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       The Knight (Stolen Duet Book 2), p.1

           B. B. Reid
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The Knight (Stolen Duet Book 2)


  The Knight

  B.B. REID

  Copyright © 2017 B.B. Reid

  The Knight by B.B. Reid

  All rights reserved.

  Rogena Mitchell-Jones, Literary Editor

  Ami Hadley, Proofreader

  RMJ-Manuscript Service LLC

  www.rogenamitchell.com

  Cover Design by Amanda Simpson of Pixel Mischief Design

  All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the author or publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use the material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained from the author.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, are coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Dedication

  The Beginning

  Duty of Knighthood

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Epilogue

  Author’s Note

  Acknowledgments

  A PEEK INTO MISBEHAVED

  Also By B.B. Reid

  Contact the Author

  About B.B. Reid

  Dedication

  To Sunny, who listened to me moan about this book for six months.

  Mian’s name is pronounced

  My-an.

  The Beginning

  In 1812, Adam Knight died of consumption, leaving his wife and three children destitute. It was four years following Adam’s death when Louis Wilde encountered Adam and Amelia’s oldest son. Alexander’s reckless attempt to steal a jeweled ring from the home of politician John Sullivan had been witnessed by Wilde.

  But Louis didn’t turn in Alexander.

  Instead, he paid him for his enemy’s ring.

  And then paid him for his silence.

  Duty of Knighthood

  The Knight is responsible for the well-being of each descendant of Adam. He will be known as the Bandit.

  The Knight can only be the Bandit.

  The Knight will keep a record of every job, bribe, and client in the book.

  The Knight will never sell secrets.

  The Knight will never sell silence.

  The Knight will protect the book.

  The Knight will produce a male heir to continue my legacy.

  If the Knight fails in his duty to produce an heir, power will revert to the next eligible descendant of Alexander.

  The Knight and descendants of Adam shall treat these rules as law.

  Should the Knight break these rules, with the exception of producing an heir, his life will be forfeited, and power will be inherited by his executioner.

  Chapter One

  MIAN

  Three Years Ago

  I CAN STILL feel the butterflies.

  Angel’s midnight voice on the phone, making me wish him a happy birthday, and inviting me to his party tonight did that.

  I never thought I’d see him again. I never thought he’d care if I didn’t.

  Mixing with the flutters in my stomach was the stabbing memory of his order to stay away from him. I tried to picture a girl he loved enough to hurt me, but I could only see myself as the girl he shared his kisses with—only and forever.

  I sighed and fell back onto my bed. If he loved someone else, why would he purposely stir these feelings inside me by inviting me to his party?

  A little hope and a lot of uncertainty wreaked havoc on my mind. I’d go to his party, but if he wanted me to stay, he would need to be honest about what he truly wanted—and if he wanted me.

  Before I could get any answers, though, I’d need my father’s permission to go. Angel might think he could control the universe, but so did my father.

  He spent most of his time in the den during the rare occasions he was home. I rehearsed my lines as I made my way to his man cave. He’d definitely be suspicious of why I wanted to attend since Angel and I weren’t exactly best friends. Any reason other than the truth would do.

  I stood outside the den until the truth no longer sounded so distorted. My fist was poised to knock when I heard Daddy speak. His angry bark made me jump back from the door. I’ve never heard him speak in that tone before. Curiosity had me pressing my ear to the door.

  “Why are you showing me this?” The long silence meant he was thankfully alone. I didn’t want to know what he would have done if the person had been standing in front of him. I decided I didn’t want to know what he’d do to me if he found me eavesdropping, so I headed to the kitchen for a snack. I wanted to go to this party more than anything and maybe dance with Angel. Getting on daddy’s bad side definitely wouldn’t get me there.

  It was an hour before I heard his footsteps moving across the wooden floors my mother had loved so much. She spent a good part of her day watching home improvement shows after she’d fallen sick.

  I jumped from the barstool where I’d been eating an apple and met him in the hallway as he was tugging on the distressed brown leather jacket he always wore. I think he’s had that thing longer than I’ve been alive.

  “Daddy, I need to talk to you.”

  “Not now,” he answered in a clipped tone. He didn’t bother to spare me even a glance as he shoved his phone in his pocket and moved past me.

  “But it’s important,” I whined then winced. Maybe Angel had been right about me being spoiled.

  “It can wait.” His back was still toward me so he couldn’t see my frown. Daddy was never short with me.

  “Where are you going?” I demanded. I was tempted to stomp my foot and cry as I would have six years ago.

  His eyes seemed to lose some of their jade as he said, “I’ve got a job, Mian. Go to your room.”

  “I’m too old to go to my room,” I sassed. I’ve never openly defied my father before. I was accustomed to getting my way, especially after Mom died.

  But when his finger jabbed angrily toward the stairs, and he bellowed for me to obey him, I stared back at him in shock.

  I felt betrayed.

  He’s never spoken to me this way before.

  Ever.

  “I hate you,” I lied on a broken sob. The truth was I could never hate my father no matter how much he hurt me, and maybe it was the reason Angel mocked us, but my father was all I had. I could see the jade in his eyes returning a second before I turned and ran.

  * * *

  I WAS STARING in the mirror silently bemoaning my puffy eyes and hoping they’d return to normal before the party when the doorbell rang. When the tears finally stopped, I’d decided I wasn’t waiting around for Daddy’s permission.
He’d be forced to deal with me when he found me at the party falling deeper in love with his best friend’s son.

  Still standing at the mirror, the visitor continued to ring the doorbell more rapidly until it became obnoxious. My phone then vibrated twice signaling a new message, and when I saw Angel’s name at the top of the message, I quickly snatched up the phone.

  Angel: Answer the door, Sprite.

  I clutched the phone tight in my hand. It couldn’t possibly be him standing on the other side of my parent’s front door. Even he wouldn’t be that daring.

  Would he?

  I ran, dangerously skipping steps on my way down. I thought of my puffy red eyes for only a second before I ripped open the door. I was wearing a smile I couldn’t fight, but when I saw who was standing on the other side, my smile quickly fell.

  The man standing on my front porch didn’t have Angel’s dark hair, imposing body, or eyes with depths no one could ever reach.

  Instead, this stranger sported blond hair and impatient blue eyes. He was dressed in a navy sports coat with a simple white shirt underneath and dark gray slacks hugging his legs. Clutched in his hands were three boxes of varying sizes. The adrenaline that sent my heart racing with anticipation, fear and delight evaporated.

  “Mian Ross?”

  “Yes?” The confusion I felt was evident in my tone. He held out his arms, indicating I take the boxes. I did after a moment’s hesitation.

  I put them on the floor just inside the door and turned to ask what the packages were. “Sign here,” he instructed before I could question. He then thrust a tiny device forward, and I obediently scribbled my name across the screen. “Have a good day.” He turned and left, leaving me even more confused.

  I eyed the packages after closing the door. There was no labeling. The smallest box was made of light blue velvet. It looked just like a box to hold a ring. I took the boxes upstairs, and only when I was behind doors did I open the first box.

  A ring was exactly what I found inside.

  My eyes bulged at the size of the single diamond. With careful fingers, I plucked the ring from the bedding. The band was platinum, and a diamond twinkled brightly at the very top of the band even in the low lighting.

  I didn’t know much about rings, but this seemed like a ring a guy gave a girl when he wanted her to wear it forever. But that was impossible, right? I was only sixteen, and Angel didn’t love me.

  With shaking hands, I placed the ring back in the box and closed it gently. The possibility that it could be true was too frightening, so I decided not to open the rest until I had answers.

  It took me four tries before I knew what to say.

  I got your package, but somehow, I think you know that already… What does it mean?

  My other problem occurred to me after I’d sent the text. A few minutes had already passed without a response, so I bit my lip and sent another.

  Um…I may need a ride. My dad bailed a few hours ago, and he still isn’t back.

  Ten minutes later, I was still waiting on Angel’s response when the front door opening and closing sounded as if it’d been kicked in by Big Foot. I could hear Daddy calling my name. His voice sounded desperate as he ran up the stairs. Seconds later, he was filling my bedroom door looking just as he sounded.

  “I need you to pack a bag and come with me.” When I didn’t jump to obey, he snapped. “Now, Mian.”

  His mood obviously hadn’t improved in the few hours since he left, but this time, instead of running away in tears, I stood my ground and crossed my arms.

  “Why should I come with you? You’re being kind of a jerk.”

  “Mian, I’m very serious.” He brushed past me to my closet and pulled out my lime green Jansport. My arms dropped from my chest when he dumped my notebooks and homework from the backpack. He then crossed to the dresser and started pulling my clothes out randomly and stuffing them into the bag.

  “Daddy, I’m going to the party tonight.”

  He twisted with my pink lace bra clutched in his fist. I don’t think he noticed, so I snatched it from him and ignored his impatient scowl.

  “You aren’t going to any party,” he dictated. “I need to leave Illinois. I’m taking you to my brother where you’ll be safe.”

  My head tilted as I frowned. I was used to him coming and going, but this held finality. “What do you mean you’re leaving Illinois?” The thought left a bad taste in my mouth, especially since he noticeably hadn’t included me. “Why wouldn’t I be safe here?” Uncle Ben was Daddy’s illegitimate half-brother after my late grandfather’s affair with another member of their church. I didn’t know many of the details, but I knew enough to know the end of the affair had been ugly. Uncle Ben and his wife, Gretchen, kind of gave me the creeps. Their religious views bordered fanatic.

  “Later, baby girl. We don’t have much time.” He zipped up my backpack and moved to grab my arm, but I twisted my body, escaping his hold by a mere inch. I no longer had his attention when his gaze had fallen on the boxes.

  I didn’t try to stop when he plucked the tiny velvet box from the bed. He gingerly flipped open the lid, and when his gaze settled on the ring, his face turned to stone. I didn’t know how to explain the ring’s presence or what it meant. I braced for his anger and the questions.

  I didn’t expect him to place the box back on the bed carefully.

  He grabbed my arm before I could think to escape and pulled me from my bedroom.

  I never saw my home again.

  A month after Daddy drove me to Tome and left me with my aunt and uncle, I learned he had been arrested.

  I never expected his victim to be his best friend.

  Chapter Two

  MIAN

  Present

  RUN.

  I couldn’t see past my tears. I couldn’t feel past my heart clawing against my chest and his blood coating my hands as I ran. I could only obey fear’s demand.

  I pushed at the door, but my hands slipped on the first try. There’s so much blood. I threw my body into the door the second try. The light from the sun was an unwelcome change.

  I deserved darkness.

  I used my weight to push the heavy door closed, shutting in death and mayhem, as hard sobs shook my body.

  I killed him.

  When my legs threatened to collapse, I surrendered and slid to the ground. I’d only just closed my eyes—I wanted to let the pain consume me—but then I heard the shout.

  “Princess?”

  Another kind of terror seized me when I opened my eyes and found Z running toward me. When they found their brother dead, would they know it was because of me?

  “Son of a bitch!” I recognized the sound of Lucas’s rage, but I didn’t get the chance to react. His strong hands closed around my upper arms and gently lifted me from the dirt. His fingers bit into my skin as he held me up, but fear of what would come next distracted me from the pain. “What happened?” Lucas demanded.

  “Are you hurt?” Z questioned at the same time. He pulled me away from Lucas and held my face between his hands. His worried gaze searched mine. I wondered if he could read my guilt. “Where’s Angel, princess?”

  My gaze slid away to fix on the dirt beneath us. “Inside.”

  “Why is he—” He paused when his mind started piecing the answer together.

  “I—” If I told them he was dead, would they see my guilt and know it was me? My eyes drifted shut as more tears began to fall, but I ripped them open again when the vision of me plunging into Angel’s knife that was inside him replayed all too vividly.

  “Son of a— Is that blood?” Lucas blurted. My attention shifted to my bloodied hands at the same time as Z. Oh, God. They’d know.

  They probably already knew.

  “Fuck this,” I heard Lucas growl past the drumming of my heart. The cry of the metal doors as he yanked them open drowned out whatever Z was saying to me. When the warehouse doors closed again, he cursed and dropped his hands from my face to look over his sh
oulder.

  I didn’t see them until they were already surrounding me.

  “Take her and don’t let her out of your sight.”

  * * *

  KILLING ANGEL DIDN’T set me free. I was trapped now more than ever, and my prison was an elegantly decorated bedroom. Pacing the floor, I held Caylen in my arms as he screamed at the top of his lungs. I had no idea how much time had passed since Angel’s band of less than merry men took me from the warehouse. They’d brought me to the estate—the perfect prison.

  Already, the walls were closing in on me, and this time, there was no chance of escape or Angel to save me. The estate sat alone on land that stretched for miles, and the house was a maze. I’d never make it to the front door before I was caught. I was willing to bet it was heavily guarded after Victor’s daughter, Eliana, so easily kidnapped me from Art’s home. Angel, Lucas, and Z weren’t men who needed to learn a lesson twice. I didn’t often see the men Angel used for protection, but I guess that was the point.

  I gazed down at my son, whose cries had stopped. He stared back up at me with trusting eyes. The day he was born, I knew I would give my last breath to protect him. A tear slipped down my cheek at the reality that it just might come to that.

  It was only a matter of time before Lucas and Z came to kill me. They had to know it was me who killed Angel. Water had washed his blood from my hands but not the feeling. I’d never stop seeing the blood.

  Caylen mercifully drifted to sleep just as night fell. I had finally decided to give in to my own body’s demand for sleep when the door slowly opened. I thought I might already be dreaming until someone stepped into the shadow of the room. I quickly sat up just as the light flickered on.

  My body tensed even when my head screamed to hide my guilt. Maybe they didn’t know anything. Maybe they’d never know.

  “Princess?” The voice, soft and hesitant, was one I recognized.

  “Z?” I quickly scrambled from the bed. If I had to fight, I needed the advantage of being on my feet. He looked completely burned out as he moved closer. The black shirt he wore was wrinkled and discolored with the stain of blood that likely belonged to Angel.

 
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