Font Size:  

I shook my head. “Yes, they are. And this isn’t how this works.”

“Yes, it is. In fact, let me make it clear to you—I’m going out to handle this, and you’re going to stay here and do what I say. Got it?”

I wanted to grab the nearest grocery bag and throw it at him.

“Let me get one thing straight with you, alright? I don’t know what we have going on here, exactly. But this is not the kind of relationship where you can just tell me what I can and can’t do.”

“It’s not about bossing you around, Georgia. It’s about keeping you and the girls safe. You have to trust me.”

“Safe from what? How the hell can I trust you when you won’t let me in on what’s going on? Telling me that it’s not my business, that I’m in danger, and that I have to hole up in my condo with the girls isnotan acceptable answer.”

I was frustrated as hell, and it was obvious that he was too.

“OK, let’s try this again. I’m going to go out there and see what’s happening. I need you to stay here—don’t leave the condo. When I’ve gotten this taken care of, I’ll explain everything to you.”

“No, not good enough. You’re not going to bark orders at me and expect total compliance. Understand? Now, here’smydeal—either you explain to me what’s going on and we handle this together,as a team, or you can leave right now and find someplace else to stay while you ‘take care of this’.”

He shook his head, not even debating the subject.


“I need to know who you are, why you’re bringing danger into my life. If you can’t sit down and talk with me right now, then I can’t have you here. Not with me, not with the girls.” I gestured to the small table in the breakfast nook, giving him a chance to put his stubbornness aside and sit down with me.

He glanced at the table, as if giving it a moment of consideration.

Without another word, he stormed out of the kitchen. I hurried after him, watching as he grabbed his duffel bag and went into the bathroom. I stood stunned, unable to believe that he was going to leave, that he’d rather walk out of my life than let me in.

He emerged a few moments later, dressed in jeans and a sweater.

“This is for your own good,” he said.

“Please tell me what’s going on.”

“Ican’t. None of it matters—not my past, not the details, none of it. Whatdoesmatter is keeping you and the girls safe. And that’s just what I’m going to do.”

“Then leave. You walked into my life out of nowhere, you can walk right back out of it.”

He gazed hard at me for a long moment before turning his head and striding toward the front door, bag in hand.

Seconds later, he was gone. I stood there stunned, tears in my eyes that I refused to let fall.

Chapter 26


Regret filled me as I drove toward downtown. Part of me wondered if I’d made the wrong call by not sharing with her who I was, where I’d come from, and why I needed to keep her and the girls safe.

I reminded myself that the less she knew, the better. The thought of Johnny and Nico deciding that Georgia knew too much and needed to be “dealt with” was enough to make me sick to my stomach and fill me with pure rage.

If Georgia wanted to hate me, that was her prerogative. The most important thing was to keep her and the girls safe, to make sure that neither Johnny nor Nico could lay a hand on them.

First stop was the grocery store. I pulled into the lot and looked around, knowing that the odds were poor that Johnny would still be there. He was a bit of an ape, but even so he wasn’t dumb enough to linger around like that.

Sure enough, I didn’t spot any sign of him. Next stop was my place. I headed down the main road of town and pulled onto my street, my heart beating fast. Being away from Georgia and the girls was torture. If it were up to me, I’d hurry back as quickly as I could and try to talk some sense into her. It was becoming abundantly clear, however, that Georgia was as stubborn as I was.

Could I blame her for how she’d reacted? She was right—I had barked orders at her and expected her to obey like a soldier.

I weaved down the road leading to my place. When I arrived, I pulled to a stop in front, glancing in every direction. I got out, stepped around to the trunk and opened it, taking out a tire iron and holding it at the ready. The woods around my cabin were still and quiet, no sign that anyone else was there.

Articles you may like