local news about the demonstration.” She scrunched her little nose, which I sincerely hoped my future kids were going to inherit. “That billboard up there isn’t your best angle, either.”

I stared at her, not sure why I called her in here. I had nothing to say to her. Yet the need to monopolize her time burned in me. I was the one who deserved her attention.

I got her out of trouble.

I paid for her newly indulgent lifestyle.

I was the one she should be spending time with.

You don’t want any of these things, you moron.

“What you’re doing in the Arctic is…” She put a hand to her chest.

“Terrible?” I finished for her with a smirk.


“Cry me a river.”

“You’ll probably find a way to pollute it, too.”

“A bit of loyalty wouldn’t kill you, Flower Girl. I’m your husband. Although that’s not saying much, considering you divorced the previous one without his consent.” I leaned over the granite wall, crossing my legs at the ankles.

Her eyes widened.

“Are you kidding me? You’re comparing my divorcing my runaway husband to what you’re doing?” The same blaze of fire I saw when we negotiated our terms returned to her eyes, making my semi a full-blown erection. “You’re ruining our planet for financial gain. The Earth is not your wasteland. Not to mention, you’re driving entire animal groups into extinction. The polar bears and the penguins come to mind.”

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