Home » , , , , , » The First Shockwave: (The Billionaire Guardian's Aftermath Book 1) (A Billionaire Romance) by Leydy Otero

The First Shockwave: (The Billionaire Guardian's Aftermath Book 1) (A Billionaire Romance) by Leydy Otero

Cassandra Preston eyed her sister with mixed feelings. While she was happy that Camille would get a semblance of escape from her memories, she was sad to see her go and worried that she was taking off on her own.
The First Shockwave: (The Billionaire Guardian's Aftermath Book 1) (A Billionaire Romance)
The First Shockwave: (The Billionaire Guardian's Aftermath Book 1) (A Billionaire Romance) by Leydy Otero
“Relax Cas, I’ll be gone for one week. You’re looking at me as if I’m being shipped off to war for a year.” Cassandra sent her an annoyed look as they shuffled forward in the check-in line. “Well, excuse me for being concerned about my baby sister. You’re going to a strange country on your own.” “I’m going to a small island in the Caribbean for goodness sake. What could possibly go wrong in a tropical paradise?” With a snort, Cassandra responded, “A lot can go wrong, especially if you take your borderline crazy best friend’s advice.” Camille giggled. “Melissa means well.” “You had better not hook up with some random guy, Cam.” “Alright, mom.” Rolling her eyes, Cassandra stepped aside and waited for her sister while she checked in. She glanced around the airport, watching travellers rush from one point to the other. She wished she could get away for a week too. It had been a while since she took a little time for herself. “I’m way overdue for a vacation,” she said as Camille joined her. “You should totally run off with me,” Camille suggested. “Think how much fun we would have prancing around Martinique together.” Camille sighed, “Plus, I’m really not feeling this solo getaway. I’ll be alone with my miserable thoughts.” Her dismayed expression tugged at Cassandra’s heart. “I’m sorry honey, about everything.” “I’m sure I’ll get over it soon. Tons of women get ditched on their wedding day, right?” Camille tried to force out a smile but failed. “Er, right. It happens.” Cassandra shuffled uncomfortably causing Camille to laugh. “Come on, time for me to go.” They walked quietly toward the security check line. “I guess this is it,” Cassandra said. “You’re off to paradise and I will be stuck here working.” “You seriously need to spice up your life, sis. The one you are leading is a complete bore fest.” Cassandra scowled, “Hey, I have feelings you know.” “Sorry but it’s true. Although, maybe you’re doing the right thing, you definitely won’t get your heart broken. Anyway, I’ll let you know when I land.” “Okay, stay safe and I love lots.” She pulled Camille into an embrace. “I love you too. See you in a week.” Cassandra watched as Camille disappeared. She let out a breath. Her sister thought she led and uneventful life with the absence of romance. Her lips curled into a mirthless smile. If only Camille knew that she was indeed seeing someone secretly. Secret romances were, by far, the most exciting. She has always let Camille and the rest of the world view her as a grounded and no-nonsense woman when, in fact, she was much more than that. Spinning on her heels, she exited the building and strolled to the parking lot. Sliding into her car, she sat for a few seconds, reflecting on the events of the past few days. Things had gone from exciting, getting ready for a wedding to utter misery. Her sister’s fiancé ditching her at the church was not something she had seen coming. “What a mess,” she muttered. Her cell rang out and she dipped into her handbag to fetch it. It was Melissa, Camille’s best friend. “Hi Mel.” “Hey, Cas. Has she left?” “She hasn’t taken off yet, but she has checked in.” “How was she?” Melissa’s voice was filled with concern. “I really wanted to see her off, but couldn’t get off from work.” “She was much better this morning. There was no crying. I think her tear ducts dried up,” Cassandra added with a deep sigh. “She’ll be fine, as long as she takes my advice and find a Caribbean hunk to have a fling with.” Cassandra scowled, “I can’t believe you gave her such ludicrous advice. Although, I would like to think that my sister has her head on her shoulders and will choose to disregard everything you suggested.” Melissa giggled, “Come on Cas, you have to admit that it would work. A sexy man can help me get over heartbreak any day.” Cassandra grunted. “How did you and my sister get so close? You have nothing in common.” “Opposites attract,” Melissa drawled. “Yeah, good bye, Mel,” Cassandra said sweetly. She hung up the phone and shook her head in amazement. She had to admit that Melissa had a point. What better way to get over a man that to find an even hotter one. With a smirk, she started the car and drove off. An hour later, she stepped into her living room and threw her handbag down on a table. “What to do with the rest of my day?” She had no clue what to do on a Monday afternoon because she was so used to being at work. I might as well get a little studying done. She was on her way to a master’s degree in education. Locating her laptop, she flipped it open but was quickly interrupted by her phone. She sighed and reached for it. “Hello?” “Cassandra?” Her heart instantly turned to ice. “Lucas?” “Uh yeah, it’s me.” She scoffed. He had some nerve calling her. “What the hell do you want?” A few seconds of silence preceded his reply. “Is Camille around? I have been calling her to no avail.” Seething, Cassandra asked, “What makes you think she even wants to talk to you? I thought you were a smart man Lucas, it seems I was wrong.” “Look I just want to talk to her, to apologize.” “I would say you are way beyond that point. Her wedding day? Seriously Lucas? Didn't you realize that you still had the hots for your ex before the wedding day? Disappear Lucas, forever.” She move to hang up but heard him shout out. “Cas wait!” Reluctantly putting the phone back to her ear, she bellowed. “What?” “I need to speak with her it’s very important. Tell her to answer her phone, please.” She frowned at his urgent tone. “I’m afraid you won’t get her until next week. She is not in the country. She went on what was supposed to be your honeymoon.” “Shit,” Lucas mumbled. “Goodbye, Lucas.” “If you talk to her just tell her to be careful,” he rushed out. Cassandra ended the call but his words were not lost on her. Why would Lucas express so much concern? If he had cared so much, he never would have behaved the way he did toward Camille. She nibbled her lower lip, pondering his words. Shrugging it off, she decided that it was just his guilty conscience riding him. “Serves the bastard right.” She shifted her attention back to the laptop and delved into her piled up course work. A constant beep seeped into her sleep hazed mind. She jumped up and looked around frantically. “Crap, I fell asleep.” So much for school work, she mused. She doubted she had worked ten minutes before oozing off. Picking up her phone she saw that it was a message from her sister. With a smile, she opened the message. Camille had landed safely and was at her hotel. Cassandra texted her reply. I’m glad you’re okay honey. Please be careful. Stay safe and text often. She hesitated wondering if she should let Camille know that Lucas had called. “Probably not a good idea.” She hit send and waited. For goodness sake, Cas you told me to be careful a Million times before I got on the damn plane. I got the message the first fifty times. Stop worrying. Love you. Cassandra rolled her eyes, but smiled at her sister’s snippy response. “Whatever,” she muttered. She supposed she really should stop worrying. Chapter Two Cassandra wrapped her towel around herself when the door bell rang. “Shoot, just when I’m about to get into the shower.” Padding to the living room, she peered through the peephole and then swung the door open. “Tom.” “Hello, gorgeous.” She stared at the very good-looking blond giving her a heated stare. He frowned. “You don’t seem too happy to see me.” “No, it’s not that.” She looked around swiftly and grasped his arm to pull him inside. “You should have called.” Pulling her into an embrace, he planted a kiss on her lips. “Why do I have to call my woman before paying her visit?” She pursed her lips, “What if someone notices your car parked in front of my house?” He shrugged, “It wouldn’t be a problem to me.” She stepped out of his arms. “Well, have you thought of what a problem it would be for me?” He hung his head and let out a groan. “Cas, we have been seeing each other for four months now its full time we went public.” Cassandra’s eyes widened. “Are you insane, Thomas? You’re my supervisor. Principals are not supposed to be romantically involved with their teachers.” She would die of embarrassment if anyone got wind of their relationship. She still wasn’t sure how she had ended up in a relationship with him. The attraction was present between them when she had started working at the public school three years prior. But they had both resisted their urges until four months ago when they met up at an out of state conference. Falling into bed with Thomas had not been a part of her plans. Now, they couldn’t stay away from one another or rather Thomas could stay away from her. Thomas sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “This is frustrating. I don’t see a problem with our relationship.” Snorting, Cassandra replied, “Oh, really? I see a whole lot of problems. Isn’t it a conflict of interest or something?” “So what if it is? If two people are in love, nothing should keep them apart.” Cassandra froze. Love? She wasn’t sure how to feel about Thomas’s words? “Y-you love me?” He blinked, as if he hadn’t realized he had spoken the words out loud. Averting his gaze, he rubbed his neck uncomfortably. “Uh, I do.” Her sharp intake of breath resounded in the room. “Oh, wow. Thomas, I-” A finger placed on her lips stopped her. “You don’t have to respond to that just yet, no pressure.” Thank God. She was well aware that she wasn’t in love with Thomas. She liked him a lot and they had great times together, but she didn’t feel the spark that everyone gushed about. Thomas didn’t make her stomach flutter or her heart skip a beat. He was just… nice to be around. She stifled a sigh, wishing she could feel for him what he felt for her. She had assumed she could fall in love with him before they had started seeing each other because the attraction was there. It seemed now that the intrigue of crushing on one’s boss from afar had worn off. She nibbled her lip. “Okay, no pressure,” she mumbled. Maybe love will come in time, she thought. Why wouldn’t it? Thomas was the perfect man for settling down and stating a family with. He smiled and shrugged, “I suppose conducting a few private rendezvous is rather exhilarating.” “I suppose,” Cassandra said grinning. He was right. She reveled in breaking the rules for once in her life. Her secret affair added excitement to an otherwise lackluster life. She watched him as he took steps toward her. “You know, when you answer your door in nothing but a towel, it does things to a man’s…mind.” Batting her eyelashes innocently, she asked, “Whatever do you mean, Mr. Hughes?” “How about I show you, Ms. Preston?” She stumbled forward when he took her hand and gave a gentle tug. Falling against his chest, she tilted her head upward, waiting for his lips to make contact with hers. Her eyes fluttered closed as his mouth moved smoothly, prying her lips apart. Thomas pulled back to gaze down at her. “Bedroom,” he whispered. She turned and headed to her bedroom with Thomas following closely behind. “I missed you today.” He proceeded to undo the fold of her towel, allowing it to fall to the ground. “There was no gorgeous blond for me to steal glances at and fantasize about office sex.” Cassandra giggled. “I hope I can make it up to you.” She began to undress him. Removing his last stitch of clothing, she stood on the tip of her toes to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him with fervor. She was pushed toward the bed until the back of her thighs hit the mattress causing her to fall backward. She watched him pick up his pants to remove a metal pack and sheath himself. Thomas positioned himself between her thighs. Looming over her, he whispered, “I really do love you, Cas.” “Tom-” He pushed into her, cutting of her statement. With a gasp she arched into him, her nails digging into the skin of his arms. She closed her eyes, so he wouldn’t see the uncertainty and worry in her eyes. She wanted to have true love and she wanted to have it with Thomas. But, she couldn’t help the nagging doubt in the back of her mind. * The buzz of her alarm clock brought Cassandra abruptly awake. Reaching over to the night stand, she silenced it and sat up. She glanced down at Thomas still asleep beside her. “Oh no Tom, wake up.” She shook him awake. “Hmmm?” He rolled over and reached for her. Avoiding his groping hands, she said, “Get up damn it. You were supposed to leave before the sun came up.” “Calm down, Cas,” he moaned. “Don’t tell me to calm down. Someone is going to pass by and see your car.” Thomas sat up and sighed. “Am I the only one in the world with a silver BMW?” “No, but this is small town Norton, Tom. You have to go now.” He roared in frustration. “I can’t believe I’m being kicked out of my lover’s house,” he grumbled, clambering out of bed. He dressed with jerky, angry movements. “What are we teenagers?” Cassandra covered her face with her hands and let out a huff. “I’m sorry, Tom. I’m just trying to avoid the backlash of anyone finding out about us. Please, don’t be angry.” He turned to her with a scowl, but didn’t comment. He scooped up his car keys from the night stand and marched out. “Tom! Come on, don’t be like that!” She winced when the front door slammed. “Real mature,” she grumbled, swinging her legs over the bed. Of course, he had every right to be angry. She sighed and got up, dragging her feet to the bathroom. She rushed through the door a short while later with her phone held up to her ear, supported by her shoulder. “Hold your horses, Lauren. I’m coming.” She listened as her friend and co-worker berated her for being late. Cassandra stopped, feeling something warm on her chest. She looked down and let out a groan. In her mad rush, she hadn’t closed her coffee mug properly. Her blouse was soaked with the dark liquid. “Damn it! Lauren just be quiet and sit tight. I’ll be there soon.” Marching back inside, she threw down her handbag and books and marched back to her room. She stopped to take a deep breath. The incident with Tom had thrown her morning off. “Okay, get it together, Cas.” She quickly changed. But, she wasn’t able to get Tom’s expression out of her mind. He had been livid when he rushed out. She hoped she could successfully avoid him for the rest of the day. Cassandra came to a stop in front of Lauren’s apartment complex and watch as she sauntered to the car. Her red bob bounced with as much energy as her vibrant personality. “You’re late,” Lauren stated, sliding in. “Sorry, I um… overslept.” “Ooh eventful night?” She asked wiggling her eyebrows. Cassandra rolled her eyes. “Alright, I confess, I didn’t oversleep. Thomas and I had a little tiff this morning and it just messed up my Zen.” Lauren gasped, “He spent the night again?” “Yeah.” Lauren was the only who knew about her relationship with their supervisor. Cassandra had not been able to hide it from her dearest friend for too long. The woman could always tell when Cassandra was being less than honest with her. “He didn’t leave before it got light out. I freaked and he got pissed.” Lauren grimaced, “Oh no, trouble in paradise. I’m sorry honey. I hope you two work it out.” “That’s the thing, Lauren. We’ll get over it and then it will happen again because he wants to go public and I’m uncomfortable with it.” “Well, you didn’t expect getting down and dirty with our principal would be easy, did you? Did I not warn you?” “You did.” But, it had seemed so exciting when it all first started. “Do you think I should end it?” “I can’t give you my input this time, Cas. That is all up to you. You have to sit and have a good chat with yourself and then him. My lips are sealed.” Cassandra sniffed, “Your lips, sealed? That’s a first.” “Hey!” Lauren delivered a mocking glare. Cassandra’s smile faded when she noticed that a black 4x4 that had been behind her since she left her block, made the same right turn. She couldn’t see the driver of the vehicle due to the dark tint of the window. Her brows furrowed. Was she being followed or was she just being paranoid? She glanced in her rearview mirror again. The vehicle wasn’t one she had seen in her area before. “Hello? Earth to Cassandra.” “Huh?” “Where did you just go? You didn’t hear anything I said, did you?” Lauren asked, annoyed. “Sorry, I got distracted.” “Thinking about your lover?” “Uh, yeah, let’s go with that,” Cassandra murmured. She didn’t want to say anything about them possibly being followed and get Lauren worked up. She was the biggest drama queen, Cassandra knew, even more so than Melissa. “What were you saying?” “I was asking how your sister is doing after that ass hole, Lucas Carrington humiliated her.” Cassandra scowled. That wasn’t a subject she wanted to discuss. “Camille is fine. She’s living it up in the Caribbean. Can we drop the subject?” Lauren pouted, “Fine. I was only concerned.” “I know hon. But I’m sure I will be getting a million more “How is your sister” before the day ends.” “That Lucas is the devil, handsome, but a devil. He’s a handsome devil,” Lauren finished with a giggle. Cassandra shot her an irritated glance. “You sound like a fan.” “Hey just because the guy is a no good jerk, doesn’t mean I have to ignore the fact that he’s hot.” Rolling her eyes, Cassandra turned into the school parking lot. “Whatever.” She checked her mirror for any sign of the 4x4. She let out a breath when it drove past without slowing down. I was just imagining things. Lauren let out an exaggerated sigh, catching her attention. “What’s your problem?” “I’m already exhausted just thinking about keeping up with a class of kindergarteners.” Cassandra chuckled, “I guess I should feel fortunate that my second graders can keep still a little longer than your five-year olds. Look on the bright side, there’s only seven more hours to go.” She laughed harder when Lauren groaned and reluctantly slid out of the car. Chapter Three Cassandra strolled down the hallway. She was ready for another day of work and glad that the week was almost finished. Pushing the door to the teacher’s lounge open with her shoulder, she stepped in, balancing her hand bag, coffee and several books and folders. She stopped abruptly when she saw who occupied the room and turned to quietly leave. Please don’t let him see me. “Not so fast, Ms. Preston,” Thomas drawled. Damn. She turned around, forcing out a smile. “Good morning, Mr. Hughes.” “Are you going to stand at the door all morning?” Cassandra’s shoulders drooped as she approached a table close to where he was seated. “How are you-“she glanced around, making sure they were alone, “Tom.” His brows were knitted as he studied her sternly. “I’m rather pissed, actually. You have managed to dodge me for two days.” “I have not. We spoke last night.” He motioned for her to sit. “I’m not satisfied with just phone conversations, Cas. This is about what happened two days ago I’m sure.” She opened her mouth to speak but he held up a hand. “Look, I’m over it. I’m sorry I got so angry and stormed out.” She sighed, “It’s alright, Tom. You had every right to be angry.” She shifted uncomfortably. “This isn’t the place to talk.” She stood up, and reached for her things. “Aren’t you going to have your coffee? That is what you came in here for, isn’t it?” She smiled. He was aware of her morning routine, of taken at least ten minutes to have a cup of coffee and relax her mind. “Don’t leave on my account.” He sauntered toward her and bent down to graze his lips across hers. She gasped, “Tom, what are you doing?” He grinned, “It’s pretty obvious what I’m doing.” He went in for another kiss and she ducked under his arm, springing to her feet. Straightening her blouse, she shot him a look of reprimand. “Someone could walk in at any minute,” she hissed. Hanging his head and blowing out a breath, Thomas said, “Alright. I hope I’ll see you later.” She nodded and watched him exit the room. Dropping back into the chair, she released a sigh. She didn’t know whether to be aggravated that Thomas put the moves on her in a place where anyone could pop in or amused by his damn everyone else attitude. She wondered how much longer he would put up with her need for secrecy. * “You did what?” Cassandra’s mouth fell open. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She took a deep, steady breath. She refused to believe her sister just announced that she isn’t coming home. “You have been gallivanting around with a stranger you met in Martinique? Camille, how could you be so irresponsible?” “Cassandra, are you quite finished?” She moved the phone from her ear to look at it in disbelief. Putting back, she said, “No young lady. It is unlike you to run off with some man you met on vacation. And you won’t even tell me where you are. Have you gone insane? Did you drink crazy juice on that island?” “Cas, I’m fine, I promise you. I have just decided to live a little and have some fun.” “Live a little? You can get your ass back to Virginia and have fun with me, not a stranger.” She sighed “God, Melissa has rubbed off on you in a bad way, hasn’t she? Camille, what if this guy is some kind of pervert or kidnapper or… something?” “He’s none of the above, I swear.”Camille expressed. “Cas, I have to go. I’m fine and I will call you. I love you.” “Camille Rose Preston, don’t you dare hang up-” Cassandra let out a gasp. “No way had that little weasel just hung up on me!” She dropped her phone and threw her hands up. “Camille has officially lost her mind.” Her break up with Lucas must have done more damage than she thought. “Everything okay, babe?” Cassandra looked up to see Thomas emerge from the bathroom. A towel hung low around his hips and his hair was still soaked. He eyed her with concern. “No.” “What is it and who were you shouting at?” She dropped her head and massaged her temples. A headache was quickly approaching. “My sister. She just told me that she had extended her vacation to be with some man she met in the Caribbean. After days of worrying and wondering where she was, she calls and very nonchalantly drops her news.” She fumed, “I swear, I am going to have her head when she gets back.” Thomas studied her, his hands on his hips. He shoved down a smile. “You are sexy when you’re angry.” Her head snapped up, “Seriously, Tom? I’m worried about my sister’s well being and you find it amusing?” “Relax, Cas. Your sister will be fine. She’s an adult, fully capable of taking care of herself. She is allowed to have a little fun after what happened. You heard from her and she is fine. There’s no need for you to worry so much.” Cassandra sighed. Thomas had a valid point. Camille was grown and free to do whatever she wished. Her lower lip quivered. “I know, Tom. But, it’s been just me and her since were kids. I’ve always looked out for her. I feel like I have failed in protecting her. First Lucas, and now this.” Thomas pulled her from the couch and wrapped her in his arms. “Don’t cry, Cas. You can only do so much. You have done a great job. Camille is off having fun. Put your mind at ease.” She sniffed, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. At least, I know she’s still alive, the little brat.” Thomas laughed. “Younger siblings were put on this earth to annoy us, you know. Just accept their antics and move on.” Cassandra grunted, “Damn right they can be irritating.” She pulled herself away, “I should get home.” He frowned. “Stay with me tonight. Your car isn’t here so there is no chance of anyone seeing it in my neighborhood. I’ll take you home early tomorrow.” She pondered his offer. She was in need of company tonight. She didn’t want to go home and wallow in worry about her sister. “Okay.” He gave her a satisfied grin. “Good girl.” “I’m going to take a quick shower.” Patting her on the behind, Thomas said, “I’ll be waiting in bed.” He flashed her a seductive look when she glanced over her shoulder. Chapter Four One week. Cassandra did a mental calculation of the last time she heard from her sister. “She could at least call,” she murmured as she let her frustration out on her kitchen counter. If she rubbed any harder, she would create a hole in the tile for sure. Her hear leapt when the door bell rang. She dropped the dish cloth and sprinted to the door. Flinging it open, her heart plummeted when she saw that it wasn’t Camille. “Melissa, hi.” Melissa pushed inside. “Hey, I’m sorry for dropping by unannounced, but I’m going out of my mind. Please tell me you’ve heard from your sister.” “Not a word since last week. It seems you haven’t either.” Melissa growled, “All I got was a text one week ago stating that she was okay. It’s like she has disappeared off the face of the earth. I’m freaking out, Cas. This isn’t like her at all.” “I know. I don’t know what the hell is going on with her but I’m starting to get the feeling that something is wrong. I’ve even resorted to searching the internet for news of any tragedies in Martinique.” Melissa looked horrified, “Oh God Cas, don’t even go there. I swear I’m going to strangle that girl when she gets back. How dare she do this to us?” “Yeah, well you’ll have to get in line.” I just might wrap my hands around her neck myself.” Melissa sighed, “I’m sorry for bothering you. I was hoping you had news about your sister.” “No worries, you can stop by any time.” She smiled, “Thanks. I’m going to get going. I’m going to sit at home for the rest of the day and tonight to rehearse the lecture I’m going to give my best friend.” Cassandra’s brows lifted, “You’re staying in on a Saturday night? No hot date? What a shocker.” “I’m not in the mood, “Melissa murmured, opening the door. “Catch you later.” Left alone, Cassandra felt helpless. She didn’t know if she should report her sister missing or not. The nagging feeling that something was amiss wouldn’t go away. She considered inviting Thomas over for much needed distraction but decided against it. She was still struggling with her feelings for him or rather the ones that were supposed to be present, but wasn’t. “I might as well clean my worries away,” she mused out loud, heading back to the kitchen. Hours later, the house was spotless from top to bottom. “And I’m still worried,” she said into the silence. Her doorbell rang for the second time in one day. She assumed it was Melissa again. The woman was probably on the verge of madness like she was. Opening the door she gasped, wondering if she was hallucinating. “Camille.” Oh my God. Her heart soared. She let out a delighted shriek and pulled her into a tight embrace. She didn’t register the presence of her sister’s companion until he pushed them both of them inside. Cassandra frowned, but was too engrossed in her sister’s return to even spare the man a glance. Inspecting Camille from head to toe, she felt relief, which quickly turned to fury. “Baby sister, where the hell have you been?” Cassandra stood immobile as Camille fed her the same story she did over the phone the week before. Her gaze finally shifted to the man standing in her living room. Cassandra’s breathing momentarily stopped as a pair of deep blues studied her intently. Her pulse rate picked up speed. She wasn’t sure if it was because she found him extremely attractive or because she was still angry. It has to be because I’m pissed. “Is this him?” Her voice dripped with disdain. “Well hello big sis,” he drawled, his eyes sweeping over her. He was taken in by her beauty. She was a head taller than Camille, with the brown eyes. Her brown hair was much lighter, closer to blond and longer than her sister’s. She didn’t have the same innocent look that he often saw on Camille. He didn’t bother to hide his interest in her. Cassandra blushed, wishing she wasn’t quite so sweaty and filthy from doing house work all day. Camille gave her a horrified look. “Robert? Ewe no, this is his friend, Robert Henson.” Cassandra studied him with narrowed eyes. She was annoyed that she felt a sliver of relief, discovering that he wasn’t the one her sister was involved with. She turned to Camille, “You have been painting the town red with two strange men? Camille, I can’t believe you.” She paused, frowning when she realized how stressed Camille appeared. “You seem different,” she added softly. Robert stepped forward, capturing Cassandra’s attention. “I assure you, Ms. Preston, my friend and I have been taking very good care of your sister.” He extends a hand “It’s nice to meet you by the way. It seems beauty runs in the family.” Cassandra sneered, giving her deadliest glare. How dare he thing she was prone to his flattery? “It is not so nice to meet you, Mr. Henson.” His brows furrow and he dropped his hand, but still continued to peer at her with blatant interest. Camille instantly felt bad for being so harsh. But she refused to back down. “How did you and your friend manage to convince my otherwise sane, sister to run off with you?” Robert remained silent, staring at her with slightly upturned lips. His eyes pinned her with searing intensity. She shifted uneasily, suddenly feeling too warm. Clearing her throat, she said. “Thank you for finally bringing my sister home. You can go now.” Camille inserted herself between the two. Cassandra was grateful because Robert was wreaking havoc on her senses.. “Uh Cas, no one convinced me to do anything, and I’m not staying much longer, in Virginia that is.” Cassandra gawked at her. “What?” “I’m leaving the country with Jason, that’s the man who I told you about by the way and Robert.” “What?” Cassandra could virtually feel her head about to explode. Her mouth opened and closed several times but nothing sound emerged. She watched Camille turn to leave. Finally able to speak, she said, “Not so fast, Camille.” She whipped around to give her sister nervous glance. “Cas, I really have to go.” Cassandra stepped closer, her eyes narrowing to slits. Her gaze shifted to Robert, who still wore a smirk. Her stomach fluttered, despite the urge to wipe the amused look off of his face. I would much rather kiss it off. She blinked and scowled, annoyed by her inappropriate thought. Putting her attention back on her sister, she stated, “I know you, Cam, something is wrong. Spill.” Her suspicion mounted when she witness Camille sending Robert an anxious look. “Alright, something is wrong. But I can’t tell you. Everything will be sorted out soon, after that I will tell you everything, I promise.” “I knew it. Cam, you know you can tell me anything. Tell me what’s going on, maybe I can help you.” Cassandra’s alarm increased when Camille refused to share, her excuse being that she need to keep her safe. Her mind raced. What was her sister keeping her safe from? “Cam, please, tell me. What is going on? Robert stepped in. “Look, Ms. Preston, your sister is in a bit of trouble. She didn’t do anything wrong, she just met up with some bad luck. My colleague and I are doing everything possible to keep her safe. She will come home to you soon, until then she has to stay away from you, for your own safety.” She stared up at him, confused. “Your colleague? What do you do?” “I work for a security firm.” Cassandra heard a straggle gasp. Did it come from her? It must have. Before she could find her bearing and respond he stated, “We have to go now. We took a great risk coming here.” Cassandra’s eyes flew to Camille. She silently pleaded with her to tell her what was going on. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you everything, Cas. Please just try to understand. You know I would never leave you unless I had no other choice.” Frustration, confusion and anger swirled inside of Cassandra, overwhelming her. Unable to keep her tears back, she let out a sob. “I know. Just please be careful.” She opened her arms and Camille ran into them. “If you’re in trouble, I should be helping you. I’m your big sister,” she expressed with a loud sniff “You can’t help me, this time, Cas. I’m in good hands, I promise.” Cassandra let her go to quickly dash away her tears. She was embarrassed to have a stranger witnessing her in such an emotional state. “Alright, I trust you, Cam. I love you.” “I love you too Cas.” Cassandra walked her to the door, not wanting to let her go. She wanted to hold on to her and force her to stay. She was aware of Robert still studying her but she was afraid to look at him. Camille stepped out and Robert followed. Cassandra surprised herself by placing a hand on his arm. A jolt of awareness shot through her causing her eyes to widen. Robert turned around, with an expression mirroring hers. Her touch had done something to him too. “Uh, I’m sorry for being rude,” she said. He grinned, “Apology accepted.” “Please take care of her. She’s all I have.” He stared into her brown eyes, filled with emotion. He swallowed hard. “I will.” His words were spoken with conviction and strangely, gave her comfort. “Okay,” she whispered. When he lifted a hand to wipe her tear stained cheek with his thumb, her breath hitched. “Cheer up, big sis, little sis will fine.” He winked and sauntered away. Cassandra watched in confusion and wonder, as Robert pulled his car door open and turned to give her one more glance before ducking in and speeding away. She lifted a hand to her face to trail the same spot he had touched. She knew she was in trouble. She had just felt the spark that she had been waiting to feel with Thomas. Would she even see Robert again? Oh crap.

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