Home > Kingdom Fall

Kingdom Fall
Author: Terri E. Laine

One

 

 

The words “my wife” rang in my head. Even I was surprised I’d said it. After the judge had suggested Lizzy sleep off her intoxication, she’d protested wildly. She’d gone as far as performing an unrequested sobriety test by walking in a straight line and touching her nose with her eyes closed, which convinced the judge. We’d been married on the spot.

What came the next day had changed everything. When she found out who I was, she was pissed. The marriage license had been on the judge’s desk, but she’d been focusing on my unusual middle name of O’Conchobhair and drunk enough not to notice the rest.

After her declaration that we were done, I’d expected a letter from a lawyer requesting an annulment. When that hadn’t happened, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know why I hadn’t gotten a lawyer to end the farce of a marriage either.

“Your wife? You’re married?” Kalen asked while Griffin gave me a hard stare.

My keys bit in my palm as I squeezed my hand into a fist. I didn’t owe either of them an answer. More importantly, we were wasting time. Lizzy had been taken. I marched toward my car, prepared to take any action necessary to get her back.

I released my fist, not wanting to draw blood. The keys dangled in my hand and that was how Kalen was able to snag them away from me.

“You are in no condition to drive, Connor,” he said, and my glare had no effect. “How many drinks have you had? Do you want to get arrested and sit on the sidelines while Griffin gets your lassie back?”

“Wife,” I grumbled, knowing he was right.

“Wife. I’ll drive you—”

“To my place,” I said, reaching my Dodge Viper.

It was weird getting in on the passenger side. For the first time, I was riding, not driving.

“I might have to get one of these,” Kalen said as he settled behind the wheel. “Is it still a one-of-a-kind?”

He was a car collector and mine was a concept car I’d been able to get my hands on. But that didn’t matter. “Just drive,” I groused.

He said something in Scottish Gaelic I couldn’t understand. I wished I spoke more of the Irish Gaelic my mother hadn’t bothered to teach me so I could say something back he wouldn’t get, and we’d be even.

Thank fuck, Kalen drove with purpose. Then again, he, out of anyone, would understand the fear I felt, considering what he’d gone through with his new wife.

“Griffin will meet us there.” Before I could object, he continued. “There’s nothing there. I don’t know what you heard, but Griff and Lizzy are just friends.”

I wasn’t sure I believed him. I also didn’t think he was lying. Though Griff had grown up with Kalen like brothers, something I hadn’t had, I trusted K. My guess was he didn’t know the extent of Griffin and Lizzy’s relationship. It was even possible Griffin hadn’t told him all of it.

At boarding school, I’d had a few allies, but never friends. My fate had been sealed on my very first day. That day, I’d been taught to trust no one. After Eliza’s betrayal, my circle of trust was down to just three: me, myself, and I. If it wasn’t for Bailey, Kalen and I wouldn’t be where we were today. He’d never admit it, but I was sure the woman had thawed his heart with her golden one. She’d likely nudged him to work on being the brother I’d never had. He’d gotten lucky with her.

“Connor,” Kalen said.

I glanced up to see we were at the security gate of my garage. I handed him the card key and rattled off the string of numbers he needed to gain us passage inside. As the gate closed behind us, I smiled. Griffin would be forced to look for parking. At a time like this, it was the little things that kept you going.

Only I spotted Griffin ducking under the gate before it fully closed. He’d grabbed his car and caught up with us in time. I sighed and caught Kalen’s grin.

“Sorry, little brother. We’ve got your back.”

I didn’t think Griffin did, but he was a professional. Otherwise I wouldn’t contract security for my club out to him.

By the time I exited the Viper, Griffin had caught up to us.

“Your presence isn’t needed,” I grumbled before eating up the distance to the elevators.

“I could say the same,” Griff said, catching up to me.

Kalen held up a hand. “Stop. This is for Lizzy.”

Our silent truce lasted until we stepped on the elevator.

“Does Bailey know where you are?” I asked Kalen. “It is your wedding night.”

He glared at me and held up his phone. Apparently, he was texting his bride. “Even if she didn’t, I know my wife. She’d want me to find her best friend above anything else.”

That was true, especially since Bailey had firsthand experience with danger.

“You know if it wasn’t your wedding night, I would give you shit about checking in with the missus,” Griff said, but with a grin.

Kalen glared at his friend. “You’ll see. The two of you aren’t far behind me.”

“No, he doesn’t know a thing about loyalty,” I said to Kalen. To Griffin, I said, “Does Lizzy know about Sara or vice versa?”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Griffin snapped.

“Oh really? The Dubai submissive from the club—I have video of the two of you.”

Griffin’s eyes widened. He probably assumed I wasn’t that hands-on with the security at my club since I contracted it out to his company. “I sent her to you.”

Kalen shifted between us as I said, “And how would you know the daughter of Haddad, the kingpin of Dubai…” My words trailed off as I put it together. “He wouldn’t want his people to know what his daughter was up to. He contracted out her security detail. The guys he brought with him—”

“You were never in any danger,” Griffin said.

It had been his security team. One had tricked Eliza into letting them in.

“Yet you sent her to me. Let me spank her. Let her come all over my lap,” I said, baiting him. “Did she know she was being traded?”

I drew my own conclusions about his gift to me. Had Griffin offered Sara to me so maybe I’d leave Lizzy alone? Sara was a gorgeous woman and more my traditional type, with hips and breasts that didn’t end for days.

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