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To Catch a Thief
Author: Nana Malone

To Catch a Thief

 

 

Nana Malone

 

 

Contents

 


Prologue

 

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 2

 

Chapter 3

 

Chapter 4

 

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 6

 

Chapter 7

 

Chapter 8

 

Chapter 9

 

Chapter 10

 

Chapter 11

 

Chapter 12

 

Chapter 13

 

Chapter 14

 

Chapter 15

 

Chapter 16

 

Chapter 17

 

Chapter 18

 

Chapter 19

 

Chapter 20

 

Chapter 21

 

Chapter 22

 

Chapter 23

 

Chapter 24

 

Chapter 25

 

Chapter 26

 

Chapter 27

 

Epilogue

 

Also from Nana Malone

 

 

Nana Malone Reading List

 

Complimentary Download

 

About Nana Malone

 

 

Prologue

 

 

Rian

 

 

Five years ago

 

* * *

 

Freezing cold rain pelted my skin like needles. One drop after the other, poking, pinching, penetrating. I wrapped my arms around myself and marched on. Max had left me on the High Street and taken off. I kept marching in the hopes of finding an off license or a mini cab office.

I had nothing on me, so I just hoped for a phone to be able to call my aunt. She’d been going out tonight with some friends , so I hoped she would even hear the phone ringing. But that was a step-two problem.

Step one was getting to a phone.

Maybe you should have grabbed your purse before breaking up with Max…

Just thinking his name right now sets my teeth on edge. When I’d said I didn’t want to bone him, he’d told me to get the hell out of his car. Like an idiot, I’d climbed out without grabbing my damn purse. I hadn’t really believed he was serious. Up until now he’d been patient, never pressuring me.

Until tonight.

My purse, my phone, my wallet were all in his car, but at least I wasn’t. I knew what my mother would say. That I had brought this on myself. That she’d known something like this would happen to me. And if I’d just listened, blah, blah, blah.

Shivers racked my body as I rounded the corner. Unshed tears stung my lids as I mentally cursed myself. Just get to help. Then you’ll get warm, get home. That’s all you need.

I saw the lights of the off license just ahead and sent up a silent prayer of thanks. A car careened around the corner, and its tires screeched on the slick road, sending up a wave of water that nearly drowned me as I passed by. “Hey!”

The driver’s side window rolled down and a too familiar voice growled, “Get in.” When I hesitated, the door shoved open and I was forced to stumble back or get hit with the heavy metal door. “Did I stutter? I said get in the bloody car, Rian.”

I swallowed hard, unable to process the verbal command. For starters, Ollie Wexler was my age. He had no business driving and no business having a voice that sounded like it had been formed in a whiskey barrel. He also had no business looking like Theo James’s doppelgänger. Despite the rain, I suddenly felt too hot, too muggy in my now sodden clothes. I wanted to say something clever, but all I could manage was, “You shouldn’t be driving, Ollie.”

At sixteen, Ollie was Max’s younger brother but the most self-possessed person I’d ever met. Like he had a steely strength. While Max had been all charm and little substance, Ollie had a distinctly self-possessed quality about him. He was the kind of person to never let anything stand in the way of what he wanted. It didn’t matter how long it took, he was going to achieve his goals. He also never forgot anything. And he had this way of looking through me. Like he could see every secret I’d ever held.

He’d also made it clear from the day Max had introduced us that he couldn’t stand me.

It was in the way that he watched me,silvery-gray gaze always full of anger. His jaw ticked as he leaned in closer. “I said get in the bloody car.”

The thing was, heat beckoned and Ollie might not like me, but at least I’d be warm and he might give me a chance to call my aunt. “Fine.” I marched around to the passenger side, only to have Ollie beat me to it. He opened the door for me, and I slid in to Max’s precious leather seats of the Peugeot he drove.

There were towels on the seat and in the center console, I saw my bag and my phone. When Ollie climbed back into the car, I could see the muscle in his jaw ticking.

“I—thank you. How did you know where to find me?”

There was a long pause before he spoke. I could hear him taking long drags of air. I didn’t dare look at him for fear of the angry gaze that would meet mine. “When Max came back without you, I saw he had your purse and phone. He wouldn’t tell me where you were, so I checked your maps app to see your last locations. Took a chance you’d be along the High Street.”

“And you came for me?” Even as I turned to face him and ask the question, a kaleidoscope of butterflies took flight in my belly. I couldn’t fathom why. He’d made his displeasure of me known in the last few months.

I’d tried everything I could think of to make him like me. Because there was no reason for him to despise me so much. I’d never done anything to him.

“You were alone with no phone, no wallet, no jumper. And my prick of a brother left you to fend for yourself. So yes, Rian, I came for you.” He didn’t turn to face me, but he did turn up the heat a little.

Unsure of what else to say, I whispered a choked, “Thank you.”

The ride to my aunt’s house was quiet the rest of the way. I was impressed with Ollie’s recollection of how to get there as he’d only been along with Max to pick me up once. When we arrived, he threw the car in park and was already out of the car before I could even register what he was doing.

I tried to shove open my car door before he could get to me, but he yanked it open. “Thanks, but—”

His sharp silvery-gray gaze cut me off, and I could see there was no point in arguing with him.

I led the way to the cottage my aunt owned just on the corner of Grove Park Gardens in Chiswick. “This is me.” Ollie clenched the umbrella as I fumbled with my key, but he ultimately opened the door with a sigh of irritation at my inability to do even that. I expected him to leave with another huff of indignation, but instead, he surprisingly followed me inside.

“Ollie, what are you doing?”

“Where’s the kitchen?” No eye contact. Damn was he even breathing?

That earned a slow blink from me, a very, very slow blink. “Through there.” I pointed. “But why?”

I followed lamely behind him only to watch him put the kettle on. Then he grabbed two of the tea towels hanging off the stove and stalked over to me like a man on a mission.

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