Gold Mine by Skye Warren



“Don’t touch her,” he says, his eyes flashing to the man in front of me. After a brief moment of tension, Adam steps aside. “He wasn’t protecting you.”

“No, really. He—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Adam murmurs to me. “I do have a way of bringing the two of you together, don’t I? Perhaps one of these days you’ll thank me for it.”

“Don’t touch her,” Elijah says again. “Don’t talk to her.”

“Then I’ll take myself someplace else.” A small bow. “North. Until we meet again.”

A growl sound escapes Elijah, and I realize he isn’t dressed like Adam. He’s not wearing a tux. Not attired for the gala. Instead he’s wearing all black. A T-shirt and combat pants. Boots. He looks like he’s going into battle. “He’s only after the diamonds.”

I roll my eyes. “You think I don’t know that? You think I’m confused, and that he came all the way to Italy to tell me my eyes are pretty?”

“He said that to you?”

“He was lying,” I say, my voice flat. “The same way you are.”

“I’m lying to you,” he says, soft and dangerous. “I’ve barely even said anything.”

“Even you being here is a lie. Pretending you care who touches me, who hurts me. The black SUV you drove was a lot nicer than the white van, but the result was the same.”

“You were never my prisoner.”

“Then you shouldn’t be upset that I left.”

He makes that growl sound again, and my sister moves to stand in front of me. “You don’t want Adam to talk to her?” she says. “You don’t want him to touch her? That’s fine with me. Then you don’t get to touch her, either. Both of you are fucked up. Both of you are dangerous.”

I tense, expecting Elijah to say something sharp.

Or maybe even throw my sister bodily out of the way.

He seems like something feral right now. A beast who’s been denied his meal for far too long. Except he blinks and takes a step back. His eyes turn to a muted, cool green. “Then get in the fucking boat. Don’t cause any trouble, and I won’t have to touch you.”

It’s a sign of her self-preservation that she steps into the small gondola.

I follow close behind.

I have no doubt that Elijah would manhandle me into the boat if I refused. And for once, I’m not interested in fighting him. It was too terrifying being in a standoff between an international criminal and a dishonest Interpol agent. I need some peace, even if it comes in the form of Elijah North, with all his demons and his secrets.





CHAPTER FOUR




Elijah


A year ago I was given an assignment. Infiltrate a ring of arms dealers and intercept their payment in the form of diamonds. It was there that I found Holly Frank, a frightened hostage. My fellow cellmate. It was there that I broke into a thousand pieces.

A year ago…

My mission fell to shit, and the worst part is, I didn’t care.

The only thing I wanted was to keep her safe. I threw away my career, my rank, my reputation, on this slip of a woman with messy hair and wide brown eyes.

Then she left me, and I lost my goddamn mind.

Three hundred and sixty-seven days of searching for her.

Now she’s sitting in a boat that’s painted black and gold as I row us across the water. It isn’t a romantic moment. Her back is stiff. Her sister glares at me. Too fucking bad. She’s going to have to get used to me. They both are.

We reach the dock, and I help both of them out. It’s a parody of chivalry. I’m no gentleman. Never have been, and the past few months have cut me too close to the bone.

There’s an entire goddamn army of men waiting for us.

Thankfully, they’re on our side.

I meet my brother Liam in a two-handed clasp.

“All clear?” he asks.

We expected some resistance. “We had company. Adam got there first.”

Liam swears. “You shoot him?”

“Not this time.” He protected Holly in there, and for that he got a pass. But I owe him a bullet in exactly the same place where he shot me a year ago. One day soon.

Liam wanted to come with me into Castello del Esposito, but I didn’t let him. Bad enough that he’s risking his entire security company to help me get away. I wasn’t also going to let him get charged with a crime if things went sideways.