Of all of the things in life I can say I never expected to know, the feel of the cold steel of a gun barrel pressed against my temple was one of them.
Following police procedurals I had watched on late night television, I put my hands up slowly and didn’t push back. The forced pressure from the gun was enough to keep me from even breathing, but I needed to try to keep a clear head. This wasn’t the same situation as running away from an imaginary bogeyman. Any wrong move could end with my gray matter splattered on the peeling walls.
“Move,” said a deep voice as he applied a little more pressure to prod me in the direction he wanted.
I moved forward as the pressure on my temple moved to the back of my head as he shifted positions. He made sure he kept the gun firmly trained on my head.
Walking into the living room slowly, I looked around, hoping to find anything that could be used as a weapon or as a potential barricade to hide behind. Why I was pretending I knew how to deflect a bullet was beyond me, but hope was the only thing helping to keep me upright.
The living room was still dark except for the small pool of light aimed at the floor and I stepped carefully hoping to avoid any potential falls. I somehow doubted Would-Be-Killer-#2 was going to go to any great lengths to help me if that happened. And sadly the very thought of touching this floor had a lot less appeal than the very idea of being shot.
Dark figure number two turned as we entered the room, a gun loosely gripped in his right hand. The light shifted and I realized he was holding a flashlight in his other hand. My attention had been focused solely on the gun.
Light exploded in my face as I was suddenly caught in the beam of the light. It only lasted for a few seconds before it disappeared and I was once again engulfed in darkness. Spots danced before my eyes so I blinked a couple of times to clear my vision.
“Friend of yours,” asked the slightly accented unknown voice behind me.
“Something like that,” came a familiar voice.
I almost sagged to the floor in relief.
“Kade,” I whispered hoarsely, trying to squelch down the sudden tears that sprang up.
He sighed heavily.
“You should be more careful when stalking around in the dark Princess,” he said, walking up to where I stood and standing directly in front of me.
“I’ll keep that in mind next time,” I replied with a weak smile.
He didn’t say anything, but shook his head instead while reaching behind him and tucking the gun into the waistband of his dark cargo pants.
“Do you think you could call him off?” I asked nervously, carefully gesturing behind me.
And here it was...the moment of truth. Depending on what Kade did next, I would know if he was a friend or foe, and I prayed that I wasn’t wrong in my assumption that he was a friend. (Truthfully I would opt for friends with many benefits, but that was beside the point right now.) I would either walk away from this unscathed, though embarrassed once again, or Sam would find me buried out back in a haphazardly dug grave.
He was quiet for a moment, which was way too long in my opinion. My heart was racing and I was sure it was about to beat its way out of my chest. Could I have been wrong about him this entire time? Could I really have misread the signs?
My eyes had started to adjust to the dark again, and I watched as Kade gave a small nod to the mystery gunman behind me. The pressure on the back of my head was suddenly relieved and I almost melted to the floor in a puddle of tears, then thought better of it and locked my knees to keep myself upright.
“You were right,” said the voice behind me. “She does have an impressive track record of getting into trouble.”
My back was suddenly cold with his absence as Would-Be-Killer-#2 walked around me and stood next to Kade.
Though it was dark, my eyes had adjusted enough that I was able to use the little light from outside and the soft beam of the flashlight to make out Would-Be-Killer-#2’s features.
He was tall, like Kade, but roughly an inch or two shorter. He was also lean, fit, and intimidating as hell. Where Kade has this dangerous sex appeal that caused me to lose my senses, this guy was just dangerous. Don’t get me wrong. He was cute, but I think the whole gun-to-the-head episode had pretty much killed any physical attraction I was likely to have, though Sam would undoubtedly be all over him when she saw him.
He was pale skinned with a shaved head and dark goatee. His eyes were dark and piercing and based on the way they were currently raking up and down my body, didn’t miss a thing. Dark ink covered the side of his neck. I was willing to bet it wasn’t the only ink he sported. Unlike Kade, there were no visible scars that I could see, but I was also willing to bet he had those hidden as well.
Sadly both Would-Be-Killer-#2 and Kade both looked questionably comfortable with their guns. I was grateful that Kade had put his away. I already found him extremely intimidating as it was. The added gun had almost (quite literally) scared the piss out of me.
I was nervous, scared, wet and on the verge of peeing my pants from the various creep factors running rampant around me. So what do I do in this particular situation? Something only strict etiquette training could illicit in such a poor situation.
“I’m Addison,” I said to Would-Be-Killer-#2, stretching out my hand towards him.
His brows rose in surprise and he bit back a smile. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to hide the fact his eyes were laughing at me, but if that’s the worse I was going to get, I would take it.
“Ghost,” he replied, firmly shaking my hand (read: almost breaking every bone possible).
“Nice to meet you,” I said, taking back my hand and shaking it out behind my back.
My subtle little move didn’t go unnoticed and he snorted in laughter.
“Got yourself a lively one Kade,” he said, slapping Kade on the shoulder as he walked back toward the foyer.
Kade, who had remained silent and still during this exchange, locked eyes with me and I could see his patience wasn’t winning. Danger and frustration were boiling behind those dark eyes, and I really hoped I wasn’t within a twenty mile radius when he eventually blew.
“Where’s Sam?” he asked quietly.
I blinked at him in rapid succession as my brain tried to process his question.
How in the hell…
“Sam?” I asked, as if I didn’t have a clue who he was referring to.
He jaw clenched and I could tell that at this particular moment, he wasn’t finding me so amusing.
“Outside,” I answered truthfully.
He gave a single nod.
“I’m assuming you filled her in on everything?” he asked.
I nodded slowly.
“You told her everything,” he clarified.
I nodded again.
“And she still let you come here. That’s surprising.”
“I am capable of making my own decisions,” I responded defensively.
“You are,” he agreed, “but I think we can all agree it doesn’t exactly work out well when you do.”
“So what exactly was your plan?” he asked, crossing his muscular arms over his broad, chiseled chest. (I always pick the worst times to notice things like that.)
I bit my lip and looked away.
“You did have a plan, right?” he asked, crossing his arms and rocking back on his heels.
He didn’t mask the amusement in his voice.
I hated when he laughed at me.
“Of course,” I retorted.
His left brow arched.
“So what was it?” he asked in a low seductive voice as he took a step closer. “What was she going to do to help you if you came in here and found out that you couldn’t trust me? Was she supposed to leave you here and run to the police? Or was she supposed to rush in here and save you from me?” He shook his head. “Hate to point out the obvious Princess, but if I wanted to harm you, there would be nothing either of you could do to stop me.”
I bit my lip and tried to keep from swallowing my tongue.
We were only inches apart and one deep breath would have my breasts brushing against his arm. Surprise, surprise that was the focus of my attention and not ominous threat #2.
“What makes you think I didn’t trust you?” I asked breathlessly.
The corner of his mouth turned up in a smirk.
“You ran, didn’t you? Not exactly the act of someone who trusts me.”
I looked away quickly, certain the guilt was written all over my face.
“Friendly word of advice Princess. The next time you want to run from me, try to run somewhere I can’t find you.”
I looked back at him suddenly, startled by his comment.
“You knew where I was?”
This time he gave me the full blown smile and I will sadly admit I swooned a little bit.
“I knew the second you ran.”
“Why didn’t you come after me then?”
He stood up straighter, towering over me with his full height.
“Why didn’t I come after you,” he repeated, taking a step forward.
The sudden move had been unexpected so I reactively retreated back a step, leaving a space between us. Kade continued to advance and not knowing what to do, I did the natural thing and retreated back a step to each step forward he took, keeping those precious few inches between us.
It wasn’t until my back slammed into the wall that I realized belatedly that I was trapped.
“That’s why I didn’t come after you,” he said quietly, taking a big step back so that there was a good two or three feet of space between us.
“I hate to break up this sexually tense moment, but we have other issues to worry about,” Ghost said, suddenly appearing beside me.
I jumped a mile in my skin and had bit back the scream that was on the tip of my tongue.
Kade turned to him, dismissing my presence. The switch had been so instantaneous and so cold that I shrank into the shadows against the wall.
“Did you call JT?” he asked in an authoritative tone.
“Not good,” he replied. “Said he’s been off the grid for the past two weeks. Now we know why.”
Kade nodded, his eyes cutting to me suddenly.
“Go back to Sam and get out here,” he said, dismissing me as he turned back to the center of the room.
Hold the phone! I did not just go through all of this for him to dismiss me so easily. Sure, I may have overreacted just the teensiest bit, but I came back. And okay, sure maybe I didn’t exactly apologize for the fact that I freaked out and ran after he saved my life. And yes, I had crashed his little party after eavesdropping on his call, but all of that could be easily forgiven, right?
“Hey,” I said, rushing forwarding and grabbing his arm.
He turned back to me, looking down at his arm where I currently had it held in a death grip.
“I need your help,” I pleaded.
I was on the verge of tears at the idea of having to deal with all of this on my own.
“You need to get out of here,” he repeated.
The tears started to fall.
“Please,” I begged.
He sighed heavily then looked over to Ghost who stood in the doorway.
“Has the place been swept?” Kade asked over my head.
“No,” he replied. “Got here a minute before you did when I discovered it.”
Kade nodded. “Sweep upstairs. Check every corner carefully.”
“Ten-four,” Ghost replied, turning on his heel and disappearing into the dark.
“Kade, listen,” I began. “I’m sorry. I freaked out. I didn’t know what to do or who to trust. I was a coward and I ran. I’m sorry.”
Kade watched me ramble on with a blank expression. The same blank expression I was coming to hate because I could never tell what he was thinking and not knowing what he was thinking was killing me at this moment.
“Look, I know all of this is insane and it doesn’t make sense…,” I began, rambling once more.
Kade must have heard enough because suddenly I was jerked forward.
I slammed into his chest, momentarily stunned by the sudden movement and speechless because I was really, really, really enjoying the close proximity.
“Shut up,” he said, grabbing the back of my head and crushing his mouth down on mine.
That’s all I can say to describe the sensation of feeling his lips on mine.
He teased my lips with his tongue and I opened for him, taking the kiss deeper. It was hungry and desperate and the best thing I had ever experienced in my life. I never wanted this moment to end.
His arm was suddenly around my waist, pulling me closer. Our bodies were firmly pressed together with no space in between and I was becoming overwhelming hot the longer this went on. I wanted nothing more than to remove a few layers of clothing in order to cool down, but my stupid brain had to remind me I was currently standing in the middle of the Amityville house.
And just as fast as it started, it ended.
My eyes had glazed over and I was pretty sure that the only reason I was still upright was because of the firm grasp Kade had around my waist.
“What was that for?” I asked in a daze.
He smiled. “Seemed like the best way to shut you up.”
I should have been bothered by that little comment, but for the first time I think I was seeing a new side to Kade and I had to admit, I liked it.
“You should use it more often,” I replied with a smile.
Holy shit! Did I just say that out loud?!
He gave a small laugh as he shook his head and released me.
“It doesn’t change the fact you still need to go,” he said, watching me carefully.
Talk about a cold shower.
“I need your help,” I repeated.
“I know, and I’m not saying I won’t help you. But right now, I need you to get out of here.” He paused. “Trust me.”
I was torn and confused. I didn’t know what the hell would happen to me out there without his help, but at the same time I wasn’t overly ecstatic to be hanging out at Freddy Krueger’s weekend getaway.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “If you’re willing to help me, then I would think my safest and best option would be to stay with you. Even if it requires me to hide out in the most creeptastic place on earth.”
“Now is not the time to decide you want to stick around,” he said firmly, turning back toward the center of the room.
“What the hell is so important that you’re practically pushing me out the door?” I asked, stalking in front of him.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking or where my sudden false bravado came from. Maybe the fireworks explosion had melted my brain and my common sense along with it, but suddenly the very idea of going back to Sam and away from here, despite the enormous amount of appeal it had, wasn’t on the list of things I was wanted to do at that moment.
“Kade please,” I said, stepping in front of him.
“Are you always this much of a pain in the ass or is this something you’ve reserved special for me?” he asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“I’m not leaving,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest. “And nothing you can say or do is going to convince me otherwise.”
I turned on my heel and began to walk forward. The foyer was creepy and now the mystery man known as Ghost was lurking in the dark. Staying in a dark room with a big guy and a loaded weapon was the smart move to make.
Too bad I was actually wrong about that.
I had made it two steps before I tripped. I flung my arms out to catch myself, but the very thought of touching anything in this place was almost worth the risk of the face plant.
Surprisingly I hit a pile on the floor and was saved from the thousand and ten things probably growing or running across the floor.
Unfortunately for me, the floor was suddenly the better option. Especially when you considered the fact that I was now nose to nose with a dead body on the floor. Literally.