Home > His Secretive Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #3)

His Secretive Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #3)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Thorpe Brothers #3 - His Secretive Lover

His Secretive Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #3)
Elizabeth Lennox

romance

 

Chapter 1

The dark figure stopped in her tracks, listening carefully, not even allowing herself to breathe. The silence was thick, but something was wrong. The carpeting had suppressed her steps, but she knew that, in the night, every sound, every moment was louder than during the daytime hours.

She closed her eyes and relaxed her mind, letting all the sounds become louder and the movements almost a physical vibration. Relaxing helped her focus all her other senses, her mind working hard to grasp if there was a real threat or if she’d just imagined something. She’d been trained from childhood and knew what to do, how to react and had contingency plans in place. Her training had been thorough.

Total silence. She kept her eyes closed, her body still. Listening.

There it was, she thought with a cheeky, secret smile, her body still frozen in place. The shuffling sound was barely there, but someone was trying to creep up on her.

She would have laughed with delight, but she knew that would give her presence as well as her location away. Silence was the most important aspect of this night. Without silence, she would be caught.

With stealth built up over years of practice, she grabbed the last object in the middle of the desk, then climbed the rope right back up into the ceiling. She suppressed an inner giggle and watched through the air conditioning vent as the large, awkward figure moved into the office. Overhead lights were turned on and the dark head moved to the right and left. As much as she’d like to watch, she knew better than to remain still at this point in the mission. She slowly turned, her body slithering down through the vents. She didn’t wait around to see if the inept, power-hungry security guard would spot her through the metal slats.

Gliding lithely through the air system, she made her way back to her starting point. At the last moment, she hesitated, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck rise up. Those little hairs had saved her neck on more than one occasion so she’d learned to listen to their silent warning.

Pausing, she lifted herself higher, using all her upper body strength to pull up another three inches. With that, she knew she was basically invisible to the cameras that she’d already put on a loop. But her position also meant she was invisible to anyone coming out the door directly beneath her. If she hadn’t done all those workouts recently, she never would have made it to this point before the guard burst through the door for his nightly, if off schedule and unsanctioned, cigarette and whiskey break.

In that moment, her heart rate accelerated to triple time and she felt a renewed shot of adrenaline spike through her body. She bit her lip and looked around, trying to determine if her back-up escape plan was still viable. She saw the door and the window above it and knew she could do it.

With grim determination, she lifted herself higher up, swung her leg over the ledge and looked down. It was higher than she was used to, but a glance behind her showed that she couldn’t go back the other way. With a grin, she sprang forward and caught the opposite ledge just in time. Her gloved hands gripped the edge with just enough strength to pull herself forward once again. With a grunt, she swung her body left, then right, then left again, gaining enough momentum and, at the last moment, swung her whole body over the ledge. With that, she was home free. She got to her feet, maintaining a crouch as she sprinted across the rooftop. The ladder was in sight and she scanned the area. Sure enough, the guards were still focused on the opposite side of the building.

She pulled the harness over her head, then strapped it around her waist and thighs. This was the good part, she thought with relish. Hmmm…maybe the theft part was the best. Or perhaps it was the planning. She really loved planning things out, figuring out all the details. Or maybe, the best part was when she slipped by the guards without them even knowing something had happened.

She smiled in remembrance of the job and the incomparable excitement. It was all good, she thought as she snapped the last of the hooks into place and tightened the harness. With careful eyes, she checked all of her equipment one last time. This was not the time to be careless. She’d already gone over everything four times, but this equipment check would be just as important as the first.

Once she was confident that everything was in place and all the connectors were secure, she moved over to the side of the building, taking a moment to look out over the fabulous city. Chicago really was a beautiful town. Thankfully, she hadn’t planned this adventure during the winter months but even now as the October wind blew over the lake and through all the tall buildings there was a definite bite to the air. It was getting colder. This might be the last time she could take this route until springtime, she thought with regret.

With a shrug of her shoulders and an eager smile on her face, she took one more breath, grasped the rope, and threw herself over the ledge with barely a sound.

Down she went! With a whoosh, she flew down the side of the building. She dropped fifty stories down in just seconds, feeling the cold air swish around her. When she was about two thirds of the way down, she clamped the brake that slowed her fall. She was only three inches from the ground before she came to a full and silent stop. It took two more snaps and her thumb flicked the release. The rope zipped up into its carrier, the carrier was stuffed into her leather bag and the harness was stashed into a pocket. Only fifteen seconds after placing her feet on the sidewalk, there was no evidence that she had been here.

She stuffed everything into her bag, turned her hoodie inside out so the pink part was showing instead of the black and slung her bag over her shoulder. She’d done it, she thought with increasing excitement. Maybe this was the best part. Walking away, feeling the thrill of success and the adrenaline pumping through her system. She’d gotten into the office, accomplished her goal and gotten out of the building without anyone knowing she’d even been there.

She almost skipped down the sidewalk but she suppressed the urge, knowing she was supposed to be inconspicuous.

Chapter 2

Ryker smiled inwardly as he pulled into his parking spot, but not a hint of that personal satisfaction showed on his handsome features. Ryker was known to be reserved, cool and in control. He rarely put his emotions on display unless he was alone with his brothers. And even then, he was the eldest, needing to be the calming influence. He knew his responsibilities and took them very seriously.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate life, he thought as his eyes looked around for the woman.

To the casual observer, he knew that he generally looked serious and intent, but he didn’t really care. The opinions of others were of no consequence; he had more important things to worry about than whether someone perceived him as likable. Ryker didn’t mind that his staff was intimidated by him. It enabled him to run The Thorpe Group more effectively. He not only had his entire division to run, he was also responsible for the whole company not to mention his three younger brothers who tended to lean towards the boisterous side of life. Thankfully, they didn’t fight as much as they used to.

Well, Xander did, but that was because of…Ryker sighed as he thought about that situation. Xander was the second oldest and in charge of the family law division of The Thorpe Group. Ryker thought about the cynicism he’d seen recently in his younger brother. It wasn’t healthy, and Xander was definitely becoming more jaded. Maybe that’s why the arguments between he and their office manager, Autumn, were getting more…pointed.

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