Born of Defiance

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

She glanced up at the camera in the corner. Not to mention the hand-carved mahogany wood and gilded ceiling. “This is much nicer than anything I expected. Thank you for letting me live here.”

He shifted the box in his hands. “No problem. Since I can’t visit very often, I wanted to make sure you were completely safe. I, um, I don’t know if you cook or not, but I had them stock the kitchen for you, just in case. There’s a grocery across the street and I worked it out with the manager to deliver anything you need or want. All you have to do is call them with your order and they’ll bring it over. Or if you pick it out, they’ll deliver it and charge my account. There’s also a deli and full restaurant on the first floor of the building, and a small convenience store that’s open twenty-four hours, even on holidays. Just charge the condo and it’ll go to my monthly bill.”

She gaped at his thoughtfulness that belied the ruthlessness she knew him capable of. Surely a beast wouldn’t go to this amount of trouble for a paid companion. Would he?

For that matter, her own father and brothers wouldn’t go to this length for any of the females in their lives. Especially her. They barely acknowledged she was a member of their family, and then, only when required by law.

“Likewise, I don’t know if you drive or not, but there’s a transport for you in the parking garage. The number for it corresponds with the condo address. It’s yours, too. If you can’t drive or don’t want to, I have the number for a chauffeur service and they’ll be more than happy to provide a driver for you. Also a protective detail should you have to study late at school. They just need a twenty-minute heads up to get someone to you. I’d prefer you use their service than take any chances with your safety.”

Stunned, she couldn’t think as the door opened into a bright, elegant hallway.

No, not hallway.


Holy crap… was this really her new home? Eyes wide, she stared in awe of the palatial estate.

Talyn led her into the condo that was finer than anything she’d ever seen in her entire life. Seriously. It even made her father’s expensive home look like a dump.

And it was huge! Open and airy, it had a breathtaking view of the city. The furniture was elegant and high end. Leather sofa, fully vided wall. Rich, hand-carved tables and expensive vases and flowers. Marbled floor, mahogany paneling, and a gilded tray ceiling.

She half expected some snotty female to come out and yell at her to wipe her feet.

Or leave before she tainted it.

Talyn smiled as he saw her gaze dancing around in appreciation. The sheer joy on her face was worth every precious credit the place had cost him. The last thing he’d wanted was for her to regret choosing him as her patron when she could have chosen anyone – even an aristo.

He set the box down on the dining room table and placed her rucksack beside it. “This is your home, Felicia. You can have friends over whenever you like. I only ask that you keep our time for us. I’m not real big on company. Ever. No one should bother you, looking for me. If the media does track me down here, tell them to contact my manager, and if they don’t go away, report them to Aaron and he’ll take care of them.”

She frowned at him. “The media?”

He felt heat creep over his face. “Yeah. They want interviews sometimes. Ferrick handles all of that.”

Before she could ask him for more details, he picked up the intercom and contacted the manager to come up and add her to the system.

His bracelet buzzed.

She frowned at the pulsing noise. “What’s that?”

He held his arm up to show her the black band on his left wrist. “My military tracker. It’s letting me know that my lunch time is almost up, and I have to leave in order to get back to my post for check-in. Otherwise, I’m AWOL, and that’s highly unpleasant.”

“Oh.” The sudden sadness in her eyes touched him a lot more than it should have.

He picked up the link from the counter and handed it to her. “My personal number is already programmed in, under three. If you need anything, day or night, call me or Aaron. He’s number four. Or you can use the house system. The driver service is five. If I can’t answer, leave a message and I’ll call or text as soon as I’m able.” He headed for the elevator.


He paused.

She closed the distance between them. Looking up at him, she gave him the sweetest smile. “Thank you for everything.” She stood up on her tiptoes to place her cheek against his.

Talyn swallowed as a wave of desire tore through him and set his blood on fire. It wasn’t helped by the sudden image in his mind of her in the small underpants she’d worn for her agency photos. Felicia had the sweetest ass he’d ever seen on any female, and he lived solely for the day he could peel her clothes off and sink himself deep inside her.

The scent of her floral perfume filled his head and set his senses spinning. Worse, her soft riot of curls brushed against his skin, making him so hard that he was sure it would be obvious to anyone who glanced in his general direction. He hungered so much for her that it took everything he had to pull away.