I step into the elevator and I swear I can still smell Emma’s perfume on my clothes, a sweet, flowery scent that drives me just a little wild. She’s on my skin, under my skin. She’s driving me crazy.
The car stops at the lobby level and I head to the hotel bar where it’s not hard to find Savage. He’s the only one there and he’s not only leaning on the bar, he has a shot glass in his hand. He glances my direction, his dark eyes sharp, a brutality in their depths that stretches across marble tables and leather chairs to meet mine. He lifts the glass in salute and then downs the contents.
Cutting between tables, I walk a carpeted path to join him at the long end of the bar where the stools don’t clutter up standing space.
“Another,” Savage tells the bartender, and looks at me, that scar he’d warned me about jutting down his cheek, just outside the line of his neatly trimmed goatee, his thick dark hair neatly managed. No matter how unhinged he might act, he’s not. He’s a man of control. “You want one?” he asks.
I wave off the bartender. Savage smirks. “Got enough of that at home, I suppose.” The bartender hands him the new shot. He lifts it pausing by his mouth. “Down the hole,” he says and grimaces as he sets the glass down. “I have to tell you, I have a love-hate relationship with North Whiskey. Sometimes it loves me up and sometimes it loves me down. Those down moments come with some real hate.”
“Try drinking less.”
“I’m a more is less kind of guy.” He straightens and more is right. I’m six-foot-two and two hundred and twenty pounds of hard work in the gym. He has to be six-foot-four and two-forty and it’s all muscle. He salutes. “Tell me how I can serve you.”
“Tell me about Walker Security.”
“Started by the Walker brothers. Three of those bastards. All ethical as fuck and tough as nails. Royce is ex-FBI, Luke is ex-SEAL Team Six, and Blake is ex-ATF. Blake’s the hacker everyone in the world, and I do mean world, as in leaders of countries, wants on their job. Aside from that, we have a clusterfuck of ex-everything from CIA, special forces, and every special this, that, and fuck that you can find. The best of the best.”
“And you are?”
“Green Beret. Mercenary. I was an off the grid kind of guy until Blake gave me a reason to stick around. I don’t fuck up and I know how to pull in the resources you need.” He holds his hand up, wiggling fingers at me. “Talk to me.”
Talk to him. Where the hell do I start? My dead brother seems logical and I scrub my jaw and wave to the bartender. “Whiskey Sour. Make sure it’s North Whiskey, gold label.”
“That bad, huh?” Savage asks.
“Does anyone need you when it’s that good?”
“Excellent point,” Savage says. “Excellent fucking point.”
My drink is set on the counter and I motion to a small round booth. “Let’s sit.”
Savage nods and we take a seat. I run down everything with him. The relationship between the families. My father’s death. Emma’s father’s death. The list of targets Emma found and plenty more.
“And your brother died how?”
“An accident or suicide. The investigation was inconclusive but suicide was what ended up on the death certificate. I get the impression they threw accident in there to make us feel better about what happened.”
He asks for details about the “suicide,” gory details that have me ordering another drink. When I finish telling the story, my drink is gone and he’s studying me. “You think he was murdered.”
“I know he was murdered and to complicate matters, I’m now involved with Emma Knight.”
“I got enough information from your former PI to know who that is. So, let me get this straight and I may need another drink to digest this. You think the Knight family did killed your brother, but you’re presently playing touch football in bed with the princess of the Knight Empire?
“That about sums it up.”
He waves to bartender.
“I’m also now protecting her.” I detail everything that happened at her apartment and my upcoming event that needs proper security in Maine.
When I finish, Savage grimaces. “You do realize she could be playing you, right?”
“Said every man who got fucked over by a woman.”
My patience now runs thin. “How much to do everything I need done?”
“A big number, but it will be done right and you’ll get your answers.”
“Expected considering the Maine location and event,” I say. “When can you start?”
“Now. I’ll update you on a full rollout in a couple of hours. I’ll have an invoice emailed to you.”
I reach in my pocket and hand him a card for my email address. “I don’t want anyone to know you’re there. I’ll arrange invites for your team to the Harvest. Just get me names.”