Page 25 of Corrupt Kingdom

“If you say so.”

“I do. Now let’s go feed you. I don’t have all day.”

This time when I’m sitting at the table, I use my questions to ask more important things, things that hopefully he will answer. But first I have a demand.

“I won’t eat anything unless I can call my mother.”

“No.” He doesn’t even consider granting me this, and it pisses me off.

“Why the hell not?”

“Eat, and I’ll tell you.” He winks.

His need to drive me crazy is having its desired effect, but I refuse to show it, instead, I place my hands on my legs and squeeze my nails into my thighs to keep me from going off. This is important, and I won’t let my anger toward this man ruin my chance of connecting with my mom.

“Please.” I hate how desperate I sound. I hate this weak person, sitting at the table, biting her tongue and trying to be a docile little thing.

When he doesn’t answer me, I take my fork, stab the steak in front of me, and take a bite.

“Ivy. I’m doing what’s best for you. You can’t talk to her.”

My mouth opens and shuts. I’m not sure what to do, how to get him to tell me more. I’m in a precarious situation, if I push too hard, I’ll never find out anything.

“Is she okay?” Despite my best efforts, tears start to form in my eyes, I try hard not to blink, harder for them not to fall.

Cyrus leans in and his finger lifts up. Confusion clouds my brain. It feels like I’m trapped in fog and can’t see my way out of this. He’s going to touch me, and I don’t know what I’ll do if he does.

There is a slight hesitation in his eyes, but then I feel it, and I’m too baffled to do anything.

The rough pad of his finger touches my cheek, brushing a lone tear that has fallen. He collects it on his finger. It feels oddly intimate, and I hate it, but at the same time, I welcome the comfort. It feels good and I don’t know what that means.

Am I starved for attention? Is that the problem, am I desperate and needy?

Another tear falls. He’s the first person to soothe me in a long time and I don’t want it to stop, no matter what that means.

I still hate him.

But I welcome the support.

“I might not let you speak to her, but I’ll do something for you . . .” His gaze is unwavering, searing me with emotions I can’t place. “I’ll call your brother. I’ll make sure your mom is okay.”

13

Cyrus

The fucker is calling me.

Turns out, I don’t actually need to call Trent after all.

I have no intention of telling him I was planning on calling him. The shit needs to be scared of me and seeing as he went against what I said, there will be hell to pay.

“Why are you calling me again?” I grind the words out between my teeth. He should know better. This is the kind of bullshit that will get him, and his sister killed.

“Where is my sister?”

Apparently, he has a death wish after all. Lifting the glass of cognac I just poured myself, I take a drink. As the spicy yet bitter flavor works its way down my throat, my shoulders loosen enough to answer him.

“I thought we covered this, Trent.”

“We covered shit.” He fires back, the little shit is lucky he’s not here right now.

“Careful, Trent. I would hate for your sister to lose her brother.”

One thing is certain, hotheadedness apparently must run in the family.

“You threaten, but I see no action,” Trent presses.

I slam the glass down. It doesn’t break, which is a modern miracle.

“One last warning out of respect for Ivy.” My voice is slow, steady, and controlled.

“Don’t say her name like you know her.”

“I might not know her, but I know that the fucking Butcher wants her. If what you say is true, that she’s meant for someone else, it’s even worse.”

“You—”

“Listen, pretty boy, I know you think you know what horrors are, but you don’t know shit about anything. You think over on Park Avenue you know shit?”

“What do you mean?”

“While you’re bitching because you want to talk to your sister, I’m protecting her, it’s more than just Boris.”

“What are we talking about here?”

“Trafficking. Human fucking trafficking. Boris works for one of the largest traffickers in Europe.”

“I don’t understand.”

“He works for one of the largest organizations involved in human trafficking and . . . it sounds like Ivy is already meant for someone. If it’s who I think it is, she is better off with me, no matter what you think I am.”

That shuts him up, finally. The only sound coming through the phone is the sound of heavy breathing. He finally understands.

Thank fuck.

“You can protect her?”


Tags: Ava Harrison Romance
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