“Dude, did that guy just call you his wife?” Vincent asked what she knew everyone else on their radio frequency wanted to know.
The earpieces were part of the job but right now she wished everyone on her team hadn’t just heard his question. “Shut it, Vincent, and do your job.” She’d fought hard enough to get where she was and she didn’t have to explain herself to anyone.
Still, she understood why everyone would be curious about the sudden mention of a husband. Wyatt lived clear across the country in Vegas and a month ago she’d had temporary insanity and married her childhood friend while on vacation there. The best damn vacation she’d ever had. When she’d returned home to Miami—or rather, ran as fast as she could—she hadn’t told a soul about it because she’d planned to get a quickie divorce. Of course Wyatt wasn’t making that easy on her.
She wished she could be surprised that Wyatt was here, but after a month of arguing every time they spoke on the phone—and him ignoring her request for a divorce or annulment—she’d known he’d be visiting her in Miami soon. She just hadn’t expected it to be this soon. Their marriage had been a giant mistake. It wasn’t like they could base a relationship on hot sex. Okay, maybe there was a little more than that between them. Wyatt was one of the few people who knew where she came from. Hell, the man knew more about her than almost anyone, but they were too different and if they tried to make their so-called marriage work, in the end they’d just resent each other when it didn’t work out. She’d seen first-hand what happened when a volatile marriage didn’t work out and she never wanted to get to the point where she hated Wyatt. Or worse, he hated her. She’d never be what he needed and Iris would rather make a clean break. Neat and tidy.
How she liked her life.
Even if her insides were a quivering mess, she refused to let anyone see how affected she was. But once this job was over tonight, she planned to have more than just a glass of wine. Yeah, tonight was definitely a whiskey night.
Wyatt barely contained the primitive urge to chase after his wife, throw her over his shoulder and get the hell out of there. This was the last place he wanted to be. He avoided parties like this whenever possible, but he was out of patience where Iris was concerned. He’d waited a fucking month for her to come to her senses—and come back to him. He wasn’t waiting anymore. Not when she belonged with him.
He watched her walk away from him, her long, lean body moving with a liquid grace that got him impossibly hot. She’d done that to him since they were teenagers. They’d both grown up in a small Georgia town that might as well have been the middle of nowhere. He’d been the son of the town drunk and her mother had been one of the few Native Americans living there. Because of small-minded, ignorant assholes they’d both been looked down upon because of their families so they’d formed a fast friendship at a young age. When they’d been just ten-years-old he’d caught some redneck boys calling her racist slurs and bullying her on her way home from school. Well, trying to. Before he had a chance to step in and defend her, she decked one of the boys right across the face, breaking his nose and nailed the other in the groin.
She’d always been like that and he loved it. Hell, that day he’d fallen a little in love with her. Even if the job she worked now scared the hell out of him, he needed her in his life. Needed her more than his next breath. Wyatt didn’t want her protecting other people, putting herself in danger on a daily basis. He got hives just thinking about it.
Watching her in that skintight black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places as she held onto another man’s arm was making him crazy. She’d secured her silky dark hair back against her neck in a complicated looking twist. It wasn’t for fashion; Wyatt knew that much about his Iris. It was so her hair wouldn’t get in her way if she needed to move fast. But he’d seen it down, had felt it splayed against his bare chest as she slept on him. Dark brown hair that looked midnight black in the right lighting. He craved to run his fingers through it, to cup her head and pull her body tight against his. And what a body—long, lean and perfect. When she was younger she’d been self-conscious about being too thin, but she’d grown into her body and her breasts…he’d been fantasizing about them for a long damn time. A month ago he’d finally had one of his fantasy questions answered when he discovered the color of her nipples; dark brown. He’d also found out her favorite sexual positions and what she sounded and looked like when she came.
Even if he knew it was just part of her job, his possessive side didn’t want to listen to her order. And he actually liked Gene Berr. The man was smart and honest to deal with. The latter was something Wyatt considered very important. He dealt with a lot of sharks in his world—he could be one himself—but he wouldn’t deal with liars. Still, he didn’t like anyone touching Iris.
One of the men he’d noticed earlier, who was definitely part of Iris’s security team, no matter how much he was trying to blend in, eyed Wyatt suspiciously as he strode toward the stairs. The man’s pale blue eyes were a bright contrast against his dark skin. Wyatt guessed the man used that look to intimidate people when he wanted. It was a waste of time on him.
Ignoring him and the others he knew were with Iris, he headed for the stairs, following her and Berr at a distance that wouldn’t make the team feel threatened. He wasn’t interested in the three companies being sold off, but when he’d learned Iris would be here tonight, Wyatt had orchestrated an invite. It was time they figured things out between them.
Once inside the expansive conference room, their host, Palmer Oakes, liked to conduct business in, Wyatt’s gaze immediately tracked Iris. She stood by one of the wood-paneled walls, her alert espresso colored eyes taking in everything and everyone. Assessing and calculating, she was ready to move into action at a moment’s notice. She wavered when her gaze raked over him. Just for a moment, but he had no doubt that he unnerved her.
While he wanted her to acknowledge him a hell of a lot more than that, now wasn’t the time or the place. He gave her a look he hoped she understood. Soon they would talk and he’d have her flat on her back, underneath him, and crying out his name as she climaxed around his cock.
Her dark eyes widened as if she’d read his mind before she glanced away and he felt the loss immediately. Sighing, he rolled his shoulders once. Now he needed to act like the civilized businessman he was and get this shit over with. Nodding at Berr, Oakes and the fourth man joining them for the night, he sat with them at the end of the long, rectangular conference table and let the negotiations begin.
There were only two security personnel in the room, including Iris. Everyone else had been left outside. Wyatt had left his own men downstairs. The party was well guarded and he knew this room was military-level secure, having been in it more than once. Oakes dealt with various government contracts and though Wyatt preferred to deal with the private sector, he occasionally worked with the government. Hell, he had a huge deal lined up with a certain branch and negotiations were slated to start next month.
Barely two minutes into their negotiations, Berr received a phone call. From out of the corner of his eye, Wyatt noticed Iris touch her ear, clearly in contact with one of her security team. After a few moments of one word responses, Berr abruptly stood, shoving the chair back against the hardwood floor. “Gentlemen, I have to go. I apologize.”
Iris straightened and stepped toward him, her low heels clicking against the floor. She clearly knew what was going on because she gave Berr a brisk nod. “Let’s go.”
Worry for Iris built inside him. Even though he had no idea what was going on, Wyatt knew when she stepped outside that door she’d once again be putting herself in danger. Unable to stop himself, he stood and crossed the floor before they reached the door. “Iris,” he said quietly.
Her hand was gripping Berr’s upper arm as if she had to hold him up. The man’s face was pale and worried, but Wyatt ignored him.
Iris’s dark eyebrows rose slightly, her expression wary. “Yes?”
“Will you call me tonight?” God help him, he needed to know she was safe. Even if she only called and spoke to him for a few seconds, he just wanted to hear her voice.
She paused, the moment seeming to stretch on for an eternity. He hated making himself vulnerable in front of anyone, especially a room full of sharks who would rip apart any perceived weakness, but at the moment he didn’t care.
Iris was and always had been his weakness.
“Of course,” she murmured, her eyes softening for just a second before her familiar mask fell back into place.
Then she and Berr were gone.
* * * * *
Iris kept a firm grip on Berr’s upper arm as they headed down the stairs. This time the team didn’t bother trying to be invisible to the partygoers. In addition to her, they surrounded him in a tight circle as they hurried through the house.
“I’m not going to collapse,” Berr muttered as they eventually reached the waiting SUV. Vincent was already in the driver’s seat as she helped Berr into the backseat.
“I know.” But she figured he might need the support right now and didn’t want to admit it. “She’s fine, so you’ll be fine too.” Iris knew saying the words out loud would help him stay calm on the drive to Loretta’s house. They’d received word from one of her team that Loretta’s house had been broken into while Berr had been at the meeting tonight. Turns out Berr wasn’t the one being stalked, Loretta was. By one of Berr’s exes. The gunshot she’d suffered earlier in the week hadn’t been intended for Berr. Now Iris was incredibly thankful she’d left two extra men to guard Loretta.
It had saved the woman’s life tonight.
“I should have been there with her.” He glanced out the tinted window as they zoomed away.
“She insisted you go and Loretta is forceful.” The petite woman with flawless skin had been laid up with a gunshot wound and she’d still been a little terrifying.