“Leads you to hell every time.”
“My family feared so.”
“Are you sorry you told me?” Truman asked. Guilt still weighed on him for pressuring her to bare her secret.
She considered him for a long moment. “No. I feel relieved.”
“You think the second person who was at your attack might be the one who followed you—possibly twice this week.”
Her shoulders tensed again. “It’s a possibility, but it seems like a slim one. On the other hand, I don’t have any enemies in town that I know of. But I can’t imagine that someone involved in those murders would stick around Eagle’s Nest for fifteen years.”
“It’s a town that few people seem to leave.” Truman glanced at the clock on the fireplace mantel. It was nearly two a.m. “Crap. I need to get up in three hours.”
Mercy didn’t move. He’d expected her to make a beeline for the door, but he noticed her green eyes were calm for the first time in several hours. “I don’t want to go back to my room right now . . . ,” she said slowly. “I can’t be alone. Do you care if I sleep on your couch for a few hours?”
His mind shot to several places, but he heard himself say, “No problem. It makes sense considering you might have been followed tonight—by someone other than me. You sure that’s what you want?”
She relaxed and smiled. “Yes. Give me a blanket and I’ll be asleep in two minutes.”
He got her a blanket and showed her the guest bath. If he’d purchased a bed for his guest room, she could have slept there. But it held a treadmill and a weight bench. The couch was all he had to offer.
He handed her a pillow. “Need anything else?”
“No. I’m so tired, I could sleep standing up. I guess confession is exhausting.”
“You’ve been carrying that around for a long time by yourself.” He couldn’t imagine.
“I got used to it, but it’s been worse since I came back here. There are visual reminders everywhere. Back in Portland, I can forget. Mostly.”
He told her good night.
As he crawled into his own bed minutes later, he wondered if he’d be able to sleep knowing Mercy Kilpatrick was asleep under his roof. He spent ten minutes reviewing his day and thinking on her dilemma.
She’d dumped a lot of information on him in the last few hours, and none of it changed his perspective of her. Mercy was still a fiercely independent woman and an experienced, sharp agent. If anything, he admired her more.
He wanted to help her; it was what he did. But his goal felt different this time. It wasn’t solely about helping her; he had an additional motive.
He wanted to be with her.
“What the hell?” Mercy circled her vehicle again. Sure enough. All four tires were flat.
Truman stepped out of his house and locked the door, and she glanced up in time to see a big smile on his face. He’d been grinning since he’d discovered her in his kitchen with a spoon in his peanut butter. She’d woken up starving.
“What the fuck?” He came to a halt and his grin vanished as his gaze went from her face to her tires. “All of them?” he asked in a grim tone.
“No.” He glanced across the street. “None of my neighbors have them either.”
“I’ll drive you to the police station and call the garage. He’ll get you fixed up in no time.”
Mercy pressed the palms of her hands against her eyes. “How am I going to explain this?”
“Why do you have to explain flat tires? It’s clearly vandalism.”
She removed her hands and glared at him.
“Oh.” His grin came back. “This does look bad.”
He was enjoying her discomfort too much. Her phone vibrated with a text, and she pulled it out of her pocket. Eddie.
Where are you?
It’d begun. She replied that she was at the Eagle’s Nest police station. “Let’s go,” she told Truman. “I just told Eddie I’m already at the station. Maybe he won’t notice that my vehicle isn’t.”
She was silent on the short ride to the police station, her brain spinning as she tried to come up with a way to explain why her vehicle was at Truman’s. She wasn’t ready to tell anyone about her cabin or the attack fifteen years ago, so she couldn’t tell anyone that she’d been followed and had stayed at Truman’s because it’d been a draining day of confession.
“You’re overthinking,” Truman stated, keeping his gaze on the road to town.
“I’m not ready to blab the private parts of my life to everyone,” Mercy admitted. “You were the first, and I think telling one person is enough for this month. Probably enough for the year.”
“Who do you think slashed your tires?”
“Two possibilities: it was random or it was deliberate. If it was deliberate, my money is on whoever was at the cabin last night. He must have seen your department vehicle parked out on the main road. Checking out your house seems a logical thing to do.”
She saw a muscle in his jaw twitch and his eyebrows lower.
“I don’t like the thought of that,” he mumbled.
“You’re not the only one.”
“I wonder if they checked Sandy’s Bed & Breakfast first. And when they saw your vehicle wasn’t there, they went to my house.”
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