Wild Cat(7)

By: Christine Feehan

Siena knew she was placating him, but she did it anyway. She didn’t understand the dynamics of her household anymore. Maybe she’d just been gone away so much she never really knew what they were.

Her parents had died in a car bombing. Siena understood why her grandfather was so protective of her. He’d never really gotten over his son’s death. When she was little, she had her grandmother, who doted on her. When her grandmother passed away, she was immediately sent to a very private and exclusive boarding school. She’d been six and terrified, but no amount of tears would convince her grandfather to keep her at home.

Of course she was home every holiday, and he spoiled her rotten. She sat with him, laughed with him, played games until all hours, and he seemed to delight in her company. His men were always close, always watchful, and when she asked, he told her that there were bad people out there who didn’t like that he’d been so successful with his wine making and vineyards. He needed to make certain she was protected, so he had bodyguards watching her.

When she was ten years old, she found out the hard way he was right. Men broke into her room at the school and dragged her, kicking and screaming, into the night. She had spent two nights in an old abandoned warehouse, terrified, in the dark, a blindfold over her eyes, tied to a bed. One of her kidnappers had been kind and given her water and reassurance, but the others were terrifying. Her grandfather’s men had come, and there was a terrible gunfight. Two of the men who had been holding her were shot and killed. The other two had been outside the building and got away. She knew her grandfather had hunted for them for two years.

When she was fifteen, someone had tried kidnapping her again. Alonzo had stopped them. She didn’t remember much about it, but she had terrible nightmares. One day, after she told her grandfather her nightmare, he simply said she didn’t have to worry anymore and to stop. The nightmares didn’t stop, but she never told him about them again.

“Stay out of his house, Siena,” Paolo warned her again.

She nearly startled, so lost in her thoughts she had almost forgotten he was standing in front of her. Paolo had always helped her grandfather. She guessed he was fifteen to twenty years older than she was. He had been one of the men to rescue her from the first kidnappers, assigned as her bodyguard back then before he moved into the number one position.

He was handsome, she supposed, now that she was really up close to him. She had never thought of him that way, but she wasn’t attracted to him. Not really. So why did that edgy feeling begin to creep back over her?

“I will,” she agreed, turned and left without a backward glance. What was wrong with her? Paolo had manhandled her. She shouldn’t have noticed that he was good-looking. She shouldn’t have felt tingles anywhere on her body. Not a single place.

She drove fast with the top down and the wind in her hair. She didn’t care if the long strands got tangled and she looked terrible when she arrived at Elijah’s house. She needed the cool air on her hot skin. She needed to breathe, far away from the house that had once been her home but was now a prison. Everyone watched her. Waiting. She detested that her every move was scrutinized. It was the reason she didn’t use the state-of-the-art gym her grandfather had put in for her, instead choosing to have a little respite from all the eyes on her ever since she’d returned home.

Elijah owned a large estate not far from where her grandfather lived in the hill country west of San Antonio and Austin. His property was close to Jake Bannaconni’s huge, sprawling ranch. It was where all the millionaires lived, although Bannaconni was a certified billionaire according to Forbes. Most of the bigger estates and ranches were out away from the city. She knew Bannaconni took a helicopter to work. She didn’t know what Elijah did, but she wondered.

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