Home > Reckless Princess (Knight's Ridge Empire, #8)

Reckless Princess (Knight's Ridge Empire, #8)
Author: Tracy Lorraine

 


1

 

 

JODIE

 

 

My entire body trembles as I race down the hallway of Toby’s building wearing nothing but his incorrectly buttoned shirt. My makeup is a mess down my face, the tears continuing to fall as my legs move faster than I can control in my haste.

I trip over my own feet before I get to the corner which will lead me toward the lift, toward my escape. My body collides with the wall. My shoulder that’s already smarting from the bathroom door frame screams in pain once more.

I use the agony to give me strength, focusing on that instead of the excruciating pain in my chest, the way my already crumbling world has just been stolen from beneath me.

A sob rips up my throat as memories from the past few minutes slam into me once more, the grief, the disbelief almost as strong as it was when this whole nightmare was playing out in front of me.

I make it to the corner, my eyes set on the thick, soft carpet at my feet when I run headfirst into someone.

“Whoa,” a soft female voice says before small hands land on my upper arms, stopping me from falling on my arse. “Are you okay?” she asks, bending down so she can get a look at my face.

Her brows pinch in concern as I lock onto her blue eyes and flawless makeup.

“I-I’m s-sorry,” I stutter, barely able to get the words out with my need to flee.

I twist away from her, ready to continue for the exit, but she doesn’t release me.

“I-I really n-need to go,” I plead, looking back at her. “H-he might c-come and—” I look back over my shoulder toward Toby’s front door, and a torrent of emotions slam into me, most of which I don’t have the capacity to identify right now.

“Okay,” she says firmly. “Let’s go.”

To my utter shock, she wraps her arm around my shoulder and moves me forward.

“Let’s grab you some clothes first though.”

“N-no. I just need to leave. Please.”

I glance back once more, terrified I’m going to see him standing there with that wrecked look on his face that I just left behind, and another sob bubbles up.

“My flat is right here, we can—”

“No,” I say, firmer than I was expecting.

“Okay, we’ll just go.”

Bypassing the door to her flat, she leads me straight toward the lift.

I should probably shrug her off. I’m usually not all that much of a fan of being hugged by strangers, but right now, I need the warmth, the support. Anything that might help convince me that I’m not about to shatter into a million pieces.

She releases me to press the button and I have to slam my lips closed to stop me complaining about the loss.

“Here,” she says when she turns back to me, seeing me trembling with my arms wrapped around myself. She unzips her hoodie and hands it over, leaving her standing in a pair of gym leggings and sports bra. She looks so put together, so… everything that I’m not right now.

“Thank you,” I whisper, unable to resist reaching out and taking it from her.

No more words are said between us as we descend through the building. She just stands beside me, allowing me to soak up her warmth and support.

I have no idea who she is, but quite frankly, I don’t care.

“This is me,” she says, slowing down in front of a matte black Porsche which lights up before us.

I might not know who she is, but with a car like that, she’s clearly one of them.

She opens the door for me and I drop into the passenger seat, the new car scent hitting me immediately. It’s strong enough that it makes my stomach roll. I swallow down the extra moisture in my mouth, wishing I could do something about the putrid taste lingering from throwing up only minutes ago.

Curling up, I watch as she elegantly lowers herself into the driver’s seat and brings the engine to life. Reaching out, she turns the temperature up and switches the heated seat on.

“It’ll be warm in a few minutes.”

It’s not until she says that that I realise I’m shivering, wrapping her hoodie around me as if it’s the thing that will literally keep me together.

“Thank you,” I whisper, tightening my hold on my legs that I’ve pulled up to my chest.

We emerge from the underground garage and into the torrential rain that has started since we disappeared inside.

It just about sums up everything about my night as the huge droplets crash against the windscreen so fast the wipers can barely cope.

“Where are we going?”

“Oh… um…”

I can’t get my brain to process where we are enough to even consider giving her directions home.

Tapping the screen between us, she finds the search screen on her GPS.

“Postcode?”

Thankfully, I’m able to rattle it off without even thinking, and a few seconds later, the map shows my street and I have nothing to distract myself from what happened up in that flat only minutes ago once more. Grief and disbelief wrap around me, their icy claws digging into my skin, making my body tremble harder.

“What did he do?” she asks after long silent minutes. “I mean, you don’t have to tell me. But I will go and kick his ass for you.”

Looking over at her, I blink a few times as I register her accent.

“You’re American,” I blurt.

“That obvious, huh?” she deadpans.

“I’m sorry. I’m… uh… not really with it.”

“I know Alex can be a pr—”

“Alex?” I question, a frown creasing my brow as I consider the fact that his manipulation has gone so deep he hasn’t even given me his real name.

“Yeah… was it not Alex you were running from?” she asks hesitantly, her eyes darting between the road and my tear-stained face.

I’ve no idea what she reads in my silence, but suddenly she gasps. “Holy shit. Are you Jodie?”

I startle at the fact that she knows my name.

“Uh… yeah.”

Her lips purse as her grip on the wheel tightens with anger.

“What did he do?” she grits out, her tone completely different from when she was asking me about whoever Alex is.

I shake my head. “I just want to go home and forget that the past few weeks, especially tonight, have happened.”

Her attention burns the side of my face, but I refuse to look up at her as I wipe my cheeks with the back of my hand and blow out a shaky breath.

“I’m sorry he was a dick. When I get back, I’ll make sure he hurts for whatever he’s done,” she assures me, her voice full of hurt and venom.

“I don’t need you to fight for me.“

“Who said anything about needing to.”

Finally, I risk another glance over at her. Gone is her concerned expression from when she first saw me, and in its place is a hard, furious mask, one that is actually quite terrifying.

“You don’t even know me,” I say quietly, astounded that she assumes the worst of someone she does clearly know.

“That may be true, but I know Toby. I know all those boys better than they think I do. And I’d put money on him doing something really fucking stupid to have sent you running like this.”

I scoff, unable to say anything about what he’s done.

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