Dark Reign (The Bennett Duet #2) - Xavier Neal

Ninety hours.

Five thousand, four hundred minutes.

Over a hundred thousand seconds.

Over a hundred thousand seconds and counting.

Each additional second that ticks on taunts me more than the last.

Instills me with additional rage.

Allows the beast that I am, to barbarically consume feasts of resentment and rancor, appetite refusing to be sated until the blood of everyone responsible is dripping from the very hands I will hold my pregnant fiancée too firmly with.


The single word momentarily shuts my eyes.

How could she not tell me she was fucking pregnant?

Why did I have to discover that information for myself?

Why didn’t she tell me the instant she thought that’s what her body was doing, instead of scribbling it down for pages in her leather-bound trusted vault of secrets?

A vault I opened out of desperation the night she disappeared.

A vault whose code wasn’t difficult, so much as tedious, to decipher.

The exchange of the letters for similar looking numbers wasn’t original; however, using fractions and decimals to make the sounds certain letters would make was the level of cleverness I had come to anticipate from a woman so brilliant.

So unique.

Once the pattern was understood, reading it was simple.

It was like I could hear her voice through her writings.

It was clear and concise.

Snarky and yet…so sensitive.

I knew it was wrong. I could fucking feel it was wrong, but it was the only hope I had in what has become a hopeless situation.

I read it and hoped she had written down something useful, something that could lead us to answers or clues that we might’ve missed.

I read it and clung to the hope that I would get to see her write in it again, that I would get to enjoy the way she would glance over, bite her bottom lip, and giggle to herself like a crazed schoolgirl with a crush rather than a grown woman with the power to bring a man to his knees.

This man.

I tasked myself with searching for answers between the sacred pages while Miko took a levelheaded handle on the situation.

The previous proclamation of not burning down the entire forest to find a hidden creature now seems to be one of the most viable options I have.

There is only one above it, and if it fails, I will not hesitate to light a match.

“Mr. Bennett?” a male voice calls to me from across the boardroom.

My head slowly shifts from the angle it was hanging to meet his curious gaze.

Kit Annette nervously adjusts himself in his seat under my staring and prods for the feedback the entire room is most likely wanting. “Is it possible to receive those details at this time?”

I swallow down my cluelessness regarding his request.

I have no fucking idea what it is he wants.

I know I don’t want to be here.

I know I would rather be pacing the floor of my home office, yelling at Miko to do more, to let me review the footage we have of the evening for the fiftieth time – like one more scrutinous watch will reveal to me everything and everyone involved, yet I am here.

Yet, I am in this meeting as though the missing status of my fiancée…my pregnant Mia Bella, hasn’t left me mortally wounded.

I have to maintain the appearance that I am not weakened by the attack, for the first waft of blood that fills the air to expose my injured state will have the wolves mistakenly circling.


Predicting who can have the power that belongs to me.

What most fail to realize is that I have adapted to be something greater than just an apex predator among the ruthless and ravenous. I have trained myself to become whatever animal I need to be in order to thrive in whatever situation I have entered.

Spotted hyenas sniffing at my heels turned me into a lion.

Wolves prowling my patience will turn me into a fucking grizzly bear.

And, I will not hesitate to stand upright onto my hind legs.


Rip apart any and every creature that so much as breathes my direction.

This is my jungle, and it will remain that way even if this means I’m the only animal left with inhabitancy.

“I think,” Elle Waithe cautiously speaks up, tiny fingers toying with the ends of her platinum-dyed blonde hair, “what Kit is really wanting to know is do you already have employees in mind for the transfer, or are you looking for volunteers for the transition?”

Her follow up to his question indicates what it is I missed while, once more, finding myself occupied by the thoughts of my lost love.