The Iron Tiara:A Nine Minutes Spin-Off Novel(10)

By: Beth Flynn



A muscle ticked in his jaw. Evidently, he wasn’t used to being challenged. Especially by a woman.

"You must not know who you're dealing with," she said in a haughty tone. She almost shrunk at her own words. Never once in her life had she used her family's wealth or status to intimidate people. If she had been stockpiling points for not doing so she sure hoped they were worth something now.

His expression remained unchanged. Not a lifted eyebrow or a questioning look. His lack of reaction unnerved her. Gripping the hairbrush tightly, she slowly moved her left arm behind her back. She was right-handed, and if she was going to clobber this guy, she would need to use her dominant one. After making the switch, she regained some of her composure and stated, "This is the home of Van and Vivian Chapman."

His face didn't change.

Is this guy hard of hearing or something? she wondered. "The owners of Bobbi Bowen's Luxury Autos. The largest dealership on the west coast of Florida," she said, her tone insolent.

Christy's grandmother, Roberta "Bobbi" Bowen, had accomplished something uncommon for a woman in the early 1950s. Almost thirty years ago, she'd opened the first Bobbi Bowen's Luxury Autos of the Gulf Coast. Her customers, along with her wealth, increased tremendously when Alligator Alley was completed in the late 1960s. The savvy businesswoman had died four years earlier and left her dealerships to her only daughter, Vivian Chapman, Christy's mother.

His expression finally changed, and she wasn't certain, but she thought she detected boredom. He did everything but stifle a yawn when he asked again, "Or else what?"

"Or else," she paused, and raised her chin, "I'll call the police." She nodded at the phone on Vivian's nightstand. She knew it was lame, but couldn't think of anything else to threaten him with.

Without saying anything, he walked to the phone, picked it up and yanked it out of the wall. Tossing it on the bed, he walked back toward Christy. He stood in front of her once again, this time folding his arms across his chest.

She swallowed and wondered if the air conditioner had been turned down low. Suddenly, she was cold, hit with a clamminess on her back beneath her shirt.

"I'll make this simple," he told her, looking down at her with a scowl. "This can go down easy, or it can go down not so easy. It's your choice, and either way I win."

Her eyes widened, and he saw an expression he recognized. She thought he was going to rape her. He almost scoffed out loud. For starters, he wasn't a rapist. He didn’t have to force himself on women. If anything, he had to swat them off like flies. Second, she was so far from his type, it was laughable. Of course this blonde bimbo would think he wanted to rape her. The only way the stupid savage would ever be able to have a spoiled, entitled white woman like her would be to take her by force. He instantly hated her.

"Don't worry, princess,” he said, his lip curling. “You and your store-bought boobs are safe. I can guarantee you have nothing I want. I wouldn't even fu..." He paused as if choosing his words. "I wouldn't even screw you with Lester's di..." The last word died on his tongue, and he quickly added, "So get that out of your empty head right now."

Satisfied with his insult, he gave her a smug look. His eyes bore into hers as he waited for her reaction. A few seconds ticked by and he wasn't sure, but he thought she looked almost amused.

She didn't say anything as she tried to mentally evaluate what he’d said. Or rather, what he hadn't said. She couldn't be certain, but it seemed as if he was making an effort not to cuss at her while letting her know that rape was not his intention. A polite Neanderthal. How endearing. Or was she imagining things? Was a combination of fear and her roaring headache playing tricks on her? Her next words were out before she could stop them.

"Aw...you poor thing." Her voice dripped with condescension. "You don't even have one of your own? You'd have to use Lester's?" Her eyes left his face and traveled to below his belt. Looking back up at him with mock pity, she continued, "You know, I think I might know a doctor that can help you with your...err...your problem." She batted her eyelashes at him.

Little witch! He didn't have time for this.

"Your father owes me money. And you're going to spend some time with a friend of mine until I get it. Do you understand?" he said in a low, menacing voice.

He'd expected a reaction, but not the one he got. She came at him with the hairbrush he'd seen her swipe from the table. Swinging high and aiming for the side of his head she shrieked, "He's not my father. Don't you ever refer to Van Chapman as my father!"

Anthony easily deflected the blow, and the silver hairbrush flew across the room. Of course Van Chapman was her father. He'd seen the family portraits as he made his way up the stairs and down the long hallway.

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