Black Wings & Stolen Things: Chapter 7

EMERIC

“Banes,” a voice comes from my office doorway. I don’t have to look up because there is only one fool brave enough to come in here without fucking knocking first.

Not yet bothering to glance at Nova, I continue to examine the security footage in front of me. It’s grainy, but there’s no denying what I’m seeing. That cocky fucker and his band of merry idiots really thought they could waltz into my warehouse without being seen? My lips curl when he looks right into the hidden camera. He cut the power to the building, thinking it would disarm the state-of-the-art security system I have in place. As if I’d make it that fucking simple.

Little does he know I want people like him to believe it’s that easy. I want them to feel confident and believe they’re getting away with stealing from me because after they do, I get to play. And after being on my best behavior for more than a month, I’m ready to let loose.

Like a rodent, this fool has fallen right into my trap.

“What can I do for you, Nova?” I ask, still examining the footage playing on my laptop. Crate after crate of my merchandise is carried out of my warehouse and loaded onto trucks. None of them have license plates. Another pointless tactic this fucker thought would help him get away with this. “Better be important, because something’s just come up on our schedule.”

My men who are stationed close to the building called me when the power was cut. They were ready to move in and put a stop to this blatant thievery, but I called them off when I saw who was behind this. It’ll be so much more fun for everyone if we let them believe they’re smarter than us. Than me. I’m not worried about the loss in profits. I’ll be more than compensated for my troubles. On top of retaining the money for the stolen weapons, I’ll be putting an additional interest on their debt owed to me. It’ll be my favorite form of payment to date.

I couldn’t have planned this better myself if I’d tried. Sometimes shit just falls into place and I fucking love it when that happens. These cocky assholes don’t know it yet, but they’ve just made it that much easier for me to claim what is already mine.

“What’s going on?” Nova asks, coming to a stop in front of my desk.

I spin the laptop so he can watch. “Half a million dollars’ worth of guns and ammunition are being stolen from my warehouse.”

My second-in-command looks between the screen and my face. “And this is making you grin like a sociopath, because…?”

“Because I’m really going to enjoy having them in my debt.” I turn the laptop back toward me and rewind to the moment the leader of this shit show comes into frame.

Nova’s eyebrows rise to his hairline when I face the screen toward him again. He lets out a low whistle and his head shakes in disbelief. “They’re not this stupid, surely.”

“Apparently they are.”

“This makes what I came here to tell you a little bit more… interesting.” He hands over the iPad that seems to permanently live in his hand. “One of the boys working the party clocked her when she arrived at Tartarus. I had them watch her for a while before I came here. She doesn’t have any security with her.” This makes something in my chest tighten. Her family’s lack of care when it comes to their daughter is astounding.

In the middle of my club—my territory—my princess dances amongst the other masked patrons. For the past decade, the annual masquerade party at Tartarus has been a yearly staple but never in those ten years have I felt more inclined to attend than I do now.

“She came with a friend.” At my narrowed eyes, he quickly adds, “A female friend.”

While the idea of ripping the hands off any other male who dares touch her is more than appealing, that’s not how I want to spend my night. Not anymore. Not after seeing her in that tight-as-sin black dress and feathered mask. I’d planned to keep my distance from her until I could finally make her mine—officially—but my restraint is only so strong.

“You’re right, Nova. This is interesting.” Standing from my desk, I rebutton my designer black suit jacket and grab the leather devil mask that one of my assistants had left for me this morning. At the time, I hadn’t planned on donning it since I had no intentions of attending this year’s party, but plans have changed. “Shall we go see what the princess wants?”


SHE SENSED me the second my eyes found her in the bustling crowd.

The ride from my office to Tartarus was less than fifteen minutes. Nova had pouted in the front passenger seat of the black Escalade since I refused to return his precious iPad so I could continue to watch her on the security feed. When Rionach had brushed off the co-ed’s lazy attempt to seduce her, I hadn’t bothered fighting my approving smile. Good girl.

By the time I slipped through the club’s back entrance and up the stairs that lead to the top floor of the building, she’d abandoned her spot against the bar and had started to weave back through the sweaty bodies on the dance floor.

I knew the second she felt me. Her spine snapped straight, and her shoulders stiffened. The fact that she innately knew it was me made something primal inside of me purr with satisfaction. It also answered the question that had been rattling around my head. Why was she here to begin with?

She came here for me.

My princess searched me out.

Head cocked, I wait for her to decide what she wants to do. This one time, I’m letting her set our course. After this, I won’t be so… compliant. I’m curious to see what she decides, that’s the only reason I’m willing to let her momentarily take the lead. Once I get my hands on her, the dominant beast that resides just under the surface of my skin will take charge. From there, she will be forced to play my game. Though, I get the feeling my games are precisely the kind she aches to partake in.

The smirk that pulls at her mouth all but makes me growl aloud, but it’s the way she has the audacity to turn her back to me and walk away that has blood rushing to my cock. The unmistakable and blatant dare for me to chase her is like dropping blood in shark-infested waters. With that taunt, she’s turned this into a game of prey versus predator.

She has no idea what she’s just ignited.

That smirk tells me she isn’t afraid to get burned.

You want to see how long you can play with fire, princess? Okay, let’s play.

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