Drake (Book 1)

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9:21 a.m.

She blinked a few times to shake the sandman’s dust from her weary eyes. Dawn’s light awakened and she bolted upward from the bed. Lyn yawned and extended her arms to the sky, not realizing that only a measly blanket covered her nude body. Then she saw a flash of golden hair and turned to the man sitting at her dresser. He met her gaze and smiled, a smile like the warmest sunrise.

Sullivan Grundy buttoned the last few buttons to his dress shirt and tied his tie. He was neither bulking nor portly, but tall and sinewy. And of course, his million-dollar smile proclaimed by People Magazine. She blushed and covered her breasts with a blanket.

Sullivan sniggered. “Shall I order room service,” he asked, as if could read the thoughts of her growling stomach.

Lyn scanned the room that resembled nothing close to the one the night before. It dazzled and shimmered with a fresh smell of fragrance. She stepped on the polished tiger wood floors. The walls and doors were a mix between gold and white. The balcony gave a clear view of the turquoise colored gulf where yachts of all sizes sailed in fine winds. Palms trees lined the pool below her. The same pool she considered diving into the night before. Then she silently chastised herself for such foolish thoughts.

Sullivan stared at her, awaiting an answer. He pulled his tie to secure it in his collar and reached for the white sports coats resting on a chair. In its front pocket lived a green rose. Only one place in the world grew such a rose. Lyn knew exactly where, but she kept the thought to herself.

“Sullivan, about last night…”

A shroud of guilt cast itself over her. She tried to justify her actions in an endless debate with herself. But each time, she found the burden becoming more cumbersome.

“I know what you’re gonna say,” Sullivan replied with a wry smile.

In some ways, that same boyish smile reminded her of Drake’s. And she knew better than anyone that it made her weak at the knees. Though with Sullivan’s it wasn’t quite the same. Sullivan sat beside her on the king-size bed, that was in fact for a king. Or in Dubai, fit for a Sultan.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, hasn’t it Lyn?”

She nodded. “You shouldn’t have come here…”

Sullivan wrapped an arm around her. “Who would have guessed two childhood friends from a little town would take such different paths in life. And yet, here we are united once again. When I found out you were alive, I practically begged Aspasia to let me see you.”

His words were like velvet. Genuine. Then she suddenly remembered a moment from her childhood. She laughed and giggled with Sullivan as they played together in a playground all those years ago. He wore a pair of denim overalls and a matching driver’s cap. His golden curls untangling beneath like tiny vines. They sat across from each other at a sandbox. Lyn cried from scraping her knee.

As he always did, Sullivan came to her rescue. He placed her wounded knee across his leg and poured water over it. She remembered the sudden sting from the wash of water. Then he reached in his pocket and removed a band aid and placed it over her scrape with the preciseness of a surgeon. And then he smiled, and the pain faded away. It assured her everything would be okay.

They crossed their pinky fingers that day. That was when Sullivan Grundy made his tiny promise, “We can get married someday.”

“I intend to keep my promise,” Sullivan said, snapping her to reality.

He stood by the balcony looming over the skyscrapers lined against the gulf’s shore. He held a bottle of brandy in one hand with another in his pants pocket. His hair blended with the sun’s rays as if he was made from it.

“So serious…” Lyn mocked as a simper tugged her lips.

Sullivan faced her again. “I did some digging, used the connections I had with Interpol, the FBI, CIA, etc. And I found your sister. What if I told you she’s alive and in France?”

His words left her dumbstruck. Lyn sat on the edge of the bed, frozen and her eyes fervently wide. “You’re lying…” she tersed.

Sullivan shook his head. “Lynda Valeska, since when have I ever lied to you?”

Lyn gritted. He had a point. Sullivan sauntered to her side and cupped her hands with his own. “I have another gift for you…”

As if on perfect cue. A servant entered the room holding a medium size box on a velvet cushion. Sullivan took the box and dismissed the servant. It was pure white and strangely soft, despite its outward appearance. He lifted the box and inside lived a pearl necklace. Sullivan placed the necklace around her neck, holding one end like a chain. He pressed for a kiss, his lips tasting like roses and cinnamon.

“There isn’t another like it,” he said. “It belonged to Catherine the Great. And now, it’s yours. There’s nothing I can’t deny you, Lyn. Just open your heart to me.”

She rubbed the necklace, her face in awe. Though she didn’t take things like material goods or empty promises at face value. She wanted Drake, his love, his warmth and his fierce blue eyes. No one or nothing ever came close. But she couldn’t stand the sorrow and grief that came with being alone.

People don’t come back from the dead…

“I just need your help with one thing. In exchange for giving you the information to your sister. I need you to promise- promise me you’ll help me with one thing…”

Lyn raised a brow. “Which is?”

“Help me kill Ulysses.”

She didn’t think twice. “I accept your conditions…”

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