“We were married . Isn’t your wife your emergency contact?”

“Why are you still on his?”

“I’m not.”

Exhausted, it took all her effort to stand up to Rick. Logan sat there cold and silent. So much for Devon’s belief that Logan cared about people who were hitting the skids. She’d been tried and convicted by these men before she’d stepped in the room. The reminder that she couldn’t count on anyone except herself butchered her budding tendrils of trust.

“The fact is,” Rick said, stalking up to her, invading her space, “you’re a liability. You’ve put everyone in Stone Security at risk, and this company could be put under investigation. Because of you.”

The closer he leaned, the more her chair became a prison. She slid out from under him and pushed to her feet. Bitterness ran like acid in her veins. Standing up for herself, she insisted, “Whatever contact information Trevor has for me is nonexistent. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in two years. He has no idea where I am. I work hard to keep it that way.”

Logan rose slowly, drawing her glance. A light dawned in his light-brown eyes, as if her statement unlocked a puzzle he’d been trying to solve.

No surprise, Rick refused to take her word. “Not hard enough, because—”

“Rick.” Logan’s controlled voice sliced through the hostility. “Stop.”

The warning went unheeded. “Your divorce papers only have one signature. Yours.”

“In the state of Pennsylvania, that was all it took.” The broken feeling inside her, when she’d walked into the courtroom that day, came back fresh. The criticisms Rick hurled ripped open old wounds. Her voice was a raw sound. “Why are you doing this?”

Suddenly, Logan was at her side. “There’s been a misunderstanding.”

Rick fumed. “Like hell.” He returned his attention to her as she braced for another verbal lashing. “Your past compromises everything we are, everything we’ve worked for. And you knew it the moment you walked through the door.”

“Back down.” Logan stepped in front of her, shielding her behind him. “ Now .” His tone was low and lethal.

“You’re defending her? After the proof I’ve given you?”

Proof?

Icy suspicion poured down her spine. She glanced at the stack of papers on the desk. Trevor’s military record, other government-issued documents...

“I’ve heard your argument.” Logan sounded far away, drowned out by the ringing in her ears. “Now, I want her side.”

“Oh, my God.” Terror sheeted across her flesh. “What have you done?”

“Due diligence.” Rick scowled at Logan. When he turned his stare to her, his face released some of its harshness. “You okay?”

Her vision clouded white. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. Like a statue facing a tidal wave of destruction, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

“Allison.” She vaguely heard Logan at the edges of her consciousness. He grasped her arm. “What’s wrong?”

She scraped out a whisper. “Everything.” Her hand went to her abdomen protectively. She turned wide eyes to Logan, then Rick. “You just killed me and my baby.”

She swayed.

Facing her, Logan cupped her shoulders. “What did you say?”

“Our baby—”

Suddenly, she passed out. He caught her, supporting her limp body. “Allison?”

Logan wasn’t sure what he’d heard. He wanted her to repeat it back to him, slowly. Every syllable. But he needed her awake to do that.

Ignoring the way Rick raked his hand through his hair impatiently, Logan scooped her into his arms and carried her to a plush wingback chair, one of two positioned against the far wall flanking a narrow mahogany console.

“This is a ploy,” Rick muttered.

“I don’t think so.” Logan touched the back of his hand to her forehead. It came away clammy. “Something triggered this reaction.” He believed he knew the source.

The missing pieces of her story that had bothered him—her bare-bones apartment, the packed boxes in her closet, her constant vigilance—came at him from a new angle. Just now she’d said she worked hard to keep her ex-husband from knowing where she was. That’s when it all made sense. She was terrified of the man. The sort of terror he’d seen in women’s eyes in Rwanda after warlords sent minions into the bush to rape, kill and torture at will. A shudder went through him.

His security instincts kicked in. “Rick, what resources did you use to trace the background on Allison?”

He expelled a breath. “What does it matter?”

“Tell me.” Logan’s reserve of patience ran dangerously low.

“You know, the usual. Public government docs, court records, international intel.”

“How did you pull the searches?”

“Internet. Online news clips.” Rick shrugged.

“Hell.” Logan’s blood churned. Allison had reason to fear Rick’s prying. Trevor Hurtz had a past in Black Ops that came with an armory of specialized tactics, known to only two-percent of the population. From what Logan had read when Rick handed him the file, Hurtz was a pro. The man’s skills ranged from communications espionage to sniper training. And he’d gone to the dark side. Hurtz knew how to trace inquiries on him. Straight back to the source. He was a wanted man, a trained killer. Logan grew sick with remorse.

“You’re a real bastard sometimes,” Logan muttered over his shoulder.

“Excuse me?” Rick coughed. “ I’m the bastard?”

Allison’s eyelashes fluttered. Logan held up his hand. “Shush, she’s coming to.”

“Good. I have questions that need answers.”

Logan gritted his teeth. “You’ll shut up until I tell you different.”

“Did you just draw a line in the sand?”

Logan nodded. “Cross it, and you’ll wish you never knew me.”

Rick huffed with indignation. “What the hell’s gotten into you?”

Logan sank onto his haunches in front of Allison. He swept her hair back from her damp forehead. “You’re all right, Allison.” She blinked awake, eyes dazed. Then her face registered a resurgence of panic. “Easy, sweetheart.” He touched her gently, soothing away the fear. “Don’t try to sit up yet. Take it slow.”

Rick smacked his forehead. “Unbelievable.” He paced and muttered under his breath. “Try to do a guy a favor…the thanks I get…looking out for the company…then because of some chick…”


Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense
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