Chapter Thirty-Two


“Ready, chica?” Bethany said, grinning as I opened my front door.

“You mind coming in for a second? I’m kind of in the middle of something.”

And that something was Internet stalking my new boyfriend. Excuse me—my person.

“Sure. What’s up?” she asked, following me to the kitchen table where my laptop sat.

Ever since the revelation that Cooper let slip, I was obsessed with learning more. Who was Ashley? Was she the reason Gavin was so damaged and fearful about starting a relationship?

“Just doing a little research.” I slid into the chair opposite the laptop and resumed my hunt.

Bethany stood behind me, peering over my shoulder. “Is that Gavin?”

I nodded. There was an image of him at a black-tie event standing between Quinn and Cooper. I didn’t know why I’d never thought to google him before. This was fascinating.

“Is there a particular reason we’re stalking him today rather than eating tacos right now?”

“I learned that Gavin had an ex who passed away suddenly. The tacos can wait,” I muttered. This was important. How did she not get that?

“Yes, but half-priced margaritas can’t.” She tapped the time in the lower left-hand corner of my screen. “Happy hour ends at six.”

“Oh, look at this. I think I’ve found it.” I stopped scrolling and enlarged a photo of Gavin with a mystery woman on his arm. She was slender and pretty with long dark hair that fell in a silky wave, and sky-blue eyes so light and piercing, they were almost haunting.

An eerie chill zipped down my spine.

“Holy shit.” Bethany leaned closer. “That’s her?”

The caption below the photo read Smut Mogul Gavin Kingsley out for an evening with his longtime girlfriend, Ashley Moore.

“Uh-huh.” I nodded, my words failing me.

“She could be your twin, Emma. I’ve heard of someone having a type, but that’s just creepy.”

Creepy didn’t even begin to cover it. My throat threatened to close, air become scarce, and the room tilted sideways.

My fingers flying over the keys, I typed her full name into the search bar and hit Enter.

The first result was a news article about the mysterious death of a model. I clicked on the link. Bethany pulled a chair out from the table and slid in next to me. We both held our breath as I scrolled down so we could read it.

Ashley had been young, only twenty-four. That stuck out to me for some reason. Gavin was thirty-four. I couldn’t even imagine not losing my head over a man so commanding and intense at her young age.

Miss Moore was found dead at a residence belonging to the elusive multi-millionaire Gavin Kingsley with ligature marks on her wrists and neck.

Bewildered, I stared at the words on the screen, trying to make sense of them. Gavin had a penchant for rough sex, but surely he wouldn’t . . .

Panicked and disturbed, I slammed the laptop closed. I heard Bethany’s voice in the distance, calling my name.

“Emma! Are you okay?”

I shook my head. “Give me my phone.”

“What does all this mean?” she asked, standing beside me while I dialed and held the phone to my ear.

With shaking hands, I waited, listening to the phone ring once, twice . . .

Pick up. Please, pick up.

Finally. His deep, familiar voice echoed through the speaker.

“Princess. Everything okay?”

“No.” My voice broke into a sob. “I need you.”

“I’ll be right there.”


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