Home > Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)(16)

Damage Control (Dirty Money #2)(16)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones


“Room number,” I bite out, depositing the iPad next to me.

“Room 1211,” he says, “and the garage is your most discreet entry point.”

“Agreed,” I say. “Make it happen.”

He says nothing else, starting the engine and cutting us across the road, to the side of the hotel. His cell phone starts ringing. “Nick,” he says, grabbing it once we pull into the garage. “No doubt, wondering what we’re doing.”

“Make sure that’s it before I get out.”

He answers the call and there is a clipped exchange, before Seth says, “I’ll explain in a minute unless, there’s a change you have to report.” A brief pause and then he adds, “Just watch the door,” and ends the call. “We’re good,” he tells me.

“Call me if I have a visitor on the way,” I say. “Otherwise, I’ll call when I have the answers we need.” I exit the car without another word.

I can be a patient man. I can wait on my adversaries to make the wrong move, or say the wrong thing. But I do not believe Emily is my adversary, nor am I patient tonight. Whoever her enemy is, they are also mine. It’s time for me to meet that enemy, along with the real woman who’s been in my bed. But first, I’m going to remind her why she was in my bed in the first place.


I force myself to sit on the side of the hotel bed, willing my heart to stop racing as I reach for the hotel phone again, hoping a public line protects me, but feeling I have no option but to take the risk. Six times I’ve called my brother. Six times since I reached this hotel room thirty minutes ago. That doesn’t count the many attempts before I threw away the only phone I had left in a street trashcan. And just like all the times before, Rick doesn’t answer. This time I don’t bother leaving a message. I press my hands to my face. I’ve given up so much for that man even before this hell started, and this is what I get in return. Tears prick at my eyes and I reject them, furious at myself for being so weak. I stand up again. I don’t have time to wallow in a pity party. I need to sleep and plan for tomorrow, in the opposite order. I remove my tennis shoes and hoodie and then walk across the small room to the desk against the wall, where I grab a pad of paper and a pen.

Returning to the bed, I climb on top, move the mass of pillows to lean on the headboard, and pull my knees to my chest. Pen perched, I start thinking about everything I have to do tomorrow, and how that list varies if I don’t hear from my brother. No. I need to start with a—no matter what—list:

•  Disposable phones

•  Clothes

•  Bank

•  A place to stay

I pause. Should I leave town or stay here? Do I dare fly? What if the police are looking for me? I’m sure the hotel has a business center, but I’m afraid to Google my name to find out. What if I trigger attention I don’t need? So, no. No flying. I write that down. Can I take a bus to another city? I add to my list:

•  No flying. Research travel documentation needed for a bus.

•  Research big cities nearby.

I have to be out of here by noon, and I need a change of clothes again. This isn’t a fancy hotel, but surely they can direct me to a store that can deliver. I set my pad and pen aside and sit up, reaching for the phone at the same moment there’s a knock on the door. My heart leaps into my throat. I go still. Completely, utterly still, not even daring to breathe. Another knock sounds and I wrap my fingers around the down comforter.


The familiar rumble of Shane’s deep, masculine voice sends a rush of adrenaline through me and delivers a jolt of too many emotions to name. “I know you’re in there,” he adds, his voice a seduction and a command, a skill he masters as well as he does me. “I’m going to need you to open the door.”

I give a silent scream, and look skyward. All I went through tonight to keep him out of this, and he’s found me. All the fear, the running, the panic I felt, and he is here and I am still struggling to save him from me. “Sweetheart,” he repeats, the endearment doing the same funny thing to my stomach it always does. “I’m not leaving.”

I climb off the bed and walk to the door, pressing my hand to the surface and for long seconds we are silent, him there, and me here, so close but so far away.

“Open up, sweetheart,” he prods, his voice softer now, and somehow, I know he knows I’m right here, right in front of him, but divided by a door I both hate and need.

“You have to leave,” I say. “Go, Shane. This is my business, not yours.”

“You are my business,” he replies. “And if I have to sleep in front of your door, I will. Eventually you’ll have to come out.”

“I could call security,” I say, but I sound unresolved in that threat even to myself.

“And that would get attention you don’t want.”

Frustrated, confused, tormented, I raise my voice, giving a guttural, “You’re such an asshole, Shane.”

“If that’s what holding on to you makes me, then you’re right. I’m an asshole.”

He’s stubborn. So ridiculously stubborn and I have to make him leave. I push off the door and start pacing, trying to decide what to do. How do I make him go away? I could tell him I’m working for his family, but that would crush him and only make him demand answers. I could tell him I’m working for the Feds and he’d have to back off, but it’s just another lie I don’t want to tell.

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