Omega Read online
Part One: Kyrie
1: AT THE END OF THE WORLD
3: FAREWELL, MANHATTAN
4: THE SYSTEM
5: LAYLA, THE NOPE-FISH
6: THE DRESSMAKER AND THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
7: PERIMETER BREACH; THE BONFIRE
8: LIGHTNING STRIKE
Part Two: Layla
9: KIDNAPPING IS FUN
10: SAO PAULO
11: ROAD TRIP
12: LOST AND FOUND
14: DRAW IT OUT
15: SAY IT
16: AIN'T OUT OF THE WOODS YET
17: "I LOVE YOU," FINALLY
19: WORTH IT
Copyright (c) 2015 by Jasinda Wilder
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Cover art by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. Cover art copyright (c) 2014 Sarah Hansen.
AT THE END OF THE WORLD
"So where the hell are we again?" Layla asked, standing on her tiptoes, leaning rather precariously over the bow of the Eliza, a monster luxury yacht, registered in the Bahamas, belonging to both Valentine Roth and me. "I lost track two months ago."
"Ushuaia," Harris answered, gruff and brusque, but with a trace of amusement most people wouldn't be able to detect unless they knew him well. "It's the capital city of Tierra del Fuego. Also known as The End of the World."
"And why are we here again?" Layla asked. The couple of extra inches she had gained weren't doing much to let her see the approaching city more clearly.
Really, if she wanted to get a good look she should go up on the bridge.
I reclined in a teak deck chair, a floppy, wide-brimmed hat shielding my eyes from the sun, a glass of red wine in one hand, tugging my cardigan closed with the other. The temperature was pretty cool here at the end the world, not quite fifty degrees Fahrenheit, and it was the middle of May.
"Because it's somewhere to be," I answered for Harris. "And because it's extremely remote."
Layla turned to me with a frown. "Remote? Bitch, we're almost in fucking Antarctica. Have you seen those icebergs?"
I just shrugged and smiled. Layla was being Layla, but it was so great to finally have her with me again. "Roth mentioned that we might take a cruise down there to get a good look at them. Tomorrow, actually. I guess they have them all the time. It's like a tourist industry down here or something."
Harris snorted. "We would hire a private tour, obviously."
Layla rolled her eyes. "Obviously." She crossed the deck to sit at the foot of my chair, snatching my wine from me. "For real, though, I'm developing a serious case of cabin fever. As much as I love being here with you, eight fucking weeks is a long time for me to be stuck anywhere. I need off this damn boat. Nice as it is, and as much as I love you, babe, I need the real ground under my feet. I need to get naked-wasted with total strangers and pretend I'm not at the End of the World, doing dick-all with my life."
Harris let out a sigh, and we exchanged amused glances behind Layla's back. "Layla...only you would complain about being on a world tour, on a super-yacht, every need seen too, every desire met," I said.
"I'm not complaining. Much. I just...I've worked my whole life, Key. Since I was fourteen, I've worked six and seven days a week, two or three jobs at a time. Suddenly being unemployed...it doesn't sit well. I'm going crazy."
"It does take some getting used to," I admitted.
"Plus..." she leaned close to me, whispering. "I'm horny as all hell. Little Miss Middle Finger isn't cutting it anymore. Harris got me out of the States so fast I didn't have time to pack my dildo collection."
I let my head fall back against the chair and laughed. "Jesus, Layla. Way too much information." I glanced at Harris, who was scanning the approaching bay with a pair of high-powered binoculars, and lowered my voice. "What about our boy Harris over there?"
Layla didn't even look at him. "Um. No. No thanks. I'm not that desperate."
"Just no? That's it?"
She stood up abruptly. "I'm cold. I need a sweater." She hustled past me and retreated off the Lido deck into the superstructure of our home away from home, a steward holding the door for her as she swept past him without so much as a glance.
When she was gone, Harris glanced at me. "You know I have excellent hearing, right, Kyrie?"
I shrugged innocently. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
He narrowed his eyes, his brow furrowing. "Matchmaker is not a role that suits you." He stuffed the binoculars back into their protective case and vanished inside as well, leaving me alone.
I closed my eyes, absorbing the sunlight and wishing it was at least a little warmer. We'd been making our way across the Atlantic for some time now, and the temperature hadn't risen above fifty in all that time. We were well into the Southern Hemisphere and with the ever-present wind, I was always cold.
Even with my eyes closed, I could feel Roth approaching. He was as silent as ever, moving his huge form on cat-like feet, but I felt him nonetheless.
He didn't say a word, just slid an arm under my legs, another around my back, and lifted me, sitting down on my chair, and settling me on his lap.
"Where are the others?" he asked.
I shrugged. "I dunno. They went inside after I made an innocent suggestion. They both vanished on me."
"Layla was complaining about the lack of opportunity for...certain activities."
"She's horny, you mean?"
"Exactly. I merely pointed out that Harris was a possibility, and she just...shut down. Walked away. And apparently Harris overheard me and didn't think much of the idea either."
Roth laughed. "Harris is...extremely private."
"What does that mean?"
He lifted his shoulder. "Just that he keeps his personal life private. He plays things very close to the vest."
"But he's not, like, married or anything?"
This earned me another laugh, this one sarcastic. "God no, babe. I don't think that's his style."
"No, monogamy. Commitment. Long-term relationships with women. That kind of thing." Roth ran his huge hand through my hair, stroking my still-short hair with a special kind of tenderness. "I've always assumed he just...gets what he needs when he needs it, wherever he happens to be."
"But you don't know?"
"For sure? No. I mean, he's never introduced me to anyone. But when we make landfall, or when we're restocking in some city or other, he'll come back after a few hours away in a better mood. What he does and with whom, I know nothing about. Besides, it's not my business." He paused. "Anyway, as far as Layla is concerned, Harris would view her as a client, essentially, and he has very strict rules about fraternizing with clients. Rules that come from experience, I would think, but that's just a guess."
"Well, I meant it as more of a joke than a serious suggestion. But I guess I misjudged both of them--neither of them seem to have much of a sense of humor." I looked up at him. "So. What are our plan