“That’s not me,” I interrupted him. “I was an only child, and my family died in 9/11.”
His lips pressed together, and then he asked rather coolly, “An ex-boyfriend who meant a lot to you perhaps?”
“My last boyfriend cheated on me,” I told him wryly, “so you have nothing to worry—-”
“Good.” Hadrian dropped a quick, hard kiss over my mouth right after, and it still had my toes curling even though it hadn’t lasted longer than a second.
“You are surprisingly primitive,” I teased him, and true enough, Hadrian didn’t even bother denying the words and simply acknowledged it with a casual take-it-or-leave-it shrug.
“If you no longer have any questions—-”
“I do,” I said right away.
“It will cost you a kiss—-” Hadrian’s silver eyes gleamed in amusement with the way I was already on his lap and pressing my lips to his even before he had finished speaking.
I smiled down at him. “I’m not the type to play hard to get.”
“I noticed.” His voice was a languid purr once more, and the way he stroked my hip was as sensual as it was possessive.
“First question: how do I figure out what my unfinished business is?”
“Revisit your past. Keep digging until you find your answer.”
I kissed him again and then pulled back to ask my next question. “Will I see my family in the Isle of the Blessed?”
“If you’ve all been similarly judged, yes.”
Something flickered in his eyes then, and I was summarily startled when Hadrian gently stroked my cheek with the pad of his thumb. “What is it?” I asked, concerned.
“Tell me the truth, Saoirse.”
“Are you in a hurry to move on?”
My heart skipped a beat, and I heard myself ask, “Is that your way of asking me to stay?”
I took his hand and pressed my lips to his knuckles, saying simply, “Yes.”
Why is it that people who turn into zombies also seem to shed off IQ points the way snakes shed their scales? Why can’t it be the same for ghosts? Can’t God make the scariest ghosts dumber so I won’t have such a hard time avoiding them?
HADRIAN RECEIVED A call from CSI shortly after breakfast, and I was quick to say yes when he asked if I wanted to accompany him to work. For one thing, I was truly interested to know what the latest update on his case was, but another equally important motivation for me was that I simply didn’t want to be alone. Being on my own would mean I’d have to worry about other ghosts trying to make contact with me, and…oh!
I blinked in surprise when Hadrian cupped my elbow just as I was about to slip my feet into my shoes.
“Another surprise.” I saw his gaze stray towards the doorway, followed his line of sight, and that’s when I saw the new pair of kitten heeled shoes waiting for me. He came to stand behind me, and his breath teased my ear. “Give them a try?”
And of course, they fit perfectly.
I twirled around in my new heels, and I saw him smile.
“Like it?” he asked huskily.
And I did, I really did, but it also made my heart ache with a bittersweet sense of pain. Stop wishing for the impossible, Saoirse. It should be enough that I had found him, even though I was already dead.
With other living people around, Hadrian and I didn’t bother talking to each other on our way down, and he had already been driving for more than a few minutes when I remembered something that had been nagging at me while I was washing the dishes.
How was it that the entire time I was with Hadrian, not a single ghost had come to bother me? I hadn’t seen them lurking in the shadows, hadn’t heard any disembodied voices, hadn’t even felt the hairs on my skin stand for a second.
“Why is that?” I asked curiously after sharing with him my observations.
“About that…” Hadrian seemed to be picking his words with care. “Remember when I said there were two things that made you different?”
I frowned. “Yeah.”
“This is the second thing,” he said finally. “My…job makes ghosts instinctively fear me—-”
So he was a bounty hunter, after all.
“You, on the other hand…”
That was my light bulb moment, and I gasped out loud. “That’s why you didn’t know I was a ghost at the start.”
“Well, well, well.” I flipped my hair over my shoulder. “I really am different, aren’t I?” I couldn’t help feeling – and sounding – a little smug, and I didn’t even mind at all when I saw Hadrian roll his eyes. Unfortunately, the smugness was short-lived when I saw him driving into another hospital parking lot.
My gaze quickly sized up the place as Hadrian went around to open my car door. Roger Hills Hospital. Small. Old. Shit, shit, shit. The older the place, the more ghosts there were. And this hospital?