“What the fucking hell is going on, Emmie?”
She pushed her long auburn hair out of her face, her lips pressed together. “Axton called me this morning saying that Harper was upset and had woken Dallas up, needing her. So I rushed over to Rock America’s headquarters and walked into a nightmare…”
I forgot about my coffee and the men currently nosing through my house as Emmie continued to explain what had happened that morning. The pictures that someone within Harper’s building had sent her. The live-feed camera they had found in her office…and the five others they had found in Shane’s house. Someone had been watching them night and day. Seller’s men figured that the cameras had been planted while we’d been on our summer tour, but given the way Harper and Shane fucked like rabbits and didn’t care where they did it, it was hard to tell what the person who had been watching had seen…or recorded.
Fuck, there could have been a sex tape floating around in cyberspace of my band-brother and his beautiful wife, and we didn’t even know about it. That was fucked up on so many levels. It wouldn’t have surprised me if Shane already had a few floating around out there somewhere, given his past, but Harper… She didn’t deserve that. She was so sweet and soft-hearted.
Why did this crazy cunt have to target such a kind girl? She hadn’t done anything to anyone except marry a man who loved her more than anything in the world. Didn’t they deserve to have some peace while they enjoyed their happily ever after?
“I’m having everyone’s house checked over just to be on the safe side,” Emmie finished and dropped down onto the stool next to me. “They’re over at my house right now while Nik helps. I’ll take a team over to Drake’s house next and then Natalie’s. Axton’s house should probably be searched too, since Dallas is so close to Harper.” Her chin started to tremble and I reached for her, pulling her up off the stool and into my arms. Rubbing my hands up and down her back, I let her cry on me. “It feels like it’s all falling apart, Jess. I can’t keep anyone safe.”
I broke off when Layla let out a high-pitched scream and I realized that the security guys had moved up to the second floor. Shit. I hadn’t even thought about warning Layla. Emmie was out of my arms and running before I could even stand. Our feet pounded as we ran through the house and up the stairs.
I found Layla standing in front of the closed nursery door. Her scream had obviously woken the boys from their nap because I could hear them screaming and squalling from inside their room. Layla had her hand on the doorknob, her knuckles white from the grip she held on it. The look on her face was fierce, that of a momma bear protecting her cubs from the big bad stranger in a suit just a few feet from her.
“Who the hell are you and what the fuck are you doing in my house?” she seethed at the man.
“Ma’am, I’m here to check your house for bugs and cameras,” the beast in the suit tried to explain.
“What?” she screeched and then spotted me with Emmie on the landing. “Jesse, what’s going on?”
“Sorry, baby. I got so caught up in what Emmie was telling me I forgot to come tell you.” I walked toward her and wrapped my arms around her, hugging her tightly against me as I tried to calm my racing heart. Her first scream had been so full of fear it had nearly killed me. Her arms wrapped around my waist, her head burying in my chest.
“Something’s happened, hasn’t it?” she whispered. All I could do was nod, unable to get so much as a sound out past the emotional lump full of relief in my throat.
One of the boys let out an angry cry, and I instantly recognized it as Luca. Reluctantly I pulled away from my still-trembling wife and opened the door to check on the twins. Luca was standing up in his crib, his little fists clenched around the rails as he jumped angrily up and down, shaking the crib. Lyric was still crying, but he was watching his twin with narrowed eyes, as if trying to figure out if he should be as pissed as his brother or not.
Despite the emotions still flooding through me I felt a grin tilt my lips as I crossed to the oldest twin and lifted him into my arms. “What’s wrong, buddy? Did you want out to protect Momma?”
His answer was to squirm in my arms until I had to put him down or drop him, and he rushed across the room and out the door to where his mother was standing. She was talking to Emmie as my honorary sister filled her in on what had happened that morning. Luca reached Layla and wrapped his arms around her legs, his dark gaze changing colors as he glared up at the man who was still standing in the hallway, who had been patiently waiting to finish up the job he’d been tasked with.
Shaking my head, I went to Lyric’s crib and lifted him out. “You okay, buddy?”
Lyric wrapped his chubby arms around my neck and gave me a small squeeze before squirming out of my hands so he could follow after Luca. Seeing the two identical terrors wrapped around their mother’s legs forced a grin out of me. Maybe I was getting this parent thing down after all if my boys knew to protect the most important people in their life. From the way they were holding on to Layla, glaring so fiercely at the big, scary-looking man in a suit only reaffirmed that for me.
It took the security team another hour to finish up. No cameras were found so Emmie packed the three men up and headed over to Drake’s house next.
Feeling exhausted, I fell down onto the couch in the living room beside Layla while the twins played with their toys on the carpeted floor with some Disney Jr show on the television as nothing more than background noise.
As soon as I was sitting down, Layla jumped into my arms. “That was scary. I can’t imagine what Shane and Harper are feeling right now.”
My arms unconsciously tightened around her. “I know, baby. I know.”
Her head rested on my chest and she linked her arms around my neck. We sat there, content just to be together like that while our boys played nearby. Knowing that one of my brothers was going through hell right then made the small rift I was having with Layla right then seem almost petty.
Blowing out a resigned sigh, I pressed a kiss to her forehead before lifting my hand and gently grasping her chin. Lifting it I kissed the tip of her nose. “If you really want another baby so bad, we can try for another one.” I’d be a nervous wreck the entire nine months, but I wanted her to be happy. I wanted us to be back to where we had been before I’d started acting like an asshole and refused to even talk about having another kid.
Her brown eyes brightened and she gave me one of those damn smiles that never failed to twist my heart and make my dick thicken. Feeling my cock twitch against her ass, pink filled her cheeks and I saw her own desire brighten her eyes. “Thanks, babe. That means so much to me. But…”—her smile dimmed a little—“I think you’re right. We have three beautiful, healthy and happy kids. Our family is perfect just the way it is.”
A lump filled my throat but I quickly swallowed it down. “I think so too, baby. We have so much to be thankful for.” I released her chin and pushed her long, cinnamon hair back from her beautiful face. She hadn’t changed much over the years. Not even pregnancy had messed with her goddess-like body; if anything it had made her ass that much better. She was still so fucking beautiful and at times I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d gotten so lucky to have this gorgeous creature marry me. “I love you so much, Layla. You make me so damn happy.”
Her chin started to tremble. “I love you too, Jess. So much.” Her head lowered, her lips softly brushing over mine.
“Kiss, Momma. Kiss,” a demanding toddler cried out.
“Kiss. Kiss,” echoed his clone.
Both our heads snapped up as we saw Luca and Lyric standing beside the couch at my feet. Two sets of chubby arms lifted toward Layla as they smacked their lips together, making kissing noises. “Kiss. Kiss,” Luca cried happily again.
I gave the two-year-old a mock glare. “Those are my kisses, boy. None for you.”
Luca gave an angry grunt. “Kiss, Momma. Kiss.”
With a laugh that sounded like musi
c to my ears, Layla moved off my lap to scoop both boys into her arms and gave them each a smacking kiss. “I love you two little demons, too.”
I tried to hide my grin as I rolled my eyes at the three of them. I was still grinning when my cell buzzed in my front jeans pocket and I pulled it out. Seeing Lucy’s beautiful smiling face flashing up at me, I quickly answered it. School still had an hour before it let out and she normally rode home with Harris.
Concerned, I lifted the phone to my ear after connecting the call. “Hey, Lu. What’s wrong?”
There was a small pause on her end. “Nothing’s wrong, Daddy,” she finally assured me. “I was just wondering if you could pick me up from school today. That is if you aren’t too busy, but if you are I understand. I can get a ride with…Harris.”
My concern didn’t lessen any. Normally Lucy would bend over backward to get to spend as much time with her best friend as humanly possible. I didn’t like how much time they spent together because I could see that Harris was starting to see how grown up Lucy was looking, but I trusted the kid. Knew that she would be safe with him. Harris would protect his best friend until his last breath. If Lucy had been older I would have been all for their close friendship. Right now, though, I worried. Still, I let them have as much time as they wanted together.
“Is there a reason you don’t want to ride home with Harris?”
Another pause, which told me that something was definitely going on with my baby girl. “No,” she lied. “Of course not.”
“Lu…” I kept my tone quiet, gentle, knowing she would tell me eventually, but wishing she would tell me now.
“He’s got a date tonight, Daddy. I don’t want to intrude, okay?” she burst out in a hurry and I could almost feel her pain through the phone.
Ah. Well, fuck. My poor baby doll was hurting and trying to be strong. Damn it, I hated that she was feeling the first stings of liking a boy. If I could have protected her from the pains of love I would have, but that was one thing I couldn’t do. “I’ll be there to pick you up, Lu. How about we pick up a pizza on the way home so Mom doesn’t have to cook?”
She blew out a long breath. “Yeah. Sure, Daddy. See you later.”
“Love you, Lu.”
“Love you, Daddy,” was whispered in my ear.
I was going to strangle whoever was ringing my doorbell.
I was so comfortable and exactly where I wanted to be, where I never wanted to leave.
In Liam’s arms.
With a groan, Liam lifted his head after the third ring. Opening one eye, he glanced from me to the entrance hall where whoever was at our doorstep was now pounding on the door. “You expecting anyone?”
After waking up at a ridiculously early hour that morning because it was almost all Liam would let me do except for when he was driving me crazy in bed, we’d snuggled on the couch after lunch and taken a nap. I’d been feeling great. Warm from the strong arms wrapped around me and holding me against his delicious body. I was having the kind of dream that would have had me waking up wet and needy and ready to ride my man’s cock when the first echoing ring of the bell had jolted me awake.
“No, but whoever it is, I want you to slit their fucking throat.” It rang again and I gave a pout when Liam carefully slid out from under me on the couch and jogged toward the door.
Grabbing the soft throw we’d had over us, I tucked it around me as I waited for Liam to get rid of whoever was annoying us. The majority of my soreness was gone now, but I tired easily and right then I just wanted Liam to come back so we could finish our nap. A full minute passed, but when he returned he had three goons in suits behind him.
And Emmie Armstrong was right beside him.
As much as we’d grown to not hate each other over the last few months, I wasn’t pleased to see her right then. At all. “What the hell do you want?” Emmie’s serious expression didn’t change while the men behind her and Liam started searching my house. “What the fuck are you doing?” I screeched when one of the goons went straight to the bookshelf on the other side of the living room and started messing with my shit.
“Baby, something’s happened.”
Liam’s voice had me turning my death glare from the man with his fingers all over my pretties. His jaw was clenched, almost matching the look on Emmie’s face. Without realizing it, my hand went to my chest, rubbing over the scar that had started to itch like the devil now that I was healing. “Wh-what is it?” It came out a whisper and I hated myself for sounding afraid.
No. No way. I wasn’t going to let the bitch who had shot me make me a cowering little pussy. She had no hold over me.
Emmie stepped forward. “You know the stalker who tried to take Mia and who shot you was harassing Harper, right?” I nodded. “Well, this morning Harper got some trashy mail that upset her. It was enough to make her bodyguard want to search her office. He found a camera there and five more at her house. We’ve been going over everyone’s houses all morning. The rest of the Demons didn’t have anything in them, but…” Her jaw clenched hard and she flexed her hands at her sides as if she wanted to wrap them around someone’s neck. Her next words gave the same feeling. “They found two in my house. One in my living room…and the other in Mia’s room.”
I could actually feel the blood draining from my face. “No,” I breathed. “No. How? Why?” From the first day Mia had come to visit me while I’d still been in the hospital, she and I had bonded. I loved her as much as I did Jordan, considered her as much my family as I did Jordan, my nephew.
She shook her auburn head. “I don’t know the how or even the why. But with whoever this cunt is keeping eyes on Harper and Mia, I think it would be better safe than sorry to check your house too.”
“Yeah…okay.” I pulled the throw around me tighter, suddenly colder than I could ever remember feeling.
Mia wasn’t safe. She wasn’t safe. Oh, fuck. What had that precious little girl done to deserve this nightmare?
Liam crossed the living room and sat down beside me, pulling me tightly against his side and pressing his lips against my temple. “It’s going to be okay, little Brie. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
“Neither am I,” Emmie informed us as she took the chair across from where I was sitting on the couch.
“I’m not worried about me. It’s Mia I’m concerned for.”
Emmie’s skin turned pasty. “I have her covered and I’ve got two men on their way here to watch over you. They will stay with you, night and day.”
“No.” I quickly shook my head, not wanting strangers in my home. The goons currently messing with all my things were bad enough. “I don’t want that.”
“Too fucking bad,” Liam bit out, his hold tightening around me. “We aren’t taking any chances with your safety. This lunatic tried to kill you once and nearly succeeded. I won’t let her have that chance again.”
I wanted to argue, wanted to shout and scream and get up and throw the world’s biggest tantrum. The only thing that kept me from doing just that was the look in his blue eyes as he gazed down at me. There was a tortured, haunting expression twisting his beautifully masculine face.
“Found one,” one of the goons said, speaking for the first time.
All three of our heads snapped up to find the goon who had been touching all of my pretties holding out his hand, showing us a tiny black box.
“Two in the kitchen,” someone else called out.
“Ah, hell no!” I screamed as I got to my feet and moved across the room to the first goon. The bitch wanted to watch me? Wanted to scare me and make me feel like her victim? I wasn’t going to let that happen. She wasn’t going to make me into some cowering little mouse that she could catch in a trap.
I snatched the camera thing from the goon and lifted it up to my eyes to better look at it. I saw a little lens and then rage like I’d never felt before in my life filled me, making me fe
el like my head was going to explode with it. “Watch your back, you fucking cunt bag. Watch your back.” I took the thing over to one of the end tables and picked up the big stone art piece Lee-Lee had given me for a housewarming present. With a rage-filled scream I smashed the little camera with the art, chipping the stone on the edge, but sending the little spy gadget scattering as it broke into ten tiny pieces.
“One in the bedroom, Mrs. Armstrong,” the third goon called out.
“For fuck’s sake,” I said and then groaned. “Who does that? She’s so twisted.”
Liam jumped to his feet, limping as he began to pace. “What the fuck does she need to have one in the bedroom for?” he snarled.
I couldn’t stop the shudder that ran down my spine. How long had the camera been in our bedroom? Had whoever was on the other end of that camera seen us having sex? Had they seen how wild we had gotten? How dirty we could get?
The thought didn’t embarrass me, but it did spike my rage up a few hundred degrees. Someone had seen Liam, naked, while he made love to me. While I’d sucked his dick. While I’d let him do naughty—so very naughty—things to me. Jealousy at having someone else seeing my man like that cut through me and if I hadn’t already wanted to slice that bitch into tiny pieces before, I sure as hell did right then.
Stumbling back to the couch, I turned worried eyes on Emmie who was still just sitting in the chair, her face still clenched and hauntingly serious. “Will they post any of that footage, Emmie?” Would the world see Liam as only I should ever see him?
She shook her head. “There were some in Shane’s bedroom too. I talked to Seller about it. He doesn’t think whoever is doing this would chance putting it out there for the world to see. It could be traced back to them sooner or later. I’m not saying they won’t, just that it’s most likely they won’t chance it.”