“Allison is just as worried as I am. She practically shoved me out the door.” Logan eyed her with brotherly disapproval. “Why didn’t you tell me there’d been a breach of your network?”
She pasted on a fake smile. “Because, as I keep explaining to Trey, I can handle it.”
Logan set his hands at his waist. “Are you going to make me stand out here all night?”
“Devon.” Logan stared at her beneath the stern shelf of his eyebrows.
“Oh, fine.” She unlocked her screen door.
Logan entered and immediately approached Trey. “When did this start?”
When Trey listed the details of the hacker’s infiltration of his company and her house, she exhaled loudly and stormed off to find Peanut. At least her dog would let her gripe about hard-headed men who didn’t listen to her and took charge without asking. If only their macho stubbornness could be resolved with a simple string of code.
After another half-hour, a team of four men showed up on her doorstep. For an eleventh-hour request on a Saturday night, they all looked professionally dressed as though they’d been on-call and ready to leap into action for one of Logan’s million dollar clients. However, she was far below that echelon.
“Sorry you had to come all the way out here tonight,” she apologized to the men as she let them inside and closed the door behind them. When they gathered inside, next to Trey and Logan, relief engulfed her. Despite her initial reaction, she didn’t want to face this hacker alone. She sent a silent glance of thanks to Trey, who dipped his chin in recognition.
The first man touched the brim of his baseball cap with the Stone Security logo emblazoned on the front. “No trouble at all, Miss Leigh.”
The team set up quickly on her dining room table, which offered plenty of surface space for the half-a-dozen metal cases that housed all their equipment. They pulled out gadgets she’d never seen before. She poured a glass of wine from the bottle Trey brought, sipped slowly, and leaned against the archway between the kitchen and dining room, watching them. They worked in silence like four efficient components in a finely-tuned machine.
One guy walked around her first floor with a gadget that looked similar to a hand-held metal detector. The device crackled like a Ham Radio, and he followed a strong frequency into her living room. She followed, too.
The sounds led them to the center of the room. To her ceiling fan. He set the machine down and felt around the base, then the wiring. “Do you have a step stool, ma’am?” he asked her.
Swallowing, she nodded. She set her glass down and retrieved a stepstool from her coat closet. He stood on it, drew a screwdriver from his tool belt, and proceeded to take apart her ceiling fan.
A few minutes later, he froze. “Got it.”
“What?” Logan asked, striding into the room. Trey was one step behind him.
“Definitely a wire that shouldn’t be here, sir. A camera wire.”
Devon’s hand flew to her throat. “Oh, my God.”
“That’s how he knew,” Trey muttered. “His timing was too damned convenient.”
Logan turned to Trey. “Knew what?”
Trey shook his head. “Nothing. Just a hunch.” His fists clenched. “The sick fuck.” His gaze shot to Devon. “Excuse my language.”
Logan exhaled. “You said what we were all thinking.”
Her throat started to close. Before she threw up, she raced from the room. Trey had almost made love to her there on the couch. Right under this hacker’s eagle eye.
“Here,” Trey said.
Startled, she glanced to her left and found Trey holding out her leather jacket. She took the light summer coat he handed her because she needed something to hold on to, desperate to regain her bearings in a world that had tilted off its safe axis.
“I need some air. Let’s go for a ride,” Trey said.
“Where?” she asked, numb, sickened.
He extended his hand to her. “Anywhere.”
When she placed her hand in his strong, warm palm, he wrapped his fingers around hers. “Logan, we’re taking a drive,” he said. “Call when your crew is finished.”
Logan gave a single nod.
No explanation required.
Once Trey had navigated beyond town traffic, he veered onto a highway road and shifted into fifth gear. Then he reclaimed her hand, resting their joined fingers on her thigh. The comforting gesture radiated warmth up her arm, through her bloodstream, and settled like a tender glow against her heart. She didn’t have the energy to balk at her heart’s fluttering response. Maybe because she wanted, needed, his solid and reassuring touch.
With the convertible top down, wind whisking across her skin, they drove for forty-five minutes before Trey hit an unpaved road. To her surprise, he kept driving.
Gratitude welled in her chest. The man was genius. She hadn’t wanted to stand there, helpless, while strangers tore her home apart.
Somehow he’d seen through her fortified walls of self-reliance, and knew what she’d needed. She rested her head against the seat and let the wind coast through her fingers. So freeing. Like the time her mom had saved up a few extra dollars to take her on a train ride through an old mining town. She’d stuck her arm out the open window and hadn’t cared when the train spewed black dust that coated her arm. She’d rarely had opportunities to venture beyond their two-bedroom apartment in the city near the factory where her mom worked. Each new vista, even a one-hour train ride, was a big adventure. As Trey maneuvered up a steep incline to God-knew-where, a similar sense of anticipation cascaded through her.
The destination didn’t matter. The glimpse of remembered peace did. Those memories settled her down a little, helping to distance her from the horrifying idea that someone had planted cameras in her house, and he’d been watching her.
Eventually, Trey slowed his convertible, released her hand to downshift, and pulled off the road. He parked on a gravel strip, cut the engine and sighed. The relief etching his handsome face mirrored her own. Being in the mountains, away from the city, away from everything that was happening beyond her control, calmed her.
So quiet. So peaceful.
Just the song of crickets and the soothing drone of spring peepers. She sighed. “I love it here.”
He unbuckled his seatbelt and turned to her. “I know. It’s a kind of oasis, hidden away from the rest of the world.”
“Is it part of a park?”
Shrugging his big shoulders, he said, “I’m not sure. I don’t live far from here and found the place by accident.” He reached for the door handle. “Join me?”