Witness to Passion

By: Naima Simone

“That’s ridiculous,” he snapped. “And I don’t care if you were a carrier for the goddamn plague. You. Should’ve. Called. Me. Your life was at stake. To hell with feelings.”

And didn’t that just sting?

Forcing a smile, she shifted back a step. “How right you are. As usual, I got caught up in my feelings instead of using my common sense. How silly and female of me.” An ominous rumble rolled in his chest, but she smiled broadly and wondered if it looked as bogus as it felt. “Well,” she clapped her hands in mock delight, “thanks for the save tonight, but I’m pretty worn out from all the…excitement. If you don’t mind?” She nodded her head in the direction of the front door, desperate to get him out of her home. Desperate to get rid of him before she did something incredibly stupid like ask him, Why don’t you want me? Why am I not good enough for you? Can you touch me? She shuddered. Yeah, he had to go. “It’s getting late.” Actually, it couldn’t be later than nine o’clock, but… “Night.”

He didn’t move. Except to cross his arms. “I’m not going anywhere. Consider me your personal security detail for the night.”

Shock coldcocked her. “Wh-what?” she stuttered. “Y-you can’t stay here. With me.”

Again, the arch of a dark brow. “You’re welcome to try and put me out.”

For a quick second, the thought of putting her hands on that hard chest, of having those firm, sexy muscles flex under her palms, of having those strong arms wrapped around her, pressing her against… Oh for the love of— “Shane, this isn’t necessary. Unless…” Her voice trailed off as a terrifying idea leaped into her head, stealing her breath. “Do you think”—she swallowed, propelled the words past her suddenly constricted throat—“are you expecting someone else to show up? To finish…?”

“No.” He strode forward and encircled her upper arms in an implacable grip. “Look at me.” Pinching her chin, he tilted her head up so she didn’t have a choice but to obey him. His jeweled gaze bore into hers. “I don’t believe anyone will come after you again tonight. They wouldn’t risk attempting two hits in one night. It would draw too much attention. Even if they did,” he said, his touch tightening. “I have a man outside your building, and I’m here. You’re safe. No one will get to you. I promise you that.”

Relief coursed through her in a heady flood. And it was the deluge of emotion that convinced her to give in.

One night—what was the harm in one night?

Wrapping her fingers around his wrists, she sank into him. Assured by his strength, by the fire lighting his bright gaze. “Okay.” She nodded. “Okay.”

But even as she agreed and headed to the linen closet for sheets and blankets to make up the couch for her overnight guest, she glanced up at the textured, water-stained ceiling.

Why did she suddenly feel like Chicken Little waiting for a piece of the sky to plummet and knock her the hell out?

Chapter Four

Fallon flopped onto her back, tossing the suffocating weight of the sheet aside. Any other night, she would’ve cracked the window to allow the cool, refreshing late-spring breeze in the room. But that was before she’d almost become a statistic. Now the window remained firmly shut, and though the warmth in the bedroom neared stifling, she refused to open it. Common sense railed that unless a possible assailant had been bitten and injected with arachnid DNA, no way could someone scale the brick building to break into her third-floor window.


With a huff of breath, she rolled over, stared at the far wall and the scintillating view of her clothes thrown over a chair. One a.m. The digital clock seemed to taunt her as the quiet crowded in on her. It pressed down until the silence reverberated in her chest, her ears, covered her like the sheet she’d just thrown aside. Heavy, smothering. And it didn’t help that every sense seemed to hover on high alert. As if even the very nerves in her body acknowledged that just a room away, Shane Roarke slept on her couch. Possibly naked. All that golden skin on display, begging to be licked, tasted, savored…

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