The Billion Heir (Billionaire Book Club 1)By: Nikky Kaye
“Hello?” She stopped to listen. “What? When? How many?” Her head snapped around, her eyes wild as they met my curious gaze in the strobe lights of passing cars on the busy street.
I grasped her knee, my chest tight. Something was wrong. “What is it?”
She told whoever was on the other end that she was on her way then redirected the driver. “Get over to the FDR,” she urged, giving him an address somewhere way uptown. We sped up a little, turning towards the river.
“Alexis. What’s wrong?”
“Sorry, Luke, I don’t have time to drop you at your hotel,” she said dully, staring out the window. The rain spattered against the glass, the drops skidding along like they were racing each other.
“Fuck my hotel!” I squeezed her knee. “What the hell is going on?”
She glanced down at my hand on her thigh, but didn’t shove it off. Instead she twisted around until my hand slipped off. Turning her back on me, she rested her forehead against the window. Her breath fogged up the glass, but she was so close that I couldn’t see her reflection.
The only sound in the car was the wiper blades on the windshield. We both swayed back and forth with the stop and start traffic on the way to the highway.
I tried again. “Lex—”
“Not everything is about you, Lucas,” she bit out. “But your little stunt tonight put me back in the spotlight in the worst possible way. So forgive me if I’m a little distracted. I’ll have the car take you back when we get there.”
Get where? TMZ at the police station wasn’t the worst part of the evening? She was practically vibrating with anxiety, her shoulders hunched up near her ears. Her mouth kept twisting and contorting, like she was chewing the insides of her cheeks until they were raw.
We finally stopped in a No Parking zone in front of a fair-sized building in a No Parking zone, where a handful of people hovered outside on the sidewalk. Lexi swore under her breath. Her fingers worried the lock on the door, like she was trying to decide whether she was going to get out or stay in and hide.
“Reporters?” I was genuinely confused. I scanned the street and buildings. “But you don’t live up here. Do you?”
She turned to me with a pained look. “Look, I don’t want to do this, but I’ve got to. I need you to create a diversion so that I can get in the door. They can’t follow me in after hours without checking in at security, which they won’t get past. At least they better not,” she muttered to herself.
Was she serious? A diversion? “What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t care. Something to draw their attention that will not get you arrested again, preferably.”
Okay, so acting drunk and disorderly and pissing on the sidewalk was probably out. Her phone rang again, making her sigh heavily.
“Can you do that for me, Luke?”
She looked toward me with tired eyes burning in a pale face. The beige of her raincoat washed her out completely, the scarlet silk around her neck like a grotesque injury.
Fucking New York did this to people. Money did this to people. If I could give a billion dollars not to see that look on Alexis Kincaid’s face again, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment, her forehead creased. “Please, Luke. You—you owe me.”
Shit. She thought my hesitation was because I wouldn’t help her? I swallowed around a painful lump in my throat. I’d done dumber things for fewer reasons.
“Go,” I croaked. “I’ll come up with something.”
I punched in the code for the unit, relieved to see that no reporters had gotten that far. The security guard in the lobby had some discretion, or at least decided not to risk his job over a bribe. When the magnetic lock on the double doors opened, I walked in to and made a beeline for the charge nurse.
"Lexi! You got here fast."
"I was already in a car," I explained.
Now that I was here and it was quiet, my body sagged against the desk. Carmen never looked at me with pity, which I appreciated. It was all no-nonsense with her. Nothing fazed her. If she called me, though, then I probably needed to come. It was calls from the accounting office that I sent to voice mail.
“He’s okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so. I looked in on him a few minutes ago and he was watching TV. I unplugged his phone, though. Somebody managed to get the number for his room line. They’re still calling here, though,” she added with a sigh as the desk phone rang. “I swear these people have never heard of HIPAA.” She gifted me with a rare smile before I headed down the hall.