From Sanctum With Love (Masters and Mercenaries Book 10)(6)

By: Lexi Blake

She minded now. With a twist she managed to rear back and punch the fucker right in the nose. He didn’t get to touch her. Not ever again. He cursed, falling back and cradling his face. She was fairly certain he was walking a red carpet tonight. Let him explain a broken nose to the paparazzi.

“I will walk out of here and pack my bags,” she explained to him. “You will give me every single copy of those films you have and I won’t sue you or make a fuss about the fact that you stole my screenplay, but I swear to god if one of them slips through the cracks, I’ll go on every morning show and talk about our relationship. I’ve got photos and I won’t hesitate to use them. You remember that. Mutually assured destruction, Morgan. Don’t ever call me again.”

She heard him shouting something about how she’d be back or some shit, but he’d never known her at all if he believed that.

As the elevator took her down she knew one thing. It was time to leave. There was no happily ever after for her. Not in LA.

Maybe nowhere.


Present day

Dallas, TX

Kai stared at his patient and wondered if she was planning on spending the entire hour trying to win the quiet game. He had to give it to her. Erin Argent was damn good. She was good at deflecting, great at ignoring, positively magnificent at pretending.

But she couldn’t deflect, ignore, or pretend any longer.

“Erin, you came to me. I have to assume you didn’t come here to sit in silence.”

The woman sitting across from him looked gaunt, far too thin for what was happening to her body, but then she wasn’t concerned about herself physically. That was the problem. Erin had lost the man she loved in a mission a few months ago. Though she claimed she was “fine,” there was no way to mistake her for anything but a woman in pain.

“I came here because Case is an asshole who sticks his nose in everyone else’s business,” Erin said with a shake of her head. “I didn’t feel like eating. Since when was that a crime?”

“Case cares about you.” Kai felt the need to remind her. Again and again. Erin was the type of woman who needed to hear it until she believed it. It was how Theo Taggart had gotten through to her. When they’d left on assignment all those months before, Theo had been chasing her. They’d come back from Africa as a couple trying to find their way through, and Kai thought they could have made it work if Theo had lived. It was hard to believe that had only been a short time before. Sometimes it felt like forever. Case Taggart had lost his twin, Ian and Sean the brother they’d only recently known existed. Kai wasn’t even sure where his own brother was at the moment. How was Jared doing? He hadn’t talked to his brother in years, but that would change very soon. “We all care about you, Erin. And we’re all still hurting. The grieving process takes a long time.”

“I’m not grieving. I’m pissed. I want to get back to work and no one will let me.” She turned in her chair, staring out the window. “I’m starting to think McKay-Taggart isn’t the right place for me anymore. Maybe I should pack it up and start over again somewhere else.”

This wasn’t the first time he’d heard her say that in session. “Where would you go? Home?”

She shivered as though the idea was distasteful. “No. I wouldn’t go back there. I don’t know. Maybe I should get in my car and drive. There’s nothing left for me here.”

“Nothing except a whole family of people who love you. Ian doesn’t have you on desk duty because he’s punishing you. That’s not his point at all.”

“He thinks I can’t handle it anymore.” She turned around, warming to her subject. “And you know what? He’s gotten soft himself. He’s the one who can’t hack it. If he doesn’t want to handle business anymore, he shouldn’t put that on me. Li and I should be the ones out in LA dealing with the Bachman case. That’s our client. Ian sent Jesse and Simon. And I’m royally pissed that Big Tag decided to let Li go on that op alone two weeks ago. He wouldn’t have been in the position he’d been in if I’d been with him. He gave me some bullshit about how I wasn’t ready to go back to Africa. What? Does he think I’m going to cry because that was where Theo kissed me for the first time? Who the fuck does he think I am? He almost got Li killed and now my partner’s taken off on a vacation when we should be in LA. ”