“New phone, who dis?” I say, and then hit the disconnect button.

There’s a moment of silence, and I start to wonder if I seriously overstepped my bounds and fucked up.

Then Gabriel starts to chuckle. “What the fuck does that mean?”

Smiling in relief, I say, “It’s hard to explain, but it should royally piss him off.”

“Good,” Gabriel says with satisfaction, and I feel myself warming under his grin.


I totally shouldn’t like his approval. And I totally shouldn’t be getting myself involved in this crap.

And Gabriel should probably be keeping his eyes on the road, but he keeps staring at me, making me grow warmer and warmer.

If I must be completely honest, I really hate looking at him head-on. Not only is he entirely too good looking for his own good, with his strong, rugged features, and blonde, scruffy beard, but there’s also something about his eyes that suck me in, shutting out the rest of the world.

Perhaps it’s because unlike Alexei’s eyes, his eyes aren’t empty and dead. No, they’re full of barely constrained emotion and passion, even when he’s not provoked.

Suddenly the screen starts to ring again and Gabriel groans, but I’m thankful to be pulled out of another unsettling moment.

“Do you want to answer it?” I ask.

Gabriel snorts. “Fuck no.”

I hold out my hand. “Then give me your phone.”

Gabriel doesn’t even hesitate, foolish man. I watch him lift his ass off his seat and dig around in his pants pocket. Then he pulls out his phone and willingly places it in my hand.

I could do so much fucking damage with this…

But first, I unlock his phone with a swipe. No pin, interesting. Then I immediately disconnect Bluetooth.

The speakers stop ringing.

“How did you do that?” he asks.

He’s truly clueless.

“I turned Bluetooth off…”

He grunts as if it makes sense, but I seriously doubt it does. I flip the button on the side of the phone and it falls silent.

“So… how come you don’t know how to use a phone?” I ask, hoping to distract him while I poke around on the screen.

He answers casually like we’re discussing the weather. “I just did ten years in a supermax.”

My head jerks up in surprise and I blink at him. Though, I don’t really know why I’m surprised by this information. He did try to murder everyone attending my wedding… and succeeded in taking down most of them.

“Let me guess? For murder?” I ask sarcastically, not expecting him to glance over at me and answer with a, “Yeah.”

A little chill courses down my spine.

“Only ten years, though?” I say, poking for more information as I break eye contact and drop my attention back down to the phone. “Sounds like you got off easy.”

“I was sentenced to life,” he says casually again, as if it’s not a big fucking deal.

What the hell? Did he escape?

“How did you get out so soon? Parole?”

I try to keep my fingers from flying across his phone. There are so many ways I could reach out for help, but I don’t want to tip him off.

“No. I was pardoned.”

“You’re shitting me,” I blurt out, my head jerking up again in surprise.

A big fat shit-eating grin spreads across his face. “By the governor himself.”

Damn. That means his organization must have the governor in their pocket, and if their ties are that powerful, there’s no telling how high or deep they go.

I’m probably well and truly fucked.

My fingers hover over the send button. I managed to type out a short message, planning on blasting it out to my social media, but this new information makes me pause.

What if they have the cops, the FBI, or any other law enforcement agency in their pockets? Would sending a distress signal get me killed?

I hesitate for too long.

Brows pulling together, Gabriel scowls at me. “What are you doing?”

I swipe quickly out of my account without pushing send. “Just checking out your apps.”

He holds his hand out expectantly.

With a huff, I start to hand over the phone when it starts vibrating.

Glancing down at the screen, I ask, “Who’s Lucifer?”

“Answer it.”

With a shrug, I swipe the phone open and hit the icon for speakerphone, figuring that’s what he wants.

“Gabriel,” a smooth voice drawls out.

“Lucifer,” Gabriel says back.

Phone still in my hand, I turn my attention to my window, pretending I’m not that interested in the conversation. Though I very much am.

I recognize the name Lucifer, not only from the day I eavesdropped on Alexei and my father, but also from rumors I’ve heard over the years. If what I’ve heard is true then he’s currently the most powerful and feared man in Garden City.

He has the entire city in his tight grasp.

Lucifer’s smooth drawl seems to slide out of the phone as he says, “Normally, I don’t interfere when one of my men sneaks off with their… blushing bride… and holes up with her until she is pregnant. But I fear, in this instance, there are important matters that need to be discussed first.”

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