Sweet Temptation

Page 16

“We were worried about you, sweetie,” Connor said as he leaned down to brush a strand of hair from her brow.

Micah tensed at the display of tenderness from his friend.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Gray asked. “We’ve notified the police, but there’s little they can do until they’ve spoken to you. They’ll question people from the club. Maybe someone saw whoever drugged your drink. Did you leave it or look away at any time?”

She shook her head adamantly, struggling to sit up in bed. Micah caught her shoulders and helped her into a sitting position. He maneuvered his way onto the bed beside her when she wavered. He slipped an arm around her to support her, and she leaned willingly into his side.

“No, I’d never do that. David and Micah told me constantly to never accept a drink from anyone no matter what. Order my own. Never leave it and come back to it. Never get distracted and look away. I never let it out of my sight,” she said fiercely. “I drank it then went to the bathroom. I started feeling sick immediately and knew I had to get back to Nathan and Julie. I stuck to the crowd just like David always said. I was afraid whoever had drugged me was out there waiting for his opportunity.”

Micah’s grip tightened around her shoulders, and he swore under his breath. What if she hadn’t been with Nathan and Julie? If she’d been alone, she would have been helpless and she could have been raped or killed, maybe both.

“Smart girl,” Damon murmured. “You saved yourself with your quick thinking.”

“Damn right she did,” Micah growled. He picked up her hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. “You did good, Angel girl. David would be proud.”

Tears filled her eyes as she looked up at him.

“Shit,” Gray muttered. “That means that either the waitress drugged her or she allowed someone else to.”

“Or someone at the bar distracted her while she was setting up her drinks and slipped the drug in while she wasn’t looking,” Nathan said.

“How the hell would anyone but the waitress have known which drink was hers? Unless it was random? Which makes no sense to me,” Connor said.

“That’s a good question,” Micah murmured.

“I just ordered club soda,” Angelina said helplessly. “I never drink alcohol.”

The men all frowned, and Damon, who’d remained fairly quiet through it all, said, “Maybe it was a practical joke aimed at a potential designated driver?”

“But why?” Faith burst out. “None of this makes any sense.”

“There are predators of all kinds out there, baby,” Gray said. “That’s why we want you girls to be more careful.”

Angelina’s fingers trembled in Micah’s grasp. He tightened his grip on her hand and squeezed reassuringly.

“You’re safe now, Angel girl. Do you understand me? I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

She tilted her chin so she could look at him. Her gaze skirted across his face as if she was judging his sincerity. He couldn’t blame her for doubting him. But he wouldn’t give her the chance to doubt him again.

A knock sounded at the door, and a police officer stuck his head in the door. “Ms. Moyano? My name is Officer Daniels. Do you feel up to answering a few questions?”


When Angelina awoke, sunlight streamed through the slats of the blinds on her window. Still sluggish, she turned to look at the clock. Ten A.M.

She closed her eyes again and turned her head to burrow back into the pillow. At least she was home in her own bed, even if it had only been hers for a short time. Still, it beat the ER.

She’d been adamant about staying in her own place after she’d been released from the hospital. To her surprise, Micah had insisted on spending the night on her couch. When she’d told him there was no need, he’d scowled and then continued on as if he hadn’t heard her.

He’d tucked her in with an admonishment to holler if she needed anything, and then he’d disappeared from her bedroom. And she’d slept, dreaming of being in his bed, in his arms.

The police had questioned her and had promised to do what they could, but she’d seen the looks that passed between Officer Daniels and the others. It would be nearly impossible to find out what had happened unless the waitress could provide information.

She swallowed, wincing at the discomfort. Her mouth was dry like she’d eaten cotton, and thirst drove her to get out of bed.

She traveled through the living room, curious as to whether Micah was still there. A needle of disappointment pricked her when she didn’t see him. When she got to the kitchen, she filled a glass with tap water and drained it in several gulps. As she set it back down on the counter, she noticed the piece of paper lying several inches away.


Gone back to my apartment, but I’ll be back in a little while to check on you. I’ll bring you something to eat.


Warmth crept up her body, and she smiled at the knowledge that he’d be returning.

She leaned against the counter and folded her arms over her chest when a chill raised goose bumps on her skin. Friday night hovered around her in bits and pieces. She remembered nothing of the time between her leaving the bathroom and waking into the emergency room.

Though she’d been assured that nothing had happened to her, a thread of panic still lingered on the periphery of her mind.

She swallowed back the knot of fear. It was a fluke. An act of random maliciousness. She’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and some sick fuck had thought she’d be an easy conquest.

She felt a grim satisfaction at having thwarted whoever the hell it was.

Lead still traveled sluggishly in her veins, and it took effort to stay upright. A day in bed sounded like heaven. She wanted to lie down and wait for Micah to come back.

She walked out of the kitchen and glanced down the foyer to the front door. She saw another piece of paper on the floor and stopped in her tracks.

Someone had slipped a note under her door.

Probably Micah.

A little hesitantly, she went over to pick it up. Maybe something had come up and he wasn’t coming back after all. She opened the note to scan the contents and froze.

Nausea welled in her stomach and exploded into her throat. She swayed on suddenly weak legs.

Oh God.

Next time you won’t escape me.

The note drifted to the floor, and she clutched her stomach in an effort to prevent the overwhelming urge to vomit.

He was here. In Houston. How had he found her? Why had he found her?

An anguished moan escaped her stiff lips. She wanted to scream. Panic assaulted her and she rushed to the door, checking the locks. She fastened the chain and leaned heavily against the door as if she could keep the world out.

Oh God. What was she going to do?

It was the same handwriting. She knew it well. The creep had been sending her letters for a year.

He’d drugged her. He’d followed her to the club, and he’d drugged her, planning to take her then. That he’d been so close to her, that he knew where she lived ... Fear paralyzed her.

She stared down at the note that she’d touched. Stupid. It was evidence and she’d put her fingerprints all over it. But how was she to have known that he’d followed her here? How could he have known where she went?

Micah. She had to get to Micah. But she didn’t want to leave her apartment. He had been here. Right outside her door. He could be there now, waiting and watching.

Now she damned her decision to wait to get a phone until she’d saved enough money for the deposit. She had no way to reach out to anyone without leaving the apartment.

Wait. She could just wait. Micah said he’d be back. But what if he was too late?

Forcing herself to move, she stumbled into the kitchen and got a large plastic bag. Using a pair of tongs, she carefully picked up the note and slid it inside the plastic.

She had to get to Micah’s apartment. It was just a simple walk down the sidewalk. The next building over. Thirty seconds tops.

A weapon. She’d be stupid to step outside her door without a weapon.

She yanked open the drawer where the knives were kept and selected the biggest and sharpest one she could find.

Feeling marginally better about her chances of making it past a possible assailant, she collected the bag, shoved it inside her shirt and walked back to the door.

Rising up on tiptoe, she looked out the peephole, but all she saw was dimmed sunlight and a fuzzy view of the parking lot.

Her heart pounding like a jackhammer, she removed the chain and unbolted the lock. She opened the door a crack and peered out, blinking at the sudden wash of sunshine.

She took a deep breath, gathering her courage around her. With a mental count to three, she bolted out of the apartment, her bare feet hitting the warm cement of the walkway that would take her to Micah’s building.

Micah checked his watch again and tried to control the frustration simmering through his veins. He was impatient to get back to Angelina—he didn’t want her to wake up alone in her apartment—but when Gray had called wanting to come over to discuss Angelina’s drugging, Micah hadn’t wanted to chance Angelina overhearing and it upsetting her again. So he’d gone back to his apartment to wait. Only Gray hadn’t shown up alone. Connor had come with him, and despite the fact that he considered Connor one of his best friends, right now he just wanted Connor removed from the situation with Angelina.

“You and I both know I have a healthy respect for the department. Hell, half of them are your friends, and they went to the wall for Faith when Samuels kidnapped her. But I also know how overworked and underpaid and understaffed they are, and there’s no way they’re going to give what happened to Angelina any more manpower. They’ll question the waitress, and unless she comes up big for them, they’ll move on to more demanding investigations.”

Micah gritted his teeth at Gray’s cold logic. Micah had been there, as had Gray. They both knew how it worked, but it didn’t mean he liked it. He wanted to find the son of a bitch who’d done this to Angelina and nail him to the wall.

“Connor and I are going to poke around and see if we can come up with anything. The club has security cameras. Maybe they got something. PD won’t have time to sift through all that garbage, but we do.”

Micah turned to Connor, only to see the same grim determination on his face. Before he could think better of it, he said, “What’s the deal with you and Angelina?”

Connor blinked in surprise and then his eyes went cold. When he didn’t respond, Micah just got more pissed.

“Answer me. What’s with all the sweetie bullshit, and why do you care so goddamn much what happens to her?”

Connor surveyed him calmly, but his eyes glittered with anger. “Maybe because you don’t.”

“That’s bullshit!” Micah roared. “She’s David’s sister. Of course I care what happens to her.”

“Take it easy,” Gray murmured as he glanced warily between Micah and Connor.

“You know, I don’t even know the man, but I’m really sick of hearing about David,” Connor said bluntly. “He’s dead. Angelina’s not. She’s her own person. Not just David’s sister. Her worth isn’t measured by her relationship to your best friend. You’ve done her a great disservice, and you keep on doing it every time you try to bind her identity to David’s.”

Through the haze of anger surrounding Micah like a storm cloud came the knowledge that Connor was exactly right, and it pissed him off the more that Connor had seen it so clearly, and that he thought to protect Angelina from him.

“Son of a bitch, I hate it when you’re right, goddamn it,” Micah muttered. “You’re such a smug bastard sometimes.”

Connor relaxed, and some of the tightness eased from around his eyes and lips.

“Christ but she has me in knots,” Micah said honestly. “I say I don’t know what she wants from me, but the fact is, I think I do, and that scares the shit out of me. I’m not ready—”

He broke off, embarrassed by the flood of emotion straining to break free.

Connor shoved his hands in his pockets and seemed to take pity on Micah’s floundering.

“Look man, she reminds me ... she reminds me of Faith.”

Gray jerked his gaze to Connor. “What do you mean by that?”

“When Pop and I went to get Faith, after the last time her mom ended up in the hospital with an overdose. Faith was such a mess. She looked so young and vulnerable. We just wanted to protect her. Angelina reminds me so much of her. She seems ... lost. And look, I’m not trying to tighten the screws or anything, but you’ve been a dick to her. She needs help. She needs people to care about her. Just like Faith did.”

“Right or not, you’re pissing me the fuck off,” Micah snarled.

Connor’s lips twisted in amusement. “She’s gorgeous, Micah. Extremely hot, and I’d have to be missing my balls not to at least have a few hot fantasies when I look at her. But she’s yours whether you acknowledge that or not, and I’ve never poached on a friend’s territory. I don’t aim to start now.”

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