Mix in one hunky guy who happens to be a warrior angel. No need to stir - they mix very well! :)
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We kept walking until we reached the side of the cafeteria. He pressed me against the building, into the shadows.
“Get off me,” I hissed, but somehow felt safe when he instead lifted his elbows on either side, shielding me.
A dangerous illusion. He was one of them, a weird ninja warrior. This smacked of a setup.
He murmured, “I told you, play along. No one will bother us if they think we’re making out.”
Oh, that’s a new one. But it held a ring of truth, though I worried he’d relay everything I said in person. “What the hell’s going on.”
He scanned the compound. “You’re lucky they didn’t shoot you.”
Funny, at close range, he couldn’t seem to look me in the eye. “No one ever said we couldn’t go for a freaking walk.”
“Not at night,” he said, “and never into the woods.”
Sounded like a bad Halloween flick. “Oh, seriously.” I shifted between his raised arms.
His eyes flashed bright in the darkness. “Fine. You want to know why not? Because all along the outer perimeter, camouflaged guards hide. Armed with automatic machine guns. That is, if you make it past the traps.”
So it had been the click of a gun. What the hell kind of traps? Too many questions raced through my head, so I simply asked, “Why?”
Sounding bemused, he said, “The Reverend doesn’t like unannounced visitors.”
I have proof otherwise. “Or followers who stray, I guess.”
He went on. “In this area, no one questions gunfire, whether single shots or rapid fire, day or dead of night. No other member would question someone’s disappearance.”
Cold crawled across my skin. “So we’re prisoners.”
This seemed to cheer him. “Only technically.”
A laugh burst out. “Oh, I love your positive spin on the situation. But I take issue with its accuracy.” I studied him in the dim light. “If we’re not allowed in the woods, what were you doing out there?”
His voice deadpan, he said, “Saving you.”
Oh, that couldn’t have been the only reason. “You risked your life to follow me? Why?”
He grinned. “No one should be shot for ignorance.”
Wait. Had I said that? As Tess? Some vague memory itched to come to the forefront, but faded. I banged a fist against the building and cursed under my breath.
He tensed. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Sorry.” I’d be damned if I’d tell him. Maybe literally.
He studied me. “So what made you so upset?”
My belly turned, thinking of Ellen. “Nothing.” He’d probably ask why I hadn’t given myself to Cunningham.
He sucked air through his teeth. “Whole lot of nothing. Doesn’t make sense.”
Nothing did, here. Or anywhere. “Listen, no one else seems to have followed us. I’m going home.” The term made my stomach lurch again. Not exactly home sweet home. Tears burned my eyes. Would I ever find my real home?
Easing away, he asked, “Sure you don’t want to talk about it?”
Ducking my head, I steeled myself. No use crying about it. “I’m sure.” It wouldn’t help, even if he believed me.
He straightened. “I’ll walk you back.”
“Don’t bother. I’m not inviting you in.” I couldn’t take another proposal tonight.
Amused again, he said, “I don’t want to come in.”
Disappointment surprised me. I’d better play nice. “Sorry. It’s been a weird day.” And that was saying a lot, considering most of my days lately had been beyond strange.
We walked in silence. He set a foot on the doorstep.
True to my warning, I went in alone. Before closing the door, I leaned out. “Hey.”
He hadn’t yet moved. “What?”
“Thanks. I owe you one.” It irked me to admit it. I didn’t like unused favors hanging over my head.
“I’ll remember that.”
I groaned, “Great,” and shut the door.
After slipping to the window, I peered out, expecting to see him still there. He wasn’t. Nor was he up the corridor of grass, nor down. Had he slipped behind the cabin? Instinct pressed me to the opposite window. No sign of him. Really weird. But today, I’d expect nothing less.