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Her Submission (Dirtier Duet #2)
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The second and final book in the Dirtier Duet by Lisa Renee Jones.
Abbie swore that she was done with rich, powerful men. They’ve hurt her. They’ve hurt her mother, who she will do anything to protect. She’s done playing the submissive. She’s ready to fight back.
The problem is that Gabe Maxwell is one of those rich, powerful men and he refuses to be ignored. He’s in her path and she can’t seem to steer clear of him. He wants her. She wants him. But it’s not that simple.
There is more to her story, more than Gabe knows, but then, there is more to Gabe’s story than Abbie knows, too.
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I can barely process that word. Kenneth, a man I once called husband, is dead, no longer walking this earth.
Gabe’s office starts to close in around me. This isn’t happening. I can’t breathe. I can’t even process words to speak them.
“Abbie,” Gabe says softly, his fingers flexing on my shoulders, his big body close, a hard, solid wall of support I need right now. “Talk to me,” he orders, cupping my face and tilting my eyes to his. “Are you okay?”
“I’m—I’m in shock, I think.” I swallow hard. “How? How did he die?”
“No word on how. The police haven’t gone public yet.”
Because it’s murder, I think, because I can’t bear to say this out loud.
“Wait? What? It’s not public? How do you know before I know?”
“Someone who works for Jean Claude under my father called Reid.”
“To tell him that Kenneth is dead,” I say, still trying to process all of this.
“Yes. Kenneth is dead, Abbie.”
I’m back to not being able to breathe. I did this. I made the call that did this and now, now I’m acting shocked. Like I didn’t know what would happen if I made the call I made. Panic rises inside me. “I need to go. I need out of here.”
I try to pull away from Gabe, but he catches my waist, holding me to him. “Why are you running?”
“I need air, Gabe. I need to breathe.” Tears start to prickle my eyes.
“You were still in love with him,” he accuses.
“What? No. God, no, but I didn’t—this isn’t how I thought it would end. I thought—I need to go, Gabe.”
“You’re crying. I mean, I get it. He was your husband, but fuck. I didn’t think you still—”
“I’m not crying. I’m not. I—”
He swipes dampness from my cheeks. “You’re crying, Abbie. Talk to me. I need to understand what you’re feeling right now.”
“I need to leave, Gabe.”
“Oh no. You’re not going anywhere without me. Not until we know what’s going on. You’re too connected to him.”
I grab his lapels. “And he was murdered, right?”
“We don’t know for sure yet.”
“For sure? Was Reid told it was murder?”
“We don’t know for sure.”
“That’s a yes. We do know. Why not just say that, Gabe? He was murdered. The police always look at the ex-spouse. They’ll look at you, too, if you’re close to me.” And then they’ll know what I did. Then he’ll know. I shove at his chest. “Get back, Gabe. Let me go.” I try to pull away again. He isn’t having it, he still holds me firmly.
“Stop and listen to me, Abbie. Pushing me away does neither of us any good.”
“No, you listen. He was coming at me, my mother, and most recently because of me, you, Gabe. We are both suspects. You know we are. That’s how this works. You haven’t known me long. Distance will protect you.”
There’s a knock on the door and by the time I’ve turned toward the sound, Reid’s inside the office, shutting the door behind him. “I talked to Reese. He needs you both to come to him at the courthouse. He’s in trial. He’ll see you during his break.”
“Reese?” I ask, looking between the two brothers. “As in your brother-in-law who just helped us at the shelter? The criminal attorney? We need Reese?”
“Just his name will give law enforcement pause,” Reid replies. “He’s that good. They’ll step more cautiously where you two are concerned once he’s formally named as your attorney.”
“It’s a precaution,” Gabe interjects quickly. “Just a precaution.”
“Because Kenneth was murdered,” I say. “Say it, Gabe. He was murdered.”
His lips thin. “Okay, Abbie. Yes. That’s the information Reid was given. He was murdered.”
And there it is. He was murdered. And I was involved. Oh God, I was involved. This is all exploding in my face, what I did is exploding in my face, and I can’t let that catch Gabe and take him down with me. “If we need precautions,” I say, “then you need to take a step back, from this and me.” And knowing this stubborn man, won’t listen, I turn a plea on Reid, appealing to a man I tried to hire for his cold-hearted reputation. “Protect your brother. I need out of this room and out of his life.” I take a step toward the door.
Reid blocks my path. “What he needs,” he says, his blue eyes hard. “Is what you need. To talk to Reese. You’re already linked to my brother, but the good news here is that the list of people who hate your ex and might kill him is long.”
“We’re going to the courthouse,” Gabe says, turning me to face him. “We’re going to talk to Reese about what to do next. That conversation needs to include your mother at some point. You need to call her, warn her, and let her know that he’s her attorney. Keep her silent until we can formally connect her with Reese.”