Dark Hunger


Page 12



“It’s in the storage building, the one a block over from the complex. Gray has the key, and he should be home. Well how would I know if he’d help you move? Call him. You’re interrupting something important here, brother dear. Uh huh, okay whatever. I’ll talk to you later and don’t think I won’t want every little detail.”

She closed the phone and eyed Serena and Julie with a peculiar glint in her eye. “Well that was interesting.”

“Do tell. We’re dying of curiosity over here,” Julie drawled.

“He wanted to know if he could have some of my old furniture that’s in storage. Apparently he’s moving someone into my old apartment. He broke off and was talking to her for a minute, and he called her sweetie.”

Julie’s mouth dropped. “Sweetie? Mr. Gruff called a chick sweetie? I mean he’s usually so straitlaced.”

“Oh, he is not,” Faith huffed. “He can be serious, yes, but he jokes around with the guys with the best of them, and you try being his sister.”

“Maybe he’s seeing someone?” Serena offered. “I mean he’s a good-looking guy. Drool-worthy. It shouldn’t be a shock to hear him with a woman.”

Faith shrugged. “No, but you have to understand. Connor keeps his distance. He’s a strictly casual guy, and suddenly he’s moving her into my apartment and getting her furniture and stuff.”

“Wonder who she is,” Julie murmured.

“I think he called her Angelina. Well, when he wasn’t calling her sweetie,” Faith said with a laugh.

Serena’s mouth went slack. She was pretty sure she looked like a guppy gasping for air.

“What?” Julie demanded before Serena could regain her composure.

“Shit,” Serena whispered. “I don’t believe in coincidences that huge. Micah’s woman’s name is Angelina.”

“Whoa, back up. Micah has what?” Faith asked.

Serena sighed. “Hell. I’m not supposed to be sharing any of this crap with you guys. It’s deeply personal to Micah.”

Julie sniffed. “Does anyone else find it ironic that the only one here who hasn’t slept with Micah is the one with the personal information?”

Faith rolled her eyes but laughed. “We’re not letting you out of here until you tell us everything, Serena. It’s not like we’re going to run out and tell the world.”

With a resigned shrug, Serena related the morning’s conversation between Damon and Micah. By the time she’d finished, Faith’s eyes were round with shock.

“Wow, I had no idea,” Faith whispered. “Married. I can’t even get my head around it.”

“Okay, so what’s this chick doing with Connor if she’s with Micah?” Julie asked with a scowl.

“From what I gathered there isn’t a relationship between Micah and Angelina, though it seems Angelina wants one,” Serena said.

“Again, so what the hell is she doing with Connor?” Julie persisted.

“Maybe he’s just helping her,” Faith pointed out. “It certainly sounds like she could use it.”

“And calling her sweetie all the while, huh?” Julie said snidely.

“Sheathe the claws, girlfriend,” Serena admonished Julie. “Micah is a big boy. I sincerely doubt Angelina is doing him any harm, and like Faith said, I’d say she needs the help and friendship. I gathered from Micah’s conversation that he pretty much walked out and never looked back. That had to be hard for her.”

A calculating light glinted in Julie’s eyes. “Then maybe we should drop in and see if there’s anything we can do.”

CHAPTER 13

“Okay, sweetie, all done for now.”

Angelina stared in disbelief at the now furnished apartment. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend that it was hers. She had a bed, furniture, dishes even.

Tears gathered in her eyes, and she hastily blinked them away. “I don’t know how to thank you,” she said huskily.

Connor smiled. “You’ll thank me by not crying.”

“It’s generally known men are worthless human beings around female tears,” Gray said from across the room.

Angelina laughed. An ache bloomed in her chest until it threatened to crush her. Was it any wonder Micah hadn’t come back to Miami? He had a life here. Wonderful friends.

“Hey, why the sad look all of a sudden?” Connor asked.

She glanced up and grimaced. “Just thinking.”

“About?”

“That I could understand why Micah never went back to Miami,” she said softly. “He has a good life here. Wonderful friends.”

“You have us now too,” Connor said.

She looked at him in disbelief. “Just like that?”

Gray moved closer and threw one arm over her shoulders. “Not so long ago, I was the outsider here. This is a great group of people. I wouldn’t trade them for anything even when they’re royal pains in my ass, and believe me, they are.”

Connor flipped Gray off. “The only reason I tolerate you is because you took a bullet for my sister.”

Angelina’s eyes widened, and Gray just shook his head.

“So you like it?” Connor asked.

“Like it? I love it! It’s more than I dared hope for. I was just wanting something that was mine. It didn’t have to be big or gorgeous.”

“Well, it’s yours for as long as you want it,” Connor said with an easy grin. “I should warn you now that Pop will probably happen by. I’ve told him all about you of course, but he’s like a mother hen with his chicks. He’ll want to come by and cluck over you.”

“Just don’t mind his bluster,” Gray warned. “He’s all gravelly and full of shit, but underneath he’s a complete and utter pussycat.”


“He sounds wonderful,” Angelina said with a sigh. “You’re lucky to have such a great dad,” she told Connor.

“Your dad not alive?” Connor asked.

“No. He died when I was young. David always took care of me.”

Connor exchanged quick glances with Gray, and she hastened to change the subject.

“Hey, you guys should probably get on out of here. Your wives will be wondering where you are.”

Connor scowled. “I’m not married.”

“No, but I am, and she’s right. Faith will be wondering where I am,” Gray said.

“Thank you again so much,” Angelina said feelingly. Impulsively she reached out and hugged Gray. “Micah is lucky to have all of you.”

Gray squeezed back and ruffled her hair affectionately as he pulled away. “As Connor keeps trying to tell you, you have us now too, like it or not. Just let me know if there’s something you need, okay?”

She smiled and nodded.

“Someone want to tell me what the fuck is going on?”

Everyone turned to see Micah glowering in the door, his gaze fixed on Angelina.

“Hey, man, chill,” Gray said in an easy tone as he started toward the door. “We’re just helping Angelina get moved in.”

“I see.” His gaze never left Angelina, and she felt her skin peel back under the force of his scrutiny. “And when were you going to tell me you were moving?”

She sighed. “I need to go over to your place to get my bag if that’s okay. We can talk on the way.”

“You want me to stick around?” Connor asked with a cautious glance in Micah’s direction.

Startled, she shook her head. Whatever Micah’s dark mood, he certainly wouldn’t hurt her. Maybe peel an inch or two of her skin off, but that would be it.

“Beat it,” Micah growled in Connor’s direction.

Connor stiffened and walked casually over to where Micah stood. “You know I’ve about had all I can take of your surly-ass attitude,” he said softly. “Whatever your problem is, don’t take it out on us and sure as hell don’t take it out on Angelina.”

Micah closed his eyes for a moment then looked back at Connor. “I’ll talk to you later, okay, man? Just ... just let me speak to Angelina.”

Connor glanced back again at Angelina and she nodded, encouraging him to go.

“Thank you,” she said quietly.

“I’ll swing by to check on you tomorrow,” Connor promised as he and Gray headed for the door.

As soon as the door closed, Micah closed the distance between them, his eyes so serious. He reached out to frame her shoulders, his fingers shaking a bit against her skin.

“Angel, what’s going on?”

She swallowed and prayed not to lose her composure. She had to handle this just right.

“This apartment sort of fell into my lap. It seemed perfect. I know you don’t want me at your place, and there is no way I could afford this without Connor’s help. I couldn’t pass it up. He and Gray gave me some of Gray’s wife’s old stuff and voilà, here I am in my own place.”

“What kind of help is Connor giving you?” Micah asked darkly. “How the hell did you get hooked up with him or Gray? And why the hell didn’t you come to me about moving? I would have helped you, Angel. If you need money or furniture, whatever it is, you can come to me.”

She shifted uncomfortably. “I didn’t plan this. Connor, Nathan and Gray ate lunch in the café where I work today. I asked them if they knew of any places I could rent. Connor said I could have this place. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. He and Gray offered to move Faith’s stuff here. No reason I shouldn’t go ahead and move in.”

She lifted her chin and stared him directly in the eyes. “It’s better this way. You won’t be tripping over me, and you can go back to doing what you do best. Avoiding me and your past.”

He sucked in his breath, quick pain flashing across his face.

“I can’t seem to do anything but hurt you, Angel girl.”

She reached out and touched his cheek. “It’s my fault. I barged into your life. I was wrong to expect things to be different. I assumed ... after three years ... I guess I thought you might have put it all behind you now.”

His Adam’s apple worked up and down. “I won’t leave you this time. If you need me, if you ever need anything, promise you’ll come to me immediately.”

She nodded.

He pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly against his chest. For a long moment they stood there, her cheek resting against his shoulder.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” he finally asked. “You’re welcome to stay with me for as long as you need.”

She extricated herself from his grasp and smiled faintly. “I think you and I both know it wouldn’t work for me to stay with you. I can’t resist you, Micah, any more than you seem to not be able to resist me. Only I don’t want to resist you, and you want anything but to give in to the attraction between us. Until that changes, I don’t see that we can possibly live in the same apartment.”

His eyes were haunted, so dark and emotion-filled. “I can’t give you what you want, Angel girl. What you need.”

“How do you know what I want?” she challenged. “You’ve never asked.”

He shook his head and turned away, the wall slowly sliding back into place between them. “Let’s go over to my place and I’ll help you get the rest of your things to bring here, unless you’d rather stay the night over at my place, until you get more settled in.”

“No. I’ll stay here. No sense putting it off.”

“I’m sorry,” he said in a quiet, almost dead voice.

“Don’t be,” she said with forced cheerfulness. “I’ll survive. I’ve done it before.”

He cursed softly and started toward the door, leaving her to follow behind.

CHAPTER 14

Angelina surveyed her handiwork and flopped on the sofa with a tired sigh. Her days in her apartment had been quiet but satisfying. She’d gone shopping at a local thrift shop for some of the essentials like linens for the bed and towels and washcloths. Then she’d hit a few garage sales, and though the pickings were slim due to the lateness of the hour, she’d found a few items and returned to arrange everything.

Now to figure out what to have for dinner in her new home now that she had groceries. As celebratory meals went, it would be lean. She had a choice between canned soup or a sandwich. No reason not to splurge and have both.

With a gleeful smile, she got up and headed into the kitchen. No sooner had she dragged out the sandwich fixings than her doorbell rang. Frowning, she went to the door, rising on tiptoe to see out the peephole. There were only a handful of people it could possibly be, and yet when she got a good look, it was none of them.

Three women stood outside. Three really beautiful women. Maybe they were Avon ladies? They looked harmless enough, though David and Micah had drummed into her head that criminals didn’t have a neon sign on their foreheads advertising the fact. Some of the most heinous were in fact very normal, everyday-looking people.

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