Rake Wolfes of Manhattan Four - Helen Hardt
The Lone Wolfe.
Ha! Great pun, huh?
Within less than a month, my three siblings had all met their life mates and gotten married.
Not in the cards for me. I was the Wolfe of Manhattan, always with a new lady on my arm. Now, though, since all my siblings were off the market, I was indeed the Lone Wolfe.
The phone call I got after the wedding was from the NYPD detective on our case, Hank Morgan. Consequently, Rock and the rest of them headed back this morning on the jet.
Again, not in the cards for me.
Someone had to stay here in Las Vegas and deal with our damned luxury hotel and casino. Money is money. Words of wisdom from the bastard who’d fathered me.
Sure, all of us were being investigated for the fucker’s murder, but someone had to take care of business.
That someone was me.
I wasn’t CEO of the company, but only I could deal with the contract mess here in Las Vegas. Story of my life. Under-appreciated to the max.
The rest of them were called back to New York for more questioning.
I wasn’t going down for his murder, and neither was anyone else in my family. Not on my watch.
Zinnia—or Zee—seemed to be the key.
I just had to get her to talk.
The Wolfe of Manhattan.
I’d never met a woman I couldn’t seduce.
So I’d seduce her.
And oh, she’d talk.
My mother was the typical Long Island “stage mom.” She’d decided as soon as I crawled out of her womb that I was going to be in show business. I spent my formative years being dragged to audition after audition. What little time left was devoted to ballet, tap, and acting classes.
I was good at the dance part. I always got top roles in all the recitals. The acting part? Not so much. I got a commercial here and there, probably based solely on the fact that I was a really cute kid. The big break my mother hoped for never came.
Then puberty hit. I grew to five feet ten inches seemingly overnight, which ended any dance aspirations as well. My mother’s answer?
Modeling, of course. I was thin, well-built, a natural blonde, and free of an awkward stage, so she enrolled me in classes. Yeah, we really did walk with books on our heads. I also learned how to create the perfect smoky eye.
You know, things you need in life.
Despite my mother’s persistence, no agent ever signed me, and by the time I turned eighteen, my modeling career—if it ever truly existed—was effectively over.
My mother was more disappointed than I was.
I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was free! Free to pursue what I wanted. I’d been homeschooled by a tutor because of my grueling schedule, so when I was a high school graduate—or the equivalent thereof—I accepted admission to Smith College in Massachusetts. I drove my car—the one luxury my mother allowed me—to college via a stop in the city to do all the touristy things my mom never took the time to show me—sights I’d been promised by my mother after I made it in modeling. Which of course never happened.
I made it to New York.
But I never made it to Smith.
I was taken. I was hunted.
Then saved by a man whose name I never knew.
Reid Wolfe was an attentive date. He didn’t know me from Eve, but he never left my side as we celebrated the weddings of his brother and sister. I’d seen my share of Las Vegas chapel weddings, but very few included a toast with Dom Perignon.
I wasn’t a champagne connoisseur by any means, but Dom Perignon was in a class by itself.
It tickled my tongue and tasted like crisp apples and—believe it or not—toasted bread. Sounded terrible, I knew, but it worked. It glided down my throat effortlessly, so when Reid brought me another flute, I took it.
I didn’t drink, normally. I never did anything that might take away my faculties. I was on high alert at all times.
This would be my last glass of bubbles. Riley and her brothers all wanted me to tell my story. To go public. Although I understood why they needed me to, I couldn’t. Which was why this would be my last glass of champagne. I couldn’t risk getting too talkative.
Not that getting talkative was really a risk with me. I didn’t talk. To anyone. Especially not about my past. I could fly under the radar in Las Vegas. No one in the dressing room questioned me about my scars, because