A funeral was the worst place for a reunion. Beneath her umbrella, Asa kept her head lowered. Otherwise, her eyes would be drawn to the man standing in front of the casket, his shoulders hunched beneath his suit, his gaze down cast as cold rain fell from the skies.
Rhys Miles. The man who had hurt her with an insensitive comment during one of the most memorable nights of her life, and a man she had hurt in return with her own painful words. The minister’s final prayer and the whispers of “Amen” from the handful of mourners pulled Asa out of her thoughts. Giving the casket one last glance, she hurried away, but wasn’t quick enough.
“You weren’t invited, Asa.”
Rhys’s tone was harsh and filled with animosity. Asa dug her nails into her palm and gripped the umbrella’s handle tight. Yet, beneath his dislike of her was a grief she could relate with, and for his sadness, she stopped and faced the man who used to be one of her good friends.
“I loved your grandmother, and she cared about me. I have every right to be here.”
Unlike the other mourners, who came prepared with an umbrella in hand, Rhys appeared to enjoy the rain as he tilted his face to the sky. The ink of his hair appeared darker than her own strands of black, if that were possible, while his suit molded to his body like a woman offering him her comfort.
He was a tall guy. If things were different between them, she could share in his grief and settle her head on his chest, over the spot above his heart. She’d run her fingers across the straight brows over his intense hazel eyes then down the chiseled plane of his face before she would press her lips to his cheek.
But their situation remained the same for the past year. He avoided her. She tried to forget him. It hadn’t been easy. Asa waited for him to say something, anything. The rain continued to fall while his silence echoed in her ears.
Taking a deep breath, he redirected his attention back on her. “You might’ve been Jo’s neighbor, and yeah, she might’ve loved you like you were her own flesh and blood, but she damn well knows how I feel about you.”
How I feel about you. His last words whispered hot on her forehead. The umbrella, with its edges tipped upward, should’ve distanced them. Instead it concealed their exchange from curious stares as the others filtered to their cars leaving her alone with him.
Shoving her free hand inside her coat pocket, Asa mentally counted to ten. The simple task proved difficult. She hadn’t been this close to Rhys since they had slept together at a party almost a year ago.
He had loosened the tie around his neck, exposing tan skin she remembered flicking her tongue over, the salty taste of him from their lovemaking still embedded deep in her memory. Through the smell of wet rain, she caught a whiff of his deodorant. Old Spice. Sexy, familiar, and very much Rhys.
A woman cursed with the power to cause pain with her touch teams with the mysterious Mr. Summers to hunt down the man who could be her savior or Mr. Summers’s next kill.
“Drugging and hand-cuffing me won’t get you a date.” Echo’s words slurred while her head pounded.
The man behind her didn’t say a word, hadn’t said a thing to her since she’d regained consciousness. She was on the bed with her knees against her chest, ankles tied and wrists cuffed behind her back. Through a part in the curtains of the bedroom, rays of sunshine peeked in. She blinked several times, her eyes tearing from the sun’s brightness.
“You didn’t have to attack me,” she said, her words becoming clearer as the drugs wore off. “Give me some chocolates and a bottle of red wine, and I might’ve considered getting to know you better.”
She heard a chair creak as though her kidnapper shifted in his seat either from discomfort or . . . guilt?
“I didn’t attack you.” His voice was deep and sultry, disguising the dangerous edge beneath the word “attack.”
“You shot me with a loaded dart then yanked me off my motorcycle. The last thing I saw was my ride careening into a wall before I woke up here, tied and cuffed. How is that not an attack?”
A rustling noise then footsteps told her he made his way to her. She lay in a vulnerable position. Her backside faced him while her arms were bare. He had taken off her leather jacket.
He skimmed a finger over the back of her arm. “I was given orders to bring you in and to do it without letting you touch me.”
“But you have a right to touch me?”
“Cage said you would need it. That you go too long without physical contact.”
Echo shook her head. “You’re lying. Cage would never tell a soul about my curse.”
A slow ache churned in her chest. Cage was her boss, but most importantly, her friend. He couldn’t have betrayed her. “Once I get a hold of him, this misunderstanding will be dealt with and you’ll have hell to pay —”
“The devil wouldn’t want me, darling. I’ve sinned too much and have killed too many men and monsters. And Cage won’t come to your rescue. He’s in Europe.”