The Risk (Page 16)
As my head wraps around the facts I should have already caught, she goes on.
“My father was…um…friends with a janitor when I was younger. It’s a habit, almost a compulsion, to use the appropriate cleaners for surfaces after so many years of training the mind to use those. If I were you, I’d look for custodial services in the area and check to see if these apartment buildings ever outsourced to individual cleaning companies.”
I slide the paper closer, my eyes moving over all the facts. “We interviewed all employees and did background checks,” I say absently. “And we considered the cleaning so thoroughly bit to be a case of OCD but ruled it out based on the fact there were different amounts of stab wounds, and they didn’t clean anything other than the kill room.”
“A lot of custodial services pay cash under the table because it’s hard to keep workers. Some of them have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy because they have to hire whatever walks in needing a job. The company keeps the majority of the money. Workers make crumbs in comparison. So cash under the table that isn’t taxed is a big way to draw in more workers, and also keep from having to supply benefits to said employees. It’s likely they never mentioned them because they didn’t want to have to tell you that.”
“You’re a fucking genius,” I groan.
I grab her face in both my hands and kiss her hard, even though I also want to throttle her at the same time.
“But now I have a call to make,” I grumble, feeling her smile against my lips.
“Make your call. Catch a bad guy. Maybe the lead is solid and you can catch him before he kills again.”
Reluctantly, I pull up my phone, and dial Hadley. She’s going to fucking kill me.
We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility.
I won’t lie and say it’s not hypocritical to hope he catches the sicko who raped and killed all these women. It’s hypocritical because I’m also hoping he never catches me for torturing and killing a string of men.
But it also feels good to listen to him animatedly tell someone this amazing new lead. I’m worried and shocked when he tells Hadley it’s me who inspired this new lead. He shouldn’t tell them he let his girl give him that info on a case I was never supposed to see.
Maybe the fact he called me his anything has the butterflies stirring. It’s definitely something. The fact he sounds proud of me also makes me feel…good. That word again.
My phone rings as he continues to talk to someone else, and I head outside to answer it when I see it’s Jake. My eyes stay on the window, keeping up with Logan.
“Hey. Any luck?”
“Lots of luck. I hate rushing this date the way we’re going to, but I’m going to help you on these.”
My eyebrows go up in surprise.
“Like in person? You’re going to do this too?”
“Just this once, and only for the securing part.”
“No. You can’t. You threw up when I tried to give you details, Jake.”
“You have no idea how much I wish I had your ability to kill without hesitance,” he says quietly, an edge to his tone.
“But you don’t,” I remind him, still watching to make sure Logan can’t overhear me.
“Doesn’t matter. I can’t risk you taking on something like this alone.”
“I can’t talk about this right now,” I say on almost a whisper when I see Logan hanging up his phone and running a hand through his hair.
“Shit. You’re with him? That’s still a discussion we need to have.”
“I moved my murder room in that secret room you built me years ago.”
“You think that’s enough to keep a profiler from figuring out you’re slowly killing off a list of people?” he asks dryly.
I heave out a heavy breath as I continue to watch Logan through the window. He looks around, then moves to grab a glass.
“You know how it’s easy for me to do what I do?”
“Because of what they did to you two,” he says, his voice barely above a broken whisper.
“No, Jake. It’s because there’s nothing but hatred inside of me that’s been driving me since I was able to do something other than curl in a corner in fear of them finding me again. I never thought anything else would drive me. I thought after this was over…I had nothing to look forward to after I killed them all. Now… Now there’s hope. I never realized the power of hope until he suddenly appeared in my life as though the universe was giving me a gift at the wrong time.”
He exhales harshly, and I sag backwards a little.
“I’m glad to hear you have hope, Lana. Really. I am. Just… Just couldn’t you have found it with someone who couldn’t toss your ass in prison?”
His tone ends on a joking note, but the seriousness of the situation is still present.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we have to. Trust me to be cautious.”
“If anything ever feels off… If he ever asks you questions… Just listen to the questions he asks you. You know what to look for. Promise me you’ll get the hell out of there if that ever happens.”
“Promise,” I tell him, grinning.
“You’re going to make me go bald with worry,” he groans, as I start walking back inside.
“I’ll call you later.”
As I hang up and make it back to where Logan is in just a pair of boxers and working diligently on making some type of drink in the blender, I lean against the island, soaking in the sight of him.
He turns and catches me ogling him, and he waggles his eyebrows.
“Do you have to leave?” I ask him, desperately trying to keep any neediness out of my tone.
“Not tonight. Possibly tomorrow, but not tonight.”
I smile, even though it’s masking a certain level of disappointment. I wanted at least two days, but I’ll take what I can get, since it’s more than I thought this cruel life would ever allow me to have.
“You’re incredible, you know?” he asks, coming closer.
The blender gets forgotten as he reaches me, and I tilt my head back, giving him access just as he bends forward and kisses me long and hard and deep and… There aren’t enough words to explain how each kiss gets closer to touching my soul.
I almost think it can knock away some of the blackness there, maybe even spread around some light.
His arms come around me, pinning me to him as he lifts me, giving him a better angle on my mouth instead of having to bend over so far.
The guy is just too tall and I’m just too short.
I grin against his lips as my legs come up to wrap around his waist. The only reason I break the kiss is to absorb some of the normalcy of the situation, revel in each second of it.
“So we’ve made it to the level where you just walk around in your boxers in front of me?”
He winks while sliding me onto a countertop, and I frown as I release him with my legs as he backs away. When he turns around to put his back to me, I take notice of some scars I never noticed the last time I had him naked.
“What are these?” I ask before I think about it.
My fingers immediately dart out to touch one semi-circular scar near his shoulder, and I grimace. I hate for people to touch my scars, and here I am touching his.
He doesn’t flinch away the way I do as my finger skims over the marred surface.
“Bullet did that two years ago. Just barely missed the damn vest. Half an inch over, and I’d have had a bruise instead of having a bullet removed. A rookie cleared the scene and missed a guy who had a gun, hiding in a closet. He shot through the door, and I was one of the ones hit.”
Another scar is jagged and long, moving from his other shoulder blade to his spine. When my fingers skate across it, he backs into my touch. I wish I could let him touch mine. Maybe he could pull away the painful memories laced inside the scar tissue.
“That one is from a knife.” That answer has me swallowing down a painful knot. “It was when I was fresh in the field and the guy I was arresting had a friend that came out of nowhere. He caught me off guard.”
“They only get you when you can’t see them coming,” I say quietly, feeling a twinge of pride. “Because you’re too strong for them.”
He chuckles while turning back around. My breath hitches when he grabs my hips and jerks me against him, standing firmly between my legs as all our best parts line up.
“I like that you think that way,” he says, grinning as he toys with the hem of my shorts.
I run my hands over the muscles in his arms. He flexes on purpose, and I roll my eyes playfully while looking back into his eyes. “You are strong. You’re intimidating. People don’t see you as weak, so they strike when you’re most vulnerable.”
“The guy shooting from the closet was shooting blindly,” he points out.
“So you’re not big and strong?” I ask, then burst out laughing when he lifts me up and starts walking with me.
“Strong enough to handle you,” he quips, then slaps my ass with one hand.
“I bet I could take you,” I say jokingly, but wondering if I really could or not.