Gabriels redemption, p.51
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.51

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard
Page 51


  “But they haven’t done anything?”

  “Nothing on radar. Don’t see how they can let this continue. The kid gave alcohol and drugs to a seventeen-year-old and then slept with her. It’s all on film. ”

  “Motherfucker. ” Gabriel placed the photos back in the envelope and slid it across the table.

  “Returning your fee. ” Jack tucked the photos inside his leather jacket and then took a business-sized envelope from one of the pockets. He held it out.

  Gabriel waved it aside.

  Jack dropped the envelope next to Gabriel’s coffee mug.

  “She ain’t your problem anymore. ”

  Gabriel leveled angry blue eyes on the man sitting across from him.

  “She will always be my problem. ”

  Jack squinted.

  “Man like you, spends thousands on white stuff that goes up his nose. Nearly gets himself and his father killed. Shit. ” He shook his head. “I’m fucking delighted you aren’t with her anymore. ”

  “Then take the money. ” Gabriel clenched his fist and inhaled deeply, resisting the urge to bounce Jack’s head off the table.

  “Tom should have solved this problem. Way I look at it, he fell down on the job. ”

  “It isn’t the first time. If you’re so sympathetic to Julianne, why the hell didn’t you rescue her from her mother? You could have saved her the scar on the back of her head. ”

  Jack’s face grew very red. “She told you?”

  “Of course. ”

  “Fuck. ”

  Gabriel glared. “I don’t expect you to understand, but for reasons I won’t delineate, we can’t be together. I’d still walk through Hell for her. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some motherfucker with a senator for a father embarrass and humiliate her. You don’t want the money of a cokehead who broke your niece’s heart? Fine. Do your job and do it right, or I’ll find someone who will. ” Gabriel stuffed the envelope into his pocket and moved to stand.

  Jack held out his hand to stop him.

  “I’ll call you when it’s done. ”

  “Good. I expect you to keep this conversation between us. ”

  Jack looked up at him in surprise. “Don’t you want her to know?”

  Gabriel’s expression tightened. “The important thing is that she’s safe. No blackmail, no blowback. They stay out of her life forever. And she gets to sleep peacefully at night. ”

  A long look passed between the two men before Gabriel strode out of the diner.

  Chapter Fifty-one

  October 2011

  Cambridge, Massachusetts

  Scheisse,” said Julia.

  “Quite,” said Gabriel.

  “I can’t believe you hired my uncle Jack. ”

  “He’s good at what he does. He’s gotten me out of scrapes before. ”

  A sudden realization came upon her. “Is that what you were arguing with him about back at my dad’s house?”

  “He was angry I’d never told you. ”

  “He never mentioned anything. ”

  “He’s a man of few words. ”

  “Why didn’t you tell me?” She looked at him reproachfully.

  “My actions were justified, but not legal. I didn’t want you knowing anything about it if there was a chance Simon or Natalie decided to go to the police. Or the feds. Before we were married I told you I’d looked into them and was satisfied that they wouldn’t bother you again. ”

  “I didn’t think you threatened them. ”

  “Is it really so bad?” he whispered.

  Julia met his gaze and saw thinly disguised disappointment in his eyes.

  “I told you I hadn’t confessed everything from my past, Julianne. We agreed that was fine. ”

  “But my father was so angry with you. Didn’t you want him to know that you protected me?”

  “The fewer people who knew about it, the better. I doubt he would have changed his opinion. ”

  “So while we were separated, you were working hard to make sure I was safe?” She blinked back tears. “Thank you. ”

  He hugged her tightly. “You’re welcome. You should know that when I recovered the photos and videos of you I destroyed them without looking at them. ”

  Julia’s shoulders sagged in relief. “But Uncle Jack saw them. ”

  “I think he took pains not to look. And they’re gone now. ”

  “Simon and Natalie probably kept copies. ”

  “Jack said he got everything that included you. And he has a few other things in case he needs to motivate Natalie or Simon in the future. ”

  “How did he get everything?”

  “That’s not important. The important thing is that you don’t need to worry about them. They won’t bother you again. ”

  Julia hugged him, crying relieved tears on his shoulder.

  Chapter Fifty-two

  October 2011

  Durham, North Carolina

  What are you doing?” April padded into her kitchen on bare feet, clad only in her boyfriend’s dress shirt.

  He was standing at the stove cooking bacon and eggs in a single pan.

  “Making us breakfast. ” He smiled at her and reached over to peck her lips. “How did you sleep?”

  “Good. ” She stretched her arms over her head, then giggled. “I sleep better with you than without you. ”

  “Me, too,” he admitted, more to himself than to her.

  She grabbed a container of orange juice from the refrigerator and poured them each a glass.

  “I sleep better with you, but I feel guilty. ”

  “Guilty?” Simon turned, holding the spatula in his hand. “Why?”

  April ducked her head, focusing on her orange juice. “Because we’re sleeping together and we aren’t married. ”

  Simon froze.

  Chastity was as foreign to him as Eastern Europe. He’d encountered it before, in Julia, but it had always been something annoying and stupid, something he’d wanted to destroy through either seduction or manipulation.

  With April, he found himself feeling something entirely different. Something that might have been the twinges of remorse.

  It was a new experience for him.

  “Sex isn’t bad. ”

  “That’s a funny thing to say. ” She tapped her finger against her juice glass. “You’ve taught me sex is very, very good. I love it and I love being with you. ”

  “Then what’s the problem?”

  “I was taught to wait. And I didn’t. ”

  Simon turned back to the stove, at a loss as to what to say. For a moment, he continued cooking breakfast, then turned off the burner and put the pan aside.

  He wiped his hands on the seat of his boxer shorts and walked over to her.

  “You were taught to wait because your parents didn’t want some asshole taking advantage of you. ”

  “Simon. ” Her tone was scolding. “Don’t cuss. ”

  “Sorry. Your parents were trying to protect you. ”

  “It isn’t just my parents. It’s my church. ”

  “Well, they were trying to protect you, too. And that’s a good thing. But our situation is different. ”

  She lifted her head. “Is it?”

  “Yes. ” He put his arms around her.

  “How is it different?” She sounded cautious. “Tell me. ”

  “I’m not just having fun here. I like having sex with you, but I also enjoy your company. I can let my guard down when I’m with you. I don’t have to be Senator Talbot’s son. I can just be myself. ” He smiled somewhat hesitantly.

  “That’s how I feel, too. ” She snuggled into his chest. “But every time you leave, I feel bad. ”

  “That’s because we care about each other. ”

  “I wish we could stay like this forever,” she whispered, her arms tightening around his waist.

  “Me, too,” he admitted. He was stunned to discover that his words were true.
That even in the short time he’d known her, he’d come to care for her, deeply. Their relationship was easy and good and he couldn’t imagine ending it.

  “I love you, Simon. ”

  Simon felt his heart jump into his throat.

  He was not a stupid man. He knew what he had in his arms—a beautiful, gentle, amazing young woman. She didn’t have the baggage that he carried. She wasn’t jaded and intent on social climbing, like Natalie. And she wasn’t fearful and self-righteous, like Julia. Julia had always made him feel as if he were an animal, something unworthy to touch her.

  April probably woke up that morning, decided she loved him, and simply told him. No deliberation, no head games, no social climbing through sexual means.

  Without warning, Simon found his lips moving.

  “I love you, too. ”

  April hugged him as tightly as she could, almost bouncing on the balls of her feet.

  “This is great!” she shrieked. “I’m so happy. ”

  “So am I. ” He smiled down at her youthful, uninhibited exuberance and kissed her.

  Chapter Fifty-three

  Cambridge, Massachusetts

  As October came to an end, the date Gabriel was waiting for drew near. He’d been fantasizing about what he was going to do to Julianne once their required celibacy ended, planning their activities meticulously.

  The afternoon before the date, Julia stood in the kitchen of their home and called him. The phone rang only twice before he answered.

  “Hello, gorgeous. ”

  She flushed. It never ceased to amaze her how, with a word or two, he could increase her heart rate and cause her skin to heat.

  “Hello, handsome. Where are you?”

  “Just picking up a few things. Where are you?”

  “At home. ”

  Gabriel paused, and Julia could hear the sound of a car door slam. “You’re home early. I wasn’t expecting you until six. ”

  “Professor Marinelli canceled her seminar because she has laryngitis. I think I’m going to go upstairs and have a shower. Then I might take a nap until you get home. I was up really early this morning. ”

  The sound of the Range Rover roaring to life filled Julia’s ears.

  “You do that. I’ll be home soon. See you then. ”

  “I love you. ”

  “I love you, too. ”

  Julia heard what sounded like a chuckle before Gabriel disconnected. She wondered what he found so funny.

  She poked around in the kitchen for a few minutes, noticing that Rebecca hadn’t prepared anything for dinner. She wondered why.

  Perplexed, she climbed the stairs to the second floor. She didn’t bother to hang up her clothes but simply dropped them in the bedroom before entering the shower.

  A hot shower would revitalize her after an exhausting day.

  She’d almost finished her shower when she heard the shower door open.

  “Why, hello there. ”

  Gabriel stood in front of her, naked and smiling. He leaned forward to kiss her.

  “Did you need a shower too?” she asked, trying not to ogle him and failing miserably.

  “No. I just wanted to be where you are. ”

  She kissed him again. “Thanks. ”

  She ran an appreciative hand down the center of his chest to the deep V that bracketed his hips. Then she switched off the shower, squeezing the water out of her hair.

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