Read Under His Domain Online

Authors: Kelly Favor

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction

Under His Domain (2 page)

BOOK: Under His Domain
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“He never came home,” Kennedy finished,
checking her cell phone and seeing that it was now nearly ten in the
morning.
 
“I tried his phone and it’s
off.”
 
Her jaw shook and her voice
broke.

Nicole glanced at Red, and Kennedy could
see the hopeless look in her sister’s eyes.
 
Nicole thought something very bad had
happened to him, that much was clear.

“What should we do?” Nicole asked Red.

Red sighed.
 
“I need to make a call,” he said.
 
He put his own cell phone to his
ear.
 
“Kane, it’s me…and I have a
very big problem.”
 
He stood there
for a short time, listening.
 
Then
he continued.
 
“A friend of mine is
in trouble and I think you might be the only person who can help.”

A second later, Red hung up and looked at
Nicole.

“That was fast,” she said.

“He’s coming over, nothing can be talked
about over the phone.”

Kennedy was confused.
 
“Who’s Kane?
 
What’s happening?”

Red scratched his jaw.
 
“Kane Wright is a very powerful guy, and
he’s got some very strong connections to the kind of world that Easton appears
to be wrapped up in.
 
If anyone can
figure out the best way to approach this situation now, it’s Kane Wright.
 
As much as I hate to admit that.”

Nicole and Red shared a small, secret
smile, like a private joke that only the two of them understood.

“I feel like we need to call the police,”
Kennedy said.
 
“I should’ve called
hours ago, but I was scared.
 
Easton
gave me clear instructions to take the money from his safe and leave New
York.
 
I just got paralyzed, but now
I think I should call.”

“The police aren’t going to be able to
help,” Red told her, his jawline hardening the way Easton’s did when he grew
impatient.
 

“How can you know that?”

“Because,” he said, “we’ve had experience
with this sort of thing, and I’m telling you that it’s not a good idea.
 
Right now, time is of the essence and
the police are slow as molasses.
 
They’ll come here and take
statements,
start
treating you like maybe you’re lying and you actually did something to hurt
Easton.
 
You’ll be their primary
suspect in his disappearance.”

“Me?” she cried, putting a hand to her
chest.
 
Her heart fluttered,
skipping a few
beats
.

“Yes, you,” Red replied
matter-of-factly.
 
“The police work
by the law of averages, which would tell them that most likely you’re involved
in his disappearance and you’re just making up an elaborate cover story to get
yourself out of trouble.”

“But that’s insane.
 
Why would I call them if I wanted to
stay out of trouble?”

“They’ll assume you panicked, they’ll assume
you had a reason to make a cover story.
 
And their job will be to figure out why you wanted to hurt Easton.
 
Maybe they’ll think he was breaking up
with you, and you grew angry and killed him.”

Kennedy felt faint.
 
“Please, please don’t say that.
 
I would never—“
 

Red pressed on.
 
“Meanwhile, whatever’s really happening
to Easton will be continuing, and time will be wasted while the police come to
the slow and inevitable conclusion that Easton’s gone.
 
But with the cops involved, whoever took
Easton will be far less likely to give him back.
 
Eliminating him will be much easier than
dealing with fallout when he returns home with a story about kidnapping, abuse,
torture—“

Kennedy put her hands over hear
ears.
 
“Stop!
 
Stop it!
 
Please!”

“Red, you’re terrifying her,” Nicole
said.

“I’m just making sure she understands the
gravity of the situation.”

Nicole gave him a warning look.
 
“I think she gets it.”

Red finally relented.
 
He reached out and put a hand on
Kennedy’s shoulder and gave it a quick and reassuring squeeze.
 
“I have another idea about how to solve
the problem.
 
And I think my friend
can help us do it.”

Kennedy stifled her tears, sniffling a
little.
 
“Thank you both for being
here and trying to help me.
 
I know
I’ve caused you nothing but trouble.”

“That’s true,” Red replied.

Nicole opened her mouth wide.
 
“Red,” she said in horror.
 
“Don’t tell her that!”

Kennedy had to smile despite
herself.
 
“It’s okay, Nicole.
 
I know he’s right.”

Nicole looked at her closely.
 
“I want you to know that I don’t hold
you responsible for the stuff in the tabloids.
 
We looked into it and the writer
confirmed that you weren’t the source.”

Kennedy felt a small bit of gratitude to
the universe for somehow allowing something to go her way for once.
 
She closed her eyes and breathed a deep
sigh.
 
“I never wanted to hurt you,
Nicole.
 
You have to believe
me.
 
I would never intentionally
cause you or your family pain.”

Suddenly, she felt her sister’s hand
covering her hand on the table.
 
Nicole’s hand was warm and dry and soft.

“I believe you, Kennedy.
 
I really do.”

 

***

 

It seemed like it took forever for Kane
Wright to arrive, but it wasn’t very long in reality.
 
It was simply that every second that
Kennedy didn’t know where Easton
was,
she felt the
walls closing in around her.

The thought of him being hurt or killed
was almost too much to bear.
 

But finally Kane knocked on the door, and
he entered the room, as powerful a presence as Red, in his own way.
 
He was older, dignified and calm on the
surface, but his eyes held more mischief and ego than Red’s eyes.

Kane Wright immediately struck Kennedy as
a man who wanted to win at all costs, no matter who he had to hurt or how he
achieved his ends.
 
Normally such a
man would repulse her, but in this instance it was a relief to have him on her
side.
 

As the two men shook hands, they locked
eyes and grinned, and something passed between them.
 
Kane chuckled.
 
“I knew it wouldn’t be long before you
needed my help again, Jameson.”

Red shrugged his powerful shoulders.
 
“I don’t like getting my hands dirty,
Kane.
 
But I know some people enjoy
wallowing in the mud, so I call them when I need that sort of thing.”

“Touché,” Kane replied, laughing.
 
He had a slight accent that Kennedy
couldn’t place.
 
Now he looked to
her, his sharp eyes honing in and making her feel instantly small.
 
Then his gaze flicked over to Red and
Nicole.
 
“So, please do fill me in
on the problem at hand.”

Red told him most of it, but paused
occasionally to allow Kennedy to fill in some of the details he was fuzzy
on.
 
The telling of it didn’t take
more than a few minutes, and Kane mostly listened, but when Jimmy DeLuca’s name
was mentioned, Kane Wright’s entire expression changed.

He seemed to grow bigger, his lips
tightened,
his cutting gaze became that much sharper.
 
“Are you sure that’s the name of the man
involved in your friend’s disappearance?” Kane asked her.
 
“Are you absolutely certain?”

She nodded and found DeLuca’s picture on
her phone and handed it to him.

When Kane saw the picture of Jimmy DeLuca
on her cell phone, he turned to Red.
 
“This is very, very serious,” he told him.
 
“I
need
to have
a word with you in private.”

Red nodded and gestured to go upstairs
together.
 
They both went up the
steps and disappeared.

Kennedy stared after them.
 
Her entire body was numb.
 
“What’s going on?” she asked.

Nicole rubbed Kennedy’s hand
comfortingly.
 
“They’re going to
figure this out, I promise you.”

“But I don’t understand.
 
What can they do?”

“I don’t know exactly.
 
But Red and Kane know a lot of people,
and Kane Wright has some very strange friends and associates.
 
And he has enough money and power to
pull strings when necessary.”

Kennedy looked at Nicole and thought, not
for the first time, how utterly beautiful her sister was.
 
But Nicole’s beauty went far beyond the
superficial (which she had in spades).
 
Her kindness and grace and compassion lit her skin up.
 
She was practically translucent, Kennedy
decided.

But then Kennedy’s mind returned to the
horrible reason Nicole was there with her.

“I wish I’d never come to New York,”
Kennedy said, her voice breaking.

Nicole suddenly smiled.
 
“Do you know how many times I thought
that when I first moved to the city and started working for Red?”

“You were a natural here,” Kennedy
replied.

This caused her sister to throw back her
head and laugh.
 
“Are you kidding
me?
 
I was far from a natural.
 
Everything I did was clumsy and silly
and naïve.
 
Red and I went through
so much together—so many times I thought we wouldn’t make it.
 
So many times, I was sure I’d been
beaten by this horrible city and the hardened people that live here.”

“But they didn’t beat you.”

“No,” Nicole said, looking Kennedy
directly in her eyes.
 
“They didn’t
beat me, and in the end, I found my place.
 
I found myself.”

Kennedy’s eyes filled.
 
“I wish I could do that.
 
I’ve been looking.
 
I’ve been trying, but it seems I’m just
not cut out for this life.”

“You are.
 
I can see it,” Nicole smiled.
 
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

“If Easton’s badly hurt or worse—“

“Red and Kane will get him back safe and
sound.”

“You can’t know that, Nicole.”

“But I do know it,” Nicole said, and
Kennedy realized that her sister believed what she was saying completely.
 

“I hope you’re right.”

“Just trust us.
 
We’re going to help you, Kennedy.
 
We’re going to make sure this comes out
right.”

Kennedy licked her lips, feeling guilty
and ashamed of everything about
herself
.
 
Nicole was so selfless, so beautifully
and effortlessly perfect, even now in this time of stress.
 
She seemed always to consider others,
whereas Kennedy only seemed to think of herself.

“I don’t understand how you can help me
after everything I’ve put you through,” Kennedy said, finally.

Nicole’s lips tightened momentarily, and
a mixture of emotions seemed to flash across her face.
 
“I’m not going to lie and tell you it
hasn’t hurt me,” she said softly.

Kennedy nodded, a lump forming in her
throat.
 
“I never meant to hurt
you.”

“I don’t want you to feel responsible for
my feelings.
 
What
happened,
happened.
 
I’m not exactly dancing on air, but my father—our
father—made mistakes and he needs to be held accountable for those
mistakes.”

Kennedy thought about all the chaos that
must be going on behind the scenes in Nicole’s life, how her parents must be
absolutely beside themselves now that the stories had hit the tabloids about
Nicole’s father’s past.

“I hope this hasn’t strained
relationships to the breaking point,” Kennedy said cautiously.

Nicole closed her eyes.
 
“My parents are very angry, very
hurt.
 
Especially
my mother.
 
This has been a
knife in her heart.”

It felt as though a knife had entered
Kennedy’s heart upon hearing that.
 
“When does it all end?” Kennedy asked nobody in particular.

BOOK: Under His Domain
2.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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