“To guarantee you will work for me and you will bring me Mario, I’ll procure a lung for your brother. I can have one ready as soon as you deliver.”
My eyes narrowed as I regarded him suspiciously. “And how do you intend to do that?”
“That’s for me to worry about, but you can call it an act of good faith. Do we have a deal?”
“I don’t have a choice, do I?”
He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Maybe I should use your brains after all.”
“Look, if you want your mole, then we do this on my terms for now. I have a lot of eyes on my back. I haven’t forgotten what you did, and I remember what you can do if I don’t deliver. However, right now, I need you to back off. I need to be as unassuming as possible.”
Arthur studied me for several long moments, gauging my sincerity and also, letting me see the threat in his own.
“You have until you graduate and not a day later. I’ll be watching you, Masters. I want my mole, and I want you under my command. Nothing less is acceptable. Anything less and I start picking off your loved ones… even the one you hide in plain sight.” His gaze traveled over to my car and back, a clear indication.
“Understood.” I turned on my heel without saying goodbye and headed for my ride where Monroe sat safely inside.
She came way too close.
And someone was going to die for it.
* * *
“What was that about?”
“What was what about?” I asked absently. My only concern was getting her away as quickly as possible. If Arthur decided to change his mind and kill us both, I wasn’t so sure I would be able to save us.
Just as I peeled out on the main road, I winced slightly at the unexpected jab in my arm. I realized it was a stupid question and blatant attempt to avoid the question.
“Don’t do that. You know exactly what I mean. Why is he here? What’s going on?”
“Which question would you like me to answer first?”
“The first one!” she growled.
“He’s here for me, Monroe, and until today, he knew nothing about you.”
“He sure as hell didn’t act like it.”
My head whipped around to watch her seething in the passenger seat. “What do you mean he didn’t act like it?”
She shrugged as if it was inconsequential, but I could see the nervous twitch she always got in her eyes. It used to be reserved only for me. I can’t say I miss her fear, but I sure as hell didn’t enjoy seeing it because of someone else. It made me want to hurt someone. “He said he heard a lot about me and had been waiting to meet me.
“Son of a bitch. Anything else?” She flinched at the hard edge in my voice, but I was too pissed to care.
“Just that he always kept eyes on his interests. Keiran, you have to tell me what is going on. Why is he here for you? How did he find you?”
“My bail was denied, and with Mitch on the loose and Keenan in the hospital, I had to find a way out of jail. There was no way in hell I was sitting by until trial. And then there was you.”
“What about me?”
“When I realized you turned me in, my resolve to stay away from you once and for all, vanished. I would have done anything to get to you. I wanted to hurt you, Monroe.”
“So what changed?”
“What makes you think anything’s changed?”
“Because all you’ve done so far is to give me severe whiplash.”
“What were you doing out here?” I asked, changing the subject.
“I, uh… I was meeting Jesse for dinner,” she answered nervously and began to fidget in her seat. I slammed on the brakes and jerked the car onto the side of road haphazardly.
“Come again? And before you answer, I want you to think real hard about the words you are about to let come out of your mouth.”
“What’s your problem? I don’t answer to you.”
My fist was in her hair, and the other followed suit, snapping open her seatbelt and yanking her by the waist of her jeans across the console. I ignored her yelp of pain and anchored her in my lap. Here I could get a good look in her eyes.
“Hear me now, Monroe. You will always answer to me.” I quickly kissed her lips and then bit down on her cheek to stifle the smart remark that was sure to come out of her mouth. God, I needed to keep her mouth shut. It did things to my dick that not even the world’s best blowjob could do.
“What world are you living in, Masters? I’m my own woman now. Your intimidation tactics don’t work anymore. It’s… old… news.” She smirked as if she’d won some great argument.
“No? Well, maybe I can just fuck you harder than I’ve ever taken you right here until you see things my way.” I returned her smirk when the pulse at her neck quickened.
“I would have to let you touch me, and we both know that isn’t about to happen again.”
“But you want it to.”
“Don’t be so sure about that. Your ego needs to take a nosedive.”
I let out a deep yet ironic laugh and tossed her into the passenger seat none too gently. If I didn’t take my hands off her fast, I would show her just how much she wanted me right against the steering wheel. “I kind of missed the fuck out of you, you know that?”
“It’s only been two weeks,” she snapped. Her eyes widened the exact moment she realized her slip. She had been counting. I could have taken it as an opportunity to humiliate her, but decided to show a little mercy.