The Villain

Page 40

Tucking my hands into my front pockets, I shot her a look.


“I want it to be at your place.”


I wasn’t a sentimental man. Bringing her to my bed wouldn’t make me associate said bed with her in it. She wasn’t a goddamn safety blanket.

If she thought she was tricking me into developing feelings toward her, she was gravely mistaken.

“See you at seven.” She turned away, leaving me with a hard-on, a bad mood, and the uneasy sense I’d just made a terrible mistake.

Getting rid of her just turned from a plan to a necessity.

I needed to remove my wife from my life before she trickled into my system.

My main issue was, I didn’t know how to cook.

My second issue was, I actually hoped fixing Kill a home-cooked meal (which was very likely to taste like mothballs) was going to make a difference.

But my third and most pressing issue was the one I concentrated on right now—I was pretty sure I was setting my husband’s kitchen on fire.

Maybe it was Karma bitch-slapping me for playing dirty.

Once it had become obvious that Husband Dearest wasn’t going to make the first step to see me, I’d decided to drop by his office and milk a dinner date out of him.

I was desperate to form a connection while he was determined to protect my virtue. In many ways, it felt like having an impotent sugar daddy—I got all the perks but not the dick.

The problem was, I wanted the dick. The shoes were great, but not so great I wanted to moan their names.

I’d asked that it would be at his place because I wanted to invade his space, rip out his walls, and claw my way into his life. Being married to a man who didn’t want me—who actually actively sought ways to get rid of me—felt like swimming against the stream. I was exhausted but determined. Because failure meant heartbreak. And because no matter how much Cillian was trying to prove everyone otherwise, I genuinely believed that deep down (and I meant very deep, as deep as the rigs he drilled), that thing in his chest was a ferocious monster. Locked, chained, and heavily sedated but very much alive.

“Holy fu…what’s that smell?” Petar jogged into the kitchen, grabbing a towel from the counter and flapping it around to clear out the smoke in his path.

Even though we’d agreed on meeting at seven sharp, Kill wasn’t around when I got here. Petar, his estate manager, said he was swimming, getting his daily exercise, and would join me shortly.

Despite the fact I prided myself in not having a temper, I had to keep my irritation in check.

“I’m trying to make lemon chicken and risotto.” I staggered away from the hissing pot in front of me. “I guess trying is the operative word here.”

Petar rushed to my side, turning the stove off. He withdrew the sizzling pan from the stovetop, dumping it into the sink and turning on the faucet. Black smoke rose to the ceiling, setting off the fire alarm around the ginormous kitchen.

The shrieking sound pierced my eardrums, shaking the entire mansion. Petar proceeded to turn off the oven, then open all the windows and the door leading to the backyard. I apologized profusely while he got the small fire under control.

“Remind me why you insisted on making dinner?” Petar waved a kitchen towel in the air, trying to get rid of some of the smoke.

Explaining that ridiculous things found their way leaving my mouth every time I was next to his boss wasn’t an acceptable answer. So I went a different route. “I wanted to have a special evening.”

“It’s special, all right.” Petar snorted as he produced his phone from his back pocket.

“I’ll call the maintenance guy. See if he can start working on the kitchen tonight if I throw in a few extra bucks.” Petar scrolled through his contacts. “Although I gotta say, the boss is not gonna be happy.”

“Why am I not going to be happy?” A chilling voice rang behind my back. I turned around, sucking in a breath. My husband stood at the doorway, not even a foot away from me, freshly showered and shaven, his dark chocolate hair damp and tousled. The simple white V-neck and sweatpants clung to his lean body like eager fangirls, and his biceps and forearms were still flush and taut from his workout.

The twinkling golden band on his finger, which I noticed he hadn’t removed since our wedding, caught the light in the room, reminding me that at the very least, he was legally mine.

“I burned down your kitchen.” I tilted my chin up.

Better not to mince words. Besides, the huge black stain on his ceiling above the stovetop was visible from Africa. Chances were, he didn’t need me to spell it out for him.

He studied the stain, his cold, dead eyes returning to mine.



“Are you hurt?”

The question caught me off guard. I felt my brows bunching. “No.”

Kill sniffed the air. He had the maddening ability to do the most mundane things in a sexually charged way. He raised his arm, snapping it in Petar’s direction, still looking at me.


“Yes, sir.”

Petar scurried out, shutting the door behind him. The fire alarm stopped, and the chill from the evening breeze replaced the suffocating smoke.

My husband took a step toward me. A hot whip of pleasure struck my skin at his proximity. I wore something sexy tonight. A champagne-colored pleated dress that barely made it to my thighs paired with Louboutin heels—one out of thirteen new pairs I’d been gifted by my husband.

He clasped my chin in his fingers, angling my head up, his eyes honing in on mine.

“What was on the menu?”

“Lemon chicken and risotto.”

“What the hell were you thinking?”

I wasn’t. I wanted to impress you.

“Maybe I wanted to poison you.” I narrowed my eyes.

A ghost of a smile passed his lips.

“The only person you’re capable of poisoning is yourself, as demonstrated a few years ago. Even then, you botched the job.”

“Hey, I did a great job. It’s not my fault you saved me.”

“I still have my regrets.” He gave me a playful shove. I took a step back, my eyes never leaving his.

“Here’s the thing. You had your stab at cooking dinner, and you blew it. I have a poker game in a couple of hours. Which means we’ll have to skip the first course and get straight to the entrée.”

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