“No one,” Nicholas says.
So coldly. So sure. It stops my heartbeat for half a second.
“She’s no one.”
Nicholas reaches down, grabbing his pants from the floor then slides into them as he stands up. “I want to hear about you. Let’s go out to the living room and chat.”
“But I want to stay here.” She pouts. “In the bedroom.”
“There’s a bottle of Krug Vintage Brut chilling. And this occasion definitely calls for Champagne.” Nicholas smiles easily.
He’s really good. If the prince thing doesn’t work out, he could totally be an actor.
“All right.” The woman giggles, mesmerized.
Once they leave the room, I throw on the first thing my hands touch—Nicholas’s button-down shirt—and dive for the phone on the nightstand to call for help.
But then there’s a shattered scream from the living room—piercing and heartbroken.
“What are you doing? Let me go!”
I’ve never run so fast, or been so afraid.
In the living room, Nicholas has the woman pinned on her stomach on the couch, her hands behind her back.
When he sees me he says, “My mobile’s on the bedside table. Dial seven—it’ll put you through to security.”
The woman cries and screeches like a wraith. “You’re ruining it! You’re ruining everything!”
And when she pulls against his hold on her hands, Nicholas tries to calm her. “There now, shhh. Don’t do that—you’ll hurt yourself. It’s going to be all right.”
I don’t know why I don’t move. It’s like my brain’s been disconnected from my feet.
“Olivia.” The sharpness in his tone makes me blink. “Mobile.”
“Right. Right.” And then I sprint down the hall and do exactly as he says.
What seems like hours later, the woman is taken away and in addition to the regular security guys, there are policemen and hotel staff in the suite. Nicholas, dressed in a soft gray T-shirt and running pants, talks to them in the living room.
I, feeling more put-together in my own clothes—jeans and an old peasant top—wait in the bedroom. With Logan.
Logan St. James, the head of Nicholas’s personal security team, is the strong, silent type. But in this moment he doesn’t really need to say anything—his eyes do all the talking for him.
They’re deep brown, almost black, and they glare at me with the withering heat of a thousand dark suns.
I swallow nervously. Where’s a trapdoor in the floor when you need one?
“This is my fault, isn’t it?” I find the nerve to ask.
“You can’t put ideas in his head about not needing security.”
Well, that answers that.
“He’s an important man, Olivia.”
“He has to have his wits about him. If anything happened…”
“I know that—”
“You don’t know! You never would’ve pulled the shit you did today if you knew.” Logan closes his eyes, breathing quick—like he’s trying to rein in what I suspect is an explosive temper. “He can’t afford to be screwed stupid by some New York gash.”
Before the nasty words have time to register, Logan is hauled back by his collar and slammed up against the wall—hard enough to make the light fixtures rattle.
Because suddenly Nicholas is there, pressing his forearm right against Logan’s throat.
“Speak to her like that again and you’ll be picking your teeth up off the floor. Do you understand me?” When the answer doesn’t come fast enough, he slams him again—making Logan’s head bounce against the sheetrock. “Do you?!”
Logan stares him down, his proud jaw tense and stubborn. Then he gives a jerk of a nod.
Nicholas takes a step back, holding his hands open at his sides. “We both know the fault here is mine, so if you want to rail at someone, have at me. Get it off your chest.”
Logan straightens the collar of his suit with a tight, resentful tug.
“Putting on a helmet doesn’t change who you are—you can’t walk about and pretend it does.”
“Yes, I realize that.”
Logan’s lips purse and his thumb taps his thigh with agitation. “I wanna switch hotels. Quietly.”
“And I want more men here. I want someone at the coffee shop—it’s insane that you come and go to an unsecured location so often.”
Nicholas agrees, and Logan goes on.
“I want a tail on Miss Hammond and her sister. It’s pure, dumb luck the press hasn’t gotten a photo of them yet—and I want them covered when that happens.”
“And no more nights in the suite, or afternoons at concerts or wherever the fuck without security. You want to get yourself killed, it won’t be on my watch. You let me do my job the right way or you find someone else to do it.”
Nicholas’s eyes dim—the way an animal’s do when it’s locked back up in its pen.
“I shouldn’t have put you or myself in that position. It was foolish and it won’t happen again.”
After a moment, Logan nods and then bows to Nicholas. He walks toward the door, but then stops and turns to me.
“I’m sorry. I should’na spoke to you that way. I don’t lose my temper often but when I do, stupid shit comes out of my mouth that I don’t mean. None of this is your doin’. Can you forgive me, lass?”