Jaxson leaned down so that his mouth was next to my ear, and his breath danced over my skin. “You have no idea who or what you’re dealing with, Ms. Caine, and you’re not in possession of all the facts. Three people that we know of fought back, just like you did. The difference is, their entrails ended up splattered across the floor of their homes, and their bodies were ripped apart, piece by piece.”
I jerked back, eyes wide.
He straightened and fixed me with a stern expression. “From your experience in the parking lot yesterday, you might imagine how.”
I shook my head in denial as images of that tattooed psycho ramming his claws into the other man’s chest flooded my brain. The monster had thrown the man’s body onto the hood of my car like he was a rag doll. He’d grabbed my wrist—he could have just as easily gutted me and left my blood splattered across the parking lot like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Murderous psychos with claws for hands. I’d fallen into an episode of The X-Files.
“What the hell is going on?” I demanded. With a million questions whirling in my head, that was the only one with the strength to break free.
My vision swam, and I staggered back, but the man in black steadied me with his electric touch and raised my chin. His eyes went honey gold, and his voice turned gravelly. “Monsters are real, Ms. Caine. You can’t outrun them, and wherever you go, they’ll find you.”
My adrenaline surged as inexplicable sensations washed over me. Cold. The scent of pine. And the taste of bitter chocolate.
Jaxson Laurent loomed over me, and I couldn’t help but gaze into his glowing eyes. “You’re in danger. I am the only one who can protect you, but only if you do as you’re told. Stay in your house unless you’re at work. Don’t leave town. I will take care of everything else.”
My mind whirled, and my stomach lurched. Monsters are real, and they’re hunting me.
Somehow, part of me had known that all along. At least I finally had the answer I needed. I was in danger, and Jaxson Laurent was the only one who could protect me.
Verging on tears, I backed away. “I’ve gotta get home.”
I turned, pushed off with my skates, and raced toward the house. Everything will be okay if I do as I’m told. Go home. Don’t leave town.
Jaxson would take care of the rest.
Each thrust of my legs took me one step closer to safety, one step further from the nightmare that had become my life. The wheels of my blades whirred, and I was one with the road.
That was, until I hit a pothole and spiraled head over heels.
The asphalt ripped into my knees and elbows, and fire coursed through my nerves. Tears formed in the corner of my eyes, and I rolled over to stare at the sun, now tilting far past noon.
What the hell are you doing, Savy?
Head throbbing, I staggered to my feet and glanced back at Randy’s Auto Body in the distance. I’d gone to reclaim my car so I could skip town, and suddenly, I was running home like a frightened girl.
Who the hell was Jaxson Laurent, and what spell did he have over me? When he was near, I couldn’t think or shake the overwhelming urge to please him.
He must have some pretty damn freaky pheromones.
I started skating again, slower now as lucidity returned to my thoughts.
Monsters were hunting me, and the spooks were hunting them. All I had to do was go home, close my eyes, and wait in ignorant bliss for the nightmare to be over. I just needed to obey the man with the honey eyes. But if I chose that path, I’d never get any straight answers. Jaxson wouldn’t even tell me who he worked for.
What choice do I have?
My original plan? I could grab my piece of shit car, blow out of town, and hope that I could make it all the way to Chicago in order to…what? Get answers by hunting down a family that was so dangerous, my parents never told me about them?
Option two was utterly preposterous. No guarantees. High risk of failure.
But it was a chance for answers. Real answers.
I bit my lip and slammed on my heel brakes.