Obsession - Page 40

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“And you’re seriously going to let her go by herself?”

I opened my mouth but said nothing. I wanted to say yes, because that would be the easy and smart thing to do, but that one damn word wouldn’t come out of my mouth.

But I already knew the truth. I wasn’t going to let her go without me. I never would have.

Luc pursed his lips.

“Well, maybe I read it wrong.”

My irritation resurfaced.

“Read what?”

“You and her.”

“And?” When he said nothing, I forced myself not to punt-kick him off the bar. “Fuck. What about us?”

Luc shrugged again. “I just didn’t think you’d let her go off by herself. That you’d be more, I don’t know, concerned about her well-being.”

“Why would you think that?”

He raised his brows.

“I’m an Arum, Luc. I’m not a fucking human, a Luxen, or whatever the hell you are.” I stalked over to where he sat and he just smiled at me. “I’m not—”

“Fooling me,” he cut in with a fucking wink. “You went against the DOD to protect her. You killed two officers, which is a death sentence for you if they ever catch you. Call me crazy, but that means something.”

“Means what?”

Luc cocked his head to the side. “You never struck me as the stupid type, Hunter.”

My eyes narrowed. “And you never struck me as the suicidal type, smartass.”

He laughed. “All I’m saying is that you know what it means. You just don’t want to acknowledge it yet.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me, you little tool.”

Casting me a sideways look, he hopped down and started back toward the office. “Arum are pretty thick-skulled.”

For a brief moment I entertained the idea of throwing him across the club. “Luc.”

He spared me a quick grin as he opened the door. Beyond him, Serena jumped up from the couch, her gaze moving from me to Luc.

She clasped her hands together. “Did everything go…uh, smoothly?”

“He’s fed like a fat baby,”

Luc replied, and I rolled my eyes. “So you’re heading to Colorado?”

Serena glanced at me.

“Yes.”

“How are you getting there?” he asked.

She shifted her weight from one foot to the next; the air around her humming a faint blue. “I really don’t know.”

Luc smiled. “Well, flying will be too risky. You can’t do that. But I have a few spare cars you can borrow, plus some money for gas and food. It’s about a twenty-three-hour drive, so you’ll—”

“Wait a sec,”

I interrupted as I moved between them.

“You’re going to give her a car and money to go there?”

Luc blinked innocently.

THAT LITTLE FUCK . “I gave you a piece of opal and a Luxen to nom-nom on.”

“That’s not what I meant,” I growled. “It’s dangerous—”

“Then go with her,” he threw out as he turned back to Serena. “That is, if she even wants you to go with her. I would totally understand if she didn’t.”

Oh, for the love of fuck.

“She’s not going to Colorado by—”

“She is standing right here, buddy.” Serena got right up in my face, and it was almost laughable.

“You don’t have a say in this at all, if I remember correctly.”

I stared down at her.

The chick was insane.

Eyes more green than brown, fiery and alive, and her chin stuck out stubbornly. She looked like she wanted to throttle me.

Fucking hot.

“Maybe I’ll let you two talk this out.” Luc began backing up toward the door.

Serena crossed her arms. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

I shot Luc a look and he bowed out, much to Serena’s displeasure. She huffed. “There seriously isn’t anything to talk about.”

Leaning against the desk, I fought to keep a stupid smile off my face… and kiss her, because I really wanted to get my hands all over her right now. Doubted she’d be up for that right this second. “I can’t let you go there by yourself.”

“This conversation is stupid.” She turned away, tugging a hand through her hair. “You’ve already said your piece last night and so did I. You can’t stop me.”

“I’m not planning on stopping you.”

Serena faced me, brows lowered. “Then what are you saying?”

Good question.

“I’m going with you.”

Her mouth dropped open and, yeah, the statement surprised me. Up to three minutes ago, there was no way in hell that I’d go there, but Luc was right about her “well-being” and all that shit.

She shook her head slowly. “You said that going to Colorado was stupid and suicidal.”

“And also pointless,” I added. “But I can’t let you do this alone.”

Her eyes widened.

“Why? You seemed pretty damn sure about your decision last night.”

I really had no idea what to say to that.

“Is it because Luc was giving me a way to go? Do you actually feel guilty now?” She laughed then.

“Do Arum even feel guilty?”

“Typically? No.”

Her eyes rolled. “Look, I don’t want you going with me because you feel you have to.”

“I do feel like I have to.”

Serena’s lips thinned, and then she shook her head again. “This is not your problem.”

“You are my problem.”

Now she stared at me like I asked to hump her leg. Perhaps I was saying the wrong things and should shut the fuck up.

Serena blinked rapidly and then she started for the door. “I’m not your problem, Hunter.

Not anymore. You did your job.

It’s over. Go to your brother. I don’t expect you to risk your life for something that has nothing to do with you.”

“Wait.” I moved so I was in front of Serena and placed my hands on her shoulders. “I’m saying this the wrong way.”

She arched a brow. “You think?”

I took a shallow breath.

“I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t know what’s going on in my head, Serena. I’ve been thinking things I’ve never thought before, so all of this is new to me. I’m saying the wrong shit, so let me start over?”

She stared up at me and then nodded slowly.

“Okay.”

“I wouldn’t have let you go there by yourself. I thought—fuck—I thought if I said that, you wouldn’t go without me. I wanted you to go to Georgia so you’d be safe, and so that you’d be with me. Not because I thought it was my job. And I didn’t want you to go to Colorado because I don’t want you to get hurt. It is dangerous, and I…I don’t like the thought of that.”

Shit. Next I’ll hold her hand and start talking about butterflies and rainbows.

Fuck me. “Look, I get why you need to do this. I don’t agree with it, but I’m going to…be there with you, and afterward we will go to Georgia together.”

Her throat worked. “All of that is…so very human.”

I winced.

A soft laugh escaped her. “It’s not really a bad thing, you know?”

“Your opinion.”

Serena tipped her head back and several moments passed before she spoke.

“What does all of this mean?

You’ve already risked so much and you’re going to do it again. And you want me to go to Georgia with you.” Two bright pink spots appeared on her cheeks. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you had feelings for me.”

It felt like a python had wrapped itself around my chest. Even though I didn’t know what it felt like to have “feelings”

for someone that went beyond wanting to fuck them or kill them or get away from them, there was so much truth in her words.

She laughed at what was most likely a fucked-up expression on my face.

“Baby steps,” she said.

“We’ll take baby steps.”

Chapter 28

I used to believe that Colorado was in the middle of the United States. I’m not sure why I thought this, but I discovered that Kansas was indeed the middle of the United States.

How did I know this useless factoid?

We stopped to fill up on gas in Lebanon. While Hunter did the car thing, I headed in for some snacks. Their signs proudly proclaimed itself as the middle of the United States. Awesome.

Arms full with the kind of food that would add ten pounds to my ass in a heartbeat, I headed across the cracked pavement as a county cruiser rolled in. It slowed down as it passed me, windows up and tinted.

I shivered in spite of the heat as I hurried to where Hunter was shutting the latch on the gas tank. “See the police car?”

He glanced over his shoulder as he unloaded half of my fattening goodies from my arms.

“Yeah. What about it?”

Maybe I was being paranoid? I shrugged. “I don’t know. Just gave me the creeps. It was like I could feel him…watching me.”

Hunter opened my car door as he eyeballed the cruiser. With the leather pants and dark sunglasses, he looked pretty badass doing it.

I slid in as the police car door opened. A portly, older cop hauled himself out and headed into the convenience store without a backward glance in our direction.

Letting out the breath I was holding, I smiled up at Hunter. “I guess he was just staring at the junk food I was carrying.”

He smirked and then closed the door.

Back on the road, the creeped-out feeling vanished as we dug into the food. I also learned that Hunter only needed one hand to drive. I got real intimately familiar with the other hand. Hunter was…very talented.

A few times throughout the trip, he picked up on the passing presence of Luxen and Arum, but we didn’t have any problems.

Though his alien senses were going off about a mile outside of Denver. As we traveled further on South Broadway, drawing closer to the post office, acid was chewing a hole through my stomach.

Hunter squeezed my knee. “You’re nervous.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Then maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.”

I shot him a look. “Too late now. We’re almost there, and who could we seriously trust to do this?”

“We need to be quick about this.” He coasted into the right lane.

“Implants are everywhere, and with a huge community of Luxen nearby, I won’t be able to sense them until they are right on top of us.”

My heart turned over. “I know.”

Silence descended as the post office came into view, and I couldn’t help but ask myself if I was doing the smart thing. I wasn’t, but sometimes the smart thing wasn’t the same thing as the right thing.

Hunter parked the Porsche behind the post office, near a large delivery truck and loading dock. He looked over at me. “Let’s do this.”

Wishing I could sound and look half as ass-kick as he did, I fished the little key off the ring stashed in my purse and then opened the door. No more than a heartbeat later, he was beside me, taking my hand in his.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Romance
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