By: Cynthia Eden

He nodded. “I wasn’t asking you to head out on a mission with me. I was just talking about a drink.”

She laughed. Hell, he really liked that laugh. And for her to be able to laugh there, after everything that had happened...

“I do owe you, Mac,” Elizabeth said. “So I think I’d like that drink date.” She hesitated. “I just, I can’t offer more than that. You need to know that going in.”

“Understood.” He knew how to be a gentleman, though he was sure plenty of people would disagree. The rough and ready McGuire brothers had gotten a pretty strong reputation over the years, and gossip did like to fly.

He didn’t particularly care what the gossips thought. But Mac did care about what Elizabeth thought.

She hurried to join Cathy once more. Mac turned toward his car. He’d taken just a few steps when he stopped and glanced back at the now well-lit library.

What if the guy comes back?

* * *

MAC WAS A temptation she didn’t need. Elizabeth slammed her car door and hurried up the sidewalk to her house. She should be steering clear of the guy and everything that he represented. Instead, she’d agreed to drinks.

And she wanted more.

There was something between them—lust. Desire. She got that. She tried to play it cool around him, but a very large part of her wanted to jump the man on sight.

Her heels clicked over her sidewalk as she hurried home. She glanced around, a bit nervous, but her neighborhood was safe. There were plenty of dogs close by. Plenty of helpful, wonderfully nosy folks like her neighbor Judy Lee, who kept a watch on things.

Her key slid into the lock. She should cancel that drink date with Mac. Though, technically, they hadn’t planned a date. They’d just said they would have drinks. Sometime. Somewhere. And she would not jump him.

She most definitely would not let her wild side out with Mac, even though he did tempt her. He made her want things...excitement, passion...things that could be dangerous.

As dangerous as he is.

She went into her house. Flipped on the light. And—

Her phone rang.

Fumbling, Elizabeth pulled out the phone and frowned at the screen. She didn’t recognize the number that appeared there. A number, no name.

Who could be calling her at this hour? She rarely ever gave out her own number. She hadn’t even given it to Mac. But she had given it to the police. Maybe they’d caught the guy already! She kicked the door shut with her foot, flipped the lock and answered, “This is Elizabeth—”


Ice poured through her veins.

“I know what he’s after, Beth. I can help you.”

“Who is this?” She put her back to the door, and her tight grip probably came close to splintering her phone.

“We both found you, but we can stop him.”

“Who is this?” Elizabeth demanded again as fear pulsed through her. First the attack, now this guy... Why is this happening?

“Meet me now. Before it’s too late.”

“Too late for what?” Elizabeth turned and peered through her blinds. Had a car just glided to a stop in front of Ms. Lee’s? It was so dark under that big tree, it was hard to tell for certain, but a car could be there. “I think you’ve got the wrong woman.”

“I was there, in Colorado, Beth.” His voice sounded vaguely familiar. “I want to help you.”

The guy at the library had wanted to hurt her. “What you need to do is leave me alone,” she said, injecting a note of steel into her voice. “Stay away from me.”

“You’re in danger!”

“Are you threatening me?” She was pretty sure that she’d just seen a shadow move out there beneath the tree. Her knees were knocking together.

“I’m trying to help you!”

Right. Was she supposed to foolishly believe that? The guy wouldn’t even tell her who he was!

“Look, I couldn’t let the past go. I was asking questions, talking too much—I showed my hand too soon.”

Okay, now she was just lost.

“Because of that, we’re both in danger.”

She still had on Mac’s jacket, but a chill skated down her spine.

“I know I’m being hunted, and so are you. Meet me,” he said, his voice still oddly familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it. She usually had a knack for remembering voices. “Now. I’m close to a bar on Avers Street. A place called Rustic. Meet me in the alley outside.”