Beneath These Chains (Beneath #3)(2)

by Meghan March

“Whoa, boss. Getting the door for ya.” Mathieu bolted across the shop and yanked the door open again. I hustled Bree out and set her free on the sidewalk.

She spun to face Mathieu and me. “You’re gonna regret this,” she hissed. “I swear, you will.”

A soft laugh came from the open door. “From what I’ve seen, I highly doubt it.”

Bree opened her mouth to spew something else, but I shut her down. “Get gone. I don’t ever wanna see you near my shop again.”

Bree’s flinty eyes narrowed as she shouldered her purse. “Fuck you, Lord. You think you’re better than me? Not a chance. You’re just thievin’ street scum. Fuck you.”

“And now she’s getting repetitious,” the husky female voice commented from behind me.

Lip curling in disgust, Bree turned and marched toward the corner, never looking back.

“Her exit could totally use some work, but all-in-all, that was one hell of a welcome.”

I turned to survey the woman standing in the doorway of Chains. Even without a photographic memory, I didn’t think I’d ever forget this particular pose: one arm braced on the doorframe and the other propped on her hip, a green dress hugging curves that had my entire body sitting up and taking notice. Matched with her long, curling red hair, she was a goddamn knockout. What the hell is she doing here?

“You lost, sweet thing?”

She stepped onto the sidewalk and tore the HELP WANTED sign off the bottom corner of the front window. Holding it between two fingers, she smiled. “Nope. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m your newest employee.”

The sign had been there since long before my brother bought Chains over two years ago, and it was faded to the point where you could barely make out the words. But still, I had to admit her move was slick.

“You’re in the wrong neighborhood to be looking for a job. I suggest you take your cute little ass over to Magazine and apply at one of those fancy shops. I’ve got nothing for you here.”

She flicked her wrist a few times, snapping the sign.

“It says ‘help wanted.’ I’m help, therefore I’m wanted.”

I opened my mouth to tell her no way in hell, but she spun on her blood-red, four-inch heels, grabbed the door handle, and let herself back inside.

Well, hell.

“She for real, boss?” Mathieu asked.

Through the barred windows, I watched as she studied the interior of the store, running her hand over the rack of guitars before stepping to the row of glass cases where the expensive shit lay—except the most expensive thing in the whole place was wearing a hot-as-fuck green dress and miles away from where she belonged.

Elle Snyder. Best friend to my brother’s girlfriend and born with a gold-plated spoon in her mouth—because silver probably wasn’t rich enough for her blood. Skip gold-plated, and make that solid gold. Some of us weren’t even born with a spoon. We’d had to claw our way to a meal and grab onto it with both hands before it could be ripped away.

There was no way she was actually here for a job. She had to be fucking with me. Might as well go in there, figure out what she wanted, and escort her fine ass right back out the door—all while keeping my hands to myself. I wasn’t about to go there, regardless of how sexy she was. She was in the no-go zone. You didn’t screw around with a girl who your family considered family.

“Boss?” Mathieu prompted.

“I don’t know what the hell she’s doing here, but I’m about to find out.” And that conversation didn’t need an audience. I pulled out my wallet and flipped off a couple bills. “How about you go grab us some food while I sort this out?”

“You just want to be alone with the rich bitch.” Mathieu winked and reached out to grab the money, but I yanked it back.

“What did I say about calling women—?”

He held up both hands in surrender. “I know, I know. Sorry. Chill out, man.”

I held out the cash again. “Just go get us some damn food.”

Snatching the bills and pocketing them, Mathieu asked, “How long do you want me to take? You going for a quickie or a long ride?”

“Go,” I growled.

Mathieu turned and strode off down the sidewalk, whistling as he went. “Little punk,” I muttered under my breath as I pulled open the door.

My annoyance bled away at the sight that greeted me: Elle leaned over the countertop, her dress clinging to her perfect peach of an ass. My cock twitched in my jeans, but I forced the reaction down. No. Ain’t happenin’, buddy.

“We both know you’re not here for a job. So if you’re lookin’ to pawn or buy something, you might as well get to it.” Even the thought of her pawning something was ridiculous, because, from what I’d heard, the woman was flush with cash.

She turned to face me, and the chain handles on her big, white purse jangled when she moved. “Do I look like I’m here to pawn something?”

My eyes dropped to her red-polished toes and skimmed up long, tan legs, the green dress, her ripe tits, and finally her face. She was sexy as fuck and screamed high class from every angle. And off limits, I reminded myself. Wasn’t that a shame?

“Sweet thing, you look like you’re here for a whole hell of a lot more than a job.” My natural instinct to flirt slipped out, and I beat it back.

The smile that spread across her face and curled up the edges of her lips was pure temptation. “You’re lucky I’m not the kind of employee who has problems with sexual harassment from my new boss.”

She couldn’t be serious. Whatever wild hair she was on needed to end right now.

“I’m not hiring you. I don’t care who you are.”

Her eyebrow lifted. “So you do know who I am.”

“You’re hard to miss, Elle.”

I’d seen her first at a boxing tourney about a month ago. She’d sat next to Vanessa—my brother’s girlfriend—and cheered for the boys Con and I trained at the gym with the help of an old boxing legend. It was nearly impossible not to notice Elle, even from my position as a cornerman. Con had laughed at the way the women had cheered enthusiastically, but I’d focused my attention on the bouts and our boys. I didn’t need the distraction then … or now.

“Then you know I should get the friends and family hiring perks.”

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