By: Francette Phal

“Well, then it’s a good thing I didn’t marry you for love.” He shoved her away from him. “Get the hell out of my sight, Eden.”

She shoved passed him and Dominic laughed at her hasty retreat. He tucked himself back into his trousers, ambled to the bar in the corner, and poured himself a generous amount of scotch. He turned to the two men and raised his glass. “I hope you enjoyed the show, gentlemen.”

Chapter Three

Bruce Barrett regarded the diminutive woman seated across from him with keen eyes. He had to admire her tenacity; it took guts to blackmail someone of his position and a cunningness he hadn’t realized she possessed. He’d completely underestimated her upon their initial meeting. He had believed, like everyone else in their circle, that she was nothing more than Dominic’s beautiful little toy, a toy Bruce had wanted to play with, but she’d quickly disabused him of that idea. Beneath those mesmeric honey gold eyes, and curves that were a temptation to any man, lay a conniving mind that was capable of many things. Bruce had a wife and kids and was also the mayor of Langston who had higher political aspirations.

It would be safe to say that if the press ever discovered his philandering ways, it would be quite detrimental not only to his political career, but his marriage as well. He hadn’t known until it was too late, too enraptured by the idea of a ménage à trois to pay close attention. The presidential suite at the Piedmont was known for their discretion, and with the many times he’d been there, and the amount of money he’d spent, they were prone to turning a blind eye whenever Bruce came around while accommodating his every wish. The three women had been stunning, and with the abundance of alcohol and drugs, Bruce had been completely out of his mind with delirium. They’d recorded every sordid act, and Eden had been the mastermind behind it. It took her a week before she came to Bruce with the evidence of this current affair. She’d wanted his help and his full cooperation, in return she would keep his name out of the press and give him the micro SD card once she’d received the necessary assistance from him.

That was only a few months ago, and in that time, Bruce had done everything she’d asked without question. There was too much at stake for him to do otherwise. So far, all she’d had him do was trade the countless jewelries Dominic had given her over the years for some cold hard cash. She was smart enough not to pawn it herself, but getting Bruce to do it would not arouse any suspicion, especially from her husband. Nearly ninety thousand dollars he knew she had in her possession. He’d had his guy get her nearly exactly what it had originally cost. The fact that Dominic had no idea she was squirreling away this money was quite impressive considering the short leash he had on her. Bruce could only imagine his best friend’s wrath when he discovered her plans and Bruce’s involvement in aiding her. Dom would kill them both.

He should’ve gone to Dominic months ago, but the risk had been too high, it was still too high. He could very well call her bluff, but she was desperate now. Last month’s episode in Dominic’s office had undoubtedly pushed her over the edge. He could practically smell the desperation on her now. He watched as she emptied the contents of her bag on the glass coffee table between them. There wasn’t as much this time: a diamond encrusted ring, a ruby bracelet, and an emerald necklace. She had on those overlarge sunglasses, the ones that practically hid her whole face from the world.

“You have to get me the money by tomorrow,” she said quietly.

He scoffed. “How do you suppose I do that? It takes at least a week to—”

“Tomorrow, Bruce,” she pressed firmly, looking at him through those dark shades. “I also need you to arrange a flight for me.”

This was new. Bruce perked up a little realizing that this could be it. She was making a move, readying herself to leave Dominic. “Where to?”


“And the SD card?”

“It’s safe and you’ll get it once I’m on the plane.”

“What’s to stop me from telling him where you are?”

The corners of her mouth turned up. “The death of your political career and a very expensive divorce. I’m not trying to hurt you, Bruce. I just want to get the fuck away from your sick best friend.”

“He’s going to find you.”

She stood. “I’m good at hiding.” Ambling to the front entrance, she turned. “You’ve been really good so far, Bruce, don’t do anything stupid. I want my money and my flight booked tomorrow.”