Betrayed:Forbidden SeriesBy: Melody Anne
Book Three in the Forbidden Series
This book is dedicated to Sage. Thank you for making my dad’s life so much better. You bring him joy and happiness. You’re a loving, wonderful person, and I’m glad to know you and love you.
McKenzie flipped off her blankets with an angry shove, thrust her feet into her slippers, and blindly reached for her robe. Then she stomped through her house until she made it to the front door. The loud pounding continued unabated. It was what had woken her up and put her in such a terrible mood.
“Go away!” she shouted through the door. She didn’t give a damn who was knocking. It was two in the morning, and she wasn’t about to invite the ill-mannered person in.
“I’m not leaving until we talk!” a man shouted right back at her.
She froze, suddenly almost overcome by fear. But no. She was McKenzie Beaumont, dammit, and she didn’t frighten easily.
“I’m calling the police,” she growled.
“Fine with me. The chief is a personal friend,” he said with just enough arrogance that he might be telling the truth.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice much less angry. Despite her bravado, the fear had returned in spades, and a shiver ran down her spine.
“Byron Knight!” he shouted back.
“Byron?” She opened the small window that would show her who was standing on her doorstep. She was shocked to see that it was Byron, Blake Knight’s brother. “What in the world are you doing on my doorstep at this time of morning?” she asked.
Then she started to panic. What if something had happened to Blake? Or to Jewell? Without thinking, she unlocked the door and thrust it open. “What’s wrong? What’s going on?”
Though she’d seen the man only a few times before, he took her open door as an invitation and walked right inside.
“What’s wrong?” she asked again.
“I have a question for you, Ms. Beaumont,” he said, and that’s when she smelled the alcohol on his breath and noticed the narrowed eyes.
She never should have opened her door. She knew Blake, but that didn’t mean she knew his brother.
“Just ask your question and then get the hell out of my house,” she said, thrusting her shoulders back as she got ready to do battle. She had been to hell and back more than once. There was no way this man was going to intimidate her.
“Just who do you think you are?” he said menacingly.
“I’m sorry, Byron, but you’re going to have to be a little bit more specific than that,” she said, placing her hands on her hips.
“You think you can mess with people’s lives and get away with it. Well, I’m here to prove you wrong.”
McKenzie stumbled back a step when he started stalking her, and then she was up against a wall with his arms caging her in.
“If you touch me, I’ll press charges,” she warned him.
“Oh, McKenzie, you will soon learn I’m not one of the timid little men you’re used to dealing with.”
And then he lowered his head to meet hers.
Three Months Later
McKenzie locked the front door for the last time and took a deep breath. She wasn’t a weak woman or prone to tears — not ever — and closing this door meant opening another one. But … She was still walking away from a building and a career that had changed her life.
For the better.
Most people would say that career had been immoral, had enslaved women, and catered to the whims of the worst sort of men. She had to disagree. McKenzie had been on the wrong side of a sick man’s lust once, and she’d built her business on saving women, not enslaving them.
Her deep desire to rebuild herself had consumed her for years after what her first love had done to her. It was hard to shake the trauma of that time in her life. But…no. She shook her head to clear away the horrid thoughts of her past. She wouldn’t go there, wouldn’t think of those awful days, those days when she hadn’t been able to look in a mirror for fear of what she would see looking back at her.
Everyone thought she was experienced, a woman of the world, and that’s what she wanted them to see. Cool, calm, and collected, untouched by anything. But she’d truly been to hell and back. More importantly, she was still surviving the ride she’d been on for fifteen years. And now a new chapter in her life was opening.
She’d said her goodbye’s last week, and a part of her would mourn for a long time to come, but a part of her was now free. She tried to suppress the guilt that thought brought to her, but it had been fifteen years, and it was time to let go.
“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you, McKenzie. What’s your next adventure?”