“It’ll be tight, but they’ll fit,” he mumbles, pulling my other two bags with him.
I can’t help but notice the flex of his muscles as he gets my bags into the car or the fact even his fingers are attractive. It takes some maneuvering, but he does get my bags to fit. I sigh, sitting down on the warm leather once we’re done.
“I’m just gonna drop you off at the house. I gotta head out for a bit, but you have free rein. Just make yourself at home. There’s food in the fridge and fresh sheets on the bed in the guest room.”
“Thank you for doing this,” I tell him, looking at his profile. He is seriously good-looking, and the butterflies in my stomach are making me feel anxious about staying with him.
“Don’t mention it. So…you and Link?”
It takes a second to decipher his words between the thickness of his accent, his smell, and the nervous energy I’m feeling. Being in his presence, my brain seems to have shut down.
“He’s a friend.” Shit, maybe I should have said that he was my boyfriend.
I look over at him again; he doesn’t seem to be as on edge as I am. He’s probably used to women swooning over him. My gut tightens with something, and it takes a second to realize what it is. My body freezes. Jealousy? Really? I must be going into shock or something. I don’t get jealous.
“How’d you two meet?”
“We work at the same club,” I murmur, squirming in my seat.
“Oh yeah,” he mumbles, his knuckles turning white from his grip on the steering wheel. I don’t know what that means, but the energy in the car changes, making me want to get away from him.
We drive in silence for the next half hour, the car winding its way through one small town after another until we go up what seems like the side of a mountain. The area is surrounded by forest on either side of the road. We drive for five more minutes before turning onto a dirt road that takes us deeper into the forest. I want to ask if he lives out here and about where he works—and a million other questions—but my mouth has gone dry and the energy in his car hasn’t gotten any better, so I decide to keep my mouth shut.
I’m going to be stuck with him for a while, so I figure there will be time for all of that later. I look ahead of us and squint as the image of a large house comes into view. It is a very large brick house. The front has two porches—one on the first floor, one on the second—and both wrap around the front of the house. It’s beautiful and expansive.
I look over at Kenton again, gauging if I should ask him if this is his house. His jaw is ticking, and the vein in his neck is pulsing wildly. I have no idea what’s set him off, but I figure my best bet is to sit there quietly until he calms down.
We park in front of the house, where there is no real designated parking place. He unfolds himself out of the car without saying anything, and I take it as my cue to follow him. By the time I make it to the back of the car, he has both of my bags out and is back on the driver’s side, sliding his seat forward so he can get to the bag in the back seat. Without a word, he carries two of my bags up the front porch and right into the house. I drag my last bag with me, following close behind him.
He sets my bags down at the bottom of the staircase then turns to look at me. “Your room is at the top of the stairs to the right. There’s a bathroom across the hall you can use. I have my own.” He runs a hand through his hair and looks me over again, anger apparent on his face. “I don’t want random men in my house, so if you need to get off, take care of yourself.”
I blink at him as he continues.
“The code for the alarm is 4-5-9-3. Don’t forget to set it when you’re in the house. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but you’ll be safe here.” Before I even have a chance to form a complete thought, he is closing the door behind him, shouting, “Set the alarm!” I stand there for a few minutes, just looking at the door. Then I look around for an alarm but don’t see one. Tears sting my nose again as I recall the look of disgust on his face when he told me to get myself off. I say a silent, “Fuck you,” and look at my bags then the stairs, shaking my head. I can cry once I get settled in the room.
I carry my bags one at a time up the stairs, and by the time I’m done, I’m so exhausted that I lie face-first on the bed, put my head under the pillow, and cry until I fall asleep.
There is a pounding on the door, and I roll, falling off the bed and onto the floor. “You didn’t set the alarm,” I hear growled.
I stand up, pushing my hair out of my face, and glare at Kenton, who is standing in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest.
“I looked and didn’t see the alarm to set it.” I copy his posture, crossing my arms over my chest.
“You should have called and asked me where it is.”
I scoff. “With what? Magic? I don’t have your number.”
“You could have asked Link for it.” He shakes his head.
“I’m sorry, but if you wanted me to have your number, I figured you would’ve given it to me,” I retort.
“Did you eat?” he asks, changing the subject suddenly and throwing me off guard.
“Did you eat something?”
“No, and I’m not hungry. I’m just really tired,” I tell him, rubbing my face. All I want to do is go to sleep and forget about the last forty-eight hours.
“You need to eat something,” he chides, uncrossing his arms and placing his hands on his hips.
“Okay, don’t get me wrong. I’m really thankful for you looking out for me, but I have been taking care of myself for a very long time. I don’t want or need a babysitter.”
“Suit yourself.” He shrugs then looks me over again, his eyes lingering on my chest.
I glance down and groan. Seriously? My boobs are in my bra, hanging over the top of my tank top. I quickly adjust my shirt before narrowing my eyes on him.
He smirks, looking up into my face. “Make sure you set the alarm from now on. The panel is inside the room off the entry, first door to the right.”
“Got it.” My body is doing that hot thing again, and I wonder why it keeps happening when he’s around.
“All right, doll. Get some rest. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He lets his eyes linger on me for a few more moments and then shakes his head, stepping out of the room.
I go to the side of the bed and turn on the light before walking to the door and shutting it. I lean my head back, closing my eyes and breathing in deeply. I run a finger across the tattoo behind my ear before opening my eyes and looking around. I can do this; I have lived through much worse and come out on top. I just need to get a plan in place.