And she does. Oh God. Oh God. Why is she getting into the car? I stand up as he follows her into the backseat and shuts them inside. He’s going to hurt her and I think about calling the police or my father, but there isn’t time. I burst from behind the shrubs to help my mother, only to be yanked back behind the bushes.

“Don’t,” Luke warns,

I turn on him, grabbing his shirt. “Let go. I have to help her. I have to.”

“She doesn’t need help. She’s getting na**d with that man.”

“She slapped him.”

“You didn’t hear his reply?”

“No. What are you talking about?” I jerk on my arm. “Let go. Let me go.”

“He promised her he’d f**k her until she apologizes.” He grimaces. “Just like last time.”

My throat goes dry. “No. No. That can’t be.”

“It is. Just stay here and I promise you she’s going to get out of that car looking well f**ked and smiling like a well-fed cat.” He grabs my hand and pulls me around the house and I dig in my heels.

“Stop, Luke. Where are we going?”

“You aren’t watching this. It’s upsetting you.”

“I have to stay.”

“Just do what I say and it’s going to be okay.”

He starts pulling me away from the side of the house and I let him. I shouldn’t let him. I should do something. “Luke--” Blackness flashes in front of my eyes. I can’t see Luke. I can’t see the yard or my mother or who the man is. I have to turn back. I have to see who the man is. But I can’t. It’s too dark and Luke is pulling me. He keeps pulling me. No! No! No!

“No!” I jerk to a sitting position, gasping into flickering shadows, water pellets hitting a window, a storm all around me, and I yank the clip from the back of my throbbing head. “Where am I?”

“Easy, baby,” I hear, a moment before I’m pulled back into the cradle of a hard body and a car door behind me.

“Liam?” I whisper, unsure what is real, only that my cheeks are damp and there is a tangled mess of images in my mind. My mother fighting with the stranger. Liam and I fighting behind the diner.

“I’m here and you’re safe,” Liam assures me, swiping the dampness from my cheeks. “You blacked out for twenty damn minutes and scared the hell out of me. Is that normal? Do you always black out that long?”

“I...I don’t know. I think...I…maybe.” Nothing is normal. Nothing is right. My fingers ball around his shirt, and the murky dark waters of what remains of my flashback threaten to pull me under with guilt. “If I’d done something that night. If I...If I’d told someone-”

“What night? Told who what?”

I blink and snap my lips shut. What am I doing? What am I saying to Liam who I cannot dare trust? “Nothing,” I say and try to pull away from him.

His arm shackles my waist. “Talk to me, Amy. Let me help.”

My hand goes to his wrist where he holds me captive, the heat of his body radiating into me, arousing me, confusing me. I am alone without him, but I am tired of lies. From me. To me. About my life. “You shouldn’t have looked for me.”

“I should have found you sooner.”

“And that only makes me ask, why? Why Liam? There are so many ‘whys’ I have for you and you have yet to give me an answer that makes sense.”

His fingers lace into my hair. “Nothing about us made sense from the moment we met and yet it makes perfect sense.” And then his mouth comes down on mine, and I tell myself to fight him, but I don’t, I can’t. He is sweet bliss and burning passion that steals my breath in all the right ways. The taste of him, all hot spicy demand and primitive need, has my senses swimming and I try to think, but there is only what I feel. He molds me closer and somehow my hand is in his hair, spiking through those long, dark strands of sexiness I have missed touching. Just as I have missed him and this. My resistance is gone. I’m not sure I ever had any.

I sink into his kiss, twisting around to press my chest to his, burning alive in a way only he can make me burn, and he is heaven in the midst of hell. Every swipe of his tongue is liquid heat and an escape I can find nowhere else.

“I swear to you, woman,” Liam vows, tearing his mouth from mine, framing my face with his hands, “from this point on, I’m going to keep you na**d and in bed with me where I know you’re safe.”

Emotion thickens my throat. “If only it were that simple. But it’s not. We both know it’s not. “

“It is. It will be. I’ll make it that simple.” He dips his head to kiss me again and I don’t fight him. I need just a few moments of escape, a tiny promise that there is hope for me and us, and for some kind of peace in my life. But as his lips graze mine, that peace is shattered all too easily by the simple sound of a cellphone ringing, radiating through the car from the front seat.

I go still, the realization ripping through me like a cold blast of ice. We are not alone. I start to pull away from Liam.

He holds onto me. “Wait. Amy--”

“Making me feel like a prisoner isn’t going to earn my trust, Liam.”

He curses and lets me go. I scramble away, twisting around to sit in the center of the back seat of the sedan, too much like the one in my flashback, rain pounding hard and fast on the rooftop, echoing my heartbeat. The long rows of lights and the open space tell me we’re headed for a small airfield of some sort.

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