Page 17

His hand moved away from my bra, and I whimpered. But then he reached between us and, with incredibly nimble fingers, undid the bra quicker than it took me to fasten it. The material slipped down my arms and I let go of the window long enough for the bra to hit the floor. Cold air hit my chest, dueling with the heat battering me from the inside.

He wasn’t in front of me, but I knew he was looking at me. As tall as he was, it didn’t take much. There was a slight reflection of us in the window, and I could feel the intensity in his gaze. The tips of my breasts tightened even more, becoming almost painful.

Then his hands were on me, and my entire body sparked alive. His fingers moved over me, gently exploring the swell of my breasts, teasing the tips. He lowered his lips to the spot below my ear, pressing a hot little kiss there. “Dammit, Sydney.”

His fingers caught a nipple and I cried out, moving my hips back against his in a silent plea. Trailing kisses down my neck, over the slope of my shoulder, and all along, he kept touching me until my breasts felt heavy and swollen. It had not been like that with Nate.

Kyler nipped at the side of my neck. “You…you deserve better than this, baby. Dammit, you deserve better than this.”

I was pretty sure that I was getting exactly what I deserved—and happily, too. One of his hands left my breast and traveled down my stomach. With a flick of his finger, he undid the top button and slipped his hand into my jeans.

“Tell me to stop,” he said, kissing along my jaw. “Tell me.”

“No,” I breathed out. “I don’t want you to stop.”

He muttered something beyond my understanding, and then he kissed where my pulse pounded. His hand slipped under my panties and then he was cupping me with his long fingers. “You’re so ready for me, aren’t you?”

I flushed, sort of embarrassed because I was oh-so-ready, but then he moved his thumb against the center of me, and I cried out his name, shaking as sweetly sharp pleasure rose so quickly I was dizzy.

“God,” he groaned, his hips grinding against me as he worked a finger inside slowly. “You keep saying my name like that and this is going to be all over before it gets started.”

“Kyler,” I begged, because seriously, I was at the point of begging.

His finger hooked, and I was so close already. He started a slow rhythm that was so gentle that it bordered on madness. “You’re so tight,” he said, and I’d never heard his voice like that. Raw. Primal. “Damn, baby, you haven’t done anything since…?”

I shook my head. “No. No one since him.”

“That’s what I thought, but…” He shuddered, but his hand…his finger didn’t break rhythm. The slow, steady thrust built a fire inside me that quickly spread. My hips moved against his hand, and I could hear his soft breaths in my ear, and each time his hips pushed against mine, it brought me one step closer to release. Every muscle tightened, and I was going to explode. I was going to—

A loud crack whipped through the room like thunder, and the window in front of us exploded.

Chapter 12


Glass and snow flew into the air as I let out a surprised shriek. That was so not the kind of explosion I’d been aiming for.

Kyler spun around, using his body to block mine, but not before tiny sparks of pain lit up my chest and stomach. I gasped as cold air roared into the room and wind tore around us. A floor lamp toppled over. Paintings on the wall rattled.

“Holy fuck!” he shouted, bringing us down so that he was almost crouched over me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I carefully put my hands on the cool, wet floor. “You?”

“I’m good.” His hands slid down my bare back, and then he placed my sweater over me, wrapping it around my shoulders. “Stay down, okay?”

I nodded as I tugged on the sweater. Scooting on my knees to the wicker sofa, I looked over my shoulder. Kyler stood slowly, his hands balled into fists at his sides. “What happened?” I asked, shivering.

He moved closer to the shattered part of the glass. A whole section was gone. Jagged edges rose from the wooden pane. “I don’t see anything or anyone out there.”


“There aren’t trees close enough to do any damage to the back of the house.”

“But the wind—”

“The wind is strong enough to blow a fallen limb, but there aren’t any limbs down below.” He turned around, brushing his hair out of his face. When he saw me huddled against the sofa, his jaw hardened. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

I pulled the sweater closer, ignoring the raw stinging as it brushed against certain areas. There were more important issues. Like, for example, how a window had just blown up. “I’m okay, really. What do you think happened?”

Kyler shook his head as he knelt in front of me. “I don’t know. Maybe the window got so cold that when…” Was he blushing? “That when you pushed against it, it shattered? I don’t…What the hell?”

My heart skipped a beat. “What?”

He leaned over to the right and picked up something that was lying on the floor. In his open palm, I saw a small round pellet. “Son of a bitch,” he said, standing and whirling around in a graceful move I’d seen him pull off on a snowboard. “I’m not an avid hunter or anything, but this looks like goddamn buckshot.”

“What?” My shriek had to have burst his eardrums. “Are you serious?”

He nodded. “Fuck-a-duck, that’s what it looks like.”

I couldn’t believe it. “But doesn’t a buck shell, like, spread out? Wouldn’t we’ve been hit?”

“I don’t know.” He tipped his head back, and the edges of his brown hair grazed the collar of his hoodie. “If someone aimed for the top of the window, it has to be possible that the spray would’ve missed us.”

I shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with the cold. “You really think someone was aiming for us?”

Kyler said nothing.

“That’s crazy,” I whispered, and then added, louder, “Do you think it’s a good idea to be standing in front of the window, if that’s the case?”

“No one’s out there now, and neither of us was paying attention before…. Someone could’ve been standing right in the opening for all we know.”

“Watching us?” I was hot and cold all at once. Our eyes met, and then I looked away, swallowing against the sudden nausea. I’d been topless and his hand had been… Someone could’ve been watching that?

Someone with really bad aim?

“Could it have been someone hunting?” I asked, hopeful.

His brows formed a deep V. “In this kind of weather? It’s a blizzard out there.”

“It’s West Virginia. People hunt here in all kinds of conditions.”

Kyler turned back to the broken windowpane. “If that’s the case, a bear must’ve been hanging from our roof.”

I would have rather believed that than that someone actually had been shooting at us, but after the guy on the snowmobile I wasn’t so sure I could consider those two situations to be coincidences. But it didn’t make sense. I couldn’t imagine anyone being that mad at us. Fear trickled in, though, as icy as the wind.

What if that shot really had been on purpose?


Pure mother fucking rage boiled my blood, where, a few moments ago, a different kind of anger had been lighting me up from the inside. Lust fueled with an indignant disbelief and anger. Syd wanted me to fuck her like a one-night stand? Like that was all I was good for, and that would be good enough for her?

What. The. Fuck.

But really, that wasn’t the most pressing issue at the moment. I’d deal with that later.

My gaze traveled over the shattered window, stopping on the upper left corner. There was a tiny hole and the glass fissured out from that point, forming a spider web that spread up to the edge of the jagged shard.

I’d bet my rosy-red ass cheek that there were more little holes on the outside, closer to the fascia and gutter. Someone had aimed a fucking shotgun at the house. Whether or not they’d intended to hit either of us was up in the air. There was no way to control buckshot, but most people could get it to go in the general direction they wanted.

Son of a bitch.

Whoever was responsible for this had to have been out there, watching us for God knows how long. They would’ve seen everything. Syd had been partially exposed.

My hands curled into fists as heat traveled down my spine. I was going to kill someone.

“Is it okay if I stand?” Syd asked.

I nodded, and then glanced over my shoulder as she climbed to her feet. She looked incredibly small standing there, clutching the heavy sweater to her chest with her shoulders hunched over. Anger punched me in the gut, quickly followed by the sharp taste of fear, the kind of fear I’d never experienced before.

Syd could’ve been hurt, or worse. That was twice in a matter of two days. Horror and fury mingled inside me, forming a tangible ball that settled in my stomach. I could’ve lost her, and I honestly didn’t know what life would be like without Syd. I didn’t want to even think about that.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I asked again. “You’re not hurt or anything, right?”

She shook her head slowly. “I’m really fine. Just a little freaked out.”

I thrust my fingers through my hair. “I want you to stay out of this room, Syd. Hell, stay the fuck away from windows all together.”

“No problem.” She inched toward the doorway, stopping.

Our eyes locked, and a sweet flush spread across her cheeks and down her throat, to the edge of the sweater she still held. I wanted to go to her and take her in my arms and tell her everything was going to be okay, but I didn’t move.

She looked away first, biting down on her lower lip. I turned back to the window stiffly, knowing I should say something—something about what had happened between us. Under the anger and the fear for Syd, lust still simmered, but there was nothing to say at this moment…or nothing I was willing to say, at least.

I felt rather than heard Syd leave the room, and it made me all the more tense. Possibly being shot at was a real libido killer.

I needed to call someone—the state police—and see what we should do. The likelihood of anyone making it out for an investigation was slim, but I needed to report this.

My gaze narrowed on the snowy ground below. I didn’t want to think it, but I was a realist. I wasn’t sure we were so safe here anymore, and I also knew that everything had changed between Syd and me. And that change was irreversible.


Hurrying out of the sunroom, I went upstairs. It was much cooler up there in the hall and in my bedroom. Darkness was settling in, even though it was only late afternoon. I went into the bathroom, pushing the door closed behind me. Enough light came in from the window above the shower for me to see what was going on.

Standing in front of the mirror, I slowly unwrapped my sweater and winced when I got a good look at myself.