Owned by the Bad Boy(9)

By: Vanessa Waltz


My cheeks flush with heat. “No, but—”

“Let me take you out, Claire.”

He strokes my bottom lip with his thumb before planting a gentle kiss.

How can I say no?





CLAIRE



I tighten the slats on the window, staring into a bitterly cold street before the darkness swallows me.

I turn away and switch on the lamp that sits on the nightstand, picking up a dog-eared paperback by Abigail Graham. I sit back down and crack it open. It’s a steamy scene that makes me unconsciously touch my lips, remembering how Luc used to grind his mouth against mine as if he could never get enough. Every time he came home from work, every spare minute he could pull me away so that we were alone, he’d kiss me as though it were for the last time. I read the lines of passion as my body slowly heats up. My heart soars, remembering the same sensations, just as it breaks, too. I snap the book shut, fighting unexpected tears.

I loved him.

The heartbreak swells, and I try to push it away, but the bleak apartment serves as a constant reminder of everything I lost. He was the best and worst thing that happened to me. We were together for a year, and apart for another.

Fuck Luc. Forget about him.

I hate the little things that remind me of him—the BCBG dress in my closet that he bought for me, the sapphire earrings stowed away in my jewelry box, the smell of cologne as I walk through the men’s department. And every time, it’s like a fever rush of heat. I love him—I hate him. I wanted to get rid of all the things he bought me, but they were so beautiful, and I’ve never been able to buy myself anything nice.

If he knew where you were, he’d kill you.

I’m barely able to suppress a shudder as I stand up and insert my fingers through the blinds to check the road. A familiar car rolls over the slimy streets, giving my stomach an unpleasant lurch.

Him.

I walk past the nursery, feeling a small pang. Luc never knew. He’ll never know.

A large-fisted knock pounds my front door, and I descend the stairs, my guts clenching as I steel myself to answer it.

I slide the chain and flip the deadbolt, tugging it open to reveal a man wearing a long beige trench coat.

“Officer Boucher.”

The porch light finally flicks on, illuminating a middle-aged man’s face. His blond hair lies flat on his head, and blue eyes slide to mine, unmistakable longing shining through them.

What does he want now?

“I told you that you could call me Frank.”

I don’t want him to think we’re close.

“Sorry, Frank.”

I step aside to let him in, and I close the door without locking it, hoping he won’t stay long. With a long sigh, he shrugs the trench coat from his shoulders and I take it from him, hanging it in the closet.

“You want some coffee?”


“Sure.”

Stiffly I march past him into the kitchen where there’s a pot of cold coffee. I pour it into a cup and stick it in the microwave as Frank takes a seat at my kitchen table, looking troubled.

“What is it?”

“It’s about your ex.”

The ostentatious sound of the beeping microwave makes me jump. My heart gallops forward.

“What about him?”

“He’s out of prison.”

Luc’s out of prison.

My heart seizes painfully and I turn around, gripping the handle of the microwave. I yank the door, hardly noticing the scalding coffee cup.

“He’ll look for you.”

I grip the mug in both hands as I set it down in front of him, and then I take a seat, my hands gripping the edge of the table.

“I’m in the program. He can’t find me, right?”

He bows his head. “You know how corrupt the police department is in Montreal. Johnny has informants everywhere.”

“Then I’ll go. I’ll take—I won’t tell anyone where I’m going!”

He leans in, pleading me with his eyes. “I’ve told you a hundred times—you could always live with me. I’d take care of you, Claire—”

“No.”

That’s exactly what he wants, isn’t it? After a few months of being my handler, Officer Boucher made it quite clear how he felt about me. I didn’t feel the same—I never would. Why did he keep pushing me?

A wounded look crosses his face. “You would be safe with me—”

“In exchange for what?”

Frank’s face heats again, his lips slightly parted. Fuck, I used to see that look on Luc’s face. It drove me wild and made my panties wet. On Frank, it makes me feel ill.

“I don’t understand why you think I want something in return.”

“Because men always want something in return. You’re not just doing this because I’m in trouble.”

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