Home > Exodus

Author: Kate Stewart


“You’re The Frenchman.”

He replies with a faint dip of his chin. His hostile gaze blistering my skin with contempt. “You mind turning down that fucking calling card?” Each of his words curled by the thick foreign lilt, confirming I knew that much about him.

Dominic rarely, if ever, spoke French, which raised my suspicions about the nickname. But the man standing before me, and the air about him suits.

A drop of sweat slides down his temple as I soak him in. Compliments to the tailor who cloaked him in a suit fit for a king. It clings to him, defining pure masculinity. Though his expression is hostile, it’s his face that has me scrambling for words while my tongue dries up. This man is, without a doubt, the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on. Stunned, I can’t help but drink in the thick, inky color of his hair that’s styled back in inches long waves, not one out of place. The sharp outline of his jaw encases his flawless bronzed face. Below his thick, winged brows lies a natural black outline of thick lashes, which enhances the mix of orange-yellow flames dancing their way down my profile. His dominant nose wide, long, and swollen by the flare of his nostrils. His mouth more evidence his creator took his time, his lush lips symmetrical perfection. But it’s the anger that seeps from his pores that has me battling the wits his unexpected appearance is stealing.

He’s the devil you are never supposed to meet, dressed in Armani.

And a clear threat to me.

Snatching the remote from the table beside me, I furiously tap the volume button, sputtering, while searching for my bikini top. “I didn’t…k-know it was you. I d-didn’t know there was a you.”

“You weren’t supposed to.” His tone is acid, spilling from his lips into the back of my throat, making it hard to breathe.

Some fucking siren you are, Cecelia.

I dart my eyes around the deck, searching fruitlessly for my top before I cross my arms over my chest, humiliation burning my face. “Then why bother to make your existence known to me now?”

“Because apparently, I can’t do anything without those two imbeciles fumbling dick over head for—” his lips peel back from his teeth. Tack sharp canines appear due to his…snarling?

“The enemy?” I shake my head. “I’m not your enemy.”

His jaw ticks, his gaze littered with judgment. “No, you just benefit from Daddy’s filthy money.”

“Oh, good, that’s the look of disgust in your eyes. I was worried it was something else.”

“I don’t fuck little girls,” he draws out, his accent aiding in his condemnation. “And I’m fully aware you’re fucking your way through my crew.”

It stings, but I don’t flinch. “Only two of them, and from where I’m standing, it looks like you could benefit from a little side action yourself. You’re awfully tense.”

Irrefutably annoyed, he shoves his hands in his slacks. “What the fuck do you want?”

“I want answers. I want to know my father is safe.”

“I can’t guarantee that.”

“But you won’t be the one to hurt him?”

His hesitation has my hackles rising.

“Physically, no. In every other way that matters, yes.”

“And me?”

“You’re not a part of this.”

“I am now.”

“No, you’re not. I made sure of it.” His smug reply sends a bolt of realization through me.

“You’re the reason…you’re the one who made them get rid of me.”

Dom’s words from just days ago have my gears rolling.

“We were trying to make a point, and we fucking failed miserably.”

Someone from the meetup got the message to him that I was here. Because this man in front of me is the someone they both answer to.

Silence lingers between us before the hostile stranger speaks up. “You were never supposed to be here.”

“You knew about me. You all knew about me.” Of course, they did. Rule number one is to know your enemy and their weakness. But to them, I was an estranged daughter and posed no danger to their plans—another one of the reasons why Sean was hesitant about bringing me in.

“Who are you exactly?”


“So why show up here, now, and talk to me?”

He remains mute as I mull it over.

“Someone couldn’t keep a secret.”

Someone from one of the chapters had reported back to him, and that’s why Sean and Dominic did what they did. They were trying to make a point to those in attendance at the garage—the night they ostracized me—while relaying the message to the man glaring at me. To protect me.

Click. Click. Click.

“That’s why I was the secret,” I whisper. “You didn’t know I was coming. You knew Roman and I didn’t have a relationship.” His eyes flare as a smug smile buds on my lips.

It’s clear now why he’s so angry. “You never expected me to show up here because it was a last-minute decision to come. I slipped through the cracks, and they hid me from you.” A little thrill runs through me. “You don’t know everything. How does it feel?”

He takes a menacing step forward. “You’re out of your depth in ways you’ll never understand, and you need to drop the tough girl act and really talk to me because I’m only giving you two minutes.”

And I do. I drop all pretenses because I’m fighting for a lot more than my pride. “I’m not the disgusting person you’re making me out to be.”

“My opinion of you doesn’t matter.”

“I think it does. I think it does a lot. You’re keeping me from my—”

“You can find someone else to fuck you, Cecelia.” My name sounds abhorrent coming from his thick lips. He considers me a menace, a thorn in his beastly side, and most definitely a wrench in his well-oiled machine. But I slipped through the cracks, because of my eight-year hiatus, and they hid me from him.

And I can’t help the thrill that runs through me at the thought.

“You may hate him, you may hate my father, but right now you’re acting just like him, like a machine. A control freak void of humanity with a God complex.”

His nostrils flare. “Watch yourself.”

“Or what?”

He towers over me, eyes flickering in warning. “You do not want to piss me off.”

“This isn’t pissed off? And who the hell are you to tell me what I should watch? You may have most of the cards, but you’re missing mine. It would be in your best interest to play nice if you want my cooperation, my silence.”

He doesn’t respond, but the resolute shift in his demeanor is enough.

Those were the exact words that shouldn’t have left my mouth. I can’t be trusted at all now that I’ve said them. I betrayed Sean and Dominic by playing into this asshole’s agenda. He’s trying to poke holes in everything, flip it to prove to them they made a mistake in trusting me. Dominic would be so disappointed.

Dominic’s words to Sean the day I left the house in a rage break to the surface.

“She’s not strong enough.”

“Give her time.”

All of it, the trials they put me through. The infuriating back and forth between Dominic and me. All the time Sean spent teaching me what he believed, what the hood believed while Dominic taunted me, twisted my words. From the time they decided to let me in, they’ve been readying me for a confrontation just like this. And it had everything to do with the man standing in front of me. While we were falling, they were preparing me for the shitstorm that is The Frenchman. His return was inevitable.

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