Cover Design: RBA
Photo: Eric Battershell
Model: Johnny Kane
turn, and trouble finds me.
with good reason.
now she’s my downfall.
My insides are atomic, hot and fracturing into a million shards of emotion.
Anger slices my gut like a blade. This woman keeps popping up at the most inconvenient times.
Confusion. With her long cornflower-blue dress and leather jacket, hands laden with grocery bags, she is so out of place amidst the chaos.
Unease. I want her gone with a blink of an eye. Guys with guns are breathing down my back, and she’s now in the line of fire.
Resentment. What if she isn’t in harm’s way but also here for me? There’s no evidence to suggest she’s carrying out orders, but it would be a mistake to dismiss the idea.
My competing thoughts only make it harder to concentrate. I’ve got bigger problems with Drago’s men gaining on me.
I dive for the elevator, shielding her and we crash to the floor. I may not trust her, but I won’t have her blood on my hands. And if she’s here for me too, then I’ll deal with her.
“Get off me!” She pushes at my chest, oblivious to the danger.
I jump to standing and press my finger on the close button. Two Russian behemoths run our way, surprisingly fast for their size.
“Oh my God!” Her eyes widen at the guns aimed at us. “Shut the door!”
“What the fuck do you think I’m doing?”
My finger threatens to snap at the pressure I have on the button, and I prepare to fight if they get in the elevator.
The big guy on the left pulls the trigger and the bullet hits the wall. Her scream pierces the confined space and she wedges herself into the corner of the tin can. Terrified eyes bore into me as if I’m shooting at her and the elevator doors slide closed, separating us from the men.
I sink to the floor and rest my head on the wall for a beat or two, struggling to gain composure. Its short-lived with the heat of her savage glare burning my skin.
She slides her back up the wall, using it for support. “What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me?”
Her frenetic tone pinches at whatever is left of my patience, and I mash my lips together to keep from losing it. I could have left her in the hall with those assholes. They wouldn’t have thought twice about killing her.
Fruit—oranges, lemons, avocados, and bananas—litters the floor along with fresh meat, a box of Oreos, and other groceries.
Needing a moment of peace, I close my eyes, licking my dry lips. It’s a mistake. She lunges for me, feral and violent, shoving at my chest. Her eyes are glassy with unshed tears, her long hair wild and cheeks flaming.
“Answer me, dammit!” She beats on me; her blows hurt, but not nearly as much as a bullet would. “How the hell are we going to get out of here alive?”