Page 14 of His Hostage

“No man?” he clips, breaking me from my thoughts.

I let out a humorless laugh. “Not one I’m trying to have.”

“Is someone trying to have you?” Cooper’s hands tighten on the steering wheel and I need to remember he’s good at reading between the lines. Hell, he’s good at reading people in general. Yesterday he was picking up things about me before I even said them.

“Something like that.” I go back to looking out the window.

“Is it someone at Monte’s place?” Cooper pushes for more information and his playful tone is gone.

“No, he’s not from around here.” I glance over and see Cooper’s body is tense.

He’s pissed and I wonder if he’s mad that someone wants me or if it’s his good guy thing and he doesn’t like the idea of someone pushing a woman around. Maybe the Robin Hood act is real.

“You’re not going to give me more than that, are you, buttercup?”

I press my lips together and shake my head. I don’t want to talk about Warren, and I hate how much of my mind he already rules.

“All right then,” he says as he pulls into a parking spot. It looks like a little boutique, but the sign in the window says it’s closed.

“Really? You’re just going to drop it?” I see someone coming to the door inside the boutique and it’s a woman with a very pregnant belly. She turns the lock and waves us in.

“Nope, I don’t push women,” he says before he gets out of the car and comes around to open my door for me.

“You just take them hostage and threaten to cut them in half?” I say and realize I’m teasing him.

His face fills with regret again and I hate it because I wasn’t trying to upset him. I really was only teasing.

“I wasn’t going to—”

I lift my hand and put two fingers over his mouth. “I know you wouldn’t have hurt me.” He smiles against my fingers as his hand comes up and wraps around my wrist. He kisses my fingers before he slides my hand into his.

“If I ever do something you think might not be right in the moment, know I’m always playing the long game.” He pulls me into the shop.

I see one of the men from last night standing next to the pregnant woman and I’m pretty sure I heard Cooper call him Track. I see the rings on both their hands and realize they’re married. She gives me a warm smile, but Track’s face is blank.

“Welcome,” the dark-haired women chirps and her smile is growing bigger by the second.

“Hey, Mags,” Cooper says.

The woman tries to move toward us, but I realize Track has a hold of her arm. She gives him a hard elbow to the stomach and he lets out a grunt before dropping his hold. She rolls her eyes but keeps on smiling as she comes over and gives Cooper a hug and then wraps me in her arms. I’m a little taken aback by it, but it feels nice.

“So Cooper went and got a girl,” she says, leaning back and looking me over. “We need more girls around here.”

“I’m not his girl,” I rush to say, and my face heats.

“Hostage,” Track corrects from where he’s still standing.

“Willing captive?” Cooper says in his deep seductive voice and I’m reminded of him on the bed back at his place.

“Jules will be fine,” I say with a small laugh and Track nods to Cooper.

“Let them do man things and we’ll get you some clothes.” Mags waves Cooper off to go talk to Track. I’m sure it’s about me because it’s clear none of them enjoy the idea of me being here. Well, Mags looks pretty happy about it.

Cooper gives my hand a small squeeze and then he surprises me as he brushes his lips against mine before walking over to Track, who lets out a low curse.

I’m guessing Mags knows most of the story because she didn’t look shocked when her husband called me a hostage or by Cooper’s affection.

“I think Coop’s seen the perks of having a wife and is trying to get one.” At Mags’s comment, Track’s face finally changes and a smirk pulls at the corner of his mouth before he walks to the back.

“So you need some clothes?” she asks, and I look down at my wrinkled work clothes from the day before. I’m a mess.

“Guess so.” I feel out of sorts because I know Cooper is going to have to buy my clothes for me. I can try and work in his office to help pay back whatever the cost is. I can hide out there until I rebuild my small savings and I can take off again.

“Perk up.” Mags nudges me. “It can’t be too bad being Coop’s hostage. That man is sweet as can be and I like seeing him with someone. Maybe he’ll stop working so much.” She shakes her head.