And I just might do that if I don’t get a fucking grip on myself.

“You have a new reality, Amy. You can walk out of this house at any time, taking your daughter with you,” I say as I open the door connecting the garage to the house.

Walking into the kitchen, I toss the zip tie in the garbage can, then head to the fridge for something cold and preferably alcoholic.

“What… What do you mean?”

Not looking at her, because then I’d want her lips, I say, “Exactly as I said. You can walk out that door right now. I won’t hold you here.”

It’s obvious she’s not all looks though when she asks, “What’s the catch?”

“You will have the life expectancy of five hours. The Russians will be looking for you soon. They don’t like it when one of their rich boys go missing. They will find you, then they will ask you questions you don’t have answers to. When you can’t tell them what they want to know, they’ll get rid of you. If you’re lucky, they’ll put you down like an old horse. But more than likely they’ll sell you off to a slave ring.”

She lets out a very quiet sigh as she asks, “Or?”

Turning to her, I hold out a bottle of beer. “You and Abigail stay here with me. Under my protection.”

She shakes her head at the beer. I shrug and put it back in the fridge. Closing the fridge, I pop the top of my bottle and set it on the counter to take off my suit jacket.

“What, like your sex slave?”

Growling, I say, “I don’t use women like that. I’ve said that already, and I hate repeating myself.”

“What happens when your boss, Lucifer, doesn’t want us around anymore?”

“You’ll be mine, so that won’t happen.”

Growling right back at me, she says, “I’m not anyone’s!”

“We’ll see,” I say as I leave the kitchen. Then I shout over my shoulder, “I wouldn’t bother running to your aunt’s. That’s the first place anyone would check.”



The man from the shadows, the man Lucifer called Andrew, walks into his living room, sits down on his couch, and flips on his TV like it’s the most normal thing in the world. He kicks his feet up, propping them up on his coffee table, and leans back, taking a deep drink from his beer.

From the kitchen, I watch with dismay as he lifts his remote and starts flipping through channels.

Shaking my head, I try to clear it.

I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone… That’s the only thing that makes sense.

An hour ago, I was in a dark, grimy warehouse with that man and my life was in peril. Now we’re here, in this perfectly normal looking house, and he’s drinking a beer while watching the sports channel.

I don’t even know how to begin coping with this.

I could try to make a run for it. Looking towards the door, it’s tempting as hell. My hand longs to reach for the handle, my fingers ache to twist it open to freedom.

And he’s not even bothering to keep me from doing it.

But then, that only makes his earlier warning seem that much more legit.

No doubt he’s not trying to prevent me from leaving because he was being completely honest.

I’m a dead woman if I walk out that door. I’m trapped here with him.

Unless that’s just what he wants me to believe…

Fuck. What do I do? Do I risk it?

Unable to bring myself to join him in front of the TV, I pace back and forth in his kitchen, trying to come up with a plan. There has to be a way to get Abigail and I out of this mess.

But even if I were able to get us away, where would we go? They already know about my aunt, and she’s the only family I have. I do have a little bit of money saved up, but it’s not much. After Ivan got me fired from my job because I used it as an excuse to avoid going out with him, I’ve had a hell of a time trying to find another position.

We could make a run for Mexico… but with the cartels there, we’re probably better off heading for Canada. I could rent a car and ditch it as soon as we make it across the border but then what? I don’t exactly have the connections to start over. We would need new identities and the papers to go with them.

Fuck, I don’t even have our real identities. I don’t have my purse or my wallet, and I have no idea where I left them.

Coming to a stop, I lean against the wall and have the strongest urge to bang my head against it. I feel so stupid for getting myself in this mess. I feel so stupid for being flattered by Ivan’s attention.