Ten minutes later, I hear the front door open and voices fill the inside. That’s when I unstuck myself to find my daughter laughing with her Aunt K, something I haven’t seen her do in weeks. I join them to devour my cup of Triple Chocolate Ganache. After that, I crawl alone into bed and cry silently until sleep takes pity on me and whisks me away.
Blackness fills the room when I startle from a deep sleep. I thrust a hand out to my nightstand to locate my phone, click it on, and read the time. 5:45. Releasing my stomach muscles, I settle back onto the bed with a grunt.
My eyes flutter closed. An alarming beat comes from the front door. Loud and incessant, I realize sleepily the sound must have initially woken me up. I have one guess who’s at the door, and that knowledge causes me to bury my head back beneath the pillow and continue to snooze.
If he hasn’t already, he’s about to wake Evelyn. The momma bear alerts in me. My daughter’s had enough nightmares since the accident messing with her sleep. Therefore, I text him to tell him to shut up and that I’ll be there in a second.
Not needing to allow him the pleasure of seeing me in my silk robe again, I jerk on a pair of jeans, fuzzy socks, and stretch a knit sweater over my head. The tragic case known as my hair is knotted into a messy bun as I trudge down the hall.
As I near the front door, a suspicious rectangle hanging from the peephole catches my eye. As I draw closer, I note a folded piece
of paper. I scan it, curl it in my fist, and wrench open the door without first checking outside.
“Are you responsible for this?” I grumble at Law, indicating the note in my hand from Kiersten. She and Evelyn supposedly snuck out early this morning for breakfast. She’s bat-shit crazy if she assumes I don’t know my own daughter and that dragging her out of bed before ten is a near impossible feat. Which means she had some extra help.
Awaiting his answer, I glare at him and ignore the way my stomach flips at the sight.
The porch light bathes him in a glow, shadowing areas of his face and highlighting his best features. Like the smooth curve of his nose, and the dip between his nose and upper lip.
With his eyes intense on mine, he circles his fingers around my wrist and tugs sharply. In one fluid movement, he scoops me into his arms before I hit the ground. He still hasn’t uttered a word when he reaches around to lock my door and secures it.
“Law! What’re you doing?”
“Quiet,” he murmurs gently.
“Shush. The neighbors are sleeping.” The grin spreading across his face reveals his teasing disposition.
My heart thumps wildly in my chest. I clutch his neck and hold on. What’s going on? The question remains locked behind my lips.
His truck waits in my driveway, a heavy-looking tarp covering the bed. My interest is piqued, but not by much. He’s a contractor. He probably keeps supplies in there he doesn’t want left exposed to the elements.
Law loads me straight into the passenger seat. The protest dies on my lips when he raises his head, and his eyes catch mine. The grayish-green color is alert and darker than usual. He runs the back of his knuckles over my cheek.
“Do you trust me?”
“Yes.” The speed the word leaves my mouth doesn’t surprise me, but Law’s body startles.
His teeth sink into his lip tantalizingly. “Okay, then.”
Fingertips graze my hip as he reaches for the seatbelt. With purpose, he runs the metal tip over my abdomen on its way to the buckle. Butterflies race in my stomach and a tingle erupts between my legs. He reaches the other side and the distinct click echoes in the truck.
After quickly brushing a hair off my cheek, he slams the door and climbs in his side, fires up the engine, and whisks me away.
Law deflects my questions by ignoring me. He turns the radio up and drops his hand to my thigh.
Instead of pressing it, I relax my head against the seat and close my eyes. Excitement keeps me awake, but that doesn’t mean I’m not tired at six in the morning. A coffee would have been a nice addition to this rare excursion.
We travel about twenty minutes, winding through town and exiting in the other direction on highway 31. The sky changes to hues of pink and purple with the impending sunrise. Excitement, nerves, and a hope I’m too frightened to examine fill me at the same time. As if he senses my unease, he squeezes my leg in comfort.
The truck slows and swings right onto an unmarked road. Trees whip by the window as he speeds across the rugged earth. Through the windshield is nothing but snow, not an actual road. Up ahead, a field emerges. Law slows, executes a three-point turn, and backs the truck deep into the open space.
“Where are we?” I don’t expect an answer. With the hand paused on my thigh, he squeezes, then exits the truck and leaves me behind.
If he’s waiting for me to follow, he has another think coming. I don’t even have boots on. He stole me from my house without allowing me a chance to get them.