Page 49 of Shiver

His eyes glittered and a muscle ticked in his cheek. “Kensey.”

“It’s not because of what happened out there.” I thrust a hand through my hair. “I didn’t think that his attention would move to you. I swear, I didn’t. It was bad enough that he followed you around and took pictures of you with your stepsister, the redhead, and your nephew. He sent them to me.” I licked my lips. “He called me while I was in the basement. Told me to come outside and see why you’re not for me.”

Blake swore. “The reporter. He was watching.” He whipped out his phone, tapped the screen a few times, and put it to his ear. “Do a scan around the club and check all the cameras, see if anyone’s loitering around. If there is someone, nab them.” His gaze cut to me. “No, she’s with me … She’s fine … I will.” With that, he ended the call.

“It really didn’t occur to me that he’d focus on you, I’m sorry.”

Blake snorted. “You think I give a shit about a reporter? It’s clear he doesn’t want me in your life. Why?”

“He’s not a reporter.” I took a centering breath. “His name is Ricky Tate. He’s a twisted fuck who believes that he’s Michael Bale’s biological son. He hates me. Sometimes he sees me as an imposter. Other times I’m his sister stealing all the attention. I haven’t heard from him in years. But recently …”

“Recently, what?”

The last thing I wanted to do was offload it on him, but he’d been brought into this now. He had every right to know exactly what he was dealing with. “First, he wrote a dumb story about me on an online writer’s community. A story based on my life. A story in which I died during the mugging two years ago.”

Blake’s hands clenched around the arms of my chair. “What would possibly inspire him to fuck with you by writing a story?”

I hesitated, biting my lip. “I’m trusting you with something big here. Bigger than even this Ricky mess. Something you can’t share.”

He rubbed my thighs. “Okay. What is it?”

I took a deep breath … and figuratively jumped. “I self-publish books under a penname. Horror books. Somehow, Ricky found out about it. He emailed me, posing as a fan, and included a link for a review he’d supposedly written on my book. Only there was no review. He wanted me to find that story he’d written. He was taunting me with what he knew.”

“The feather quill tattoo makes sense now. If you’re self-publishing books, I’d say you do more than ‘dabble,’ but we’ll get to that later. Now, what else has the bastard done?”

“He’s been inside my apartment.”

Blake’s jaw hardened. “While you were out or while you were there?”


He viciously swore. “Why the fuck didn’t you tell me? Did he hurt you?”

“No, he didn’t touch me. I didn’t even know he was there until much later. It only happened once.”

“You didn’t see him, but you know for sure this person is Ricky Tate?”

“Yes. I saw footage of him lingering outside CCC, watching the bar.” I absently rubbed at my arm. “I got myself a decent alarm system, and he went quiet. I thought maybe he was trying to lull me into a false sense of security so that I’d stop being so vigilant. But it turns out he’s been spending some time watching you.”

“And he was obviously looking for a way to make you get rid of me.” Blake scraped his hand over his jaw. “If his story ended with your death, he must want you dead.”

“He says he doesn’t.”

“But you don’t believe him,” Blake sensed.

“No, I don’t. But I believe that he just doesn’t have the stomach to kill me himself. He’s had opportunities to hurt me, but he didn’t. Hell, he videoed me in the shower with my own goddamn phone, Blake. I found the footage.”

There was a deathly silence. “Repeat that.”

“Going by the look on your face, I’m not sure I should.”

Blake ground his teeth so hard it was audible. “Have you told Bale about this?”

“Yes. At first, I thought that maybe this wasn’t really about me. Ricky’s obsessed with him. I wondered if Ricky was only doing this shit in the hope that I’d tell Michael, in which case he’d then get what he ultimately wants—Michael’s attention. But the longer this has gone on and the more things that Ricky has done, the more I’m thinking it’s not just a ploy for attention.”

Blake slowly and smoothly rose to his feet. “Who else knows about this?”

“My mom, Sarah, Sherry, Dodger, and Cade.”

His eyes flashed. “You trusted Cade with this, but not me.”

I almost rolled my eyes. “It’s not about trust. I didn’t want to bring others into my problems. Jesus, Blake, you’re in no position to judge me for keeping things to myself.”

His mouth snapped shut. Well, it wasn’t like he could argue with that, was it? But I could tell that he really, really wanted to. “Here’s what I’m going to do.”

I raised a brow. “You want to help?”

“You thought this would scare me off? That’s insulting.”

“Not scare you. But I did figure you wouldn’t want this crap in your life.”

“I don’t want it in your life. I’ll find Ricky Tate, and I’ll have a chat with him.”

Somehow, I didn’t think that he meant ‘chat’ in the literal sense of the word. It was more like he’d curse the son of a bitch while beating the living shit out of him. And I found that I was too upset and pissed off to care. “Cade already tried to find him. He couldn’t.”

“There are many ways to find people. I will find him. This will be dealt with.” Blake took my hands and gently pulled me to my feet. “I know it was hard for you to share this with me, so thank you.” He kissed me. “And thank you for not freaking out on me and running.”

“You would have just come after me.”

“You’re right; I would have.” There was a knock on the door, and Blake sighed. “Come in.”

I expected Rossi or Greg. My muscles tensed when none other than the redhead walked inside. This really wasn’t my night at all.

She beamed at him. “Hi, Blake, I—” Her eyes widened at the sight of me. “Oh. I’m sorry,” she told him. “I didn’t realize you weren’t alone. You don’t usually bring women up here.”

Blake slipped a proprietary arm around me. “Kensey, this is Tara, a friend. Tara, this is Kensey; she’s mine.”

Tara’s brows flew up so high they almost hit her hairline. I couldn’t be sure if Sarah was right that Tara had been to the bar to check me out—nothing about her was plucking at my shit memory. But even if she’d already known who I was before Blake introduced us, she clearly hadn’t expected him to state that I was his. Her shock was utterly genuine.

Quickly recovering from said shock, she came toward me with a breezy smile. “It wasn’t nice of him to keep you a secret, was it? Wow, you have really beautiful eyes.”

I blinked, thrown. “Um, thanks.”

Her gaze slid back to Blake. “I have an update for you, but it can wait. Call me tomorrow. We can have lunch or something. I’ll give Bastien a holler and let him know about it.” She nodded at me, a speculative glint in her eyes. “It was good to meet you, Kensey.”

Tags: Suzanne Wright Romance