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Something Tattered by Sabrina Stark

Coming May 11th

An ALL-NEW Standalone Contemporary Romance

Zane Bennington. He was the guy who'd been making my life miserable for weeks. He was a prick. An asshole. A stone-cold ruthless bastard with no redeeming qualities whatsoever – well, except for his face. And his body. And yeah, maybe his massive fortune.

But other than that, the guy had zero going for him.

The only upside? He despised me as much as I despised him. Or so I thought…

Sneak Peek

Chapter One

The senator was screaming like a girl. Funny, I felt like screaming too, but for entirely different reasons.

On both sides of the long, carpeted corridor, doors swung open as hotel guests leaned their heads out to gawk at the commotion. I couldn't exactly blame them. After all, it wasn't every day you spotted a bare-chested billionaire dragging a senator by his ankle.

The senator was still screaming. "Help! Somebody!"

With my notebook in-hand, I scrambled to keep up. Desperately, I called out, "What are you doing?"

The senator stopped screaming only long enough to holler back, "I'm being assaulted! What the fuck does it look like?"

Dumbass. I wasn't talking to him. I was talking to my employer.

Yes. That would be the billionaire.

If I weren't so horrified, I might've noticed that his dark tailored slacks clung oh-so perfectly to his tight butt and trim waist. And while I was at it, I might've also noticed that his muscular back and shoulders looked annoyingly fine as he dragged Mister Grabby-Ass – aka the senator – down the long, ornate hall.

As they passed a random door on their left, a couple of teenage girls swiveled their heads to stare at the travelling spectacle.

They were still staring when I scrambled past their doorway. As I plowed forward, one of them called out after me, "Hey, was that–?"

"No comment!" I yelled, hoping to keep the publicity to a minimum.

Probably, too late for that.

Already, the other girl was finishing the question. "Zane Bennington? Oh, my God. I think it was."

Damn it.

Unfortunately, the dragger was Zane Bennington, and he wasn't just my employer. He was the guy who'd been making my life miserable for weeks. He was a prick. An asshole. A stone-cold ruthless bastard with no redeeming qualities whatsoever – well, except for his face. And his body. And yeah, maybe his massive fortune.

But other than that, the guy had zero going for him.

Hustling away from the girls, I called out to Zane's receding back. "Where are you taking him?"

Zane – yes, we were on a first name basis, but that was another story – didn't answer. He didn't even pause. He just kept plowing forward, ignoring me and the guy twisting and screaming behind him.

By now, the friction had wreaked havoc with the senator's fancy suit jacket, and it was tangled up around his torso, like some sort of melted bobsled. He gave a particularly girlish scream. "Call security!"

Oh sure, like that would help.

Security here was top-notch, but Zane owned this hotel, so if security came running, it wouldn't be to rescue the senator, that's for sure.

I yelled, "Damn it, Zane! Will you please stop?"

Thanks to a whole series of implausible events, I was Zane's public relations manager, and it was proving to be more than a full-time job. The guy didn't care who he offended, or what anyone thought of him.

But even for Zane, this was a bit much. Until now, he'd confined most of his anti-social behavior to general assholery as opposed to outright assault.

How on Earth would I explain this?

They were moving so fast that I could barely keep up. But then again, I was wearing high heels and a long fitted skirt. Unless I wanted to grab the bottom of that skirt, and hike it up thigh-high, sprinting was out of the question.

So instead, I rushed along behind them – too slow to catch up, but too fast to pretend that I wasn't part of this impromptu parade.

Maybe I should've felt bad for the senator.

But I didn't.

I couldn’t.

I barely knew the guy. And yet, just yesterday evening, he'd gotten all grabby after a few cocktails too many. For all I knew, he didn't even remember.

But I did.

If I weren't so busy scurrying down the hall, I might've shuddered with revulsion. But instead, I kept on going, trying like hell to forget the feel of his hand squeezing my ass and then, worse, going in for the crack.

It was this particular recollection that led to a new discovery. Turns out, you could shudder and scurry at the same time. Go figure.

As I watched, Zane rounded the corner, still dragging the senator behind him. The way it looked, they were heading for the elevators – my steps faltered – or, oh crap, the stairwell.

I said a silent prayer. Please be the elevators. Please be the elevators…

I called out, "Don't you dare take the stairs!"

Whether Zane heard me or not, I had no idea. With a muttered curse, I kept on going, praying that the next sound from the corridor wouldn't be the bumpity bump of the senator getting tossed down the stairway.

A split second later, the screaming stopped, and I almost feared the worst. I rounded the corner just in time to see Zane yank the senator up by his jacket and shove him hard against the wall between the two nearest elevators.

Zane was tall and powerfully built. As for the senator, he'd been a pro football player back in the day. But those days were long gone, and the only thing he tackled now were women half his age.

Oh sure, he still looked imposing, but looks, I decided, could be deceiving. And besides, the guy holding him against the wall was pretty imposing himself. If I were a betting gal – which I wasn't – I'd have put all my money on Zane.

Now that I'd actually caught up to them, I wasn't quite sure what to do. After all, Zane wasn't dragging the guy anymore, so that was good, right? Silently, I edged forward, hoping to catch Zane's elbow and maybe gently ease him away from the senator.

I was halfway there when Zane finally spoke. In a voice filled with menace, he leaned closer to the senator and said, "If you ever touch her again, I'll break off those fucking fingers." His grip visibly tightened. "And then, I'll shove them down your fucking throat."

I froze. What?

Again, Zane shoved the senator against the wall. "Are we clear?"

I stood in stunned confusion. Who on Earth was he talking about?

He couldn’t mean me.

Could he?

No. He couldn’t. Definitely not.

If I weren’t so stressed, I might have laughed at the mere thought. After all, Zane hated me just as much as I hated him.

And seriously, wasn't I full of myself? Like Zane would go to any trouble on my behalf.

Probably, I decided, the senator had gotten grabby with someone else, like maybe an important guest or heaven forbid, Zane's latest squeeze, whoever she was this time.

I tried to think. I'd ditched the senator just after midnight, which left plenty of time for another round of slurring and ass-grabbing with whatever random female happened to cross his path next.

Still, we had security for that sort of thing. So why would Zane Bennington – who owned not only this hotel but countless others worldwide – take such a personal interest?

Trying to make sense of it all, I studied Zane's face in profile. For as long as I'd known him – which, granted, wasn't forever – he'd been the epitome of control.

And yet, he didn't look in control now.

He looked ready to break the senator in two. When the senator offered no coherent response, Zane gave him another shove and repeated his question, more slowly this time. "Are. We. Clear?"

The senator swallowed. "I, uh, what?"

More confused than ever, I stepped toward them.

Instantly, the senator's gaze snapped in my direction. He called out, "Jane! Go on! Tell him!"

My steps faltered. "Tell him what?"

The senator gave me a pleading look. "Tell him that you liked it. You know, that it was voluntary."

My jaw dropped. Wait, what?

I gave a confused shake of my head. I didn't like it. The senator was a creep, and besides, until just last night, he'd been engaged to someone else – someone I might've called a friend. But that wasn't the thing that had me reeling.

It was the implication of what he'd just said.

My gaze shifted from the senator to the guy holding him against the wall. As feeling my gaze, Zane slowly turned to look. And when he did, I saw something new in his eyes – a possessive spark that caught me totally off guard.

My breath caught. Oh, my God. This was about me.

But why?

Was it because I worked for him?

No. That couldn’t be it. Thousands of people worked for him, and I'd never seen him behave anything like this.

Still, it didn't make any sense.  

I mean, he didn't even like me. Cripes, Zane Bennington didn't like anyone – as I'd learned so quickly on the night we'd met – when I'd been a lowly catering assistant and he'd been – well, Zane Bennington, the mystery man who had everyone talking.

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