He shook his head to dislodge the thought. Just because he didn’t get along with Kit’s friend was no reason to suspect her—and anyway, the stalker was a man. Still, it might point them in the right direction.
“…so I said, sure honey, whatever you want.”
Tuning back into the other man’s monologue, Noah grinned and nodded. “Women, huh?”
“Can’t live without ’em.” Winking, the bearded male held out a hand. “Pleasure doing business with you.”
Getting into his car for the drive back home, Noah decided to call Kit, tell her his idea about her stalker’s likely connection to Becca’s side of the industry. Maybe it was a guy who’d worked on Kit at some point. When she didn’t answer her home line or the cell, he figured she must be out in the garden. Speaking of which, he’d intended to pick her up a plant… but he had a sudden compulsion to get home, that damn magazine nagging at him.
He’d surprise her with the plant later, he decided and drove on, going as fast as he dared.
Arriving at the gates, he rolled through after activating them using the remote Kit had given him. He saw Butch keeping an eye on things, stopped to say hello. “Any problems?”
“Nah. Kit’s got her colorful friend with her though, so you might want to make yourself scarce. I don’t think that one likes you too much.”
“Becca?” Noah’s muscles tensed. “How long’s she been here?”
“Couple of hours.” Butch frowned. “What’s wrong? Did I screw up?”
“We might all have screwed up.” Noah thrust a hand through his hair. “Kit wasn’t answering her phone when I called a half hour ago.” The garden theory still applied; they could be out there talking, but Noah didn’t want to take the chance.
Getting out of the car, he said, “Let’s go up quietly. If they’re in the garden chatting, no harm, no foul and Becca never has to know I suspected her.”
Butch nodded. “I’ll radio Casey, tell him to keep an eye on the gate while we go in.”
It felt as if it took them forever to reach the house. Splitting up, they went around on either side, careful to avoid the windows, though Noah made sure to take a quick glimpse inside as he crouched by each. He wanted to think he was being an idiot, but his heart was thumping, adrenaline flowing, and then he looked through the living room window and rage roared through his blood.
Kit was sitting stiffly in a chair while Becca sat across from her in an identical chair. Nothing wrong with that except for the fear on Kit’s face. Becca had to have a weapon.
Continuing around the house, he met Butch on the patio, told him what he’d seen. “It has to be a gun or Kit would’ve tried to overpower her.” Kit was taller, had more muscle.
Face grim, Butch said, “Our one advantage is that we know the situation and there are two of us, three if I pull Casey in—or we can alert the cops, have them bring in an extraction team.”
“No, we do it quickly. She’s clearly unstable, might decide to shoot Kit while we set things up.” He would not leave Kit in danger and afraid. “Wait,” he said, a sudden thought blazing in his head. “Why is she still here?” If Becca’s intent had been to hurt Kit, she could’ve done that as soon as she arrived, then taken off.
“Probably waiting for you.”
Their eyes met on the heels of Butch’s flippant mutter.
The bodyguard swore softly.
“So,” Noah said, “she wants to shoot me.” They could use that. “Is your marksmanship good enough to get her through a window?”
“Were any of the windows open?”
“Can’t take the risk the glass will slow down or skew the bullet enough to give her a warning—even a split second could change everything.” Butch slid out his weapon. “You go through the front door and I’ll go through the back,” the bodyguard said. “I can get behind her and disarm her while she’s distracted by you.”
That sounded fine except for one thing. “Kit won’t just sit there and do nothing.” Because Kit fucking loved Noah. “She’s going to get in the way when Becca tries to shoot me, could get hurt.” An unacceptable risk.
“Find a way to alert her that you know what’s happening.”
Noah rubbed his forehead, trying to think clearly. The next few minutes were going to be the most important of his entire life. Because if anything happened to Kit…