Working Stiff:Casimir (Runaway Billionaires #1)(8)

By: Blair Babylon


The duct tape cracked as she ripped a long length off the roll, and she wadded it into a sticky ball before she shoved it against the side of the door, binding the bulge in place against the latch by winding layers and layers of duct tape around the knobs on both sides of the door. She did the same with the hole in the strike plate, mashing the gluey tape to the wall. So what if it peeled off some paint? If she was getting evicted, she probably wasn’t getting her deposit back, the thieves.

Luckily, Rox knew a few lawyers. She would take those jerks to court and get her damn deposit back later. Right now, she had to get everything she could out of this trap, starting with her cats.

She glanced behind herself.

Pirate, Speedbump, and Midnight were limp in their beds, basking in the morning sunlight, oblivious to the fact that they had almost ended up back in kitty jail.

And maybe death row.

Rox bound the duct tape more tightly around all the parts of the door lock, wedging the door open with her feet and yet still standing back inside the apartment. The door looked like it had grown a silver tumor by the time she was done with that part.

She stood inside her apartment in the entryway and let the door slam closed.

The heavy security door bounced off the duct tape, and sunlight shone off the mound of tape through the open crack.

Good.

Rox wedged the door all the way open by jamming a butcher knife under the bottom of it and proceeded to secure another ball of duct tape into the hinges so that it couldn’t swing even partway closed. Winding the duct tape around and around the hinges, gumming them up but good, calmed her down a little.

When there was no way that damn door could possibly swing shut, she swiped the eviction notice off it.

Animals was written in the box for Violations. No pets policy was scrawled underneath. Boxes for lease violation and deposit forfeited and endangerment of other residents and immediate eviction were checked below.

Legal action was written in uneven letters, and authorities called.

All for three damn cats?

That was ridiculous. Rox wasn’t hoarding goddamned cobras.

Pirate stretched and extended one paw, his claws gleaming in the morning sunlight like vampire fangs or hypodermic needles or something.

Seriously. How the hell were three geriatric cats endangering anyone? They’d had all their shots.

Even if they did look a little ragged.

Okay, she couldn’t fight this right now. Cash or Josie would slap the apartment management company upside the head with a lawsuit for her soon.

But in the meantime, she couldn’t leave her cats here, not with a permanent lock on her door stymied only by duct tape. Even a small knife would make quick work of it.

So she couldn’t stay, and the cats couldn’t stay.

Which meant that they all had to go together.

This part had to be done carefully.

Rox sidled over to her bedroom and violently shook the treats bag, nearly powdering the shrimp-flavored bits inside.

The cats ambled in after her, checking out each other, unsuspecting but more than okay with an unscheduled shrimp-treat break.

She slammed the bedroom door behind them and fed them the treats.

They didn’t see her sliding the three cat carriers out from under her bed until it was too late.





HOMELESS





Three days later, Rox sat behind her desk, annotating yet another contract on the enormous monitor that threw blue light on the walls of the office, blazing even brighter than the sizzling fluorescents overhead. Her feet were baking, nearly steaming, but she didn’t so much as wiggle her toes.

The picture of the very hot Lancaster Knox, model and stuntman, sat on her desk. She blew him a kiss.

A huge rubber plant blocked the tall window beside her door. A dark track in the beige carpeting led from the heavy pot to the far wall.

Over the thick leaves, Cash’s face rose in the window. He grinned at her, pointing at the locked doorknob.

Couldn’t that man ever text or email or call on the damn phone?

But he never texted unless something was horribly wrong. When they traveled, he showed up at her door at all hours of the night, holding documents to talk with her about. She had bought three pairs of travel jammies so she could open the door when he had had a brainstorm or just needed to talk to her in the middle of the night.

She hadn’t seen him coming.