Chapter One: A Scream in the Night
She ran into the house, screaming as she slammed the door shut and locked it.
“Help!” She cried out.
But no one was there to help her. The house was empty, and she was alone, except for the man who had chased her down the street.
But where was he now? Hiding? Waiting for the right moment to spring on her? Was he already in the house?
She bent low and backed into a dark corner of the house. There was no way she was turning on any lights. Why had her mother gone on vacation? Better question, why hadn’t she gone with?
Aurora backed into something hard, yet soft, and knew it wasn’t the wall. She heard the man grunt as her ass press against his… Aurora tried to scream, but he leaned over her and placed his hand over her mouth. She felt his body against hers; it was hot and hard… No, please, no.
“Quiet,” he hissed into her ear.
How had he gotten in? They keep their house locked up, tight. She whimpered when his hand grabbed her hip to keep her still.
“Stop moving,” he said with a grunt.
She stopped moving and tried to look back at him. He was still leaning over her with his hand over her mouth and his face close to hers.
“Just stay still,” he whispered.
She tried to cry out again when his hand moved off her hip to his back. Did he have a gun stashed back there? Was he going to shoot her, or rape her?
She would not wait to find out. She bit down on the man’s hand as hard as she could and used her fists to punch him wherever she could reach.
He grunted as he let go of her and stared at his hand.
“Help!” She screamed as she stood.
He shook his head, then placed his hand over her mouth again.
“Don’t bite me again,” he whispered into her ear, “if you can’t stop making noises, I will have to continue to hold you still.”
“Pleous dint hurp meek.”
“What?” He asked as he removed his hand.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she cried.
“I’m not here to hurt you, Aurora.”
Aurora froze as she stared at him. “How do you know my name?”
He smiled. Or at least Aurora thinks he did. She couldn’t see his face well enough in the dark, to be sure.
“I was sent out here to help you.”
“By chasing me down the street and scaring me half to death? Then pressing your…your…” She pointed down to his crotch as her cheeks turned crimson.
“That wasn’t my intention. It was the position you were in…”
“You didn’t have to grind up against me,” she accused as she looked up into his eyes. She could just make out their color, they were a dark brown like dark chocolate…she shook her head.
“I do believe you did the grinding,” he said as he pointed at her.
She sputtered as her mouth opened and closed. The stranger was right; she had moved against him. He had placed his hand on her hip to stop her movement…
“Doesn’t mean you had to get turned on,” she said as she folded her arms over her chest.
“You can’t move against a guy like that and not expect some kind of reaction,” he said as he studied her face.
Why is she talking to him like he’s not a stalker who just broke into her house?
“If you’re not here to hurt me, then can you please leave?” She asked as she backed away from him.
“I’m not leaving you alone,” he said as he took a step towards her.
“Why are you here if not to ravage me?”
He laughed at her use of the word ravage and folded his arms over his chest.
“They sent me to protect you.”
“To protect me? By who?” She asked as her eyes opened wide.
“By your father.”
She sputtered again as she stared at him, then pulled herself together. “My father is dead.”
“Is that what she told you?” He asked as he watched her.
“Who?” She asked, confused.
She snorted. “What do you know about my mother?”
“More than you do, apparently,” he said as he moved closer to her, “but I guess that was the best way she could protect you. Keep you from searching for him.”
“Protect me? Wait, I thought you’re supposed to protect me,” she said as she eyed him.
“So, what part of chasing me down the street and sneaking into my house is protecting me?”
He sighed, “I wasn’t chasing you.”
“The hell you weren’t,” she said as she glared at him.
Boy, his eyes could burn a hole into your soul.
“I was chasing the man who was stalking you. It just so happened that when you ran, he ran, so I ran.”
“What the hell does that mean?” She asked flabbergasted.
“It means that I got here just in time,” he said as he moved to stand in front of her.
She sucked in a shocked breath when his hands grabbed her arms. “What are you protecting me from?” She breathed as she stared up at him.
“Him,” he said with a growl when the living room window burst as a man jumped through it and came rolling into the house.
Aurora screamed as she covered her head with her arms.
“Ren,” the intruder said as he stood.
“Russo,” Ren said as he watched the man.
“I didn’t know you were on the same assignment,” Russo said with a grin.
“Not quite,” Ren said as he pulled Aurora behind his back, away from the assassin.
“Oh?” Russo asked as he moved further into the dark house. “Then, why are you here?”
“To protect her from the likes of you,” Ren said with a growl.
“Huh, you think you can best me?”
Ren grinned, “give it your best shot.”
Aurora screamed when Ren shoved her against the wall behind him, out of the way. When she hit the wall she slid down to the floor and watched in the darkness as the two men fought each other.
What was going on? Why was there a man out to kill her? And who actually sent this man to protect her? It couldn’t have been her father; he had died when she was three.
Ren grunted as Russo slammed his head into his stomach.
So, he likes to play dirty, does he. Ren thought as he doubled his fist and punched the man in the face; before he could pull away. He knew he had hit him hard enough to break his nose.
“Damn,” Russo said as he pulled away from Ren.
“Had enough?” Ren asked with a grin.
“You going for the cash, for yourself?” Russo asked as he pointed to the girl.
“More like protecting her,” Ren said as he stood up straight.
“Is that so?” Russo asked with a snort. “So, you really are a dou…,” he didn’t get to finish his sentence. Ren’s fist slammed into his stomach, cutting off his air supply.
“You will not get your hands on her,” Ren whispered as he leaned over Russo’s doubled over form.
“Kill me, Ren, that won’t stop the boss, and you know it,” Russo said as he tried to catch his breath.
“Yeah, I know,” Ren said as he shoved the man away from him.
Russo fell to the floor and glared up at Ren. “Whether I get her now, or the boss gets her later, she will die.”
Ren moved so fast neither of them saw him pull the knife from his belt. “Not if I can stop it,” he said, then slid the blade across the man’s throat.
Aurora screamed as she watched the man step away from the intruder with the bloody knife still in his hand. He just stood there over the man, as he watched him die.
“You killed him!” She screamed as she tried to get away from the scene, but the damn wall was in her way.
Ren turned to her. “Are you okay?” He asked as he watched her.
“You killed him,” she said again as she buried her face in her knees.
“He was about to kill you,” he said as he moved over to her.
She peeked up at him, then cried out when she saw the bloody knife. Ren looked down at the blade, then wiped it off and placed it back into its sheath. He squatted in front of her and moved a stray hair behind her ear.
“I think we need to get out of here. There will be others.”
“Others?” She asked as she stared over his shoulder at the broken window.
Ren sighed, “come on,” he said as he helped her to her feet.
Her knees went weak, and she slumped against him.
Ren looked down into her face with a groan. She’d passed out on him.
Ren lifted her into his arms and carried her up the stairs. He kicked bedroom doors open until he found what looked to be her room and took her to the bed. He laid her down, then turned on the lamp beside the bed.
He sucked in a breath when he saw her in the light.
She was even more beautiful with the soft light touching her olive skin. Ren shook his head; they sent him here to protect her, not ogle her. Ren went to her closet and found a bag, then started loading different clothes items into it.
Ren opened the drawers to the dresser and found her undergarments. He tried not to look at them as he packed them into her bag, then went into the bathroom and packed her toiletries.
Once he packed everything she will need for their journey, Ren stopped and looked at Aurora. What do they seriously know about this woman? She’s not the baby girl Dom remembers.
And she believes he’s dead.
Taking her to her father was the plan, but was it wise? It will only bring Trev to Dom’s door again. And this time, Trevisani may kill Romano’s only daughter.
Aurora woke to the sound of an unfamiliar voice, in a strange bed. What was going on? Then the night came crashing down on her, and she remembered…everything.
The man who had chased her down the street and snuck into her house. How he had felt against her ass…she flushed as she shook her head. Then the man who had broken her window, intent on killing her.
Why was she a target for crazy ass men?
“Yes sir, I have her, she is safe.”
The man who had saved her tonight said as he paced the room. She could just make him out in the dim lighting of the room.
Ren turned to find Aurora awake and smiled at her. She looked so beautiful with that confused look on her face and those pouty lips. God, he loved pouty lips.
Ren shook his head and turned from the woman in the bed.
“Sorry, sir, what was that?”
“Bring her to me, boy,” Dom said with a hint of annoyance.
“Yes sir, we will leave in the morning.”
“Let nothing happen to her.”
Ren smiled as he turned back to find Aurora sitting up on the edge of the bed, watching him. “Roger.”
His boss laughed, then hung up.
Ren placed his phone back into his pocket and studied his charge. “Hungry?” He asked.
“Where are we?” She asked as she looked around the room.
“In a hotel, on the edge of town. We’ll stay here for tonight, then get on the road,” Ren said as he went for the phone on the nightstand to order room service.
“Why are we in a hotel? Last I remember, we were at my house.”
He smirked, “you passed out on me.”
“I…, I did not,” she said with wide eyes.
He laughed, “you did so.”
“I don’t pass out,” she said with confidence.
“Well, then tonight was your first,” he said as he lifted the phone to his ear and ordered them some food.
“Ren, right?” She asked as he set the phone back into its cradle.
He looked at her with a nod.
“How did that man know you?”
He shook his head. “Let’s just say, we move in the same circles.”
“Why did he want to kill me?” She asked, her voice so soft he almost didn’t hear her words.
“That is something for your father to tell you. I, myself, don’t understand,” Ren said as he moved towards the bathroom.
Aurora stared at his back as he entered the bathroom. Her father? Hadn’t they already gone over that?
Her father is dead.