“What the fuck was that?” I ask the door, gaining no reply—not that I need one. I know exactly what that was; I just have no idea what to do with it. Dillon has always acted professional with me. There has never been a time that I’ve seen him look at me like he’s interested, but the look in his eyes a moment ago was primal and not one an engaged man should give another woman, or a boss should give his employee, ever.

Shaking off the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, I finish changing out my bag then leave the room and make my way through the casino and into the lobby. Not finding Dillon inside, I head outside to the area the cabs and limos pick up and drop off, and spot him standing with a group of people. I’m not surprised he’s surrounded by a gaggle of women and a couple of men. He tends to draw attention wherever he goes, and it’s something else that annoys me. I hate being the center of attention, and I don’t really like people who need it to feel important. Needing a minute to get my head together, I stop a few feet away and tuck my clutch under my arm.


“Where you going, gorgeous? ’Cause wherever it is, I’m there,” a drunk guy, who can’t be much older than twenty-one, slurs, stumbling up to me. His clothes are rumpled, his hair in disarray, and if he wasn’t such a mess, he’d be cute. But sadly, sloppy drunk works for no one.

Ignoring him, I untuck my purse, open it, and pull out my cell phone, knowing better than to engage with men like him in his current state.

“So you’re to good for me?” he slurs, snatching my cell out of my hand, and my eyes fly up.

“Give me my phone,” I say evenly, holding out my hand, and his eyes travel the length of me and his face scrunches up.

“Ho here thinks she’s too good for me.”

“Mike, come on. Give her the phone and let’s go,” someone says off to the side, but I keep my eyes on Mike, with my palm out toward him. My dad insisted I take martial arts with Jax when I was little. I hated it; I wanted to be a ballerina, not a ninja, but he was adamant about me being able to protect myself. Over the years, the skills I learned back then have come in handy, like now, when all I really want to do is kick the crap out of Mike but know better. One of the first things I was forced to learn was control, to never lose my temper. The second thing I learned was to keep my eyes on my enemy at all times. I was never really good at either, but I still got a black belt in the end.

“Mike,” I say softly, taking a step toward him. “I’m going to ask you nicely, once, to give me my phone. If you don’t, I swear to God I will unleash the Kraken, kick your ass in front of your friends, and send you home crying to your mother.”

Laughing, he looks around then his eyes widen as they move behind me. I really, really want to know what he’s looking at, but I refuse to turn my head and give in.

“Give her the phone.” The deep rumble of Dillon’s voice sends a chill down my spine. I’ve only heard him pissed a few times, and I know he’s pissed right now without even looking at him.

“I… I… w-was just playin’ man,” Mike stutters out, tossing my phone toward me. Missing my hands and causing my phone to crash to the ground, and my nostrils to flare as it shatters at my feet.

“Oh, shit. Oh, Christ. I’m sorry.” He drops to his knees and begins gathering the pieces of what used to be my phone then tries to get up, but falls face forward into my crotch, causing me to stumble back.

“I can’t believe this shit,” Dillon grumbles, catching me before I fall, then tugs me out of the way as Mike’s friends decide to finally step in and pick him up from the ground. “You had to wear that outfit.”

“You can not be serious right now?” I hiss, swinging my head back and finding him glaring down at me.

“Deadly.”

“Let me go.” I try to get free, but his hand on my waist tightens as his eyes leave mine. Swinging my head in the other direction, I find one of Mike’s friends standing a few feet away with my phone, looking anywhere but at us, and Mike off to the side, puking in a trashcan.

“Let me go,” I repeat, and his arm tightens for a moment before he finally lets me loose. I really want to scream or throw a fit, but instead, I calmly take my clutch and open it, holding it out toward the guy and letting him dump the now useless pieces inside. “You need to get him some Gatorade and toast,” I tell him, nodding toward Mike.

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