The Beautiful Ashes Page 6

’’If we\ e not here so you can kill me and bury my body in an empty plot, what else is there to do at a cemetery?’’ I asked with admirable calm.

He laughed, the deep, masculine rumble teasing something inside me that was too stupid to realize kidnappers were off-limits. That\s why I refused to notice the chin dimple it revealed, or how his lower lip was fuller than the top one.

’’Lots of things, but we\ll get to that later.’’

’’Sure there\s going to be a later?’’ I challenged him.

’’Of course.’’ Another tantalizing smile. ’’Since you and I are from the same line, you\ll be seeing a lot more of me.’’

Line? ’’You think we\ e related?’’

His gaze brushed me like a physical caress. ’’Not like that, thankfully. That would make our first date awkward.’’

I stared at him in disbelief. ’’You\ e hitting on me?’’ I finally managed. ’’Do you have any idea how twisted that is?’’

He shrugged. ’’I don\ do subtle, it wastes time. Besides ’’ the silvery part of his eyes gleamed like liquid moonlight ’’ if you say you don\ find me attractive, I\ll know you\ e lying.’’

Under other circumstances, I might have blushed at being busted ogling someone I\d just met, but my kidnapper was hitting on me! Should that make me more afraid, or less? He\d already saved my life once and had had plenty of chances to harm me since, yet he hadn\ .

Plus, I wouldn\ be much fun as a date if I was dead.

’’How about we hold the date talk until you give me the answers you promised?’’ I said, part of me wondering if tonight could get any stranger. The other part felt happy for the first time in over a week. Stupid ovaries. Down, girls, down!

Adrian\s expression turned serious. ’’I\m taking you to the person who can give you those answers.’’

’’Zach?’’ I asked, remembering Adrian mentioning the name.

’’That\s him. This cemetery is almost five hundred acres, so if you don\ want to spend hours walking around in the cold ’’ he went over to the passenger side of the vintage-looking muscle car and opened the door ’’ get in.’’

He was giving me a choice. Or at least, the illusion of one. If I ran, we both knew he could catch me.

The car\s interior light showed a hint of stubble trying to break through the smooth skin along his jaw, shadowing it in a way that was far too attractive. His exotic accent wasn\ helping, either. If I was ever kidnapped again, it had better be by an old, ugly guy. That would be less confusing to my emotions.

And less embarrassing. What idiot got caught lusting over her kidnapper? No wonder he\d asked me out. He must have thought I gave ’’easy’’ a whole new definition.

I walked over, thinking that even if I could run away from him, I wouldn\ . My sister was trapped in a place that shouldn\ be real, yet somehow was, and Adrian was my only ally because he could see the same crazy things that I did. More importantly, Adrian had proven that he was able to kill those things.

If he was able to help me save my sister, I\d not only take him up on his date offer. I\d pay for everything and seriously consider putting out.

I got in the passenger side, hearing the door lock as soon as he shut it. I tried to open it. Nothing. My sense of unease returned. What kind of person saved people just to kidnap them, and had a vehicle you could only exit from the driver\s side?

Then again, as Adrian slid into the seat next to me with an almost spooky fluidity, I realized what kind of person he was might be less important than what he was.

Chapter four

Whoever had designed Green-Wood cemetery must have done so while puking drunk since it lacked a single straight road. I felt like we were driving through a child\s maze game with all the twists and turns. Then again, maybe lots of cemeteries were laid out like this. I wouldn\ know. I\d never been in one before. My parents\ funeral wasn\ until the day after tomorrow, both sets of my grandparents had died before my birth, and neither of my parents had siblings or cousins. Until ten days ago, I hadn\ lost anyone close to me.

Now, I\d lost everyone, and while I buried my grief with the same determination I\d used to ignore seeing impossible things, it wasn\ enough. When Adrian drove by a large tomb engraved ’’Beloved Parents,’’ the ache that had burned in my throat since their deaths grew into an impassable boulder.

Adrian stopped the car at the same time that I suddenly found it difficult to breathe.

’’What\s wrong?’’ he asked urgently. ’’You see something?’’

I shook my head, managing to draw in a breath despite that awful squeezing in my throat.

’’Ivy.’’ A large hand cupped my face, forcing me to look at him instead of the headstone. ’’What is it?’’

Right then, I was glad that Adrian was so hot. Thank God for the deep hollows under his cheekbones, those sapphire eyes, and the blondish-brown hair that looked like it had been tousled from too much se*. If I hadn\ had his looks to distract me, I might\ve had to focus on how bad it hurt to lose two people who\d never let me down, even when I\d been a stranger to them.

’’It\s just...my parents died five days ago.’’

My voice was husky from the emotions I kept trying to shove back, but the strangling tightness had eased. Another few deep breaths, and all that was left was a familiar burn.

’’I\m sorry,’’ Adrian said, taking my hand and squeezing it.


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