Hell on Heels(9)

By: Victoria Vane

Evan’s voice was dangerously soft, his words slow and overartic-ulated. “I placed that ring on your finger, Monica. You have exactly ten seconds to put it back on.”

“Or what?”

His eyes turned to ice, and his mouth compressed. “Don’t challenge me, Mon. You’ll be sorry if you do.”

“You know, I believe this trip to Vegas might be just what I need.” Abandoning the folders sitting on her desk, Monica continued packing up her laptop.

“Put the ring back on.”

Monica snatched her purse out of her desk drawer.

“You’re making the biggest fucking mistake of your life.”

“Really?” She shouldered her purse. “At the moment, it feels like my biggest mistake was accepting your proposal.”

“Is that so? Well, sweetheart, if you walk out that door, I can promise there’ll be nothing left for you to come back to.”

She paused. His threat was real enough. He owned a managing share of the firm and even her apartment building. One word from Evan could mean both termination and eviction. On top of that, he could destroy her credibility and her career, but she’d be damned before she’d let him bully her. She was Tom Brandt’s daughter, after all.

“You presume a lot, Evan.” Forcing her lips into a smile, she met his glower with her own steely stare. “Who says I intend to come back at all?”

Chapter Three

Las Vegas, Nevada

Red-eyed and restless, Ty paced the corridors of Desert Springs Medical Center. Guilt and concern weighted his shoulders into an uncharacteristic slump. Why the hell hadn’t he recognized what was happening? He’d been too damned preoccupied with himself. That’s why.

Tom had collapsed in the parking lot right in front of him only moments after they’d exited the restaurant. Earlier he’d mistaken Tom’s slight slur and sloppy smile to alcohol, not knowing until later that Tom hadn’t imbibed anything stronger than mineral water.

With his heart in his throat, Ty had made the 9-1-1 call, only to stand by completely helpless until the first responders hauled Tom off in an ambulance. Everything that ensued was just a blur. The only thing he knew was that the man who’d been like a father to him had nearly died before his eyes. The thought shook him to the core.

It was late. A number of nurses and support staff flitted from room to room like bees in a hive, but none paid him any heed. “Please, ma’am,” he inquired of the lone secretary staffing the nurse’s station. “I’ve been waiting here for hours. Can you tell me any news about Tom Brandt?”

“Are you family?” She sized him up and down. Standing six four without the boots, he was used to that.

“Not exactly. I’m a close friend. My name’s Ty Morgan. I was with Tom when it happened.”

“I’m very sorry, Mr. Morgan, but only family members are allowed in the critical care units.”

Ty set his jaw. “If you’re asking me to leave, you’re gonna have to call security to drag my ass outta here. I’m not going anywhere until I know what’s happening with Tom.”

“Again, I apologize, but I can’t give you any details without his daughter’s permission.”

“Has anyone been in touch with her yet?”

“Yes. Dr. Chen spoke to her earlier. She’s on her way.”

He was glad to know Monica was flying in, but she was coming all the way from New York. Although his bond with Tom was as strong as blood, only Monica was his true kin. There was no denying that. He just hoped to God Tom held on until she arrived.

“Isn’t there anything you can tell me? Tom’s one of my oldest friends. Hell, he’s more like a father to me.” Tom had stepped in the very day his own ol’ man had passed on over twenty years ago.

“I really do want to help you, Mr. Morgan—”

“Ty,” he corrected.

“—but I’m afraid I have to abide by patient confidentially laws. You’ll just have to wait until Ms. Brandt arrives.”

Although Ty was growing increasingly frustrated, he still knew charm would serve him far better than antagonism. “C’mon, Sugar,” he cajoled with his best wanna-get-you-in-the-sack smile, “Can’t you at least tell me what the doc told her?”

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