The Wrong Type of Seduction

65 The Fire That Val Starts


65: The Fire That Val Starts

Sitting at his large executive desk and matching chair that could double as a throne, Gabriel Lloyd Walthour III looked like a ruler in his black suit, slicked back brown hair, and demanding pale green eyes. He had the Romanesque beauty with the raw masculinity to go with his billions and yet she could tell by the slight clench of his jaw, he was stressed.

“I’m surprised you came,” Lloyd said looking at her with his usual emotionless expression.

“Matt is very compelling.” She took one of the guest seats in front of his desk. “But I think you already knew that. That’s why you talked to him instead of me.”


“I’m here.” She crossed on leg over her knee and clasped her hands in her lap.

“And your answer?”

“I want to hear the whole proposal. All the details.”

“As you know, Bellini’s leadership is mine. And Sadik’s will be, too. I don’t have time for them and my company.”

“I believe Tyler is helping you with your company, so you have time.”

“But I don’t have the knowledge you have. Or the experience. And you have… an instinct that might-“

“I’m a killer you mean.”

He grew quiet.

“I killed Radford and your wife you know,” she said shifting comfortably in the chair. It really was a good quality seat that conformed to the back.

Gabriel said nothing for a long time. His eyes narrowed a moment then he only nodded. “My mother told me she hired someone to kill Marissa…she didn’t say it was you.”

“Because she didn’t know. You’re the first.”

“And Radford…” His jaw tightened as if biting down on something. “Radford was… Domenic’s orders?”

“Does it matter?”

His deep dark voice warned. “It matters.”

She shrugged and told him everything.

He listened. 

She saw sutble reactions in him, but for the most part the man kept his features impassive.

“You tell me this because you want me to protect the child. Your son,” Walthour said when she finished.

She nodded. “And Matt. Those are the conditions if you want my expertise.”

Walthour went into a side draw in his desk and pulled out a small envelop. He threw it on the desk, it slid toward her. She stood, approached, and picked it up.

When she opened it, there were pictures of her son and Pam leaving the condo. And more pictures of them going to the park. Her heart thundered.

“Did you take these?” she asked feeling the hairs on the back of her neck rise.

“Ricci did. The family wants to know about the boy. Even though you aren’t seen in public with him they know he comes and goes from the same location you live. They want to know if he’s your son.”

“Shit.” She closed her eyes. “You told them what?”

“Nothing. Officially, I said I would investigate. But our relationships are on edge recently due to you.”

She nodded understanding. “Did they tell Domenic?”

“I’m sure they did or will soon.”

“Short of eliminating Ricci, what are the other options?”

His eyes brows rose slightly. Was that shock? “We can negotiate.”

“Over what?” she asked slipping the pictures back in the envelope.

“He is part of their family. Visitation is-“

“Not an option.” She slid the package across the polished wood, back toward him. “They get theirs hands on my son and I’ll never get him back. Don’t fuck with my child, Lloyd. He’s not a bargaining chip.”

He nodded tensing in his chair. “Forgive me. We don’t have long.”

“I know. Two more days before they move. I understand.”

“I’ll call you.”

“If I answer,” she said storming out in rage. Ricci wanted her son. No way. No fucking way. Getting into the limo that Gabe provided, she called Pam.

“I see,” Pam said after Val told her that they were spotted. “Matt warned me. And then he assigned these darling Russian guards to protect me. They call me something I can’t pronounce, but they say it means caring one.”

“Russian? Guards?” Val’s voice pitched.

“According to Matt, I’m now under the protection of a Ronin or Voronin? Some Russian billionaire. And anyone connected to me is his responsibility. Namely, my Christophe.”

“What?” Val sat shocked. How the hell did Matt know Voronin? Even better questions was how he got such an insanely brilliant and powerful man to work for him? “He told me nothing about this.”

“Because of how mad you sound right now. If you knew your son was being protected by henchmen Matt knew you’d be pissed because you want Christophe nowhere near that life.”

Yes she did. And yes she was pissed.

“But if what Matt told me was true. This Voronin person is the best one to protect us because any insult to the man is met with-“

“Violence. Lots of blood. And gruesome deaths. He likes blood. Heard he bathed in it.”

Pam laughed. “Myth is always more entertaining, isn’t it?”

When Val didn’t laugh, Pam settled down.

“You’ve done your research… haven’t you?”

“I have.”

“Oh.” Pam got serious. “Then me and Christophe will be on our best behavior and thank the man with our whole heart. Won’t we Christophe?”

“Yes ma’am.” Val heard his little voice.

“So don’t you worry.” Pam hung up and Val blinked shocked. The woman she had trusted with her son for years was taking direction from Matt instead of deferring to Val? What? 

Pam trusted Matt’s instincts over her own? What? “But that’s my son.” Our son, she remembered Matt saying. Val’s emotions warred between anger at him for getting a nut job like Voronin to protect her son and being totally in love with the crafty bastard for getting her son the best protection possible. Because Voronin was the best protection if one didn’t give a shit about what happened to their enemies. Any slight insult to the man was met with torture and gleeful mayhem. While Walthour was good at security, he tried to play by the books and wasn’t nearly as brutal as the Russian known for keeping a slaughterhouse and torture chamber just for his enemies.

By the time she got back home she was calmer. Val closed the cab door and stepped up to the curb heading for the condo. She caught sight of a mousy brown haired teen walking up to her with another girl who looked a bit cuter shyly trailing behind.

“Excuse me?” The mousy girl smiled and the other one looked away fearfully.

“Yes?” Val halted her steps.

“Is this the building where Matthew Delarosa lives?”

Aw, isn’t that cute. Fans. “Who?” Val asked frowning.

“He’s a famous musician.” The girl pulled out her phone and scrolled through it. Then she pulled up at picture of Matt walking into the building.

Stalker fans. Great. “He might have been visiting someone, but…I don’t think we have entertainers living here. At least I hope not. I pay a lot of money to live in a quiet building and don’t need groupies and crazy fans gathering around and making life unbearable.” Narrowing her eyes, she shoved a hand on her hip and turned the bitchiness up. “So if I find out he lives here, I’m call the condo association to vote to have him removed or something. We need rules against such things so I don’t have little shits outside my building asking stupid fucking questions.” With each word, her voice grew higher and higher, accent thicker and thicker, and the girls’ eyes stretched wider and wider. “So if you don’t get gone, I’m calling the police because I pay too many damn taxes to have to deal with this shit. You don’t know who you’re messing with, bitch.” Val began stomping toward them and cursing in Italian.

The shy girl pulled on the other girl’s arm trying to get her to move.

“Fine. Geez, you’re such a bitch.” The mousy girl turned to run.

“What? What did you call me?” Val screamed. “I’m calling the police!”

Val waited a moment, watching them scurry off. Then she took a deep breath happy with herself and turned to find Tyler standing at the door with his eyes hooded and sexy lips turned up in a smirk.

She sauntered over to him one hand still on her hip. 

He held up his hand. 

She high-fived it. “So what’s for dinner?” She looped her arm in his as they walked into the building.

“I’m keeping you even if Matt doesn’t,” Tyler said looking down at her low cut blouse, bringing attention to her cleavage.

“Tyler, sweetie, Matt’s not going to get rid of me. He’d have a hell of a war on his hands if he did.”

“Or you could just join me and Bailey.” His husky alluring voice teased her.

She thought for a moment as they stepped onto the elevator. “Tempting, but I don’t have a dick, so you wouldn’t be satisfied.”

Tyler leaned down to whisper in her ear, lips nearly brushing the skin. “I think I can come up with ways to be satisfied.”

Feeling the hairs on the back of her neck rise at the challenge he posed, she wanted to see how true Tyler was to Bailey. If he was really loyal, she had nothing to worry about, but if he followed through she’d have two very angry brothers after her. And yet she couldn’t let the challenge go.

“What ways do you mean?” She turned her head to come face to face with him. Then she leaned just enough that her lips feathered his. “Me on my knees, taking you in my mouth? Or…” She smoothed her hands up his well tailored suit jacket. “Do you want me to creep my fingers up you ass and massage your prostate? Or maybe you want to…take my ass?”

Tyler groaned.

The elevator dinged at their floor.

She moved her cheek to press against his and whispered in his ear, “Was that a no? Pity.” She straightened his tie before walking off the elevator as the doors slid open. She turned slightly to see Tyler from her peripheral hunched over.

She walked into the condo calmly and sat her purse on the counter. “Matt?”

“He’s in the shower,” Bailey said from the couch, scowling at her. He really didn’t like her. He was about to hate her even more.

“Oh, Bailey. You’re Tyler is on the elevator. I…may have said a bit too much and…possibly gave him blue ball.” She shrugged going to a cabinet. “It looks like it hurts. You might want to attend to him.”

“What the hell?” Bailey was up and out the door in a flash. 

Cody who was watching television with a bowl of popcorn on her stomach began chuckling. “Usually threatening to tell Bailey is enough Tyler deterrent,” the young woman said.

“True, but I did play along with him.” Val admitted.

Cody turned to look at her in horror. “Why the hell would you do that?”

“I guess I like living on the edge.” Val wiggled her eyebrows.

“You’ll only make him worse…” Cody snorted. “You may not be their blood, but you sure act like you’re one of them.”

Val stilled. “Really?”

Cody nodded. “And the fact you can handle Tyler… I thought only Bailey and Matt could do that. Even I can’t stand him sometimes. So I just punch him or steer clear when I don’t feel like dealing with his bullshit. Yet, you bait him and take his crap in stride. Must be the assassin in you.”

“Or the Radford,” Val said pouring herself a glass of wine.

“What?” Cody frowned at her as if she wasn’t sure she heard right.

“Hmm?” Val turned her back, corking the bottle.

“Say that again, Val.”

At that moment Bailey walked in with Tyler leaning on his shoulder.

“I think I know how she seduced Matt now.” Tyler whined.

Val rolled her eyes. He really was a troublemaker. “Who seduced whom I wonder…you know your brother better than I.” She picked up her glass and took a sip.

“Val, we need to talk.” Bailey demanded.

“Whenever you’re ready, big brother.”

“I’m not your brother.”

“Um… Bailey…” Cody rose from the couch.

“Cody, I don’t want you in the middle of this, just in case she gets dangerous.”

Val laughed at that. She’d never lost control and killed someone. Never.

“No, Bailey, I think… Val what did you mean when you said…” Cody shook her head as if trying to remember.

“What’s going on?” Matt came in to the living room with a towel around his waist and one over his shoulder.

“Your girlfriend tried to seduce Tyler.” Bailey said.

“I’m in pain.” Tyler moaned still hunched over.

“Good.” Matt snorted. “Bailey, did you even ask who started it?” He walked over and kissed Val.

“I did egg him on.” Val murmured.

“No flirting with Tyler.” Matt kissed her again.

“Put some clothes on before I jump you.”

Matt grinned. “That was like you telling me to drop this towel.”

“Matt, pay attention.” Bailey ordered.

She watched Matt’s eyes darkened a bit before he plastered on a diplomatic face.

“Make it good or I’m showing you the door.” Matt turned around putting himself between her and Bailey.

“Wait! Wait! Wait!” Cody shuffled around the couch waving her arm. “Val, what the hell did you just say… about Radford?”

“You told them about dad?” Matt asked turning to her surprised.

“Not what you think.” Val whispered.

“What about dad?” Bailey asked.

“I knew it. You did kill him.” Tyler’s face glowed with awe as he stood on his own completely fine. Faker. 

“What?” Bailey’s face paled.

“Shit.” Matt cursed.

“No, no that’s not what…” Cody paused and her face lit with shock arms falling to her side. “Wait! She killed your father?”

“No. No she-“

“Don’t lie for me, Matt.” Val smoothed her hand over his bare back, loving the feel.

“Fine. Yes, but she was ordered to do it. And that was five years ago and-“

“What the fuck, Matt?” Bailey looked so heartbroken, Val felt like the villain she was. “How the hell can you-“

“Can we keep her?” Tyler grinned giddy. “Oh, please Bailey can we keep her?” He nearly bounced on his toes tugging on Bailey’s t-shirt. “Can we fuck her?”

“What? No!” Bailey shook his head. “I can’t believe this. You! You! Get out.” He pointed to Val.

Val sighed and grabbed her purse.

“Oh, hell no.” Matt snatched her purse from her. “No. You live here. He needs to go.”

Val put one hand on his chest and leaned up on her toes to kiss him. “Talk to your brother.”


“Talk,” she said looking at him earnestly, hoping he understood what she meant.


She nodded, swallowing her apprehension. Val was so used to secrecy, just the thought of telling anyone anything other than Matt, made her physically ill.

“Val…” Matt must have seen the distress in her face. He kissed her brow. “Are you sure you don’t want to be here when I-“

She shook her head again, feeling the emotions swelling at leaving him even for a second.

“Don’t go far.” He ordered.

“I’ll be in Pam’s condo.” She kissed him again. And left, not looking at any of them. She didn’t want them to know her past, her shame, her secrets. But really, it needed to be out so that Matt wasn’t at odds with his family. She didn’t want to do anything that would make him lose them. She never wanted to be the homewrecker. Sure she could start a fire with her antics, but she didn’t want it hurting Matt. Separating him from his family would hurt him whether he admitted it or not. He loved them, protected them too much for it not to. She only hoped that one day they’d be able to accept her, even a little.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.