A Billionaire Alpha Romance

By: Olivia Thorne

1





Eve





My name is Eve Saunders. I’m an internet security expert and former hacker.

And I’m having a pretty shitty day.

Billionaire architect Grant Carlson seduced me, stole my phone, and hired me to track down a serial killer – in that order.

Then the killer lured me to a deserted art gallery before letting me go with a cryptic message.

I didn’t know why – until Grant revealed his secret hobby.

See, he’s not just an architect. He’s also a world-class cat burglar who takes stolen paintings from the thieves (or rich customers of thieves) who originally stole them. We’re talking Picassos, van Goghs, Vermeers – works of art worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

While he was burgling a house he’d designed years earlier, Grant stumbled across a couple of female captives being held in the mansion’s safe room. He freed the two women… and now the serial killer has a vendetta.

But it’s not just Grant he’s after.

He’s gunning for me, too.

Which is why he’s tracked both of us to Grant’s Manhattan penthouse.

If I thought I might die in the art gallery just hours before…

…now I’m pretty much convinced of it.





2





I’m standing in the almost-dark safe room with Grant, surrounded by works of art no one has seen for years.

I consider that the last thing I might see alive is a masterpiece by Rembrandt.

It’s not much consolation.

“You were foolish to think you could best me, Carlson,” Epicurus’s voice booms from somewhere in the penthouse. “You were unlucky enough to stumble onto my activities, but you should have walked away. No one takes what is mine away from me. NO ONE.”

Suddenly there’s the sound of gunshots, dim and far away.

“Oh my God!” I shriek.

“You’re going to pay for your lack of judgment,” the voice drones. “As is Ms. Saunders.”

“Time to go,” Grant says, a little too calmly considering the situation. He grabs my hand and pulls me out of the art gallery and into the corridor that houses the safe rooms.

“Where are we going?!” I ask, terrified. The gunshots have turned into the chatter of automatic weapon fire – submachine guns or Uzis or something.

They’re moving closer.

“We’re getting out of here,” Grant says as he presses another three panels nearby, and a second door opens in the wall.

“Do you think that’s Epicurus with the guns?”

“I severely doubt it,” Grant says as he pulls out a gigantic black duffel bag and secures it over his shoulder. “He likes torturing innocent women. Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who fights his own gun battles.”

“Then who is it?”

“Mercenaries, maybe? Who knows? But I’m not sticking around to find out.”

“But your security guys!”

A pained look flashes across Grant’s face. “I know. But they were all SEALs and Special Forces guys back in the day. If they don’t make it through this, there’s no way you and I are going to. Come on.”

He drags me down the corridor in the opposite direction from where we came, then bursts through a door into a small room I haven’t seen before. It’s the size of a large closet, and there are no doorways to connect the room to the rest of the penthouse. There’s nothing inside the room but ceiling-high glass windows, bare walls, and a single metal construction beam sticking out of the floor.

“What’s this?” I ask.

“The back way out.”

Grant slides some manual locks on one of the glass window’s frames, then swings it open to the side. Immediately a horrendous gust of wind almost blows me off my feet.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I scream.

He unzips the bag and takes out a body harness and a gigantic coil of thin, black rope. “Getting us out of here.”

I look out the window from a safe distance. I can see the tops of dozens of gigantic New York buildings all around us like a topographical map of brick and steel.

The wind is whipping through the tiny room like the beginnings of a tropical storm.

“No,” I gasp, realizing what he’s planning.

“Yup.”

Grant attaches a rock-climbing carabiner to a hole in the metal beam.

“But we’re, like, 100 floors above the ground!”

“Eighty-eight, to be precise,” he says as he puts on the body harness.

“How many feet is that?!”

“From here? About 1300.”

“You have 1300 feet of rope in there?!”

He latches some kind of handle to the rope and tests it by squeezing it. “How would I make it to the ground otherwise?”

“You planned this?”

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