White Collared Part Two_ Greed

By: Shelly Bell

Chapter One

CUTTING AWAY THE others as if they didn’t exist, he cropped the photograph to fill his computer screen with her flawless face and stormy blue eyes glimmering with secrets and lies.

A true masochist lurked beneath Kate Martin’s carefully crafted persona.

In every subtle sway of her narrow hips, the girl exuded passion and sex and pain.

Not unlike her. But the fragile and broken Alyssa had been a lone star while Kate was a galaxy.

He’d viewed hundreds of naked women. Fucked dozens. Not one of them made his dick throb with unbridled lust like a modestly dressed Kate did.

Her unblemished skin begged for the kiss of his whip. He’d train her to love the pain only he could bring. To crave it. Need it more than her next breath. To surrender and embrace it like an old friend.

She’d tried to outrun her past. But didn’t she understand? She’d endured a tragedy and had come away stronger for it. Her hunger rivaled his.

He hadn’t gotten this far by rushing. He’d meticulously planned and executed every step.

The men at her side would try to protect her, but how could they shield her from what she wanted? What she needed?

They couldn’t.

Eventually, she’d seek shelter in his arms, and, when he caught her, he’d never let her go.

He only hoped he wouldn’t have to kill her.

Chapter Two

Eleven Days to Elections . . .

WHY WOULD ANYONE do construction in the middle of the night?

Kate rolled over in bed to grab a pillow to cover her ears and landed stomach-down on the floor.

Her mouth tasted like battery acid. She blinked away the grittiness in her eyes and saw her front door.

She’d fallen asleep on the couch.

As she pushed up into a squat, the pounding started again. Someone was at her door.

What time was it?

Confused, the last thing she remembered was taking a shower and changing into her University of Michigan sweatpants and tank top.

“Coming,” she called out, her voice cracking. Noting that the power was still out, she picked up the candle with one hand and smoothed her hair with the other. “Who is it?”

“It’s Nick.”

She opened the door and came face to face with her flashlight-wielding boss. “I brought donuts and hot cocoa,” he said, holding up a paper bag with one hand and balancing a tray with two cups in the other.

“What time is it?”

He didn’t wait for her to invite him inside. “Three a.m. Sit down. You look horrible.”

“Thanks a lot,” she mumbled. As he locked the door, she set down the candle on the side table and collapsed onto the couch, cradling her head in her hands and closing her eyes.

“Here.” The tempting scent of chocolate enticed her to lift her head. Nick stood behind her, holding the drink up to her face. “Something tells me you need this.”

She automatically took the cup from him and sipped its contents, humming her assent. Her head continued to pound, but the fog in her brain lifted like a veil.

Jax. Sex. The phone call.

She plunked down the hot cocoa next to the candle. “What are you doing here?”

He handed her a glazed donut and frowned. “You called me.”

She did? What had she said? She racked her memory. “I told you not to come over.”

“I ignored you and came anyway. It’s what friends do.” He sauntered to the front door and fingered the chain lock. Crouching, he twisted the doorknob back and forth. “You need a better lock on your door. Anyone could break through the two you have.”

She couldn’t help rolling her eyes. “I’ll be sure to let the building’s superintendent know. He’ll swing by after he’s installed the swimming pool and hot tub.”

He sat beside her on the couch and stared her down, the candlelight enhancing the flecks of silver in his blue eyes. “You use sarcasm to cover your self-consciousness. It’s your tell. Better work on it now or every lawyer you come up against will use it against you.”

His stern reprimand stung. “Sorry.”

A lawsuit was like a poker game. You couldn’t give anything away or the opposing counsel would call your bluff. She’d thought she possessed the perfect poker face.

How did Nick read her so well?

He smiled and cupped her bare shoulder, his touch warm on her cool skin. “Don’t be sorry. Everyone starts out their career with a weakness or two. It’s my job to point it out so you can fix it. And you don’t need a superintendent to add a lock to your door. I’ll do it.”

“You don’t have to.” The guilt of sleeping with Jaxon ate at her, swirling through her stomach and rising to her throat.

“Humor me.” He brushed a hair off her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. “Did you get any more calls?”

“No.” She fidgeted and bit into her donut, trying to convince herself she was no longer attracted to her boss even when a single touch by the man did wicked things to her insides.

“Good.” He leaned back and folded his arms. “Did you recall anything else? Something that might tip us off as to the caller’s identity?”

Her stomach cramped. “No. I told you everything. They said Jaxon had killed before and I should drop the case.”

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