Stepping to the curb, I hail a cab and hop in.

“Where to, miss?”

“Just drive.”

Chapter 9


Why the fuck aren’t they picking up their phones? I try Holly’s cell again in frustration as I pace my office.

“Bruce, now don’t freak out—”

“What’s going on? I’ve been trying to get in touch with you or Sophie for hours,” I bark into the phone.

“I lost her. She’s pretty dramatic, but she’s so young, I shouldn’t be surprised.” Her voice is tart, her tone suggesting she knows more about my Sophie than she does.

“What do you mean you ‘lost her’? Holly, where is she?”

“I have no idea, but if it were me, I’d be saying good riddance. She’s got some growing up to do. Just let her go. She’ll come back when she is done being a little brat.”


“Are you kidding me right now? Holly, I asked you to help her pick out a dress for Saturday and now you’re telling me that she’s gone out into the world and I should just let her go? What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Calm down, Bruce. She’s a child throwing a temper tantrum. I’m sure she’ll be back in time for her after-nap snack.”

What the fuck was I thinking letting Holly take her shopping? Holly could never understand someone as sweet and pure as my Sophie. I’m a fucking dumbass. I bet Holly even tried to dress her like she dresses herself, something I wouldn’t like one bit.

“I can’t believe you lost her! She’s the most important thing to me in the world and you just let her go!” The words burst out from me. I know I might be overreacting but I feel like something I’ve always wanted might be slipping through my fingers.

“Excuse me? The most important thing in the world? Being a bit dramatic, aren’t you, Bruce?”

I breathe deep, filling my lungs with air, trying to calm myself. I want to go through the phone and choke this bitch to death but I can’t.

“Which way did she go?”

“I have no idea. By the time I realized she wasn’t coming back into the dressing room, I walked out just in time to see her get in the back of a cab and take off.”

“Fuck,” I say, but I’m somewhat relieved she wasn’t abducted or something horrible. She’s so perfect that I’m sure anyone would just snatch her up, something I should have done from day one. If I’m technically her guardian, could I trap her in my condo and not let her leave? I would have to come up with something else once she turns eighteen. Something that would bind her to me.

“Looks like you’ve got the evening off. How about I come over and we finally get that one-on-one time you’ve been needing?” Bile rises in my throat at the thought of Holly touching me. I think my cock has belonged to little Sophie since before I even laid eyes on her. Since I found out she would be mine to take care of, it seems like my cock took that and went with it, now my heart seems to be along for the ride.

“Holly, I know your father is an important client, and we’ve known each other for some time, but fuck you. Sophie is important to me, and the fact that you don’t give a shit is really eye opening.” I don’t mask the disdain in my voice.

“Jesus, Bruce, you’re acting like she’s a lost lover. You barely knew the girl. Calm down.”

“There’s a lot about her you don’t know, and frankly it’s none of your business.”

“My God, you’re in love with her.”

The denial is on my lips, but I can’t say it. It would be a lie. I do love her, and I think I have from the moment I saw her. I don’t want losing her to be the way I find out, and I’m angry at myself for allowing it to get this far.

“Goodbye, Holly.”

I toss my phone on my desk and just stand there, not knowing what to do. I have no idea where she’s gone. I don’t know who I could possibly contact to find out. I’m completely lost. And utterly heartbroken.

* * *

That night…

I’m pacing the kitchen and checking my phone every thirty seconds. I still haven’t heard from Sophie. It’s dark out, and I’m so worried thinking about what could be happening to her. Is she out partying? Is she crying? Is she dead? My mind goes from one extreme to the next. I know someone might have just grabbed her. She is so utterly perfect that I couldn’t even blame them for wanting her, but make no mistake, I will find her.

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