Read Keep Me: A HERO Novella Online

Authors: Leighton Del Mia

Tags: #alpha male, #superhero, #fairy tales, #gothic, #wealthy, #action, #Suspense, #billionaires

Keep Me: A HERO Novella


Note to the reader

Keep Me
is an
novella available to those who want a glimpse of life after breakfast. It is
a standalone and should only be read after












mailing list





Cover Photo
© Alexander A.


Cover Design ©
Cover It
! Designs

Editing by Lisa
, Adept Edits


All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the author.


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


chapter 1

chapter 2

chapter 3

chapter 4

chapter 5

chapter 6

chapter 7

chapter 8

chapter 9

chapter 10

author about/connect


Gravel crunches under the tires as the car slows to a stop, and I know Calvin’s watching me from the driver’s side. He takes my hand and puts it to his lips. “We can still turn around.”

Mesmerized by the view through the windshield, I shake my head.

“This could change things between us,” he warns. “I still don’t think a week together is enough time for this.”

“This might be my last chance. And I think we need it.”

I exit the car and shield my eyes from the high sun. The mansion practically glows as light reflects off of large rectangular windows. Both times I fled its suffocating walls, I never looked back. This is my first time seeing it from this angle. But the spot I stand in now is one I’ve seen too many times from inside the mansion.

My hand is in Calvin’s, our fingers intertwining instinctively as we walk. I look up at him and still see two different people—but if that ever changed, he wouldn’t be him, and we wouldn’t be us.

After unlocking the door, he walks in without pretense. I hesitate only enough for him to notice. Entering the mansion is counterintuitive, and my stomach somersaults. The atmosphere is made of memories, and my pounding emotions are hard to conceal. Calvin squeezes my hand. The banisters are solid and shiny. The echo of my heels on the marble floor is precise. The cameras are still trained on me from the foyer’s corners. My surroundings are stunning, disturbing, and evocative, much like my time here. I’m questioning my decision to return.

I pull away from Calvin and head down the hall. The stale smell of aging books calls to me, and when I enter the room, it envelops me like a familiar embrace.

“Wherever we go, you’ll get your library,” Calvin says.

I turn to him. He fills the doorway, no less imposing without the drugs. The way we fit together, his muscular body seems made for me. He’d say it was made to keep danger away, though. His brown hair waves over his forehead, and his green eyes are astute. I’m grateful there’s no longer the need for the disguise of glasses. “I’d like that,” I say.

“And a game room. And an indoor pool, for that matter.” He pauses, his mouth slipping into a lazy smile. “It wasn’t all bad, was it?”


“The time we spent together here.”

I don’t answer. In the mansion, good and bad became synonymous, and just trying to divorce the two concepts almost put me in my grave.

“It feels bigger. Or maybe just emptier without Norman here. Don’t you get lonely?”

He crosses the room and stills my fidgeting. “That’s why we’re doing this. I want to be with you, and I can’t do that here.” His hand covers mine, which is curled around my own wrist. Calvin tells me when I’m upset, I run my fingers over my scars. I rarely notice it, but it took him less than a week to pick up on it. “There’s still a little time before they get here,” he says. “If you want, I can take you back to your apartment.”

“No,” I say. “Let’s go upstairs.”

He lets me wander until we reach a place even more familiar than the library. I enter before him and scan my old room. It looks the same, as though I never left. Or, as though I was never here. I head for the windowsill and perch on it. When I look back, Calvin isn’t there. I stare at the empty space until it’s apparent he’s not coming.

Over the window’s ledge, the roses below are in full bloom. Time hasn’t erased what it meant to sit here.

When Calvin walked into my gallery, just the sight of him relieved a weight I didn’t know I’d been carrying. That is not the reaction one should have to her enemy. But somehow he’s closing wounds I’ve been licking for three years.

Carefully, I push the window open and inhale. It’s been seven days since Calvin came back for me, climbing through my window and into my bed. He’s spent each night since in that spot.


One week earlier

After a breakfast of overdone scrambled eggs and burnt toast, Calvin and I stood at the sink with soapy hands, washing dishes.

“You opened the gallery within a year of leaving the mansion. I’d hoped your plans were to enroll in school.”

I shrugged. “I thought about it, but I couldn’t afford it. And I didn’t want to waste any more time. I needed to do something productive.”

“College is productive, don’t you think?”

“The gallery gives me a creative outlet, but it’s also physical. Like, tangible, I guess. That was good for me after the mansion. It keeps me balanced.”

“What about the money I gave you?”

“I paid Frida what I owed her, and the rest is in a savings account. I couldn’t bring myself to . . . It felt like you were throwing money at me to fix—” I looked away, but I didn’t think I needed to finish my sentence. “Anyway, it’s been a tough few years getting the gallery open and I’m in a lot of debt, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

He shook his head as he dried his hands on a dishtowel. “That money was for you to start over, Cat. To build a life that made you happy.” He caught my smile and nodded his chin at me. “What? Why are you looking at me that way?”

“I think that’s the first time you’ve ever called me Cat.”

“Want me to call you something else?” he asked with a teasing grin. “Sparrow?” His face fell almost immediately.

“I don’t care what you call me,” I said. “Sparrow—it kind of turns me on, though.”

He arched an eyebrow and passed me the dishtowel. “Really?”

I nodded, crossed my arms, and then uncrossed them. “But I–I’m not sure, or I don’t think I’m, you know, ready for that. You were right the other night. I was in a bad place. Thank you for leaving.”

He stepped closer to me and took the rag from my hand to toss it on the counter. His hands covered my hair, smoothing it from my face. “As badly as I want you, our issues can’t be fixed with sex. I can be patient. For now, all I want is to be a normal man who takes care of his girlfriend.”

“You want to be my boyfriend?” I asked.

He laughed. “Sometimes I forget you’re so young.”

I frowned. “I’m not that young anymore.”

“Eleven years,” he said. “That’s our age difference.”

That time we both laughed. I placed my palms on his chest, and it expanded with a deep inhale. “I already have a boyfriend,” I said.

He cupped my jaw and brought my lips inches from his. “And it’s taking every ounce of my willpower not to hunt him down for touching what’s mine.”

“I wasn’t yours.”

“Yes, you were.” His words were a whisper against the corner of my mouth. “Does he know you better than I do? Does he fuck you better?”

I moaned involuntarily, licking my lips. He released my face suddenly and stepped back, shaking his head.

We moved to the bed. In my small apartment, there wasn’t much room, but I didn’t think either of us minded. Since there was no headboard, he sat with his back against the wall, and I placed my head in his lap. He brushed his hand over my hairline.

 “I should call Grant back,” I said. His fingers stilled in my hair. I swallowed, keeping my gaze forward. When I finally glanced up, he was staring out the window. “If I don’t return his call, he’ll come over.”

“Did he treat you well?” Calvin asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “He’s the perfect boyfriend.”

“Was,” he said, and his leg muscles tensed underneath me.

“Yes, was.”

“You should call him. Now.”

My lids fell, a reaction to his touch. “I will.”

“What does this Grant do?”

“Don’t you know?”

He makes a noise between a cough and clearing his throat. “No. I kept my promise to stay away . . . even in the beginning, when I didn’t truly believe it was for the best. I only knew you had a boyfriend and the gallery and that you moved out of your old apartment. It was hard, but I stayed away.” He paused before adding, “Until I couldn’t anymore.”

“Grant is . . . smart. And sweet. He’s a psychologist.”

“Shit,” he mumbled.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “I know.”

“Does he know about me?”

I opened my eyes again and fingered his pant leg. “No.”

“So what did you tell him? And Frida?”

“I don’t want to talk about this,” I said.

“I need to know, Cataline.”

I sighed. “I told them I was just bait. Carlos Riviera thought he could lure Hero with a hostage and avenge his father’s death. I told them it worked, except that you killed them first.”

“They bought it?”

“It wasn’t that far off base. I said I was too traumatized—and drugged—to get into more detail.”

“The psychologist let you get away with that answer?”

I smiled. “Yes. Frida, not so much. She tried to get me to talk about it, but I couldn’t. We aren’t that close anymore.”

“I don’t really blame her. Maybe you
talk to someone.” He sat forward, so I rolled onto my back. He climbed over me and pecked me quickly on the lips. Before I could hold him there, he kissed the underside of my jaw and then my collarbone. His long legs hung off the bed’s edge as he made his way down and stopped at my thighs. He stared at my tiny, raised scars. “Never again. Whatever it takes to make it stop, I’ll do it.”

I attempted a smile, but it sagged. “For a while I couldn’t feel anything. I was numb, Cal. I don’t think I’ll need to cut anymore.” His fingers brush the incandescent stripes of skin. “If you stay.”

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