Her Tender Tyrant

Elizabeth Lennox - The Alfieri Saga #5 - Her Tender Tyrant

Her Tender Tyrant (The Alfieri Saga #5)
Elizabeth Lennox


Chapter 1

Marcus heard the noise and dropped the papers he’d been reading. His eyes sharpened as he waited for the sound to come again. When there wasn’t any other sound, he decided that he’d just been hearing things. Lowering the papers to his lap, he rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to ease the tension that was starting to accumulate behind his forehead. His mother had been right. He’d been working too hard and needed a break. Of course, staying in their house while they went down and visited their newest grandchild wasn’t exactly his idea of a vacation, but it hid him away from the prying, invasive eyes of the press. And that was what he needed more than anything else in order to finish this particular acquisition. There was a great deal of controversy and protest this time around because he was buying up what the locals considered a family business. A family business that was about to die out, he thought. If he hadn’t stepped up and offered to buy this particular firm, there would be more than a thousand people out of work next month.

With a sigh, he lifted the report once more, efficiently writing notes in the margins.

When he heard the sudden noise again, he stood up, tossed the papers onto the table beside him and walked out of his father’s home office where he’d been working. It was well past midnight and he’d thought he was the only one in the house. All of his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews were down in Texas. Even Butch and Dennis, his mother’s stable helpers were long gone, having headed home right after the evening feeding of the horses.

When he stepped into the kitchen, he immediately saw the light coming from the fridge. Someone had broken into the house to get food? Really? A hungry burglar? That was new.

On silent feet, Marcus moved around the breakfast bar. He saw the boots underneath the door but knew that the feet were still too small to be either Butch’s feet or Dennis’. Besides, they would have announced themselves. And more importantly, they rarely came up to the house, preferring the company of the horses. No matter how many times his mother invited them to dinners or family gatherings, they refused, coming up with excuses so they didn’t have to be around other people. Horses they understood. People were a mystery to those two men.

So who was standing in the open door of the fridge?

He crept around, wishing he had a weapon but at least he knew how to fight. During high school his dad had recognized the excess energy that made his sons a bunch of accidents waiting to happen and dumped them all into martial arts training. And football, swimming, soccer…any sport that would use up the extra energy four growing boys had to spare. Which, at the time, seemed endless.

Ready for anything, he moved silently around the counter, watching and waiting. When he was in position, he jerked the door open wider, his arm snapping out and capturing the intruder. He had the surprisingly small and supple body in a lock when he felt something cold and squishy hit his face. At the exact same time, his hands came into contact with something warm and soft. The two textures, hitting him at the same time, threw him off balance but his training kicked in and he spun the intruder around…only to be confronted by the prettiest brown eyes he’d ever seen, surrounded by pale white skin and a head full of auburn hair, lit on fire by the fluorescent lights of the fridge interior.

Her high pitched yelp identified her as a female, but his hand still holding her very soft, very full breast helped his mind wrap around that fact more quickly.

“What are you doing? Who are you? I don’t have any money!” she said as those brown eyes looked back at him with confusion and a large dose of fear.

Marcus twisted slightly, getting a better look at the woman. His hand still hadn’t moved, nor did he feel the need to move it. That hand was perfectly happy right where it was. “Who are you and how did you get into this house?” he demanded, wondering if he’d forgotten to turn on the security system. No, he’d done that. He remembered pressing the code into the system right before