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Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(12)
Author: Meghan March

Evo nodded. “Got it, Rix. I got it.”

“Good. Now, spread the word and make sure everyone hears it. Anyone has a problem, they take it up with me.”

“Okay.” Evo turned away and paused. “What about D-Rock?”

“Don’t worry about it. He gets to deal with me too.”

I didn’t know what Rix was going to do to Trinity’s boyfriend, but I also couldn’t pretend I cared. I was on the ship D-Rock to Timbuktu committee from this day forward.

Evo headed back to the living room, and Rix tugged at my hand. “Let’s go, duchess.”

Wait, what?

“I’m good. I’m going.” I pulled at his hand, but he didn’t release his grip.

He shook his head. “We are going. Not you.”

“Not necessary.”

“I don’t care what you think is necessary.”

“Fine. Whatever. Let’s go.”

He studied me for a long moment before letting me pull him toward the door. I didn’t know why he was still holding my hand, but it was like he didn’t want to let me go.

Why doesn’t he want to let me go?

The girls I’d seen when I was arriving at the house were leaning up against a dented gray Ford Focus, smoking and looking too young and too cool. When they caught sight of me and Rix, their demeanor changed instantly. Slouched shoulders instantly went back, hair was straightened, skirts were tugged up slightly, and boobs went out.

“Hey, Rix,” one girl called. “We thought you might wanna party tonight.”

I was clearly not labeled competition, because they didn’t even acknowledge me.

Rix didn’t even hesitate. “Go home.”

The bolder one of the two, the one who’d stopped us, stepped forward. “We’d rather go home with you.” She finally spared me a look. “Bet we’d be a lot more fun than her.”

Rix’s grip tightened on my hand. “I’m gonna say this once, so listen up. You stand around at parties, lookin’ at every guy like you do, every one of ’em is gonna think you’re a ho.” He jerked his head toward me. “This right here, this is pure class. That ain’t somethin’ you can plaster on like all your fuckin’ makeup and perfume. You can’t put that on like your skanky-ass clothes or buy it like your fake tits. You got it or you don’t. And you two, you don’t. So go home. Close your legs. Find some goddamned self-respect.”

I pressed my lips together to keep my jaw from dropping open. Had I heard him right? First, that was the most words I’d ever heard him speak. Second, he’d straight-out called them on their skankiness, and third, he’d complimented me in a big way.

His advice had actually been good advice. Actually, almost exactly what I would have wanted to tell those girls, in less blunt terms. Who would have thought that would come from Rix? Before now, I would have put my money on him taking them up on their offer. What guy wouldn’t?

I watched him out of the corner of my eye, wondering if there was more to him than I’d thought.

The girls’ pale shoulders slumped again, but they didn’t say another word as we walked to my car. Honestly, what could they say?

“Keys, duchess.” Rix held out the hand that wasn’t laced with mine.

I jerked my head up to meet his gaze. “What?”

“Keys. I’m driving.”

I looked from him to my Tesla. “But it’s my car.”

“And I’m not the kind of man who lets a woman drive me around.”

A chunk of the points I’d just awarded him in my brain slid away. “Are you serious? That’s ridiculous.”

He walked me around to the passenger door before he responded.

“You ever take tactical driving lessons? You know evasive maneuvers and defensive driving techniques? The kind that keep people safe in fucked-up situations?”

The question stumped me. “Excuse me?”

“I’ll take that as a no. Now, give me the keys and get in.”

Safe. The word echoed in my brain.

He didn’t even know me, but he was concerned about my safety. And with him, I felt safe, even though he scared the hell out of me. How was that even possible?

Because he’s already defended you. Rescued you. And he might be a scary motherfucker, but apparently he’s on your side.

I reached into my purse and pulled out the keys. “Okay. You can drive. Just . . . be nice to my car.”

The door handles had already popped out when I’d gotten close with the key, and Rix pulled open the passenger side for me. As I climbed in, he said, “Like I’d hurt this car.” With a ghost of a smile, he added, “Been dying to drive it.”

“What—” He shut the door before I could finish, but when he climbed in the driver’s side, I continued. “How much of your speech was true, and how much was you just wanting to drive because you like my car?”

Rix’s expression turned serious again. “Every damn thing I’ve said to you is fucking true, but it doesn’t mean you should ever trust me.”

The man was bluntly honest, and I couldn’t help but respect it. If I had to guess one thing about Rix, I’d be willing to put my money on always knowing where I stood with him, despite his warning. Not that I needed to know where I stood with him, because as soon as I knew Trinity was safe, I’d never see him again.

After I pointed out a few oddities of driving a Tesla, Rix was cruising along the streets of New Orleans toward Trinity’s grandma’s house. I’d texted her again, but still no answer. She’d better be home, asleep, or I was going to lose my ever-loving mind.

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