Beast billionaire 1 (bad.., p.4
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       Beast Billionaire #1 (Bad Boy Alpha Billionaire Werewolf Shifter Romance), p.4

           Mac Flynn
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Maggie turned to her left and slipped between the brambles and the stone wall. A rudimentary path wrapped itself around the large enclosure, and Maggie hurried along the wall in search of a way in.

  Far off the crash of the waves echoed up the cliff walls. The water brought with it a thick fog that enveloped her in a blanket of white so thick Maggie couldn't see five feet in front of her. She pressed her palm against the stone wall and turned a corner in her blind wanderings.

  That was how Maggie nearly missed the gate set into the stone wall some two hundred feet past the corner. It was wrought-iron like the front gates and no less tall, but narrower. Maggie peeked through the bars and saw nothing but dark shadows and mist. A cobblestone path led from the gate into the interior of the grounds.

  Maggie leaned back and inspected the gate. There didn't appear to be any lock to pick. She grasped the bars and gave them a shake. The gate rattled, but didn't open. The young dropped her arms to her sides and bit her lower lip.

  A twig snapped behind her. Maggie spun around and noticed a dark shape in the shadows. Piercing yellow eyes stared at her from the darkness. She gasped and stumbled backwards until her back hit the gate. The figure stepped forward out of the deepest shadows.

  Maggie's pulse slowed when she saw the shape was actually a handsome man in casual dress pants and a white buttoned shirt. The top few buttons were open and revealed his pale but muscular chest. He placed his hands in his pockets and tilted his head to one side to study her. Maggie returned the favor as she looked for any sign of a weapon to show he was security, but there was nothing on him.

  He grinned and bowed his head to her. "Good evening."

  Maggie pressed her hands against the bars of the gate and shakily smiled at him. "Um, good evening."

  His gaze looked past her and at the gate. "Did you need something?"

  My eyes flickered over her shoulder as her thoughts flitted back to her father. Maggie bit her lip and took the plunge. Maggie straightened and nodded. "Yes, I'm trying to find a way inside."

  He arched an eyebrow and walked up to stand beside her. His eyes switched from the interior beyond the gate to her. "You want to go into that haunted place?"

  Maggie nodded. "Yes. I have to meet with Mr. Forrest."

  He leaned one shoulder against the stone wall and studied her. His steady, penetrating gaze unnerved the young woman. "Do you want his autograph or just a peek at the recluse?"

  Maggie shook her head. "Neither. My father was fired from his position at Mr. Forrest's company and I thought I might ask him to give it back."

  The man raised both his eyebrows. "Then you're not here for yourself?"

  Maggie pursed her lips. "No, and that's why I need to get inside. My father can't get a recommendation because the supervisor fired him."

  He pushed off the stone and pulled out a pipe. The man struck a match and lit the end. "Ah. Now we get to the meat of the matter. What did the man say your father did?"

  Maggie shook her head and turned towards the gate. The interior was as dark and quiet as ever. "I'd rather not say."

  A strange smile slipped onto the man's lips. "But you'll tell Mr. Forrest?"

  Maggie turned to him and frowned. "Of course."

  He slipped between the gate and where Maggie stood. "Then allow me." His work was hidden from her, but Maggie heard a jangle and the gate creaked open. The man turned to her and swept his hand toward the opening. "Ladies first."

  Maggie blinked at him and the open gate. "How did you do that?"

  He took a puff on his pipe and shrugged. "I've lived in this area for a while, so I know a few tricks."

  Maggie smiled. "Thank you, but I can't ask you to go any further with me. If you're caught they'll charge you with trespassing."

  He chuckled. "And leave a beautiful young lady alone on a night light this? Not likely. Besides, I happen to know the way to m-Mr. Forrest's bedchamber. He's usually there at this time of time."

  Maggie raised an eyebrow. "How do you know?"

  He shrugged and turned away towards the stone path. "Let's just say I know him pretty intimately, but let's go before we both catch our death of cold."

  He took a few steps forward before Maggie stretched out a hand. "Wait." He paused and half-turned towards her. Maggie looked down at the ground. "I. . .I don't even know your name."

  He smiled and bowed his head. "You can call me Adrian. And might I know the name of the lovely young woman to whom I owe the honor of her company?"

  Maggie held out her hand. "It's Maggie. Maggie O'Hara."

  Adrian gave her hand a strong shake and kept it in his gentle grasp. He stepped back and guided her down the path. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Maggie. Now allow me to show you the way."

  They walked through a tunnel of shadow. The fog drifted around them and eclipsed everything in its white body. That thought brought her back to another body, more specifically that of the man who held her. His warm hand sent a thrill of sensual pleasure through her, and Maggie couldn't help but admire what she could see of his face as he cast glances back at her. It was like a fairy tale as this handsome creature led her through a wilderness of night to a noble end.

  They reached the side of the stone house before Maggie realized where they were. The path which they followed continued on its way to wound its way around the house, but Adrian stopped them at a corner of the building. Pane windows stared back at them through the jungle of trellises, vines, and overgrown bushes. Maggie peered into the interior, but there were no lights to allow her to see inside.

  Maggie felt a tug on her sleeve and turned to find Adrian smiling at her. He nodded his head at a nearby trellis. Thick old vines covered the wooden posts. "Now we climb."

  Maggie tilted her head back and followed the trellis up the wall. The vines reached to the second floor some fifteen feet above them where she glimpsed a white-marble balcony with an ornate stone railing. The soft glow of a light through glass panes caught her attention.

  Maggie returned her attention to Adrian and pointed at the balcony. "Up there?"

  He nodded. "It's his bed chambers. He's usually in there, but we'll go see."

  Maggie pursed her lips. "But won't he have a gun or scream when we go up there?"

  Adrian smiled and shook his head. "No. He doesn't have much use for guns, and he's not the screaming type."

  "Shouldn't you go first? You two know each other," she pointed out.

  He chuckled. "I'm sure he'd much rather see the beautiful face of a woman than mine, but I'll be right behind you."

  Maggie walked up to the trellis and pulled on a vine. Dead leaves rained down on her head, but the vine held. She brushed away the dead growth and took hold of the largest vine in both her hands. Her feet found footholds in the squares of the trellis. Maggie took a deep breath and began the climb.

  Maggie wasn't overweight, but she wasn't in shape, either. The many vines didn't make the climb easy, and by the time she reached the top of the railing she was winded. Maggie clambered over the top and stumbled onto the leaf-strewn floor of the balcony. She fell onto the hard stone flooring and the dry leaves crunched beneath her.

  Adrian followed behind her. He stepped over the railing and leaned down to offer her his hand. A smile graced his lips. "May I help you, my lady?"

  Maggie smiled. "I guess I need more practice climbing." She grasped his hand and he pulled her up.

  Maggie studied where the balcony. The long outcropping had a sweeping view of the fog-filled yard. The vines we climbed crept over the railing and engulfed the wall of the house. The only opening were two French doors that opened inward. The light she'd seen before streamed onto the balcony, but flickered and dimmed every now and again.

  Adrian walked past her and opened the doors. He stepped aside to face her and swept his hand towards the opening. "After you."

  Maggie swallowed her creeping uncertainty and walked through the
doors. The interior of the large chamber was comfortable. Large oriental rugs covered the wood floorboards and the walls were painted in a soft, though faded, white. The ceiling was peaked and revealed the rafter. A large stone fireplace stood opposite the French doors, and from the warm fire came the flickering light. A tall chair near the hearth sat with its back towards the doors, and a small table stood beside the seat. A tray of food and a bottle of wine with a glass sat atop the table. To her left a large, four-post bed with thick curtains and beside that was an ornate dresser. A small desk and a wooden chair in the right-hand corner against the exterior wall completed the furniture.

  Maggie crept deeper into the room and turned her head from left to right. The shadows danced across the walls at the whim of the fire. Deep darkness ruled the far corners.

  "Hello?" Maggie whispered. She cringed when her voice echoed off the walls. "Mr. Forrest?" She reached the arm of the chair and made to lean over.

  Something slammed behind her and made her jump a foot in the air. Maggie spun around to find the French doors shut and Adrian nowhere in sight.

  "Adrian? Adrian!"

  "You called?"


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