Page 86 of Corrupt Kingdom

Ever since we reached an accord when I got hurt, she no longer secludes herself in the bedroom. I walk through all the rooms on the main floor, yet no one is there.

I go into my room next.

Nothing.

Maybe she’s so pissed she’s in her old room. When I swing the door open, I find nothing at all. The feeling that hit me when I saw the blood starts to intensify.

If she’s hurt, where could she be?

I go to walk back outside when Cerberus runs out of the house. Maybe he knows where Ivy is, but instead of stopping, he runs off barking. He heads in the direction of the beach.

I follow him.

Running behind as he barks.

The first thought is that, once again, she tried to escape. She tried to leave me.

But when I get to where the beach starts, every muscle in my back tightens.

Footprints.

They are not hers. They are much larger. Another set trail as if she was being dragged.

Emotions I thought I had buried deep within me rise to the surface.

I can’t push it down.

Before her, I didn’t feel, but now that I have met her, found her, and lost her, I can’t control myself.

The raw emptiness inside me was finally starting to fill with her in my presence, and now it feels like a knife has stabbed me, emptying once again but unlike before when I closed off the pain, this time, the pain is real and tangible.

I head back to the boat.

Both my men look at me. They instantly draw their guns and are on high alert.

“She’s gone.”

“What? How. . .?” Maxwell asks.

“I don’t fucking know!” I scream. “I want all the surveillance tapes. Get me the fuck home and find out how that fucker found her.”

The ride back is tense.

No one speaks.

When I’m finally back in the house, my worst nightmare comes true. There is nothing on the cameras. A glitch, whatever the fuck that means.

“Fuck!” I bellow as my fist flies through the air, punching the wall. The plaster concaves in, leaving behind a bloody hole.

Not knowing what else to do, I call Trent.

“Hello,” he answers.

“Did you give him the money?”

“What? No. Not yet. I can’t get through to him.”

“He has her. That’s why he doesn’t need your fucking money. He fucking has her.”

“Who?”

“Boris.”

The line goes quiet. My heart tightens in my chest. “What the fuck am I going to do?” My hard voice cuts through the silence. I’m not usually at a loss, but this time, I am. I don’t know.

“How did he find her?”

“I don’t know, but I’m sure as shit going to find out.”

A part of me always knew this was a possibility, and even Z had mentioned it. Using her was a good way to lure him in. Finish him and everything he stood for.

But I never anticipated what she would mean to me.

She’s my sun.

I realize now I was just fooling myself.

With a deep inhale, I calm all my nerves. This is not who I am. I tamp down any emotion I have for her because I won’t let them blind me to what I need to do.

This is a war now.

He came onto my property and took something that was mine. Because yes, Sun, Ivy, is mine. And I’m going to get her back. I will use every last resource I have. It’s time to do that.

I grab my phone and dial the one man you need standing beside you during a battle.

Matteo Amante.

“Cyrus Reed, to what do I owe the honor? It’s not often you call unless . . . is everything okay with the money?”

“Yes, Matteo. This is actually a different matter. A personal matter.”

The line goes silent. It’s as if he is weighing his options of whether to humor me on this. We have worked together for a few years, but I have never called in a favor. This is practically unheard of. Cyrus Reed doesn’t ask for help, nor does he help others. At least not for free.

My reputation is what precedes me and why men fear me.

“Now you have me intrigued.”

Of course, he’s intrigued, and at this point, I’m desperate. Not a good combination.

“I need your help,” I say on a sigh. Bitter words. An even more bitter pill to swallow.

“More intrigued.” This time, he chuckles. Not good. He will bleed me dry for his help.

“Something of mine was taken. And I need your help to get it back.”

“Old friend, I would love to help you . . .” He trails off.

“But it will cost me.”

“I can’t be doing business for free.”

The fact that he’s right sucks, but it’s the nature of the beast. I wish there was another way, but I’m all out of options.

“I respect that. Consider yourself interest-free for your next deposit.”

“Life.”

“One year.”

“Five.”

“Deal.”

Five years interest-free comes out to a shit ton of money, but her life is priceless to me.

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