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𝙄 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙗𝙚 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢—𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙄’𝙫𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙚𝙡𝙩 𝙨𝙖𝙛𝙚𝙧…

𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘔𝘊 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮, 𝘐 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘐’𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮. 𝘈 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨.

𝘖𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦

𝗧𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴. 𝗗𝘂𝘁𝗰𝗵, 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘭. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝗥𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘧𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘪𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘪𝘮.

𝘐’𝘮 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮—𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘐 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘵. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘴 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦.

𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘐 𝘥𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘕𝘰 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭 𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯.

𝙈𝙮 𝙜𝙪𝙮𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥 𝙖𝙩 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙞𝙩.

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Ranger stepped in front of me and Dutch. “You need to understand that you have no control right now. You’re in no position to be making demands with anyone, much less us.”

That only made her grin. “A woman always has more control than men think. It’s why men are always toppled by a strong woman. It’s why men drive this world into the ground when women have the capability of making it better. More prosperous. Men do nothing but destroy. It’s the women that are tasked with building things back up.”

She stalked toward Ranger, standing onto her tiptoes just to get closer to his stone cold face.

“So, tell me,” she said as she pointed her finger directly against his chest, “do you really think I have absolutely no control?”

Ranger chuckled darkly. “Good. I’m glad you think that.”

She blinked. “And why’s that?”

He slapped her hand away before getting into her face. “Because the only sense of control you feel you have is because I’ve allowed you to have it.”

Naomi didn’t waver. “Then, prove it. If you think you’re so tough and so in control, then prove it.”

He tilted his head. “Says the woman who gets to roam around freely, yet hasn’t made one single move to leave.”

I looked over at Dutch, and even he had a blank stare on his face. It was like watching a goddamn train wreck, and we wondered who would get hit first.

Her, with her hand across his cheek. Or him, with his hand wrapped around her throat.

“Ranger?” I asked.

He straightened his back. “Now, go back downstairs to your little den of sin and--.”

Naomi took a step back and cleared her throat. “Your guards do three rotation changes every single day. One at ten. One at four. One at nine. They circle around the building counterclockwise before coming inside and doing rotations around each and every level twice, going in the opposite direction. Clockwise.”

“And?” Ranger asked.

That’s when Naomi smiled. “During the three changes, two things occur: one, the side door all the way at the end of the living room hallway that you guys think you have concealed is completely free from prying eyes for six minutes; and two, no one locks the front door.”

“What?” Ranger hissed.

“Not only that,” Naomi said as he held her finger in the air, “but no one comes down these basement steps. They check the door, but they never come down to check on me. That leaves me very vulnerable to the “attic” access in the closet-slash-kitchen down there that leads into the ductwork of the house. Did you know that the ductwork in this place is large enough to fit my hips? Interesting, how that works.”

Dutch grinned and I had to admit, I wanted to chuckle. She was smart as a fucking whip, and it was clear that her fiancée had taught her, in some ways, how to help herself.

But, Ranger was furious. “Go on, since you seem to want to show us all how smart you are.”

And Naomi took the bait. “Your evening crew doesn’t like keeping that kind of routine schedule, though. The two men that park their lazy asses on the porch don’t move for at least two hours at a time, which I don’t think is part of their hourly rotation. Plus, they never check the third floor. I don’t know how many times I’ve snuck up to the conference room and planned my escape by getting onto the roof that I know isn’t guarded and distracting those porch dwellers long enough to steal the car they keep unlocked in the driveway.”

I’d never seen that kind of anger on Ranger’s face. “Well, thank you for telling me exactly who I need to fire and what needs to be fixed.”

It was then that she turned her attention to Dutch. To the long, angular, dead-faced knife-thrower that stood as still as a statue at my side. My gaze dropped to her fingers, watching her wiggle her engagement ring off her hand. And as she held it out for Dutch, he opened his palm.

Before all three of us watched her drop it against his skin.

“Thanks for doing my dirty work for me. At least now I have answers,” Naomi said flatly.

Then, she turned her back to us, stumbled her tired ass back toward the basement, and slammed the door behind her.

Leaving the three of us shocked and rooted in our places.

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Read the FIRST CHAPTER today!

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Savannah Rylan is a romance writer that spends most of her time writing and reading with her cat, Gris. When not writing about sexy bikers and the women that love them, you can find her on the beach with a drink in her hand or at the gym testing out some strange new position. Yoga, obviously. She lives in Southern California with her husband and Gris, the true love of her life.

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