Not for the first time, I regretted the choice to move to Chicago. I ruminated over my freelance business and thought that I’d managed to accumulate enough in savings to tide me over for a few lean months. I was earning enough to move back home to St. Paris, a minute speck of a village in southwest Ohio. I’d grown up in St. Paris, where the still-depressed economy hadn’t recovered like most of the nation and property values were low. I could buy or rent a place for less than I paid for my cheap apartment in the big city.
And breathe clean air.
A hand landed on my shoulder and spun me around. I gasped, shrieked, and struck out with both fists. Unfortunately, I’d never learned how to fight properly, so my assailant had little trouble avoiding my wild blows and restraining me.
“Where in the hell do you think you’re going?” Sam Galdicar growled as I struggled against his grip.
“Let me go, you goon,” I growled back at the big, burly bodyguard to handsome, occasionally charming, and always domineering gazillionaire Bradley Vermont. His hands tightened and I sneered, “Or are you going to beat me like Brad beats Sonya?”
Either the words or the withering tone had the desired effect and he released me. I stumbled a step, turned around, and resumed walking.
“He doesn’t beat her,” Sam said as he fell into step beside me.
“Like hell, he doesn’t,” I retorted and muttered a profanity that insulted the man’s parentage and character and would have resulted in my mouth being washed out with soap if Dad were around to hear the vile words.
“He doesn’t isolate her from her friends and family,” he added, trying to soften my harsh opinion without success. “If he did, you’d never see her.”
We stopped at a crosswalk. I glanced at him. With his butter colored hair, square jaw, and cleft chin, he didn’t offend a woman’s eyes. His masculinity was rugged rather than pretty.