Owned (Office Intrigue #8) - Nicole Edwards


Thursday, October 31, 2019

TJ Arlington’s Halloween Party


“Have you seen my brother?”

The woman muttered something, which I assumed was her brother’s name, but I didn’t catch it.

I watched as she moved to another person, asking the same question and getting another negative response. But she was intent and not at all swayed by the sideways glances she was getting, much less the posturing by all the Dominants looking to intimidate.

She disappeared into the fray for a moment, but I caught sight of her again when I noticed a couple of security guards making their way through the crowd. No doubt on their way to intervene because this woman had dared something so crass as to come inside without her flapper dress.

Heaven forbid.

Without so much as a goodbye to Ian and Isaac Stokes, I turned to follow the woman.

Because I towered over everyone in attendance, I located her easily, watched as she turned her question on the security guards who were already attempting to urge her back the way she’d come. While I could see them, I couldn’t hear what she was saying over the din of conversation, but I could deduce relatively well: they wanted her to leave, she didn’t want to go, and they weren’t going to ask nicely.

We’d see about that.

Several people had started to turn, drawn by the insistent commands being barked by the security guards.

“I told you, I need to find my brother,” the woman exclaimed, her low, raspy voice bordering on hysterical.

She attempted to shake off the hand curling around her arm, the security guard clearly not interested in hearing her out.

Despite her somewhat disheveled appearance, the woman had a natural beauty about her. With her hair in a haphazard ponytail and not a lick of makeup on her face, she looked far too sweet to be amidst this lascivious and carnal group.

Beneath what looked to be her workout attire, I could see she was on the thin side. Delicate bone structure, small breasts, and legs that went on for miles. She was a bit taller than average for a female—I’d venture a guess at somewhere close to five nine, maybe five ten—with the longest, shiniest hair I’d ever seen. And her face. She was proof there was a God, because she’d been put together in a manner that could only be created by the heavens. From a physical perspective, she was breathtaking, catching plenty of eyes as she strolled through.

For the first time in a long time, I found myself entirely enthralled by a female and overwhelmed by an instinct to protect her.

Before I could intervene, the security guard in a tacky suit grabbed her arm, jerked her toward him.

“You can’t be here,” the little twit insisted, his meaty paw squeezing her arm. “You don’t have an invitation, nor are you wearing the appropriate attire.”

On a good day, I wasn’t the sort of man to stick my nose where it didn’t belong, but I was compelled by some dark driving force to intervene.

“I’m not here for the party,” she insisted. “I told you, I’m looking for my brother. His name’s—”

“Not tonight you’re not,” the man declared, rolling right over her as he pulled her toward the front of the house.

I stepped into his path, blocked his attempt to drag her away. The move brought him to an abrupt halt, had him locking his hand more tightly around her arm.

“Hey,” she hissed, trying to pry his fingers from her arm. “You’re hurting me.”

Anger, hot and bright, erupted, and it took everything in me not to rip his head clean off his body. It was an emotion I wasn’t familiar with, one I wasn’t sure I’d ever felt before.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” the idiot in a cheap suit huffed, trying to move around me without bothering to meet my gaze. “She’s not permitted to be here.”

“I think she asked you to remove your hand.” I kept my voice even, the deep baritone all I generally needed to get the desired result.

The man sighed, glared up at me. There was instant recognition but not an ounce of concern. “I’m not here to argue with you, Talon. She can’t be here. Master Arlington said—”

I nodded my chin toward the hand still gripping her arm. “Off.”

He released her, then stepped back, his palms coming up in a sign of surrender. “Whatever. I’ve got to inform the rest of the team. They won’t be nearly as nice as I’ve been.”

Before he could walk away, I gripped his shoulder, my hand covering the