Protecting What's Mine by Ella Goode



Chapter One





Sebastian





“Hey boss,” Welsh, our background specialist, knocks on my door. “There’s a new delivery driver assigned to Violet’s route. You want me to look into him?”

I set down the new B&T pistol I’m testing. “Yeah, when did that happen?”

“I’m not sure. The gate guard didn’t recognize him and refused to allow the guy up to the house. The delivery dude wouldn’t leave the package unless he had a signature from Violet. Marin, the gate guard, told him that we always accept the packages at the gate, but the dude refused. Violet was pissed. She’d been waiting for that package.”

“Pissed at Marin?”

“No. The delivery company. She rang them up and told them to redeliver it, but they said they couldn’t do it until the next day since the package is on the truck or she could come into the office after hours and pick it up herself.”

That wasn’t going to happen. Violet is agoraphobic and hasn’t left her home for a long time.

“They apologized and said the driver was new, but it wouldn’t happen again,” Simon finishes.

“Definitely run a check on him and find out what happened to the old delivery guy. Was he fired? Did he quit? Are any of them connected to Violet?”

“On it.”

Violet wasn’t always housebound, but she got a stalker and he showed up everywhere--at her work, at her home, at the place she did yoga. He called and texted her non-stop. She’d change her phone, but he’d find her again. Finally, she reported it to the cops, but they told her that she should be flattered. When he escalated from following her around to leaving shit in her car and home like dead animals and dead plants, her brother went with her to file a report, but the excuse they were given at that time was that the stalker hadn’t done anything against the law even though Violet was afraid to leave her house or answer her phone.

The harassment went on for three months until he tried to kidnap her. This got him a prison sentence of a laughable eighteen months. He gets out soon. Violet, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to leave her brother’s house since the kidnapping.

The door to the shooting gallery bangs shut. I screw the suppressor back onto the barrel and then twist the knob 90 degrees to load the cartridge.

“You should stay in prison because accidents can happen out here in the real world.” I fire a single shot down the lane into the red dot over the silhouette’s heart.





I should’ve stayed at the shooting range, I think when I open my office door and see my mother lounging in my office chair.

“I’ve got sensitive material on my computer, Mom.” I toss my workout bag onto the sofa and motion for her to get up.

“It’s not like I could get in anyway,” she huffs, flouncing around to one of the two chairs positioned in front of the desk. “Your passwords are too complicated.”

She probably tried, though. She’s nosier than a cat in a fishery. “They’re supposed to be complicated.”

I flick my mouse and see that the screen is locked out meaning she had tried and failed so many times she triggered security. I reach under my desk and press the handprint sensor that she doesn’t realize exists. The login screen appears, and I type in my, yes, complicated password. I’m a security specialist, and it’s my job to keep people safe, which means even my own mother can’t have access to my data.

“What do you need?” I ask because there’s no way she stopped here without a reason. Maybe it’s money, maybe it’s a favor. Whatever it is, we both know I will likely do what she asks. I’ve never said no, even though some things have been ridiculous, like the time she wanted to buy a purse that cost more than a car or the time she wanted to get into a lipstick selling pyramid scheme.

She reaches into her purse for her phone. “I met this darling girl the other day at the gym and—”

“No.” I guess there’s a first time for everything.

“Sebastian, you haven’t even heard what I’m going to ask. Let me show you her picture.” She flicks her finger across the device and turns the screen in my direction.

I ignore it. “I’m not interested.”

“You cannot still be hung up on that Violet girl, are you? Darling, she has rejected you so many times. I appreciate your devotion. That is an admirable trait you have but