“Yeah, I remember,” he said with a confused look.

“They weren’t from me,” I chimed in.

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Mason shifted in his seat as he stared at me. “Who were they from?”

“We don’t know,” Ellery said as she kissed Julia on the head.

“Oh my God, the roses. They weren’t from you either?”

As I sipped my coffee, I shook my head. “No, they weren’t. It seems that someone has taken a great interest in my wife.”

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Mason looked at Ellery, got up from his seat, and gave her a hug. “I’m so sorry, Elle. What can I do?”

“I have a detective working on it, but I’m hiring a bodyguard for you and Julia. Ellery will have her own, just until we find out who’s behind this.”

My phone rang and, as I pulled it from my pocket, I saw Paul was calling. “Hello, Paul.”

“Good morning, Connor. I have two guys lined up as security if you want to interview them. We can be at your place in about fifteen minutes.”

“Sounds good; we’ll be here,” I said as I hung up. “Paul is on his way over with two men he wants me to interview. When we’re done, we’ll head over to the hospital.”

Ellery nodded her head while she poured herself a cup of coffee. Mason took Julia upstairs to change her diaper, and I walked to my office. I was going over some paperwork when Ellery walked in with Paul and two large men. I stood up from my chair and walked over to them. Their grip was strong as I shook both of their hands.

“Mr. Black, it’s an honor to meet you, sir,” they both said.

“Thank you for coming. Please have a seat. I’m sure Paul has filled you in on what’s happened.”

“Yes, sir, he has. We want you to know that we have specialized backgrounds in dealing with someone like this and we’d be more than happy to protect your wife and child. Justin and I are both ex-navy seals whom served with the U.S. Special Operations Forces for over twenty years.”

As I sat there and listened to their background, I felt they’d be the right choice for Ellery and Julia. “Ellery, what you do you think?” I asked.

“I think they’d be a good choice,” she replied as she looked at both of them and smiled.

“Okay, you’re hired,” I said as I stood up and shook their hands. “You’ll both start tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Mr. Black. Don’t worry, Mrs. Black; we aren’t going to let anything happen. You’ll be very safe with us.”

Ellery gave a small smile and walked out of the office. I could tell uneasiness washed over her. I asked Paul to shut the door while I talked to Justin and Adam.

“There’s something you must be aware of. My wife is a very stubborn woman who does whatever she wants. She doesn’t like to listen to anybody when it comes to her safety. She’s independent and strong-willed, so good luck. Don’t let her fool you.”

While both of the men laughed, I walked them out of the office and to the elevator. “We’ll see you tomorrow.” I smiled.

We visited Denny and nothing had changed. He was still in a coma and the doctors couldn’t give us any answers. Dana asked us if we would join her in the cafeteria for some coffee. I told Ellery to go ahead, but to stay with Dana at all times. I sat in the chair and stared at Denny and put my hand on top of his.

“I wish you’d wake up. There’s so much going on that I need to talk to you about. Ellery is being stalked. He keeps sending her text messages, and yesterday, he had three dozen roses delivered to the penthouse. If there was ever a time I needed your smart mouth and advice, it’s now. I’m so scared, Denny. If anything ever happened to her, I don’t know what I’d do.”

“You better find that bastard,” he whispered.

I jumped up from the chair as Denny slowly opened his eyes and looked at me. A smile filled my face as I squeezed his hand. I pushed the button for the nurse, and Ellery and Dana walked in.

“Look who’s awake.” I smiled.

Dana burst into tears as she ran over to the bed. Ellery walked over and touched his other hand lightly.

“Welcome back.” She smiled.

The nurse and doctor walked into the room and examined Denny. He seemed to be okay, except he was complaining of a horrific headache. The doctor told him it was normal and they’d give him something for the pain. He and Dana stared at each other while she cried and told him how much she loved him. I wanted to give them some alone time, so I told Denny and Dana that we’d be back later. As soon as Ellery and I stepped into the hallway, I grabbed her and pulled her into a warm embrace.

“Thank God he woke up,” I whispered.

Chapter 32

Ellery

As we drove home, I heard my phone beeping. The restricted number appeared on the screen. Connor looked over at me and could tell by the look on my face that something was wrong.

“What does it say?” he asked.

As I read the message, I instantly felt sick to my stomach.

“I masturbate to your picture, and you make me come so fast. I hope that turns you on. I dream about seeing your nak*d body and pressing it up against mine. I dream about being inside of you.”

When I didn’t say anything, Connor grabbed the phone from my hand just as we pulled into the garage of the penthouse. The anger that washed over his face was horrifying. I watched him take in a sharp breath and clench his fist.

“Connor, calm down, right now,” I demanded.

“How do you expect me to calm down when some guy says he masturbates to my wife’s picture and dreams about being inside you,” he yelled as he slammed his fists on the steering wheel. “I can’t just sit back and watch this. I need to do something.”

I couldn’t stand seeing him so angry. When we got out of the Ranger Rover, I stopped him before we reached the elevator, and I wrapped my arms around him.

“Please, Connor. Detective James is going to find this son of a bitch. Please stop being so angry. I know you’re scared and so am I, but I don’t need you going all crazy on me.”

He held me tightly; so tightly, I could barely breathe. “I’m sorry, Ellery.”

We broke our embrace and went up to the penthouse.

“I hope you two didn’t eat lunch. I made the most scrumptious salad for you,” Mason said as he emerged from the kitchen.

I smiled as we sat down at the table and he served us.

“Is Julia taking a nap?” Connor asked.

“Yes. The princess is down for her nap,” he replied as he sat down next to me.

My phone beeped, alerting me I had a text message. Connor’s eyes glared at me as I read it. “Relax, it’s from Peyton. She wants to drop by.”

Connor let out a sigh of relief as I secretly did as well. I wanted nothing more than to get my number changed. Suddenly, Connor’s phone started ringing from his pocket. He pulled it out and said it was Detective James. After a brief conversation, he hung up and looked at me.

“They were able to trace the text messages to a cell phone out of Chicago.”

“He must’ve been there that night at the gallery,” I said.

As we talked, Peyton came walking into the kitchen. We all stopped and looked at her.

“Hi. What’s going on?” she asked.

Connor and Mason both said hello to her, and I told her to have a seat. Mason got up, took a plate from the cupboard, and served Peyton some salad.

“Those text messages weren’t from Connor. Someone is stalking me,” I said.

“Stop it. That’s not even funny.”

“She’s not joking, Peyton. This is serious,” Connor said.

Peyton looked at me and then reached over and hugged me. “I can’t believe this. Do you know who it is?”

“Not yet. But we just found out that the texts were coming from a cell phone in Chicago.”

“Could it be someone from the gallery opening? Wait!” Peyton exclaimed as she took out her phone. “I remember this really weird guy there. I was on my way back from the bathroom and I saw this guy, standing in the corner,” she said as she showed Connor and me her phone. “He was taking pictures with his phone. It caught my attention because he had one hand on his crotch, like he was playing with himself. I thought it was funny, so I took his picture. I was going to show you, but Henry distracted me and I forgot.”

“Who or what was he taking pictures of?” Connor asked.

“I’m not sure, but I do remember looking over to where he was pointing his phone and Ellery was over there.”

Connor got up from his seat, walked over to Peyton, and wrapped his arms tightly around her as he kissed her on the cheek. “Do you know how much I love you?”

“Umm...sure,” she said as she looked at me.

“Send that picture to my phone, please.”

“I will, as soon as you stop smothering me,” Peyton said.

“Sorry, Peyton.” Connor smiled as he looked at me. “I’m going to call Detective James and then I’m flying to Chicago. I want to see those tapes from that night. I’m calling my pilot now to get the plane ready.”

“I’m coming with you!” I exclaimed.

“That’s fine. Mason, can you stay here tonight and watch Julia?”

“Of course I can. You two go and don’t worry about a thing.” He smiled.

Connor and I packed a light bag and stopped by the hospital to see Denny before heading to the airport. We told him what was going on and where we were going. He smiled at us and told us to be careful. Seeing him awake and looking well took one weight off of our shoulders.

We boarded the plane, and I took my seat while Connor poured me a glass of wine and himself a scotch. When we finally took off, we unbuckled our seat belts and sat on the couch. I drank some wine, handed the glass to Connor, and laid my head down on his lap. As I stared up at him, he started playing with my hair.

“You tossed and turned all night,” he said.

“I know, and I’m sorry if I kept you up.”

He leaned down and brought his mouth to mine, kissing me tenderly on the lips. “I won’t give up until this a**hole is found. No one is allowed to dream of you but me.”

I brought my hand up to his face and softly stroked his cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you more, Mrs. Black.” Connor smiled down at me. He looked at his watch and then back at me. “We have an hour until we land in Chicago. I’m thinking about taking you into the bedroom and making love to you.”

“Is that so?”

“Mhmm,” Connor said as he ran his finger over my lips.

“Then what are you waiting for? Take me. I’m all yours.”

“You’re mine. Mine forever, and nobody will ever take you from me.”

“Never,” I whispered as I kissed him on the lips.

As I walked around the art gallery, Connor talked to Vinnie. He told Connor that the guy in the picture was the lighting man, and he was taking pictures of the way the lighting was set up so he could show a prospective client.

“I can call him in if you want to speak to him,” Vinnie said.

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