In my dream, I saw her dressed in an opaque white gown running away from me. Her cinnamon hair whipped around her head, and she laughed as if this was a game. I tried to warn her about the danger lurking up ahead, about someone who wanted to hurt her, but she ran too far out of my reach. Knowing I wouldn’t reach her in time, I yelled out in desperation. She turned to me smiling when I noticed a shadow just beyond her and fear seized my chest. My desperate yell went to screams as I closed the distance.
When I went to grab for her, I felt the pillow from the hotel bed. It took a minute for me to realize it had only been a dream. A vision I had dreamt before but this time instead of Ana running away from me it was Ami. I listened to the empty room but I knew she left me again in the middle of the night and I couldn’t tell if I was dismayed or relieved.
We wouldn’t be able to ever work as a couple. Neither of us was in a place to give a relationship a chance. If I were to let her into my life, it could be dangerous. I would never want to put her in jeopardy for my vendetta. It would kill me to know I put another woman I cared about in harm’s way and therefore it was better she left.
Did she even want to be with me? She seemed to understand the lengths I would go to keep the ones I held dear to me safe. How I wouldn’t rest until I crushed everyone responsible for Ana’s death. She understood who I was and what I had become, and she accepted it without preamble.
Then I thought about what I did to her at the club. I could have hurt her or broken our cover, and we would have had to answer to Enzo. As a powerful man, he would not like me deceiving him. If he knew my true intentions, he would have certainly made an example of me.
Ami was a good actor. What I did in front of all those people needed a certain finesse and she had pulled it off. I could still feel the way she tightened around my cock when she orgasmed. I couldn’t dream that up. She came hard. Harder than she ever had with me all the other times except for... well, except when we were here together at this hotel. Her climax seemed just as powerful if not more and I didn’t need to cause her pain to induce it even though I asked. I wanted her to know I would do anything to give her the pleasure she deserved, but all she wanted was me, and it turned out to be all she needed as well and it felt good to be someone's everything if only for a moment.
Unable to deny my feelings for her, I knew I should let her go and let her be with whoever she chooses but I found myself jealous now of any other man who she granted a night with her. I hated how she had men on the side because I no longer could just grab any girl and find pleasure in them. It wouldn’t feel the same but I had no choice. Ami staying with me would be dangerous and I would never cause any harm to come her way. I chose this lifestyle years ago and I would never let anyone get close to me because of it and for good reason.
Still, I couldn’t stand the fact Ami could leave and be with anyone besides me and I realized the connection to Ana. When Ana left my bed to be with her clients, it drove me insane before I could work out a plan to get her out of the business. In the end, I was too late. Although Ami wasn’t a prostitute it still hurt me knowing she was free to be with anyone she wanted, but the alternative would be a life with a man who had a target on his back.
The thought made me sit up in bed in alarm. I took steps to protect her identity but what if someone followed Ami leaving my hotel room last night? Connor was in the hotel somewhere close, so I called him on the burner cell phone he gave me not even surprised he was already awake.
“Ryder, did you get the code?” I felt safe talking to him since he completed the surveillance to the suite. He was a genius on the computer and I trusted him with my life.
“Yes. How should I get it to you?” Keeping it until I got back to the states would be risky, but meeting him could be just as risky. Besides, I wanted him to start on it before he left Europe.
“My guess is it isn’t in English and it will take time to translate. Best way is to snap a picture and send it to me. After I confirm I got it, erase it from existence immediately.” Quickly I made my way to the bathroom and located it from where I placed it on the counter. I glanced over at the bathtub and sighed before sending him the code. It brought back memories of the night I shared with Ami. How we laid it all out last night. No more secrets to hide from each other. We knew each other’s Nulligans and it was a freedom to be so open to someone, but it also could prove detrimental.
“You did good work. I didn’t like pulling you into the mission but you got what I needed.” He congratulated me but me securing the code didn’t seem so victorious right now. It was all I thought about over the past fifteen years. Only one more man. The man who convinced her to sell herself in America. The one who promised a year of work for her independence. He lied to her. He was never going to give her her freedom, and he let them kill her when she was no more use to them.
This man was the last one and the hardest to reach. He didn’t go to the states as he bought and sold women and children from the comfort of his expensive house in Ana’s homeland. He would be the toughest, but with this code, I believed Connor would get to him and my revenge would be complete.
“You can head back to the states. I’ll get more information for you by tonight and call you with the updates.” I should be anxious, excited even, but right now my mind kept drifting to another woman.
“Connor, I need you to do me another favor. There was a woman here last night. A friend of mine from the states. She found me at the club and I could have put her in jeopardy. I need to know if she is safe and if there is any surveillance on her.” I gave him Ami’s full name and the little information I knew about her.
“You want me to put a tail on her?”
“Not yet. Just find out where she is okay?”
“Sure. I’ll work on it right away. It’ll take me a while to input the code anyway. I’ll contact you when I receive any information.”
We got off the phone and I waited for his confirmation text. Once the text came through I set the paper on fire and headed to the shower. I could still smell Ami on me and second-guessed whether I wanted to wash off her scent, but in the end, I succumbed.
By the time I was dressed and finished checking my flight status a call came in from Connor. “What did you find?”
He didn’t hesitate to give me an answer. “Your friend is safe. As far as I know, there are no signs of anyone investigating her. She left your hotel at a little after three in the morning and went to the residence of Mael Villeneuve.”
She left me to go to another guy? Was he one of her acquaintances? I knew she had a penchant for foreign men. She didn’t talk much about them but I didn’t bring up my own past casual fucks either. I hated to admit I was a little taken back. I had feelings for her and I thought I wasn’t the only one to feel something, but evidently I got my signals crossed.
“Do you want me to keep track of her?” Did I want him to put a tail on her? Would I want to be updated every time she saw one of her suitors? No, I already knew it would tear at me in a bad way but I couldn’t let her go without some type of protection.
“I want you to monitor her for any danger and only contact me if you see things escalating.”
“Right. I’ll make it happen.” With that, we ended the conversation and I made my way to the airport vowing to let things lie when it came to Amilyn Burke. Any more interest in her from me and it would put her in danger and it was something I just couldn’t do.