Locked In (Locked in Love) (Volume One): An Alpha Billionaire Romance (5 page)


The search engine has this nifty satellite imaging. I pinpoint the addresses on a map and zoom, zoom… zoom.




The three locations I have are, well, not what I would expect a man like Locke to own. One is a small utilities building next to a large power line strand. Another is a trailer in a county not known for being where the rich tend to dally. The final image shows nothing. Just land, but no buildings in sight.




I get a legal pad out and write the three addresses down, anyway. Might as well start a file on Jameson Locke. He might be my employer, but he was also my case; he’d said so himself. I jot down the headquarters of his business. Turns out he owns an entire block of buildings in the always-changing downtown area. His business is situated off Fayetteville Street Mall. Fancy.


My fingers fly over my keyboard as I try shifting the parameters of my search. Over and over I find more information on his business. Speculation on his personal life (playboy, go figure). Everything but his home address and--


Oh, what have we here?


His family. Everyone has family somewhere on the internet. Unless you’re in the witness protection program, there’s a high school record or a parking ticket or, in this case, an obituary that links you.


I’m now reading the obituary for James Locke, Senior. Moved here from England with his wife and son, he was a master locksmith. It makes me wonder if he changed his last name when he came Stateside. Though, if he did, choosing
for a locksmith wasn’t exactly inconspicuous.


I scribble more notes.


“Survived by his son, Jameson Locke, currently finishing up at boarding school--”


That’s something I can investigate later. My brother went to boarding school, too. There were plenty of them, but not so many that I can’t find an old student. But I don’t have time for that now. It’s almost night, and I’m supposed to be at his place the next day. Because it’s me, I’d like to get there earlier than he requested so I can scout some things out.


Finally, I give up. I could find it with more time. But the afternoon’s rousing adventures have left me tired and this weird mix of sated and aroused. The last part kills me. I’m going to need to work in some more social time, because my pussy has been wakened from a slumber.


It isn’t fair that when you finally scratch an itch, all it really does is make you aware that it’s been there all along.


I pick up my phone and hit the only speed-dial I have.


“Dalton here.” Lloyd’s voice sounds tired. I feel guilty; he’s off work by now, maybe eating with Gina. The job never really leaves you, doesn’t give you time off. I know. It’s why I still keep my phone charged at all times, even if no one’s calling.


“Hey, it’s Martin.”


This brightens his tone considerably. “Elise, I hear from you two times in one day? Lucky day.”


I smile. “I’m only calling because I have a favor.”


A pause, but only for a second. “What do you need?”


“An address. Jameson Locke.”


I hear him cough on the other end, with a little wheeze at the end that concerns me. “Are you crazy? I thought you didn’t like the guy.”


“Yeah, I don’t. But he’s going to pay me, so--”


“Wait, did he hire you for his thing?”


“Yep. You?”


“Chief’s signed us all up for overtime. Apparently he’s going to make it ‘worth our while,’ but I’ve heard that before.”


“Yeah, I’d ask how much of a bonus you’re getting up front.”


“That’s why the Chief never warmed to you, Martin. And I don’t know if I can just hand over an--” It was one of many reasons, but if an employee can’t call out her boss on some shit, well, that’s not a great working environment anyway.


“Address? If you’re worried, just know that he pried mine from the Chief, so this is just a little pay-backsy. And if you’re working it, it isn’t like it’s a state secret.”


I can hear him give up on the other end. Dalton never could stand if I put even the least amount of pressure on him.


He rattles off the address and I thank him profusely before hanging up.


It’s not an area I know well. Closer to RTP, just on the outskirts of Cary. I do know the zip code means money, which isn’t surprising, but makes me feel better about the address. Most likely we won’t all show up at a shack in the middle of nowhere for whatever kind of laugh Locke’s trying to get it in.


Feeling pretty good about the promise of a padded bank account, I realize I’m going to need to find a shower before I show up for a ritzy auction.


Frowning, I gather some stuff to head over to the local YMCA. I don’t have a membership there, but when I was still a detective I managed to catch an employee skimming the books. Apparently that employee didn’t get the “C” part of the job. Ever since then, they’d let me work out from time to time on a pay-as-I-could basis.


Digging in my laundry, I find two crumpled dollars. That’s a dollar menu item and a dollar for the shower.


Private Investigation? Clearly glamorous.







“She’s here, sir.” My personal assistant, Ben, who doubles as my butler, interrupts my work.


There is a heap of work to be done before tonight and Elise’s arrival was the only reason he should disturb me. In front of me are lists of the items I’ve either already received or will be before the end of the afternoon.


Most of the jewels are standard. Enormous sapphire necklaces. A gold necklace from a French King’s court. Two rings with signets of kings. There are smaller pieces that have less history, less gold, less precious stones. Those are for warming the audience up. The highlight of the evening, and the reason over one hundred families from around the globe are coming to my home in Raleigh, is the Kane Ruby.


The Kane Ruby. Recently relinquished by a museum, it is trusted into my keeping and auction. The proceeds will help save the museum’s other collections. Weighing in at an impressive thirty five carats, the Burmese ruby has been cushion-cut and set in a ring of 24-carat gold, embraced by two one-carat diamonds. The stone was discovered in the 1930’s, the ring itself made in 1948. It’s stunning, a piece of art.


It is also valued at seven and a quarter million dollars. Because it’s been in a museum’s care for so long, it’s release back into the market is


Currently it is in my newest safe, the
Locked Titanium
. Tonight is it’s big test.


You know how large corporations hire hackers to try and break into their mainframes and databases? Well, I do that for my safes.


Tonight, there will be three different thieves that would be world-renowned… if the world knew about them, all trying to break into the safe. Should they successfully crack it, I’ll pay them more than the ruby is worth.


How do I know about the thieves? Well, the world of art and jewels is exceptionally small. The world of thieves and forgers microscopic. And with my kind of money and contacts? I am able to straddle them both.


“Sir, she’s climbing the fence.” Ben manages to sound amused and annoyed at the same time.


“I’m coming.” Looking over the papers, we’re only short three shipments. I’ve been assured the armored trucks are en route for delivery, so now I just need to arrange the final details of the auction.


I need to arrange Elise where I want her.


There’s a throb in my cock. Last night I dreamed of her. Her plump, large hips under my hands, her pussy wet, waiting for me, that gorgeous and full mouth of hers in an “O” of ecstasy--


The woman is climbing my fence, trying to break into my home, and all I want is to fuck her until she’s screaming my name.


I think of how readily she was willing to let me push her in her office. My dick is hard as a crowbar now. Imagination has always been a strong suit of mine. I can picture her tied up, the ropes biting into that plump flesh, forcing her to be open and ready for me--


“Sir,” Ben is still amused and irritated, but now his frustration is directed at me. “She’s approaching the inner fence.”


“Is it turned on?”


“You never asked me to turn it off.”


“Fuck,” I curse and start running, Ben on my heels. I have several panels for my security throughout my home. All of them are hidden and only Ben and I know the full sequence to dismantle them.


Rushing to a Picasso, I push it aside quickly. There’s a monitor behind it. It shows Elise standing in front of the electric fence, her hand outstretched, hovering. Jesus, if she touches it, that’s 5,000 volts she’s not expecting. Quickly my fingers type in the code to grant me access.


My heart is pounding and I’m afraid I won’t be there in time--


Why is she hesitating?


There’s an audible click as the switches are released. “So help me God, Ben, if she fries--”


Elise grins and moves to grab the fence. Her fingers connect as I flip the switch for the electric fence and my eyes are plastered to the screen, waiting to see her body hurled back from the shock.


Instead, she locks her hand on and begins testing the weight limit of the fence.


I’m the one who’s shocked. I know I didn’t make it in time.


“Crisis averted, Sir,” Ben chuckles from behind me.


I casually check my other systems. Nothing that could harm Elise is online. If I’d had taken a moment, I’d have seen it, but there hadn’t been a moment. I turn to face Ben.


His blond hair is buzzed close. I’m tall, over six-three, but he’s
. A mammoth at six foot six and two hundred fifty pounds of muscle. We found each other at boarding school, and then reconnected after he finished with the Army.


Ben is the only person I trust in the world. He’s also the only person I wouldn’t kill for this kind of prank.


“You son of a bitch,” I growl.


He shrugs but his shoulders are still shaking with laughter. “After all you said about this girl last night, I just assumed you wouldn’t want her dead.”


My gaze darkens and my fists clench. “I didn’t say anything except that she was coming over and to please inform me when she arrives.”


“That’s more interest in a girl than you’ve shown, well, ever.”


Glowering at him, I look back at the monitor. Sure enough, Elise is scaling the fence. The little minx is breaking into my property. Apparently she decided when she left the PD behind she also left the law behind.


A tiny grin tugs at the corners of my mouth.


“Are her things ready?”


“You know they are. You checked three times this morning.”


I slide the painting back in place. Picasso isn’t really my thing, but it impresses my guests.


“You’re testing me, Ben.” It’s time to find Elise before she gets into too much trouble. I’m pissed off at Ben, but not enough to do anything about it. Let him poke his fun. He only does it because while I’m also his employer, I’m his friend. We look out for each other. “See to the police when they show up, please.”




Stalking through the halls of my large home, my hand rakes through my hair. Ben’s prank isn’t really a bad one. I just don’t like being called out, and I especially don’t like that I’m showing too much interest in the curvy private investigator.


She’s in the garden. Slowing my stride, I’m able to watch her, sheltered by a column.


Elise is in a similar uniform to what she wore yesterday. Her trench coat is open and wrinkled, a navy color that highlights the piercing blue of her eyes. Her brown hair is down, and it’s lighter than I thought. The sunlight catches it and it is closer to a champagne color, shimmering in soft waves down her back.


Yesterday my fist was wrapped in that hair and now it itches to grab it again.


She bends over to look at large, pink bloom. My eyebrow shoots up. The garden is one of those luxuries, like the Picasso, I have to impress guests. What she’s looking at, though, is its crown jewel.


A camellia, the Middlemist Red. In my chest, my heart beats a little quicker. I don’t know if it is because I’m afraid she’ll recognize the flower, or if it is because bent over like that, I can see down the “v” of her shirt and she’s not wearing a bra.


One of her large nipples peeks at me from this view and that’s it-- I need her. Now.


I open the glass door that leads to this section of garden and greenhouse. Immediately Elise bolts up as if she were caught with her hand in the cookie jar.


“Mr. Locke--”


“Just Locke.” Mr. Locke was my father. The name had been important to him. I wanted to let him keep it.


She huffs, her cheeks blooming the same deep crimson as the flowers she was just so enthralled with. “Locke. Nice place you have here.”


It is a nice place. Over twenty thousand square feet, it’s considered modest for a man of my wealth. But I prefer multiple properties. I have places all over. It seemed silly and extravagant to build any larger than I already did, seeing as I’m not here all year.


And I share the home with no one.


“I see you found it easily,” I offered, not mentioning how she bypassed the front door or that she was over an hour early.


Her hands tugs at the hem of her shirt, which in turn exposes the top parts of her breasts. Creamy white flesh beckons to me.


“It was no problem,” she retorts casually. She’s testing me. I recall our phone conversation from yesterday. How dead-set she is on busting me. Elise is here to try and discover all my secrets. Let her try. Others have in the past and those who came close? I buried them.


Yet as I beckon to her, guiding her through the door I’m holding with a hand on her lower back, I get a thrill. There’s something about this girl that’s different. She’s sexy as hell, and Jesus, she has a smart mouth on her.


I wonder if this is what she feels like, being faced with my mystery. A burning need to keep digging, to find out what makes me special. Because I sure as hell feel it for her, and that’s a distraction that makes things complicated. Dangerous.


But hey… maybe I need a little danger?


As we walk through my home to my office, I love how her eyes dart all around. Collecting. Her face is serious and calm as she catalogues my things.


More important, she’s wearing those jeans again. I trail behind her a moment, glancing at her gorgeous, round ass. Elise has curves that dance as she walks. The softness of her body works beautifully with her sharp mind.


By the time we reach my office, I can’t keep my hands off her.


As she goes through the doorframe, I grab Elise’s hips in my hands, pushing her face-front against the doorframe. My hard cock is pressed between her asscheeks, rubbing back and forth.


I bring my mouth to her ear, grinding myself on her. “There’s a price for breaking in, Miss Martin.”


One hand releases her hip and slides up, under her shirt, to grab her bare breast. The nipple is already hard and I roll it between my fingers until she gasps.


The list of things I need to do to prepare for tonight is monstrous. This is a distraction I hadn’t planned on.


But I hadn’t planned on Elise Martin ensnaring my interests, either.


Roughly, I shove her into the office and shut the door behind us.

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