Six months of waiting in hiding hadn’t eased her mind.
Living in the gated community helped, but if someone wanted her
dead, it would happen. Gates and armed guards didn’t stand a chance
against a machine gun or whatever served as Morales’ weapon of
choice. He wanted her to keep quiet, no matter what.
No toys or quickies with Quint would erase her pain. “Catch
him so it’s all over.” Emma blinked back tears of frustration. “I
want my life back.”
She touched the picture of Sam on the counter. Her heart
squeezed in her chest. He didn’t have to go to the lengths he’d gone
to for her. I won’t risk losing you. She sighed. What if she lost
him in the process?
“I miss him, too.” Quint placed his hand on hers.
Emma bumped shoulders with him and wiped her cheeks. “I
know. I’m glad you’re here. I’d be stir crazy alone.”
“Won’t be long, now.” He kissed her temple. “Promise.”
The words failed to comfort her. “If I’m not safe in the
Leatherwoods, I’m not safe anywhere. Do you hear that, Quint? I’m
done.” She shoved the newspaper into the recycle bin and headed to
the refrigerator. Emma withdrew a half-empty bottle of rose wine.
“If I want to sip a glass of wine on my balcony, then by God, I
should be able to.” She nodded to herself and poured a generous
amount into a wine goblet. “You can watch for all I care. I want to
have a normal life again.”
She balanced the wine glass in her fingers and picked up a
lighter for the citronella candles and her book from the table. She
shoved the lighter in her back pocket and stuck her book under her
free arm. Emma crossed the room and stepped through the sliding
doors. The potted pansies fluttered in the slight wind. She dropped
the book on the lounger and left the wine glass on the ground beside
“Seems like a nice time to take in some afternoon sun.”
Shielding her eyes with her hand, she glanced around at the
neighboring terraces. For a humid late July afternoon, no one seemed
to be home and that suited her fine. “Looks like we’re alone,
“You try my patience,” Quint growled. He plopped down onto
the balcony railing. “Anyone with a good shot could take your ass
out right now. Why are you chancing it?”
“I’m not chancing anything with you standing there ready to
take the bullet,” Emma snorted. Six months of having someone
watching her managed to kill her modesty. Sure, time spent in her
bedroom meant time alone. Anywhere else in the apartment gave Quint
ample view of what she did. Most of the time his presence didn’t
bother her. He was Sam’s best friend. They shared everything—except
her. So she enjoyed strolling to the kitchenette every once in a
while in the nude? Quint, being the consummate good guy with a foul
mouth, never acted on impulse. Sam alluded to wanting a threesome
with her and Quint. Based on Quint’s reactions, she doubted the
event would happen—the talk needed to evolve into action.
“I’m going to immerse myself in a book.”