Brutal Prince: Chapter 16

CALLUM

Luckily, Aida and I are the first ones back to the house, because the scraps of her dress are scattered across the limo floor, and she doesn’t have anything else to wear except my suit jacket.

She doesn’t give a shit. Ever the free spirit, she just wraps my jacket around her body and runs inside barefoot, giving the chauffeur a jaunty salute on her way by.

I’d like to follow her, but I can feel my phone buzzing in my pocket—my father, calling to chastise me.

“What the fuck were you thinking,” he says the moment I pick up.

“That piece of shit tried to assault my wife.”

“You got in a brawl at your own fundraiser. With Oliver Castle! Do you know how that looks?”

“He’s lucky I didn’t splatter his brains on the concrete.”

“If you did, you’d be in jail right now,” my father seethes. “That wasn’t some frat boy you hit—Henry Castle is one of the richest men in Chicago. He donated fifty thousand to your campaign!”

“He’s not getting a refund,” I say.

“You’re going to have to give him a hell of a lot more than a refund to keep him from torpedoing your run.”

I grind my teeth so hard that my molars feel like they’re about to crack in half.

“What does he want,” I say.

“You’re going to find out tomorrow morning. 8:00 a.m., at Keystone Capital. Don’t be late.”

Fucking hell. Henry Castle is worse than his son—bloated, arrogant, and hyper-demanding. He’s going to want me to grovel and kiss his ring. While I want to castrate him to prevent him from siring any more shithead sons.

“I’ll be there,” I say.

“You lost control tonight,” my father says. “What the fuck is going on with you and that girl?”

“Nothing.”

“She’s supposed to be an asset, not a liability.”

“She didn’t do anything. I told you, it was Castle.”

“Well pull it together. You can’t allow her to distract you from your goal.”

I hang up, boiling with everything unsaid that I wanted to scream into the phone.

He’s the one who forced me to marry Aida, and now he’s pissed off because she’s not a little chess piece he can shuffle around the board, like he does to everybody else?

That’s what I admire about her. She’s wild and she’s fierce. It takes everything I’ve got just to get her to wear a damn dress. She’d never grovel in front of Henry Castle. And neither will I.

I head upstairs to our bedroom, expecting her to be brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed.

Instead, she pounces on me the minute I come inside the room. She kisses me deeply, pulling me toward the bed.

“Aren’t you tired?” I ask her.

“It’s not even midnight,” she laughs. “But if you’d rather go to sleep, old man . . .”

“Let’s see what it takes to tire you out, you fucking lunatic,” I say, throwing her down on the mattress.


Aida is still deep asleep when I have to get up for my meeting with Henry Castle the next morning. I pull the blankets up around her bare shoulders, though it seems a pity to cover up all that smooth, glowing skin.

She looks exhausted after the romping we had last night. We spent an hour doing something that was as close to wrestling as fucking. She was testing me, testing whether I’d let her take control, testing my energy and my stamina.

There was no fucking way I was tapping out first. Every time she tried to overpower me, I pinned her down again and fucked her ruthlessly, until we were both panting and dripping with sweat.

I could see how it excited her, feeling my strength against hers, knowing I wouldn’t give an inch to her. She likes to push me, to see how far she can go before I snap. She does it in and out of the bedroom.

Well, I’m a fucking mountain that can’t be pushed. She’ll learn that soon enough.

And so will Henry Castle. I know he thinks I’ve come to his office to grovel, but that’s not fucking happening.

In fact, when his receptionist tells me to sit and wait outside his door, I tell her, “Our meeting’s at eight,” and I sweep inside.

Just as I suspected, Henry is sitting behind his desk, doing bugger all at the moment.

He’s a big man, completely bald, well-muscled but also fat. He wears loose suits with wide shoulders, enhancing the impression of his bulk. His eyebrows look very black and rather out of place on his otherwise hairless head.

“Griffin,” he says with a stern nod.

He’s trying to set a commanding tone.

In fact, he gestures for me to sit down opposite his desk. The chair is low and narrow, deliberately inferior to the one that Henry himself sits in.

“No thanks,” I say, remaining standing and leaning casually against the side of his desk. Now I’m the one looking down on him. I can tell it annoys him. Almost immediately he stands up himself, on the pretext of looking at some of the photographs on his bookshelf.

“You know Oliver is my only son,” he says, picking up a framed photo of a boy on a beach. The boy is running down toward the water. There’s a house behind him—small, blue, almost more of a cottage. The sand comes right up to its steps.

“Mm,” I say, nodding noncommittally. “Where’s that?”

“Chesterton,” Henry says shortly. He wants to turn the conversation back on topic. I draw it out on the tangent instead, to increase his irritation.

“You go out there a lot?” I say.

“We used to. Every summer. I just sold it, though. Would have done it sooner, but Oliver made a fuss. He’s more sentimental than I am.”

Henry sets the picture firmly back down on the shelf, turning to face me again. His thick black brows hang low over his eyes.

“You assaulted my son last night,” he says.

“He assaulted my wife.”

“Aida Gallo?” Henry says with a small sneer. “No offense, but I wouldn’t take her word for it.”

“That’s extremely offensive,” I say, holding his stare. “Not to mention, I saw it with my own eyes.”

“You had him escorted out by security,” Henry says tersely. “I expect better treatment for one of your biggest donors.”

I give a small snort.

“Please. I’ve got plenty of money. I’m not going to prostitute my wife for fifty-K. And in any case, my relationship is with you, not with Oliver. I doubt the fact that he’s a handsy drunk is a surprise to you. So let’s cut to the chase of what’s really bothering you.”

“Fine,” Henry snaps. His face reddens, making his bald head look shinier than ever. “I heard you’re selling the Transit Authority property to Marty Rico. I want it.”

Jesus Christ. I’m not even Alderman yet, the property isn’t for sale, and half the men in Chicago are trying to close their grubby fists around it.

“I’ve got several interested parties,” I say, tapping my fingers lightly on the top of his desk. “I’ll be entertaining all bids.”

“But you’ll give it to me,” Castle says threateningly.

He can threaten all he wants. I’m not giving anything away for free.

“If the price is right,” I tell him.

“You don’t want to make an enemy of me.” Henry is back behind his desk now, standing because he wants to loom over me. Unfortunately for him, that doesn’t work when you’re not the tallest man in the room.

“I’m sure you’ll come up with something good,” I remark. “After all, it says ‘capital’ on the door.”

His face is turning darker and darker in color. He looks like he’s about to burst a blood vessel.

“I’ll be contacting your father about this,” he hisses.

“Don’t bother,” I tell him. “Unlike your son, I speak for myself.”

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