Beneath These Lies (Page 27)
Rix’s hand was quick, wrapping around mine before I could snatch it back. “Don’t push me, duchess.”
“But this makes no damn sense!” I tugged at his hold, but he didn’t release me.
“Because blood running in the streets isn’t something that’s ever gonna make sense in your world.”
“What are you talking about?” Blood running in the streets didn’t sound good to me.
“All you need to know is that if I run a smash-and-grab, we’re looking at more dead bodies, and I’m trying to keep that from happening.”
“I don’t understand.” My voice was shaky. The last thing I wanted was for Trinity to get caught in some gang crossfire.
“You don’t need to understand. Your girl is a pawn right now. She’s safe, but even in my world, there’s a thing called diplomacy. I’ll work that angle until I can’t. You may not realize it, but I don’t particularly like blood on my hands. Got too much already, and I don’t go out of my way looking for more.”
His silver eyes flashed, irritation obvious by the ticking muscle of his jaw. I got the impression that Rix didn’t explain himself to anyone very often, but I didn’t care. I’d have my explanation. This was too important.
“You want her back all in one piece, or are you not too particular about it?”
“That’s a ridiculous question,” I shot back.
“Then we do this my way.”
“Your way is taking too damn long.”
Dropping his arms, Rix backed me into the wall again. “My way is smarter than some snatch-and-grab that could end with her having holes in her body where there were none before.”
“I don’t believe you. I’m pretty sure you’re capable.”
“You’re right. I am. I could have had her home in hours that first night.”
My mouth dropped open, but no sound came out at first. “What?” I yelled, my tone edging into the territory of a screech. Both of my hands shot out and I shoved at his chest. It was completely solid, and Rix didn’t move. “Why? How could you just leave her there?”
Rix’s expression hardened further. “I’m trying to keep this from becoming a war. Innocent blood gets spilled when that shit gets unleashed, and it ain’t what we need right now.”
“A gang war?”
He gave me a short nod before continuing, and I wondered if he’d said more than he’d intended. “I can’t agree to their demands without losing power and position. So I’m working the angles. Takes a little more time, but I’m gonna get her back without looking weak or starting a fucking bloodbath.”
The reasoning made some sort of strange sense. But I still didn’t like it.
“Work faster. She has to be terrified. I don’t care what you have to do, but you need to get her out, and quick. God only knows what they’ve done to her.” My stomach, which had been tied into knots since Trinity had disappeared, twisted violently.
Rix laid a hand on either side of my face and tilted my head so I was staring directly into his unusual eyes. “You have my word that they haven’t touched her. They don’t want a war any more than I do. And I swear to you, I’ll get her back as soon as I can. But we’re doing it my way. This ain’t your world, duchess, so you’re not callin’ the shots here.”
What could I do, short of calling the police and forcing them to launch a full-scale recovery operation? Rhett would almost certainly believe me when I told him. Maybe. But I believed what Rix said, and I didn’t want to put Trinity at risk.
The cops were not a safe option.
Against all odds, the man in front of me continued to be my best choice.
“Okay, but please hurry.”
Rix’s expression softened a fraction. “You’re lucky I like you, duchess, otherwise those orders wouldn’t fly.” His gaze dropped to my lips. “Fuck. I gotta taste you again.”
I didn’t have time to think or protest before his lips landed on mine. This kiss was slower than the first, almost as if Rix was savoring it. Savoring me.
With a soft moan, I pushed up onto my toes and leaned into him, my arms rising of their own accord to loop around his neck. It was my turn to savor.
I had no idea how long we stood in my foyer, tasting each other with long, lazy strokes, before Rix pulled away again, this time stepping back and letting me go.
“I’m gonna collect sooner rather than later. That’s a promise.”
I’M GONNA COLLECT SOONER RATHER than later. That’s a promise.
Rix’s words haunted me, and I was caught between lying to myself and admitting what I really wanted. This fascination wasn’t healthy, and it absolutely wasn’t normal to hope that someone would break into your house and be waiting for you at night. And yet here I was fascinated and hoping.
Because I want updates about Trinity. That’s why. That’s it. It was at least part of the truth.
Thankfully, today had been a constant stream of buying customers, which might have kept me busy, but didn’t stop me from thinking about Trinity constantly. I was failing at keeping her safe. Should I have gone to the cops? Would this all be a bad memory already?
I faced that decision head-on when Rhett walked in the door of Noble Art. He smiled and nodded at the older woman leaving with a small watercolor by a local artist.
“In the market for some art?” I asked, keeping my tone intentionally light.
“More in the market for the proprietor.” His gaze was direct and intense, just like his words.