Beneath These Chains (Page 50)

“Fine. But—”

“If anything happens, I’ll call you immediately. I swear.”

He came around the counter and yanked me against him. “You damn well better, or I’ll be hearing why and dealing with you.”

“Next you’re going to threaten to spank me, aren’t you? I’ve heard through the grapevine that your brother isn’t shy on that.”

“However Con keeps Vanessa in line is his business, but you better believe I’ll come up with something a hell of a lot more creative than that.”

My lower half tingled at his words. Which reminded me, we needed to break in the desk in the office. I was penciling that in for later today. Maybe if Lord came back in a funk, an afternoon quickie would snap him out of it. Good plan, Elle.

“I invite you to be as creative as you want.” I leaned up on my toes to kiss him. The man was a giant, and even in heels, it took some serious stretching to reach him if he wasn’t leaning down. Pulling away, the taste of Lord on my lips, I lowered my heels to the floor. “As long as it ends with me coming, I think we’ll be fine.”

This time his growl was sexy instead of adorable. “Sending me to the cop shop with a hard-on. That’s what you’re doing, you know.”

My eyes dropped to his crotch, and sure enough, the telltale bulge was bigger than normal.

I shrugged. “I’m not really sure how that’s my fault.”

“All you have to do is breathe, and you get me hard, woman. That’s how it’s your fault.”

A grin stretched my lips. “Then hurry back, and I’ll take care of what I started.”

Lord groaned. “That’s not helping.”

I pressed my palm against his solid chest and pushed. “Go. Hurry. Come back soon.”

He leaned down, tilted my jaw up, and planted a hell of a kiss on me. I’m talking a full-tongue, make out-worthy kiss. When he pulled back I dropped my eyes to the bulge again.

“Don’t think that helped your cause, pawn star.”

“It’s worth it.” Lord turned and headed for the back door. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Call me if anything happens.”

After the door shut behind him, I settled in for what I was sure would be an uneventful day.

It only stayed uneventful for an hour.

Not Rix this time, and not my mother.


It was Denton who crossed the threshold of Chains—his face lined with rage.

“Who’s that joker?” Mathieu asked under his breath.

Denton’s three-piece suit was certainly not the normal attire of our customers.

“My stepfather,” I whispered, girding myself for whatever battle was about to take place.

“Looks like a real prick.”

Denton was scanning the shop, lip curled in obvious disgust.

“He totally is.”

Denton didn’t bother with a greeting. “This is where you’ve decided it’s appropriate for you to work? Disgraceful.”

“I don’t recall asking for your opinion,” I replied.

“No, you never do, Eleanor.”

I swung back around to look at Mathieu. “Could you give us some privacy?”

The kid shook his head. “No way.”

“Please,” I begged. I didn’t want him to hear whatever other asshole comments Denton was sure to unload.

His eyes narrowed. “Fine. But I’m calling Lord.”

Relief swept through me, and I nodded before turning back to Denton.

Lord would come back, and I would put whatever unpleasantness my stepfather was about to unleash behind me.

I waited until I heard Mathieu’s footsteps receding before I asked, “What do you want, Denton?”

He slapped a newspaper down on the counter. “For you to stop publicly embarrassing me and your mother.”

My eyes dropped to the paper. The first page of the society section was covered in full-color photos … of the tattoo expo. Just below the fold was a clear picture of Delilah and me as she tattooed my hip. There was definite side cheek showing. The picture above the fold was one of Con, Vanessa, Lord, and me. Someone must have snapped it just before we’d left.

The headline read: Society Princesses Find Tattooed Princes: Bad Boys Get The Girls.

I scanned the article. It was mostly about Vanessa and Con and the Bennett Foundation, but there was plenty of speculation about Lord and me. And of course, because this is NOLA, my lineage was mentioned, including my father, my mother—and Denton and his law firm.

I glanced back up at him. The red tinge to his cheeks suddenly made a lot more sense.

“It’s not like I have any control over what they print in the papers,” I started.

“You have control over the company you keep and your behavior. Neither of which has ever impressed me, but this is a new low.”

“Again, I didn’t ask for your opinion. Thanks for dropping off the paper. I’ll be sure to save the pictures for my scrapbook.”

Denton’s face twisted into an ugly mask. “You have a week to rectify this mess you call a life, Eleanor, or you’ll find yourself with more problems than you’re equipped to handle.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” He’d thrown plenty of verbal abuse my way over the years, and this wasn’t the first ultimatum. But something in his tone had me tensing.

“I’m talking about the fact that I’m sick and fucking tired of being embarrassed by you—and your mother. I can’t let her around company without everyone gossiping about what a lush she is. And you—you at least kept your little rebellion to the sidelines where it didn’t interfere with my professional life, but now you’ve brought it front and center. My firm in the paper with this garbage? I’m done. Out of patience. You cut this string of dead end jobs, drop the lowlife, and fall in line, or I’m done with you both. She’ll be on the street, and we’ll see how you like keeping her in gin.”