Preparations

This little mami has been working overtime haha. Extra chapter is sponsored on ko-fi by 3mb3r93. I really appreciate your support! Thanks!❤Enjoy!

    Rui goes into his soundproof study down the hallway from the living room. First, he calls Rene to tell him they will be leaving soon for Paris. He also gives him the instructions for the men who are remaining at the chateau. Afterwards Rui opens his silver laptop using facial recognition to unlock the high tech device. Rene acquired the laptop from one of his contacts who he worked with when he was in Special Forces. The computer expert is a rare talent and for an extra charge he installed unique software recently developed by him for French Cyber Security.  Additionally, the computer is equipped with a modulator that changes the timbre of Rui’s voice and enables him to speak any language perfectly. Rui’s location is untraceable when he uses he laptop so he can be assured no one can trace his call.

   When he connects a man speaking Arabic with a rough voice answers the call. Rui tells him, “I will contact you in two hours. Is everything ready?”

   “Yes Zayn. The general received his instructions and the initial payment. ”

   Rui taps his pen on the antique wooden desk, “ Make it clear to him that I can’t have any delay.”

  “The plan is foolproof. It is all set. My brother in law works loading the trucks on the lower level of the facility. ”

   “I transferred half of the payment to an account set up for you in the Caymans. I will send you the encoded information. When I receive the video I will send the final payment. You and your family should relocate.”

    The short bald man plays with a black dagger in his hand. “Do I have your permission to kill that bastard Samman?” 

  “Your revenge will have to wait, Akeem. If you want to torture him..hmm.. well, I have no problem with that.. but..leave the slimy bastard alive. I need him to be able to speak..legibly.”

   “En.” Akeem has a sinister smile exposing his two gold front teeth as he hangs up. He walks over to a couch where a young emaciated dark haired girl is holding her knees shivering. She looks about sixteen although she just graduated from University and is twenty as of last month. The disheveled girl’s features are similar to the older woman sitting next to her rubbing the girl’s matted hair.

  She gives the girl a sip of water and the girl spits it out knocking the glass from the startled woman’s hand. The woman’s thin face is tear stained and her hand trembles touching the young girls chapped lips. “Mommy wants you to drink. Please baby, please swallow the water.”

 The girl looks at her mother with lifeless sunken brown eyes as she shakes her head wildly back and forth.

  Akeem walks over to the two, speaking in Arabic to the haggard looking woman he sounds worried, “Shari, the doctor will be here soon. He can give Nina an infusion, don’t force her to drink.” He tenderly touches the girl’s cheek and she starts screaming, “NO! NO! DON’T TOUCH ME!”

  The woman tries to calm her down but the young girl is flailing her extremely thin arms towards Akeem.

   The Chinese doctor dressed in green and brown camouflage clothes comes into the room witnessing Nina’s agitated appearance. He motions to Akeem to step away from the couch and the man grabs Nina’s twig like arm and in one swift motion injects a sedative into her upper arm. The girl slowly slumps over into her mother’s lap.

  The doctor pats Akeem on his back, “It is not your fault. Stop blaming yourself. How were you to know about the sick bastard’s experiments. She will recover in time with the antidote. He takes out a packet of powder from his black medicine bag.”Mix this powder with a little porridge and feed it to her when she wakes up.” The doctor noticed the water spill and broken glass by the girl so he thinks in food would be the best way to feed her the antidote. “Zayn also is giving you the opportunity to avenge the girl.”

  Akeem hands the doctor a cigar. “Thank you for coming.” Akeem picks up the frail young girl to carry her into the bedroom then lays her on a bed covered in a pink bedspread. The doctor looks around the girl’s room. There are pictures on the wall of some young boys singing and stuffed animals on a shelf. He takes out the infusion drip and motions to a young African man who is following him to set up the infusion pole. He lifts Nina’s limp wrist covered in scars and inserts a needle. The doctor hands the girl’s mother a tube of ointment. “Apply this to the girl’s scars twice a day and in a couple months they will fade away. These pills are anti depressants and this bottle contains a mild sedative. Only use if you feel it is necessary or you could create another problem. The anti depressants can be addictive.”  

  The woman looks at the tube in her hand and the bottles of pills. Her bony fingers are trembling looking at her once beautiful daughter. “What kind of beast..?” She breaks down sobbing and Akeem holds her in his embrace, “Sister, I will get revenge for our sweet Nina.”

   The doctor checks the drip then says, “This is my associate, Kwame Kimathi. He will come by tomorrow to check on the girl. When the drip runs low later, Mrs. Koury change it out with this one. It is very easy to do.” He demonstrates, “Do you understand?”

   Shari nods yes then holds onto his jacket, her raspy voice is full of gratitude, “Thank you..thank you doctor.”

  He pats her hand not sure how to comfort the woman. He is an Army doctor and only came because of the operation. Akeem can’t be distracted this afternoon or my men will die. “I need to return. Akeem here is the number to the clinic. If the girl has any problems, call.”

   Akeem walks out with him, “How did you locate the antidote for the aphrodisiac?

  He doesn’t answer Akeem’s question as he puts on a pair of sunglasses. “Don’t fail today.”

  Akeem opens the door to the small house then turns watching the Chinese doctor and the young African leave in a Jeep. He looks at the clear blue sky then at the children happily playing soccer in the street. 

  After he enters the house his sister hands him a cup of black coffee and then bends over picking up a smashed cup on the floor by the couch. “Akeem…kill that evil man.”

  Akeem drinks the cup of strong coffee then sets it down on the table. He has a worried expression looking towards the shut bedroom door. “Take care of Nina.” Akeem holds a hat with the  Zartech Corporation logo in his weathered hand then picks up a blue work jacket. He affectionately touches his sister’s  face and tucks a few gray strands behind her ear. “ Sister, don’t forget to eat.”  He walks out to his battered blue truck then makes a call as he starts the engine, “I am on my way.”

   At the chateau Rui walks into the kitchen and raises his eyebrow when sees the cook, Noelle standing at the stove. The attractive woman looks up from the sizzling vegetables, smiling at Rui as she greets him, “Dr. Qiao.”

    The last time he was at the chateau he wasn’t the CEO of Qiao Corporation so she thinks it would be best to call him Dr. Qiao. She looks very professional wearing a pair of black straight leg pants and a white long sleeved blouse with a navy blue apron tied around her thin waist. Looking at Noelle you would never know she is a trained assassin. She stirs the shredded pork as she adds the fresh cut vegetables, when Rene called her to come to the chateau to work she was ecstatic at the prospect of seeing Rui again. “I made your fav..” She stops herself, “I made Gingered Chicken Congee. It is almost ready if you want to sit in the dining room, I will bring your tea.”

  After Rui leaves the kitchen she clenches her hand and her knuckles turn white. When she came into the kitchen this morning she was met with the  scene on the floor and counter. Noelle was furious thinking about the slut who seduced her Dr. Qiao. Dirty! Dirty! What a dirty woman! Now Dr. Qiao is ignoring me. I will kill the little bitch! Rene filled her in about how important Feng LiMei is to Qiao Rui not knowing she is obsessed with him.

   LiMei woke up and saw Rui wasn’t in the bed. She got up and although her whole body was sore she took a quick shower. Rui told me last night he had to go into Paris for a meeting. I wonder if he left.Why didn’t he wake me up! She hurriedly puts on a pretty sleeveless dark green dress and looks in the full length mirror. Satisfied she puts on her slippers and uses all her strength to walk down the stairs. When she enters the living room she sees a pretty woman standing next to Rui who is sitting at the dining room table. The woman is smiling and pouring tea for Rui leaning with her chest in his face. What the heck? Who is she!

  LiMei presses her lips together in a straight line and her catlike green eyes have a dark jealous flame burning in them. She stands in the doorway motionless watching the woman flirting with Rui. She is debating if she should interrupt when Cheng and Morgan come walking into the living room. Cheng looks at Morgan, “Why is the little chick just standing there?’

  Morgan barks, “How the hell would I know!”

 LiMei turns around when she hears Morgan bellow at Cheng. Embarrassed that she is peeking into the dining room she walks over to the two men, “Ah hi.. haha..um..good morning.”

  The two tall muscular men look down at LiMei, her face is bright red and she is nervously clutching onto her dress. Cheng answers, “Good Morning Miss Feng.”

  Morgan steps back and his eyes dart around the room not making eye contact. Damn she looks like a little porcelain doll in that dress.

  Cheng’s voice carried into the dining room and Rui stands up, LiMei woke up? He walks towards the living room to see LiMei dwarfed by the two muscular men. She is looking up at Morgan and smiling. He quickly walks to LiMei and takes her petite body into his embrace. He kisses the top of her head, “Baby, why are you up?”

  What?Am I disturbing you and that Auntie? She looks up at Rui, her cheeks are puffed out and she has an angry expression. LiMei blinks her eyelashes composing herself then sweetly says, “I’m sorry. Did I interrupt your breakfast?” 

  Rui doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, is LiMei jealous of Noelle? Now I’m glad I didn’t tell Noelle to get the hell out. I never liked the way the woman stares at me. He lifts her chin then  kisses LiMei, “Of course not.” He has a faint smile thinking about LiMei being jealous. He  takes LiMei’s small hand in his and walks towards the dining room. “Let’s eat together then I have to go to my meeting.” He kisses her then picks her up. When they get to the table he sits with LiMei on his lap. He picks up a piece of egg with his chopstick and feeds LiMei. Rui has a soft gaze staring at her delicate face and his deep voice has a pampering tone, “Baby, I thought you must be tired. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

  “…” Noelle looks at the beautiful petite girl sitting on Rui’s lap. She has snow white skin and her green eyes are sparking under her dense black eyelashes as he feeds her the scrambled eggs. 

 You little bitch!  I didn’t make that food for you! 

  Rui tells Noelle as he uses his napkin to dab LiMei’s pink lips, “Bring Miss Feng some fresh squeezed orange juice.Make sure there is no pulp.” He gives LiMei a sip of water then kisses her pink lips, “Or Baby… do you want cranberry juice?”

 “…”  Noelle’s mouth twitches then she smiles asking LiMei, “Orange or Cranberry?”

   LiMei isn’t listening, she is enjoying the fluffy eggs, WOW..I AM SO HUNGRY! LiMei points at the shredded pork and vegetables,  “Rui, could I have some.”

  He picks up some shredded pork with his chopsticks and feeds her another bite, he looks at Noelle, “Just bring a glass of both.

   The hair on Noelle’s neck stands up as she turns around and walks into the kitchen. Grinding her teeth in anger she slams her hand on the counter, I am going to kill that little slut!

  Oblivious to the murderous vibes leaking out of the kitchen, LiMei forgets she was jealous of Noelle, “Breakfast is really delicious. Rui, what is the cook’s name? I need to thank her for preparing such a delicious breakfast.


Crowded Sidewalk

Love is in the air in Paris- the beautiful City of Love ! ❤ Enjoy the extra chapter..this author appreciates you reading my story! Have an awesome day full of love! ❤

While enjoying her meal Sara sees a different side of Li Tian. This seems to be the first time that I have had a normal conversation with Li Tian. I am surprised he is actually easy to talk to when he isn’t being overbearing. He was actually very witty when he shared a few anecdotes from his trips to Africa. Sara thinks about what Bi had told her about Li Tian, that he was very amiable when she had dinner with him at the Japanese restaurant. Maybe I have been too harsh in judging him.

   After they eat lunch Sara feels more relaxed, she has a sip of water, “I have never eaten Moroccan food before it is really delicious.” Sara’s eyes sparkle. “I really liked the caramelized apples and thin crepes with crushed almonds.” 

  When she says this his lips curl up into a slight smile, he watched Sara take a few photos then devour the sweet dish. Li Tian was impressed with the different flavors infused into the traditional Lamb Tagine with Couscous. “The taste is very authentic.” He hands his black card to the server as he finishes his glass of white wine. 

  “When were you in Morocco?”

 “Last year on business.” Unfortunately I had to go to deal with that bastard Amir Malouf’s mishandling of an important matter.

  She looks around at the  colorful decor of the restaurant. Traditional mosaic tiles and beautiful tapestries adorn the walls.  “I have always wanted to travel, visit different countries and experience different cultures. I enjoy trying ethnic dishes.” 

The server comes back with Li Tian’s black card. He puts it into his black leather Gucci wallet, “Finished?” He considershaving Yang James arrange a trip to Marrakech so they can spend time together. I will mention it after she is more comfortable being with me.

  Sara takes another drink of water, “Yes.” She stands up, “We can walk to the Art Gallery, it is two blocks down the street.”

  The owner opens the door to the restaurant for them and Li Tian puts on his designer sunglasses. He languidly walks over to Kang Mingshun who is leaning against the black Maybach smoking a cigarette, “We will walk.”

  Sara sees that every woman who walks past Li Tian stares at him. She smiles, the beautiful packaging is amazing but..

  He sees Sara’s silly smile while looking at him, “Good looking?”

  She laughs, “Good looking… CEO Li..”

 “Yes?”

 “Nevermind.” So many women can’t take their eyes off him, I want to ask him why does he bother me?

  He takes Sara’s small hand, she tries to wiggle it out of his grasp and he calmly says, “Too many people. Hold my hand.”

  Sara thinks he is worried because those men grabbed her earlier so she doesn’t resist. She also is still a little afraid from the whole incident.

  Li Tian has a satisfied smile on his handsome face while holding her soft small hand in his large palm. Sara’s natural warmth is travelling through his body calming his turbulent qi. This time I will take it slow and not pressure the little thing.Lunch was the first time she didn’t seem frightened of me. 

  Sara points to the Art Gallery, “Here it is.”

  He sees the name of the Gallery and hides his displeasure, “This is the gallery your friend recommended?”

  “Yes. I like modern art.”

  He opens the door and when they enter Sara gasps looking at a tall abstract bronze sculpture, She didn’t tell me that there are sculptures on exhibit here by Davinne.

  Li Tian stands next to Sara still holding her hand as she admires a bronze sculpture of a ??.He rolls his eyes, What the fuck is it supposed to be?

A stylishly dressed woman wearing an electric blue wrap dress sways her hips seductively as she approaches them. The beautiful woman has wavy long red hair and round brown eyes with full red lips. As she walks towards them her 10cm heels soundlessly glide over the marble floor. Sara can’t help but think she is one of the most beautiful women she has ever seen. The woman smiles showing her perfect white teeth which contrast prettily with her bright red lips. “Tian.” She gazes at Sara, “You must be Long An.” Lois knows very well that the young girl next to him is not Long An but she wants to see his reaction. Dare to bring a woman to my Gallery!

  Sara looks at her hand realizing she and Li Tian must look like a couple. She quickly takes her hand away before he reacts. Sara’s face turns bright red, “CEO Li, I am going to look at the paintings.” She hurries away to avoid further humiliation.

  Li Tian’s face blackens as he watches Sara’s back get farther away. Dammit! I knew when I saw the name of the Gallery we shouldn’t come inside. He doesn’t bother to respond and lazily walks over to Sara leaving Lois standing there stunned.

    Sara is in a daze staring at a painting depicting a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sky is dark and ocean waves are crashing into the cliff, one solitary light is coming from a window on the second floor of the house.  Tears are forming at the corner of Sara’s eyes and her heart tightens with a sense of familiarity and pain. Li Tian sees her crying and thinks the reason is because of Lois’ snide remark. He can’t restrain himself taking Sara into his arms wiping away her tears with his fingers. Overcome with melancholy Sara clutches onto his suit jacket burying her head in his chest. He smoothes her hair and in a gentle comforting tone says, “Don’t cry.”

   She clings onto him while her heart beats erratically.Images of a beautiful woman standing on a winding staircase crying flash across her mind. Suddenly Sara comes to her senses and looks up at him, Oh my God! What am I doing. Sara blushes face and her voice trembles, “CEO..Sorry..sorry..I..well..the painting..” Flustered she steps back wiping her cheeks with her hand. Li Tian has a knowing expression, the little girl is upset because of that bitch Lois and is covering up. I will play along. “Is this the artist’s work you you wanted to see?”

     “Well, I’m not familiar.. but this painting is very moving.” Sara can’t look at the desolate imagery anymore,  “I wonder who the artist is?” He pours a lot of emotion into his painting. Despair..loneliness..She shivers as she walks towards another group of paintings. She wants to get her mind off that dark painting. “CEO Li, Did you see anything you like.” Li Tian is distracted and doesn’t immediately answer. Song Sara is very sensitive and vulnerable. That must be why she avoids getting involved, she is afraid of being hurt. Maybe I could use that to keep her by my side.  He answers honestly, “No.” His interest lies with ancient Chinese artwork.

   Sara can see he is bored and she wants to leave. She feels the atmosphere in the Gallery is stifling. I want to breathe some fresh air to calm down. “Well, I have seen enough, we can leave if you want.”

  “Where do you want to go next?”

  “Next?”

  “I thought we were going to explore the city together.”

  “Oh..where do you want to go?”

  He thinks walking around will give him the opportunity to hold her hand again. “We could walk around.”

   “Okay.” I did say I would accompany him to start paying off my debt.“I want to ask about the artist.” 

  Lois hears Sara, she is surprised a girl would like such a depressing and somber painting. “The artist? He is a recluse. He donated this painting to support an orphanage outside of Paris.”

  Sara impulsively says “Charity? I would like to purchase it.”

 “Five million Euros.”

 “Oh..well..nevermind. Could you tell me the artist’s name? I want to ask him a question.”

  “No. The artist wants the buyer to appreciate the painting not the artist.”

   Sara can feel the woman’s obvious hostility towards her and detects she is interested in Li Tian. She smiles sweetly,“Okay.” Best not to continue.

   After they leave Lois thinks Li Tian didn’t buy the oil painting for the woman because she was playing with him when they entered the gallery. Hmmph.. Petty Bastard! 

   Li Tian would have easily paid for the painting but he knows Sara is stubborn and wouldn’t accept it as a gift.

   Outside Li Tian takes Sara’s hand, “Crowds.”

   “Hmm..okay.” Sara has a strange sense of security holding his strong hand as they walk down the crowded sidewalk. They stop to look in a window of a Boutique. Li Tian says, “You want to go in?” Before Sara can answer without warning a man carrying a large cardboard box forcefully knocks into Sara from behind. The sudden collision sends her petite body forward towards the store’s window. As she trips, Li Tian quickly catches Sara wrapping his arms around her thin waist pulling her back from smashing her beautiful face into the glass. Tightly holding her in his embrace his heart is racing picturing Sara flying into the window if he hadn’t caught her in time.

Startled and in pain from the heavy box hitting her slender back she looks up into Li Tian’s dark eyes. Sara’s heart starts thumping and her soul flies away breathing in his unique masculine scent as he holds her in his arms. It feels as if the world has stopped around them as her eyes meet his intense gaze. The CEO.. he seems to be staring at me with.. affection? 


The Farmhouse

    After the black Maybach crosses into France the weather worsens, lightning flashes across the sky and torrential rain floods the highway. Cheng tightens his hand on the steering wheel and curses because he is forced to slow down due to low visibility. He swerves around fallen branches that  litter the highway. “Boss, we might need to pull over until the storm dies down.”

  “No. keep driving.” Rui is aware that with Gunnar Hedwig’s resources it is only a matter of time before his men find them. He gazes down at LiMei on his lap sleeping peacefully while nestled in his embrace. LiMei, I will protect you.  He gently kisses her half parted pink lips then caresses her cheek. He glances out the window at the raging storm, “How much further to the farmhouse?”

  “It depends on the road conditions and the weather, at this speed an hour I think.”

  “Hmm.” Rui touches LiMei’s hair and wraps a long strand around his finger then looks out the window watching the trees sway with the strong wind. There is a loud boom from the thunder and LiMei clutches onto Rui’s shirt mumbling, “Don’t leave me here… I will do it.. please..I’m scared.” Her eyes are closed tight and she has a light film of sweat on her forehead. She must be having a nightmare, He holds LiMei tighter and in a low soothing tone he comforts her, “I’m here Baby I won’t ever leave you.” Rui kisses between her furrowed eyebrow, tears are leaking from the corner of her eyes dripping down her cheeks. He affectionately wipes her tears with his finger and his voice is gentle “Wake up you are having a nightmare.”

   LiMei hears Rui’s voice but is too entrenched in her dream. She is in the Black Sky Compound’s training grounds huddled under a tree with Kuang Fu, his muscular body towering over her petite drenched body. He looks like a demon as lightning flashes behind him illuminating his face as he torments her, “Too late.”

  She gazes up at him with a terrified expression, “Give me another chance…I can do it…really I can!” Kuang Fu kicks her in the stomach with his steel toed boot, “Qin Daiyu you useless little bitch! I paid good money for you..you are nothing but a sniveling little c**t.” 

  In the nightmare LiMei’s thin body shakes from the freezing cold and she feels dizzy from not eating for two days. She shivers as she clenches her fists trying her best to hold back her tears and be brave. It has been eight months since her father sold her to the Black Sky Organization and the second day she has been lost in the forest. Her training mission is to locate a cabin and assassinate the man inside then bring back a gold and jade necklace from around his neck. 

  LiMei begins to quiver, moving her small body deeper into Rui’s embrace, her words barely audible, “I can…don’t..don’t kill me.”

  Rui doesn’t want to startle LiMei awake because he is worried about her mental condition. But when she begins shivering and mumbling incoherently he lifts her chin, “LiMei Baby, you are having a nightmare..wake up Baby, don’t be afraid.” He kisses her eyelids and then smoothes the wrinkle between her eyebrows., “Wake up.”

   LiMei’s eyes are still closed, tears are hanging off her long eyelashes as she hugs Rui, “You found me..” The temperature inside the car is warm but she is trembling. LiMei burrows herself into Rui’s warm chest, “I’m so cold Bo.” She hears Kuang Bo say as he kisses her forehead, “Don’t worry Daiyu I took care of him. Fu won’t know you weren’t the one to make the kill.” He hands her the bloody necklace and wraps her palm around it staining her hand with the man’s blood. “Go back following the stream.”

  Rui’s eyes darken when he hears her say Bo but he remains calm, “LiMei..LiMei..you need to wake up.”

  LiMei hears Rui’s voice but can’t seem to wake up,  She looks around at the dense forest and her drenched body dressed in camouflage..Where am I? Why am I wearing these strange clothes..is it Army training? Who is this handsome man holding me? There is blood on the necklace and his jacket..but I feel safe in his embrace. 

  Rui can see she is too deep in sleep to wake up, What the hell! She obviously is having a nightmare about her time in the Black Sky Organization.  Rui doesn’t want to explain the situation to his two bodyguards so he tells Morgan to raise the glass partition to separate the front and backseat for privacy.   He reaches into his medicine bag on the floor and takes out a thin silver needle telling himself he has no choice..what I am doing is for LiMei’s own good.. He pierces her neck slowly manipulating the needle, “You are Feng LiMei you are not Qin Daiyu. You have never heard of the Black Sky Organization and you don’t know Kuang Bo.” His heart races not sure if what he is doing is because of jealousy or merely to soothe LiMei and awaken her from the nightmare. Am I a fucking bastard for doing this?  Well, there is no medicine for regrets, I made the decision to block her memories when we were in the cabin and now I have no choice. “You will wake up feeling refreshed on the count of three..one..two..three.” He swiftly removes the silver needle. After the needle is removed LiMei slowly opens her eyes and yawns, then teases him, “Rui,your chest is too comfortable..haha..how long was I asleep?”

  He tenderly brushes her hair behind her ear, “For awhile.”

  LiMei looks out the window, “Wow..it is really storming!” She is surprised that she slept so well usually she can’t sleep during a thunderstorm. She has been afraid of thunder and lightning since she was a child. Affectionately holding Rui’s waist she playfully rests her chin on his chest gazing into his dark eyes, “With you as a pillow I didn’t have any bad dreams. I’m a little afraid of storms..haha.”

“…” Rui kisses her forehead, “ Are you hungry? We should be at my friend’s farmhouse soon.”

 “It is weird I am really hungry.” She shivers as she snuggles into his arms, “A little cold too.” 

  He presses the button lowering the partition between the seats and tells Morgan, “Turn up the heat.”

 When they arrive at the farmhouse a sturdy looking man comes out the front door holding an umbrella. He limps over to the car then opens the door, “Dr. Qiao!” He opens the other umbrella, “Hurry into the house.”

  Rui picks up LiMei and takes the umbrella from the man’s hand, “Thank you Dietrich.”

 Morgan and Cheng follow them into the small white farmhouse and a short thin middle aged woman comes over with some towels. She stares at LiMei in Rui’s arms with a strange look on her haggard face. The woman’s voice sounds irritated which contrasts from the man’s excited tone when he greeted Rui. Handing the towels to Morgan she grumbles in English with a thick German accent,  “Here dry yourself off I will make some tea. Dinner will be ready soon. Wait in the living room.” She points to a simply decorated large room to the right  then pulls her husband around the corner into their bedroom.

  “Why did you let them come here?”

  “Marta honey,I owe the doctor.”

  She puts her hands on her bony hips,“Owe my ass! He did what he was paid to do..” She sneers,”Nothing more.”

  “I wouldn’t have a leg if he didn’t operate. He didn’t ask for much, a couple untraceable phones and a face mask for the woman.”

  “Who is the little bitch? I never heard of him having a woman the entire time he was in the Underworld. I don’t like it! I don’t like it one bit! You promised me we would live here in peace, now I think trouble will come. I can feel it in my bones.” 

   He tenderly smoothes her gray hair that is standing up from anger, “You are overreacting.” He isn’t going to mention that Qiao Rui gave him a chance to say no informing him that Chronus is after his woman. Dietrich is a very proud man. A debt owed should be paid..regardless of the risk.

  She takes a cigarette and lights it then curses in German while glaring at him After smoking for a minute she sneers,“Husband, you are a fool! If he needs a face mask right there shows someone is after them.” She leans her head back then hands him the lit cigarette. “I don’t know why I married such a foolish man!”

  “My wife, didn’t you want to buy the house next door for your sister? I am not doing charity work, he is paying me a million dollars.” He didn’t want to accept the money that Qiao Rui insisted on paying him but he knew his wife can only be persuaded by money.

  She takes the cigarette back and her beady eyes light up “A million dollars?”

  “Yes. Dr. Qiao said he would transfer the money when he reaches Paris.”

   Marta softens knowing they will get a huge payment.“Well, you should get started on it then..the sooner the mask is finished the quicker they can leave.”

  The husband and wife walk out to the living room. Marta has dollar signs in her eyes as she smiles at Rui, “I will be back with the tea.”

  LiMei stands up and sweetly says in German, “Can I help you?”

   Marta curtly replies, “Nein.”

 “Please? I enjoy cooking and listening to the men would be boring.”

 She finishes the cigarette considering her offer to help.Looking at LiMei’s innocent and pure face Marta is curious about the situation, maybe this stupid girl can tell me. “in Ordnung.”

  Meanwhile in the living room Dietrich hands Rui the phones then with a heavy German accent explains, “I will need to make a mold of the girl’s face. It should take about two hours for the entire process to be completed.”

  Rui nods his head reluctant to use his silver needles again but how would he explain the need for a face mask to LiMei. He plans on holding onto the face mask until they arrive at his chateau then find some way to explain the situation to LiMei. If I can take care of Gunnar first then I might not need to even explain. Rui rubs his temples, damn The Black Sky and Xinghi for using LiMei! “She isn’t aware that we are in danger so I will need to put her to sleep for you to make the mold.”

   ??? Dietrich touches his beard then looks towards the kitchen to make sure his wife doesn’t overhear them. “Dr. Qiao, I don’t want to be presumptuous but you mentioned Chronus…Gunnar Hedwig isn’t a simple villain, shouldn’t you let the little girl know?”

 “It is complicated. It is best if you don’t know anything. For now I don’t want her to be frightened. The mask..well I’m hoping it will be unnecessary. I want it as a precautionary measure.”

  LiMei walks into the living room carrying a tray with four cups of tea.  “I am going to help with dinner.” She turns to leave and Rui stops her pulling LiMei onto his lap then in a doting tone he says, “Baby, have some tea, you said you were cold. Afterwards you can help Marta.”

  “Well, I will go get another cup of tea then for Cheng. Rui has his hand on her thigh preventing her from getting off his lap he immediately responds, “No need. He doesn’t drink tea.”

  Rui waits for LiMei to finish her tea reluctant to use his silver needle on her again so soon. Hugging LiMei’s soft body and feeling her heart beating next to his he makes a decision. He kisses her small earlobe then whispers in her ear, “LiMei baby, do you trust me?”

LiMei has a beautiful smile as she puts her small palm on his cheek while gazing deeply into his seemingly bottomless eyes, “Of course I trust you… I love you.”

  

  

 

Don’t Go

This extra chapter is late..sorry! I indulged in too much holiday fun! I hope all my loyal readers ❤enjoyed your holidays also!

another extra chapter coming soon…

   LiMei is in a deep sleep but through the dense fog clouding her mind she hears Rui’s soothing voice,LiMei, when I count to three you will wake up..one..two..three..”

    She yawns and slowly opens her eyes, stretching her slender arms out towards him. LiMei  flutters her curled black eyelashes and her soft voice sounds coquettish, “ Rui, hold me… I’m so cold.”

  Staring at her glistening eyes filled with affection Rui’s heart starts pounding. He greedily pulls LiMei into his chest tightly wrapping his arms around her slender waist.  He buries his head in her neck, inhaling her intoxicating fragrance he can barely control his desire. Baby, I have missed you so much.   LiMei brings him back to his senses when she asks,  “Where are we?”  Glancing at the strange clothes they’re wearing and around the dimly lit cabin she has no recollection of coming here. My head is bandaged and I have some pain in my shoulder. “Rui, what happened to me?” 

    Rui hasn’t had time to think of an appropriate explanation yet so he hesitates, “I will explain but for right now we need to concentrate on warming you up.”  He can feel her entire body shivering and wonders if it would be safe to use the stove to heat water for tea.  I haven’t heard any movement outside… Maybe they are giving up until the morning to search for us. 

    LiMei notices his worried expression, “Tell me what’s wrong?”

     He doesn’t answer her question and lays her down on the bed covering her with the blankets. Rui tenderly kisses her forehead, “Be good and stay under the covers. I’m going outside to get some firewood so I can make you some tea.”  I don’t want her to get a fever. Hopefully the stove won’t generate too much smoke. It is very possible they called off the search until the morning, they could assume we have nowhere to run .If  those men do find the  cabin… well, I will figure something out.  If LiMei catches a cold…I don’t know how fever would impact her recovery.

      She silently watches Rui stand up and lean over then brush her hair behind her ear. LiMei’s heart is racing as he affectionately caresses her cheek. Suddenly her heart skip a beat, she has an uneasy feeling. I don’t know why but I am afraid. LiMei grasps Rui’s hand.“Don’t go.”

    He smiles. “I’m not going far. I saw a pile of firewood out back.” I want to check out the canoe I saw when I went to the well also. 

  She breaks out in a cold sweat and tears start forming in LiMei’s eyes from the strange premonition. Afraid he won’t come back her voice is shaking.“NO! Get into the bed.. stay with me. I don’t need  tea… ahh… you can use your body heat.”

  “…”

      LiMei’s long black eyelashes are quivering like butterfly wings and her face is flushed an alluring pink. Crystal teardrops are hanging on the corner of her peach blossom eyes making his heart tighten. She looks like a frightened little rabbit curled up under the covers gripping his hand with her tiny paw. Rui is mesmerised looking at her vulnerable appearance … So beautiful… like a delicate and fragile fairy. Rui’s scorching gaze is locked on her beautiful face and his Adam’s apple rolls.  Unable to resist the temptation his voice sounds hoarse, “Well, won’t go.”

    LiMei happily turns down the blanket and yanks him towards the narrow bed. “Hurry.. I’m cold.”

    Rui’s lips curl up as he obediently gets under the covers. LiMei’s deep green eyes are sparkling while riveted on his handsome face. Rui really is the most handsome man I have ever seen. He has flawless facial features and a perfect body. LiMei sighs, Such a beautiful man..

   Rui can’t help but laugh when he sees LiMei’s infatuated expression. He teases, “Good looking?”

   LiMei blushes and bites her bottom lip, “Mmm..very good looking.”

   Ru leans on top of LiMei, their noses almost touching. Staring into her beautiful green eyes he wants her only to see him… only be with him.  He is consumed with lust as he licks and sucks on her sweet lips. LiMei wraps her arms around his neck and opens her soft pink lips inviting his tongue to enter her small mouth. Excited by LiMei’s eagerness, Rui’s tongue invades her mouth sweeping and tasting every corner. Pressing her petite body underneath him he slips his large hand under her sweater as his kisses move down her swan like neck. His breathing becomes heavy as LiMei softly moans when his hot palm touches her breast. “Ahh..Rui…”

   Listening to LiMei purring in pleasure Rui’s body reacts. His warm breath tickles LiMei’s neck as he whispers in a low seductive voice , “ LiMei.. Baby..I want you..” He nibbles on her ear, “You are so beautiful.”

   She runs her slender fingers through his messy ink black  hair. “Rui..”

   LiMei’s green eyes are hazy, reflecting an irresistible soft beauty that brings out the beast in him. He slides his hand into her pants rubbing his thumb on her sensitive spot. LiMei shudders as a wave of pleasure runs through her body from his touch.  They are both caught up in their desire as Rui deepens his kisses her leaving LiMei breathless.

Suddenly the whirring sound of a helicopter hovering above the cabin can be heard. Rui stops kissing LiMei. Holding her tightly he calmly says, “Baby, you need to do as I say.” Fuck!

  LiMei feels dizzy from his passionate kisses, her voice is soft, “What?” 

  He doesn’t want to frighten LiMei but they need to leave quickly. It will only take a short amount of time for their pursuers to climb down from the helicopter. He lifts her chin and looks deep into her eyes, “You trust me don’t you?” 

 LiMei nods her head as he straightens her clothes. 

  Rui quickly puts on his wet shoes and holds her small hand then grabs his suit coat off the chair  “We need to leave.” He kisses her, “Climb on my back.”

” Rui I can walk.”

 ” Please LiMei, just do it.”

  LiMei climbs onto his back and he rushes across the room. Once they leave the cabin he takes LiMei down to the stream hiding her behind a bush.” I saw a canoe, I will be right back.” The stream must get deeper as it flows into the river. He has a serious expression, “Do not come out for any reason. Promise me.”

   LiMei has no idea what is going on but it is obvious her intuition was right. We are in danger. Why? In a daze LiMei doesn’t answer right away and Rui’s eyes darken, he grips her thin shoulders, “Promise me.”

  “I..I won’t.” LiMei’s fingers are trembling as she grabs his sleeve, “Don’t..don’t go. I will go with you..I am scared!”

  He kisses her forehead, “I will be right back.”

  He can see the helicopter, there are two men climbing down. Fucking shit! When he gets to the back of the cabin he frowns at the dilapidated condition of the canoe. This piece of shit better float. It is our only chance to escape. Sweating he uses all his strength to move the canoe through the thick underbrush to the edge of the stream. LiMei sees Rui approaching  and runs out from behind the bush.

   ??? I specifically told her to stay behind the damn bush. Frustrated Rui looks towards the helicopter. The men aren’t on the ladder, they must be on the ground,  it won’t take long before they arrive. He grabs her by the arm and his voice is harsh. “I said stay behind the goddam bush! Get in the canoe.” He pushes the old canoe into the dark water and guides it out into the middle where the water is deeper before he jumps into it.

Shocked because Rui never raises his voice to her LiMei’s face turns crimson red and her face feels like it is on fire. Embarrassed she turns her head away from him staring into the dark forest. I only came out because I saw him coming. Why is he so angry?

  The men from the helicopter approach the cabin. The cabin door is off the hinge and the leader carefully pushes the door open. There is a lit kerosene lamp on a small wooden table and a half full glass of water. FUCK!  He motions to the other man dressed in black, “They must have heard the helicopter and left. They couldn’t have got far. Let’s go.”

  The mercenary points to the ground where the weeds and underbrush have been smashed down. “Frank, It looks like they dragged something through here towards the stream.”

  Frank runs towards the stream speaking into a small high tech radio transmitter, “It looks like they are in a small boat. The stream connects with the Adda river about half a km from this location.”

  The other mercenary runs behind him. When they get to the stream they can see the canoe not far away. Shit! Frank runs along the edge of the stream then takes out his gun. I know that the Boss wants the woman alive but if I can kill the man who is rowing the canoe or shoot a hole in the boat…He aims at the canoe and fires.

Gunnar Hedwig

    Nikolai worries when he finds out LiMei is in the ambulance that left the hospital as he entered the parking lot. He has a bad feeling when the nurse informs him LiMei was  transported to Dr. Lumbert’s Clinic. Nikolai doesn’t trust him and wonders why she was suddenly moved so quickly after her intensive surgery. He walks away from the nurses desk looking for Anton who is supposed to be monitoring LiMei. Dammit! I need to be in Paris tomorrow to sign the paperwork for the  purchase of Peshing  Entertainment . I wanted to make sure the Little Assassin was recovering well before I left Milan. I can’t delay or I might miss my opportunity.  The CEO of Peshing Entertainment, Jack Carstan will be in Paris with his wife for the International Jewelry Competition and scheduled  the meeting for 3 p.m. tomorrow.

   Annoyed because he missed LiMei, he dials Anton’s number. “Wherethe fuck are you? Why didn’t you call to tell me they were transferring Feng LiMei”

  “Boss! Boss! I have been calling you. I was following behind the car with Xinghi and the otjer doctor, someone forced their vehicle off the road. I slowed down to avoid a collision and when I caught up to the ambulance it was abandoned on the side of the highway about 2km south of Bergamo. Parked behind it were two black SUVs.I am there now.The back door of the ambulance is open inside there’s a dead man..his neck was broken. He was the male nurse I saw  putting Feng LiMei into the ambulance earlier. Boss.. he has a tattoo… he was a member of  Chronus.”

  “What the fuck!”  Did the Little Assassin kill him then escape?

 “There is no sign of Feng LiMei?”

 “No. I think she and Qiao Rui  escaped into the forest.”

 Nikolai narrows his eyes  and the temperature surrounding him drops at the mention of Rui’s name.“The Good Doctor was with her in the ambulance?”

  “Yeah, I saw him get into the ambulance.” Anton looks at the forest on both sides of the highway. . “I don’t know where they would run, the highway is surrounded by a dense forest. It should be getting dark in an hour. What do you want me to do? Should I follow and see if I can track them?”

  “Do it.” Does that bastard Hedwig know that Feng LiMei is Subject 456? Nikolai looks at his watch, “ Take care of the situation but don’t let anyone know I sent you. I need to catch a plane in two hours. I expect to hear you have safely recovered Feng LiMei  or the punishment you receive will be doubled.” When Nikolai hangs up he tries to control the rage boiling up inside of him. He wants to destroy Gunnar Hedwig  but his hands are tied because of his promise to Sun Zhi to not engage in anything illegal.  Motherf****r! I need to figure out a way… what is that lunatic’s weakness?

   Anton remembers his last punishment and shivers as he heads into the forest. 

    Gunnar Hedwig is sitting on a leather couch in a private room of the exclusive Xanadu Club in Paris. He swirls the expensive Cognac in his glassas he looks at the meticulously dressed older woman sitting across from him, “That is your best offer? You must be joking.”

   “Don’t be greedy.” 

   “ Olga,  I overestimated your motherly love. This is your daughter… not a truckload of weapons. You want to negotiate?”

    Her son Rashid who is nervously sitting next to her stands up glaring at Gunnar  with his fists clenched. Madam Olga puts her hand on Rashid’s arm, speaking in Russian she barks, “Sit down!” Madam Olga inwardly sighs, why did I bring this hotheaded moron? 

    Gunnar laughs as he waves to his several bodyguards not to move on Amir, “ It seems Karin’s brother is more concerned than her own mother.”  He slowly sips his Cognac, “You should try a glass. It is much smoother than the nasty vodka you are drinking.” His phone rings, he doesn’t want to take the call in front of  Madam Olga. “ We can continue in a moment. enjoy your vodka.”

    He leaves the room and answers the phone, “Are you on the plane?”

    “Mr. Hedwig we encountered a problem. The woman ..” He begins to sweat, “She.. ahh.. escaped.We are tracking her now.”

   ”Are you fuckng serious? How can a woman who just came out of surgery not that long ago escape?” Blue veins pop out on his forehead,  “You incompetent asshole! What am I paying you for if you can’t handle a simple job?”

    “We will find her and the man, I have a helicopter coming and we are tracking her on foot.”

    “Find the woman or you are dead.” 

     Gunnar comes back into the luxurious private room, “ I have pressing business, either you meet my price or you don’t.You have five minutes to decide.”

     Madam Olga wonders why his attitude has become more aggresive.  He appears unusually flustered after taking that call.

  She softens her tone coaxing him,  “ Gunnar honey, you seem to have a problem. Maybe it is something I can help you with to show my appreciation for rescuing Karin.”

    He grimaces being reminded of when he was young, Olga was his father’s favorite mistress. “Are we that familiar ? You now have three.”

    Madam Olga gulps down her glass of vodka, “The money..no problem…but your second condition…”

    “Non Negotiable.” 

    “Don’t be unreasonable.”

      “One”

   Madame Olga frowns as she looks at Rashid then back at Gunnar thinking how lacking her son is in comparison. “Dr. Samman is quite well hidden.” She knows that Rashid isn’t aware of the doctor’s whereabouts and if he betrays Amir Malouf  and is discovered… “It will be difficult.”

   “ Not my problem.”

   “ I will need twenty four hours.”

    “MOTHER!”  Rashid can barely restrain himself from attacking Gunnar. If Amir finds out I turned over Dr. Samman to the Chronus Consortium ! Fuck !  She has to realize I am as good as dead. Does the old bitch want to exchange my life for that little idiot she dotes on?

   Madam Olga Raises her hand then slaps Rashid twice with a great deal of strength, speaking Russian she screams in his face,“Mother? Now I’m your mother? You remember you have a family. Useless brat! If you had sent competent men to protect your only sister,I wouldn’t have to clean up your mess! ”

      Rashid can barely restrain himself from attacking Gunnar after he receives the humiliating slaps from Madame Olga. Arrogant bastard!.I will find a way to repayThis motherf****r in the future! Amir won’t always be in charge one day I will take over his organization then I will have my revenge. 

   Gunnar lights a cigarette, “I don’t have time for the Hamid family drama. You have exhausted my patience.I will give you twelve hours if you want your lovely daughter back in one piece.” He blows a smoke ring watching it rise into the air  then he sners,”  Every minute you delay… well you can imagine…”

  Madame Olga  understands his ruthless and cold personality is very similar to his  father, he does not make idle threats. She picks up her phone, “Go ahead and deposit.” After she hangs up she has a serious expression on her face as she  walks to the door of the private room. “I will contact you as to where your men can pick up Dr. Samman. Since we have struck a deal I know you are a man of your word so you won’t let what I have to say influence you returning my daughter to me. A word of advice Boy, if you continue making enemies at the rate you’re going you will end up like your father.”

   Gunnar crushes the half smoked cigarette into the ashtray and his lips curl up, “ I guess as one of my father’s many mistresses you think you knew him. Old Woman, don’t delude yourself into thinking I am anything like that insufferable son of a bitch.If you underestimate my power you will have more to worry about than reclaiming your daughter from me.”

     After they walk down the hallway past several private rooms to an elevator Rashid confronts his mother, “How am I supposed to find Dr.Samman’s  location in twelve hours without alerting Amir?  He is a paranoid fuck, he doesn’t confide in me any information I don’t need. I am only in charge of picking up the synthetic drugs at the drop off. I don’t know where his lab is located. Why does that bastard want him anyway? I’ve never heard of Chronos dealing in designer drugs.”

    Madam Olga looks around, “ Shut up you idiot! Let me think.”

   Alone in the private room Gunnar Hedwig  thinks about his current setback.I wanted all my pawns collected by tomorrow. I guess I will need to change my plans .Crossing his legs he then leans back on the couch, Qin Daiyu, I am looking forward to meeting you,your ability to escape my men is impressive. 

   

Trust Me

     Leaning over him her beautiful green eyes are filled with killing intent, “ Who are you handsome? Where are we?” The last thing she remembers is she and Kuang Bo were in the Washu Mountains on assignment.  When he doesn’t say anything, Qin Daiyu has a threatening tone as she hits his accupoint immobilizing him, “Answer me.”

     Stunned Rui doesn’t know what to say. He just stares incredulously at LiMei who has a murderous gleam in her eyes as she runs her finger down his cheek, “If you want to live tell me…where is Kuang Bo?” 

    “Don’t know.”

    “Then why shouldn’t I kill you right now.”

   Rui remains calm, “Wouldn’t that be hasty. I’m sure you have other questions you’d like answered.”

    Looking into his dark eyes and listening to his familiar deep voice LiMei’s head starts throbbing, images of Rui flashing through her mind. She shakes her head trying to concentrate while still holding him down. ‘Who are you?”

    Rui notices her discomfort, she is furrowing her brows and her face has a pained expression. “ My name is Qao Rui, I am your fiance.”

    “Yeah right..”

   “Take my phone out of my pocket,there are photos of us together. The gold ring on your finger I gave you when I asked you to marry me. The ring was my mother’s, the inscription on the inside reads ‘Forever’ .” 

    LiMei stares at Rui, I do have jumbled memories of him but is he telling the truth? Since she hit his acupoint he’s unable to move so she takes her arm from its neck then rolls off of his body. Sitting on the edge of the bed she reaches into his pocket taking out his phone. She takes his finger and presses it to unlock, LiMei has a complicated expression looking at the screen, it is obviously her sitting on his lap smiling at him. Flustered she takes the delicate gold ring off her finger and looks at the inscription…what is going on?

   Gazing at Li Mei Rui’s Adam’s apple rolls up and down. She is so beautiful ..Dammit I’m going go crazy if she doesn’t remember me ! Overwhelmed by the desire to hold her tightly he surprises LiMei by hugging her into his arms. He was never immobilized because of this high level of martial arts; he just let LiMei  believe he was unable to move  in order to assess the situation. I will make you understand how much I love you. I will never let you go.  Obviously ever since she woke up from the operation she has not been herself. I never realized she was hiding such a big secret.

Shocked by his sudden embrace she tries to push him away, but Rui tightens his arms around her thin waist then kisses her on the forehead resisting the urge to press her under him to make her remember him. He smoothes her hair and tenderly confesses,“ I love you LiMei and before you lost your memory you felt the same.”

  When she hears his confession her heart skips a beat. Could it be true ? No..he called me LiMei. He’s a target or he would know my real name.

   When she  doesn’t respond he continues, “I need you to trust me. You obviously aren’t aware of the present situation. There are extremely dangerous men chasing us, I’m not positive as to why but I believe they want you.”  He recalls the male nurse calling LiMei a lab rat so he assumes it has something to do with her ability to heal quickly. Rui noticed her rapid recovery when he checked her  injuries. “I want to help you.  You mentioned Washu Mountains, is that the last memory you have? You were with Kuang Bo at the time?”

   “You know Kuang Bo?”

   “ Acquainted. I saved his life once.”

   “ You are a doctor?”  Since hitting his accupoint didn’t work, the handsome man has a high level of martial arts. Maybe he is from a different organization in the Underworld.  Kuang Bo would never go to a regular doctor or Hospital.

   “Yes.”

  “Do you know how I got injured?”

   “ You were shot when you were with Nikolai Naralov.”

    “Huh?” Why the heck would I be with that lunatic?   

     Rui lifts his eyebrow, “You don’t remember being with Nikolai Naralov and being shot?”   

     “No.” 

      He lifts LiMei’s chin, “If you trust me I can try to help you regain your memory.We might find out why the Chronus Consortium is after you.” I could use Xixin’s technique to unlock her memories. I don’t care what else she remembers… her connection to Kuang Bo or the Chronus Consortium.  I only need LiMei to remember me. I will keep her safe and deal with those  mother f****rs.She is the only person that has been able to enter my heart… I can’t lose LiMei … I won’t!

      She focuses on his eyes attempting to discern if he is being deceitful, but Rui’s unfathomable dark eyes are unreadable . I don’t know if I can completely trust this man. She panics at the thought the people after them are sent by Gunnar Hedwig. Wuuuuu.. the Chronus Consortium? How did Kuang Bo get me involved with them! Where is he? Li Mei feels dizzy, I am too confused right now, I can’t think straight.

    He lightly runs his finger down her pale cheek, “I would never hurt you. Please trust me. I can see that you are having painful headaches caused by your mind trying to process fragmented memories. The technique is simply inserting a couple silver needles. I will ask a few simple questions to jar your memory. Be assured as a doctor it is my responsibility to maintain strict doctor-patient confidentiality. You don’t need to be afraid of me revealing any of your information. What you say and remember would be strictly between us. I believe once you’re able to restore your memories you’ll have the answers that you need.If we know why these dangerous people are after you, it will make it easier to deal with them“

    LiMei has a complicated expression while twirling the gold ring on her slender finger considering what Rui said. The handsome man has a point. I’m curious as to why the Chronus Consortium would want a little fish like me. Am I bait for them to snare Kuang Bo?

   “Have you used this technique before?”

   Rui answers honestly, “No.”

    “…”

  “I’ve seen Dr. Woo use the technique. I have confidence if you cooperate and don’t fight the process, I can successfully help restore your memories.”

  Dr. Woo? He is Uncle Xinghi’s friend. If he knows him maybe… LiMei’s intuition tells her that she is in over her head if the Chronus Consortium is involved. She’s also worried if something happened to Kuang Bo,he would never leave me to face danger by myself. She makes up her mind to allow Rui to treat her memory loss. It is essential I get my memory back if I’m going to deal with the situation.

“Okay, but I warn you if you are lying to me I will find a way to kill you.”

    Rui has a faint smile as she threatens him, she looks like a fierce little kitten.  He releases her from his embrace and gets up off the bed then walks over to his suit jacket hanging over the chair. He takes out two silver needles from a leather case in the pocket. He pours some water into a glass then brings it to LiMei. “Drink. Relax.” He reassuringly pats her head. “I promise I won’t hurt you.” After she drinks the water he says, “Lay down and close your eyes and I’ll begin.”

 “No.” Feeling she will be too vulnerable she questions him, “Why do I need to close my eyes? I changed my mind, I don’t want to do this.” LiMei sits up on the bed.

  Rui starts laughing, “I thought you decided to trust me. But, if you want to keep your eyes open you can. I  thought you would be more comfortable not watching me insert the needles.”

  “I don’t mind.’

  “Then I will begin.” Rui inserts the first silver needle in the side of LiMei’s neck and then the second in the middle of her forehead. LiMei involuntarily closes her eyes which is why Rui didn’t insist he knew she wouldn’t be able to keep them open. He manipulates then removes the silver needles. Let’s see what secrets you are hiding.

“What is your name?”

“Qin Daiyu.”

What the hell? Qin Daiyu not Feng Li Mei? “How do you know Kuang Bo?

LiMei listens to Rui’s soothing voice, for some reason she has a sense of security. “He is my…my…” She sweetly smiles exposing her cute dimples while picturing Kuang Bo teasing her. “My friend.”

My friend! My friend! Why is she smiling so beautifully at the mention of that fucking bastard? He is a cold blooded killer! He takes her soft hand in his large palm trying to compose himself and not overreact. I need to question her calmly. He takes a deep breath, my voice needs to sound detached and emotionless.

“How did you meet Kuang Bo?”

Li Mei’s smile fades and she doesn’t answer right away , “After my mother and grandmother died in an accident I had to live with my father. He had debts.. when I was in high school he sold me to The Black Sky…well..” Tears start forming in the corner of her closed eyes and are caught on her black eyelashes, her soft voice quivers, “Kuang Bo was the only person who was nice to me. His brother Kuang Fu locked me in the metal shed without food and water, Bo gave it to me secretly… I was left in the forest..” LiMei starts sniffling, then suddenly clings onto Rui with her face on his chest. She thinks she is back in the training forest at the Black Sky Compound, her entire body is shaking, “Bo, I am so scared.”

Rui’s heart tightens as he gazes down at LiMei snuggled into his embrace. What the fuck! She was sold to a killer organization by her own father!

Long An

    Suddenly disturbed from his peaceful sleep Kang Mingshun instinctively pulls out his dagger from his sleeve putting the sharp edge on Tang Qiang’s neck. When he sees the person looming over him is his friend he pushes away the hand on his shoulder,”What the fuck Qiang!  Do you want to die?” 

   “The Boss said you got to answer the door.”

  Kang Mingshun put his dagger away, fully awake now he sits up. Black lines form on his forehead as he listens to the banging on the door and a woman’s high-pitched voice screeching outside.Glaring at his friend he curses, then through clenched teeth he spits out, “Asshole, why didn’t you just get the goddamn door? Did you have to fuckng wake me up?” Goddammit! I was having a good dream… surrounded by half naked beautiful women… sitting on the beach with nothing to do..The Blonde was massaging my temples while the Red-headed slut was handing me a beer while the third one was...He looks down at the slightly wet tent that formed in his pants. SHIT!

  “It’s the Boss’s crazy fiancee, Long An.”

  Kang Mingshun picks up his water bottle on the coffee table by the couch. Staring at Tang Qiang’s face he smirks, “Why do you have that stupid look on your face?”

  Tang Qiang’s face turns red, he doesn’t want to tell Kang Mingshun what happened between Long An and himself in the Presidential Suite. He holds up his half-empty beer, “ Cuz.. cuz I’m off and I don’t want to have to deal with any of her bullshit. You have seen how unreasonable she is when she is pissed off at the CEO. She’s a big pain in the ass. Just get the goddamn door before the Boss comes downstairs.I’m going back to my room, I was in the middle of watching a movie.” He hurries down the hallway hoping to avoid any uncomfortable interaction with Long An.

   Kang Mingshun reluctantly stands up from the leather couch and runs his fingers through his messy brown hair then stretches his long legs. He takes out his shirttail to cover up his erection.What is with Qiang? He looked more terrified than if he was facing a group of assassins. Kang Mingshun slowly walks across the living room to open the front door, when it opens Long An comes flying into the villa.Clutching the papers that Jiang Wenli faxed to her earlier at the Lattorio Hotel in Milan,she stomps across the marble floor. Her heels make a clicking sound as she angrily moves towards the living room. Her brown eyes are bloodshot as she screams. “ Where is the little bitch?” Not caring about her image she decides to find Song Sara and confront her. Think you can steal my man! You will pay for sedicing him! Long An storms over to the winding stairs leading up to the Master bedroom.O nce Tian sees this damning information he will get rid of that little whore! He might even kill Song Sara!

  Before she can take the first step Kang Mingshun blocks her way. He politely says, “Miss Long, CEO Li said he would meet you in the living room. You can’t go upstairs.”

  “Get out of my way!” She uses all her strength to try to push past him but he doesn’t budge at all. She puffs out her cheeks and puts her hands on her hips, “I’m warning you…If you want to keep your job you will get out of my way.” He looks down at the noisy woman in front of him and is tempted to pick her up by her scrawny neck and toss her into the living room, if you take one step up those stairs I will lose more than my job! Kang Mingshun’s face darkens, recalling when he first started the job as Li Tian’s personal bodyguard. He mistakenly listened to Long An’s gibberish convinced she was important to Li Tian .He allowed her to barge into Li Tian’s office where she proceeded to interrupt an important meeting spouting nonsense.Kang Mingshun shivers,the punishment is still vividly etched in his mind.

  He composes himself replying in a monotone, “Miss Long, please go have a seat.”

  She purses her lips while staring at Kang Mingshun’s hulking appearance. Dammit! With his broad chest and muscular body there is no way I will be able to make him move. Why didn’t I bring those idiots Giorgio and Gino or is it Nino..whatever.. Tomorrow I will have Mommy send me two bodyguards that are twice as big…no three times as big as this bastard! “Go get Tian then” She has a sinister smile as she glances at the crumpled documents in her hand. Once he reads this report he will toss out Song Sara, then I will send people to deal with the little slut so she can never appear in front of him again.

  “…” Kang Mingshun is out of patience, he wants to go to the bathroom to relieve himself.The annoying pest really doesn’t give up.He has a complicated expression while trying to decide what he should do with Long An.Should I just drag her to the living room and throw on the couch?

  When he doesn’t move she pulls on his thick arm trying to turn him around,  “What are you waiting for..go..”

  Li Tian stands at the top of the stairs irritated that she followed him to Paris. He has a harsh tone as he rebukes Kang Mingshun,  “Didn’t I tell you to have her wait in the living room.” He starts walking down the stairs, “ Long An, I told you not to come to  Paris. Mingshun, fix me a whiskey on the rocks.” Li Tian grabs the papers out of her hand and continues lazily walking down the stairs.“What’s this?”

  Long An stands on the step in a daze mesmerized by how incredibly handsome Li Tian looks wearng form fitting casual attire. He is wearing black athletic pants that accentuate his long muscular legs and a light gray Cashmere v-neck sweater that exposes a hint of his chest and hugs his eight pack. Although he still has a domineering aura he doesn’t look as cold and aloof as usual. He must have just got out of the shower his hair is still slightly damp and he didn’t comb it back.The way his hair hangs on his forehead is very sexy,  he looks unruly and wild. As he passes her on the stairs the scent of his shower gel drifts into her nose.She has been in love with him for as long as she can remember, believing he is the most handsome man she has ever seen. He is insanely wealthy… powerful and his looks are better than any male idol. Long An’s face shows a fierce look of determination, there is no way I’m going to let another woman have him. I will do whatever it takes to marry him.

  When he notices Long An still standing on the stairs he impatiently turns around.“Why are you still standing there?  Hurry up.” He wants to find out what she is up to then get rid of her quickly.If ot weren’t for his grandfather’s warning about the Zoning Commission he wouldn’t have even let her into the villa. I will listen to her nonsense then send her to the hotel. Picturing Sara curled up on the bed Li Tian wants to get back to the bedroom as soon as possible.  The image of Sara laying on the bed in his pajama top is lingering on his mind.

     Kang Mingshun hands Li Tian the glass of whisky as he begins to read the report. He assumes that the contents pertain to the Zoning Commission and his Waterfront Project.When he first saw Long An clutching the documents he figured her mother sent the paperwork to intimidate him when she heard he was sending her daughter home from Milan.

    Long An absent-mindedly follows him to the living room.Tian,when you read this report you will see that woman is no good. She doesn’t deserve you. Song Sara is nothing more than a dirty little gold digger.

    By the time Long An arrives in the living room he has already read the first page. He controls the rage brewing inside of him as he gulps down the whiskey. He is well aware Long An expects that he will lose his temper faced with this information.While he flips the pages of the investigation the grip on his glass tightens and his knuckles turn white. Hiding his jealous reaction, he crosses his long slender legs then smiles as he tosses  the report onto the coffee table.”You rushed all the way to Paris for this?”

    She picks the document off the glass table, “Tian ,did you read the third page? She has a mysterious backer who purchased the rooftop restaurant for her in your Waterfront Project’s Tower. Do you think any man would spend that much money if Song Sara wasn’t sleeping with him?”

   There is a turbulent storm brewing behind his dark eyes thinking about Song Sara in bed with another man. He wants to throw the glass in his hand at the wall listening to Long An chirping in his ear . It takes all of his internal energy to suppress the rage he feels right now. Li Tian wants to strangle Long An for giving him this information ruining his good mood. He wants to find the man and kill him while forcing Sara watch him die a miserable death. Restraining the urge to do either he smirks, “What do I care about who my assistant sleeps with? When we return to Catang City she will go back to the Zhou Group.”

  “But..but..Isn’t she here with you now? Didn’t you bring her to Paris with you?” She expected him to throw a fit when he read the report showing Song Sara has another man besides him.

  “Navarre brought her to Paris to model his Midnight Lovers Necklace at the International Jewelry Competition.” He doesn’t want to give her any reason to complain to her mother and his grandfather until he can get the pictures of her and Tang Qiang.

  Long An studies his face, he doesn’t look like he’s lying. but the way he treated the little bitch at the Bellini reception…

  “Where are you staying? I’ll have Kang Mingshun drive you back, then you can return to China tomorrow. I have work to do. There was a problem at LTJ Paris so I will be in France for a few days until after the jewelry competition.”

  She noticed the size of the villa, it should have several bedrooms. “Your villa is huge, I’ll just stay here with you.”

  “No, your mother wouldn’t approve.It would ruin your reputation.” 

   “Who would know?”

   “There could be a Paparazzi I’m doing an interview tomorrow.”

   Long An does like to maintain her pure reputation, “Well I’m going to stay in Paris for a few days so we can spend time together. I would love to see the International Jewelry Competition.I spoke to Grandpa Li  and he agrees.”

   “…”  He just wants Long An to leave so he can read the rest of the report then call Yang James. I need to find out who the bastard is that Song Sara is involved with it in Catong City.Could it be that mother f**** r Sun Zhi? His blood boils picturing her opening her slender legs allowing another man to taste her sweetnes. I need to block the sale of the rooftop restaurant…The only way she will get  that restaurant is if she becomes my woman. 

   “Kang Mingshun take Miss Long to her hotel.”  Li Tian walks to the bar getting another glass of whiskey and Tang Mingshun walks towards the door assuming Long An is following him. 

  Long An realizes she was overreacting because Li Tian didn’t seem to have any reaction to the investigative report. His tone is normal and he doesn’t seem angry at all. She glances at him as he takes a cigarette out of his pack. Knowing him he doesn’t want anyone to touch what belongs to him.  If Song Sara was his woman he wouldn’t be calm his temper would be out of control.  Why did I listen to that stupid Jiang Wenli she was just instigating a problem because her boyfried wanted the rooftop restaurant. Then again if Song Sara owns the restaurant she and Tian  will come into contact often. Dammit! She realizes it would be inappropriate for her to stay at his villa but doesn’t plan on returning to Cantang City. “I will go to the hotel but I expect you to pick me up tomorrow to go sightseeing. Grandpa Li told me to call him if you refuse to spend time with me.” She reluctantly picks up her purse to leave.

   Upstairs Sara wakes up and is very hungry.I wonder if it would be all right if I went down to the kitchen to see if I can find something to eat. Her mind still groggy from the after-effects of the aphrodisiac she doesn’t consider what she is wearing,the only thought on her mind is filling her empty stomach.

    When Sara is halfway down the stairs Long An notices her and becomes infuriated screaming, ” Tian! You liar!” Li Tian is across the spacious living room ignoring Long An, sipping the glass of whiskey thinking as soon as she leaves he will call Yang  James. When she  calls his name he doesn’t immediately look in her direction then he hears the commotion on the stairs. Before he can reach Long An she is already up the stairs grabbing Sara by her hair. Forcefully slapping Sara twice across the cheek while cursing her,”You dirty bitch! Shameless little whore!”

Stunned by Long An’s sudden attack Sara loses her balance as Long An yanks on her long black hair. Sara’s blue eyes cloud over with tears from the stinging pain on her face. Before her trembling hand can grasp the wrought iron railing, Sara’s foot in the oversized slipper slides off the marble step.

  

A Glass of Wine

    Li Tian and Navarre stand in the living room and discuss the jewelry competition. Li Tian agrees to acquire the replacement jewels Navarre needs to complete the repair of the Midnight Lover’s Necklace.Navarre is satisfied knowing he will be able to successfully enter the competition. Originally he wanted to win primarily for international recognition, but after his confrontation with Philippe on the plane to Paris he is more determined. He wants to see the look on Philippe’s face when he is handed the prestigious award.  Philippe was annoyingly smug while talking about his son Albert and the other competitor’s educational background from prestigious Universities. 

   Navarre recalls working in the University cafeteria and whenever he jad the opportunity he would inconspicuously sit in the back of the class listening  to an art lecture. Luckily, he met his Master, Johan Karson, who took him under his wing and taught him what he knows. Johan Karson’s meticulous teaching combined with Navarre’s natural talent has made him one of the most successful young jewelry designers throughout Asia and Europe.

    Although Li Tian is not happy about the idea of Sara modeling the necklace at  the competition he realizes that is the only option at this point. He has a vested interest in Navarre succeeding so he can expand his jewelry business into the United States. Sara being Navarre’s model also will force her to delay returning to China giving him an opportunity to spend more time with her in Paris.

  Li Tian is satisfied that Navarre was not avoiding him and he has no interest in Sara other than as his model. He breathes a sigh of relief that he was worrying without reason.

    While listening to the two men’s conversation in the living room Sara nervously pours  another glass of the expensive white wine, then hastily gulps it down making her eyes water. Patrick notices Sara’s strange expression and her slender hand trembling on the wine glass. He puts down his fork, with a concerned expression he asks, “Sara, what is wrong? ” 

     Apprehensively glancing at the doorway Sara coughs then stutters, “Ha..ha..nothing.. nothing..” 

  Li Tian and Navarre enter the dining room, when Li Tian sees Patrick sitting at the table with Sara he clenches his fists at his side. What the f**k is that asshole  doing here?Surprised, he turns to face Navarre. Glaring at him Li Tian sarcastically remarks,”I didn’t know you were familiar with the world famous chef Patrick Sloan.”

“…” World class chef? Sara blushes thinking of how she was bothering Patrick in the kitchen while he was cooking. Oh My God ! How embarrassing!

Li Tian suddenly notices Sara’s flushed face and her small hand gripping a wine glass.  Holy shit  !The little idiot has been drinking! I need to just get her out of here, I don’t have time to mess around with Patrick right now. He quickly walks over to her seat and pulls Sara up into his embrace, grabbing the empty wine glass from her hand. Setting it down on the table, Li Tian narrows his dark eyes staring at Patrick with a murderous glint in his eye. Remembering Patrick’s playboy reputation at University in a domineering tone he growls, “Stay away from  Song Sara!”

   Patrick stands up from the table and confronts Li Tian. Both men are 185cm tall and they lock eyes, Sara shivers sensing the dark auras surrounding them clashing. Patrick’s momentum doesn’t lose to Li Tian’s as he aggresdively pushes his shoulder “I didn’t hear Sara say she wants to leave with you.”

  Sara’s body is starting to get  extremely hot from the residual aphrodisiac being activated by the wine. She realizes after what happened at the Camellia Inn what is happening inside her body right now. Oh my God I am so stupid! The wine… the wine…drinking alcohol must activate the aphrodisiac inside of my body! Sara wants to cry as waves heat start engulfing her body, I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of Patrick and Navarre.

She is wedged between them as her eyes start darting around the room, I need to get out of here before I lose control. I will ask the CEO to take me to the hospital, they must be able to do something to detoxify me.It’s embarrassing but he is already aware of the situation,which is why he probably took the wine from my hand. Li Tian holding onto her body tightly intensifies Sara’s reaction to the drug. Inhaling the two men’s strong masculine scent and the phernomes they are emitting makes the overwhelming feeling of desire rise in Sara. Sara gulps her saliva trying not to drool, being sandwiched between two alpha males she is having difficulty maintaining her composure.

   Awkwardly Sara smiles facing Patrick trying to diffuse the volatile situation, “Patrick, thank you so much for dinner. It was absolutely delicious.”  She holds onto Li Tian’s sleeve, “ CEO Li, Did you come to find me so we can go over the reports before tomorrow?”

   “En.” Why is she calling that fuckng bastard by his first name? The two of them looked rather cozy laughing and drinking when I walked into the dining room. Godammit!What has been going on here? Li Tian possessively holds Sara’s hand pulling her closer to him.

   Sara continues, “We should go then.Mr. Navarre, please let me know when you need me to try on the necklace and the time of the Jewelry Competition. Your assistant Michelle has my phone number.”

    Sara hurries Li Tian out of the room and as they walk through the living room she picks up her purse off the glass coffee table. Uncomfortable she loosens the dress’s ruffled collar beginning to feel that familiar itchiness. Sara softly pleads , “Please..pleasee CEO Li take me to the hospital.I… I need the antidote.”

    After they leave the apartment he tenderly brushes her loose black hair behind her ear, “If you hadn’t left so abruptly from the Camellia Inn, I would have told you I figured out what triggers the aphrodisiac.”

    The feeling of his warm touch as his fingers brush against her ear Sara can hardly stop herself from initiating a kiss. A shiver goes down her back and she tries to resist the urge to rub her body onto his strong chest . Sara control yourself ! You can do it! Have some  willpower! The doctors at the hospital have to be able to help you! Then never pick up another glass of wine. Her mind starts to wander fantasizing about Li Tian making love to her at the Inn. Sara closes her eyes STOP! STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM IN BED!  AHH..I’M COMPLETELY SHAMELESS!

   Li Tian knows the aphrodisiac is beginning to take control of Sara; he could feel her tremble when he lightly touched her hair. He gazes down at her beautiful face, we have already been intimate so what does it matter if I help the little thing relieve the aphrodisiac one more time.I’m not trying to deceive her,I would have told her to avoid alcohol because it triggers the aphrodisiac. Also, I am looking for a cure.  I just can’t locate that asshole Amir Hamid. He motions to Tang Qiang and Adrien who are following him, “ Don’t follow. Take the next elevator, meet me at the hotel.”

    When they get into the elevator Li Tian leans down and his warm breath tickles her skin as he seductively whispers in her ear, “I will be your antidote.”

   Sara’s face turns a brighter shade of red at his suggestive comment. She looks up at him, her blue eyes reflecting her determination to control her impulsive behavior.  “CEO Li..We can’t… I shouldn’t have  forced myself on you at the Inn.” What was I thinking… he’s Li Tian… but I have no choice now I need someone to take me to the Hospital. Since he knows the predicament I am he is my best choice.

 Li Tian can’t help but smile at how cute she looks right now. So many different emotions are flashing across her beautiful face. She looks innocent.. shy.. embarrassed and extremely alluring. He hugs her soft body to him wrapping his arm around her thin waist and lifts her chin. Li Tian’s eyes are blazing with passion, his thin lips curl up into a smile, “Forcing me… hahaha… little thing, I wanted you since the first time I saw you walking up the steps in my Club.” 

  ‘Huh?” Li Tian’s deep voice sounds so magnetic and sexy Sara’s heart skips a beat. What Club? 

  Before Sara has the chance to think about what he saidwithout warning Li Tian kisses her lips, licking and biting them.She wraps her arms around his neck, unable to resist his domineering kisses she opens her small mouth to welcome his eager tongue. He continues kissing Sara until she is breathless and the elevator door opens. Ignoring the people around them he lifts her up into his arms. Carrying her through the luxurious lobby Sara pushes on his chest and exclaims, “Put me down!”

   He wantonly kisses her again then presses his forehead onto hers as he replies, “No.”

“…”

Dinner At Navarre’s

    Sara slips on the beautiful dark green dress Clara brought earlier, then looks in the full length mirror, I love this dress! She  runs her fingers over the ruffled collar happy that it covers up her neck that has lingering marks left by Li Tian. The design is so feminine and unique. She zips up the zipper on the side of the dress, so different from anything I’ve seen before I wonder who the designer is?  After she brushes her long black hair she pulls it up in a high ponytail then applies a little pink lip gloss. Feeling refreshed after her bath she decides to find Navarre, so she walks down the hallway towards the living room.

    When she enters the spacious living room she looks around for Navarre. Hmmm.. Sara becomes distracted when she smells a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. Unable to resist the lure of food she enters the kitchen. A tall slender man wearing a blue apron is standing by the counter chopping an onion. Sara smiles brightly, “Wow… smells delicious, what are you making?”

   The chef turns around surprised to see Sara, his voice is deep and he speaks with a British accent when he answers her question. “I am making Stuffed Red Peppers with Fennel and Goat cheese at the moment.”

     Staring at the hollowed-out red peppers Sara’s eyes light up,“Oh, I’m looking forward to trying that dish! I have never tried that before.”

     Seeing her eyes sparkling he asks,  “Do you like Western food?”

     Sara giggles, ” Well, to be honest with you I prefer Chinese food but really I love all food. It’s always an enjoyable experience to try something new. She picks up a piece of celery and takes a bite.  “I love to cook. Can I help you with anything?” 

   “…” This innocent-looking girl doesn’t seem like one of Julien’s usual women.She isn’t wearing any makeup and has a carefree attitude.  I wonder who she is? He puts down the knife then lazily strides over to the refrigerator taking out a whole chicken he has been marinating. “No. I have almost everything prepared. I’m putting the chicken in the oven now.”

   She watches him place the chicken in a pan then sprinkle it with spices. After swallowing the piece of celery she asks, “I haven’t seen Mr. Navarre, is he home?”

  “I believe Julien is working in his art studio.”

    Sarah feels guilty being reminded of the Midnight Lover Necklace. He is probably attempting to fix the necklace. Furrowing her forehead she responds,”I won’t disturb him.”

   The chef is very curious about Sara’s identity, after he puts the chicken in the oven he politely asks, “Would you like a glass of wine and some appetizers while you’re waiting? “

    “I would love some snacks but… I don’t care for any  wine. Maybe just a glass of juice would be good, thank you. Oh… I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself, my name is Song Sara. I am Mr. Navarre’s  model for the International Jewelry Competition”

   “My name is Patrick Sloan please call me Patrick”  He gazes at Sara noticing her brilliant crystal blue eyes, the young woman must be of mixed ancestry, with her unique features she certainly is beautiful enough to wear Julien’s magnificent Sapphire and Diamond necklace. Even without any makeup she is  incredibly stunning, her fair and tender looking skin is flawless. He opens the refrigerator and takes out a  plate of snacks. “Who have you modeled for? Chanel? Chloe Designs ?

    “…” Sara picks up a snack from the plate then points to herself with a grin on her face revealing her two cute dimples.Laughing her eyes curve into a crescent shape as she clarifies,  “Me? A professional model? Haha..no.  I was working for Li Group as an executive assistant to the CEO when I met Mr. Navarre in Milan. Due to some unforeseen circumstances he asked me to model the necklace so I agreed.”

   Suddenly the smile disappears from Patrick’s face replaced by a look of disdain when she mentions Li Tian. He is pouring Sara a glass of orange juice while remembering the last time he saw Li Tian, not paying attention to what he is doing, the juice overflows from the glass. Sara can’t help but notice his strange expression, she quickly looks around for a towel to clean up the mess. When she comes back to where he is standing she begins to wipe up the orange juice on the counter. Patrick comes out of his  trance  placing his hand on the cloth she is using, “I’ll get that.”

    She gently pushes his hand away, “Don’t worry about it. I almost have it cleaned up. Is something the matter?”

   “No.I was just spacing out for a moment. Thank you for cleaning up the spill . Here let me take  the sticky cloth from you.”

    Sara hands him the juice soaked cloth then washes her sticky hands in the sink. After she dries her hands she picks up the glass of orange juice. She can see the chef is embarrassed so to break the awkward atmosphere after she takes a sip she exclaims, “Yummy! This juice is so sweet is  it freshly squeezed?”

   “Yes. My friend has an Orange Grove in Valencia.We just received a crate of these oranges yesterday.”

  Looking at the plate of delicious looking appetizers she wonders if it would be weird to take a photo.  “Umm… Patrick. I wonder if you would mind me taking a couple pictures?I have a little food blog and I haven’t been able to update it for the last couple days. All the appetizers you prepared look fabulous and I think my followers would enjoy  seeing them.”  Sara brought the phone Navarre’s assistant Michelle purchased for her to the kitchen planning on calling Bi to let her know she wouldn’t be back in Catang City until Wednesday.

  The way she is looking at him pleading with her big blue eyes he doesn’t have the heart to refuse her request. Patrick looks at the plate on the table which contains several of his signature creations. Although I don’t not want  anyone to know I am in Paris, who would read an insignificant little food blog. “I don’t mind but please don’t mention my name or that you are in Navarre’s  residence, and of course don’t take any pictures of me.”

  ‘Thank you so much! I will be careful only to photograph the food.”  Sarah points at a delicately wrapped puff pastry with caviar on top, “ Do you mind telling me what this one is called? It is almost too beautiful to eat.”

  Patrick laughs then describes all the food on the plate, the girl really is a foodie! After he finishes with the descriptions he goes back to preparing dinner. Sarah begins photographing the glass of orange juice and plate of appetizers. Patrick shakes his head as he watches her seriously taking pictures from several different angles. I should find out the name of her blog and check it out. Her serious expression is very cute.

  Meanwhile in the art studio Navarre is tired from working on the necklace. He rubs his eyes then looks at his watch, Patrick should have dinner ready. I have done as much as I can until I get two more Sapphires and Diamonds to replace the missing jewels. He stands up from his workbench then turns off the light to find Sara for dinner. When he walks down the hallway towards the guest room he hears laughter coming from the kitchen.Song Sara must be out there with Patrick.

  When he arrives at the kitchen he sees Sara basting the chicken as Patrick laughs at the way she keeps asking him questions about cooking. They both hear him coming and turn his direction. Sara picks up the pan to put back in the oven and Patrick quickly takes the pan from her, “ I’ll do it. Julien dinner should be ready in about fifteen minutes. Would you like a glass of wine?”

 ‘Yes, I will have a glass of The Domain Leflaive.” Navarre notices Sara drinking orange juice. “Do you want a glass of wine Miss Song?”

  “ No thank you.” She has a guilty expression on her face as she softly asks, “How is the necklace coming along?”

   Patrick returns with the glass of wine and hands it to Navarre. He has a confused expression wondering what Navarre is doing to his necklace. When he saw the Midnight Lover necklace he thought it was absolute perfection. ” Julien,you are changing the necklace’s design before the competition?”

    Navarre takes a sip of his wine then answers,  “There was a problem and the necklace needs to be repaired.”

   Sarah quietly walks away from the two of them wanting to distance herself from their conversation. Everytime she recalls her terrifying experience by the gazebo she feels a panic attack coming. Sara shivers  picturing the swarthy man’s bony hands grasping at the necklace around her neck when she was attacked.

   In the kitchen she locates the plates in the cupboard, I think I should set three places at the table. Patrick appears to be on very good terms with Navarre.He calls him by his first name and they are sitting on the couch drinking wine together and laughing. 

   Once the table is set she opens the oven door to check on the chicken.  Inhaling the perfectly roasted chicken’s fragrant aroma she salivates. Sara doesn’t think it is her place to remove the chicken but it looks done, the skin is golden brown. Should I mention it to the chef? Probably not..haha  She picks  up her orange juice then returns to the living room where they are sitting. 

   Patrick is curious how the necklace was broken. He is Navarre’s closest friend so he doesn’t hold back explaining what he knows of the situation. He tells Patrick that Sara is Li Tian’s  girlfriend, she wore the necklace to the Bellini Reception. He suspects they quarreled and that’s how the necklace was broken and her neck was bruised. Patrick’s green eyes darken thinking Li Tian abused Sara.  The f****ng bastard hasn’t changed a bit since we went to University together. Still a cold and heartless pr**k! He angrily gulps down the rest of his  white wine then stands up. “Dinner should be ready, why don’t you go to the dining room.”

  He looks at Sara holding the glass of juice and has the urge to pat her head, but retracts his hand midway. “Go with Julien. I will serve the food.”

  “Can I help you? I would like to take a picture of the roasted chicken and stuffed red poppers.” For some reason I feel comfortable with Patrick… but I think it would be a little embarrassing to take my phone out in front of Mr Navarre. 

    “If you want.” What does this little girl see in that cold bastard Li Tian? He restrains himself from warning her about him. It’s none of my business and when does a woman in love listen anyway.

    After Sara takes a few pictures she helps Patrick carry the food to the table. The three of them are enjoying the meal and Sara feels very relaxed listening to their conversation. Sara holds her side laughing as Patrick tells a hilarious story about Navarre trying to make breakfast. He started a fire, smoking up the entire apartment.While he is telling the story Navarre’s face turns red and he interrupts him. “Should I reveal one of your most embarrassing moments?” Waving his Fork he reminds Patrick of an incident when they were in the University. Apparently, Patrick was trying to impress the school flower with his cooking skills and didn’t know she was allergic to coriander.They finished dinner and the girl’s face swelled up like a puffer fish and he had to rush the poor girl to the hospital while she was crying. He dramatically puffs out his cheeks. “After the incident she wouldn’t even answer her phone when he called. Haha.” Sara takes her finger to wipe the tears from her eyes, “You guys are too funny!” She thinks their personalities are quite different yet they have a good relationship. “Were you two roommates in college?”  They both look at each other and answer simultaneously. “Long story .”

   Patrick pours another glass of wine for Navarre then asks Sara if she would like to have a glass. She is having a good time so she thinks why not, “Okay, I guess I can have just one. Thank you.”

   Sara compliments Patrick on his cooking skills, “ You are an excellent cook! I have never had such a tasty pepper dish before and the savory flavor of the chicken is absolutely delicious. Can you give me the recipe?”

   Patrick’s lips curl up watching Sara as she devours her dinner, The girl definitely is a foodie. ” Sure and thank you. I really enjoy experimenting with spices.”  Noticing Sara has finished her glass of  wine he refills her glass as she eats another bite of the savory chicken. 

     The  meal is almost finished when there is a knock at the door. Navarre gave his staff time off while he was in Milan and the temps left already, so he answers the door. Li Tian storms past Navarre directly into the apartment anxiously looking around, ‘Where is Song Sara? Why didn’t you answer my phone calls?”

   “To answer your first question she’s in the dining room to answer your second question, my phone broke when I was in  Milan. I explained the situation to your secretary and gave her my new phone number.” 

   “I don’t know what you’re talking about. The only assistant I brought with me to Milan is Song Sara.”

   “The woman said she was your secretary and would give you the message.I have no reason to lie to you or avoid you. I need your help to replace the missing  jewels on the Midnight Lover Necklace before the competition.” 

   In the dining room Sarah can hear Li Tian’s voice and her heart starts racing. What the heck is the CEO doing here? What am I going to do? Wuuhuu.. I have nowhere to go to hide from him.  She nervously picks up her glass of wine and downs it in one gulp. 










Paris

    When Li Tian arrives at the Paris airport he hurriedly exits the plane reminding Noah to keep a low profile. “You will owe me for this one it won’t be easy to negotiate a deal to appease him, until I can sort out the mess you created well… I think you can guess the consequences.” Noah nods his stiff neck in agreement, “I am going to the countryside to take care of my injuries.Then I think I know one person who can dissuade that maniac from seeking revenge.”

   “Just keep in mind…don’t act without my permission or I can’t guarantee your safety. We need to neutralize the bastard before next week.” Li Tian narrows his eyes and they shine with a strong killing intent staring at Noah and François. “I am not going to lose 500 million letting him wreck havoc on my arms business. As soon as I conclude my dealings  in Paris I am going back to Catang City, I have to touch base with Zhou Jason about the Mega Mall Project.” He looks at Adrien then towards Noah, “Your man can come with me, I need someone who speaks fluent French and has knowledge of the Paris Underworld.”

    Noah motions to Adrien, “Go with him.”

    Adrien has a strange expression while looking at the two men, how is Li Tian’s girlfriend going to react when she sees me? Although he seems to have forgotten we kidnapped the little chick, I doubt she will. Fuck me ! I have no choice but to follow orders, hopefully she won’t make a scene. Li Tian’s phone rings, godammit I can’t keep avoiding Grandfather. He continues walking towards the Terminal as he answers in an irritated tone, “Yes?” 

     “Stinky brat! Now you decide to answer?” 

     “I have been busy and I know why you are calling, I don’t have time for your bitching right now.”

     “Have you so easily forgotten what I told you before you left ? If you want the Waterfront Project to continue you better adjust your priorities. Little An called me crying that you not only have been ignoring her but you embarrassed her at the Bellini reception. Who is the slut you are sleeping? Is she worth throwing away what you  have worked for at Li Group.”

   “Grandfather, anything An said was complete nonsense. Have you ever known me to be associated with a woman?”

    “Well that’s true, frankly I’m tired of the rumors you are gay, but I can’t have you upsetting the little girl.You are aware that her mother wields a bit of power with the Zoning Commission since her cousin took over when old man Wang died. Our company has the hold up with the Mega Mall Project and the partnership with Zhou Mo, we can’t have any additional problems. So you had better find a way to humor An unless you want to be replaced at the next CEO meeting.”

       “Yang James called me yesterday and informed me that he found the owner of the property we need for the Mega Mall. When I return to Cantang City  I will begin negotiations to acquire the property.Do you actually think I will allow anyone to interfere with the development project on the Waterfront?” He glares at Tang Qiang,” I want my engagement with Long An broken, we are not a suitable match.” Without proof I can accuse her of sleeping with another man… what should I tell the old fart? “She is far too immature to take on the responsibilities of being my wife.”

  “Who is this woman Song Sara?” He trims his bonsai tree… maybe if the brat likes her and she’s capable…

  “ An is trying to stir up trouble.Song Sara is simply an executive assistant I borrowed from Zhou Mo to bring to Milan because Yang James is tied up with company  business.” He tells his grandfather about Long An slapping Song Sara in front of the jewelry store causing a scene. “I don’t have any more time to explain myself. I just arrived in Paris and need to touch base with the jewelry designer for LTJ. If Navarre, my designer, is able to win the International Jewelry Competition I will be able to open LTJ jewelry stores across the United States. Our brand will be known worldwide and this expansion could make the Li Group millions.” He continues  walking while speaking to his grandfather while anxiously looking around for the Airport Security Office.  He spots the office, ” If there is nothing else I want to get to my hotel. “

   Disappointed he puts down the small clippers. I was hoping this woman, Song Sara if she caught Tian’s attention was a possible marriage candidate, unfortunately she is only a secretary.

After listening to his grandson he isn’t sure if this marriage arrangement will work. Long An obviously was acting jealous and displaying irrational behavior disrupting Tian’s work.  “We will discuss your marriage contract when you get back home. I expect you in the meantime to handle the situation delicately. Although the Long Family is not a threat, they do have the ability to interfere with the development project and I don’t want any unnecessary delays. Little An is young and I think you need to give her a chance, the marriage contract will not easily be broken unless she decides to break the engagement. Until you can find a solution you need to respect the decision of the elders.Don’t cause any unnecessay trouble!”

    After Li Tian hangs up with his grandfather he calls Sun Peizhi, “Can you save the pictures on Tang Qiang’s phone?”Once I have them available to blackmail Long An that will be one less thing I have to worry about, she will do what I want rather than be  exposed.

   “I am having someone I know extract the information on the phone.When he finishes I will forward them to you.” Sun Peizhi is in the middle of packing to return to Catang City. “Since my job has been completed as per Zheng Teilan’s request I am leaving Milan. “

 “What about the information I need on Sun Zhi?”

   Sun Peizhi closes his suitcase restraining himself from laughing, “Once I get back to the city I will see what information I can gather for you.” He has a faint smile on his handsome face, “ But that will be an extra fee.”  Why the hell does he want to know about me anyway?

   “I don’t give a fuck how much it costs, contact Yang James at my office in Catang.”  He hangs up as they arrive at the Security Office. Excited he will see Sara he quickens his pace as he enters the room, a short man in a gray uniform stops them at the door. Speaking French he says,  “How can I help you gentlemen?”

   When  Li Tian  doesn’t see Sara his expression changes and his face darkens. He answers in English, “Where are the man and woman you were supposed to be holding that got off the plane from Milan?”

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about… please explain. “

    “Didn’t the Security Chief at the Milan Airport contact you?”

   The man slowly walks over to a desk where a woman is looking at a computer. “Did we receive a call from the Milan Airport Security? ”  

     She looks up from the report and nods her head replying, “Non.”

    He glances back over at Li Tian who is pacing around the room. “When were they supposed to arrive and what is the crime?”

    Li Tian looks at his watch, he sounds  impatient, ”The plane should have been here at least an hour ago. Call Milan Security now I want to know what the fuck is going on!”

   The guard rubs his head, “Calm down and have a seat. I will find out about the situation.”  He can tell by  Li Tian’s expensive-looking suit and the two muscular men dressed in black, this intimidating man is not someone he should  offend. “I need to know the passengers’ names and some details from you.”

    Li Tian gives him the information he needs and tries to restrain his temper while the guard makes the call. Goddamn it where the fuck did Navarre take Sara?

   Sweat forms on the guard’s forehead as he listens to the Security Chief from the Milan Airport. Li Tian’s aura is suffocating and he finds it difficult to breathe. He tightens his hand on the phone as he loosens his collar, obviously the problem occurred when the two arrived in Paris before I came on duty. He furtively glances over at Li Tian who is looking at his phone then hangs up to call the security checkpoint to find out exactly what happened. Apparently, when Navarre and Sarah arrived the guards were waiting but the two disappeared in the crowd. According to this man the two guards came back to the office and filled out a report and left it on the desk. I didn’t see  a report and why didn’t they chase after them? This can really be a problem especially since it involves a celebrity like Navarre.

   Across the city in Navarre’s luxurious apartment Sara is waking up from a nap in his guest room.She stretches her arms out then rubs her eyes  Oh my that felt so good…I was exhausted.  Sara  gazes around the room then mutters, “Really beautiful.” I guess it makes sense because he is an artist, all the furnishings are delicate and exquisite. She stands up and walks over to get a closer look at a painting of a woman by a lake.While she is  admiring the painting there is a knock at the door. She hears a young woman’s voice speaking English with a heavy French accent, ‘Miss Song are you awake? “

   Sara walks over and opens the door, a pretty woman dressed in a black and white uniform stands in the hallway holding a bag and a dress, “May I come in? “

 “Of course. “

  “ Monsieur Navarre asked you to change into this dress and join him for dinner. “

   Sarah smiles as she takes the bag and dress from the woman, “ Merci, please tell him I would enjoy that.”

   “Do you need anything? Would you like me to run the bath for you?”

   “No. I can do that myself, but could trouble you for some water? I’m very thirsty.”

   The maid walks over to an ornately carved wooden cabinet and opens the door revealing a small fridge . “There are bottles of mineral water and juice in here. Should you care for a glass of wine it is in this cabinet and the glasses are here also.”

   Sara takes out a bottle of mineral water then tilts her head as she gulps it down, “Ahhh..” She notices the maid watching her drink the water with a strange look on her face. Sara doesn’t realize while she was sleeping the pin loosened on her sweater revealing her neck. At this angle the maid has a view of  the purplish red marks that form a stark contrast to her snow white skin. Sara finishes the water and notices the maid  is still staring at her. “Thank you for your help, I’m going to take a bath now.”

    Clara composes herself, “ If you need anything dial 5 on the phone over there by the bed.”

    “Okay.”

   Clara walks down the hallway to Navarre’s art studio where he is working fixing the necklace.  she knocks on the door, “C’est Clara,  Monsieur Navarre.”

    “Entrer”

   Navarre continues working on the Midnight Lover Necklace as Clara informs him Sara will join him for dinner. He doesn’t bother to look up and he dismisses her with a cold and indifferent tone he says, “You can leave.”

   Clara has an infatuated look on her round face as she watches him meticulously replace some gold pieces on the beautiful necklace. She is working for her cousin while she is on vacation and today is the first day she has seen Navarre. Frozen in place staring at the incredibly handsome man’s profile she doesn’t respond when he tells her to leave.

   Annoyed that she hasn’t left he looks up from the necklace, “ I don’t like to repeat myself. Go.”

  Clara’s face turns bright red and she feels her cheeks getting hot, “I..  I just wanted to know if you would like me to stay to take care of your guest?”

  “That won’t be necessary.”

  “All right, I’ll be leaving then.” After Clara leaves the room she leans up against the wall looking down the hallway towards the giest room. Who is that woman? Cousin said Navarre doesn’t allow any of his women to stay here. The  shameless woman’s neck is covered in love bites too! 

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