The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella) (13 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
9.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“I wish that you would kiss me,” she answered simply.

“I’m a billionaire, and that’s the only thing you wish for?” He smirked, but his heart was secretly singing.

“It’s what I want. You told me you’d try to give me anything I wanted,” she told him in a mischievous voice, tossing his own words back at him.

“Anything you want, sweetheart,” he answered, his voice amused.

Two seconds later, Grady had Emily bent over his arm, and he made damn sure that he gave her the sweetest, most passionate New Year’s kiss she’d ever had.







It was completely annoying that it had been sunny and bright on the day of Patrick’s funeral. Not one single cloud in the sky as a sea of men in uniform, their badges all covered with a black, horizontal stripe to mark the loss of one of their own, milled around a cemetery. Their expressions were solemn, and many of them were visibly sweating from wearing a heavy uniform in the Southern California heat.

Detective Dante Sinclair’s eyes were riveted to the screen as he watched the video on his laptop computer, a huge lump in his throat as he listened to the customary last radio call go out for Detective Patrick Brogan, unanswered. Patrick was officially proclaimed to be 10/7, out of service, and the dispatcher declared how much he would be missed.

Dante gulped for air as he slammed the laptop closed, wishing like hell that it had been a shitty, rainy day during the funeral. Somehow it didn’t seem fair that the services had been held on just the kind of day Patrick had loved, and he hadn’t been there to enjoy it. It was just the sort of weather that would have had Patrick itching to be out fishing. Instead, he’d been dead, entombed in a casket covered by a United States flag, unable to enjoy one single thing he loved ever again.

Casting the laptop off the bed, not caring whether it shattered into pieces, he sat up, unconcerned with the pain it caused him to do so.
He hadn’t even been able to attend his own partner’s funeral because he’d still been in the hospital. But he’d been compelled to watch it. Patrick had been his partner and a member of Dante’s homicide team for years. He’d also been the closest friend Dante had ever had.

It should have been me who died. Patrick had a wife, a teenage son who was left behind without a father.

Hell, Karen and Ben, Patrick’s wife and son, had practically adopted him, having him over for dinner almost every night when he and Patrick could actually manage to catch dinner—which wasn’t often. Their jobs kept them out at all hours, especially in the evenings. Murder rarely happened during the daytime hours in his district.

Karen and Ben will never have to worry about money. It won’t make up for the loss of Patrick, but it will help.

Dante had resolved any financial problems for Karen and Ben by donating several million dollars to a fund for the Brogan family anonymously, but it wouldn’t bring back the man they loved, the husband, the father. It seemed like a pitifully small thing to do considering he had plenty of money and would never miss it.

Although he and Patrick had gotten promoted to detective at the same time, Dante’s partner had been well over a decade older, and a hell of a lot wiser than Dante had been back then. Patrick had taught a hotheaded new detective patience when Dante had none, and he’d helped Dante become a better man in more ways than he could count.

Christ! It should have been me! Why I wasn’t I standing where Patrick had been standing when the shooter opened up and fired?

He and Patrick had been so close—so damn close—to nailing a murderer who had raped and killed three women in their rough, gang-populated division. They had been tailing the suspect on the street, waiting for backup to arrive to arrest the subject. The murderer had gotten sloppy on his last victim, leaving behind enough DNA evidence to finally arrest the bastard.

Swinging his legs painfully over the side of the bed, Dante relived the last few moments of Patrick’s life, flashing back to the instant where he’d lost his best friend.

He and Patrick staying close enough to keep the suspect in their sight.

The piercing sirens nearby screeching through the air.

The suspect suddenly panicking and pulling out a semiautomatic pistol and starting to shoot.

Why the suspect had suddenly cracked at that moment was still a mystery. The sirens had probably spooked a murderer who already knew the law was on his tail and closing in. Ironically, the sirens had had nothing to do with them taking down a murderer. They’d been wailing for a completely separate incident. Like the police were really going to announce they were coming for the asshole? Still, it had been enough to send the suspect over the edge, shooting at anyone or anything behind him without warning.

Patrick had been the first to fall, with one bullet through the head. Dante had pulled out his Glock as he took several bullets from the shooter at close range, shielding Patrick with his larger body until he’d managed to get a kill shot in on the asshole shooter. At the time, Dante hadn’t realized it was already too late for Patrick. The bullet through the head had killed his partner instantly. Luckily, the few civilians who had been hanging around on the street during the early morning hours had scattered, leaving Dante the only one injured—Patrick and the suspect both dead.

He’d been wearing his vest, but the close-range shots had caused him some blunt force trauma. However, it
saved his life, leaving him with only some cracked ribs instead of bullets through his chest. The shot to his face hadn’t entered his skull, leaving him with only a nasty wound to his right cheek that extended up to his temple. The bullet to his right leg had passed through the flesh of his thigh, putting him in surgery after the incident, but it hadn’t shattered the bone. The one to his left arm had just been a graze.

Lucky bastard!

Dante could almost hear his partner’s voice saying those exact words to him jokingly, but he was feeling far from fortunate at the moment. He’d been injured badly enough to spend a week in the hospital, unable to attend Patrick’s funeral, unable to say a final good-bye to his best friend. Karen and Ben had visited him after his surgery, Patrick’s wife tearfully telling him how glad Patrick would have been that Dante had survived, and actually thanking him for trying to protect her husband. Neither one of them blamed Dante for what had happened to their beloved husband and father, yet Dante couldn’t get past the fact that he wished it would have been him instead of his partner, that he had somehow let Patrick down by not being the one to die.

Survivor’s guilt.

That’s what the department psychologist was calling it, telling Dante it was common considering the circumstances. That comment had made Dante want to send the little head-shrinking bastard across the room with his fist. What the hell was normal about wishing himself dead?

“You okay?” His brother Grady’s low, concerned voice came from the doorway of the small bedroom. “Need anything? We’re only about an hour out from landing. I thought I heard something crash in here.”

It was ironic that Dante and his siblings had always wanted to protect Grady—too often unsuccessfully—from being the primary target of their alcoholic, abusive father. And now
was the brother who was trying to take care of
. Every single one of his siblings had been at the hospital in Los Angeles, having flown in as soon as they had heard that he was injured. But he was going with Grady to his vacation home in Maine, a house he owned but had only seen briefly a few times since it had been constructed. Every one of the Sinclair siblings had a home on the Amesport Peninsula, but only Grady had actually made his house a permanent home. Dante hoped he could escape there, stop reliving the last moments of Patrick’s life in his nightmares. Right now, the only thing he could see every time he closed his eyes was Patrick dying.

They were currently in flight on Grady’s private jet, making their way from Los Angeles to Amesport, Maine. They’d be landing in a smaller airport outside of the city limits.

“I could use a beer,” Dante told Grady in a tortured voice, not looking at his brother as he buried his face in his hands. “Ouch! Shit!” Dante moved his hands away, the pain of the still-tender wound on his face irritated by his actions.

“Alcohol and painkillers don’t mix,” Grady mentioned calmly as he picked up the laptop from the floor. Miraculously, the computer was still working, and Grady frowned as he opened the top and saw what his brother had been viewing. “You were watching the funeral? We were all there, Dante. I know you feel like shit because you couldn’t be there. Every one of us went for you because you couldn’t.”

They all had, and the fact that his brothers and sister had attended the funeral for him to pay their last respects to a man they never even knew touched him deeper than they would ever know. They’d stood in his place, united in their support of him at Patrick’s funeral. It had meant a hell of a lot, but . . .

“I had to see it myself.” Dante looked up his older brother, his expression stony. “And I’m not taking the painkillers.” Maybe it was stupid, but feeling the pain of his injuries seemed to somehow make him feel less guilty that he was still alive. If he was fucking hurting, he was paying the price of still being alive while Patrick was buried six feet under.

The psychologist thought he was having self-destructive thoughts.

Dante didn’t give a shit.

“Hold on,” Grady answered gravely, leaving briefly and coming back with a bottle of beer. He screwed off the top and handed it to Dante. “It’s not exactly the healthiest thing for you to have right now, but I doubt it will do much harm.”

Tossing his head back, Dante took a gulp of the cold liquid, letting it slide down his throat, suddenly questioning the intelligence of doing so. The taste brought back a flood of memories, all of them about the many times over the years that he and Patrick had hung out together having a beer. He finished it quickly as Grady watched him pensively, handing the empty bottle back to his brother after he drained it. “Thanks.”

Grady took the bottle from Dante’s hand with an uneasy scowl. “Are you okay?” he asked again in a husky voice. “I know your wounds hurt like hell, but they’ll heal. That’s not what I’m asking. I need to know if

Dante finally looked up at his older brother, the concern on Grady’s face nearly breaking him. Although the Sinclair siblings had all scattered to different areas of the country after they’d left their hellish childhood and adolescence behind, the affection they all had for one another had never died. They might only get together on rare occasions, but they all still cared. He had seen it in every one of his siblings’ eyes at the hospital.

The anxiety and distress that was lodged deeply in Grady’s gray eyes finally made Dante admit for the first time, “No. I don’t think I am.”

Patrick was dead. Dante wished he had died in his place. His body was wracked with pain, and everything inside him was cold and dark.

Right at that moment, as his anguished eyes locked with his older brother’s, Dante wasn’t sure he would ever be okay again.


Photo © 2013 Carrie Herzog

J.S. (Jan) Scott is a
New York Times
bestselling author of steamy romance. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature. Writing what she loves to read, Jan writes both contemporary and paranormal romance. They almost always feature an alpha male and every book has a happily ever after because she just can’t seem to write them any other way! Jan lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her husband.

BOOK: The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella)
9.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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