“It’s a deal!” Christian declared. It’d taken months of negotiations, dozens of trips to New Orleans and hours on the phone to work out how best to skim off of the Department of Defense’s order of smart drones and get the number required to fulfill his own order.
He ended the call and pushed his chair out. Time for a drink. It hadn’t been easy. MilTech, the company owned by Simon Krivine, had been granted the contract to develop the latest generation of weapons carrying drones for the Department of Defense.
Simon was one of the few people who are not only brilliant in academics, but also possess a head for business. As soon as Simon had finished his degree at MIT, he’d set up shop in his parents’ garage and put his brilliant mind to work. The result? MilTech – one of the fastest growing military technology companies in the USA. Drone technology to be specific.
And now, Christian had convinced Simon to supply him with fifty of the most advanced weapons carrying drones in the world. This was going to be exciting. And this time, he meant to be on the ground. Not fucking doing the admin from fifteen thousand miles away.
The vibrating phone in his pocket forced his eyes away from the bustling city outside the window. His pulse raced faster when Danny’s name flashed on the screen. He hadn’t made the decision lightly to stick Danny back on Ella’s trail.
“Boss. I’m sending you some pictures I think you’ll enjoy. If I were you, I’d hustle. She’s been spending a lot of time with that bastard O’Connor,” Danny’s gravelly voice came through the other end.
“Well, you’re not me. Just do what I’m paying you to do. And keep sending me pictures,” Christian barked.
“Sure thing, boss! It’s your money.” Danny paused before tacking on, “And wife.”
Christian cut the call, his hands itching to wrap around Danny’s short, thick neck. He ought to find someone else to tail Ella. Danny was getting a bit too comfortable. Besides, the way he talked about Ella didn’t sit right with Christian. The man clearly fantasized fucking Ella. That was fine, she was a fucking sexy woman. What wasn’t fine was the fact that Danny didn’t hide it. Because she was his woman
Christian swiped to his messages the moment his phone dinged again. There she was. His beautiful Ella. His wife. The one who’d shot him in the gut. Literally. He still had the ghost pain to prove it. It’d taken him months to recover from the freak wound. It had to be a freak wound.
Ella couldn’t shoot. She’d simply aimed at his torso and pulled the trigger. But the bullet had clipped a bone in his spine and lodged itself in his kidney. Apparently, he’d been extremely lucky the bullet had dodged all sensitive areas of the spine. As it was, it’d taken some pretty tough physio to get back to fighting shape.
He looked again at the photo. She was smiling. A big, happy smile, her face turned up to catch the slanting rays of the evening sun. She had to be looking at someone next to her. Someone tall enough for her to have to crane her neck. For her sake, he hoped she was running with a tall woman. Her ivory skin was tinged with pink. The bastard Dave had a damn good camera.
He shoved the phone back in his pocket. She hadn’t run away. She hadn’t hidden. She’d chosen to stay, to declare to the world she wasn’t afraid. She should’ve been afraid, hidden herself where he couldn’t find her. Find her easily, that is. Because there wasn’t a place on earth where she could hide from him forever. It was only a matter of how long it took him to find her. But she’d made it easy for him.
In the days right after she shot him, he’d grilled his Mom. She had to have known what was going on in Ella’s head while he was away on tour. Mom’s confession had been shocking. She’d not only known Ella wanted to leave him, she’d supported the foolish idea. No wonder Dad had been so strict with Mom.
The phone continued to ding in his pocket. More photos of Ella. He pulled it out again and flicked through the new ones. His fingers tightened around the phone. What the hell was she doing running around in skin-hugging purple tights? At least her top was adequately covered. He didn’t want to think about what she was wearing under the hoodie.
Christian zoomed into the crisp image. She’d cut her hair short. It barely skimmed her shoulders now. He hated it. He’d always loved her hair long, loved wrapping the silky, black locks around his fists as he… With a curse he flung the phone across the room. He was still far from getting her back. And thinking about what he’d do with her long hair wasn’t going to achieve anything other than give him a pair of blue balls. And he’d had enough in the past ten months to last him a lifetime.
His phone vibrated into the thick carpet and he couldn’t help himself. He picked it up and looked at the last photo. No doubt taken, and sent, to mock him. Ella with O’Connor. Allowing him to kiss her. Whoring herself to him, out in the open for everyone to see. For the second time in as many minutes, Christian hurled the phone. This time it hit the wall and crashed down to the floor in a mess of glass and metal.
She should’ve stayed home the last time he’d brought her back. Then, he’d been willing to - no, he’d wanted to - work on their relationship. He’d wanted to listen to her complaints. He was even willing to try and change to make her happy. But that was then. Now, she’d have to take him as he was. He was through trying to compromise.