Meg Sanders enjoyed her wild night with a prince and his bodyguard—but now she’s moving on. She has enough problems without borrowing the kind of trouble Theo brings just by being who he is. But no matter how determined she is to leave that night a fond memory, she hasn’t seen the last of Theo and Galen…
Galen Mikos’s life boils down to one goal. Keep Theo alive. But as long as Theo draws breath, he’s a threat to the powers that have taken over Thalania—and anyone they associate with runs the risk of becoming a target, too. Galen will never forgive himself if they let their selfish desire for Meg puts her in danger. But it might already be too late…
Theo Fitzcharles might be an exiled prince, but he doesn’t intend to stay that way. He’s only concerned with one thing—clearing his mother’s name and reinstating himself as Crown Prince of Thalania. There’s no room in that plan for distraction, especially when it makes him forget himself the way Meg does. But after spending one perfect night with her and his best friend, Theo has no intention of leaving her alone.
Even if it damns all three of them in the process.
Galen stepped out of the cab and pulled Meg after him. At this time of night, there was still plenty of street traffic—plenty of opportunity for his father’s men to blend in until they were close enough to attack.
They already had attacked.
He hustled her off the sidewalk, half carrying her in his rush. She cursed at him, but she could be pissed. At least she was still alive. He didn’t believe for a second that Dorian would order her killed, not when he would see her as a tool just waiting to be used. But Galen’s father would attempt to take her, and that Galen couldn’t allow.
He didn’t relax until the elevator doors opened into their apartment and he caught sight of Theo pacing back and forth through the living room. He’s okay. Meg’s okay. They’re safe.
Except they weren’t.
Shit had hit the fan in the most fucked up way possible, and there was no cleaning up this mess.
Galen released Meg’s arm and ensured the security system was booted up and the door was locked. “Trouble?”
“Not here.” Theo rounded the couch and stopped just out of reach. He devoured Meg with his gaze, no doubt taking in her tangled hair, her torn dress, and the way she shook like a junkie in need of a fix. Adrenaline letdown. Theo cursed. “I’m sorry, princess.”
Meg crossed her arms over her chest and slid back a step, shying away from him—from them both. “I… I need a minute. A shower. Something.”
Theo gave a short nod. “Take what you need.”
She headed for the bedroom and spun at last second. “Alone.”
“No shit,” Galen growled. “Go. Take your time. We don’t touch walking wounded anyways.”
Her spine went rigid and her hazel eyes icy. “Fuck you.”
Better she be angry than terrified. He could work with angry. The scared woman in the back of the cab, looking for reassurances that he couldn’t give her… That kind of comfort wasn’t in Galen’s skillset. He preferred the harsh truth to silken lies, and there was no truth he could give Meg that wouldn’t result in her terror.
He stared until she squirmed. “Already did.”
Meg raised a shaking finger. “I swear to god—”
“Children.” Theo’s voice snapped through the room, a sharp tone that a person ignored to their peril. Meg made a sound perilously close to a snarl, but Theo ignored it. “Go shower or do whatever you need to get your head on straight. You’re fucking terrified and you’re snapping at the biggest dick in the room just to prove that you’re not helpless. It’s wasting time we don’t have.”
“His dick isn’t the biggest,” she muttered.
Galen almost laughed. Even scared out of her damn mind, Meg still had a mouth on her—and hell if he didn’t respect her more for it. “Go shower, little mouse. The adults are talking.”
She made a sound like an angry teakettle and stalked down the hallway. He waited for the sound of the door slamming, but a soft click was all he got. “Damn.”
Theo stalked into the kitchen and snagged the whiskey bottle. He took a long pull and then passed it over. “Tell me.”
“Two men. I didn’t recognize them, but they claimed Dorian sent them.” Galen drank from the bottle, letting the whiskey burn away the awful feeling in his chest when he’d walked through that door and found Meg tied to a chair with two men standing over her. He’d thought… It didn’t matter what he’d thought. He got there in time. They hadn’t done any lasting damage.
At least not the physical kind.
“She can’t go back.”
Galen stared at the bottle. He tightened his grip and put serious consideration into bashing Theo a few times with it. “You just couldn’t leave her alone, could you? It took them a grand total of three days to figure out she might matter and come after her. Fuck, Theo, this shit is on your head.”
“I know.” Theo watched him. Those blue eyes saw too much, just like always. “And yet I’m not the one who was skulking outside her work. You told me you were meeting a contact.”
He opened his mouth, and then abandoned the lie before he gave it voice. “You put her in danger. I was ensuring she stayed safe.”
Theo’s lips quirked, but his eyes went hard. “Lie to yourself if you need to, but don’t you dare lie to me. I know why you were there—the same reason I was a week ago. You couldn’t stay away from her any more than I could.” He bracketed Galen’s throat with his hand, his thumb caressing Galen’s pulse point. Theo leaned in. “I shouldn’t have paid the tuition with my own name, and I’ll be the first to admit it. But we are both moths to her fucking flame, and you don’t get to play the beleaguered bodyguard—not right now, and not with me. You want her.”
“Yes.” The word felt ripped from him, taken despite his best efforts to stay silent.
Theo’s grip tightened and his gaze dropped to Galen’s mouth. “We can’t stay in New York. They’ll have eyes on her place.”
“They wanted to take her, Theo. There was a van illegally parked near the back door. They might have set her up to answer questions, but they were going to take her.” If they had, Dorian would use her for whatever purpose he had in mind, a lever to get Galen and Theo to dance to his tune, and then he’d discard her like yesterday’s trash. Even if he didn’t kill her, there would be scars, and she wouldn’t be the Meg they knew anymore.
Theo pressed his forehead to Galen’s, grounding them both. One breath. Two. Three. On the fourth, he stepped back and released him. “You were there in time.”
“I might not have been.” If he’d managed to resist the siren call of Meg’s presence, if he’d had more control, if he’d really gone to meet his local contact instead of doing the skulking Theo accused him of.
“You were there in time,” Theo repeated. He glanced down the hallway to the master bedroom where they could still hear the shower going. “Make the call.”
“She’s never going to forgive us for this.” For dropping a bomb on her life and leaving on destruction in their wake. The two grand was nothing compared to what came next.
Theo sighed. “I know. But better she’s pissed and alive than the alternative. Make the call, Galen. We need to be out of New York before dawn.”
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it ‘a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.