“Thanks, sweetheart,” I said, reaching out and catching the back of her neck, pulling her in for a kiss. She didn’t respond, which wasn’t exactly a surprise under the circumstances.
“I’ve got chili cooking, and some corn bread,” she told me when I let her go. “Why don’t you make yourself comfortable in the dining room? Food’ll be ready soon, I’ll bring it out to you.”
As she walked me toward the table, I decided there’d never been a more incompetent assassin in history. I hadn’t really believed she was deliberately working with the cartel from the start, but now I had proof. Nobody who knew what they were doing would be this stupid about it.
She’d set a magazine out for me in front of the chair at the head of the table. Facing away from the kitchen—wasn’t that convenient? That way she could just walk up to me and shoot me in the head.
“I’ll just check on the corn bread,” she said without meeting my eyes. I watched as she drifted away. Fuck. Guess it’d been too good to be true.
Sorry, baby, Heather whispered.
I grabbed my magazine and walked around to the far side of the table. Knowing my luck, she’d ditch the gun and go after me with a rolling pin. Never turn your back on a woman with a weapon—I’d learned that from Heather. Come to think of it, she’d tried to kill me at least three times over the course of our marriage … ’Course, only one of those was serious.
Ten minutes later London came back into the dining room, something heavy pulling down one side of her sweater. Christ, but she was clueless. It would’ve been funny, but pretty fuckin’ hard to laugh when the woman you love tries to kill you.
Now that was probably takin’ it a bit far, I mused. But whatever I felt for her, it was a step up from lust. Pisser, because that was a gun in her pocket, and from the determined look on her face she was definitely planning to use it against me. I decided to throw a Hail Mary anyway.
“Something you want to talk about?” I asked her. Her mouth twisted as she bit her lip, clearly startled to find me in a different place than where she’d left me. Yeah, ’cause I always made it as easy as possible for people to kill me. I’m a giver that way.
Last chance, London.
“No,” she said quietly, sticking her hand down into the pocket with the gun. She caught me watching, and her face actually turned white.
“Babe, you look like you could use a day off,” I told her, wondering if there was a way to get through to her. Couldn’t decide how I felt about that … Duck had been right. I wanted things to end happy, for her to fall into my arms and let me take over and fix everything. But I was also fuckin’ pissed, because I could no longer deny that this woman truly meant to kill me. Hard not to take that personally. “Have you considered hitting the spa? Maybe get a massage?”
“That costs too much,” she said automatically. I frowned at her, wondering how such a smart person could be so stupid. Talk to me before it’s too late.
“I wasn’t suggesting that you pay for it.”
“I don’t want your money—”
“Yeah, I know, you’re totally independent and you like it that way. Blah, blah. Just let me do something for you, for once.”
She looked like she might throw up, and then her eyes started turning red. Tears. London knew what she was about to do was wrong, and she knew she didn’t want to do it … yet it still didn’t occur to her to reach out for help. I got that she had to protect Jessica—I’d do the same for Em or Kit. I even got that she was confused and frightened. But what really sucked in this situation was that she didn’t trust me to save her.
Had it been anything but sex for her?
No. Time to face reality. I was just a booty call to her, proving once and for all that karma’s one hell of a bitch. And so was London.
“The food won’t be ready for another ten minutes. You look sort of tense. Want a neck rub?” She started to walk around the table toward me, clearly planning to blow out my brains. Now I felt a wave of fury hit. How dare this cunt use me for sex and then try to shoot me in my own home? I’d have done anything to help her, but she couldn’t even bother asking.
“I think you should stay back.” Otherwise I might strangle you.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’d hate to make it too easy for you, sweetheart.”
She smiled weakly. I wanted to slap the smile right off her lying face.
“I don’t understand.”
Yeah. You understand. And now you’ll understand what it means to be afraid.
“I’m assuming you’re planning to shoot me in the back of the head,” I said, forcing myself to stay calm. “That’s a bad idea. You shoot that close, you’ll be all covered in blood spatter. Means you’ll risk tracking more evidence out of the house or taking time to clean up. Either way, complicates things.”
That clear enough for you, bitch?
She pulled out the gun slowly, raising it carefully to aim at my head. Little idiot. A gun like that wasn’t exactly a sniper’s weapon. Even at this close range, she should be going for the biggest target—my chest.
“Go ahead, do it,” I said, smirking at her. I wanted to scare her. Hurt her. Make her pay for not trusting me … “Show me what you’re made of.”
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, and those tears building in her eyes started spilling out, running down her cheeks. Behind her I saw Horse step up quietly, waiting. Puck and Bam Bam would be in the kitchen, and I knew they’d do whatever I needed, up to and including disposing of London’s body for me. “You’ll never know how much I wish this weren’t happening.”
“Then don’t do it,” I told her, catching and holding her gaze because I’m a fucking fool. Even now I’d forgive her if she just opened her mouth and told me what was going on. Trusted me. “Whatever it is, we can work through it. I’ll help you.”
“You can’t …”
I sighed, because that was it. Over. Goddamn waste, tryin’ to connect with a woman. Heather had been one in a million—I’d already had my time.
I gave Horse a tip of my chin, letting him know wordlessly that I’d had enough of this shit. London would have to pay for what she’d done, which was just too fuckin’ bad. That’s what you get for tryin’ to kill the man you’re sleepin’ with.