Villain or Anti-Hero? 

When I arrive at the office of a very busy Architectural Engineer and Property Attorney, Klive King regards me with respectful indifference. He’s as handsome as the photos in the paper and appears just as deceptive as the articles have let on.

I am five minutes late. He checks his watch, then asks if I drove.

“Yes, I drove. I’m sorry for any inconvenience.”

“No inconvenience at all,” he tells me. He’s not condescending or annoyed. Surprising, considering he’s dressed in a suit that could pay my rent for the next three months. “The traffic around lunchtime is horrid. That’s why I prefer to walk, at least for lunch.”

I nod and take a seat across from him. His view of Tampa Bay is amazing!

DSoL: “Why here, Mr. King?”

King: He gestures to his panorama of the bay. “Why go anywhere else? Tampa is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. The surrounding suburbs are full of valuable properties in need of repair. They’ll sell for triple what we purchase them for.”

DSoL: “That’s not what I meant, but I think you probably knew that. It’s no secret that before you met Kinsley Hayes, you were embroiled in a drug-smuggling scandal that involved crime syndicate, Nightshade and the biker gang, Inferno. In fact, it’s been circulating that you may have been Nightshade’s ring leader for years.”

His head tilts, he smirks.

King: “Ring leader? I’m almost flattered, but how on Earth could I run a syndicate and manage this empire? I appreciate the credit, but you know I’m not allowed to discuss an on-going investigation.”

DSoL: “Have you received any backlash from the plea deal you agreed to?”

King: “[That] Depends on the community you’re referring to. Here?” He gestures around the vast office. “Nothing more than surprise, but there have been those who judge. There will always be those who judge what they cannot understand. Speculation runs rampant, and before you know it, the innocent are guilty before facts have sifted to prove otherwise. I’m fine with the process, being no stranger to speculation and rumors. Tis not my prerogative to make anyone understand.”

I can tell he means what he says. I don’t press when he avoids the portion dealing with Nightshade. I don’t want to ruin the interview, so I shift to the simple stuff.

DSoL: “Your accent is very light. Where are you from?”

King: “Born in London, descended from Black Irish on my mother’s side. My father is an American. I grew up with dual citizenship. We bounced back and forth.”

His eyes rest on a framed photo of a striking redhead. This makes for a clear and easy segue.

DSoL: “How did you meet Kinsley Hayes?”

King: “I met her in this building by coincidence.”

DsoL: “Was it love at first sight?”

King: “If you’re asking if I loved her figure in leather pants, yes,” he says with a smile. “But there’s more to our attraction than that. When I met her, I felt like I’d missed her my entire life.”

DSoL: “That’s a very deep sentiment. Your relationship was a secret for some time. Why was that?”

King: “For a time, we weren’t what you would call friends. However, a wise man once told me, you take the most pride in what you’ve had to earn. I have enormous pride in her.” He smiles brightly. “The best part is that she takes great pride in me, as well.”

DSoL: “She was involved with Jase Taylor before going public with you. Did you two have an affair?”

His face downshifts. He’s disappointed. I’ve hit a nerve.

King: “No. If we’d had an affair, would we still be friends? Honestly….”

I look at my notes and realize the weight of my next questions. I feel almost guilty for what I want to ask next.

DsoL: “Have you killed anyone, or is that all rumor?”

King: “I’ve neither been charged nor convicted of any crimes. I will say no more on the matter. I politely ask you to refrain from the subject.”

DSoL: “As you wish.” I steer the subject back to Kinsley, and the question I’ve been wanting to ask ever since I first read about this elusive bachelor finally courting someone. “You spent a long part of your life as a single man, was it because of Nightshade?”

King: “Yes.”

DsoL: “Did Kinsley know?”

King: “This interview is over. You can find everything you need in the tell-all series.”

DsoL: “Wait, Mr. King. I’m sorry.” But he presses a button on his phone. I know security is coming for me. “I can ask lighter questions. Your admirers want to know how you’re doing, what you’ve been up to, are you still doing humanitarian projects?” The questions are pouring from me, and I sound desperate. But this is the first interview he’s agreed to since the case broke the news.

King: “Humanitarian projects aside, I’m an honest man capable of evil things. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, but sometimes, to do right, you have to do wrong. Period.”

And there you have it. Mr. King allowed me to keep what you read, but legal conflicts forced me to strike several interesting items from the record. Klive and Kinsley’s tell-all scandal is featured in a series of novels entitled Don’t Close Your Eyes.

For up-to-date information concerning this series, visit www.lynessalayne.com.

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