Romance: Romantic Suspense: Pounded By The Bad Boy: (Contemporary Mystery and Suspense Romance, Action and Adventure Bad Boy Romance) (New Adult Thriller Drama Romances), страница 1
Pounded By The Bad Boy
Copyright © 2015 by Jade Allen
All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the authors, with the exception of brief quoted passages left in an online review. This book is a fictional story. All characters, names, and situations are of the authors’ creation. Any resemblances to actual situations or to persons who are alive or dead are purely coincidental.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; this copy is not available for resale or to give to another reader aside from any transaction through Amazon’s e-book lending program.
This book is intended for readers age 18 and over. It contains mature situations and language that may be objectionable to some readers.
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Chelsea had finally managed to sink into the depths of the sleep she craved after spending an entire night tossing and turning, her mind going over the petty details and stresses of her week at work. Finally, as the sky had already begun to lighten, her mind had succumbed to the bone-deep exhaustion of her body, and given up the task of enumerating all of the things she needed to do. She was in the midst of a dream—a sweet, uncomplicated, comforting dream—when the siren-slide sound of Hot Hot Heat’s “Future Breeds” reached into her brain, splitting the air and cutting through the threads of her dream state. Chelsea groaned, the sound almost a sob of frustration, as she reached out and blindly grabbed for her phone where she kept it; not on her bedside table, which she knew from experience would make it easier to turn the alarm off altogether, but on the desk next to her bed. Fumbling, she closed her fingers around the slippery device and by memory thumbed the snooze feature.
Chelsea knew that the nine minutes’ silence would not actually help; it felt as if every joint in her body had been attacked by bat-wielding assailants, as if her eyelids had been replaced with sandpaper. The dull throb at her temples told her readily that nine minutes was simply not a replacement for the hours of sleep she had missed. But for a precious few moments, at least, she could pretend she didn’t have to get up and out of bed, that she didn’t have to go to work. Chelsea let the phone fall onto the blankets, curling in on herself tighter and burying her face against the pillows in denial of the idea that it was already morning.
She began to slip into a doze, her muscles relaxing one by one as the silence stretched out. Maybe—just maybe—she’d get a few minutes of quality sleep. Chelsea’s breathing evened and slowed, and she was on the edge of falling asleep once more when she found herself once more pulled sharply into wakefulness by the sensation of her phone vibrating. Her sleep-fogged brain at first protested that it couldn’t possibly be nine minutes yet; but then, if it had been, she would be hearing her alarm tone—not feeling the buzzing vibration of her phone’s silent “ring.” Someone was calling her.
“It’s like no one in the entire world wants me to sleep today,” Chelsea muttered to herself, opening her eyes and scrubbing at her face in self-pity. Her phone continued to vibrate, and she ruefully gave up on the idea of getting any more sleep. The only people her exhausted mind could think of who would call her at such an early hour were her coworkers; her friends knew better, and the few members of her family still alive and speaking to her did as well. Chelsea yawned as her hand found the phone where it was buried in the blanket. She picked it up and squinted against the light in the room as she tried to force her dry, sleepy eyes to focus on the number flashing on the screen. It wasn’t a number she recognized. For a moment—a flicker of a thought—she considered throwing the phone across the room, curling up once more, and considering the day a complete failure to launch. But Chelsea realized that she was already fully awake; and if it was a telemarketer, she at least could get the lesser comfort of verbally tearing whoever it was into pieces.
“Who the hell is this?” she asked as soon as she had tapped the “accept” icon on her screen and saw that the call had connected.
“Chelsea Davies, good morning. You are in a great deal of danger, and I strongly advise you to call into work sick today. In fact, it would be best if you remained exactly where you are in your apartment for the next thirty minutes.” Chelsea took the phone away from her ear and stared at the screen for a long moment, confused and irritated.
“What are you talking about? And just how do you know my name?”
“You have plenty of sick time. You should take some of it today, and stay right where you are until you hear a knock like this.” Chelsea’s frowned deepened as she heard a tapping pattern over the phone line: tock-tock-tock-ti-tock. “Did you get that, Chelsea?”
“I’m not going to agree to anything until you give me some answers,” she said irritably.
“We don’t really have time for this; I need to be off of the phone in the next thirty seconds. Be a good girl and listen to that knock one more time, and tell me clearly whether or not you understand what I’ve told you.” Once more she heard the tapping pattern. Curiosity overwhelming her irritation at the mystery caller and the interruption of her sleep, Chelsea listened to the pattern carefully.
“Okay, fine, I heard it,” she said sulkily.
“Good girl. You’ll hear it again in about thirty minutes. Call your office and tell them you’ll be sick for a couple of days and stay exactly where you are.” Chelsea opened her mouth to protest the peremptory command when she heard the low-toned beep-beep-beep that signaled that the call was disconnected. She let the phone slip from her fingers and sank down against the pillows, puzzling over the mysterious call and the equally strange caller. Chelsea frowned, her eyelids descending over her eyes as her deep fatigue settled over her once more. He had known that she had plenty of sick time—that much was true; she had banked almost a full week of sick time. You’re not calling in sick because some mystery asshole told you to, Chelsea told herself as she forced her eyes open and reached for her phone once more.
“I’m calling in sick because I am exhausted and I’d be useless at work anyway. It’s a mental health day.” Chelsea opened up her contacts list and found the number to the office, coughing a few times experimentally to roughen her voice. She waited for the automatic prompt to come on—the office didn’t officially open for business for another hour and a half—and put in the number for her manager’s extension. Elise wouldn’t be at her desk either; Chelsea knew that she’d go straight to voicemail, which was for the best. When she heard the tone, she coughed again. “Hey, Elise,” Chelsea said, pitching her voice low and giving into the fatigue she felt in every bone of her body without any pretense. “I’m not going to be able to come in today. I feel like I just got ran over with a Mack truck.” She coughed again for
Chelsea’s irritation rose as minutes passed; she felt vaguely silly about responding to the call, even if she knew that she was too exhausted to be of use in the office that day anyway. Her bladder gave a spasm, informing her that it was uncomfortably full—and that she should take care of that issue. Her mystery caller had told her to stay exactly where she was; but surely he just meant in the apartment. Chelsea grappled with the idea before deciding that literal adherence to an order from someone who hadn’t even been courteous enough to introduce himself was ridiculous. It’s not like he’s going to know, anyway.
She picked up her phone absently as she climbed out of bed and padded towards the bathroom, yawning a few more times as she made the short trek. She felt faintly ridiculous that she was waiting in her apartment for the mystery caller—or at least, she assumed that the coded knock would be coming from him—when she had no idea of who he was, what he wanted, why he had called her. Wasn’t there some kind of urban legend with this set up? This is the way that women get abducted, isn’t it? Chelsea washed her hands and splashed water on her face when she finished taking care of her needs, and went back into the bedroom, resenting the intrusion on her sleep, her routine.
Chelsea had once more fallen into a doze, with nothing better to do to pass the time waiting—she had told herself that the caller was probably a prank in the first place—when she heard, at her door, the knocking pattern that the man on the phone had performed for her. Opening her eyes, Chelsea groaned, sitting up in her bed. “No one wants me to get any sleep today, that has to be it. The whole world is in on it.” She flung the covers aside and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, getting to her feet unsteadily. How do you even know you can trust this guy? He’s probably here to abduct you, and you’re playing right into his game plan. Chelsea frowned and grabbed at her phone. She heard her mystery guest repeat the coded knock at her door and stirred herself to pad out of the bedroom.
Considering, she opened up her recent calls and checked for the unfamiliar number; she didn’t know for certain if the caller and the person on her doorstep were the same individual, but it was worth making the phone call anyway, wasn’t it? She hit ‘recall’ and stood, a few yards away from her door, waiting as it rang. “I’m here,” the voice said the moment the call connected.
“I assumed as much from the knock-knock-knocking at my door,” Chelsea said wryly. “What I don’t know is whether I should let you in.”
“You should,” the man said. Now that she was more awake, she could detect a faint accent in the man’s deep, almost rasping voice, though she couldn’t identify where the accent came from. “I promise you, Chelsea, that I’m not here to abduct you. You are actually in some danger right now. If you let me in I can explain it to you.” Chelsea glided her tongue along the front of her teeth, hesitating only a moment longer.
She took the last few steps to the door and unlocked first the deadbolt, then the chain, and finally the twist lock on the knob, before opening the door. For a long moment, Chelsea stared. The man on the other side of the door was more than tall; he dwarfed her, easily a foot taller than she was, over six feet. He had dark blond hair, cut short with razor-precision, parted to the side, and bright blue-green eyes that shone intently as he looked down at her. Chelsea’s gaze took in the slightly darker stubble that roughened the man’s cheeks and jawline, contrasting sharply with the soft look of his Cupid’s bow mouth. He wasn’t just tall; the man filled up the frame of her door: broad shoulders and chest, tapering to a narrow waist and hips, and long legs. He wore fitted jeans, and a black tee shirt that clung to the lines and ridges of his torso, with a dark leather jacket over it. “Are you going to let me in?” He asked her, raising one wheat-colored eyebrow. Chelsea took a step backwards, blinking and shaking off her confusion; she felt disastrously underdressed in her pajamas, next to the man who strode quickly through her door, closing and locking it behind him.
“This is the part where you explain what the hell is going on, right?” Chelsea threw herself onto the couch, feeling irritated at her own reaction to the man.
“We have some time now, but not very much,” the mystery guest said, sitting down in the wingback chair nearest to her. Chelsea frowned.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” she told him, crossing her arms over her chest. She was acutely aware of the effect of the slight chill in the air when her guest had come in, of the fact that underneath the thin fabric of her top and the pajama bottoms she’d managed to pull on before she’d gone to bed the night before, she was bare.
“Someone wants to kill you.” Chelsea stared at the man in disbelief. “They think you know something that they’d rather keep hidden.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense,” Chelsea protested. “I don’t know anything—I can’t even think of something I know that might make someone want me dead.” The man shrugged.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day whether you know it or not—the person after you thinks that you do, because you have the information.”
“What are you talking about? I’m nobody. No one’s handed me some mysterious parcel or anything, I haven’t even gotten anything in the mail.” The man’s lips twitched in a smile. “And who the hell are you, anyway?” The man’s smile deepened.
“My name is Johan Lindstrom,” he said. “Tell me, Chelsea; what comes to mind when I say the name Aaron Rosen?” Chelsea stared at the man blankly.
“The CEO of the company?” Chelsea frowned. “What does he have to do with anything?” Johan raised an eyebrow, the smile not quite leaving his lips.
“Are those really the first words that come to mind?” he asked her.
“The first words that come to mind are ‘the scumbag I work for,’ ” Chelsea retorted, feeling the heat rising into her cheeks. Johan inclined his head slightly, his eyes glinting with amusement.
“The scumbag you work for, that’s much more accurate. I’m sure you’re aware he’s engaged in some…less than savory practices.” Johan made the statement an almost-question and Chelsea shrugged.
“Everyone in the office knows that,” she pointed out. “If he didn’t want that getting out he’d have to kill us all, not just me.” Johan’s lips twisted into a wry expression.
“Drug running, profiteering…those are the common-knowledge things,” he said slowly. “But you know what happens to people who think they’re untouchable. They start taking bigger and bigger risks.” Johan shrugged. “The CEO of your company has had—dealings—with someone who’s now decided that it suits him better to roll over, give himself up—basically, to out Aaron Rosen for some very dire crimes indeed.” Chelsea swallowed at the tightness she felt in her throat. “And that man is one of the clients you’re working with right now.”
“Why would he give that information to me?” Chelsea shook her head in disbelief. “It’s not like…I’m not anyone with any authority. I’m not even a project manager.” Johan watched her intently for a moment.
“Have you noticed a few people going missing at the office?” he asked her. “Just…dropping off the radar? No explanation, they just aren’t there anymore?” Chelsea felt her mouth go dry as she tried to rack her tired brain for the answer to that question. Johan held his silence for a moment before speaking again. “Perhaps Sarah Johns, Micah Paxton…Cary Knowles?” Chelsea felt as if her stomach had fallen to her knees. Sarah Johns was the project manager for one of the clients that Chelsea was assigned; Micah Paxton was the account manager. Cary Knowles was one of the salesmen. “They were all involved in this particular client’s business dealings with your company, and they’re all deceased.”
“No,” Chelsea said, shaking her head in denial. “You’re lying to me. Whatever
“I have proof,” he told her, almost sympathetically. Reluctantly, Chelsea took the papers from him and unfolded them, staring down at the pages. The first several she flipped through were obituaries—featuring each of the names he had mentioned, listing unknown causes of death, presumed accidents. As she continued through the stack, Chelsea’s blood began to run cooler and cooler as she saw emails, text messages. Target has been handled, one read. No information found. Confiscate their work computer.
At the bottom of the pile, there was a picture of her—the one she had taken in the office, that was used for her email signature; it was attached to an email that read like a macabre dating profile, listing her address and phone number, the hours she worked, the fact that she typically went out to happy hour with her department on Fridays. “No,” Chelsea said, her voice little more than a breath. “This…I don’t even know anything!” She looked at Johan as her heart began beating faster in her chest, her eyes stinging.
“We need to do a few things, and we need to do them quickly,” Johan told her, his tone level. “Can you access your work computer from home?” Chelsea nodded absently, glancing down at the papers in her hands. She felt her fingers trembling, almost unable to hold the surprisingly slippery sheets of paper. “You need to download the information the client sent to you, and we need to get the hell out of here.”
“Where are we going?” She looked up again, meeting Johan’s level gaze.
“Away. That’s all you need to know for right now.” He paused. “Away for several days.”
“Do I have time to pack? Change clothes?” Johan shrugged.
“We should be out of here in an hour; by then your boss will have probably reported you phoning in sick.” His gaze trailed over her slowly. “Pack whatever you feel you can’t live without.” There was something so final in the statement; as if to underscore the point, Johan added, “I can’t guarantee anything you leave behind will still be here at the end of the day.” Chelsea stood unsteadily, letting the papers fall from her hands and onto the coffee table. She wished—fleetingly—that she had made coffee, instead of using the time she spent waiting for Johan’s arrival to get sleep; she had the feeling that it was going to be a very, very long day.