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“Of course, love.”
He turned around. “Are you mocking my term of endearment for you? I could change it and start calling you my wench instead.”
Playfully, she punched him in the arm. Alexander faked being hurt as she walked past him over to the coffee brewer and made herself a cup. “Of course not, Alexander. I love your term of endearment for me. It sends shivers up my spine every time you say it.”
Alexander looked up from where he was sautéing potatoes. “Good.”
“MIRANDA, WHO’S ON THE phone?” Donovan shouted from his office into the reception area.
“He wouldn’t say. He said you’ll know.”
Donovan stilled. Fuck. It’s him. He took a deep breath and picked up the phone. “Donovan here.”
“Hi, Mark,” the voice said. “How are things going?”
Donovan had heard that voice only a few times over the past several decades and, every time, it sent chills up his spine. It was a cold, calculating voice. He could only imagine the person attached to it. He never wanted to meet him in person. “Pretty good, sir,” he replied. “We’re getting closer every day.” His voice was audibly nervous.
“Really? Are you now?” he sneered. “Why do I feel like I’ve had to do everything for you? I found the girl for you back in July, and you still haven’t gotten me the information I’m paying you to find. That I’ve been paying you to find for years now.”
“I understand that, sir, but patience is something all of my clients need to have. If we rush things, it could blow up in all of our faces. The way I can ensure that nothing will get back to you, or me, or anyone else is to take our time and make sure things are done right. I’ll admit that we’ve run into a few complications, but everything is back on track, I assure you.”
“Convince me, Mark. Convince me that everything is okay.”
Donovan glanced around the room before getting up from behind his desk and closing the door. He hated to divulge his plans to anyone, but this guy was not someone to be trifled with.
“Well, the girl is engaged to a hot shot here in Boston. He runs his own private security company and noticed a few threats to her safety so he made sure she had a protection detail assigned to her. We were able to spook him enough to add to that detail and include one of our own people on that job to try and get close to her. It hasn’t been fruitful yet, but we’re still hopeful it will all work out. In the meantime, we’re working another angle.”
“Which is?” the man on the phone growled. “I’m quickly losing my patience and you do not want to be around when that happens.”
“We have everything in place to drive a wedge between the girl and this man she’s planning on marrying. We have information that will shatter her fucking world. Apparently, they were friends as children. He knows and he's keeping that from her. We plan on using that to tear them apart. And when that happens, we already have someone in place to pick up the pieces.”
“And then what?”
“Then we’ll hope that this Alexander fellow tells Olivia everything, which he probably will, and then she’ll start to remember things about her past, leading one of our people to the information you’re looking for. An expert we’ve hired is quite certain that she could very well be able to remember her past once she realizes who Burnham really is.”
The man on the phone thought about what he had just told him. It could work. “Fine. Keep it up, but so help me God, if you don’t get a move on, you will regret it.”
Donovan hung up, trembling with anxiety. Why did he have to get into the family business?
“OLIVIA, LOVE, I NEED to get back to Texas,” Alexander said, walking down the hall from his office. His heart warmed when he spotted her curled up on the couch, her laptop in front of her.
She looked up, her face sad at the thought of Alexander leaving her again. Getting up from the couch, she strolled over to him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “When will you be back?” she whispered against his neck.
“Hopefully no later than tomorrow night. Now, you have fun with the girls today. Marshall is out front and will drive you wherever you need to go. Understand?”
Olivia exhaled, her frustration evident as she turned away from him. “Yes, Alexander.”
“Hey, Olivia, look at me.” He reached out and grabbed her arm, spinning her around to face him. “It’s for your own good. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I need to know that no harm will come to you while I’m gone.”
His voice was sincere and full of worry. Simon’s warning sounded in her head and she knew Alexander’s concerns were valid. Olivia couldn’t help but throw her arms around him again, kissing him fully on the mouth. “I love you, Alexander.”
“I love you, too. Now, enjoy your day. I’ll hurry home to you, angel,” he said sweetly, planting one last kiss on her temple.
“GOOD MORNING, MISS ADLER,” Marshall greeted Olivia, opening the door to the waiting SUV. “Where to first?”
“Starbucks, please. The one by Alexander’s office building.” She climbed into the car and was soon on her way to go meet the girls at their usual Starbucks before starting their day of dress shopping.
After a short car ride, Marshall pulled up outside the coffee shop. Walking into the bustling store, Olivia wasn’t surprised to find that she was the first to arrive. Her friends were notoriously late. She ordered four coffees and found a table to wait for the rest of the girls. Sipping her coffee, she was thankful to have the extra caffeine to get through the day. She hadn’t slept much and, even then, it wasn’t a restful sleep.
“Well, if it isn’t Olivia Adler?” she heard a snide voice say a few minutes later.
She looked up from her e-reader, her heart racing as she stared into Adele’s harsh eyes. “Nice to see you, as well, Adele,” she replied coldly before returning her eyes to her book, hoping she would get the hint and move on.
Adele stared down at Olivia. She was told to be smart about what she was supposed to do today. Plant a seed of doubt, but don’t drop the bomb…not yet, anyway. “You know it won’t last between you two, don’t you?” she sneered.
Olivia looked up again, sighing. She had hoped that Adele would finally be past all that juvenile bullshit. No such luck, apparently. “Adele, you need to get over this. We’re getting married, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it from happening.”