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She grabbed her drink off the bar, fuming, and returned to the dance floor, hoping that Alexander had not seen her. She was fairly certain he was too absorbed in the people he was with to notice her. Why would he notice Olivia when someone as beautiful as Adele clung to his arm?

She made her way through the crowds of people, finally finding Kiera.

“He’s here!” Olivia shouted as her friend danced with another random guy.

“Who is?” she shouted back over the loud club music.

“Alexander. And the bitch is clinging onto his fucking arm.”

Kiera immediately pushed the guy away. “Sorry. Girl problems. Thanks for the dance.” Kiera turned to face Olivia as she finished her drink in one gulp, needing it to dull the pain. “Are you mother fucking serious?”

“Yes. And I’m so glad to know you have a degree in English. It makes me hopeful for the future of our country.”

“Shut it, Libby. Where is he?”

“At the bar.”

“Okay. Here’s the plan. Two can play his little game. And don’t yell at me and call me immature,” she said, grabbing Olivia’s empty drink glass from her hand. “We find you a hottie to dance with and just pretend he doesn’t exist.” Kiera scanned the dance floor and found a tall man with dark, brooding eyes and a chiseled face. He was very handsome.

“Hey! You!” Kiera shouted to her target, getting his attention. He walked over to the girls. “This is my friend, Olivia. I saw you checking her out like all night, so maybe you should grow some balls and ask her to dance.” Olivia loved how direct Kiera was. She wished she could be like that sometimes.

“Olivia. It’s wonderful to meet you,” he said in a slight Irish accent. “My name is Collin.” He reached his hand out for Olivia’s and she gingerly placed her hand in his.

“Nice to meet you, too, Collin.”

“Dance with me?”

“Yes.” Olivia allowed him to lead her a few feet from Kiera and she got lost in the music.

At the bar, Alexander desperately tried to shake Adele off his shoulder. He had no idea how she knew he would be at the casino that evening. His luck was horrible as of late. She brought one of her college friends with her, who was shamelessly hitting on Tyler, not seeming to care that he was easily several years younger than her.

Adele wrapped her arm through Alexander’s yet again. He was getting ready to lose his mind when Carol shot him a questioning look.

“Adele, how many times must I tell you? Get your hands off me.” Alexander reached for Adele’s arms that were clasped around his and rid himself of her touch.

He signaled the bartender for another drink and saw a familiar silhouette walking away from the bar. He was seeing Olivia everywhere lately. Everyone with dark hair seemed to be her. He felt bad for not contacting her since Thursday, but he just needed some time to figure out what to do about that letter.

“So Alex, how’s everything at the company going?” David asked.

“Pretty good. We’re getting into air escorts and drone technology now. Still being contracted to train civilian forces overseas. Private security business is booming,” he winked. “And there’s still the domestic protection details we do. I have a new batch of recruits that start their training on Monday, so I need to go down to base camp for their first day.”

“Good. Glad to hear it’s all going well.”

“And anytime you want to retire from civil service, there’s a job waiting for you, man.”

“Thanks for the offer, Alex. But I’ll stick to homicide, if you don’t mind.” The men laughed. David had worked extremely hard to become a homicide detective. He had dreamed of that job nearly his entire life.

“Come on, Alex. Let’s go dance,” Adele whined, grabbing Alexander around the waist.

“Adele, I didn’t come here to dance with you. I came here to spend some time with my family, which you will never become part of. If you want to dance, there is absolutely nothing stopping you.” He gestured to the dance floor, signaling that Adele should go, when he stopped dead in his tracks.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. Olivia and Kiera were on the dance floor. He watched as Olivia danced with a tall muscular man, her back to his front, her hips moving to the driving beat of the music in such a way that he felt himself immediately harden.

Olivia was enjoying the dance with Collin. He had been respectful of her boundaries and didn’t try to touch her too much. All of a sudden, Collin grabbed her hair and pulled her head to the side, exposing her neck. Olivia gasped in shock as his other hand roamed her body from her waist up to her chest.

“Collin,” Olivia whimpered as he kissed her neck. She immediately turned around to face him. “Look, I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong idea. I’m just not interested in you that way. Maybe if it was a few weeks ago, I’d probably take you back to my hotel room right now and fuck you…”

Collin’s eyes grew wide. He pushed Olivia against the wall, crushing his mouth on hers as she fought against him, unable to finish her sentence.

Alexander felt his face flush with anger and rage. He slammed his drink down on the bar and rushed across the dance floor to the far corner where some guy had Olivia pinned against the wall.

Olivia pushed repeatedly against Collin, thinking how shitty her luck had been lately. She pushed one last time and Collin went flying to the side. She couldn’t believe her own strength for a minute until she saw that familiar silhouette standing over her.

“What the fuck, man?” Collin exclaimed angrily.

“Do not mess with me, man,” Alexander retorted.

“Whatever,” Collin said, walking away. “Bitch isn’t worth it.”

“What did you say?” Alexander roared, his voice easily heard over the loud music. Olivia stood motionless, having trouble comprehending what was happening.

The two men stood glaring at each other. Kiera slid up to Olivia’s side to watch the spectacle. “This is a dick waving contest, isn’t it?” she whispered into Olivia’s ear. Olivia hushed her friend, not wanting to miss anything.

“I said, the bitch isn’t worth it,” Collin repeated.

“First off, she is not a bitch. She is one of the most precious people to me. And second, she is absolutely worth it. She is worth every ounce of every effort anyone could give to her.” Alexander’s eyes met Olivia’s and he could tell she was confused.

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