But I have to agree with her; it feels amazing.
“Don’t get my hair wet, you Neanderthal,” she calls over her shoulder.
“No chance. Going out that way won’t save you, Ivy. You’re going under whether your pretty ass wants to or not.”
“I don’t want,” she quips. “You stay on your side, and we’ll be just fine.”
“What’s the fun in that?” I call as I charge toward her. “I thought you wanted to swim together.”
She stops moving away from me and makes the mistake of walking back toward me. “I can trust you, right?”
The one thing she shouldn’t do is trust me because I’ll disappoint her. It’s guaranteed where this conversation is concerned. I wait like a shark as she draws in closer. I stalk my prey, and she doesn’t even realize I’m doing it. When she’s in swimming distance from me, I dive right toward her, hearing her playful screech before I’m fully submerged.
I swim around her in circles until I’m at her backside. I reach out, grab her around the waist, and pull her under with me. When we surface, I turn her so our bodies are flush, and her breasts press against my chest. I inhale, holding in the groan that threatens to break through my chest. It’s a perfect moment until I hear the approaching boat.
It’s my ride coming to get me and take me back to my life of mayhem.
“Fuck,” I say. “That’s my ride. I have to get my stuff and go.”
Her face falls, but she nods. “Oh, okay.”
I want to comfort her, but I know it won’t do either one of us any good. So, I release her from my grip and stride out of the water, heading to grab my stuff. The more time I spend with her, the more I want to know about her, and the less I want to leave.
I’ve watched men fall at the feet of women and thought them the biggest idiots. How could a woman wrap a man so thoroughly around her finger? So much so that he’d give up everything just for her. I’ve never understood it, and I’ve always thought them weak, but Ivy has me questioning that notion. Perhaps a better man can admit his weakness and change for love.
No matter how much I may want that, it will never be my life. I’m in too deep in another world. A dark world. One I’ll never bring Ivy into. Even if her father has already thrown her into it, I’ll do everything I have to, to protect her. To shield her from it. Including keeping my distance. The best thing I can do for her is to leave.
* * *
“Boss, I’m in the surveillance room. You need to get in here right away.”
I hang the phone up, push away from my desk and stand. Z isn’t one to bother me with nonsense, so if he wants me, it has to be something important.
Moving fast, I head toward the back elevator of my house. Not something I use frequently, but something tells me it’s important, and time is of the essence.
When I push the door open, I find Z and Maxwell looking at multiple images of the island.
Instantly, my back goes rigid.
“What the fuck is going on?” Now, I’m standing directly behind them. There are different vantage points.
Some are of the house. We also have cameras in the trees and others angled toward the ocean.
We set the computer up with six squares, and carefully I look over each one.
“It looks like a boat is close,” Maxwell says, lifting his hand to point to the square on the bottom right.
I see nothing at first, but then Maxwell zooms in. Far enough away to not send out any red flags, but close enough to be worrisome.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Is there a way to get closer?”
I don’t know shit about surveillance.
But I need to know right the fuck now why there is someone sailing too close to my private island that shouldn’t show up on anyone’s fucking radar.
Best case, it’s off track and randomly passing by the island. Worse case, I don’t want to think about the worst case.
“Yeah. I think I can. Hold.”
Maxwell fiddles around, pulling the image, zooming in. The larger it gets, the more it pixelates.
But it doesn’t matter how distorted it gets, I can see the shape of the boat, the style too. If we zoom in closer, I’ll see the name.
“What?” Z asks, his forehead furrowing with confusion.
“That’s Alaric’s boat.”
Both my men continue to look, and then I hear Maxwell mutter his agreement.
“What are you going to do about it, boss?”
“I’ll find out why he’s there.”
Z pivots in his chair to look at me.
He’s still sitting, so his neck cranes up. “How do you want to handle this?” he asks me.