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Defiant Queen

Defiant Queen

Page 43

J knows that by reminders, I mean a team of enforcers.

“I think the preacher is the weak link. He’s a pussy,” J says.

“No. He’s the least of our worries. He doesn’t want to give up his Gulfstream or his mistress. We’ve got the least amount of leverage on the oilman. Watch him. If the cartel goes to question him, make sure he’s temporarily unavailable.”

“How temporarily?”

“Let him know that it’d be in his best interest to take his family on an extended vacation to their villa in Italy.”

“And if he balks?”

“Just fucking do it, J. You want to prove you can handle more? Handle this shit.”

J’s tone changes. “It’s under control. Enjoy the rest of your vacation.”

“You run into problems, call me. No surprises.”

“Got it, boss.”

I hang up, annoyed that this escape of a vacation has been interrupted by cartel bullshit.

J knows as well as I do that the cartel will never find the body, and without a body, they can’t prove it was me. And without proof, they wouldn’t dare make a move.

But the witnesses. They could be a problem.

They won’t be.

I’ve waded through deeper shit than this and come out clean, and I expect this won’t be any different.

I push open the door of the booth and check the time on my phone. The gala should already be under way, and there’s not a chance in hell I’m letting Keira miss the awards.

She doesn’t know it, but I made certain that Seven Sinners was entered in multiple categories on a last-minute basis. I have zero control over the judging, but her product speaks for itself.

I also didn’t tell her because if she doesn’t win, there’s the added bonus of not knowing she was in the running to begin with.

I’m not sure at what point I decided I needed to protect her from more than just physical threats, but also from what I know would be a crushing disappointment. This week has changed a lot of things.

I reach the suite and close the door behind me, listening for sounds of the stylists, but all is quiet. “Keira?”

“One second!” she calls from the vicinity of the bedroom. “I’m almost ready.” She sounds much better than she did when I left.

I wait in the living room area and contemplate pouring myself another drink as my mind goes over J’s call again, but decide against it.

Instead, I stare out the window I fucked Keira against days ago. One more thing I wish I could repeat.

Fuck, I wish I could have this whole week again. But tonight, we go back to reality. The jet will be waiting on the tarmac for us as soon as the gala is finished.

“So, what do you think?”

I turn toward her voice as she steps into the bedroom doorway, and freeze.

Her dress, a brilliant green that matches her eyes, hugs every curve and yet conceals enough to be the epitome of class. Her hair is in some elaborate style with strands falling around her face.

“Jesus Christ.”

“Is that a good Jesus Christ or a bad one?” she asks, stepping into the living room. The slit up one side of the dress flashes a toned leg and fuck-me shoes.

“That’s a ‘Jesus Christ, I hope you’re not still hungover, because I don’t know if I want to let you leave this room tonight.’”

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