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The Scotch Royals (Scotch #3)
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London is a lot more useful than I anticipated. She gets me what I need like a pro.
With her by my side, I feel like I can do anything.
My need for revenge is dimmed. My anger is contained.
But her brother is still a problem. She wants me to let him go.
I’m not sure if I can.
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Ariel walked inside my office without knocking, a leather-bound notebook wrapped up in her arms. Her black frames sat on the edge of her nose where they always were since she preferred not to wear contacts. “Got a minute?”
I grabbed the scotch sitting on my desk and drained it in one swallow. “I suppose.”
She sat down and crossed her legs before she opened the notebook. She scanned her notes, her head bent and her glasses threatening to slide off her nose. “How’s your chest?”
Painful. Annoying. Weak. Take your pick. “Fine.” It’d been a month since Joseph shot me. I was still going to physical therapy three times a week, trying to rebuild the muscle of my left pectoral. I couldn’t use my left arm the way I used to, but once I got my strength back, everything would return to normal.
She didn’t look at the nearly empty bottle of scotch sitting on my desk. “You know you aren’t supposed to drink while you’re on narcotics.”
Like I gave a damn. “I’ll be fine. What do you want?”
Her eyes narrowed at the way I snapped at her.
I was still in a lot of physical pain, and my mood had turned darker than a winter storm. Now I was constantly angry, wanting to punch any solid piece of furniture I came into contact with. But Ariel was the last person in the world who deserved my wrath. She was one of the few people who was truly loyal to me.
No one else was.
Especially that stupid fucking cunt.
I rephrased my words. “How can I help you?”
“That’s better,” she whispered. “You’re invited to the golf tournament in London. No one knows you’ve been shot, so I had to accept the invitation. Will that be a problem?”
My swing may be off a little bit, but I’d make it work. “No.”
“Good.” She turned back to her notebook. “We have a buyer interested in purchasing the distillery. Should we give him an audience?”
I wasn’t selling my business for any amount of money. “No.”
“I thought as much…” She continued down the list. “Sasha called for you.”
I knew what she was calling about. Ariel knew I preferred not to take personal calls from anyone—not anymore. “Tell her I’ll pick her up at seven.”
Ariel nodded. “I will. Also, Layla called about dinner tonight.”
“Tell her I’ll also pick her up at seven.”
Ariel didn’t blink an eye or show an instant of judgment. She preferred me this way, back to fucking without giving a damn. Booze and women were more powerful than the narcotics I was on. It stopped me from thinking about anything besides tits and pussy. “That’s all I have for now. Do you need anything from me?”
“No. Thank you.”
Ariel rose to her feet and gave me a look before she headed for the door.
We hadn’t talked about what happened that night. When I opened my eyes in the hospital room, she was there holding my hand. She didn’t ask me any questions or say she told me so. She understood I didn’t want to talk about it, and she let it be.
And I was grateful.
I deserved to be told off for my stupidity. I deserved to be insulted for my poor judgment.
I deserved the bullet that pierced my skin and nearly penetrated my heart.
Ariel stopped at the door. “Crewe?”
“Lay off the scotch.”
I met her gaze without saying a word, unable to fulfill her request. The booze was the only thing keeping me sane. It was the only thing keeping me going. “I’ll think about it.”
I finished my shift at the hospital then walked home. I was running late because I had a date that night, and I’d barely have time to do anything with my hair or makeup. As soon as I walked through the door, I took a quick shower and managed my hair as best as I could. Then I left my apartment again and walked to the pizza place where we were meeting.
Will and I were set up by mutual friends. I’d heard nothing but good things about him, but I’d never met him in person. Instead of feeling nervous like I usually did on a first date, I didn’t feel anything at all.
I walked inside and saw him sitting in a booth, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He had dirty-blond hair and light-colored eyes, looking handsome but with a distinct boyish charm. He smiled when he saw me, a dimple in each cheek.
He was cute, but I didn’t feel that thrill shoot down my spine.
I walked over to him and extended my hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
He shook my hand. “You too.”
I took a seat across from him and studied the menu. “So what are you thinking?”
“That you’re very pretty,” he said with a smile.
A chuckle formed in my throat, but I didn’t let it escape. “I meant about the menu. What are you going to get?”