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Bruce grabbed the dirt bike from its lean against the wall and walked it up to Mark. "You have to admit, she thinks pretty fast on her feet." He jerked his head toward the house.

Mark tore his eyes from the retreating car to focus on him, a moment of deep anguish flashing in the otherwise angry stare. "Make sure she leaves."

Bruce stayed where he was, watching his boss head back inside. The man hadn't spoken a word about his nephew's death. Hell, the guy hadn't said much of anything since the funeral. They'd worked together for how many years now? Twelve? Thirteen? Long enough for Bruce to realize all those bottled up emotions were going to find a way out sooner or later. And he wasn't talking tears, either. No, that release, when it came, would likely involve blood and destruction. He could only hope to be outside the range of flying debris when it happened.

Julia, Simon's mother, hadn't said much of anything, either. She'd gone off to Europe with the first sucker rich enough to meet her needs and foolish enough to fall for her flattery. Not that Bruce was bitter. His and Julia's relationship had never been anything more than a convenience, two warm bodies coming together—or so he tried—whenever the need hit. She certainly didn't owe him any explanation. Still, it would have been nice if she'd stuck around for her brother's sake.

Throwing a leg over the bike, it took only one kick to start the thing up. Bruce took his time on the return trip, knowing how much it would annoy the woman waiting down the driveway.

As he walked out of the gatehouse, things were humming and bumping their way through the motions. The hat was off and she'd let her hair down, the dark waves hanging loose around her shoulders. Music played over her radio and she had one arm draped out the open window, but Bruce wasn't buying the whole relaxed act—she was wound up tighter than a cat at a dog fight.

"Goodnight," he said gaily, as if they'd just had a friendly visit.

She kept her sights locked on the opening gate without saying a word. The raised middle finger was true to form, though.

Look at me, he silently willed. See me.

Damn. Where the hell had that come from? He scrubbed a hand down his face, thinking a lobotomy might be in order right about now.

She drew her arm in and started rolling forward once freedom was down to a matter of inches.

"I'll be watching," he shouted when she hit the gas and pulled away.

Her hand reappeared, the hundred-dollar bills tossed high in the air. The clump of cash separated and fell with a softly drifting hang time before being scattered by the tug of the Mustang's slipstream.

"Bitch," Bruce muttered, watching her taillights disappear down the driveway.

He spent the next ten minutes searching in the shadows for the unwanted money, all the while cursing her very existence.


Virginia returned to the gym and marched straight over to the two intruders mounted on the far wall.

Within seconds Dominique was at her side. "You still pissed at me?"

"Yes," she hissed, glaring up at the cameras.

They were right back where they had started the evening, the silent strain feeling like elastic being stretched to its limit and about to snap.

This time she was the one who caved. Determined not to let Mark come between them, she lowered her chin, took a deep breath, and turned her face to Dominique. "If you insist on having these safety patrols, they'll need proper training. Tell them to come in on Saturday morning at nine, and we'll spend a few hours teaching them how to restrain people without beating the crap out of them."

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Where stories live. Discover now