Lured (Team Zero #1) - Rina Kent Page 0,1

in his coffee with long, lean fingers.

A strange heat invades my body. This heat that comes out of freaking nowhere has been happening a lot in the past few days.

I walk to Sam with a huge grin on my face. “The boxes aren’t going anywhere.”

He narrows his dark green eyes on me. “I don’t know why I accepted you here.”

I continue smiling wide. “Because I’m so charming?” Ugh. I hate how the R comes out in my French accent. No matter how much I practised along with TV shows, it wouldn’t disappear.

Sam pinches my ear. “Stop being a kid and do your job.”

I wiggle free and puff my chest. “I’m not a kid. I’m twenty.”

“Finish your job, little bugger.” He laughs at me before he heads to where the barista is. I glare at his back. I really dislike being called a kid. That’s exactly how my small town in South France saw me. Even when I got my baccalaureate and studied for two years in law school. I still have next year to graduate and pursue my dream.

Once I pass the bar and become a lawyer, I will sue Sam for calling me a kid.

I sigh and pick up the light boxes to stack them in the narrow storage room. There’s a small aeration space above and a yellow light that brightens the rows and rows of boxes.

The task is so boring and mundane.

I’m thankful that Sam gave me a job. He even rented me the room above the coffee shop and next to his family home, where his wife gives me free meals. If they didn’t consider me as one of their rebellious kids, I wouldn’t have survived long. I would’ve run back to France after a week when most of my savings dried.

My parents sheltered me during my entire life. After his life as a war veteran, Papa decided to escape civilisation by building a house at the top of a hill in a small town in Marseille. As if that isn’t enough, he chose a location where the closest town is more than thirty minutes’ drive.

Twenty years there.

Whole damn twenty years.

I read more books than I can count and basically became a nerd. Although it’s partially due to Papa’s influence, psychology and defence fascinated me for the longest time.

In the summer break, I’ve had enough of living in my parents’ shadow. I took my passport and my savings and flew to London. I love my parents so much, but I need more. Something, anything, that will shed away the whole small-town nonsense.

At least for the summer.

I could’ve gone to Paris, but it isn’t adventurous enough. I wanted to fly over the sea.

Adventures don’t include stacking boxes.

For the second time today, I abandon the storeroom. I peek sideways to make sure Samir isn’t in sight then I go back to the counter.

One of the patrons in the aisle opposite Dominic’s group raises a hand. I grab the menu and stroll over.

I serve any table surrounding the group, but never them. Watching from afar is safe. If I get close, I feel like I will be sucked into Dominic’s orbit and there will be no way out.

The man who appears to be in mid-fifties takes the menu. I nod and head back. On my way, I catch a whiff of Dominic’s deep, slightly raspy voice. My toes curl. I don’t know why I have this reaction to it. Add that crisp British accent, and I’m a goner, basically.

“You had a wonderful gala yesterday,” he says to one of his friends. “You should try it again.”

I snort. There he goes. The beginning of another series of manipulation.

Behind the counter, I find my colleague Nancy chatting on her phone. She has soft pink hair and huge blue eyes. A woman in Dominic’s group raises her hand.

Nancy nudges me. “Go.”

I shake my head and push her instead.

Nancy shrugs a shoulder and saunters over to them. I gauge Dominic’s reaction to her, but he only smiles. There’s this thing about his smile. I call it full-of-shit. It’s that type of smile Hollywood actors offer to the camera the entire freaking time. While it’s dazzling and bright, it’s completely fake.

He’s completely fake.

Why the hell am I so transfixed with him?

Because he can pluck you away from your safe goody-two-shoes image. He can be your adventure.

I shut down that little demon on my left shoulder.

No adventure is worth getting involved with a dangerous man. The little angel on my right shoulder says, and I