“I think you’re going to be exactly right for this job, Ryan. You look like a Boy Scout.”
His evil grin makes my stomach clench as he releases my hand. He walks out of the room, and three of the bodyguards follow him. The fourth stops and hands me my gun, and I tuck it back into my holster as I watch him leave. Once I’m alone, I clutch the envelope and walk out the back exit. I walk two blocks up to a park and look for an empty bench. When I sit down, I open the envelope and flip through the contents.
The first few pages are exactly what I expected. There are instructions to get as much information as possible on one particular person. There are pictures of locations, property, known assets and people of interest. I know who this is. It’s his estranged son, Miles Osbourne. Everyone knows of the rift. But no one knows why. It was so bad Miles even changed his name back to his mother’s maiden name, Osborne. That had to really piss off a man like Alexander Owens. I’m guessing the rift is because Miles knows all about his dear old dad and wants nothing to do with him, but it doesn’t look like Alexander feels the same. He wants Miles as close as possible, and he’s going to use me to get that.
The last piece of paper contains one sentence. The words make a chill run down my spine, and I stare at them for a long moment. There’s an accompanying photo stapled to the page.
If she shows up, you alert me immediately.
The police suspect Alexander has had a hand in the deaths of three women, and I wonder if this one is another of his mistresses. Flipping the note over, I see the picture and my chest tightens as my breath catches. I reach out, touching the photo with the tip of my index finger. It’s a little blurry and taken from the side, but there’s no mistaking the beauty of the redhead in the photograph. Something about her touches a place inside me, and all my plans change. My blood pumps through my veins and I can feel my adrenaline rising. I will do what I need to do to make this plan work, but there’s no way I’m handing this girl over to him. I look at the picture and I see it. This isn’t a mistress. The same blue eyes I was staring at across the table look at me from the photo. I pull out the photo of Miles. There it is. She’s his daughter, and I’m guessing she has all kinds of little secrets on her father. Ones he doesn’t want anyone to know.
I’ve been hired by Alexander Owens to get close to his son, and that’s what I’ll do. I’ll be best fucking friends with Miles Osborne before the week is over, but I won’t ever harm the redhead.
I need her.
* * *
SHE THINKS I’M perfect. She thinks I look like Captain America. That I play by the rules. But she has no idea who I truly am. Or why I’m really here.
She thinks Miles was obsessed.
She has no idea what obsession is. What a man like me will do to get what he wants.
I’m dirtier than she knows. She thinks I’m good to the core, but she doesn’t know the things I’ve done. The things I would do for her.
* * *
I DIDN’T KNOW you could actually feel someone’s eyes on you. I don’t mean that creeping feeling when you think someone is staring at you and all the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. No, this is different. I can feel his eyes on every part of my skin. They make my body warm, in places I didn’t even know existed. A part of me I’d buried long ago. Other girls probably feel this all the time, but not me. It’s like he has intimate knowledge of my body, and somehow it belongs to him. His eyes, roaming my body, fascinate me. I remember every detail about them, and it’s both a blessing and a curse.
When I look at him, I never know what eyes I’ll receive. Sometimes they’re bright green like a fresh shamrock. Other times, when the light hits just right, little blue specks shine through, making them appear almost cerulean. But my favorite is when they turn a dark green. They’re the color of a morning forest, soft and crisp, and I know he’s playing it cool. I often wonder if I’m the only one who can see the difference. He’s always so calm and cool, but his eyes probably show me more than he wants. Or maybe I’m the one doing a little too much staring. It makes me wonder if there’s more to this man who always seems so perfect. He’s too good and clean. If he knew everything about me, I probably wouldn’t get those eyes on me like I do now. The ones I secretly love.