Sweet Temptation

Page 29

Angelina’s lips curved into a rueful smile. “In other words, I should shut up and quit whining. Do what I need to do.”

“Whining’s good. We do whining,” Julie said. “It’s sort of required when dishing about men.” She reinforced her statement by wrapping her arm around Angelina and squeezing. “You’ve got a lot on your plate, hon. Micah isn’t going anywhere. Not yet. Take it one day at a time and focus on staying safe. I don’t care what the man tells you or doesn’t tell you, he’s gaga over you. He probably doesn’t even know it, and he’ll probably want to cut out his tongue before admitting it. You just have to be the bigger person and wait for him to pull his head out of his ass.”

“Very good advice,” Serena said with a nod. “It was pretty much the same advice she and Faith gave me when I was busy fucking things up with Damon.”

Faith and Julie both laughed, and Angelina smiled at the three of them.

“You’re lucky to have such good friends in each other,” Angelina said.

“Yes, they are extremely lucky to have me,” Julie said smugly.

“Good grief,” Faith said with a roll of her eyes. “What a huge ego.”

“We’re your friends too, Angelina,” Serena said, her blue eyes somber. “You’re not alone anymore. No matter what happens with Micah, we’re your friends. Okay?”

Julie and Faith both nodded their agreement. Angelina smiled but couldn’t speak around the knot in her throat.

“How much longer are we going to be here?” Julie muttered. “I’m going insane.”

“Chad was faxing over his reports from Miami. Micah talked to him on the way here. Other then that, I don’t know anything,” Angelina said. “They’ve been at this for hours. He’s smart. He’s not making any mistakes. How can they catch him if he doesn’t make mistakes?”

Faith sat down on the other side of Angelina and put her arm around Angelina’s shoulders, sandwiching her between Faith and Julie.

“Gray said sooner or later they all fuck up. There’s no such thing as the perfect crime or the perfect criminal. Eventually they either get desperate or stupid, and either one gets him caught.”

“I hope you’re right,” Angelina said wearily. “I hate this. I hate it for all of us.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m kind of liking the twenty-four-hour bodyguard thing Nathan’s got going on,” Julie said with an appreciative grin. “He’s made it his mission to make sure my body is guarded at all times.”

Serena sighed in exasperation. “Like he needs an excuse? You two fuck like rabbits.”

“Why, Serena. I’m shocked,” Julie said in mock horror.

“The day something shocks you is the day I become a nun,” Faith muttered.

Angelina giggled and then they all broke into laughter.

The door opened and Micah stuck his head in.

“Angel, you ready to get on out of here?”

She surged to her feet and crossed the room to stand in front of him.

“What’s going on, Micah? Did you hear from Chad? What did the police here say?”

He put a finger over her lips and then tucked her hair behind her ear. “We can talk about it on the way home. It’s been a long day. Everyone is tired and frustrated.”

Her face fell. Obviously it wasn’t good news.

He put a finger under her chin, tilted her neck back and lowered his mouth to hers. His kiss was sweet and comforting, and it infused her with courage.

“We’ll get him, Angel.”

He put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed and then he looked beyond her to the others.

“You girls okay? Need anything?”

“Our husbands?” Faith said in exasperation.

Micah smiled. “Coming down the hall now, if I’m hearing right.” His gaze lingered on Serena. “You okay, doll?”

Angelina turned to see Serena smile at Micah.

“I’m fine. Really. Damon has taken the episode personally. I won’t be able to leave the house without a full security detail until this guy is caught.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Micah said seriously.

He looked back at Angelina. “Ready, baby?”


“Was Chad able to give you anything to go on?” Angelina asked as they headed upstairs after arriving back at The House.

She flipped on the lights in the bedroom and stood inside the doorway as Micah passed her.

“He faxed over all his notes from the reports you filed in Miami. He’s doing some follow-up in the department records. Seeing if there have been any other reports of stalking in the Miami area that match your guy’s MO. He’s digging back five years, so it’ll take some time. He’ll get back to me as soon as he gets the information.”

“And what about here?” she asked softly. “Are our guys coming up with anything?”

“They processed Serena for trace but didn’t come up with anything. This guy is good. Damon has beefed up security again because PD can’t afford to spare the kind of manpower necessary to monitor everyone involved.”

Micah tossed his keys onto the nightstand and pulled Angelina into his arms. He rested his chin on top of her head and sighed.

“I know this is hard on you, Angel girl, but it’ll be over soon. He’ll screw up. He’ll get impatient and then we’ll nail his ass to the wall.”

She nodded against his chest.

Micah pulled her away and grasped her shoulders, his gaze intense as he stared down at her.

“I need you to think, Angel. I know we’ve been over this, but you have to be missing something, somewhere. I want you to start from the beginning. I want a list of people you talked to even on a casual basis back in Miami. Someone had to know you were leaving. Where you were going. He found you much too quickly.”

Angelina put her hands to her eyes and rubbed tiredly. A pulse beat painfully at her temples, and an ache centered her forehead and drew her features in tight.

“I don’t know,” she said helplessly. “I know I never told anyone what my plans were. Not even Mama Rose. I secretly made my arrangements and then I left.”

Micah went rigid at the mention of Mama Rose, and in her exhaustion she had just let it slip out. Her heart sank as she saw the total shock and outrage reflected in his features.

“What the hell do you know about Mama Rose?” he asked in a soft dangerous voice.

He backed away, arms crossed over her chest, his eyes glittering with anger.

“It was you, wasn’t it?” he asked before she could respond. “Goddamn it, Angelina, it was you! You were there each time. How the hell did you even know?”

His voice cracked through the room like a shot. He stalked forward, his entire body bristling. Anger rolled off him in waves. There was such fury in his eyes.

“You had no right. No right!” he seethed.

“Micah, please,” she begged softly.

If only she could take it back. She hadn’t ever intended him to know that it had been her in that Miami club, to know that it had been her lovingly kissing his bare flesh with the whip. She’d known it then as well as now that he would never want what he perceived as a weakness to be revealed to anyone. It was private. It was him grieving. It was him baring his soul.

“Get out.”

He turned his back and his hand went to his hair in agitation. “I don’t give a damn where you go, but get the hell away from me. I’m tired of being manipulated by you.”

Every ounce of blood drained from her face. She followed him across the room and put her hand on his arm, only wanting to comfort, to apologize, to somehow make it right.

He flinched away and then rounded again. “Out.” He flung his hand toward the door to emphasize his demand.

Numb to her toes, she slowly walked out of the bedroom, grabbing her purse as she went. Next she found herself standing outside beside her car, with no memory of coming down the stairs. The cool autumn air blew across the tears on her cheeks and caused her to shiver involuntarily.

She fumbled with the door and got inside the car. For a moment she sat there, her hands on the steering wheel, her forehead resting on the backs of her hands.

Get out.

His harsh words echoed through her mind, and she winced at the anger, the loathing in his voice.

Knowing she had to get away before she completely lost her composure, she cranked the engine and drove down the winding driveway. She pulled onto the highway and accelerated until The House disappeared in her rearview mirror.

She clutched the steering wheel like a lifeline. Where could she go? The smart thing to do would be to keep driving. Lose herself in another city where hopefully the maniac wouldn’t find her. But she also knew she was in no shape to do that tonight.

She had to be smart and not make mistakes that could cost her her life. Which left the question open of where to go right now.

He was out there. Waiting. He’d gotten to Serena with surprising ease. Angelina was alone. An easy target.

Her head throbbed, and her nose felt swollen to twice its normal size thanks to the tears she was fighting. Staying alone anywhere would be suicidal and just plain stupid. Maybe she could go camp out in the police station until morning.

She shook her head. Nathan was staying at Julie’s, and she had no idea where Julie lived. Ditto for Faith and Serena. Which left Connor. She’d feel a lot better about asking him for help over one of the girls. She’d already put them in enough danger. As much as she hated the idea of going back to a place she knew the stalker had been, she didn’t have a choice.

The drive was a blank in her mind. She navigated in a daze. By the time she pulled into the apartment complex, she was wound so tight she thought she might burst. She parked beside Connor’s truck and glanced nervously around. Not seeing anyone, she took a deep breath and bolted from the car.

She ran up the walkway to Connor’s door and banged her fist on the wood. Her other hand went to the doorbell, and she punched the button repeatedly.

Jittering impatiently as she waited, she stared from side to side, looking for anyone lurking in the shadows.

The door flew open and Connor stood there in gym shorts, no shirt and no shoes, a dark scowl on his face.

“What the—” He broke off when he saw her.

He reached for her wrist and yanked her inside the apartment. He released her long enough to shut and lock the door and then he turned back to her, gripping her shoulders.

“Are you all right? What happened? Where the hell is Micah?”

Despite the firm grip her teeth had on her bottom lips, tears welled in her eyes.

Connor herded her into the living room and pushed her down onto one of the leather sofas.

“Talk to me, sweetie,” he said in a gentle voice.

Some of his calm invaded her, and she took several steadying breaths. Despite his calm, she noticed that he gripped his cell phone as if he were ready to place a call the instant she told him what was wrong.

“Nothing’s happened,” she said. “Micah is fine. He’s pissed but he’s fine.”

Connor relaxed just a bit, but his brows drew together in confusion. “Where is he? Why the hell are you out by yourself?”

She closed her eyes. “He told me to get out so I left. If I wasn’t so tired, I would have just kept on driving. It’s what I should have done.”

Connor’s mouth worked up and down, and his right eye twitched. He raised a hand to his head and ran it raggedly over his hair. Finally he found his voice, only to spit out a string of expletives.

“What the ever-loving fuck? He told you to get out when some crazed asshole is stalking you?”

Her lips turned down into a sad frown. “He had good reason.”

For a minute she thought Connor was going to explode. He was absolutely furious.

“There is no reason he should have thrown you out. I don’t care what you did to piss him off.”

“He was right,” she said in a small voice. “I’ve manipulated him at every turn, but I didn’t mean ...” She closed her eyes and bowed her head. “I never meant to hurt him.”

“Christ,” Connor muttered.

He moved beside her on the couch and pulled her into his arms.

“Do I even want to know what the hell you supposedly did that warranted him tossing you out to face some crazed lunatic on your own? Because I can’t think of any goddamn reason to justify it.”

“I can’t tell you,” she said against his chest. “He’s pissed enough that I know.”

Connor pulled her away and stared fiercely back at her. “You don’t owe him a goddamn thing. Not now.”

Connor’s cell phone rang, and he yanked his gaze to the coffee table, where he’d placed it.

He scowled. “It’s Micah.”

She pulled away and hugged herself protectively.

Connor shook his head and reached for the phone.

“What the fuck do you want?” he snarled into the phone.

Copyright © novelfull thefreeonlinenovel.com All Rights Reserved.