He has three days to save her…
Publication Date: January 4, 2019
Genres: BWWM Romance, Multicultural & Interracial Romance, Contemporary Romance
A persistent pounding on the door ripped me out of sleep. I stirred, extra groggy from the fact that Laila had interrupted my slumber to talk about my parents and the announcement of her pregnancy. Her questions about my mother and father had angered me, but I’d hidden it from her, but when she’d told me she was carrying our baby, any negative emotions I’d been harboring fled.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
I reached over to the nightstand and gripped the clock, squinting. “It’s five-thirty,” I said to Laila. I reached over to pull her close, but when I realized the place in which she was laying was empty, my eyes popped open.
“Lai…” I called into the darkness. My eyes shot to the en-suite bathroom, noticing the light bleeding from beneath the closed door.
Maybe she’d gotten up to use it. That was what happened to pregnant women. They peed more and they started throwing up. The sound of water running down the drain confirmed my suspicions.
The banging sounded again and I threw my legs over the edge of the bed, holding my head. That was when I realized the banging wasn’t only coming from the door. An aggressive thud was pounding against my brain, and I wondered what it could be from.
I looked at the empty glass on the night table and my brows drew. I turned to the door. “Who is it?” I shouted.
“Open the door, man!”
I stretched the tightness out of my limbs and made my way over, wondering what in the world would have Stefan so uptight and hammering my door down at such an ungodly hour.
“Lai,” I called again.
Still no answer.
I frowned, peeked through the peephole, and then stood back.
Stefan’s voice emitted from the other side of the barrier, and I couldn’t help but notice the alarmed edge in his tone.
I unlatched the door and ripped it open. Without hesitation, Stefan sprang inside, his eyes as wide as saucers.
“Stef, what the hell –”
“Where’s Laila?” He pushed past me and started searching the room as if he was looking for treasure.
I frowned, trying to understand what he was talking about, all the while, trying to ignore the throbbing in my head. “What do you mean, where’s Laila? She’s in the bathroom.”
Without saying anything, Stefan dashed for the bathroom and ripped at the door.
“What the hell are you doing?” I demanded rushing after him, I pulled him by the arm.
He ripped his arm away from me and glared at me. His eyes seeped with anger.
I grimaced. “What’s going on?” I demanded.
“Laila isn’t here,” he spat out.
My neck jerked forward. “Of course she is, she’s in the bathroom,” I reminded him. “She’s pregnant.”
Stefan rolled his eyes towards the ceiling and covered his face with his hands. “Jesus Christ…” he muttered.
“That’s not quite the response I was expecting,” I admitted trying to quell my frustration.
Stefan spun around and gripped me by the shoulders. “Dylan, Laila isn’t here,” he said again. Forcefully.
My body turned rigid. “What the hell do you mean –”
“Your boy, Anthony Moretti, the guy you told me not to worry about…”
He was talking, but I’d already ripped the bathroom door open, almost taking it off the hinges. I looked into the room, my eyes shifting frantically, searching for my wife who, true to Stefan’s word, was nowhere in sight. The only sign of movement was the water spilling from the gold faucet and disappearing down the drain.
My chest heaved and I stumbled until I had no choice but to lean over the basin. Water from the tap splashed onto me. Everything was spinning like it would in a funhouse, yet there was no doubt in my mind, I was in a house of goddamn horrors.
“Where’s my wife?” I gripped my temple before pulling myself away from the basin and storming through the Presidential Suite. I ransacked the place. I tore through every room, tossing the furniture like it was plastic. I marched out to the pool and scanned the area. With each examination, the fact that she was nowhere to be found pushed me further over the edge of sanity.
I screamed her name into the emptiness.
Stefan paced the floors next to me. His hand was clasped over his mouth. His eyes were narrow with rage. “He took Sasha too,” he muttered.
I spun around to look at him. “Who took Sasha?”
Stefan turned his eyes on me. “Fucking Moretti.”
I looked at the carpet, trying to make sense of what he was saying. “How do you know this?”
“Because I woke up in the middle of the night to Moretti and his boys in my goddamn room, and that’s when he told me. Silas…”
“What the hell does he have to do with this? I swear to God, I’ll kill him!” I listened, my entire body shaking as Stefan revealed the things Moretti had told him. Then he handed me the man’s business card, his despicable name embossed and emboldened.
Moretti was demanding that we came up with two million euros in three days.
An angry breath escaped my nose. “Fine,” I spat. “He wants it in three days, he’ll have it three hours.”
Stefan nodded, realizing that my transferring the funds into Moretti’s account was the only way to put a stop to what was happening.
I raced around the room, looking for my cell phone. After a few minutes, which felt like a few hours, I found it on the floor underneath shards of a vase I’d destroyed.
I instructed SIRI to call my accountant and waited, operating on threads of patience, for him to pick up.
It went to voicemail.
“What happened?” Stefan asked, dry-washing his hands.
I gripped my bottom lip between my teeth and didn’t respond. Instead, I called the number again, this time taking care to punch each digit in manually.
It rang six times before clicking over to voicemail. In a fit of rage, I pitched the phone across the room and took my sweaty hair into my hands.
“Fuck!” My voice almost made the Swarovski chandelier hanging above us to crash to the floor.
Stefan raked his hands through his afro and pulled out his own cell phone.
“Who are you calling?” I asked, shoving my hands on my hips.
“It sure as hell ain’t my investment banker,” he muttered. “The hell if I have two million goddamn euros sitting in an account.” He pressed the phone against his ear. “I’m calling my brother.”
“If you don’t have it, he sure as hell doesn’t,” I spat. My eyes burned and I rubbed them, trying to erase the sensation.
I needed to slow down.
I needed to calm down and think rationally.
Ma belle fille and Sasha had been abducted. I had no idea how it had happened or when. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t remember much of what had transpired over the course of maybe three or four hours.
Stefan turned away from me and I listened for a second as he threw a slew of curse words into the cell phone receiver. I pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to practice my solution-focused mantra, the one I used every day at my firm.
“I need to call Moretti,” I mumbled to myself. My cell phone, now shattered on the ground, would be of no use. I rushed to the landline on Laila’s side of the bed and tried to ignore my heart, crushing inside of my chest. I held the business card Stefan and given me and tried to steady my shaking hands as
I dialed the numbers.
Within seconds, Moretti answered.
I dropped onto the bed and pressed the phone hard against my ear. “Tell me this is a fucking joke!” I shouted into the phone.
“Dylan Hamilton.” The sound of his vocals made me want to spit.
“Where is my goddamn wife?” He’d barely finished his greeting before I was barking the demand. “I swear to God, I’m two seconds away from alerting INTERPOL. They’ll have you apprehended and your ass will be in jail quicker than you can fucking blink!”
“A few things,” Moretti responded casually. “INTERPOL is not a threat to me. Yes, I have been barred from various jurisdictions, but that does not inhibit my movements. Surely, you are aware of this. Secondly, if I were you, I would think long and hard about alerting anybody about anything. Your precious wife and her friend would be dead before the authorities ever caught up with me and my men. And thirdly…” he sighed. “You should practice being less emotional. You are a savvy business tycoon who cuts million-dollar deals by the hour. You, of all people should know that emotion has no place when it comes to business. Let us talk like the adults that we are.”
I gritted my teeth and tried to settle myself as best I could. In some ways he was right. My only concern was getting my wife and Sasha back. If that meant playing Moretti’s sick game, I should at least hear the rules.
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