The Villain

Page 71

“You wouldn’t touch someone else.” She pounced forward, pushing me again. “You wouldn’t.”

“Really?” I raised my eyebrows, feigning interest. “What makes you say that?”

It was bad enough I couldn’t spit the word divorce out of my mouth. Now I had to stand here and listen to why I was apparently in a monogamous relationship.

My life certainly took a turn for the worse since our genitals became acquainted.

“You will never find what we have elsewhere,” she seethed. “And you’re the stupidest smart man alive to think that you can.”

“Are you done being dramatic?” I leaned a shoulder over the doorframe of her bedroom, crossing my arms like an exasperated father.

“Are you done being heartless?” she countered.

“No. Which brings us to the only reason you’re still here—you’re not pregnant yet.”

“Have you considered I might not be able to have children at all?” She began putting her clothes on. Panties first, then an oversized shirt.

“I have,” I said. “The minute I came up with this plan, I made a list of pros, cons, and potential complications. Possible infertility was at the top of the cons list.”


“And everyone is replaceable.”

She froze, not moving an inch.

“I see,” she said carefully. “In that case, don’t let me waste your time.”

She had already taken months of my time but telling her so would be counterproductive to us reproducing.

“I’ll be continuing my employment with the Arrowsmiths. You can find another suitable candidate to have your precious children,” she said matter-of-factly, plucking a brush from her nightstand, running it through her hair.

Perhaps I misheard. No one was as stupid as to throw away wealth, mind-blowing sex, and freedom for a stupid principle. What we had was different. It was…

What? A voice inside me chuckled. You just told her you were going to visit your paid-for flings if she doesn’t comply, then added that, by the way, if she can’t get pregnant, you will replace her with a 2.0 version.

I knew I needed to turn around and walk away, but something told me I wasn’t going to get a good night’s sleep if we left things as they were, which was absurd. I’d always slept like a baby. Came with the territory of not having any regrets, worries, or a soul.

“You’re still here.” She flung her magnificent hair to one shoulder, parting it into three sections and braiding it as she got ready for bed. “Why? I told you my decision.”

“Don’t be stupid,” I warned her.

“The only stupid thing I did was marry you.” She stopped mid-braid to lunge forward, pushing me the rest of the way out of her room, then slammed the door in my face.

I trudged back to my bedroom, too angry to think straight. I said divorce wasn’t an option, and I’d meant it. If Persephone wanted out of this marriage, it’d have to be in a coffin. Whether I was the one inside it or her was the real mystery.

Once I got to my room, I noticed my phone was flashing with new text messages.

Sam: Stop her before she costs you this fucking lawsuit.

Sam: Don’t let anything fuck it up. Least of all a woman.

Cillian: Have her followed, tracked, and surveyed at all times starting tomorrow morning. Track her phone and text messages, too. I don’t want my wife to take a piss without knowing about it.

Sam: Whatever happened to not giving a shit?

Cillian: Business is business.

Sam: Finally, you got your head screwed right. Consider it done.

The next day, I emptied all of Andrew Arrowsmith’s British Virgin Islands accounts. The money Sam told me he’d stolen from his father-in-law. The sum came up to a little less than eight million dollars.

Andrew showed up at my office door less than an hour after I moved all the money to numerous charities across the globe, making anonymous donations.

“So this is how you chose to play this?” He stormed into my domain, running his fingers over his hair, nearly ripping it from his skull.

I swung my chair around, ripping my gaze from a monthly report concerning my new drillings.

“Play what?” I asked innocently.

“You know exactly what went missing.”

He advanced toward my desk, crashing his palm over it, expecting a reaction.

He got one, all right. I yawned, wondering what caused my restless stupor last night.

It was probably the linguini. I should never have eaten carbs for dinner.

The alternative to what had caused my restlessness was too ridiculous to consider.

“Where is it?” he fumed.

“Where’s what?”

“The thing you stole from me.”

Of course, uttering the words aloud was admitting misconduct.

I rubbed at my chin. “Still doesn’t ring any bells. Care to be specific?”

“Cut the bullcrap, Fitzpatrick. Where’s my money?” He tried to grab the collar of my dress shirt, leaning over my desk, but I was quicker. Pushing back in my seat, I made him dive headfirst onto my desk, his eyes landing on the mouthwatering numbers that came back from the monthly report.

I stood, buttoning my suit.

“What’s money in the grand scheme of things, Andy my friend? You have the Arctic to save.”

“You won’t be so smug when I knock on the FBI’s door and tell them how much money you stole from me.” He scurried to his feet, straightening his tie.

“Please let me know when you do that, so I can pay a visit to the IRS and inform them you’ve been keeping undeclared millions in offshore accounts. A sure way to kill your nonprofit career faster than a fish out of water.”

He stiffened, knowing damn well I had a point. Andrew would have to take the financial hit. No one was supposed to know he stashed millions where no one could see or touch them.

He narrowed his eyes at me.

“You think I care?” he hissed. “You think that’d stop me from sending Tinder and Tree to Evon? To give them all the things your family stole from me? You can never touch my personal wealth. My wife is a millionaire.”

“No, her parents are,” I pointed out, striding along the floor-to-ceiling window, watching the human dots going about their day on the street. “Real estate, right? Her daddy is a property tycoon type? Bet there’s a whole can of worms to explore there, too,” I tutted. “Never met a New York real estate mogul who liked to pay his taxes.”

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.