“You believe me?” I asked. My voice was muffled by my legs.

“Why in the hell wouldn’t I believe you?”

I gave a lopsided shrug. “Hank was giving me a WTF look. I don’t blame him. It all sounds highly suspect.”

“Fuck Hank. He’s an idiot. And when I get my hands on whoever is messing with you, I’m seriously going to fucking kill him. But that’s something we’ll talk about later.”

My head shot up and I gaped at him. His reaction shocked me, all things considered.

Reece stood. “I don’t want you staying here.”

The idea of staying here, especially right now, was something I also did not want to do.

“I’m also going to need to take your phone in to see if we can get prints off it that aren’t mine, yours, or Hank’s. Nick hasn’t touched it, right?”

I shook my head. Tonight had been a blur. “I don’t think so.”

“Do you have an extra phone you can switch service to in the meanwhile?”

“Yeah. I have an older one.”


“Good. Why don’t you pack up some stuff,” he said, stepping around the couch. “I’ll take you to my place. I still got a couple of hours left on my shift, but at least you’ll be able to get some sleep.”

I was back to thinking I was hallucinating things.

When I didn’t move, Reece continued. “That works out perfectly. I need you to talk to Colton. He can come by my place. He’s been investigating what’s been happening around here. That’s why I had to go let out his dog Tuesday morning.”

It struck me then, the conversation between Brock and Jax. “The girl who works at Brock’s training place?”

Reece eyes narrowed on me. “You heard?”

“Yeah, Brock was in the bar. He said . . .” I shivered. “He said she was really messed up. Was she . . . ?” I couldn’t even bring myself to say it.

Cop Face appeared. All emotion gone. “I can’t go into details. Not because I don’t trust that you’d keep it quiet, but it’s out of respect for the vic. But we’re pretty sure all the attacks recently are linked. The violence has been escalating.”

“To what?” I whispered.

His gaze held mine. “It’s been physical—worse than you can imagine.”

A shudder of revulsion rolled through me. “Oh my God, those poor girls. I . . .” My eyes widened. “You don’t think this has anything to do with what happened to them?”

He knelt down, placing a hand on my knee. “I don’t know, but nothing—I swear it—nothing like that is going to happen to you. Now, come on, let’s get going.”

I watched him straighten and turn. “Wait. I can’t go to your place.”

Facing me, he cocked his head to the side. “Why not?”

“Why not? Um, I think you pretty much made it clear that you . . . that I lied and you can’t deal with that. So I can’t stay with you.” There was no way I could put myself through that. “I can go to my parents.”

His face softened by a degree. “You and I still need to talk. Now just isn’t the right time for that. You’re coming home with me.”

My eyes narrowed. “I really don’t think you have the right to be so bossy.”

“Do you really want to wake up your parents? You see what time it is, and scare them like that?”

I gaped at him. “Dammit, you’re right, but that’s low.”

“It’s not low. It’s just the truth,” he replied. “Come on, let’s get your stuff and get you the hell out of here.”

Honestly, I could sit there and argue with him. I could go to Katie’s or wait until it was a more decent hour, but I could see the determination etched into his features. This wasn’t a battle I’d win easily and frankly, I was exhausted and I didn’t want to be there any longer than I had to.

Dragging myself up, I headed back to my bedroom with him in tow. While I grabbed some clothes, he checked out the other room. Being in my room gave me the creeps, and I didn’t know if that was going to ever change.

I exhaled roughly, fighting the urge to cry.

Reece came out of my second bedroom, his face a shade or two paler. I stilled, my hand hovering over the strap on my overnight bag. “Did you find something?”

Reece blinked as he shook his head. “No. You almost ready?”

Slipping a long, thick sweater on that reached my knees, I grabbed my bag and slipped my feet into my flats. Not trusting myself to speak, I nodded.

Reece was silent as he led me out of the house and locked up. As I stepped off the porch, both upstairs apartments had lights on, and I told myself I needed to bake them cookies or something.

I got to sit in the passenger seat of a police cruiser—which, surprisingly, smelled pleasant, like fresh apples—and any other time, I’d have been excited about all the buttons and potential noise-making power, but I stared out the window, into the darkness as dawn steadily crept into the horizon.

“You hanging in there?” Reece asked.

Glancing over at him, I was struck with the urge to reach out and smooth my fingers along his jaw. To touch him. For him to touch me. “Yeah. I’m okay.”

He sent me a sideways look that was a cross between amused and worried. “It’s all right not to be okay in a situation like this.”

I lowered my gaze to my hands, keeping my mouth shut.

Most Popular