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He stopped at the very end of the dock next to a yacht and turned to Olivia, beaming.

“What is this?” she asked skeptically.

“I don’t want you to freak out, so just let me explain. This is my boat.” He glanced to the enormous vessel behind him.

Olivia raised her eyebrows. “I don’t know if you could call that thing a boat. It’s more like a floating kingdom. That thing’s got to be over a hundred feet,” she marveled.

“Yeah. It is,” he answered excitedly. “And I named her after my childhood best friend, who you recall shared your name. I didn’t want you to freak out, but I really wanted to share this with you.”

Olivia’s heart raced as she looked into Alexander’s brilliant eyes. There was an excitement in them she had never seen before.

She returned his smile and planted a soft kiss on his lips. “Thank you for sharing this with me, Alex,” she whispered.

He grinned as he clutched Olivia’s hand in his, leading her toward the gangway. Martin appeared on the main deck and Alexander dragged Olivia up the ramp to where Martin stood. Olivia was surprised to see him there. She made a mental note to ask Alexander what his job description was.

“How was your drive, sir?”

“Great, thanks. Please go get our things out of the car. The valet is holding it for now.”

“Yes, sir.” Martin walked briskly off the yacht and onto the dock.

“After you, darling.” Alexander led Olivia into the main cabin, his hand on the small of her back. He gave her a brief tour of his yacht. To the left sat the living room, which Alexander referred to as the salon. It was rather large with gorgeous wood flooring throughout. Just past that was an exquisite dining room complete with a state-of-the-art kitchen. To the right led to a small hallway with a rather large master bedroom. There was another small bedroom across the hall, as well as a study.

Downstairs, there were three guest rooms and the crew quarters. The upper deck housed another lounge area in addition to an outdoor dining area. The entire yacht was rather spacious and Olivia was floored at the largess of it all. She immediately felt overwhelmed by Alexander’s wealth.

As they stood admiring the view off the main deck, she turned to him. “So, um, business must be good.”

Alexander laughed. “Yes. You could say that. Lots of people needing my trained mercenaries,” he winked. “But don’t call them mercenaries. The U.N. doesn’t really like that word.”

She hung onto his arm as he led her toward the master bedroom suite. “Don’t worry, Love. Your secret’s safe with me,” she said, mocking Alexander’s term of endearment.

“Are you mocking me, darling?”

“I would never,” Olivia replied in faux shock.

“You better run, Olivia. I have plans for you.”

She squealed and ran down the hallway into the owner’s suite, tripping over Martin as he was dropping off their bags.

“Oh, Miss Adler. I apologize.”

“Don’t worry about it. Blame your boss.” She laughed.

“I’d rather keep my job,” he winked.

Alexander appeared in the doorway.

“Thank you, Martin. Please co-ordinate with Carter. I have additional security arriving later in the day.”

“Yes, sir.” Martin turned to Olivia. “Enjoy your day, Miss Adler.” He walked out of the master suite and down the hall into the study.

Olivia looked at Alexander when she was sure they were alone. “Additional security, Alex?” She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Yes, Love. Sometimes it’s an occupational hazard.” He shrugged.

“Why? What’s going on?”

“I can’t really talk about it, Olivia.” He turned to his suitcase and began unpacking his things. “It’s nothing important and you shouldn’t worry about it at all. It’s more of a precaution than anything.”

Alexander hated misleading Olivia. The additional security had nothing to do with him and everything to do with her. He always made it seem as though someone could come after him for a job-related issue, but the chances of that were slim to none. However, Carter had seen a black sedan tailing Olivia several times now. He wanted additional security in Newport, just to be on the safe side.

“Come on, Love. Get that worried look off your face,” Alexander said, coming up behind Olivia as she put some of her toiletries in the bathroom. She looked up, gazing into his eyes through the mirror. He could see that her eyes were red and puffy. “Have you been crying?” He spun her around, making her face him.

“No. Don’t be stupid,” she stated, wiping her eyes. “Just let me finish unpacking.” She tried to push Alexander out of the way. He stood in place, not letting Olivia pass, staring down at her for an explanation.

“What if something happens to you, Alex?” she asked, her chin quivering. “That scares me to death. I’ve lost too many people I was close to. I finally let myself get close to someone again and now I’m frightened I’ll lose you, too.” She started sobbing again as Alexander pulled her into his chest. She struggled to suppress the urge to grab her bags and run as far away as possible. A voice in her head was telling her to push Alexander away. And she started to think that she needed to listen.

“Hey. Hey. It’s okay. You have nothing to worry about with me. I’m not going anywhere. Someone will have to drive a stake through my heart to ever take me away from you. I mean that. I promise that I will always be here to look out for you.” He continued soothing her tears.

Olivia took a few deep breaths and pulled away from Alexander’s chest, looking into his eyes. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why that set me off. I’m just overly emotional for some reason. I think nerves about this weekend are getting to me a little,” she lied, not wanting to admit to Alexander that she felt everything had started to spin out of control. She hated the feeling and could only think of one way to regain control. The only thing that had worked in the past. She wanted to run. But she kept hearing Kiera's words in her head telling her to take a risk for once. She wanted to, but at what cost?

“That’s understandable, sweetheart.” He grabbed a tissue and wiped Olivia’s eyes. “Come. Let’s go to lunch and then do something fun. Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

Alexander took her hand in his and pulled her out of the master suite and off his yacht.

~~~~~~~~~~

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