“A hangover?” I was still lost.

“Yeah,” she groaned but her tone had sass. “You know, that thing you get when you drink too much. With the pounding headache and the dry mouth. A hangover.”

I suddenly realized that she hadn’t remembered what had happened to her and was assuming the effects from—my guess was chloroform—were symptoms of a hangover.

“You don’t remember what happened, sweetheart?” I asked gently. She tried to sit up but got dizzy and fell back into my arms.

Her expression turned thoughtful and she winced, as though thinking was painful. Then it was as though a lightbulb came on and she sprang up so she was sitting in my lap. Then she dropped her head into her hands and whimpered. “Fuck. That man. He dragged me in here and…” Her shoulders tensed and her head lifted, a dark scowl on her face. “The son of a bitch kidnapped me!” I almost laughed in relief that she seemed to be okay and because her indignation was adorable.

“Did he say anything to you?” Drew asked, casing her head to fall back so she could peer up at him.

“No. Well, just something about keeping me out of the way for a couple of hours.”

Drew frowned. “Do you know about what time he grabbed you?”

His words reminded me of what could have happened, and I started to get worked up again. Clearly in tune with me, Lia put her hand on my arm and rubbed up and down, her tender touch soothing me.

“A little after six, maybe?” she guessed.

Drew cursed, then pressed a button on the ear piece in his right ear. “Check the cam footage of the registration area and get the list of anyone who signed up between six and seven-thirty.”

Lia’s brows rose as she grasped what Drew was insinuating. She looked at me and shook her head. “Someone didn’t want me playing in the tournament?” She ran an agitated hand through her tangled hair. “That was really worth kidnapping me?”

“The purse is almost a million dollars,” Zack muttered as he shoved his hands in his pockets. “Money is a powerful motivator. If they knew about your reputation and were desperate enough, they might have figured they had no chance to win if you were playing. We should be grateful locking you in a closet was all he did.”

I stiffened and Lia’s gaze flew to my face, recognizing that I was on the edge of losing my shit. She cupped my cheeks and softly kissed my lips, releasing some of the tension. Then she scowled up at Zack. “How about we not dwell on what ifs and get me some food. I’m freaking starving.”

Ignoring everything and everyone besides Lia, I latched onto her request, giving myself something else to focus on. I stood swiftly, keeping her cradled in my arms. Her fingers toyed with the hair at the back of my neck, melting away any last vestiges of fear and anger.

Once we were on the elevator, headed back to her suite, I studied her gorgeous face and got lost in her incredible gray eyes. I’d known how much I needed her even before the fear of losing her. But now I knew I couldn’t live without her.

Chapter 12


I woke up with a jolt, surprised to find myself sprawled on the plush mattress of my bed with Becket sleeping next to me. My last memories from the night before were devouring the food delivered to the room and then cuddling into his side while he talked to Drew, Zach, and Knox. Becket and I had barely gotten a minute alone in my suite before the guys charged in behind us. He’d wanted to kick them all out, and I’d been fully on board with that plan. All I’d wanted was food, a shower, the chance to tell Becket that I loved him, and some much-needed sleep.

Then Drew mentioned that he’d arranged for the chef in the Lennox’s best restaurant to send up enough appetizers, entrees and desserts to feed an army, and my stomach had growled so loud that it echoed around the room. At that point, Becket was wholly focused on getting some food into me, and it would’ve been rude to make Drew leave when he was the one providing it. And if he was staying, then the other two might as well too. So I took a quick shower, inhaled my dinner, and then apparently conked out for the night.

“Ugh,” I groaned after rolling over. My head was pounding, and my body ached in several places. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that bruises had formed on my arms, butt, and back overnight. It was going to wreak havoc on my game play today, being stuck in a chair for hours on end playing in a tournament I badly wanted to win…the one I never got the chance to register for yesterday because I’d been kidnapped. “Shit!”

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