Alpha Billionaire Taboo Prison Break

By: Veronica Vaughn

1.



The day my stepdad broke out of prison, I paid him a visit just like any other week.

I remember sitting on the edge of a broken chair, facing a window of bulletproof glass. The window was smudged from a hundred desperate handprints. That was my stepdad looking back at me, no doubt about it. But there was a hardness to Eli I didn’t remember from before. Getting locked up changed him way too fast.

It had been what, all of six months? Going on seven?

The man sitting across from me looked strange and familiar at the same time. His body was all bulk, broad shoulders and hard angles, his arms covered in prison tattoos. Eli held the phone to his ear and barked orders in that scratchy growl of his. I was only half listening. I mean, we’d been over the plan a thousand times.

Stealing another glance, I couldn’t help but notice the heft of Eli’s arms and chest, the result of too much free time lifting weights in the prison yard. His muscles rippled and flexed, threatening to tear through the fabric of his orange jumpsuit.

Sitting across from Eli, it drove me crazy that a bunch of manmade barriers separated me from him. I wished Eli would just smash the glass, climb through the wreckage and come home with me. Of course that would never work.

We had a better plan.

I kept reminding myself to be patient, to wait for tonight.

Feeling restless, I had a look around the room at the other visitors. Everyone was sitting in creaky chairs like mine, surrounded by dirty white walls. I saw wives and girlfriends, mothers and grandmothers, and way too many unruly kids. Sucking on cheap candy from the commissary, the little brats were so hopped up they either couldn’t or wouldn’t sit down and shut up for half a second.

I recognized several of the women from my previous visits. We all traveled from near or far to remind our loved ones they are not forgotten. The sad part was, without even trying to, we also reminded our men that life on the outside goes on without them. Kids grow up. Lovers grow apart.

Not me and Eli, though. I would never abandon the man who raised me. Eli always treated me like his own daughter, even though we’re not kin. Even after Mama was gone, and it was just him and me.

We always stick together, Eli and me.

One of the ceiling lights made a crackling sound and flickered on. The harsh light cast a glare on the window, showing my reflection in the glass. I swept back my long, brown hair and admired my best feature, my stormy gray eyes.

I’m not a model or anything, but I always did to dress up for my visits with Eli. Today I was wearing a black halter top, tight jeans and two-inch heels.

My body was a little on the curvy side, and I had the kind of figure that most guys don’t seem to notice. I was a cheerleader in high school, but the only reason I made the squad was because the petite girls needed someone else whose shoulders they could stand on. That period of my life felt like such a long time ago.

Eli rapped the glass with his knuckle. The harsh sound drew me out of my daydream, sending me back to reality.

“Hey!” Eli growled. “Over here, Avery. Focus.”

“I’m listening,” I lied.

Eli had much darker eyes than mine. They were glaring at me with such intensity, I couldn’t help but look down, breaking eye contact with him. A big part of me missed the old Eli, the kind and sweet man who gave me a home—the man I learned to call my father. But a secret part of me was intrigued by the new Eli, too.

Those dark eyes, that prominent jawline covered in scruff. And the tattoos. My god, why did he get those tattoos? Whoever inked Eli did him no favors. The prison tats covered both of his arms like inky sleeves, but the designs were nowhere near professional.

Between the muscles and the tattoos, to look at Eli you’d never guess he used to be a venture capitalist. That he was a billionaire, right up until less than a year ago.

Now Eli looked like the villain in a big dumb action movie. Which was funny to me, since Eli was the smartest man I knew. If you believe what the police, prosecutors, judge and a jury of his peers had to say, then Eli was also the most dangerous man I ever met.

Tonight we were going to find out just how smart—and just how dangerous—Eli really was.

I knew it was wrong, but the way Eli looked at me sometimes, I might have been hoping for a little more.

Also By Veronica Vaughn

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