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Authors: Dara Girard

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BOOK: Dangerous Curves
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Chapter 16

R
uth Quinn wiped
her hands after taking out the trash at the end of her day. The children were asleep in bed and she had a streaming series she wanted to get back to. She stopped when she saw a faint trail of smoke and turned the corner. She saw Drake leaning against the side of the house, a cigarette to his lips. It was dark, so she couldn't make him out. He was more of silhouette in the darkness, the tip of his cigarette glowing red. He was an extraordinary man. Tall, handsome and most of all, kind. One of the few people in her life who ever looked at her. Really looked at her.

His wife was nice, but he was wonderful. He had the most mesmerizing amber eyes and soft island accent that gave her goose bumps. He didn't have to look or acknowledge a nobody like her, but he did, always asking how she was. If she was happy. Even though she called him Mr. Henson, he was always Drake in her dreams.

She'd never thought her dreams would ever come true. She'd imagined being alone with him in the grand house. Of sharing a meal with him, of just being with him, and now she was. She was so close. She wanted to comfort him. To let him know that she was there to handle his sadness. She'd overheard him talking to his brother about Cassie being shot and heard the surprise and anguish in his tone and wanted to rush to him. To let him know that he wasn't alone, but instead she stared and loved him from a distance.

She must have sighed or made a noise because he suddenly turned to her. And the spell was broken.

“Is something wrong?” he asked in a sharp tone. He could be impatient, sometimes curt, but it never bothered her.

She quickly shook her head, realizing that he must think she had news from the hospital. Good news for her would be bad news for him, but she was prepared for when that moment came. Unfortunately that moment hadn't happened yet. “No, I was just taking the trash out and saw the smoke.” She nodded to his cigarette.

He looked down at the cigarette with chagrin. “I know I shouldn't.”

She took a tentative step forward. “You're under a lot of stress.”

The corner of his mouth kicked up in a quick grin that lightened his eyes and made her pulse race. “Yes.” He winked at her. “This will be our little secret.”

She nodded, no longer able to speak. A secret. A secret between them and nobody else. Wasn't that a sign of intimacy? He was growing to trust her more and more. Soon his heart would follow.

Chapter 17

H
e wasn't
the same man.

Dominique sat in Kevin's silver Jaguar outside the club, tapping her fingers on the steering wheel, waiting for Kevin to emerge. He partied harder than he had before and that bothered her. Something wasn't right.

The man who had walked into Cassie Henson's hospital room hadn't been the one who had come out. She wasn't quite sure who had. He didn't look shattered or devastated, just composed as if he'd gone to a museum—respectful but untouched. Dominique could tell that Drake had expected to see something more, they all had. But Kevin had left the hospital without giving them the satisfaction. She could see why Drake had such a violent dislike for him, if she hadn't known him, she'd feel the same. He came across as a cavalier playboy.

She didn't know what to make of any of it. The palpable pain that hovered in the waiting room wasn't just the Hensons; she could feel Kevin's pain too. Through his words of anger she could see the pain of Cassie's husband. His love for her. She didn't know a man could love a woman that much. If she hadn't seen it, she wouldn't have believed such devotion was possible. And the other two men cared for her too. She felt almost envious of the comatose woman.

No one would care for her like this. Her mother perhaps, but no man in her life ever had or would. But that hadn't been the greatest shock. In the hospital she had learned that Kevin loved Cassie too. Not as a friend. Not as a brother. As a man. How long have you loved her? she wanted to ask him, but kept her thoughts to herself. She'd also seen for the first time how much Kevin was an outsider. She'd seen the men close ranks. He wasn't part of them and they made that clear.

There were so many questions.

What was going on? How had Cassie gotten shot? Kevin cared about her too much to put her in harm's way. His lack of memory didn't seem fake. He desperately looked like he wanted to remember when Drake threw his accusations at him.

One thing was clear. Kevin partied to escape. But his way of coping was becoming dangerous. For the past five days he'd been out every night and she'd seen him popping his white pills with more frequency. She knew it wasn't her place to interfere, but that wouldn't stop her.


W
hat did
you just say to me?” Kevin asked after a long moment of silence.

“I said no.” Dominique turned on the windshield wipers when a leisurely drizzle began to fall. She could feel his angry gaze on the back of her neck, but kept her eyes on the road. She sighed with regret. She'd hoped the rain would hold, it would make what she had to do easier.

“You don't say no to me.”

“I'm not driving you to another club, another party, another concert or anything else that leaves you hung over and barely able to stand by the end of the evening.”

“How I spend my time is none of your business.”

“But you—”

“Just shut up and drive.”

For a moment he reminded her of her cousin Pat who had a habit of making his staff quit within a week. But she wasn't going to be provoked. “That's exactly what I'm doing.”

“Drive me where I tell you to go. That's your job.”

“You can't keep this up. I'm not going to watch you kill yourself.”

“I didn't realize you cared,” he said in a sour tone.

“I saw what you've been taking. It's a strong pain medicine.”

“And it does its job.”

“What do you need it for?”

His tone turned to ice. “What part of ‘pain' and ‘medicine' confused you?”

“Why won't you admit it?”

He paused. “Admit what?”

She gripped the steering wheel, reminding herself she was in control no matter how angry he got, she had him hostage. “Admit that you were more hurt in the accident than you're willing to let on.”

He didn't reply. She looked in the rearview mirror and saw him staring out the window.

“You need to stop feeling guilty about what happened and find out the truth.”

He kept silent.

“Maybe Drake was right about you.”

“What do you want, Ms. Cartwright?” he said in a bored tone.

For a moment she lost control of the wheel and nearly swerved into the car in the next lane. He knew who she was! How long had he known? When had he found out? “I want to find out why your friend was shot,” she said, glad to keep the tremor of fear she felt out of her voice.

“Try again,” he said softly. She'd never heard that tone before. It had a cold, ominous quality that let her know that she may be behind the wheel, but he was still the one in charge.

She couldn't panic. She couldn't start to wonder how much he knew or care. She had to stay focused and deliberate. She wouldn't apologize and wouldn't explain. “Your life could be in danger and I want to help you.”

“Why should I want the help of someone who can't admit when they're wrong?”

“Wrong?”

“You expect me to accept the help of a cold hearted bitc—woman who deceives me?”

She swore. Wasn't that how she felt after the talk with her sister? She'd just wanted her to say she was sorry, but apologies meant weakness. She'd had that drilled into her. She couldn't back down, she could use his outrage as a weapon, she could manipulate him so easily… she looked up and her heart turned cold when she met his eyes in the rearview mirror. She could see him assessing her as much as she was assessing him. They were rivals now and if she wanted to help him, she'd have to try a new strategy.

She pounded the steering wheel and swore again. “I'm sorry.”

“Because you got caught?”

“Because…because I shouldn't be here in the first place. Because…” She knew the moment would come and if she was going to help him he had to know the truth even if it made her look ridiculous. “I came for revenge.”

“Because you wanted to find something on me so that I would stop the lawsuit?”

“No, because of my sister. She told me that you seduced her, and…” Dominique shook her head, ashamed. “Let's just say I fell for a lie and then uncovered the truth.”

“How?”

“That's not the point.”

“I want to know how.”

“I knew something wasn't right about her story, so I called and accidentally overheard her talking to my father. I think he's hiding something and knows more about the accident than he's letting on.”

“Why do you want to help me?”

“Because I want to find out the truth about your accident.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“I have no reason to lie anymore. I no longer work with my father, nor am I on speaking terms with my family and we—”

He turned and his eyes flashed. “You're mistaken. There's no ‘we.'”

“If you want to find out the truth you'll need me.”

He tapped a lazy beat against the window.

“Drake was right about you.”

Kevin laughed amused. “Is that supposed to hurt me?”

Yes, it was supposed to make you angry.
She tried another tactic. “Partying won't solve anything.”

“You don't know anything about me.”

“I know that you love Cassie.”

He fell silent.

She suppressed a grin. Bull's eye. She had him now. “And if you love her as much as I think you do, I can help you. We're dealing with life and death.”

Kevin glared out the window. “Where the hell are you taking me?”

“To the place you don't remember.”

H
e'd blame
her for the nightmares.

Kevin sat in his gazebo watching the moonlight slowly sweep across the hushed garden. He hadn't remembered anything from seeing the accident site. He hated her for taking him there. He wanted to shout at her and tell her that he'd tried. He wanted to tell her how in his dreams he'd begged for a memory to come. That although he'd been questioned by the police, his mind lay empty. He knew he was the only key, but that didn't help, it only made him feel more useless. But he didn't let her know this. Instead he answered her inane questions as they stood at the accident site as if they bored him.

She covered her irritation and frustration well. Ferguson was right. He should have fired her when he had the chance. Now he needed her. Or had that been her plan all along? Her interest seemed genuine, but a woman like Dominique wasn't easy to read. But he'd go along until he had more information.

“What do you want me to do?” he remembered asking her on their way back from the accident scene, trying not to sound as angry as he felt.

“You have to stop partying for one. Just for a month,” she quickly added.

“I have one scheduled next week.”

“Then that will be your last one for a while. And you have to cut down on the medicine, if you can't stop completely. Are they just for your leg?”

He made a noncommittal sound.

“Okay, then you need to be careful. I need you to be healthy, and it's going to take a lot of work.”

He inwardly groaned. He hated being told what to do. “Fine, what else?”

“Who was that tall guy in the bomber jacket at the hospital?”

“Cassie's brother, Clay. Why?”

“What does he do?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Dominique sighed sounding annoyed. “Can't you just answer a simple question?”

“No, why does it matter?”

“I think he might know something he hasn't told you.”

That insight had him hooked. He'd never noticed that. Could Clay be keeping something from him?

“I really want to hate that woman,” he muttered to himself as he remembered their conversation.

“But you still want to sleep with her,” a deep voice said.

Kevin jumped up and spun around to see Ferguson coming out of the shadows. “What are you doing?”

“Checking on you. I noticed you didn't go out tonight.”

“How do you know?”

“It's only twelve, and you wouldn't be home yet if you'd been partying.”

Kevin sat back down. He couldn't argue with that logic.

“Am I right?” Ferguson asked taking a seat.

“You know you are. I should be up in my room recovering from a night of bright lights, loud music and Pussy Galore.”

“You could get slapped for a comment like that.”

“I was referring to the Bond Girl.”

“No, you weren't.”

Kevin grinned. “You're right. I wasn't.” His grin widened. “And I'm not afraid of punishment.”

Ferguson stared at him for a long moment. “Is that why you're keeping Dominique?”

Kevin's grin faded.

“Do you want her that bad?”

Yes.
He wanted to hate her but he couldn't. He wanted to stop thinking about her, but couldn't stop. “She's helping me find out what happened.”

“Do you trust her?”

He didn't want to need Dominique, but if she could help him find out what happened to Cassie, then he was willing to do whatever it took. “No, but she's the best option I have.”

BOOK: Dangerous Curves
11.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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