Home > Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)(8)

Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)(8)
Author: Katie Reus

He had his own damn circus to deal with. One of his own making.

And now he had nothing holding him back. Nothing stopping him from walking across the street and seeing Lana, face-to-face for the first time in six months.

Fuck.

How did he do this?

Just walk up to the door, knock, and say “Surprise, I’m alive!” Fuuuuuck.

There was no good way to handle this and he couldn’t even use Google for tips. What would he even search—how to tell the woman you love that you’re not really dead? Couldn’t call up a friend and ask either because this was a batshit situation. One that did not happen to most people.

“Screw it,” he muttered to himself. If she punched him in the face, then at least she’d be touching him. He couldn’t stay away from her a minute longer.

He pulled into her driveway, parking behind one of the cars she’d been using. It wasn’t in her name and she’d been using a variety of vehicles she’d gotten from an as yet unknown source. Because he knew she hadn’t stolen them, just the license plates she’d put on them. She really would have been a great spy, something he’d thought about more than once. Not that he wanted that lifestyle for her.

He shelved that thought as he knocked on the front door. When she didn’t answer, he knocked again. Still no response.

He moved to one of the windows, saw through the open blinds that there was no movement in the living room. Turning, he glanced around, didn’t see anyone paying attention to him.

The street was lined on one side with the one-story ranch-style houses all facing a busy four-lane road. Shops were on the opposite side—where he’d been parked earlier. All these homes were older, most built in the sixties and seventies. The house Lana was renting was on one of the vacation rental sites. The dates were blocked out for two months, however. So he knew she’d planned to stay here for a while.

He tried knocking again, then, “Lana!”

Nothing.

He moved quickly then, picked the lock in seconds after checking for any sort of traps, and stepped inside. He knew before he’d taken a few steps that the place was empty. She’d definitely been here, but she was gone now.

His boots thudded against the wood flooring, making a slight echo as he stepped into the living room. It didn’t take long to check the two-bedroom, one-bathroom home and find it, yep, empty.

Something had spooked her, maybe even him.

Lucky for him, he knew about her other hideouts. And he wasn’t going to rest until he found her.

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

 

Teague stood in the middle of the bedroom of the fourth two-bedroom, one-bath place he’d broken into over the last three hours. He’d gone to all of the places Lana had rented under aliases.

Found nothing.

But there were some toiletries in the small bathroom. And waters in the fridge. But not much else.

He sat on the edge of the bed, going over his options even as he berated himself for letting her slip right through his fingers. He’d been so sure he’d be able to find her. But he’d gotten cocky, assumed he knew all her haunts, hideouts.

Clearly he was—

He stiffened, stood at the sound of the front door opening. Then closing with a quick slam.

The footsteps were faint and they weren’t headed to the bedroom.

Easing across the room, he couldn’t do anything about the adrenaline rush that punched through him. It was her.

Unless someone else had broken into Lana’s place, he was about to see her for the first time in six months. He’d finally made his move the night before he’d left—and spent all night in her arms and between her legs. The best night of his life.

Then his life had gone to shit and so had hers.

He’d only found out about her mom dying after he’d come out of surgery. He hated that he hadn’t been there for her. She had people in her life who absolutely loved her, but she always kept up walls and would have held everyone at a distance. He understood why—it was the way she’d been raised. Her mom had dragged her around the world, had taught her to steal at a young age. She’d never had roots, not real ones, until she’d started nursing school.

He shelved all those thoughts as he stepped into the kitchen entryway. Her back was to him, but it was her. She was already slender, fit from hard runs and climbing workouts. Tonight she had on slim-fitting jeans and a loose black sweater with big white stars on it. Her long, dark hair was down for once, hanging down her back in big waves. He’d fantasized about running his fingers through her hair more than once, about claiming her full mouth with his.

“Lana,” he murmured, not wanting to scare her, though he knew he was going to anyway.

She swiveled, threw a glass at him like a baseball, her instinct to fight kicking in.

He caught it midair and she froze, her eyes wide as her hands fell to her sides. Her fighting stance immediately eased as she stared at him.

“Teague?” she whispered. Her mouth opened ever so slightly. “Oh my God!”

And he tried not to stare, but being this close to her, drinking in her wild ocean scent, seeing that full bottom lip he’d fantasized about tugging between his teeth, was too much. Her olive-hued skin was a few shades darker than the last time he’d seen her and she looked thinner, which shouldn’t be possible. An ache spread through his chest at the sight of her.

He cleared his throat, tried to make his voice work. All he could do was stare like an untrained fool.

“What! How… Oh my God,” she breathed, stepping toward him. Tears glittered in her eyes as she stared at him, drinking him in as much as he was her. “That guy I talked to, your boss, told me you were dead!” Her tone was slightly accusing.

“He lied.” Teague understood why, of course, but it didn’t make things any easier. “It was safer if you thought I was dead.”

“Wait…you knew he lied to me? And what do you mean safer?” Her eyebrows snapped down as she stared at him, raking her dark, amber-flecked gaze over him. Searching for something, he wasn’t sure what. “What the hell happened?” she demanded, swiping away wetness on her cheeks.

Damn it. He hated that she was crying, hated that there was no way to ease into this. He swallowed hard, his throat having a difficult time working. He wanted to touch her so badly, to pull her into his arms. He’d missed her more than he’d thought possible. “I can’t tell you,” he finally rasped out. Not now. Not…maybe ever. He didn’t want her to look at him differently.

She watched him for a long moment, her breathing erratic. He could see the moment where her shock wore off to be replaced by hurt—then anger. “Did you really work security for those medical organizations?” she demanded.

God, he wanted to lie, but he couldn’t. Not when she was asking him point-blank. One of his covers, the one he’d given her, was that he worked security for international medical organizations. It was a good cover as it accounted for all his travel. And it wasn’t one an average person could check up on easily. Not that she’d ever checked up on him. She’d taken him at his word, which made this almost harder.

“No,” he forced out, his throat dry.

“I see.” Pain flickered in her eyes, deep and sharp.

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