“Why?” I find myself asking even though I should be opening the doors and letting her go. “Who are you running from?”
“From this shit.” She rolls her eyes like I’m stupid and for some reason I think it’s kind of adorable.
“Well, bad news, buttercup, because you’re definitely involved now.” I turn back around and crank up the SUV and put it in drive.
“What? No, you have to let me go. Please. I can’t stay here.”
“I don’t think you realize that when Monte finds the empty van and sees that the drop wasn’t made, the first person he’s going to suspect is you.” She puts her head in her hands as I start to drive and I shrug. “There’s no connection to any of us and him, and as of right now there’s no evidence that we took it. So as far as you’re concerned, you need to stay as low as possible.”
“And let me guess, you’re just the guy for the job.”
“Very good, buttercup. Cooper Ross at your service.”
I bet it’s not his real name. Why would I believe someone who’s wearing a mask? Somehow I keep ending up getting into these situations and I’m going to do it again. Yeah, sure, he’s going to help me lay low for my own safety. He wants something from me or a way to use me. It would be easier for him if I was willing, so he’s trying to make me think he’s on my side. I have to remember who I’m dealing with. He took me against my will and it’s not the first time a man has done that to me. I got away once and I’ll do it again, only this time I don’t think it will be so easy.
I’m not in a busy city like before where someone can hear me scream. We are speeding down a back road and I know I can’t jump out. He must read my thoughts because I hear the locks engage as he speeds up. I reach for the handle anyway to see if it will pop up, but it doesn’t. Child safety locks.
“Don’t hurt yourself with a stupid idea,” his deep voice rumbles.
He actually sounds like he cares, but it’s probably because I’ll splatter blood all over the side of his car. Someone would take notice of a women jumping from a vehicle, too, and he wouldn’t want that. I’m stuck and panic starts to set in. It creeps up my throat as I wonder what Cooper is going to do with me. How do I keep running into one bad guy after another? Maybe that’s all there is and it’s a cycle that’s never going to end. Maybe I attract them to me like some kind of bad guy magnet. I’m never getting out of the loop and it feels like it’s going to keep happening over and over.
The sudden onslaught of worry, adrenaline, and a mountain of fear take hold and my vision begins to become fuzzy. I can’t focus and my heart is hammering in my chest as my mouth dries up. This isn’t going to be good.
“Breathe,” I hear a voice say and I gasp as my eyes fly open. “Feel me breathe,” he tells me, and I close my eyes again as I try to get my breathing under control. I have to get it together because I can’t do this right now. “Breathe with me.” His voice is soothing and soft.
This time I listen as his big body wraps around mine and he holds me close. I feel his deep breathing and try to match mine with his. It takes me a minute but finally I’m okay. Oxygen fills my lungs and then I remember what’s happening and who’s holding me in their lap. The tightness in my throat starts to rise and I have to blink back tears.
“I promise on my life I’m not going to hurt you.” He voice is low and his warm breath against my ear tickles my skin.
“You said you’d cut me in half,” I remind him when I don’t feel a knife in his hand. They’re busy right now rubbing up and down my arm and back in a soothing pattern.
“That’s when I thought you worked for Monte.”
I do work for Monte, or I guess I did, but I keep that to myself. I already told him that and there’s no reason to bring up something that could make him change his mind. For some crazy reason beyond me, I don’t think he will, but I’m not exactly a great judge of character.
“Does that really matter? You seem like the type of man that’s going to do whatever he wants.” My eyes open and I don’t know why I’m getting smart with him. I should be keeping quiet and thinking of a way to get out of here. The first step would be to get out of his lap and get on his good side.