Locked In (Locked in Love) (Volume One): An Alpha Billionaire Romance (2 page)





My chest still tingles from where she hit me. With her tousled hair and furious expression, the woman who ran into me and then had the audacity to blame me also intrigues me. No, more than intrigue. My cock is now rock hard.


I don’t do belligerent and she’d been on the cusp of it. It made me want to clap her in handcuffs and spank the shit out of her. Of course, what had she said? Oh, right.
Ladies first
. I’d make her come first, punish her for her snarky mouth, and then make her come again. And again.


The police chief cleares his throat, disturbing my fantasy.


“Who was that?” I demand, not letting him start the conversation. I’d agreed to meet him at the station instead of making him come to me. That is the only compromise I am willing to make with the man.


I am hiring from him. He works for
. So if he thinks that just because we are in his office at his precinct’s going to give him an edge, he is sorely mistaken. No one gets an edge on me.


My ability to command all of my interactions is what makes me successful. The best at what I do.


It also makes me bored. Which is what has lead to my current adventure. Hiring security for my auction and fundraiser. Despite owning one of the most renowned security and safe companies in the world, I need fresh blood. Call it entertainment, really. Enter: Local police.


“I’m sorry about her, she’s a loose cannon--”


“I didn’t ask for an apology for her, Chief. I asked for her name.” I sit in front of him, uninvited, and cross my ankle over my leg, relaxed.


The Chief turns red. “Yes, yes, of course. Sorry. That’s Elise Martin, PI. She got caught up in a case of ours and--”


“Private investigator?”


“Yeah. She used to be a Detective but decided she was too good for us. Now she’s just a lousy snoop. It really pissed me off when she quit--”


“Was she any good? As a Detective?”


The Chief’s mouth moves with no sound for a second. I’ve caught him off guard with this conversation. Good. “Y-yeah,” he finally mutters, though he looks pained to admit it. “She was one of my best.”


“You shouldn’t have let her go, then,” I chide. “When I know someone’s the best, I don’t give them the opportunity to walk away.”


He shuffles some papers on the desk and tries to regain some footing. “So you called this meeting about what-- some extra security?”


“Yes. I’m hosting an auction. Jewels. The crowd will be large, they will be wealthy, and they will be expecting the protection equal to their status. Not to mention the goods themselves.”


“I’ll be honest, I’m surprised you’re asking me. Your business and reputation--”


I hold out my hands and put on a humble face. I’m not humble, but I know how to work people. Security isn’t just about protection-- it’s about analyzing people, too. Besides, he’s right. I don’t need him. What I need is the chance to test a few new safe prototypes.


I don’t want good security at this function.


I want an invitation for someone to attempt to steal from me.


But saying “I want your unqualified beat cops to fail to guard millions of dollars in jewels so I may see if my newest systems work” is not the best approach. So humility it is.


“Between you and me, I’ve overextended myself a bit. My own men are spread thin across the globe. I have the computer systems and electronic security, yes. But the people who are attending the event expect to see guards. And my computer systems can’t detect thieves in the crowd.”


Actually, they can, but he doesn’t need to know it.


“I’m afraid I don’t follow, Mr. Locke.”


“I’m saying I need a physical presence, and I need trained men--such as yours--to keep a watchful eye over my guests.”


His eyes narrow and I know he thinks he’s got me now. “Well, our department’s a little thin now, too. So to provide the men you’re looking for… that’s gonna cost.”


I give him a warm smile. “Of course, I expected as much. What were you thinking?”


He grabs a pen and pretends to jot down some figures. He’s going to high ball me. We both know I can afford whatever number he fires at me. “I think, considering the men’s training and expertise, we’re looking at… one hundred thousand.”


his high ball? That’s a steal and he doesn’t even know it. “Done,” I say, quickly enough to inspire doubt that he hadn’t aimed high enough.


“I’ll send over the details and paperwork,” I offer, standing to leave. “Oh, and one more thing. What is Miss Martin’s address?”


The Chief’s expression morphs from befuddled to scowl. “What do you need a PI for?”


My face becomes stony. “That’s my concern, Chief.”


“Take my advice, Mr. Locke. She’s way too much trouble.”


I’ve been playing nice so far. No longer. I square my shoulders and lean in, placing my hands wide on his desk. It puts me close to him, and he’s forced to lean back and look up at me. “Yet again you insist on giving me information I don’t ask for, while denying me what I did. Are you going to give me her address or not?”


His face is red and sweating, jowls trembling. “It’s against protocol to just hand out addresses.”


“Tell you what,” I smile, and this time it’s a wolf’s smile, “I’ll add in an extra fifty thousand to your fee and you can give me her address, or I can walk out of here and fucking Google it and you get no money.”


“Give me a sec to pull it up.”


“Good man.”


I stand up again, giving him space to work. I probably should have just searched it, but the Chief had worn me thin. Not to mention I’m feeling a lingering spite toward him for speaking to her so rudely.


As I wait, I picture her again. She was wearing a v-neck t-shirt, the vee showing an enticing amount of cleavage. It had been rumpled, like her trench coat. And fuck, those hips in those painted-on jeans. I wanted to sink my teeth into them. Even her cute, scuffed shoes.


She looked girl-next-door gorgeous in her adorable “private investigator” get up. But I knew she’d look ravishing in evening wear. And completely irresistible in rope and nothing else, her body bound and presented to me.


The Chief pressed a piece of paper in my hand and I left without thanking him.


The visions of Elise Martin were too delectable to let go of, so I handed the paper to my driver and did what I always do when I see something I want.


I go get it.







My rust bucket barely makes it to my apartment, which doubles as my office. It sputters, brakes shrieking in protest as I pull into my parking space.


I live in the dodgy end of town. When I got the place, it’s because I didn’t know any better. I’d just moved to the area. Now I stayed because it was all I could afford.


Except as I reached my door, a note was hanging from it. Rent was past-due. So maybe I can’t afford it, after all.


Crumpling the note and shoving it in my jeans, I let myself in. It’s a dump, but it’s clean and it’s home. My cat, Murphy, is lounging in the sunlight, streaming through one of the many windows. I love the light. All that glass doesn’t offer a lot of privacy, which I suppose makes the “p” in my job title a bit ironic. But it soothes me.


I shrug out of my trench and toss it on a chair-- one of only two in the main room. Two chairs, one for me and one for a client. A large, wooden desk-- my father’s before it was mine and probably the nicest thing I own. It’s mahogany, ornate and heavy. It was a fucking beast to get up the stairs when I moved in. I think that’s why I love it. It’s like my dad; steady and sure.


I’ve got a bedroom off to the side, a bathroom with a shower that only works half the time, and a kitchenette. Speaking of kitchen… I wonder if I have any food. Non-ramen food, preferably.


I’m kneeling down, digging in the cabinets, when a knock startles me. I hit my head. “Goddamn!”


Knocks only meant one thing, though. Business. Something I could desperately use. Brushing my hands down my front, I let my hair out of its ponytail and finger comb it on the way to the door.


Typically I don’t worry too much about appearance, but after my time at the station (fuck you, Chief), I was rocking a little too much of the hobo-chic.


Opening the doors, I plaster on a smile, hoping this would be worth it--


And nearly slam the door back shut when I see who’s on the other side.


The guy from the Chief’s office. Locke. Richest man in the area, Dalton had said. He still looks like sex and I can feel my body heating. But how in the hell did he find me?


As if reading my mind, he says “Chief gave me your address.”


“Pretty sure that’s illegal.”


“You’d know, not me.” He smiles and my heart flutters. He’d caught me in a bad moment at the station. I’d been a bitch to him and I knew it. I am trying to be a bitch now, but it is hard to when I want to lick from that angled jawline down to his jeans, then see whether it was true what they said about tall men with big feet.


A quick glance at his polished black shoes assures me I very much want it to be true.


“And why would I know?” I stand aside, though, and he saunters in like he owns the damned place. It should bother me, but instead I shiver. Apparently I need to get laid, because Locke shuts down all my better judgments, it seems.


“You’re an ex-Detective, right?”


Oh, thank you, Mr. Locke.
He’s prodding me, seeking to provoke me. The irritation cuts through my lusty fugue and I get a little clarity. “So not only did you intimidate him for my address, but you fleeced him for my info. What does a big, bad CEO want with a Private Investigator?”


He leans on my desk. It riles me in too many ways. Pissed that he’s so comfortable and at ease in my place while I feel like a scattered mess, and fuck, it makes me want him more because his body is phenomenal. I only got a hint in the Chief’s office.


Now the bright light from the windows casts him in silhouette and it’s obvious from the cut of his tailored suit that he works out. His arms are crossed in front of his chest, biceps bulging tight within the fabric. The suit’s matching gray pants are cut tight and this man does not skip leg day, his quads thick and taut.


“I have two propositions for you.”


“I don’t do propositions. I do jobs, Mr. Locke.”


“Just Locke.” It’s a command and I bite my lip. His eyes pierce me and my stomach quivers. “Fine. The first job is sex. I won’t pay you in anything but orgasms, but I promise to make each and every one of them the best in your life.”


I almost rock back, that’s how blown away I am. Who the hell does he think he is?


My temperature's rising. The problem is, it isn’t just because I’m angry. Paid in orgasms might not be dinner, but my stomach isn’t the only thing starving. I don’t want to admit how long this dry spell has gone on.


“What’s the second job, then?” My voice sounds huskier and he grins. Damn him, he knows exactly what he’s doing to me.


He shakes a finger. “Oh no. You only get the second job offer if you take me up on the first.”


I want to punch him. Right in his goddamn gorgeous face. I want to tell him to get the hell out, and tell him where he can stick his proposals, and--


I want to say yes.


Because, let’s face it-- I haven’t been laid in forever. And right now my pussy is heating to defcon five. That sultry, asshole look in his eyes promises to take it all the way past ten into eleven. Have you ever heard of defcon eleven? Neither have I, but damn, I’m jonesing to find out.


It’s creepy that he found my place, and the former Detective in me is making note. It says:
. Okay, noted. But most likely I’ll never see this guy again. He saw me in the Chief’s office, decided he liked what he saw. I can work with that. So long as I don’t have to work with


“Yeah, okay,” I say, gripping the bottom of my t-shirt and yanking it over my head. “I’ll accept. But you better pay up, buddy, or you’re in for a world of hurt.”



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