Frowning, I stare down at the dagger, and the oddity of it being here on the table by the window, when I know it was in the bed with us, hits me. I turn and face the bed and it hits me that I’ve barely slept in months and yet Liam stood here, holding a dagger in his hand, and I snoozed right through it. I’m reminded of how I’d slept so well that first night he’d stayed with me in Denver and I can come to only one conclusion. My subconscious mind trusts him completely. When I’m asleep. In the heat of the moment, when he’s holding a dagger to my skin and I’m tied up. Why then do I still think about his money, his mentor’s money, and pyramids? And why, why, why, did I feel that instant of fear while staring at his tattoo?
I reach for the dagger, gauging the weight in my hand.
My gaze lifts at the deep baritone of Liam’s voice speaking the very word I was thinking. I find him leaning on the doorjamb wearing nothing but the pajama bottoms to match my top and my reaction is pure instinct, that of a primal kind. He is beautiful, this man, power and sex radiating off of him.
“Yes,” I agree and my voice is hoarse. “I thought so.”
He pushes off the doorjamb, his dark hair a finger-rumpled mess that is sexier because it was my fingers that made it that way, and he starts walking toward me. Try as I might to keep my eyes level, they seek out and find his “pi” tattoo, tracing the inverted triangle beneath the 3.14 that is filled with numbers and still, there is not even a sliver of fear. All I feel is my desire to shove him down on the bed, crawl on top of him and lick the darn thing again.
“How old?” he asks, stopping in front of me, his hand closing over the dagger in my hand.
I blink up at him and he is just so damn masculine and beautiful that my mouth has gone dry and my brain seems to have stopped functioning. “How old?”
His lips quirk and I am certain he knows how easily he affects me and I can’t seem to care. “How old is the dagger, Amy?”
“Oh. The dagger. About a century.”
Those sensual, punishing, pleasing lips of his, curve. “Right on the mark, but then, you are your father’s daughter.”
My father’s daughter. It is painful to hear those words but also liberating, powerful. I no longer have to pretend to be what I am not with Liam. “Yes. Yes, I am.”
He pulls me closer, our hands and the dagger between us, our knees touching.“Why were you standing here holding the dagger?”
“Why’d you bring the dagger over here while I was sleeping?”
His mood shifts subtly, the lines of his face hardening, his lashes lowering before they lift. “A walk down memory lane,” he confesses. “Alex collected daggers from all over the world. I bought it for him while I was in Egypt and never got a chance to give it to him. I keep it close, like I do his memory.”
My heart squeezes for him, my hand flattening on his bare chest, the warmth of his body seeping into my palm the way he has seeped into my soul, my heart. “You were living that regret this morning.”
“I was reminding myself that regret is a disservice to those we loved and who loved us. It leaves no room for celebrating their lives and the memories we have with them.” He leans in, pressing his cheek to mine, his hand tightening over mine and the dagger. “And last night is quite the memory.”
I lean into him, and now I let my lashes lower, seduced by this growing bond between us that defies the time and space we’ve had between us, and even the reason it had existed. Deep down, I’ve never questioned us. This is real. We are real.
The doorbell rings and Liam groans, pressing his forehead to mine. “That will be the breakfast I ordered that is very poorly timed.” He brushes hair over my shoulder. “I’ll meet you in the kitchen. We’ll eat and then I’ll give you a tour of your new home.”
He turns and walks away, leaving me staring after him. For several seconds I stand there, processing what he’s said and what it means to me and us. He wants me here. I want to be here but it isn’t that simple for me, no matter how much I wish it was.
I launch myself into action, rushing down the steps to the foyer and then crossing through the living room with barely a glance at the gorgeous view out of the window. Rushing into the kitchen, past the island, I find Liam setting plates on the table. “This isn’t my home,” I blurt.
He stills for a moment, a fork in his hand, before setting it down very precisely on the table and leaning his palms on the wooden surface. “I want it to be. I hope you want it to be.”
“My family’s dead. Someone killed the PI. Me being with you or anyone else is like painting a bull's-eye on their forehead. I won’t do that to you.”
He studies me, that penetrating blue gaze of his unnerving me and telling me nothing of his reaction. Finally, he moves, pulling out the chair at the end of the table. “Come sit and let’s eat.”
“You can’t dismiss my concern. It’s real.”
“And we’ll deal with it. After you eat.” His tone is that familiar absoluteness I’ve come to know from overbearing, dominant, sexy Liam Stone that tells me I won’t win this battle. I, in fact, probably need my strength to fight it.
Sighing in resignation, my shoulders slump and I walk to the chair and sit down, finding my plate piled with a stack of pancakes that smell sweet and almost spicy. My stomach rumbles in a strange mix of hunger and queasiness I didn’t know was possible. How can anyone be famished and sick at the same time?