“You’re home, Mr. Silva.”
I feel the night air on my face and blink open my eyes to see the car door open and the driver’s face.
“Shit. I must have fallen asleep.” I rub my eyes.
“I’ll get your case for you.”
I climb out of the car. My driver hands me my case.
“Thanks,” I say to him. Getting my wallet, I pull out a few fifties. “For coming out so late to pick me up.”
“Thank you, but I can’t accept it. Company policy, Mr. Silva. It’s not worth my job.”
“Yes. But thank you.”
I shove the notes in my pocket with my wallet, and drag my suitcase to my front door. Key in the lock, I open it and dump my suitcase in the hallway.
“Honey, I’m home!” I call out, a smile on my face. I close and lock the door behind me.
“I’m in the kitchen.”
Well, that is not the greeting I was hoping for. And her voice sounds monotone. It leaves an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.
With a sense of foreboding, I remove my shoes and head to the kitchen.
India is seated at the breakfast island. She’s staring into a glass of red wine in front of her.
She lifts her head to look at me. Her eyes are red and puffy. She looks like she’s been crying. “I came here because I need to talk to you, and I didn’t want Jett overhearing what I have to tell you.”
My mouth dries, my chest tightening. “And what do you have to tell me?”
“Paul…he rang me this morning.”
“What?” I exclaim, stepping into the kitchen.
She turns on her stool to face me. Briefly closing her eyes, she blows out a breath, her hands curling on her lap. “He did the break-in at my office. Well, he had someone do it for him, one of his prison buddies I’m guessing. He has my laptop. Somehow, he got through the passwords and into my patients’ files. He knows you were my patient, Leandro. He’s blackmailing me. He wants me to give him five hundred thousand pounds, or he’ll send your patient records and pictures of us together to the HCPC.”
“Jesus.” I rub my forehead with my fingers. Moving toward her, I sit on the stool beside her. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”
She lets out a humorless laugh as she brushes a tear from her cheek. It kills me to see her crying.
I am going to beat that life out of that fucker when I get my hands on him.
“I wish I were.” She rubs her cheek with her wrist. “There’s something else…” She worries her lower lip with her teeth before meeting my eyes. “He’s threatening to sell the details of your PTSD to the press if I don’t comply.”
I let out a derisive snort. “And I would have my lawyer shove an injunction so far up their asses that it would be bleeding out of their noses. There is no way they would be able to print that shit because it would be coming from an illegal source. Don’t fucking worry about that, babe.”
“But I have to worry about Jett.” She sniffs again. “Paul wants me to take the money to him in Manchester…and take Jett along with me, so he can meet him.” Her jaw clenches in anger. “That’s never going to happen. So, I’m sitting here, drinking your wine and mourning the loss of my career. Even if I had the money to pay him off, he’s not getting anywhere near Jett.”
I take her soft hands in mine, needing to touch her. “If he will agree to just take the money and not see Jett, then let’s pay him.”
“I don’t have that kind of money.”
“I do. Five hundred thousand pounds is nothing. It’s a scratch on the surface of what I have.”
“Five hundred thousand is a lot of money. I’m not taking your money, Leandro.” She shakes her head, resolute.
“India.” I give her a firm stare.
“No, Leandro. Even if Paul would agree to just taking the money and leaving Jett out of it, where would it end? He takes the money, and then after he’s run out, he’ll come back for more. I couldn’t trust that he’d not keep copies of your patient transcripts.” Her sad eyes meet with mine briefly, before sweeping to the floor. “I appreciate your offer, but this isn’t your problem to fix. It’s mine.”
I frown at her. “I am going to try to not be offended by that last statement because you are upset and not thinking straight.” Dropping her hand, I take hold of her chin, forcing her eyes up to mine. “But I am telling you this. You are mine. You and Jett are my family, now, and for the rest of fucking forever. So, that makes this my problem. That bastard is hurting you, so I’m going to fucking hurt him—badly.”
“No,” she gasps. “Please, Leandro, don’t do anything stupid. I don’t want you getting in trouble.” She curls her hand around my wrist, her pleading eyes on mine.
“I’m really fucking angry, India.” I drop my hand from her face, shoving it through my hair. “I feel helpless, and I don’t like feeling helpless. And I definitely don’t like pedophiliac motherfuckers blackmailing my girl. I’m at a loss here. You won’t let me kick his ass. You won’t let me pay him off. And you’re going to lose your fucking job because of me. I need to have a sense of control here, and right now, I have none.”
I want to lose my temper. I want to drive to Manchester and smash that motherfucker’s face in.