Home > Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)(9)

Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)(9)
Author: Katie Reus

“No, you don’t.”

Her wall fell quickly back into place, expression set. To hide the pain he’d caused her. “Get out now.” Her tone was flat.

“No.”

Her eyebrow raised and she took a step forward. Then her jaw clenched in that way when she was fighting her temper. “No?”

“I’m not leaving until you hear me out.”

She took a deep breath, turned away from him and scooped up her bag of food. “Fine, I’ll leave.”

Oh hell no.

He moved fast, using his body to cage her in against the countertop. She glared up at him, the flecks of amber bright in her brown eyes. “You planning on kidnapping me?”

“If that’s what it takes,” he growled, finally finding his voice. Now that he was in the same room with her, he couldn’t walk away, couldn’t let her go. He loved her, even if he’d never told her, never said the words out loud. She was his.

She set the food down on the countertop and pushed at his chest. “You’re crowding me.”

“Good.”

She sucked in a breath. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I never should have walked away from you before telling you how I felt.” He’d let her keep walls between them, had let her place him in this “friends only” category right up until the night before he’d left for his last mission. Then things had shifted in one heated night.

His job was demanding, had kept him away months at a time, and she’d been in nursing school. It had been easier to let those barriers remain in place while they’d been so busy. But it had finally hit a point where he couldn’t hold back anymore, had lost control. There had been no promises, not explicitly anyway. But he’d never had a doubt that they belonged together. After having a taste of her, knowing exactly how she sounded when she came, what she looked like… Hell, she owned him, simple as that.

She stared up at him in confusion, but when he made a move to kiss her, she covered his mouth with her palm. “No way! Do not think you are kissing me after letting me think you died! I mourned you, was still grieving until right now! Now I’m just pissed!”

He’d never heard her yell, never seen her angry. It shouldn’t have gotten him turned-on. Jesus, he was fucked-up but this was weirdly hot. “Lana—”

“No, do not say my name.” She shoved at him and he stepped back, even though he didn’t want to. “You let me think you were dead!” Her voice cracked.

He looked away for a moment, unable to watch as she wiped away tears. “I know you’re angry, and you have a right to be, but you need to listen. I know you’re going after Cashe.”

She froze at his words, going almost preternaturally still. “Why would you say that?”

“Because his head of security hired one of my covers to investigate the woman who broke into his house, stole his laptop and other things.” He weaved in details so she’d know he was telling the truth about last night.

She let out a slow breath and he could practically see the wheels in her head turning. Finally, she said, “Covers? Are you a spy or…whatever?”

He didn’t respond one way or another. He’d dropped the word into the conversation intentionally. But he wouldn’t flat-out tell her. He couldn’t.

She glared when he just stood there, but then clearly made up her mind about staying or running when she started unpacking what turned out to be Italian food. “I hope you ate already because I’m not sharing.” Then she sniffed in a way he could only describe as haughty.

Yep, he was fucked-up because that was hot too. God, he loved this woman. Loved everything about her. As regret punched through him for all the things he’d left unsaid, he went to her cupboard, found what he needed to make coffee, and started filling up the carafe.

She snorted even as she plated her food. “You’re the only weirdo I know who drinks coffee at night then still sleeps like a baby. So…are you bringing me in to Cashe?”

He turned to stare at her. “You’re seriously asking me that?”

She lifted a shoulder. “I clearly don’t know you. For all I know, you could be luring me into a false sense of security before you stuff me in a trunk and drop me at his doorstep with a bow on me.”

She couldn’t really believe that. Or he hoped she didn’t.

Something snapped inside him. As the coffee maker started percolating, he stalked over to her, leaned down so they were practically nose to nose and, despite himself, deeply inhaled. He couldn’t get enough of her wild ocean scent. “You know me better than anyone ever has, and I would cut off my own arm before I hurt you. I’ll kill anyone who comes after you. I’m here to keep you safe.”

Her pupils dilated as she stared at him, her breathing was unsteady, and he thought she’d kiss him. Instead, she suddenly pulled back and turned away, giving him her back as she picked up her plate of pasta.

He didn’t want to give her space, but knew he had to. If he pushed too hard, too fast, he’d lose her for good. This was the toughest mission he’d ever been on—the only one that mattered. “Cashe doesn’t know who I am,” he said, continuing as if they hadn’t just had a moment. “I’m going to be feeding him an interesting story about someone from out of town moving into this territory who stole from him. Do you think he suspects you at all?” He leaned against the countertop, the coffee maker loud as she sat at the little kitchen table.

“Maybe. I don’t know.” She shook her head slightly, her expression closed off as she swirled the alfredo sauce and pasta. “I don’t think he considers me a threat. I take it you know what he did?”

“Cleaned out one of your mom’s storage facilities.”

Sighing hard, she nodded, still twirling the same pasta. “Yeah. I never liked him, but I also never thought he’d steal from my mom, and not right after she…” Lana cleared her throat, looked away from him. Then back. Mistrust was clear in her eyes. “Anyway, he was the only one who could have done it. Still, I had to make sure. I got a video feed from a nearby business showing him entering the facility, then leaving.”

“What did he get?” Teague figured he knew, but wanted to be sure.

“A lot of stuff. Expensive paintings, some ancient Greek pieces, and a necklace. The necklace is the only thing I care about.” She set the fork down, not having eaten at all. “It was my great-grandmother’s. A gift from a lover that she passed down to my yiayia after they immigrated here. It’s the only family heirloom I have.” There was a wealth of pain in her words.

And it destroyed him. Her mother had been her only family, and that necklace had been the only thing linking her to the women before her. He knew that it made her feel connected. “Then we’ll get it back.”

She blinked at him in surprise. “You want to help me?”

“I am going to help you.” No matter what it took. And he was somehow going to convince her to give them the chance they’d been denied for so long. “What’s your next step?”

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

 

Lana stared down at her pasta, her stomach too tight to eat as she digested Teague’s very simple last question—what was her next step? She was still having a hard time processing that he was here.

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