Authors: Marysol James
Tags: #Romance, #Military, #sex, #Contemporary, #Fiction
(Unseen Enemy #2)
By Marysol James
© 2014 by Marysol James.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, including information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission from the author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover photo: © fotorince/Fotolia
Beautiful inside and out.
“Well, I’d say that
was a raging success… wouldn’t you?” Nigel slumped in his chair, sipping his wine. “Everyone had fun, right?”
Olivia Jameson grinned at Nigel Ramirez. Her personal assistant looked exhausted and it was mostly because he had spent the previous three days organizing things for the party that evening, including getting the guest-of-honor’s parents in to Denver from Angola at no cost whatsoever. Normally, Nigel could have planned this party in two hours flat with one hand tied behind his back and while suffering from a debilitating flu, but
party had been very special.
Five weeks before, one of Liv’s best friends, Emma Cartwright, had received a stem cell transplant and now Emma’s chances of fighting off her leukemia had dramatically improved. She wasn’t anywhere near cured yet, but everyone around Emma could finally take a deep breath again. This party at Liv’s house had been to celebrate the success of the transplant as well as their newfound sense of optimism.
“It was perfect, Nigel,” Liv said. “You hit it out of the park, I promise you.”
“Well, Emma deserved it. And frankly, how can a party go wrong when a significant number of the guests are sexy ex-Rangers?” He sighed. “God, those boys are hot, Liv. Why don’t you have one? Actually – come to think of it – why don’t
Liv laughed. No denying that Dean, Dallas, Chris and Jim were smoking hot guys. Tall, broad, muscular, tattooed, they checked almost every box – with the added bonus of being incredibly sweet and smart, too. They had pulled Emma and Liv, and their other good friends Jenny and Kat, through the past few months with Emma’s illness, and it was actually because of their efforts that Emma had received the transplant from a private donor.
don’t have one because you have Abe. And
don’t have one because I have more than enough on my plate without bringing a man in to it all.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Nigel flapped his hands at her. “OK, let’s clean this place up, doll.”
Liv looked around her spacious living room and glanced over at the kitchen. Jenny and Chris had cleaned up quite a bit since they were taking several things back to Jenny’s restaurant, but there were still towering stacks of dishes on her countertops and the wine glasses had to be rinsed out and dried by hand. The living room was a wreck, with chairs and tables in the wrong places and paper from Emma’s presents strewn over every surface. The banner Nigel had prepared was still hanging above the fireplace, and there were some platters of food scattered around.
“No, it’s OK,” she said. “I’ll do it all before I go to bed.”
Nigel raised his eyebrows. “Supermodels
do the dishes, Liv. Supermodels
to do the dishes. I can have Carol come over tomorrow morning and clean up.”
Liv shook her head. Her mother had cleaned houses for years to make ends meet after running away from Liv’s abusive father, and Liv was her mother’s daughter.
was she able to leave dishes unwashed and go to sleep: everything needed to be done before she could get in to bed. She may be earning millions and live in a huge house and have graced the cover of every major magazine, but she could still wash a freaking wine glass and move a goddamned chair.
“Go home, Nigel,” she said. “You worked your ass off for the past few days. Leave everything else with me, OK? Get some rest, sleep in tomorrow. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah, really. Thanks again, Nigel. It was perfect.”
“My pleasure. Goodnight, doll.” He put on his coat and headed down the stairs and out the front door. She closed it behind him and set the security system before sighing at the pleasure of being home alone. She went back up to the kitchen and poured a half-glass of white wine, gazing out the window while she drank. Slowly, she started to unwind.
Sipping her wine, Liv wandered down the hall to her bedroom and slipped out of her tight dress and towering high heels. She donned a pair of jeans and a loose sweater, then went in to her attached bathroom to tie her long auburn hair back. She was a tall, slim woman with large breasts (all natural, at least for now) and curves that had been photographed in hundreds of bikinis and pieces of lingerie, as well as numerous items of clothing by top designers. Olivia Jameson was in demand, she was hot; she was also thirty years old now, and fully aware that her days in the industry were numbered.
She went back to her kitchen and ran hot water in to the sink. On a coffee table in the living room her cell phone beeped, indicating that she had received a text.
She dried her hands and picked up the phone, wondering if Nigel had arranged for Carol to come and clean after all. If he had, Liv was cancelling her. No way Liv was ruining her cleaning lady’s Saturday morning. Her Mom had spent many a weekend cleaning up after parties at rich people’s houses, and Liv had always thought that even the woman who scrubbed the toilets was entitled to a day off.
Liv saw that she had received three new messages. She opened the first one, then froze. The text said, ‘HOPE YOU ENJOYED EMMA’S PARTY. WHEN DOES THE BITCH DIE OF CANCER?’
. How does he know about the party? About Emma? Was he – is he watching my house?
Holding her breath, she opened the second message: ‘YOUR RED DRESS MADE YOU LOOK LIKE A FUCKING SLUT. I WANNA RAPE YOU IN IT. I WANNA FUCK YOUR CUNT TIL YOU BLEED.’
She closed her eyes, afraid to read the last text. What she saw knocked the breath clean out of her chest: ‘COMING TO FUCK YOU WHORE. BE THERE SOON.’
She screamed and dropped the phone, then picked it up again, fumbling with the tiny little buttons. She found Greg Wallace’s number in her phone book and called him. Greg ran the private security company that her manager had hired to protect her, and he was supposed to be handling this fucking stalker situation. It had gone on for almost six months now, and just seemed to get worse all the time. But these messages took it in to a whole new realm of threat: it was clear that this guy had actually seen her that night. This was the closest that he’d ever physically gotten to her.
The closest that I know of.
Greg’s phone rang and rang; Liv held her breath and counted the rings. Ten. Eleven. Then it clicked over to voicemail. She cursed, disconnected, redialled. It went straight to voicemail this time and she hung up, furious.
Thanks a lot, Greg. So much for twenty-four-hour protection, huh? Also, wasn’t this fucking stalker supposed to be ‘no big deal’? Those
your words, right? OK, forget about him. Call someone else. The police? No. Dallas. Call Dallas. He’ll help.
He had been at Emma’s party and he had turned off his phone, she knew. But he did have that
phone, the one that he had told her about at the hospital several weeks earlier… the private one for his clients. The one that he never turned off, he had said.
Fuck, fuck. Where did I put that business card?
She jerked open the kitchen drawer, the one where she threw all the business cards she didn’t know what to do with. She scrambled through them, her fingers trembling.
Shit. Where is it? Come on, focus, Olivia…
She found it and yanked it out of the drawer. Solid Security, Dallas Foreman, President and Private Bodyguard. She tried to enter the cell number listed on it, misdialled, cursed, tried again, misdialled again.
OK, Liv. Deep breath. Try again.
She managed it this time and she stood in her living room, staring out the window at her long driveway, listening to the phone ringing at the other end.
Come on, come on. Pick up, Dallas, please. Please.
Dallas Foreman was wiped out. He kicked off his shoes and headed over to the fridge to get a beer. He leaned his massive body against the kitchen counter heavily, thinking about nothing more than a long, hot shower and then bed.
His cell phone rang and he groaned out loud. Since he had already switched off his personal phone, he knew that this was
phone, the one that only his most important clients had the number for. The one that he could never ignore and which he never turned off, no matter what.
Oh, God. Who wants me to show up at some sleazy strip club somewhere and escort him home because he’s drunk and pissed off somebody bigger than him? Whoever said that it’s glamorous to be a private bodyguard for executives is fucking delusional, man.
He grabbed the cell from his coat pocket and paused when he saw the number flashing up. It looked familiar, but in his tiredness, he couldn’t quite place it.
He heard the terror in her voice and he stopped dead in his tracks, his whole body suddenly alert and wide-awake. He knew immediately that it was her stalker, and that something new and disturbing had happened.
Goddammit. I knew he’d escalate, and soon.
“Olivia. What’s wrong?”
“The guy – he – a text –
Her panic was coming at him in waves. He lowered his voice, made it as gentle as possible. “OK, sweetheart. Calm down. Deep breath, alright?”
Liv sucked in a breath, then another.
“That’s better,” Dallas said. “Now. You got another text?”
“What did it say?”
“He said that he hoped I enjoyed Emma’s party. He said that I looked like a slut in my red dress and it made him want to… to rape me. He said that he’s on his way here now.” She felt a sob rising in her throat and she fought it down. “Dallas, he knows that Emma has cancer, he knows the color of my dress…he – he… Oh,
Fuck. OK, keep her calm.
He held the phone under his chin as he put on his shoes and coat and grabbed his car keys. “Olivia, where are you right now?”
She blinked. “At home.”
“I mean, which room?”
“The living room.”
Dallas mentally ran through the layout of her house, including the windows and which directions they faced. As was his habit with every building he entered, he’d automatically and almost idly noted everything when he’d been there earlier that evening for Emma’s party.
“Do any of your room doors lock?”
“Yeah. The master bathroom.”
“Go there. Right now. I’m coming to you and I’m going to stay on the phone with you the whole time, OK?”
Liv walked down the long hallway on trembling legs, expecting a hand to grab her from behind at any second. She glanced over her shoulder, then whipped to look forward again; back and forth, she twisted and turned, trying to see everywhere at once. Her skin crawled with the sensation of eyes on her. When she got to her bedroom, she hesitated at the door. The light switch was on the wall farthest from the bathroom, but she didn’t want to cross the whole room in darkness.
“Yeah? Are you locked in?”
“No. I’m scared to – to walk through my bedroom. It’s dark in there – what if…”
“Get to the bathroom, sweetheart. Please. I’m right here with you, OK?”
“I know you are, Olivia, and that’s OK. You’re doing great, hon, and you’re almost there. Take a deep breath and go.
She ran through her bedroom and burst in to the bathroom. Her hands shaking, she slammed the door and locked it. She backed up, away from the door, and sat on the edge of the tub.
Dallas heard her breathing, fast and panicky. “You locked in?”
“OK. I’m in my car and I’m eight minutes away. You stay on the phone, alright? Just hang on.”
She nodded and relaxed a bit; his Texan drawl was strangely comforting. “OK.”
Suddenly, her cell beeped again and she almost dropped the phone. “I just got another text.”
“Open it up, Olivia.”
Her stomach was a block of ice, but she did as he said. The text said, ‘RIGHT HERE BITCH. COMING FOR YOU’. The attached photo was of her own living room in its post-party state.
“Oh, God,” she whimpered. She put the phone back to her ear. “Oh, God, Dallas.”
“He’s in the living room.”
Dallas froze for less than a second, then jammed the accelerator flat on the floor. He felt his whole body and mind switch up a gear to cool, professional mode. When he was like this, he could kill to protect someone – he had in the past and not even batted an eyelash while doing it.
“Olivia, you listen to me and do everything I say. You hear me?”
She responded to the new tone in his voice. “Yes.”
“Get in to the bathtub and lie down flat. Right now.”
She climbed in, her long legs so weak that they could barely hold her weight.
“You in?” he asked.
“Stay on the phone, but no more talking now. Not one word. Just concentrate on your breathing. That’s all you have to do. OK?”
She nodded, didn’t say anything. Her whole body strained to hear any sound outside the bathroom door, but all was silent.
Dallas sped through the streets, listening to her harsh breathing in his ear. His hands were rock-steady, his breathing slow and controlled, and his focus was perfect.
I will break him the fuck in half if he touches her.
He pulled in to Olivia’s driveway and climbed out of the car. He saw her front door was half-open and he reached back in to the waistband of his jeans for his Sig Sauer 229.
“Olivia. I’m outside your house right now. I’m coming in.”
“You need the code. It’s –”
“Don’t you worry about that. I’m going to hang up now because I need to search the whole house and I need both hands free. No matter what you hear, you stay put. Promise me.”
“I’ll come and get you as soon as I’m sure that the coast is clear. You don’t move, no matter what. I’ll see you soon.” Dallas disconnected, turned the cell ringer off and put the phone in his pocket. He shrugged off his coat and approached the house slowly, the handgun held at waist level, his arms taut. He swept the gun from side to side as he walked past the garden, looking for any movement at all in the yard outside.