Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

McKenzie turned to look at the real estate agent who had helped her sell the building. She was a nice woman in her early thirties, a woman who’d never had a hard day in her life. But then again, how did McKenzie know that? Just because the woman wore a pale blue suit and a small silver barrette in her hair, that didn’t mean she was as nice or as happy or as innocent as she looked. She could have a drawer — or a toybox — full of whips and chains in her apartment, and her fantasies could be of tying men up like dogs and making them bark.

Everyone had secrets. It was only a matter of time before others discovered them.

“With the profit I’ve made from this sale, I’ll be able to complete setting up the accounting firm I’ve been wanting to open for the past three years, since I finished my degree,” McKenzie replied.

Shirley laughed. “Accounting, huh? I wouldn’t have taken you for the type to sit behind a desk and pore over numbers all day long. As busy as you always are, how did you manage to complete a degree?”

Nosy woman, McKenzie thought, but that’s not what she said. “I started by taking night classes, then when my work here was more busy in the evening, I took classes at the community college in the day. It took some extra time, but I discovered I have a real knack for numbers.”

“Well, I say that you’re far too beautiful to hide in a windowless room,” the agent said with another laugh.

“Ah, but looks can be deceiving,” McKenzie told her with a wink. “And trust me, I will have plenty of windows. I like the freedom of opening them and feeling a breeze, even in this rainy area.” She handed the woman the keys and turned to lead them both to the parking area behind the building.

“Yes, looks aren’t always what they appear,” Shirley said.

That laugh again. It was delicate but oddly pointed. McKenzie began to think she might be right about Shirley. Not so innocent at all.

The two women made it to their cars, shook hands, and parted ways. As McKenzie drove off, she knew she wouldn’t have contact with Shirley again. She wasn’t a girl-bonding kind of gal. As a matter of fact, the only woman she’d become close to since she was a teenager was Jewell Weston. Or Jewell Knight, to use her new name.

It had taken McKenzie a while, but she’d now admit that Jewell was a friend. Most certainly. And she smiled at the thought, but her lips quickly turned down into a frown. When she’d met Jewell in that cold, rat-infested building last year, McKenzie had thought she’d been saving the young woman.

Had she known at the time that Jewell was so innocent — a virgin in fact, and an idealistic one — she never would have brought her to Relinquish Control. Luckily, it had all turned out well, for Jewell at least, since she was now married to a wonderful man — well, a recently changed and now wonderful man. Plus, Jewell was now three months pregnant, and McKenzie had never seen her happier.

Not only didn’t McKenzie get into girl bonding in the usual way, but she’d never been a baby type of gal, either. She’d never wanted to hold them, had never felt her biological clock ticking, and had never wanted a white picket fence, kids, pets, and the whole American Dream. Some said that made her abnormal. She chose to believe that it made her focused on what really mattered.

But she couldn’t deny that she was excited at the thought of meeting Jewell and Blake’s first child. He or she was surely going to be as beautiful as the two of them were. McKenzie had even found herself shopping with Jewell for baby clothes the week before.

They had run into Byron.

That memory sent a shudder through her just as she pulled up to a red light. She hit her brake pedal a little too hard, locking her seatbelt against her and making her unable to move for a moment.

“Byron Knight,” she growled.

That man had been running through her brain constantly for the past three months — hell, he’d taken up shop there — ever since the night he’d shown up at her door, accused her of ruining his brother’s life, kissed her senseless, and then disappeared as quickly as he’d come in.

She’d been furious when the whole disaster began, and she’d even lifted up her phone to call the police. When he started kissing her, her first impulse was to claw his eyes out. Then, after a few seconds, she’d melted against him. When he pulled back, the cocky look in his eyes — the arrogant bastard! — had made her claws come out again. But before she could strike, he was gone.

She hadn’t seen him again until last week, and the look in his eyes when their gazes collided had sent strange sensations traveling up and down her spine. Absurd. Why was this man even a blip on her radar, let alone at the controls of what she felt? And what were these feelings?

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