A cab honks at our driver and I have nothing to go on but instinct that tells me I can trust him, but it has never failed me. Not even when I took the job at the museum that I knew was a mistake. The horn blasts again and I go with my gut. I get in the car. Liam follows me inside and shuts the door.
“Where are we going?” the driver calls over his shoulder, pulling away from the curb.
I quickly slide my bag from my lap to the seat in between Liam and me, and I’m suddenly too nervous to look at him. He’s experienced in ways I can’t even pretend to be, in ways the few men I have dared to date have not been. Worldly in ways I once thought I’d be.
And with the folder I’ve been given by my handler opened, I read out my new address, trusting him at a time when trust is the last thing I should be dishing out.
“I approve,” Liam says as I seal the zipper up again.
“Approve?” I ask, daring to look at him, aware of him on every level. His size. His spicy scent. The burn of his anger in the depth of his stare over my leaving him behind that hasn’t quite faded.
“The location your new boss picked for you. It’s a safe area.”
I seize the opportunity to know more about this man I am risking so much, perhaps too much, for. “You know Denver that well?”
“Yes. I know Denver quite well.”
“Did you design another building here?”
“The tallest one downtown.”
“I thought you weren’t into the whole ‘bigger is better’ thing?”
“It was a notch on the proverbial bedpost of a young architect.”
I can’t help but wonder if I’m setting myself up to be a notch on his proverbial bedpost as well. “You’re still young.”
“I started young, so I seem younger than one would think a seasoned architect might be.”
“When you say started young that means what?”
“I was an apprentice to a very famous architect from the time I was thirteen until he died four years ago.”
“Thirteen? You started your career at thirteen?”
“I started my training at thirteen.” He lowers his voice. “You do know I couldn’t let you run, don’t you?”
“If you think that, then why’d you come after me?”
“Because you didn’t want to run. You just thought you had to.”
“That’s a little arrogant.”
“It’s honest. I like honesty.”
I like it too, but I can’t give it to him. This ride was a mistake. “Liam—”
He closes the distance between us, moving my bag out of the way, his powerful leg pressed to mine, his fingers sliding into my hair. I am shocked. I am excited and scared, frozen and burning up at the same time. “Do you know how much I like it when you say my name?” he asks, his voice a soft, seductive purr.
Nerves and heat collide like fire in my belly. He likes when I say his name? This man who is overwhelmingly male, a powerful force like none I have ever experienced? “I don’t know what to say to that.” And it is as honest an answer as I’ve given anyone in years.
“You don’t have to know, Amy. It’s okay not to know.”
For the second time today, he has spoken words straight to my soul. Relief that reaches so far beyond this moment in time, and my possible response to his statement, flows through me.
This is why I’m in this car, why I am drawn to this man. He makes me feel I don’t have to hold the world up on my own. And as crazy as it is, from the moment my eyes met his in the terminal, he has had a way of making me feel I am not alone.
His thumb runs over my bottom lip and a shiver trickles down my spine. I think he will kiss me. I want him to kiss me. But he doesn’t. “Soon,” he promises, as if responding to my silent plea, as if he knows how much I crave his mouth on mine. His cell phone rings, but for a moment he ignores it to add, “And not soon enough.”
He moves away from me and I want to pull him back. I want to feel his hands on my body again, his leg pressed to mine. But he is already answering his call, and too easily dismissing what I cannot. “Yes,” he says to his caller. “I’m here.”
My fingers curl, nails digging into my palm. I have no one to call and ask if I’m here. I have only me and no matter how drawn I am to Liam, if today has proven anything to me it’s that there can always be only me. But as I glance at Liam’s strong profile, I pretend he is truly with me. And that I am truly with him. It is a small dream in the middle of a nightmare.
Thirty minutes after we leave the airport, the Town Car pulls to a stop at a destination.
Liam grabs my bag and exits street side while the driver opens my door. I step outside, enjoying a cool evening breeze that drives home the fact that I am no longer in New York. Scanning my surroundings, I appear to be standing in the center of high-end restaurants and stores where, despite the late hour of nearly midnight Mountain Time, people are casually strolling the sidewalks and the city is far from dead.
With my apartment key in my hand, I glance behind me to find more stores and a hotel, and then forward again where apartment balconies seem to sit above the retail stores.
“Hang onto my bags,” I hear Liam tell the driver, before he joins me, my joke of a suitcase and my bag in tow. “What apartment number?”
“222, but I don’t see an entrance.”