The pair with evidence of my latest venture will meet the incinerator before I leave my bar, The Red Room, tonight. Where all evidence is meant to be left.

“What do you think?” Seth asks me, and I turn my attention back to him. Back to the monitors.

She’s gorgeous. That’s what I think. With deep hazel eyes filled with a wild fire and full lips I’d silence easily with my own, even if she’s screaming on the security footage, she’s nothing but stunning.

Her anger is beautiful.

The bar and crowd would normally take my attention away from her, but I was there that night and I only saw her. The patrons from last week get in the way of seeing her clearly on the security footage though. I can barely make out her curves… but I do. Even if I can’t fully see them here, I remember them. I remember everything about her.

If I hadn’t been with my brother at the time and in a situation I couldn’t leave, I would have been the one to go to her. Instead, I had Seth throw her out. No one was to harm her, which isn’t the best example to set, but I wanted to tempt her to come back. I needed to see her again. If for nothing more than to serve as a beautiful distraction.

Running my thumb over the fleshy pads of my fingertips, I lean back in the chair, crossing my ankles under my desk and letting my gaze roam over every bit of her as he leads her out.

My voice is low, but calm as I comment, “She’s different here than she is in the file.”

“Anger will do that. She lost her fucking mind coming into your bar talking about calling the cops.”

Although my lips kick up into an asymmetric smile, a heaviness weighs down on me. There’s too much shit going on right now for us to handle any more trouble.

She’s a mistake waiting to happen. A delicate disaster in the making.

“How many days ago was this?” I ask, not remembering since the days have melded together in the hell that this past week was.

“Eight days; she hasn’t come back.”

“What do you want me to do?” Seth asks when I don’t respond.

“Show me the footage again.”

He’s my head of security at The Red Room, and over the years I’ve come to trust him. Although, not enough to tell him what I really want from her. How seeing her defy the unspoken rules of this world, seeing her slander my name, curse it and dare me to do anything to stop her… I’m harder than I’ve been in a long fucking time.

“She’s irate about her sister,” Seth murmurs as the screen rewinds, then plays the footage of her parking her car, storming into the place, and demanding answers from a barkeep who doesn’t know shit.

None of them could have given her the answer she wants.

I recognize every movement. The sharpness of her stride, the way her throat tenses before she even says a damn thing. I bet she can feel each of her words sitting on the tip of her tongue, threatening to silence her before she’s even begun.

Even still, I find her beautiful. There is beauty in everything about what she did and how she feels.

“She lost her fucking mind,” he mutters, watching along with me.

Seth is missing something though, because he doesn’t know what I know. He doesn’t see it like I do.

She’s not just angry; she’s lonely. And more than that, she’s scared.

I know all about that.

The days go by so slowly when you’re lonely. They drag on and bring you with them, exaggerating each second, each tick of the clock and making you wonder what it’s all worth.

I can’t deny the ambition, the desire for more. There’s always more. More money, more power, more to conquer. And with it more enemies and more distrust.

It’s a predictable life, even amidst the chaos.

“I can understand why she’s looking for someone to blame.” I pause to move my gaze from the screen to Seth, and wait for him to look back at me. “But why us?” I ask him, emphasizing each word.

He shakes his head as he skims through the file he’s holding, an autopsy report and photographs of a body catching my eye in particular, although you can barely tell that’s what she was after washing up on shore. Dental records were needed to identify her, the poor woman.

“She thinks you and your brothers are responsible.”

“No shit,” I answer him, waiting for his attention before adding, “but why would she think that?”

Again he shakes his head. “There’s nothing here that would lead her to that conclusion. We didn’t touch the girl. Her sister wasn’t a threat to anything that we know of.”

My fingers rap on the desk as I think about Jennifer, the girl who died so tragically. I met her once, and I can imagine she got into far more trouble than she could handle.

Tags: W. Winters Books Irresistible Attraction Series Books Romance Books