Home > Broken Ties

Broken Ties
Author: Nana Malone











She was lying to me.

I eyed my client, Mira Ashton, carefully. She'd been beaten and abused by her ex-husband for years. She was still cagey around men. But since I was one of the people who'd gotten her away from that asshole, she shouldn't be afraid of me. So why was this whole situation off?

I'd met her at the café just on the edge of the theater district as she'd asked me to. Normally, we would do a site visit at her home but given her history, I didn't think anything was unusual about her asking to meet here. But now I wasn't sure.

Something wasn't right.

"Mira, you sure you're okay?”

Her gaze snapped to mine. "I'm fine. It's just that it's really crowded in here."

"We don't have to stay here. If you would like, I can drive you back to your apartment." She lived about three or four blocks from here.

Her eyes went wide. "No. This is fine."

"Are you sure? Did your husband call? If you're scared or unsure, we can help with that. That’s the purpose behind these check-ins. We do this for all our clients. It's no trouble at all for us to look into another matter for you if someone’s bothering you."

She shook her head. "It's nothing like that. I just—I just hate that I needed you in the first place. That I got myself into the situation. That's not who I am; that's not me. I don't like how everything turned out, but I'm fine. I just have to learn how to deal."

I nodded. "It's going to take some time. Just know that he can't hurt you. We got him out of the house. And you got a restraining order against him. It's not in his best interest to come near you. If he breaks that restraining order, he goes back to jail. He doesn't want that. So you're safe."

She shifted her gaze away. "Yeah. Safe."

My brow furrowed again. "Can I get you another slice of pie? Something else to eat?"

"No. I think I'm just going to head home."

"Okay, let me give you a ride. I parked just across the street."

For a long moment her gaze lifted and met mine, holding it. It was as if she wanted to tell me something. Wanted me to hear something. But what the hell was she trying to say?

"No, I think I'm just going to walk."

I wanted to argue with that. But she set her jaw, and I'd seen that look before. It was the I'm-not-fucking-around look. It was the look people got when they set their minds about something and had no intention of changing it. "All right. You have a good night now, okay?"

She scooted out of the booth and stood. "I will. Thank you for everything. You don't know—" She cut herself off and sighed deeply before continuing. "You, all of you at Blake Security, you don't know what you have done for me. Thank you."

I waited exactly thirty seconds before following her. I had no idea who the hell Noah had to blow to get special curbside parking access around most of the city, but all of Blake Security’s cars were equipped with special plates so we could park anywhere. Farther down the block, she hopped into a taxi.

It took her the few blocks to her apartment. I figured she might not have wanted to deal with the summertime crowds in the theater district, as it was packed.

When she reached her apartment, she climbed out of the cab and stared up at the building for a moment. I parked across the street and watched her intently. And then I saw what she was looking at. Someone passed by the front window. Someone was walking around.

My eyes narrowed. It wasn’t so much that she had a guest that had me concerned. It was that I recognized the movement of the guest. The guy was mostly in shadow, but I recognized the way he walked and rolled his shoulders. That was her ex-husband. What the fuck was he doing in her house?

Mira's building didn't have a doorman. Luckily, I had a key. I tried to wait patiently until she was up the elevator before following in the service elevator behind her. It was farther down the hall than her apartment, but I'd be able to observe her. Stalker much? Damn it, I just wanted to make sure she was okay.

You need to let this go. She's not Emma.

I shoved away the painful memory of the woman from all those years ago. The one I’d been unable to help. The one that had cost me my career. Probably better if I didn’t think about her right now.

I shook it off. Mira wasn't Emma. For starters, I could help Mira. I watched from the shadows as she stuck the key in the lock, but the door opened on its own and she was dragged inside. Just as I was about to head down the hallway, the door to the stairway opened and someone yanked me into the stairwell.

I dislodged the grip in less than a second and had my hands up, ready to fight. It took a moment longer to realize I knew the asshole who was trying to pick a fight. "Noah? What the fuck?"

"Matthias notified me that your GPS was headed to Mira's place. Did she meet you at the café?"

"Yeah, dumbass, she did." I ran a hand through my hair. "But she was acting cagey and weird. So I wanted to make sure she was okay and got home safe. There’s a guy in her apartment right now."

Noah sighed. "I know."

"What do you mean you know?" I glared at him.

"Look, when Matthias came to check in on her last week, I noticed her ex in the doorway. She hugged him. Kissed him. They’re back together."

"Son of a bitch."

I tried to yank open the stairwell door, but Noah stopped me. "You need to follow the Disney princess's advice and let it go. Mira made her choice."

No, this wasn't Noah talking. "We got her away from him. He has to have something on her, be scaring her or something."

Noah shook his head. "No. We’ve tailed her for over a week. She's back with him."

"We have to do something. After everything we did to get her away from him, after everything we went through to keep her safe … "

"I know. But this is her choice. You can't want something for her she doesn't want for herself. You have to let it go. We can't intervene unless she asks us to."

I shoved him. I had to help her. Problem was, Noah was just as big as I was. Not to mention the guy was good. Assassin good. But that didn't stop me from fighting with him. I had to get to her.

"Look man, you're one of my best friends. I'm happy to fight with you so you can let off some steam, but this is a fight you can't win. Not with me, or with her. She is making her choice. You can't make it for her."

Noah's last words finally sank in. I couldn't make her choices for her. So just like before, all I could do was stand by and watch as someone I cared about set herself on a path for disaster.

I sagged against the wall. "This is bullshit."

Noah clapped me on the shoulder. "I know. But how about we focus on the people we can actually help? We'll be here when she comes back. But for now, let her go."

I knew what he was saying. But I had zero intention of letting this go. Sometimes people needed to be saved from themselves.






"All I'm saying is that he's a pain in the ass. I mean, can you believe that he told me I was being a prima donna? Me. A prima donna! I'm the least prima donna person I know."

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