The Risk (Page 17)
“I’ll let you show me your fighting skills later,” he says before kissing me again and moving toward a room.
I decide I don’t want to know if I can take him or not. I just want to pretend like I’m a normal girl with a normal guy in our normal relationship for one normal night.
The sun is creeping up, and I’ve laughed so much my sides hurt. Neither of us has slept. We’ve eaten a couple of times, had a lot of sex, and laughed more than I’ve ever laughed, but sleep hasn’t been high on the list of priorities.
I think we’re both afraid to close our eyes and lose this fleeting moment of perfection.
Now I’m sprawled across the couch as he tells me about his very happy childhood that isn’t filled with dark memories.
My eyes flit around the room, taking in all the pictures of this alleged family he only speaks about in the past tense.
“So what happened? Or is that none of my business?” I ask him, lifting my head up to peer at him.
His smile slowly falls, and I hate myself for asking.
“Never mind. I shouldn’t have—”
“It’s okay, Lana. Stop apologizing for trying to get to know me,” he says, grinning again. He brushes my hair away from my face before resting his hand on my shoulder. “I like you wanting to know more about me than my condom preference.”
I snort. Actually snort. Kill me now.
It just makes him laugh again.
Shaking my head, I shrug. “I know I can’t seem to tell you much about my past, so it’s not fair for me to ask about yours,” I say on a sad sigh, killing the light moment again.
His face grows serious, and his hand starts running up and down my back as I lay my head down on his chest.
“Tell me what you want to when you’re ready,” he finally says, kissing the top of my head. “I get that not all pasts are as easy as mine was. As for my parents… My mom got a little wild in her mid-thirties, and she divorced a good man in pursuit of wild sex and rich men. Things were fine until then. I never actually knew my real dad, other than knowing he was in the military. He sent a few pictures to me with letters, as though I wanted to see his face. My stepdad was always my true father, in my opinion. He came into the picture when I was two and raised me like his own.”
I run my fingers along his chest.
“Any exes I should be worried about?”
He strangles on air before laughing. “No. Not at all. All the relationships have ended on really bad terms. I sort of suck at being a boyfriend since I’m married to my job.”
He groans while running his hand through my hair, and I lift my head, staring into his eyes.
“Just don’t let me fuck this up, because I kinda like you,” he says, smirking at me.
Gah. All I do is grin like an idiot no matter what he says. “I kinda like you too.”
He thumbs my lower lip, settling in more comfortably while pulling me over on top of him completely. Despite the firm body, he’s surprisingly comfortable.
“What about you? Any exes I should worry about?” he asks, studying my face.
He studies all my expressions. Fortunately I’ve trained against them. But this is one question I can answer honestly.
“I’ve only ever had one truly serious relationship, and I would rather set him on fire than speak to him ever again. Other than that, nothing serious since then, and that was over ten years ago. The rest have been…experiments?”
Okay, I need to shut my mouth because I’m talking too much.
“Experiments?” he asks, reminding me to learn when to stop.
“Wrong word. Um… Hopeless and pointless attempts at having something, then learning no spark was there.”
Good recovery, Lana.
“There’s a spark here,” he says reverently, still running his hands over my bare back.
Smiling, I nod. “There’s definitely a spark.”
He pulls me forward, running his lips along mine. Just as I decide to deepen the kiss, he gets a call.
Cursing, he snatches his phone from the floor. It’s stayed in whatever room we’ve been in all night.
The phone is so loud that I hear the woman on the other end.
“Hey, we have a list of people to look into, but a couple of guys popped. There was one custodial service outsourced to all the apartment buildings. While we looked into them, we dismissed them quickly. When I called them and asked for a list of all payroll employees, I reminded them they were impeding a federal investigation if they didn’t also include the occasional under-the-table gigs. The list miraculously got a lot longer. Two names have priors that make these guys look good for it.”
So I might have been right?
“We’ll meet up in two hours and make a trip out to Boston. Bring all the names on that list, and we’ll go through them on the flight over.”
And that’s all the time we have.
I can see by the look in his eyes that he hates this too.
He covers the mouth of the phone as the girl curses him for being too good at his job.
“If I get him, we’ll have more time together for a little while,” he says, frowning as he studies my face.
Apparently I’m wearing some disappointment, so I mask my expressions and curl into him, kissing his jaw.
“Go catch more bad guys.”
The girl on the other end goes silent.
Logan presses his lips to my forehead, and I soak in his scent one last time before he’s gone. Last time was a brief trip. Maybe I’ll get lucky and things will go that smoothly again.
“You with your profiling girlfriend who helped bring up this lead?” the girl on the line asks.
I really hope she isn’t secretly in love with him, because I detect an edge to her tone that I hope I’m overanalyzing.
“Yeah. I’ll see you guys in a couple of hours. Don’t forget to keep that between us.”
“You know it, boss man. I just hope it helps us get this bastard before another woman is hurt.”
I breathe out in relief, because that edge is gone. Apparently I was definitely reading into it.
He hangs up, and his arms come around me in one of those awesome hugs I love so much.
“As soon as I get back, I swear to take you on that damn date I promised so long ago. You’re better than a sex-a-thon with whatever food I burn.”
He totally burns pizza. But it was sweet for him to attempt to cook. It might have gone better if we hadn’t forgotten it was in the oven and ended up in the bedroom.
“I’ll eat burned food every single day that I get to have you to myself. I’d rather not waste time having to go out in public and lose all our privacy.”
He chuckles, but I’m not kidding.
I’m greedy. I want him all to myself.
He hurries through the motions of getting ready, and I kiss him much longer than necessary before he leaves.
Since he’s going to be gone, there’s no time like the present to get back to work and skip the second day of the break.
As I climb into my car, I pull out my phone and call Jake.
“You still with him?”
“I’m on my way to grab Lawrence. You can handle Tyler.”
He’s cursing as I hang up, and I smirk as I start the long drive to New York. I haven’t studied him in his daily life. But fuck it. I’m stronger than all of them.
We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.
New York isn’t prepared for me when I arrive. It’s dark when I finally set about the task of planning my ambush. My sweatshirt is on, my head is covered, and I prop up in an alleyway.
This place gets dangerous in dark alleyways, but after slamming a guy’s face into the brick wall hard enough to knock him out, most of the regular thugs give me a wide berth for the rest of the time that I wait.
“Hey, sweetheart,” says another stupid thug who is holding a knife at me as he grins a rotten-tooth grin.
I say nothing.
I guess he missed my earlier demonstrations, unfortunately for him.
He takes a step closer, and that’s when I smirk at him. He looks confused for a split second before my hand darts out, colliding with his throat. A pained wheeze escapes him, and he swings the knife.
Midair, I catch his wrist, spin under his arm, and listen with pleasure as a satisfying cry pierces the night. The knife falls to the ground, and I slam my foot into his spine, still wrenching his arm behind him so tightly that I feel it when the bone crunches in my hand.
A shudder of pleasure ripples through me, listening to the way he screams and begs for mercy. It’s not as satisfying as it is to hear as the ones I want dead, but it’s still a high to punish someone like him who preys on the weak—or who he thinks is weak.
With a hard thrust, the knife slices through his back, the skin tearing, and his screams grow louder. People scatter by us, pretending they don’t see anything in typical city-alley fashion.
As he starts gurgling on blood, I release the knife with my gloved hand, and let him sink to the ground with a hard thud. Right beside the dumpster, all that’s visible from the streets are his feet. The city is too loud for the sidewalk dwellers to overhear him.
Even if they did hear, they’d keep walking. That’s what people do. They tell themselves they’ll just die too. They tell themselves their life is more precious than the person dying close to their feet.