Cards of Love: Nine of Swords, страница 1
Cards of Love: Nine of Swords
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
Card of Love: Nine of Swords
Copyright © 2018 Bella Love-Wins.
Written by Bella Love-Wins.
All Rights Reserved.
Epigraph – Sydney
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They hired me to keep her safe. I never planned to give her a baby.
My job was to do what I do best.
Watch my target. Protect them at all costs. Kill anyone who gets in my way.
My weapon of choice? Anything with a sharp edge.
But the second I see my newest client, I know I'm in trouble.
The pain in her eyes, her sinful body, those sky-high, take-me-hard, spiked heels I can't ignore.
In one night, we share more than I thought possible.
I never expected she'd give me so much more.
Until I find out she's having my baby.
Then out of nowhere, the threat of danger becomes real.
But I'm ready.
I'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if it means laying down my own life.
Warning. This dark and dirty romance is steamy, dangerous, and swoon-worthy. If you like slightly over the top romance stories with a dominant alpha male, this is for you! Standalone romance with no cliffhanger and a naughty happily ever after to give you all the feels.
Epigraph – Sydney
There was a time I believed I was normal.
That all ended on a sunny afternoon when I was ten years old. The only two people in the world who loved me were gunned down on the street outside our local ice cream spot, just a few feet away from me.
I’ll never forget the screams of onlookers, the panic in my father’s eyes before they turned empty, or the sight of my mother’s handbag crashing into the pavement in what seemed like slow motion, spilling all the contents on one side of her lifeless torso.
And the big round scoop of my mint chocolate chip ice cream cone fell between them with a green, messy splatter that their blood seeped into.
The killer took out a few other patrons, probably to make it look random. Or maybe he had self-control issues. I later found out my parents were targeted.
The killer spared me, for some unknown reason.
That was his first mistake.
His second, he was too dumb or too arrogant to cover the tattooed words on his left hand that read ‘SHOT’, with one inked letter between each of the two top knuckles of his fingers.
I saw it that afternoon, and I made a promise.
I would grow up fast, learn what I needed to, find him, and get my revenge. It didn’t matter that someone else might have hired him to end my parents’ lives. No, those people would pay too, but first, this man would get his just desserts. He received that honor because he was the one who stood above my parents’ bodies and waited for them to take their last breaths.
It took over ten years, but just after my twenty-first birthday, I found him.
And I did what I promised my parents years ago.
I gave him what I swore I would.
My own special brand of justice.
One that I gleaned from years of honing the types of talents that people like me had to have. People with axes to grind, and scores to settle. The kind of talents that allowed us to walk in the shadows, and patiently bide our time until we had an opening. Like the one I found while dressed in a blonde wig and a skimpy little black dress that had fit me like a second skin. That was his weakness, I’d found out. Easy blondes. Or free-spirited. Whatever. It worked and I meted out my vengeance with the edge of a Bowie knife.
But I soon learned that taking the life of an assassin so prolific has consequences. Avenging my parents’ murders caused more deadly trouble to come knocking on my door. I saw them coming. And as always since that horrific night, I was prepared.
I just didn’t expect to learn that I have an unknown ally.
Someone high up the totem pole in the underground world. Or more than one person.
They sent someone to protect me.
They sent him.
The infamous killer-slash-bodyguard that goes by the moniker Blade.
The tall, well-built, dark-haired man with beautiful piercing eyes that only show ice-cold, lethal hardness, even when he smiles. Especially when he smiles. Up close, my sexy ass sin protector is perfect. Like staring into the sun, laying eyes on him can be extremely hazardous to my health. Yet I keep watching, lusting after a man I shouldn’t look at, let alone touch.
Then one night, we share more than either of us planned to.
And everything in my already messed up world gets turned upside down.
I spread my stance to give my throbbing cock some room as I watch my newest assignment as she works in her midtown Manhattan corner office. The late evening sunlight hits one side of her gorgeous face and her rich red hair, giving her a mystical glow that I can’t ignore.
Her real name is Sydney Tabitha Rowan, but these days she goes by Sydney Adams. At twenty-four years of age, she’s the youngest bonds analyst among her peers in the mid-tier off-Wall Street trading firm where she works.
I’m at a safe distance, but the thing is, with my recon gear, I might as well be down on my knees, with my head between hers under her sleek custom office made of tempered glass and mahogany. Why? Because this sexy as sin redhead is exactly my type and I can’t take my eyes off her even if I fucking tried.
I’ve had my stuff set up on a vacant high floor of a commercial building on the kitty corner from where she works. It’s the gear I use for recon before making my presence known to whoever my private security clients assign me to protect. Usually, if their security threats aren’t imminent, I would take five days to a week to observe my assignments where they live, work and play, to have a sense of the kinds of threats they’re facing.
My body is tense from head to toe and my dick is constantly hard as granite every time she parts her mile-long legs under that translucent desk of hers, giving me a view of inner thighs and her silky panties.
It’s only been three days but I can barely take it anymore.
And that’s out of character for me. I’m a professional. I’ve been assigned to women before, some more refined or more physically striking than Sydney, and none of them ever struck a nerve with me in such a primal, physical way. Already, without ever having spoken to this woman, I don’t just want to protect her, I want to possess her.
And that’s some fucking dangerous shit, if I ever saw it.
Sure, the woman is just my type. Perfect for my every
But for fuck’s sake, I’ve got a job to do.
Watch my assignment.
Assess risks to their safety.
Present myself to them.
Make sure no harm come to them or me.
Neutralize anyone who gets in the way of my work.
I can’t afford to fuck up, because mistakes in this business can affect lives, including my own. For most of my assignments, I work alone, but this time, I have Aiden Stone serving as my backup, a guy I’ve worked with a couple of times before. I’m usually leery when a client demands an expanded security detail, but as they requested Aiden by name and are paying us both double our usual fees, I didn’t put up too much of a fight.
For the first time ever, I’m half-grateful to have a backup.
We met the first day and decided on how we’d approach this. I watch the assignment. He watches my back. Simple and manageable.
Except, the way I’ve been observing our assignment with lust in my eyes instead of a level-headed gaze, it’s only a matter of time before Aiden clues in on things. Just like me, the man has a solid reputation in the business. He misses nothing, and has never lost an assignment. But in this case, knowing he’s around can’t hurt.
Because this girl is in real danger.
Over the last three days, I’ve singled out nine separate individuals or teams who pose a threat to Sydney in the field. She seems to have a tail on her almost everywhere she goes, but I suspect she’s aware of at least half of them. I’ve come to believe that she’s just as aware of what’s going on around her. Those big, bright, sad, soulful-looking eyes of hers seem to always be watching, waiting, anticipating, preparing.
I can only hope she’s prepared to let us take care of all that when the time comes.
She’s the kind that might object to a bodyguard. I can already see her raising hell about it, and will probably go on and on about being able to take care of herself. She’s damn good at it too. I’ve seen her shake the men following her a few times. Like last night when she left the office late and took the train home instead of a taxi or walking. Instead of immediately stepping on the train when it arrived, she waited until the last split second to get on board, and made a point of not going straight home. No, that night, she ducked into a quaint little restaurant located three blocks south of her place, and took a table near the back, a spot where she could keep an eye on everyone walking by or coming in. She seemed to have a gut instinct that they were onto her, and like a pro, she did some recon of her own to find out who exactly they were. She also switched from five inch pumps to flats while she rode the train, to give herself a better chance to move around with ease.
Or two mornings ago, as she walked to the gym attached to her condo building. She chose the treadmill in the corner facing out. It was the one that gave her the best vantage point so that no one could catch her off guard. I was impressed, and it didn’t hurt watching her in those cute little workout shorts and sports bra. They showed off just the right amount of skin and fit her like a second skin, revealing her impressively perky nipples, those shapely legs, and that sweet ass.
My guess is that Sydney’s no fool, so I’ve made a point of being extra careful to stay hidden. So far, she has no idea Aiden and I are watching.
At least, I think she doesn’t.
Not that it matters.
Tonight, I’ll be at her door for my formal introduction, letting her know I’ve been hired to keep watch. Aiden and I have already agreed that for now, we’ll hold off on announcing he’s working with me. It’s safer for her, having an extra layer of protection in the periphery.
I just hope he’s not as affected by her the way I am.
She’s my assignment.
Mine to protect.
The more I watch her, the less I understand this magnetic force drawing me to her. And the less I can control it. Just last night while Aiden kept watch while I took my daily four-hour rest break, I went to sleep with my fist wrapped tightly around my shaft, picturing all the sinful things I’d make her do to satisfy my lust.
Like stretch her out on the bed with her head off the side, her mouth parted, waiting to take every inch of my thick, meaty cock.
Or lower her to her knees.
Bend her over.
Press her up against any flat surface.
Or all of the above, and then some.
It’s no wonder I have to adjust my stance to accommodate my on-the-job boner.
This has to stop, and fast.
Because the kind of danger she’s in has already struck hard in her life.
I read her file before the assignment started, and it fucking hit me in the gut for a second. Parents gunned down right before her eyes at age ten. Made a ward of the state because no other relatives were in the picture and not even the executor of her parents’ estate could fight to keep custody of her. That’s how it is for some of us. The gift of breathing air, of living, takes a fuck ton of work. And the second people like Sydney discovers that this world is riddled with danger lurking at every corner, life is never the same. You go to sleep on edge and wake up on high alert. You move through life watching around every corner, expecting something bad to happen. You believe in nothing, trust no one, and question everything around you. It’s a sad fucking life for a kid, but it sure as hell made her a damn strong woman.
I can relate. My life was no easier.
I didn’t know my mother. She gave me up before I could even open my eyes as a newborn. All I have of her is the one picture she left sewn into the baby bag found beside me when she set me down outside a church in inner city Miami. As for who my father is, that’s a mystery too. For all I know, he still has no idea I exist. Looking back at my childhood, it seems like shit happens in this world to fuck up some people’s childhood and their entire lives. If there’s a god, he sure as fuck likes to wreck some people’s chances right out of the gate, like he did mine. I believe that even though I was put in the care of the state and quickly adopted by amazing people who couldn’t have kids of their own. They loved me like I was their flesh and blood, but that all ended at age eight when some drugged up college kid lost control of his vehicle and hit my parents’ car head-on. They died within hours, leaving me alone and exposed and vulnerable yet again.
But at least I had those eight magical years. If there’s anything I’m grateful for, it’s for that time when life was simple. I could be a normal kid with normal shit to handle. Like fixing my bike tires, setting up weekend lemonade stands with my neighborhood friends, and pulling the pigtails or being a general little turd to girls I had a crush on. After that car crash, the hole carved into my unprepared, pre-teen chest never closed up or healed. All I managed to do was wrap one tough as nails, impenetrable wall around it so I could survive.
After that, I had to harness my grief and grow up real fast in a system of foster care that failed me like it did for so many before I ever came along. I bounced from one fucked up home to the next, ran away every chance I got, and when I hit fourteen, I scraped together every penny I had and bought a bus ticket out of that sweltering shithole that was my life. I made the streets of Big Apple my home, begging or fighting for scraps until I was old enough to enlist in the Army. I thrived as a soldier, and after a few tours of duty, with military training that was so well suited to a scrappy, wild, and angry loner like me, I made a damn good living protecting people so they wouldn’t have to go through the shit I almost didn’t survive.
Like right now as Sydney packs up her stuff for the night and prepares to leave.
I’ve been watching the man in the office next to hers off and on for a few hours. I haven’t seen him before today. He’s out of place in more ways than one. For starters, the dark suit he has on is a cheap knockoff of the Armani’s, Valentino’s, and Saint Laurent’s I normally
My shoulders tense and my muscles bunch at the sight of him starting to pack up at the same time as Sydney. There’s a concrete wall between their offices, so the only way he’d know that she’s ready to leave is if he has a lookout like me giving him a signal. Or if he has some way to monitor her from inside her office. For all I know, he could be piggybacking off of the transponder I planted in one of the fluorescent light fixtures the first day I started watching Sydney. Anger rises in my chest as I contemplate the possibility, but I quickly shove the emotion away. At this particular moment, it doesn’t matter how he knows. I need to focus on ensuring he doesn’t have an opportunity to get to her before I stop him first.
That’s exactly what I plan to do.
No one gets between me and my assignment.
Especially not this woman, who’s unwittingly sunk her claws into me before she’s even met me.
These men have no idea who they’re dealing with.
Running my palms down the side of my black pencil skirt, I push away the adrenaline-fueled knot in my gut and get to work neatening up the mess they made of my spilled purse contents when they tried to attack me in the alleyway behind my office building. Of course, they were no match for me and the switchblade I tucked under the sleeve of my blouse since I noticed one of them tracking me.