The Men with the Golden Cuffs(10)

By: Lexi Blake

Adam grimaced. “I just can’t see her doing this.”

Jake’s instincts told him she was innocent, but he’d been wrong before. “I think the best way to figure this out is to get close to her, but Adam, I think someone else should do it.”

“No.” Adam’s head shook. “We’re the best at close coverage. And this guy is using a computer. No one is better with communications than me. It has to be us.”

He was being put in a corner, and Jake didn’t like the feeling. “Tell me you’re going to keep your hands off her.”

Adam put on what Jake liked to call his “What, me? I would never do that” face. Adam usually had that look just before he did something stupid. “I know she’s the client. Am I attracted to her? Yes. But I’m more concerned for her safety than getting her into bed. Come on, man. We’ve worked hundreds of corporate cases. This is a woman who needs us. This is an actual person in real danger.”

“Fine. We’ll talk to Ian in the morning about it.”

“You’ll talk to Ian right now.” Ian Taggart strode into the room, a fierce frown on his face. The boss was six and a half feet of pure alpha male. Even though they had left the Army behind long ago, when Ian Taggart barked at Jake, Jake stood a little taller. Sometimes he still missed the Army. “Everyone in the conference room now.”

“There’s a conference room?” Adam asked.

Jake had to admit it was an odd place to have a business meeting. He could hear scenes going on in the dungeon. Moans and the snick of a whip floated into the bar.

Ian strode right past them, not looking back. The boss was pissed off.

Alex, Ian’s infinitely—to Jake’s mind—more reasonable partner, shook his head. “You two are in serious trouble.”

Thank god someone knew something. “What the hell did we do?”

Alex sighed and shook his head. “You pissed off someone important. Lara Anderson is a personal friend of Ian’s. She sent you a client today, a woman named Serena Brooks, and the client went home in tears. Lara’s brother served in Ian’s unit. He saved Ian’s life and died while doing it. He feels like he owes her. She’s never asked for anything before. She asks him to handle one fucking case for her—to protect one of her writers—and you two send her away.”

Fuck a duck. Yeah, he was in trouble, but there were a few problems with Alex’s accusations. “I didn’t send her away. I can’t take a case on my own. It has to go through the group. Why didn’t Ian tell us about this?”

“He didn’t think she was coming in until tomorrow. He’s distracted. He got a line on Mr. Black, and it didn’t pan out.”

Ian Taggart had a hard-on for bringing down one man. Eli Nelson, also known as Mr. Black, was a rogue CIA agent who had nearly killed Grace Taggart a few months back. Ian had vowed revenge. Jake thought Ian was looking for the man so hard for the simple fact that he didn’t want his brother to go after him. Sean Taggart had gotten out of the business. Jake was pretty sure Ian was happy about that. What he wasn’t happy about was the fact that Sean no longer spoke to him. It was obvious their little feud continued as Sean blew right past his brother. He was with his wife, Grace, who stopped and talked to Ian, but Sean didn’t seem to want to.

Sean held out a hand. “So, big brother’s finally done it. He’s moved his whole business into the dungeon. Well, I can’t say it’s surprising. He’s always felt more comfortable here. I just wish he would remember that his sister-in-law is pregnant and can use her rest.”

Grace stepped up, playfully slapping her husband. “Don’t put words in my mouth. I’m happy to be here.”

Sean’s eyes got hard. “Do you forget where we are, little one?”

Grace’s eyes slid submissively to the floor. “I am sorry, Master. I would get on my knees, but I might never get back up.”

“Forgiven, love.” He sank one hand in her hair and his other went to the swell of her belly. He leaned in, their connection palpable. “You know why we haven’t been here. I’m worried about the baby and you. I’ll talk to friends while you deal with my brother. And maybe we can walk the dungeon when you get out.”