The Beautiful Ashes Page 5

’’You picked truth, remember?’’ was his infuriating response.

I swear, the first heavy object I got a hold of...! ’’You didn\ give me that, either.’’

’’Yes, I did.’’ He said it with a heavy-lidded, backward glance that would\ve made me straighten up and smile if he\d done it while we were sitting at a bar. ’’Just not all of it, but don\ worry. We\ e here.’’

With that statement, Adrian turned down a long road that led to a set of soaring, elaborately carved gates.

’’Wait a sec while I open the gates,’’ he said, turning the car off and taking the keys with him.

I waited...until he was far enough away for me to make my move. Then I leaped over the seats. When I yanked on the driver\s side door, however, a large hand on the window prevented it from opening.

’’Why am I not surprised?’’ Adrian said with irony dripping from his tone.

I stared at his hand, as if that could explain how the rest of him was attached to it. A second ago, he\d been in front of those barbarically ornate gates, doing something that caused them to swing open with a mechanical moan.

No one could move that fast. Or, more accurately, no one should be able to move that fast.

’’What are you?’’ I breathed.

His teeth flashed in a smile that was predatory and se*y at the same time.

’’A couple hours ago, I wondered the same thing about you.’’

Me? Before I could ask what he meant, he opened the door and let me out. Ice raced through my veins when I saw the knife in his other hand. That was also the moment when I noticed the sign on the gates: Green-Wood Cemetery.

’’Don\ ,’’ I gasped.

He raised a brow, cutting through the duct tape around my wrists. ’’You\ e the one who wanted to be untied.’’

My arms fell to my sides while relief roared over me, replacing the surge of fear-fueled adrenaline. Just as quickly, something snapped inside me. All the grief, anger, fear and frustration of the past ten days hurtled through my defenses, turning me into someone I didn\ recognize.

A rage monster.

My hand cracked across Adrian\s face with enough force to make it tingle and burn, and still, it wasn\ enough. I began beating on his chest, part of me horrified by my actions, but the rest urging me to hit him harder.

’’What is the matter with you?’’ I yelled. ’’You pull out a knife with no explanation? I thought you were going to kill me!’’

Adrian grabbed my hands. Any sane person would have recognized how overmatched I was and calmed the hell down, but I was way past sanity. With my hands out of commission, I kicked his shin hard enough to send pain shooting up my leg. He grunted, backing me up until I was pressed against the car hood. Now I had a wall of steel behind me and a wall of muscled flesh on top of me.

’’Stop it,’’ Adrian ordered, his strange accent thicker with his vehemence. ’’I promise, I\m not going to hurt you!’’

My breath came in pants. Adrian countered my attempt to drop down and wiggle free by pressing his thigh between my legs. I stopped that course of action at once, which was the same as admitting defeat. I couldn\ use my arms to push him away. He felt more solid and heavy than a stone gargoyle.

’’Get off me,’’ I said between ragged breaths.

’’Not until you calm down,’’ he replied sternly. Then the barest grin tugged at his mouth. ’’Feel free to take your time.’’

I glanced down, only now registering that my br**sts were pressed against his chest just as tightly as his thigh was wedged between my legs. Any movement on my part caused an embarrassingly personal friction, as if inhaling each other\s breaths while we panted wasn\ intimate enough.

I tried to slow my breathing, not to mention my galloping heartbeat. If not for his grin, I wouldn\ have known he thought anything of the compromising position he had me in.

If nothing else, he didn\ seem angry that I\d slapped, kicked and pummeled him. Now that my reckless rage had passed, I realized how stupid I\d been. One punch from his massive fist would\ve meant lights out, but he hadn\ hit back. Instead, he\d promised that he wouldn\ hurt me. Despite his kidnapping me and his refusal to give me answers about what was going on, I decided to believe him.

’’Sorry I attacked you,’’ I said, my voice no longer shrill.

He shrugged like he was used to it. ’’Don\ worry. You were overdue for a breakdown, anyway.’’

Just how many people have you kidnapped? I almost asked. Since I didn\ really want to know, all I said was, ’’Can you get off me? You\ e heavy.’’

He slowly uncurled his body from mine, but that silvery blue gaze stayed glued to me. I shivered, suddenly aware of how cold it was, now that I wasn\ covered by over two hundred pounds of warm-blooded male.

Adrian shrugged out of his coat, revealing a crew-neck black shirt that hugged his physique like it was paying homage. Of course he\d noticed the shiver. I wondered if anything escaped those piercing eyes.

I put it on. The hem had been midcalf on him;it pooled on the ground with me. I\d never felt dainty around a guy before. I was comfortable at a size eight because I didn\ have to starve to maintain it, and my five-six height meant I could usually wear heels without being taller than my dates. Next to Adrian, however, I seemed to drop twenty pounds while also shrinking a few inches. Of course, his bulk was all muscle. Feeling him on top of me had made that clear....

I nixed that line of thought before it led to other, more dangerous musings, and tightened his coat around me.


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