It starts the same as it ends. Beautifully brutal.
Twenty-four months ago
Maximillian Adorite studied the woman strolling toward him, curious as to why she had graced him with her presence tonight of all nights.
No. Couldn’t be.
Max didn’t believe in coincidence.
Despite his interest in who she was and why she was there, on the very night when a potential shit storm was brewing around him, he found himself transfixed by her, something that didn’t usually happen to him.
Not like this.
In his world, women were a dime a dozen. He credited that to the wealth and danger that surrounded him. Women liked bad boys, and Max’s reputation definitely qualified him for that list. Then again, the women he shared his time with usually figured that out the morning after, when he—politely, if he had been interested enough to catch her name—asked them to leave.
However, this dark-haired beauty … the one with the most striking eyes he’d ever seen—they literally glowed white—was so intriguing he’d found himself watching her for most of the night. But that was all he’d done. Because this woman wasn’t the type who would warm his sheets for only a few hours. He knew that instantly, and since he wasn’t interested in anything more than a couple of hours, he had fought the urge to introduce himself.
Then again, she knew who he was. He was the very reason she was there, or so he’d been told. It’d been his idea to offer the invitation so he could get more information on her, see her in action. This woman … she was his enemy, and Max was interested in keeping her close, getting to know more about her to determine if she was the threat he’d been told she was.
Not that he was all too worried about what she did or didn’t want from him. Or vice versa.
He could sense by her nearness that she was a distraction he definitely didn’t need. Especially tonight. Seeing as he was the host of this party—or what appeared to be a party from the outside looking in and was, in fact, the announcement of a transfer of power—she was a temptation he should avoid but one he couldn’t bring himself to stray too far from. And here she was, successfully keeping him from his other guests, yet he couldn’t muster an ounce of regret.
“And you are?” he asked innocuously, holding his hand out to greet her when she approached.
“Courtney Kogan,” she replied firmly, a hint of defiance in her raspy tone, in the subtle way she tilted her chin as she spoke. “But I suppose you already knew that.”
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