“Then how about a ‘nice to meet you’ instead?” he asked, his grin growing wider. “I’m Knox Dawson.”

“Nice to meet you, Knox. I’m—”

“Cornelia Carrington. Lia to your friends, and Becket’s woman to any man in your vicinity,” he finished for me.

I wasn’t too surprised that he knew exactly who I was. Security was a serious business in Vegas, especially at the casinos. But it was the end of his description that made me roll my eyes and sigh, “Yup, you’re definitely a friend of Becket’s.”

“Tell him I said hey when you see him later tonight,” he instructed with a wicked gleam in his eyes.

Knox might be a friend of his, but that didn’t mean Becket wanted me to pass along a message from the guy. That’d just ruin my plans for the evening because then I’d be the one with an apology to make. “Yeah, nope. I’m not that dumb.”

“Never thought you were,” he assured me.

“And on that note, I’m outta here. Got to get down to registration.” I picked up my tea and hurried away. As I headed towards the room where registration was being held, I donned my poker face—pun intended— and thanked my lucky stars that nobody could tell my panties were still damp from my encounter with Becket.

When I turned the corner to go down the hallway that led to the conference center, I felt a tingle on the back of my neck like someone was watching me. I glanced over my left shoulder to check if anyone was behind me, but I wasn’t fast enough. The person who was back there sped up from my right side and pressed something against my mouth. I took a deep breath to scream, but the sound was muffled by the cloth and a strange taste that went along with the sweet smell filled my mouth. I tried to struggle, but it didn’t do much good because he was bigger than me and it wasn’t too long before I started to feel lethargic.

“Gotta get you out of the picture so I can win the tournament,” the man growled as he dragged me towards a door a few feet down the hallway. The handle turned when he jiggled it, and he yanked it open. I stumbled when he shoved me inside, following me in.

“What?” I mumbled, shaking my head to try to dispel the fogginess of my brain.

“Where’s your phone?” I shrunk away when his hands dipped into my pockets to search for it. I didn’t want him to take my cell, but I was relieved when he found it because he stopped touching me. I was too weak to fight when he tied my feet together and my hands behind my back. He shoved me farther into the corner and put the sweet smelling cloth over my face for another minute or so again. Then stuffed something into my mouth to gag me. Once that was done, he pulled a shelf lining one of the walls to the ground so it blocked my path to the door. Stepping backwards, he muttered something about it being good enough because he only needed to buy himself a couple of hours.

I was too dazed from whatever was on that cloth to understand what he meant, but not so confused that I didn’t get that he’d locked me in a closet. In the dark. With no way to get out or call someone for help. I should’ve been terrified. Just three days earlier, I would’ve been. That was before Becket came into my life, though.

He had a meeting and probably wouldn’t realize I was missing until he came up to my suite, and that was still hours from now. But the possibility of being stuck in here until then didn’t scare me because I knew beyond a shadow that he’d come for me. He’d turn this hotel upside down if that’s what it took to find me, and I had a hunch he’d have a lot of help doing it between Drew and Knox.

Becket was a great guy with good friends, and I was lucky to have found him. He was a keeper, and I never planned to let him go. Lucky for me, he wouldn’t let me get away even if I tried. Just like he was going to hunt me down and rescue me from whatever trouble I’d stumbled into.

My faith in him was unshakable, which could only mean one thing. I loved him…and he loved me back. It’d just taken being shoved into a dark closet with no way out for me to realize it.

Chapter 11


My fingers tapped against the table impatiently as I waited for Zack and Drew to arrive.

“Hot date?” Griffith asked with a knowing grin.

“Something like that.” I kept my tone neutral when I answered, stilling my hand from the telling action.

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