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Harlequin Presents January 2015 Box Set 3 of 4(259)

By:Lynne Graham

“What does it being bulletproof have to do with anything?”

“Just in case you were going to get some ideas about breaking a window. If a sniper’s bullet couldn’t manage it, you certainly can’t.” He leaned back in his seat. “I don’t want you breaking an elbow trying to force your way out.”

She sniffed loudly. “I don’t know why you would worry about my elbow. Not when you have seized my person.”

“I have not broken your person, have I?” She only glared at him, her expression mutinous. “No, I have not,” he said, answering his own question. “And I would prefer to keep it that way.”

“I assume this is supposed to make me feel calmer about the fact that you forced me into your car and are now taking me who knows where.”

“I know where.” A bit of an overstatement. He wasn’t entirely certain where he was going to take her, or what he was going to do with her. He didn’t know if she knew who he was, or what she had overheard. And he needed to find a way to ascertain that without giving away any more than he needed to.

He only knew he had to keep her. That this was his chance to seize control of this situation. To fix it.

“Oh, how interesting,” she said. “I might appreciate being let in on that information.”

“Sorry, that sort of information is a privilege.”

“What are you doing? Why are you bothering with me? I’m not anyone. No, scratch that, I am someone. I work for a very prestigious newspaper and if you don’t let me go...”

“You’re a reporter?”

“Yes,” she said, seeming to change tactic abruptly. “I am. An intrepid one. A real one. Kind of a big deal.”

“What were you doing in that alley?” He had to know now, because if she was telling the truth, that meant that she was far more dangerous to him than an ex-lover of Chatsfield’s would be. She was the very thing he feared most. The very thing that could do the most damage to his family.

To Leila.

Leila had made a mistake in sleeping with James. But ultimately, Leila was so innocent that her stake in it was much lower than Chatsfield’s. She had been taken advantage of, of that Zayn was certain. And this woman would drag her before the press, who would tear her apart like ravenous wolves. Because she was a woman, because the media, and the public, would see her fault as the greater fault.

Because she was a princess and being royalty she would be the bigger target.

No, he could not allow it. He had already put one innocent sister in harm’s way. He’d already failed her. In a way there was no coming back from. He would be damned if he’d do it again.

He would fix this. By any means necessary. A disgruntled lover might have taken a payoff, but not a reporter. No, this would require more extreme measures.

He would remove her from contact if need be. Even if he had to pick her up and carry her back to Surhaadi.

She hesitated, clearly trying to decide what she could say now that would help her out of her current situation. That was enough to inform him that whatever she said was very likely to be a lie.

“I was following James,” she said finally. “I’m working on something that concerns the Chatsfield family.”

“Clearly not something they would be very happy about.”

“Well, probably not. But I can see you’re not James’s biggest fan. It would please you to know that I’m not a big fan of the Chatsfield family as a whole. And I don’t think they necessarily deserve the somewhat pristine reputation in the public they seem to have cultivated recently.”

“So what is it you’re after?”

“A scandal.”

“Of course, I should’ve known you were after a scandal. What good reporter isn’t?” Unfortunately, she was very close to a scandal. One that would involve his family, his sister. One that was simply unacceptable to have out in the open.

“Well, exactly.”

“And you know that I’m not James’s biggest fan?”

“Well, clearly not. As he seems to have gotten himself involved with your sister.”

Instantly he realized that whatever else she knew, she knew too much. With an entire newspaper to back her, she would be parlaying this information to interested parties, who would likely do much more digging than he would like done.

“Yes, indeed.” And just like that, he made his decision. He leaned forward and pressed the intercom button on the partition between the backseat and the front seat. “We are not going back to the hotel. We will be going straight to the airport.”