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Frowning at his order, she did what he said anyway, not wanting him to be distracted. Seconds later he was inside, looking disheveled and frustrated.

“Are you okay?” She stepped toward him, worry flooding her.

His jaw tight, he nodded as he scrubbed a hand over his face. “I didn’t sleep with that woman.”

She blinked, surprised by the fear in his gaze. Fear that she wouldn’t believe him. Her heart squeezed. “I know.”

He stared at her for a long moment, his shoulders relaxing. “You do?”

She nodded. “You’re not like Andrew. I know that.”

It was almost like a weight lifted from him at her words. Before he could say anything else, she continued. “I called the police and they’re on their way.” As if on cue, the sound of sirens in the distance rent through the air.

“I called them too. Freaking nut job,” he muttered.

“Who is she and what does she want?”

For a moment he looked embarrassed, then just resigned. “We went on a few dates—but I never slept with her,” he interjected hastily, as if she’d be pissed about something he’d done in his past. “I ended things and apparently she’s a total nut. She uh, spray painted your car and when one of the guys tried to stop her she spray painted him. I could be wrong but I’m betting she’s behind your slashed tires too.”

That actually made more sense, especially since the cartel had no issue with her and she’d never been able to figure out how anyone had found out where she’d been staying so quickly. Despite the insanity of the situation, she let out a shaky laugh. “Is it crazy that I’m actually relieved it’s some nut job ex who trashed my car and not the Mexican cartel? I never thought I’d be saying that.”

Kell pulled her into his arms, his grip around her tightening as she laid her head against his chest. She inhaled, loving the spicy, masculine scent she could easily get addicted to. “We’ll press charges and so will the guard. She assaulted both of us and defaced your property. I doubt she’ll do much time, but I’ll also get a restraining order against her and see if Harrison can talk to the DA.”

Charlotte breathed in his spicy scent, letting it ground her. “We’ll figure everything out. At least I know life with you will never be boring,” she murmured against his chest.

He went impossibly still for a moment but as the police siren grew louder he stepped back, his expression carefully guarded. She wasn’t sure what she’d said to elicit that reaction, but she didn’t have time to dwell on it. “I’m going to check on Reece but I’ll be out here in a few minutes.”

After kissing him, she hurried to the back of the house. By now she was a pro at filling out police reports. She just hoped this was the last one she would have to fill out for a long time.

Chapter 11

Cecil stuck to the shadows next to the empty house across the street from his intended target. He’d gotten damn lucky with the help of an old friend from high school. After managing to get a copy of the police report on Mateo’s murder—no small feat in itself—he’d gotten the witness’s name and phone number. For the past couple weeks his friend had been trying to track the damn thing. Of course Cecil had to lie to him about what it was for because if he’d told the truth—that he planned to eliminate the owner of the number—he’d have been out of luck.

Watching the spectacle of the crazy blonde woman across the street, he realized he might be able to pin the planned murder on someone else. Or at least he wouldn’t be the only suspect once it all went down. What a fucking psycho.

The past couple weeks he’d been living in pay-by-the-hour motels and keeping a low profile and he’d been about to give up on her and just split town when his buddy had called with a hit.

A small part of him felt bad because she had a kid, but what the fuck ever. He’d grown up without a mom. Life wasn’t fair.

The only thing holding him up now was the obvious guards she had. Something that surprised him. Unfortunately he hadn’t been able to find out much about her. He could have had his friend get her info but that would have caused too many problems if the cops ever came sniffing around. Not to mention his buddy would have gotten nosy and probably figured out exactly why he was after her. As it was, Cecil had told him the woman owed him a shitload of money and he just wanted to collect his due.

He could hear sirens in the distance but he wasn’t too worried. The house he was hiding near was empty. A for sale sign stood in the front yard and one of the windows in the back didn’t have curtains or blinds, showing a clearly empty house. If he could figure out if the place was alarmed he might break in later. Once the cops had left of course.

The big guy who had been outside earlier strode back out with something in his hand. Cecil didn’t know his name but it was clear that the guy lived in the house and that he had some sort of training. Either one of the men could have hurt the blonde but they were carefully restraining her. Cecil squinted, trying to see what was in the guy’s hands. Flex-cuffs, he realized when the other man put them on the thrashing woman’s wrists behind her back.

She had to be on something, acting all crazy like that. The front door opened again, and the dark-haired beauty, Charlotte Bastien according to the police report, stepped out, but only a few inches. She still hovered in the doorway but the big guy must have heard her because he turned and shook his head, saying something too low for Cecil to catch.

Immediately the woman did as he said and moments later, the guy followed. Having seen enough for the time being, Cecil slipped back into the shadows. He couldn’t be sure but it looked like the woman lived there. Maybe with the guy. This was a really nice neighborhood and the fact that there had been a guard sitting across the street when the blonde maniac had showed up said that either she or the man she was with had serious money or connections. And she was being careful.

She couldn’t be stupid. She had to know he was out there and a real threat. Normally people were easier to target, but all he’d have to do was watch and wait. No one could be protected all the time. Once she was alone or he created a situation where he could make her that way, he’d strike.

But he wouldn’t make her suffer, and he’d try not to do it in front of her kid. He wasn’t into torture or any of that shit. He just wanted her dead so he could get the hell out of town and far away from Renaldo Diaz. One of the boys from the gang had told him Diaz was definitely hunting him and it was only a matter of time before that bastard found him.

Right now he was living on borrowed time unless he could flee Miami and start over. A new name, new city, new fucking life.

Chapter 12

Charlotte tried not to drool at the sight of Kell’s muscular arms as he leaned against the window of the driver’s side of her vehicle. Well his actually, since he was letting her drive his truck. The word ‘whore’ had been spray painted across her car so she wasn’t driving it anywhere until it was cleaned. She’d just gotten new tires and replaced her broken window from the previous damage and she really hoped she wouldn’t have to take her vehicle to the repair shop again after this.

The way he was propped up with his arms crossed over the top of the frame with him looking in at her was way too sexy. After that nut job had been arrested last night they hadn’t taken up where they’d left off in the kitchen. Reece had been fussy all night and she’d been too damn tired to even think about sex. Luckily Kell had been a huge help with their son. Amazing what a difference having another person around to help out could make.

“I don’t like letting you go alone,” he murmured, almost sulking. Which made him impossibly adorable. She didn’t want to go either, but she’d put her life on hold for weeks and it was time to get into a normal routine. And she wasn’t missing this meeting.

“I’m not alone. I’ve got a guard at all times.” Something she wasn’t complaining about. She was still freaked out that a murderer she’d seen was still out there, but she couldn’t remain in hiding forever. Vincent was in an SUV in the driveway right behind her and he’d be her shadow all day. While he might look like a pretty boy she also knew he’d been a SEAL and it was clear Kell trusted him. That alone spoke volumes. “Besides, you can’t miss this. It’s too important.”

He gritted his teeth for a moment, but finally nodded. “I know.”

There was a one-day local job for a senator’s son and the man had handpicked Kell because he knew him from his days with the FBI. Kell had saved the man’s life five years ago and considering how new he was with Red Stone there was no way he could turn this job down. It would look great for him at work and she didn’t want to take that away from him. Not when she was perfectly fine and protected. “I’ve got my phone on me and I swear I’ll answer it no matter what—except during my interview, but I’ll text you right before I go in and as I’m leaving.” She might not plan on going back to teaching for a few years but the past couple weeks had made it clear she needed to be doing something outside of the house for her own sanity.

She wanted to start working as a tutor at a local community center. It would only be a couple nights a week and her mother had agreed to help out with babysitting when Kell couldn’t watch Reece. Even though it was a volunteer position she still had to do a face-to-face interview.

Reece started fussing in the backseat so she leaned over to Kell and gave him a quick kiss. “I need to get him to my mom’s and you need to get ready.”

He looked hesitant but finally nodded. “You’ll answer any time I call?”

Fighting a grin, she nodded. “Yes.”

“Okay.” He motioned to Vincent who then reversed, leaving her enough room to back up. At first she’d been surprised that he wasn’t riding with them, but Kell had told her it was harder to tail two vehicles and they wanted to see if anyone followed her. Plus he’d given her a small gun for the drive over—though she wouldn’t be bringing it into the community center with her.