Defiant Queen

Defiant Queen

Page 25

“You know I’m right,” Temperance says as the elevator door opens on the restaurant level, and holds the button to keep it open as I step out.

“I know. But my dad—”

“Your dad isn’t in charge anymore. How many times do you say that to people on a weekly basis?” My silence is all the answer she needs to continue. “You took on a massive construction project without his approval because you believed in it. This isn’t even that big of a deal.”

“But our intellectual property—”

“Will be safe. We can structure the tour in a way that everything works.”

“What about liability? The lawyers would lose their shit.”

Temperance rolls her eyes. “Stop giving me excuses. Go wine and dine the head of the tourism board, and tell him all the reasons this upcoming addition to the Seven Sinners distillery is going to be one of New Orleans’ newest and most memorable attractions.”

“And I thought I was the CEO here.” I shoot back the reply with a grin as she releases the elevator button and the doors slide to close.

“Oh, and just because I know you forgot, the new president of the board’s name is Jeff Doon. He said you two know each other?” Her voice goes quiet as she disappears from sight.

She also misses my mouth dropping open.

Jeff Doon was my high school boyfriend. The boy I lost my virginity to down by the levee after senior prom. The experience was the world’s biggest cliché, and just as underwhelming as one would expect.

I haven’t seen him in years, but he sent a card and flowers to the memorial service for Brett, telling me he was around if I ever needed anything.

I’m two steps into the restaurant when I catch sight of him. He sees me at the exact same moment, practically bouncing off the seat of the booth to stand with his arms outstretched.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

I don’t even want to think about what Mount’s going to do when he finds out.

I’m going to have to lie. There’s no other option. Or Jeff might be “taken care of” by tomorrow too.






Mount: Where the hell are you?

V: Still waiting on the package.

Mount: Where the hell is she?

V: Inside.


I pull up the app on my phone to double-check the location of the tracker built into Keira’s necklace, which surprisingly, she hasn’t tried to remove with bolt cutters yet. Maybe she realized its utility when we were able to find her in her apartment.

Or maybe the idea of bolt cutters hasn’t crossed her mind yet. That’s probably the more likely answer.

The beacon shows she’s still in the building, but not in her basement office. I manipulate the app to give me a better view of the building. Technology is a magical thing, because now I know she’s in the restaurant.

I glance at the time. It’s almost seven thirty.

Snatching my second cell off the desk, the one I use to communicate with Keira and no one else, I shoot her a text.


Mount: You need to be on your way out the door in two minutes or V will be in to collect you.

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