Of Lost Things by Bree Weeks

Chapter One

Sebastian

Ididn’t like the idea of killing an innocent woman, but what choice did I have? It had to be done. It was either her or me. Not in the sense that it’s usually a situation like that, but that was the situation in which I found myself. She had money. I needed it. I had to marry her to get the money. But I didn't need a wife, so my status would change from married to widowed soon after we said “I do.” Besides, I’d never really believed people were completely innocent, so I didn’t have any qualms about getting rid of her, or anyone else for that matter.

It was all arranged. Well, almost all of it anyway. Two issues were still outstanding.

I hadn’t decided how long after the wedding it would be appropriate for her to suffer her demise without raising too much suspicion. I was prepared for some of the blame to fall upon me, but I would be long gone before anyone was the wiser. The only people who could tie me to my nefarious plan were those guys at Desirous Intentions, and they wouldn’t talk. They probably couldn’t care less, and I had too much information on those jack holes for them to rat me out. I’d done my due diligence, which is why I chose to involve them in the first place.

The other part of my plan that wasn’t completely ironed out was exactly how to do the deed. Guns and knives were out of the question. Too messy. Too personal also, especially knives. I would be ending her life, but that didn’t mean I had to be close enough to watch the light go out of her eyes.

Poison might work, but unless I had exactly the right dose, it could take too long. She might hold on for months if it wasn’t precise. Same thing for using drugs to make her overdose. I nixed that idea because it posed the possibility of other people suspecting it was suicide. While I was confident her business holdings would be enough for me to live very comfortably for the rest of my life, I wondered about her life insurance policies. If the policies were large enough to be worth my efforts in cashing them in, I might be interested in keeping those too. Didn’t want to leave any money on the table. If they weren’t large enough to significantly impact my lifestyle, I considered donating the proceeds to her charitable foundation. It was the least I could do. I didn’t have to be a total cad. I could be a nice guy if it suited me.

No, I couldn’t run the risk of anything being declared invalid. Her death had to be believable. Which meant it had to be accidental, and I couldn't be anywhere around when it happened. That part of the plan still needed work, but I had plenty of time to worry about that later. None of it would matter if I didn’t get my ass in gear and get out the door for our first date, and I wanted to get there first.

I checked the mirror as I darted out the door to my hotel room, five stars, of course, and made my way down to the restaurant. I’d told her I was in town for just a few short days and that my company kept me so busy that I barely had time to eat, much less date. I sent one final text to let her know how excited I was to finally meet her.

When my phone chimed immediately after, my heart lurched thinking she was cancelling and then all my plans would be laid to waste. It was just my stupid brother, or one of them anyway. As they’d both recently declared their undying love for someone and announced their intentions to settle down, I thought they’d both lost their minds. Jake wanted to see if I was coming home for Christmas this year and if I was bringing anyone special. Boy, did I have news for him.

Once seated at the restaurant, I called to share it with him, although I knew it was a bit premature. “So is it you or Ava who wants to know if I’ll be there at Christmas, because I know you probably don’t give a damn about whether or not I bring someone, special or not.”

“No need to be such a jerk, little brother. Just because I’ve found the most wonderful woman in the world doesn’t mean you have to be bitter. I’m sure there’s a girl out there for you somewhere. I’d have to question her judgement if she gets involved with you, but hell, I wonder everyday what the hell is the matter with Ava that she chooses to be with me.”

“Yeah, me too. And Spencer’s girl too. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet. What’s she like?”

“Lorelei is great! She keeps Spence on his toes, that’s for sure, but they seem happy. That’s the main thing, right?”

“If you say so. I still can’t believe that the two of you have traded in your bad guy cards for the domestic life.”

“Don’t you worry about that, Seb. My old life hasn’t completely disappeared simply because Ava’s in my new one. Speaking of which, I hear that some of your old habits have come back to bite you in the ass recently. I thought you were going to stay out of Vegas after Spencer’s fiasco there.”

“See, brother, there’s this thing called the internet that you may not be familiar with because you’ve spent the last hundred years in prison. You don’t have to go to Vegas, Atlantic City, or hell, even Tunica, to get yourself in trouble with the casinos.”

“You’re not funny,” he said, but chucked anyway. “How much do you owe?”

“Enough that it could be a problem.”

“And I guess they’re not inclined to accept an IOU?” In my mind's eye, I could see him shaking his head. “You know, between Spencer and me, we could maybe--”

“Gonna stop you right there, big brother. It’s way more involved than anything I could ask for help from either one of you. Besides, I have a plan already in motion to take care of the whole situation. If I go off the radar for a while, just know that I’m around. And quit worrying so much! You’re like Mom. I can take care of myself, you know.”

“If you say so. Just remember you have people who care about you. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. Hell, all three of us have. That doesn't mean we can’t be redeemed you know. You just have to do the work necessary to make positive changes,” he said.

“Alright, Tony Robbins. I’ll keep that in mind.”  At that moment, a gorgeous woman entering the restaurant caught my eye. Tall and slender, the regal air about her made it obvious that my mark had arrived. Although I’d seen images of her, she was far more beautiful than any image could possibly portray. Something took hold of me as I watched her glance around the room. Looking for someone. For me. Our eyes met, and I was complete. One look from her made me abandon all the carefully laid plans I'd made for weeks. It was over. I was done. I knew I had to make her mine, even if it was the last thing I did. Which was a good possibility.

“Um, gotta go, Jake. My destiny just walked in.”

I vaguely remembered hearing him say, “Your what?” before I ended the call. Because I didn't want to be disturbed, I took the extra step of turning off the phone entirely. A slight smile curved her lips upward when she realized I was the one she was looking for. Oh, God, what I would do to be greeted by that smile every day for the rest of my life!

The maître d’ led her to the table, and I stood as she approached. My cock twitched with each step she took as she seemed to glide across the floor. I took her outstretched hand and marveled at its softness as I gently pressed my lips to her warm skin. “Hello. I’m Mayella Carothers. You must be Sebastian Morgan,” she said with a sweet smile.

“I am. And I am very happy to meet you.”