Did this dumbass really just forget telling me he came here to surprise her?

He put the phone back in his pocket and pointed in the direction of the parking lot. “She’s having breakfast with a friend. I’m going to go meet them there.”

“You do that.” I smiled and watched him walk back to the parking lot. As he got in his dark green Explorer, I took in as much as possible and waited for him to leave before pushing through my door. Mason was standing right there, arms crossed, expression furious.

“That motherfu—”

“Stop!” I hissed, and searched for a pen and paper. God, why is it that you can never find both! Giving up, I grabbed a cereal box and wrote down the license plate, make and model of the car, and every detail I could remember about the creep. Once I was done, I turned to Mason. “You heard that?”

“Yeah, and we had a real similar conversation when I came back from working out.”

“Shit.” Walking quietly, I opened my bedroom door and blew out air I hadn’t realized I was holding in as my eyes landed on my sleeping girl. Thank God we’d both come back to my apartment last night. I already hated knowing that she’d been there alone while Mason and I were both gone, but I would’ve been sick if she’d been in her place and that guy had been trying to find a way in.

I brushed the top of her head with my lips, grabbed her phone, and walked back out to the living room, closing the door silently behind me. I wasn’t dumb; I knew Rachel hadn’t called that guy, whoever he was, but I needed to know if someone was trying to contact her. Sitting on the couch, I started going through her calls and texts as Mason kept an eye on the window. When I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, I went back to the counter and grabbed the cereal box and my phone.

Detective Ryder answered, and after giving the information on the car and what had been going on with the man, I told him to e-mail me the findings and hung up before facing Mason again.

“Who do you think he was?” Mason asked.

“I have no idea. But he’s sloppy. Even if I didn’t know Rachel’s dad was dead, I would have thought something was weird with the guy. There were too many contradictions in his story. And whoever he is, he obviously doesn’t know that Candice is at cheer camp during the week.”


“Yeah, I noticed that too.” He sighed and roughly ran a hand through his hair. “We gotta keep a watch out for him. I told him to leave, and not twenty minutes later he was back and looking through the windows, trying the door.”

“He was trying—” I caught myself and took a few deep breaths before lowering my voice. “He was trying the door?”

“Yeah, I called you to see where you were, but you left your phone here and as soon as I started calling the cops, you showed up.”

Running a hand over my face, I looked over at my closed bedroom door and thought for a few moments. “If we arrest him, people around us will know what we are. Rachel would know what we are. I can’t put her in that position.”

“I agree, the farther we’re getting into this case, the more I’m with you that we need to stay as undercover as possible. Not including the meetings at the department.”

I nodded. “So now, if he comes back . . . do we call the police, or do we watch and take down everything?”

“I don’t know, man.” Mase sat down on the opposite couch and sighed heavily. “If you didn’t know who was living in that apartment, what would you do?”

“Call it in to dispatch, see if he is who he says he is . . . and if he came back I’d arrest him or call APD and get them to do it.”

“But because it’s Rachel and Candice?”

“I wanna know who is claiming to be Rach’s dad and why.”

He didn’t respond for a while and we both continued to look out the window. “If we have him arrested, we can see if Ryder will let us question him. Or at least watch it on the cameras while someone else does it.”

“You know he wouldn’t. He’d want to know why we were so interested in this. Just like Rachel doesn’t know about that part of my life . . . that part of my life won’t know about her. I need to make sure they don’t have a possibility of colliding.”

“All right. I get you. Let’s watch. If he even comes back over the weekend, we’ll watch everything he does and then decide.”

“Sounds good.” I heaved myself off the couch, walked over to the door, and glanced into the parking lot. The spot the Explorer had vacated was still empty, and I didn’t see any sign of him. But if he’d waited twenty minutes after Mason confronted him, I was betting he’d wait a while longer before coming back after both of us had. “Gonna go take a shower, keep an eye out.”

My phone chimed, and after checking and forwarding the e-mail to Mason, I read off everything about our Peeping Tom.

“Marvin Cross. Five feet eleven inches. One hundred and ninety pounds. Caucasian, black hair, brown eyes. Born in sixty-eight . . . Texas resident, no priors. Fucking awesome. I’ve never seen him before at the bar; either he’s checking on Rachel for someone, or she knows him through the school somehow.”

“If you hadn’t just met the bastard who raped her last week, that would’ve been my first line of thought.”

“Mine too. Let’s open the windows and keep the blinds cracked. The sun goes right into our windows, so it should keep him from seeing us, but I want to hear him. Whoever called him played along with that bullshit about her and Candice being together. If he gets another call, I want to know what’s said.”

Just as we’d finished with the windows and blinds, my door cracked open. I turned and smiled at the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. “Morning, babe.”

She smiled and stumbled out of the room.

“Sleep well?” I asked against her hair when she walked into my arms.

“Mmm-hmm. You already go for a run?”

“Yep, I need to shower. Wanna join me?”

She peeked around me to look at Mason, then looked back up at me and blushed as she gently nodded her head. I pushed her back in the direction of my room, and as soon as her back was to me, I tossed her cell to Mason so she wouldn’t ask why I had it and looked back at him in time to see him nod at me.

Whatever this Marvin guy was doing, we would find out. I just needed to find a way to keep Rachel away from the apartments completely while we watched for him.



“I’M EXHAUSTED,” CANDICE moaned, “but we needed this day.”

“I agree. I just want to go home and crash for the rest of the night . . . we did big today.”

“Yeah, we did! How many outfits did we get combined? And the shoes—oh, the shoes. Maybe we should go out with the guys tonight instead. Take them to a club downtown or something. I need an excuse to wear some of my new stuff.”

A club sounded like the exact opposite of fun right now. Not when my comfortable bed and fluffy pillows were calling my name.

With Candice at the cheer camp during the day and me working half the nights during the week and spending the rest with Kash, we never saw each other anymore. Kash and Mason had set it up so Candice and I could go to the movies last night, and today we’d gotten pedicures before going on an all-day shopping spree. It was good to be with her again, but I was already missing just being with Kash. Even before we’d stopped playing games with each other, I’d craved being near him. And now—I couldn’t get enough of him.

Yes, my bed was definitely calling my name. But I didn’t see sleep coming any time soon.

I grinned to myself and hoped Candice wouldn’t ask why I’d started blushing suddenly. “I don’t think I’m up for a club tonight, Candi. Maybe next weekend, when we haven’t been on our feet all day?”

“Oh, did you already have plans with . . . someone?”

“Someone like Kash?”

She shrugged slowly. “Or just someone.”

Uh . . . what? “No.” I drew out the word as I looked at her expectant expression. “Am I supposed to? And who else would I be with? I only ever hang out with you, Kash, and Mase.”

Candice didn’t respond for almost an entire minute. She just stared like she was waiting for something from me. Like a switch being flipped, her expression went back to normal and she bounced in her seat. “Well, anyway! Next week’s perfect. We can celebrate me being done with cheer camp and our senior year starting!”

I was about to tell Candice we needed to see if she was bipolar or had multiple personalities when what she’d said registered in my mind. “School, that’s, uh—just a little over a week away, isn’t it?” All the color drained from my face at the thought of having to see Blake on an almost-daily basis again. I wasn’t ready to face him, especially after the way he had been that night at work.

“Yeah, can you believe how fast this summer went by? I’m kind of bummed the camp took up all of my time, but next summer, after graduation, we’re going on a trip somewhere and we’re celebrating for a few weeks. Just us, a bunch of hot guys we won’t remember the names of, endless drinks, and the beach.” She sighed contentedly. “Doesn’t that sound perfect?”

I forced a smile as I attempted to remember what she’d just said. “Uh, minus the nameless guys . . . yeah, it does.”

She scoffed. “You’re no fun now that you’re dating Kash.”

“Candice, when have you ever known me to want to hook up with a bunch of guys?”

“Okay, true.”

We got out of the car and, loaded down with our dozens of bags, made our way to the apartment.

“So, you’re not going out tonight?” she asked as we walked through the living room toward our doors.

What the hell was with her right now? “No, Candice. I’m not. I just want to relax for a while. Make one of your booty calls; I’m sure one of your guys is free.”

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