Excerpt - The door suddenly swung open and Blane walked in, carrying a paper bag. He stopped short, taking in Kade and me sitting together on the couch.
Kade was on his feet immediately, his stance protectively shielding me. If I’d thought the heat in my apartment had made it hard to breathe, that was nothing compared to how it felt now.“Long time no see, brother,” Kade said, but his voice held no warmth, only warning.“I didn’t know you were in town,” Blane replied, the hint of a question in his careful tone.“Did my secretary forget to e-mail you my schedule? So sorry about that.”Kade’s sneering flippancy made me wince. I should do something to help fix this. I was the problem between them. I got to my feet and stepped to the side of Kade so I could see Blane.“I called him,” I said bluntly, thinking fast. “Because of . . . Gage. Thought he might be able to help.” No need for either of them to know I’d called Kade because I’d wanted to get rid of Blane.“She says Gage is trying to kill her,” Kade said. “Is this true?”“I don’t have any proof, but yeah,” Blane said.“And you’re the one who’s supposed to be protecting her?” Kade said dubiously. “Which is why she got hit by a fucking car, right?”Blane’s jaw locked tight at that and I flinched. He didn’t reply.“You know,” Kade continued, taking a couple of steps toward Blane, “it seems to me that she might be safer with you not around. Seeing as how you’re doing such a bang-up job and all.” His thin-lipped smile would have made an alligator seem friendly by comparison.I wanted to cry at how Kade was talking to Blane, his voice full of anger and contempt. I’d never heard him speak to Blane like that. He’d always been . . . not exactly deferential, but even his ingrained sarcasm had been tempered out of respect for Blane.“It wasn’t his fault,” I interrupted, resting my hand on Kade’s arm. “He told me. I ran off without thinking, which was stupid. Blane’s not to blame.”Both men were looking at me now and I swallowed, shifting my weight nervously. Blane’s gaze moved from mine to where I was touching Kade. I dropped my hand.“I got your medicine,” Blane said, ignoring Kade and setting a bag down on the table. “And something for you to eat. Kung pao. Your favorite.”“Thanks.” I didn’t know what else to say.“Someone has to stay with you,” he said. “It’s not safe for you to be alone right now.”The already thick tension in the room increased tenfold at Blane’s pronouncement. I couldn’t imagine Blane staying here with me. I couldn’t handle that.“You’re not staying,” I said firmly. “I understand that you want to help, but that’s just not going to happen.”“Kat, this is serious. He’s already tried twice in as many days. God knows who he hired. He knows more criminals than any defense lawyer in town, and that’s saying something.”“She said no.” Kade’s voice was silk-covered steel.Blane’s attention turned to Kade. “You’re going to stay? Watch out for her?”Kade gave a careless shrug. “If she wants me to. I don’t treat her like a misbehaving toddler, unlike some people. It’s her decision as to whether she wants protection.” He raised a wickedly arched brow. “Unless you think we’ll be too busy fucking?”That statement went off with the force of a bomb and I drew a sharp breath, sure that they were going to attack each other, but Blane didn’t take the bait.“I was wrong,” Blane said quietly. “I was wrong to not trust you and wrong to not trust Kathleen. And I’ve paid for that mistake in more ways than you could possibly imagine.”“Well, maybe you’ve paid enough for you, but I don’t know if you’ve paid enough for her.” This time there was no mistaking the cold menace in Kade’s tone.
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