Free Read Novels Online Home

My Secret Billionaire Bodyguard: Clean Billionaire Romance (Peachtree Billionaires Book 3) by Cate Remy (15)

Chapter Fifteen

Cy looked at the time on his phone. The awards show was going to be over soon. According to the bulletin, Keke was finished doing a presentation. Where was Dahlia? 

He left his position and went towards the dressing area. An usher stopped him. “This is as far as you can go, sir.”

Time to stop playing. “My name is Cyrus Walker. I’m with Iron Guard Security. My client Dahlia Dean is back here.” He took out his wallet and flashed his ID. “Please step aside so I can see about my client.”

The usher looked over his shoulder. He did a double take. “Keke’s dressing room is open. I didn’t see her go out. Did you?”

Cy brushed past the usher and walked straight into the dressing room. Empty. He couldn’t see what happened because the door had been blocking his view. He dialed Dahlia’s number of his phone. It rang several times before going to her voicemail. He put it back in his pocket and eyed the usher. “Are there hidden surveillance cameras back here?”

“No. This area is private so people can get ready before they go on stage.”

Where did Dahlia go? He tried the right corner. It ended with a broom closet and a wall. He went left to find a slim corridor with an elevator at the end. As he started to go near it, his phone vibrated and rang. He fished it out of his pocket and breathed a little easier. She was calling him back. “Dahlia, where did you go? I’m looking for you.”

“Keep looking,” replied a deep, modulated voice.

Cy stiffened, instantly recognizing that the voice was garbled by a modulator to disguise the voice of the owner. He used the app on his phone to hit the record button. “Who’s this?”

“That’s not important, Cy.”

The person knew his name. Was it someone he met recently? “Tell me where Dahlia is.”

“I have the woman you’re looking for.”

Despite using all of the tactics he learned to negotiate, at the mention of Dahlia, his whole body broke into a sweat. “She’d better be safe.”

“She’s fine for now. I’m willing to give her back to you if you wire one hundred million to the account I’m about to text you. You have a billion dollar security company. I know you can afford this chunk of change to insure your client’s safety.”

Whoever he was speaking to knew his identity and that he was Dahlia’s bodyguard. Cy knew nothing about the person, which put him at a huge disadvantage. “You’re holding Dahlia for ransom.”

“Ransom. Collateral. Whatever you want to call it. Once I see the money in my account, I’ll text you the location where you can come get her. Do we have a deal?”

“If you harm her in any way, I’ll make sure there will be nothing left of you to carry to jail.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.” The call ended. Seconds later, Cy received a text with a bank account and routing number.

He got a hold of his security firm. The night receptionist answered the phone. “Iron Guard.”

“It’s Cy.” He gave the receptionist his ID number for verification. “Put me into IT and Surveillance to speak with Pace.”

Moments later, he was talking to the head of the department. “Hey, Cy. I’m working late. Guess you are too.”

“Pace, we’re at a level three emergency here.” Cy never thought his firm would have to initiate emergency protocol at their highest level. “Listen carefully. I’m going to need you to activate the tracking system on Dahlia Dean’s phone.”

He heard computer keys clicking in the background. “Activated.”

Cy brought up the map on his phone app. He waited until a light started blinking. “Her phone is still on. What can you tell me?”

More keys clicking. “I see you’re at a downtown theater. It doesn’t look like Dahlia’s in the building with you. Her signal’s moving about four miles away.”

He started walking for the emergency stairs and sprinted down them. “I’m headed towards my car. Dahlia’s been kidnapped and held for ransom.”

“Do you want us to call the police?”

“Call them. They’ll have to catch up.” His voice echoed in the dim stairwell. “We can’t lose the signal.”

“Understood. Let me know when you’re in your car.”

He burst out the door of the theater and found himself in a back alley. He ran around the building to get to the parking lot on the other side. Cy found his car, hit the button to unlock the door and jumped in. He made the engine roar to life. “Keep on that signal.”

“I’m already loading it into your car’s GPS.”

Cy put his phone on speaker. He pulled out on the road while the tracker on Dahlia’s phone came up on his car’s digital screen. “Got it. I need you to do something else. I just sent you the recording of the call I received from Dahlia’s kidnapper. See if you can unscramble the voice.”

“Already loaded it into our software.”

Cy drove north. He drove out of downtown and jumped on the highway. His signal from his phone was getting closer to Dahlia’s. He had no time to waste as he took the east exit ramp into the Cabbagetown District. Each second he was away from her put her life in further danger.

“Cy, you forwarded a text with a bank account number. It looks like it goes to an offshore account.”

“That’s the account her kidnapper wanted me to wire money. Save it to give to the police.” He turned down a residential street, passing older houses and a mill that had been converted into a modern loft apartment building. Dahlia’s signal stopped moving on the GPS screen. His heart raced. Was she in a vehicle that stopped moving, or did her kidnapper get rid of her phone?

“I got info on Dahlia’s kidnapper,” Pace chimed in again. “Our software unscrambled the voice and did a search for others like it online. It belongs to an entertainment lawyer by the name of Emmett Jones. He reps some of the local actors.”

Cy was shocked. “He represented Mary Marsters. He called Dahlia and invited her to Mary’s memorial service last month.”

He heard the head of the IT department typing furiously on the keyboard. “I just ran a quick background check. He’s former military police. Dishonorable discharge twenty years ago for a DUI.”

“So we’re dealing with a pro.”

“Are you sure we can’t get some of our guys to back you up?”

“I can’t wait on them to get here.” He turned his lights off the closer he got to the signal. “I’m less than half a mile away. I’m going on foot from here. Give the police the coordinates to Dahlia’s phone.”

“Alright. Be careful.”

Cy followed the signal to a street with abandoned buildings. He parked his car along the curb and got out. Dahlia’s signal remained in place. He realized it was coming from the empty factory building ahead.

Hold on, Dahlia.

***

DAHLIA SAT ON THE FLOOR of the dirty old warehouse. Her hands were tied behind her back. Her leg was asleep, and the splinters of the wooden beams on the wall scraped against her bare arms. Would anyone find her here alive?

On the way to the abandoned facility, all she remembered was her kidnappers taking her cell phone away before throwing her in the back of a van. It seemed like an eternity later before the doors opened and they brought her inside this abandoned rundown place. Shivering from the cold in fear, she lifted her voice to address them. “Why did you do it?”

She directed her question to the man standing in the center of the main floor. Emmett looked up from playing with her cell phone. “That should be easy for even a glorified hairdresser like you to figure out. Mary had money. Lots of it, all tied up in charities and spousal support to her ex-husband. She never paid me what I was worth, so I decided to take it out of her other funds.”

“By killing her?”

“She had a heart condition. I can’t help that she fell and had a heart attack when she saw me in her kitchen.”

“You meant to frighten her. You broke into her house.”

Emmitt shrugged. “II didn’t know she was going to keel over because of it. I wanted to make her think it was her ex so she could put Trey in jail for burglary and harassment.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Think about it. Since Trey and I are the same height and build, I copied his walk to make it look like he was the one caught on tape. Then I could get to the money that she paid him in alimony once he was behind bars. The feds got him, anyway, for tax evasion so it all worked out. Except for the part where you saw me in the kitchen. Then I had to find a way to get you to stop talking to the police.”

“You broke my window and sent me a threatening note?”

He nodded. “That should’ve been the end of it. I asked my client Keke to keep an eye on you and casually ask you some questions on set and at the memorial service. That’s why she invited you to come do her makeup.”

Dahlia swung her gaze to Emmett’s accomplice. “What did you have to gain from all this?”

Keke looked bored. “I’m not a young starlet, anymore, let’s face it. The roles and the money are just not coming in like they used to. When Emmett told me his plans, it was hard to say no.”

“No wonder you kept asking so many questions about me and Cy.”

Keke burst out laughing. “If you thought for a second that I believed he was a Shakespearean actor and not your bodyguard, you’re kidding yourself. You’ve got to be the worst liar in the world.”

“One who gets fooled easily, too,” Emmett agreed. He tossed Dahlia’s phone on the ground and smashed the screen under his heel.

Dahlia felt rising panic. She was in an abandoned warehouse with her kidnappers and no way for anyone to reach her. “What do you want from me?”

“All I ever wanted was your silence. I can guarantee it in a messy way.” He paused for emphasis. “But I’d rather just cut my losses and have your billionaire bodyguard wire money to my bank account. I told him if he did what I wanted, I’d leave you someplace where he could find you.”

Cy. She worried for him as much as she did about herself. Could he know what he was up against? “Cy’s an honest man. He wouldn’t do that.”

Emmett kicked the remnants of her phone aside. “Then he doesn’t really care about you. That’s terrible for a bodyguard to abandon his client.”

“It would be terrible.” Keke made a mocking sad face. “But I’ve seen them together. He feels something for her.”

“It better be enough for him to give up a hundred million or we’ll walk away and let her freeze in here. The police can find her in the spring.”

Dahlia’s hands started to grow numb. She was being held for ransom at an astronomical price. With her phone destroyed, she lost the one way to get in contact with Cy. With every second that slipped by, she felt hope falling through the cracks.

***

CY CREPT INTO THE ABANDONED warehouse, where he could hear voices. He recognized those of Keke and Dahlia. Dahlia sounded so frightened. It took all of his will not to run straight towards the middle of the floor and go after the worthless guy who kidnapped her. First, he had to scope out the area to see if there were any weapons or other people lying in wait.

He kept hidden behind one of the wide floor to ceiling beams and listened to everything that came out of Emmett’s arrogant mouth: how he impersonated Mary’s ex-husband to scare her, how he threatened Dahlia, and how he enlisted Keke to help. Cy recorded it all on his phone for the police to hear later.

“It better be enough for him to give up a hundred million or we’ll walk away and let her freeze in here. The police can find her in the spring.”

Emmett’s words gave Cy a chill and fueled his rage at the same time. He stepped out from the shadows. “Not if I give you to the police first.”

Keke turned around and let out a surprised scream.

He glowered at her. “What’s wrong, Keke? Are you pretending to be scared? You just said you knew I wasn’t a real actor. But I am familiar with law enforcement. You’ll be in jail for a long time.”

She took off running past him and out the warehouse door.

“Get back here,” Emmett yelled after her.

Cy got in front of him and blocked his way out. “Don’t worry about her. The cops can meet her up the road. I need to have a word with you about kidnapping my client.”

Emmett stalked in front of Dahlia, blocking his path to her. “How did you find this place without me sending the text?”

“Dahlia’s phone has a tracker on it. It’s a little perk we give our level three clients who have to deal with pesky masked stalkers.”

“What about my money?”

“Yeah, about that. I don’t negotiate with criminals.”

Emmett withdrew a knife from his belt. “I really didn’t want this to get messy tonight.”

Cy got in a defensive stance. “You made that choice when you kidnapped Dahlia.”

Emmett rushed forward in a slash attack. Cy moved out of the way. His opponent recovered and came at him again. This time, Cy got the edge of his sleeve caught on the blade. The fabric ripped and he felt the tip of the knife skim his arm. He gritted his teeth.

Emmett flashed his in a grin. “Not as fast and tough as you think you are.”

Cy spotted an opening where Emmett’s arm was extended, exposing his side. He delivered a swift, crushing kick to the ribs. The knife clattered from Emmett’s hand and the man crumpled to the ground, clutching his side in pain. Outside, police sirens wailed and red and blue lights flashed.

Cy picked up the knife and went to cut the ties from Dahlia’s wrists. “Dahlia, are you injured? I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner.”

He helped her to her feet. She balanced on one leg, hobbling a little. “I’m alright, except for this crazy charley horse.”

The first of the police officers rushed in and went to Emmett on the ground. Cy felt Dahlia’s arm tighten around his shoulder.

“I’m glad this is finally over.”

He turned to her. “You were right all this time about us. I let duty get in the way of us. I don’t care if you fire me as your bodyguard.”

“Excuse me?”

“I know you don’t need me to protect you anymore, but I was wondering.... Can we pick up where we left off?”

She looked skeptical. “You mean before that big fight we had when we were eighteen?”

“I mean the last kiss we shared, and whatever else life leads from there.” He helped her outside of the warehouse. “What do you think?”

Her face formed a smile. “Sounds like a plan to me. I only have one question.”

“Ask away.”

“Were you really going to pay that lawyer a hundred million dollars in ransom for me?”

“If I had to, I was ready to part with all of my money for you.” He took her hand. “Let’s get out of here.”