“And what will you do when I’m thousands of miles away and no longer vulnerable and available?”
“Who says I’ll let you get that far?”
“And how do you plan to stop me?”
“In whatever way that works.” He flipped me around to face him. I had seen the intent in his eyes before I was falling backward, engulfed in the now stifling heat of my bedsheets.
“Keiran… no.” The knife continued it’s descent of my torso, slicing and ripping away my barriers. He wanted me exposed in every way. He needed me vulnerable. “Don’t do this.”
When he expertly ripped away the remnants of my shirt, ignoring my struggles, I screamed. A sound so unnatural and desperate it actually pierced my gut painfully and shook my body. He jerked upright to stare down at me in stormy surprise, but it was too late. The need for survival had already consumed me. My teeth sunk into the flesh of his right shoulder. I didn’t stop biting. Even when I was assaulted with the metallic taste of his blood, I didn’t stop.
I heard his curse and grunt of pain, but it only spurred me on. He could have easily dislodged me with a quick, merciless flick of his knife. The floodgates opened and released, turning my gaze murky.
Careful hands banded around my upper arms, lifting me away but keeping me close. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he demanded, shaking me.
Was that a serious question? I shoved him away in disgust and if I weren’t feeling so damn crazed, I would have laughed at his look of astonishment. “I won’t let you make me a scared little girl again.”
“Lake? Open the door! I heard you scream—should I call the police?”
Shit. I’d forgotten Aunt Carissa was home.
We watched each other for the longest time, both waiting to see what I would do. I held Keiran’s gaze as I answered. “Uh… yes, I’m fine. I stubbed my toe and thought I broke it.”
“Do you want me to look at it?”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll be down in a moment to ice it.”
Her retreating footsteps were the only sound between us as we stared at each other. “You need to leave,” I ordered, rising from the bed once I was sure my aunt was out of hearing range. We now stood facing each other.
“Do you want those six weeks back? Do you want the isolation, the distance, the hard sex without an inkling of a connection? Do you want to feel like you have no way out? Do you want to feel forced and used? You might have come every time I touched you, but I know what it did to you, and if I pushed for a little more, you would have broken.”
He grabbed me by my waist and yanked me to him without warning. “Give me the word, and I can make you feel like that again.” He bent low to whisper against my lips, “Helpless…” He took my bottom lip between his teeth. “And thoroughly fucked.”
My earlier resolve began to melt away with a whimper. “You are my scared little girl, Lake.” I melted more at the sound of my name on his lips. Using my first name was a clear indicator I was affecting him at this moment—as much as he was affecting me. “And I am your big, bad wolf.”
He kissed me for the second time today, and I let him.
In his arms, I didn’t have the strength to fight him. I didn’t have the strength to care that he was a monster carved from a past that was undoubtedly dark. I Just. Didn’t. Care.
“Every time I get near you, I can’t remember why I have to stay away,” he groaned when he finally released my lips with a final nip.
That makes two of us.
“Are you staying away because you’re mad at me or because you think you are protecting me?”
“I am protecting you.”
“Yeah. Almost being kidnapped was a clear indication of that.” I rolled my eyes. Did I blame him for almost being kidnapped? No. I blamed the people who he came into this world blindly trusting to protect him.
“So what are you saying?”
“I don’t know what I’m saying. When I woke up this morning, I hated you, and I wanted nothing more than to see you behind bars. I went to Detective Daniels and Detective Wilson offering to get evidence of everything.”
I chanced a look up at his eyes, expecting anger but seeing only questions. “And?”
“And nothing. The first time I went, they turned me down saying it was too dangerous, and they couldn’t risk me as a witness.”
“And the other?”
I took a deep breath. “I went after school today.” I waited for a reaction, but he only nodded and remained silent. “They told me they weren’t pursuing you anymore.”
“I made a very detailed confession today, but they are willing to overlook it.”
“So long as you help them catch Mario and Arthur.” His eyebrow shot up in surprise. “I kind of wrestled it out of them with guilt.”
“Nice,” he praised.
“Do you know they will pursue the death penalty if you don’t bring them in?”
I ripped myself away from him and pushed him back. “Why are you so calm about it? They are going to kill you. You’ll die. ” I wanted Keiran to pay for many wrongs, but I didn’t want him dead. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I didn’t realize I was crying until he wiped away one of the many tears from my face.
“And that scares you?”
“Doesn’t it scare you?”
He laughed. The fucker actually laughed. “I’m not afraid to die. I’m just unwilling.”