“Yes,” I answer.
“Tobias is on the phone.”
Tobias, one of my clients, will give me business to work on. That way I’ll no longer be preoccupied with the fiery blonde an ocean away. “Put him through.” The phone call connects. “Tobias,” I say.
“Cyrus Reed. You are a hard man to get in touch with.”
I recline back in my chair and chuckle. “I am. But I’m also the best at what I do.”
Tobias laughs in return. “Hence, why I wait. And I don’t enjoy waiting.”
“And I don’t like false pretenses, so tell me why you’re calling,” I respond.
Tobias might be the leading distributor of cocaine on the eastern seaboard, but I don’t fear anyone.
He needs me more than I need him.
“Also, to the point. I like that about you.”
“Good to know,” I respond as my mouth twitches with amusement.
“I need to make a deposit.”
Leaning forward, I type into my computer, pulling up his embedded file. “Figured as much.”
“A fairly large one.”
“Again, not surprised,” I deadpan.
“That can be arranged. Cash?”
Dumb question, but hey, you never know. Maybe drug dealers deal in credit now. But to be honest, you would be surprised by how often I get diamonds or gold. Fuck, drugs too. I don’t deal in humans, though.
Well . . . Ivy is the exception.
This girl is fucking poison.
“Yes. Are you in the office?”
Even dumber question. I’m never in my office.
I never go into the city unless it is necessary, and if he wants to give me a fucking briefcase with ten million dollars, he can fucking come to me.
“Don’t ask stupid questions,” I respond. “My estate. Tonight.”
“Any chance there is a game going on?”
I shake my head. They are all the same, and I’m okay with that. He’ll come with ten million but only deposit half.
Works every damn time. The good news is, less to clean. Funneling five million is much easier, and plus, I’ll make a better cut if he spends it.
Not that I need money.
I have more money than I can spend in five lifetimes, but what I like is the power.
These men need me, and that is priceless. I rule the underworld.
Ivy was right.
I might not be Hades, but I damn well run the show like I am. I own these men, and they fucking know it.
Before he can say anything else, I hang up. I’m not one for small talk or talking at all. Instead, I prefer to sit back and observe. That’s my strength.
I was hoping I could observe her tonight.
But alas, work comes first.
I refresh my computer screen and prepare the proper funnels to hide his money.
It will be a long night.
* * *
My eyes are burning, but once Tobias shows up with his suitcase, I have all the paperwork in place. By the time I rid him of his satchel, it will look like he struck it rich on the stock market.
See, this is why it pays to have the seediest of clients.
Take Trent, for example . . .
He needed my help.
I gave him said help, and now, in turn, he will invest a percentage of the money Tobias brings as well as some of my other clients, without a blink of an eye. It will appear on the up-and-up, but he’ll know it’s not.
I pick up my cell and scroll through the contacts.
Hitting him up.
“Is she okay?” he answers.
Regardless of the fact I think he’s a self-indulgent douchebag, I have to admit he loves his sister.
I let out a sigh. “Yes.” It’s not his fault that his father got him into this mess. That’s something I know way too well. My nostrils flare at the memory threatening to surface. The less I think about the man who gave me life, the better.
“Where is she?” There’s an edge to his voice, one I hope for his sake isn’t aimed at me. He’ll learn rather quickly that no one talks to me like that.
“The less you know, the better,” I respond matter-of-factly.
“I want to speak to her.”
I’ve got to hand it to him, he does have balls. The more I talk to Trent, the more I can see that stubbornness might, in fact, be a family trait.
“Not going to happen. She doesn’t know the full story, and unless you finally came up with something to tell her, the answer is no.”
He goes silent for a minute. “Maybe I just should . . .” he says, resigned to the fact that there is no other way. “Have you made any headway to fix it?”
“Are you even trying?” He scoffs.
This has gone on long enough. If he was in the room, my gun would be out and aimed at his head right now, but he’s not, and there are bigger issues at hand at the moment, which means, I’ll rein his attitude in and not kill the son of a bitch.