I was pulled from my thoughts when I felt my phone vibrate in my back pocket. I reached for it, and as soon as I saw that it was a message from an unknown number, I knew it was Eric. Dread washed over me as I opened it and read:
I knew there was no point in responding, so I shoved my phone back in my pocket and glared up at one of the security cameras. I knew he was watching. I could feel his eyes on me. I never dreamed I could hate someone I barely knew, but I hated him with every fiber of my being. Eric was a vile, malevolent man, and no matter how dangerous it might be, I had to find a way to warn Rafe about Eric and his plan. I just had no idea how—not with Eric watching my every move. I’d have to find a way to reach him without Eric knowing what I was up to. I was trying to think of what I might do when one of the waitresses came up to the bar and placed her order. As I made the various drinks, I was racking my mind, but nothing came to me. Then, I walked over to the bar’s touchscreen register and printed out the receipt. That’s when it hit me.
As I grabbed a pen from my apron, I prayed I’d be able to get to Rafe or Menace before it was too late—before I lost everything I cared about.
I’d tried to be patient. I’d tried to be understanding and give Marlowe her space, but I was growing restless. Not only had she not answered any of my calls or texts, she’d basically blown me off the entire night—barely saying two words to me. I’d hoped the cold, distant demeanor would fade as the night progressed, but it’d only gotten worse. Hell, she was so intent on keeping her distance from me, she’d turned in the night’s receipts and headed out to her car without so much as a goodbye. She might’ve actually made her grand escape if I hadn’t spotted her slipping out the back door.
I followed her outside and over to her car. “Rushing off so soon?”
“Oh, Rafe ... I was just ...” The blood drained from her face as she continued, “I was just about to head home.”
“I see that.”
“I thought we could just meet up tomorrow.” Marlowe chewed nervously on her bottom lip as she waited for my response, but there was none to give—at least none that I could actually verbalize. I was too pissed to form the words. I could understand if she was blowing me off because she needed some time alone, but I knew in my gut there was something more going on. When she realized I wasn’t going to reply, she added, “I didn’t sleep very well last night, and I’m pretty wiped.”
“Um-hmm. I understand.”
“Okay...Well.” She feigned a smile. “I’ll see you sometime tomorrow.”
She stood there, silently studying me for a moment, then quickly turned towards her car. There was no way in hell I was going to just let her leave, not like this, so I reached over and took hold of her arm, gently pulling her over to me. My gut twisted into a knot as I looked down at those beautiful blue eyes and said, “I’m not a patient man, Marlowe. Never have been. But for you, I’ve tried. I’ve tried damn hard. I know you’re going through something here and I’ve tried not to push, but I’m telling you now ... my patience is running thin. Very thin.”
“Don’t.” I slipped my arm around her waist, inching her closer. Marlowe’s eyes never left mine as I leaned forward and pressed my mouth against hers and kissed her long and hard. Like so many times before, her body melted into mine, making me ache for more. I didn’t understand how one woman could turn me inside out the way she did. Her touch, her scent … everything about Marlowe made me lose all sense of control. She shifted her stance, causing the rigid length of my erection to press against her. A light moan rippled through her chest, and I was suddenly torn between taking her right there in the parking lot or carrying her home and making love to her all night long. Sadly, neither was an option—at least not tonight. As difficult as it might’ve been, I released her mouth, breaking our embrace.
I reached over and opened her car door as I said, “Good night, Marlowe.”
“Go home. Get that rest you said you needed, and we’ll talk more tomorrow.”
She didn’t argue. Instead, she got in her car and drove away, taking a piece of me with her. I was still standing there in the parking lot, trying my damnedest to collect myself when Widow and Lynch came charging out the back door. They both looked eager to leave. So eager, they both walked right by me as they headed towards their bikes. As Lynch got on his, he glanced up at me and asked, “You headed to the clubhouse, or do you have other plans?”