“Not yet. I wanted to talk to you first. We’ll do our due diligence and call the police to report the threat, but there’s not much they can do unless this bastard has actually committed a crime.
They’ll tell her to lock her doors and buy a dog.”
Slade shook his head. “She’s a cat person. I’m sure Mr. Snuggles will be hell on intruders.
She’ll purr them to death.”
Gavin frowned. “Mr. Snuggles is a she?”
“Hannah was fifteen when she got her,” Slade couldn’t help but smile. “Apparently, she didn’t think to look for boy or girl parts. The name stuck.” Gavin threw his head back and laughed. The rich, deep sound filled the room and made Slade realize just how much he’d missed his older brother’s laughter. It had been so damn long since he’d heard it.
Gavin had tears of mirth in his eyes when he came up for air. “She has a transvestite cat.”
“She says Mr. Snuggles is just gender confused.” Hannah loved that damn cat. Slade knew he was going to have to learn to love the little furball, too.
“Such a silly, sweet girl,” Gavin said, his gaze straying to the photos.
There it was, that smile—with a healthy hint of lust—that told Slade everything he needed to know.
“We have to protect her,” Slade pointed out.
“I have a plan, and I hope you’ll back me on it. It should keep Hannah safe and bring Dex back into the fold.”
There was nothing Slade wanted more than that. “I’m listening.” Gavin hesitated. “You heard Dex say that he would take Hannah with him when he left, Slade. I know how you feel about her. Maybe you need to talk to him. I don’t want Hannah coming between the two of you.”
And just like that, Slade’s cock got hard. An image of Hannah between him and Dex assaulted his brain. She would be so small sandwiched by their bigger bodies. They would have to be careful, but they would get inside her, so deep that she wouldn’t know where they ended and she began.
“Oh, she’s going to be between us.”
Gavin flushed slightly. “That’s not fair to Hannah. She’s not some club bunny for the two of you to fuck and forget.”
Slade wasn’t going to take this crap from his brother. He would never play games with Hannah. He’d known from the moment he’d seen her that she was different. “Dex and I love Hannah. We’re not going to forget her; we’re going to build a life with her. This isn’t some one-night stand.”
“Are you both insane? No one will accept that kind of relationship here.”
“I’m not going to live my life by some societal dictate. And they will accept us. I have a billion-dollar trust fund. Let them talk all they like, but money opens doors. What would be unacceptable for a normal person is merely a quirk for the superrich.” It was a harsh reality.
Slade and Dex had talked this out, hashing out plans over months to get what they wanted and protect Hannah from nasty gossip at the same time. Now if Gavin would just get with the program, their lives could begin.
“That’s an argument for another time,” Gavin conceded. “Now, we have to figure out what to do with Hannah. I was thinking that, perhaps, she needs a small vacation.” Slade frowned. “There is no fucking way I’m letting her run off by herself.”
“Of course not. But maybe Alaska would be a good place for her now. You did say you have to go see to some trouble there. River Run is isolated, and we own the whole damn town. All three of us can take Hannah and hide out while the security team figures this out.” It took all Slade had not to fist pump in victory. “Perfect. When do we leave?” Gavin sat back in his chair. “Today. But I want to be clear. I’m only going to work things out with Dex. I’ll help with Hannah, if the need arises. But that’s it.” Slade wasn’t fooled. His older brother could lie to himself, but Slade knew the truth. Gavin could more easily monitor the situation from Dallas. Since Slade had always been the go-between for Gavin and Dex, it seemed obvious that Gavin was coming along because he wanted to repair the relationship with Dex…and because he couldn’t stand to let his two younger brothers have Hannah all to themselves.
Slade contained his excitement—barely. “Understood. I’ll make the arrangements. Then we can talk to Hannah.”
Gavin nodded as though happy with the decision. “Excellent. We’ll have to convince her to go, you know.”
Slade would have to convince her of more than just an impromptu trip to Alaska. He was going to have to persuade her—and everyone else—that this ménage relationship could work. To do that, he had to restore peace between Dex and Gavin. Then he had to talk Gavin into sharing Hannah with them. Hell, he also had to convince Hannah that taking on three passionate, dominant men would be a dandy idea.
“No problem, Gavin.” Slade sounded way more confident than he felt.
But as he walked out of Gavin’s office to start planning, he vowed to make it work.
* * * *
Dex parked his Harley about a block away from Hannah’s apartment and started walking.
His cell trilled, and he pulled it out of his pocket. Slade. Probably wanting to talk about Gavin.
Dex growled. He thought about ignoring it, but did what he always did when it came to Slade.
He gave in.
But that didn’t mean Dex had to be nice about it.
“Well, I suppose I should be happy you’re using words and not just grunting.” Dex had no comeback for that. Grunting was a perfectly acceptable form of communication in his book. It got the job done. So did growling, snorting, and just flat planting his fist in another guy’s face. When he found whoever was stalking Hannah, he didn’t intend to give the fucker a nice long lecture.
Slade’s sigh came across loud and clear. “Damn it, Dex. Where are you? You have to set aside this crap with Gavin and get your ass back to the office. Hannah’s in trouble.”
“I know that,” Dex practically yelled into the phone. “I’m going to her place. I want to see if I can figure out where the jerk has been hiding when he does his stalkarazzi thing.”
“Maybe that will give us some clues about his identity. That’s a great idea.”
“Yeah, well, it’s what I do for a living.”
When would his older brothers finally understand that he was damn good at his job?
Dex looked up and down the cracked sidewalks of Hannah’s neighborhood. It was old, with a ton of mature trees, but he’d never liked her living here. Hannah’s apartment was in a rundown fourplex. The paint was peeling, and one of her screens was propped against the side of the building. He’d bet it was the one to her bedroom window, and that fucker had taken it off. Had Hannah not noticed? The nearby tree would be a great place for this scumbag to hide and snap pictures. But what the hell was Hannah doing lying around her bedroom with the shades wide open?
“Look, you do your thing, but be back at the office by one. We’re going to take Hannah to Alaska with us.”
Dex stopped. “We are? Hannah wants to go to Alaska?”
“Not exactly,” Slade admitted. “We’re going to talk her into it. We’ll say it’s a business trip.
But we can keep her safe there until the police figure this shit out and nail this guy. I really do have to go up there. I’m the head engineer. I’ll convince her that she needs to take notes or something.”
Dex knew he should stay here. He should be the one running the investigation. Damn, it meant Slade would probably sleep with Hannah. There was no way his brother would have such close access to Hannah and not claim her now that they’d decided she was theirs. But he trusted Slade. “Take care of our girl. You explain that I love her, too, but I need to find the bastard who’s stalking her.”
Hannah’s safety was more important than his dick, though his dick was protesting mightily.
Dex walked up the stairs to Hannah’s apartment. They wobbled under him. Ratty old place. It reminded him of his last foster home. The house had been falling down around them, but his foster father spent every dime on beer, cigarettes, and the lotto.
He was going to get Hannah out of here. She didn’t know it yet, but she wasn’t coming back to this dive. She would come home with him and Slade. Dex refused to accept any other outcome.
“You’re coming to Alaska with us,” Slade said. “Gavin is putting the Lenox brothers on the case.”
“He took me off? Without even consulting me?” Dex stopped right in front of Hannah’s door, his heart sinking to his gut. He’d been hoping Gavin would apologize. Dex wouldn’t accept at first, of course, but eventually he would and agree to stay on as Black Oak’s Head of Security.
The fact that Gavin had actually removed him was a blow he hadn’t been expecting—and it was more painful than he’d imagined. It might have been better for all concerned if Gavin and Slade hadn’t come looking for him in that foster home.
Dex thought about that day often. He’d been just about to age out of the foster system. He’d had no place to go one day, then the next, he was moving into this huge mansion with the brothers he’d never imagined he had. Starting over again was going to be hard, but he wasn’t going to hang around to be Gavin’s whipping boy.
There was a long huff from Slade’s end of the phone. “Dude, you’re just like him, you know?
Why does your brain always go to the worst possible place? Gavin wants you to come with us.
He set this whole thing up to include you. Come on, this is our shot with Hannah. We’re going to talk to her about the pictures when we get to Alaska. We need to break this to her gently, then assure her that she’s safe.”
Dex pondered that. At least if he was close to her, he could protect her. Maybe he and Gavin could work things out, too. Burke and Cole Lenox would definitely track down this scumbag threatening Hannah. “All right. I’ll go. And I’ll pack Hannah some clothes so she doesn’t have to come back here.”
“How are you planning on doing that? Do you have a key to her place?” Slade sounded miffed.
Dex tried the front door. It was locked, but just barely. He gave it a shove, and the door gave way. “I don’t think a gnat needs a key to get into Hannah’s. No freaking security at all. I’m in.”
“I’ll let Burke know he should watch her place and see if we can catch this guy. Do what you need and get your ass back here by one.” There was a short pause. “This is all going to work out.
And that was Slade, always the optimist. Dex wasn’t feeling so rosy. What if Hannah didn’t want him? He’d live with that. But damn it, she was going to get his protection. “I’ll see you then.”
He hung up and looked around her apartment. Hannah had never invited him in, and he was wretchedly curious. The place was neat and feminine with yellow curtains hanging in the small kitchen. There was a single coffee mug drying on a mat by the sink and a dish for her cat’s food and water on the floor.
With zero remorse, he went through the mail she’d stacked neatly on the counter, then pressed the button that started her answering machine.
Ms. Craig, this is Brenna from the South Side Animal Shelter. I’m sorry, but your cat isn’t here. I’ll call if I find out anything.
Her cat was missing? Hannah loved that damn feline.
Hannah, it’s Preston. Look, we need to talk. Why would you call HR in? It was one kiss. You were coming on to me, and we both know it. Let’s work this out, just the two of us. What do you say, baby? Maybe over dinner?
Dex clenched his fists. Preston Ward III was fortyish, balding, married, and Black Oak’s dickwad Chief Information Officer. Not a chance Hannah would voluntarily kiss that asshole. He must have forced it on her. Now Dex knew whose name to put at the top of the suspect list—just before he broke the bastard’s face. The machine beeped again and changed to a thin voice.
Hey, Hannah. I—I was, uhm, calling to make sure we’re still on for tonight. I have the part to fix your laptop. It’ll only take an hour. So call me and let me know when I can head your way.
Dex had no idea who that asshole was, but a file folder on her tiny desk caught his attention.
He flipped it open, expecting to find some piece of work Gavin had given her, but his eyes turned stormy when he realized he was looking at a police report.
As he read it, his blood started to boil. Hannah wasn’t going to be shocked by the photographs Gavin had found. She already knew someone was stalking her, and she hadn’t bothered to mention that little fact to any of them. She’d just smiled and pretended like she hadn’t received threatening phone calls and letters for the last four fucking weeks.
She’d called the police, who couldn’t do a damn thing. But she hadn’t asked him for help.
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