“The driver said there’s an elevator entrance beside the kitchen store.”
Spotting the “Sur Le Table” sign he must be talking about, I turn to Liam and reach for my suitcase. “Thanks for the ride.”
He holds on to both of my bags. “You’re alone in a new city. I’m not letting you go inside an apartment you’ve never seen before by yourself.”
“Has been tipped well.” He motions me forward and starts walking, effectively giving me no room to argue.
Staring after him, I am on unsteady ground, inexperienced with a man as dominant and stubborn as this one. I didn’t think this part of the evening through when I accepted the ride. I have no idea what awaits me at the apartment. What if there is something I can’t let Liam see?
Double-stepping in my high heels and not all that gracefully, I catch up to him. “You really don’t have to—”
He cuts me a sideways look. “Right. I don’t have to. You don’t have to. But we are, baby, and we both know it.”
My heart sputters at the obviously naughty sexual reference. “I was talking about walking me to the door. You don’t have to walk me to the door.”
He shoots me an evil smile. “I wasn’t.”
“Amy.” We stop at an elevator and he punches the button, amusement dancing in his eyes. “When do you start work?”
The elevator dings and opens. “I don’t know.” I dart inside the car, trying to think of an answer that isn’t a lie.
He steps in beside me and punches the button. “You don’t know?”
“I’m supposed to get settled first.”
He scowls, and even his scowl is handsome. “How well do you know your new employer?”
Now I scowl. “How well does anyone know their employer?”
“You moved here for this person.”
“A job is not a person, and I know just as much about him as I do you.” The elevator opens again and I don’t give him time for a rebuttal. I step into a carpeted hallway that reminds me of a hotel corridor and note the sign pointing me to my right.
“Your boss didn’t make sure you got here safely tonight,” he points out as he joins me, and we make our way to the last apartment at the end of the hallway. “I did. Do you have your key?”
I hold it up between two fingers and stop in front of the assigned door. I just can’t think of it as “my door”. “I’m all set.”
“I’m coming in to make sure you’re safe.”
“This is good,” I assure him quickly.
“You have no idea what waits on you inside.”
Exactly. “An empty apartment and I don’t know you, Liam. I can’t invite you inside.”
And I have no idea what makes me say it, but I add, “Not tonight.”
“That’s better than not ever,” he comments. “But I’m not a serial killer and for all I know, your new boss is. Let me check the place out for you. You can stay outside while I do.”
“I’m not letting you in.”
He leans in close and presses his hand on the door above me. I can feel the heat rushing off his body. And as silly as it seems, I can’t explain it, but I can almost taste the masculine scent of him. Or maybe I just want to taste him. “I’m going to get a room across the street,” he informs me.
“Your hotel is across the street?”
“It is now. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes with a list of restaurants open at this time of the night we can choose from. My name is Liam Stone, Amy. Look me up on your computer. Then you’ll know I’m trustworthy.”
“I don’t have a computer.”
“Or enough clothes to be moving from state to state.”
I left myself wide open for that one. “I had them shipped along with my computer.”
He doesn’t look convinced. “Right. Of course. Look me up. Use your cell phone.”
“It’s broken. I have to get a new one tomorrow.”
“It’s broken.” His tone is flat.
“Yes. It’s broken.”
He considers me a moment. “Stay here and don’t go inside yet.” Without further explanation, he walks toward the elevator.
Confused, I open my mouth to call after him and snap it shut. It’s midnight. People are sleeping. He steps into the elevator and regardless of what he’s planning I know he’ll be back, which means I need to act fast. I unlock the door, flip on the light and tug my suitcase and bag along with me.
A small hallway leads past a kitchen to my left and directly into a large open-concept dining and living area. Thankfully, I do have furniture, which is more than I had when I was sent to New York. I scan and quickly dismiss the overstuffed brown couch and two chairs. It’s the envelope sitting on a simple wooden dining table that has my attention. I set my bag down and sink into one of four chairs, reaching for the envelope. The contents I find inside are disappointingly uninformative. There is only a lease to the apartment with a note telling me to sign it and drop it by a real estate agent’s office. The first month’s rent is paid. Nothing else.
Absolutely nothing. No information about what has happened. No words to explain the threat I might be under. No triangle symbol. It’s not there. My heart starts to race. There is supposed to be a symbol on any instructions I get. I don’t know what this means. Maybe he thought this note was an extension of the last so it didn’t need it? I can’t think. I have to get rid of Liam and go to a bank machine and see how much money I have to live on. Should I run? I don’t know. I just don’t know. I have to take one thing at a time. Liam first. The rest later.