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Dirty Ledger
Author: Alta Hensley

 

DARK PEN SERIES BOOK TWO

 

 

By

Alta Hensley & Livia Grant

 

 

She made two mistakes.

The second one was calling me for help.

 

 

You never want to come face to face with me.

I’m the one the elite trust with their dark secrets.

The one who cleans their dirty mistakes and hides their sinister deeds.

She came to me, vulnerable and alone, unaware she was just a pawn in a vicious game.

The harder she struggles, the tighter I hold her.

Dangerous. Deadly. Possessive.

I will keep her safe from anyone who dares to harm her… from everyone except me.

I will use her secrets to claim her.

I am both the villain and the savior in this story.

Yet no one will save her from me.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

ROWAN

 

 

As the taxi pulls into the portico of The Whitney, my friend Laura makes one last-ditch effort to change my mind. “You sure you don’t want to come back to my house? We could keep the party going?”

I love Laura dearly, but spending time at her place also means spending time with her older brother, James, and that is a hard no.

“I’m tired,” I lie, and I’m sure she knows it. It’s barely after one in the morning, which is an early Saturday night for us. I feel a little guilty, so I offer an olive branch. “Call me tomorrow when you get up. We can go to Sunday brunch. My treat.”

“Fine,” she mutters, pouting. “But I totally know the real reason you’re ditching me. There are worse things than marrying my brother you know. It would make us real sisters,” she says as the doorman opens the door next to me.

I turn to her and give her a hug before looking into her eyes. “You’re already like my sister, and for the last time, I’m not marrying your brother. He isn’t my type.”

She giggles, still tipsy from the drinks we pounded at the last club. “I hate to tell you, but your parents will disown you if you try to marry one of the guys that are your type.”

She isn’t wrong, but that’s a problem for another day.

“Whatever. Bye!” I call out to her before heading through the door.

The lobby is nearly empty at this hour, and I’m relieved by the calm as I step out of the revolving door. In the distance, I hear the music coming out of the lobby bar. Glancing at the time on my phone, I see it’s already one-fifteen. They’re only a few minutes from last call.

It’s a long shot, but I divert in the direction of the music. The last thing I need is more booze, but I wouldn’t mind bumping into the sexy-as-hell friend of the owners of the hotel, Katja Belov and Dex Cohen. I’ve tried several times to get Katja to set us up, but for some unknown reason she refuses, which of course only makes me that much more interested in him.

The click-click of my high heels echoes through the three-story grand lobby of the hotel I’ve lived in for the last six months. If it were up to me, I’d never move out. I love everything about living at The Whitney—from the location, to the amenities, to having an entire staff of people at my beck and call twenty-four seven.

But move out day has been set, thanks to my father pulling the plug on my hotel funding at the end of the month. He hasn’t minded paying for me to stay in the city over the summer while my parents ‘roughed it’ out at The Hamptons, but now that they’re back in our newly remodeled townhouse less than a dozen blocks away, he’s balking at footing the bill for my continued independence, even though I have pointed out it’s a lot cheaper than a loft of my own.

The lights are dim in the opulent bar, but as I scan the nooks and crannies of the space, disappointment sets in. It was a long shot.

The cute guy with the tats and muscles doesn’t spend much time in the public areas of the hotel. Hell, the only thing I’ve learned about him from some of the housekeepers willing to gossip with me is that they call him Z. I haven’t even been able to find out what the Z stands for yet. We’ve done little more than exchange small talk, but the way my pulse shoots up when he’s around, I’ve been hoping we might get to know each other a bit better—in my bed, between my sheets.

I sigh, spinning to head toward the elevator bank but I run smack into another guest standing right behind me.

“Oh, I’m sorry about that,” I apologize, taking a step to my left just as he takes a step in the same direction. We both chuckle.

“Want to dance?” he asks.

I glance up to see a dark haired, tan man leering down at me. I can’t put my finger on it, but my spidey sense activates.

“Sorry,” I answer. “I’m all danced out for the night.” It’s the truth and I’m anxious to get my feet out of these shoes.

“Oh? You didn’t have fun tonight at Club Paradise?” he asks, moving even closer instead of letting me pass.

“Oh, I had fun— wait… were you there?” I ask, knowing I would have remembered seeing a man with a wicked scar like he has over his right eye.

“Naw, not tonight.”

“Then… how did you…” Internal alarm bells start to go off.

He reaches out, boldly laying his hand on my arm. “I follow you on IG. Loved the pictures of you and your friends tonight. I was kinda hoping you’d post another video of you ladies grinding against each other like you did last weekend.”

The skin where he’s touching me starts to crawl as his mouth forms a predatory smile. I may not be A-list famous, but I have more than enough online followers to be considered a powerful influencer on social media. Still, this man isn’t my typical follower. I doubt he’s interested in my make-up and fashion advice or photos of the cuisine I sample around NYC.

Yanking my arm out of his grasp, I try to recover. “I’m sorry I bumped into you. Have a nice night.”

Stepping around him, I hurry across the lobby, determined to get to the elevator and then behind the closed door of my suite. He has me rattled.

I wave at the front desk agent as I walk past, using the opportunity to glance over my shoulder to make sure I’m not being followed. When I get to the elevator bank and have the lift to myself, I take a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves as the doors whisper shut.

By the time I step off the elevator on the sixth floor, I sigh with relief at escaping the stalkerish guy in the lobby bar.

My cell is in my hand as I approach my door and I love that an app on my phone acts as my electronic key since I go nowhere without my phone. Pushing open the door, I see the soft lighting the turn-down housekeeper left on when they touched up my room while I was out.

I’m just reaching down to take my shoes off my aching feet when I hear the door behind me hit something soft instead of banging closed like normal. I don’t even get the chance to turn around before arms encircle me from behind, squeezing me so tight it knocks the air out of my lungs.

The door finally bangs shut just as I recognize the same chuckle I heard a few minutes ago in the bar.

Fight or flight instincts take over and the self-defense moves I learned in high school PE come to life. I lift my foot to stomp down on my attacker and then fight to turn my body so I can slip from his grasp, but it fails.

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