Fear strikes me like a bull whipping through my insides. The worry in my gut multiplies by a thousand at the lack of response, and I shove through the door and into the bathroom. My biggest fear is that perhaps she has fainted, or even worse, that someone has hurt her, but as I check each stall, I find neither of those things.
In fact, she isn’t in the bathroom at all.
My eyes dart around the small space with fear.
Where is she?
It’s then, as I’m standing there staring at my own reflection in the mirror, that my eyes catch on what looks to be a door on the other side of the room. It could be nothing more than a supply closet, but something tells me it’s more than that.
As I walk over and open the door, my fear molds into something else entirely.
I was right. It’s a secret exit with just enough space to walk through. My biggest fears are coming to life. Someone took her. There is no other explanation. Rushing through, I exit into what looks to be a staff area at the back of the kitchen.
My hands tremble with rage and fear as I retrieve my phone from my pocket. I have to find her before it’s too late, before they hurt her. I’ll kill them all, every last fucking one of them. Rip their hearts clean from their bodies.
Dialing Rico, one of my guards, the line rings, and rings, and rings, and I become more panicked with every second that passes. Why isn’t he picking up? I call Michael next, and thankfully, he answers on the first ring.
“What’s up, boss?”
“Elena. She’s missing. Alert the others,” I growl.
“Shit. Yes. I mean, got it, boss. Do you want us to leave our position and search the building?”
Fuck. I don’t know what to do. I can’t have my men come inside and surround the building at the same time. If I let them come in, Elena might be taken away from here without us knowing. If I keep my men posted, there is no way anyone leaves without us catching them.
“Keep your posts but stay on high alert and call for backup. I’ll search inside until the others get here.” I hang up the phone, barely restraining myself from tossing it to the ground. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know this has to be the work of the Volcove family, or at least someone associated with them.
They want to make me feel their pain. Make me endure my biggest fear of all, but they don’t know what I’m capable of. Nothing will stop me from saving my wife.
I search the kitchen area, tossing things in my frustration and shoving people out of the way, becoming a different man altogether. My only goal is to find Elena and ensure she is safe, then kill every last one of those fuckers.
“Hey, watch it!” Someone shouts as I shove past them. Any other day I would have stomped his brains out with the heel of my foot. Today, I ignore the man completely.
Heading back out into the banquet area, my eyes scan the room, and I look over every person. There is no way they could’ve left the building yet. Not with my men surrounding the area. She has to be here, or at the very least, close by. The place is so large, the square feet alone would make it hard for me to find her on my own. A throb pulses behind my eyes.
I remind myself that Elena is strong and that she knows I will come for her. It’s the only thing keeping me going after deciding to keep my men at their posts. Deep down, I know it is the best thing to do.
I can only hope they haven’t left yet and that one of my men spots them while they’re in the process. Like a bloodhound, I search the hall, accounting for every enemy I had previously seen. Just because they remain here doesn’t mean it isn’t for show. Frustration mounts, and I know with every second that passes, anything could be happening to her.
Rushing out of the room, I head up the grand staircase. I’m a madman, determination pumping through my veins. I will never forgive myself if they hurt her. Never.
Turning the corner, I stop dead in my tracks.
A ghost. It has to be a ghost because there is no way the man standing a few feet away is Lucca. I’ve been looking for him everywhere. After his betrayal, I scoured the earth for him. There was absolutely no sign of him, which made me believe he was dead.
Yet, as I continue to stare, he remains standing there, watching me, waiting for me to strike. I connect the dots in my head.
My blood turns to molten lava, my temper flares, and my teeth grind together. I can’t stop myself from acting on murderous rage, and I fist his shirt in my hand, lifting him off his feet before slamming him into the nearest wall.