Dire (Page 37)

“Your rules? I wasn’t sure there were any.”

“My rules that required you to keep a reasonable distance from her. Whether she’s going back to her father’s home or not, I can’t have you doing anything inappropriate.”

“And sleeping in the same room with her isn’t inappropriate.” I couldn’t shut up. Sometimes words just came out of my mouth.

“This is my home, Gage. It would be good to remember that.”

“I remember,” I mumbled.

“Good. Now get to work.”

I didn’t need to be dismissed twice. I put on my boots and followed Chet outside. In less than forty-eight hours we’d be out of there. I could hardly wait.

***

Hunter kissed Mary Anne goodbye on the mouth. It was a small kiss, and by Mary Anne’s frazzled face she wasn’t expecting it, but I knew exactly what the action meant. He was warning me. He was marking his territory and reminding me to stay away. I nodded, pretending to be the good dog he expected me to be while internally cursing him. Who was he to touch her lips? They weren’t his. They were mine. The thought took me by surprise. That wasn’t a protective thought, it was a possessive thought. The wolves were rubbing off on me.

“Have a safe, uh, trip.” Mary Anne awkwardly recovered from the unwanted contact. She just stared at him wide eyed. The expression told me everything I needed to know. He hadn’t kissed her before. I’d assumed that, but I hadn’t been sure. We hadn’t exactly had lots of time to talk.

“Thank you. Maybe you’ll finish reading while I’m gone.”

She smiled. “I will. I’m at a good spot.”

Reading? I decided not to ask. I didn’t want to prolong Hunter’s departure any longer than absolutely necessary.

Marni hugged Mary Anne. I didn’t know the female wolf well, but if the affectionate gesture meant anything, Mary Anne definitely knew her. I heard the girls exchange a few whispered words, and then Marni looked at me. I wasn’t sure what the discussion was about, but I didn’t worry about it. I just needed them to leave.

“Falcon, I expect things to be exactly as I left them when I return.” The implication in Hunter’s words wasn’t missed by anyone. He meant Mary Anne. He was warning his man to keep me away from her. If I was right, he was trusting the last wolf he should have been with that job.

Falcon nodded stiffly. “Of course. Bring back the good stuff.”

“Don’t we always?” Semi smiled.

“That’s only because I’m with you.”

“Enough of this pissing contest, let’s go.” Marni tugged on Semi’s arm.

“Bye.” I waved as the group walked out the door.

As soon as the door closed behind them Falcon turned to us with a smile. “So kids? Ready for the fun to start?”

Mary Anne coughed. “We’re not going to cause any trouble. You can relax.”

“Relax?” He laughed. “Not likely. Hunter would kill me if I didn’t keep my eye on you.” His eyes roamed up and down her body. We all knew that wasn’t what Hunter meant. Was the leader that blind to Falcon’s interest in her? But maybe that was the point? He thought Falcon’s interest meant he’d try harder to keep me away, yet he wouldn’t dare touch her himself? I needed to stop trying to apply psychological logic to these wolves. It wasn’t getting me anywhere.

***

After a few hours of sitting around doing absolutely nothing, Falcon finally got up. “Don’t move an inch.” He looked back and forth between us. “I’m talking to both of you.”

I nodded. “We won’t.”

He must have been satisfied by my response because he walked down the hall to the bathroom.

“This is it. Our only chance.” I kept my voice low even though Falcon had left the room. The wolves had insanely good hearing, and I wasn’t sure exactly how far the range went.

“I know. But how?” Mary Anne glanced at the closed bathroom door. “We’re lucky he didn’t leave the door open to do that.”

“There’s only one way. I don’t like it, and neither will you.”

She sighed and glanced at the fire. “I know what you’re going to say.”

“Do you?” I waited to see if she’d say it herself.

“I need to seduce him.” She cringed as she said the words.

“I’m glad you’re the one who said it out loud first.” I was relieved I didn’t have to suggest it. If our plan failed, I was putting her in a dangerous situation, but if we didn’t escape she might be in an even worse one. “And you’ll need the handcuffs from the shed.”

“Handcuffs?”

“Yeah, weird I know. Who knows who they belong to?”

“This isn’t going to be easy.”

“No one said it would be.”

The toilet flushed, and we jumped apart from each other. He’d only given us two minutes alone, but it was the first private conversation we’d had in days.

The door burst open. “Did I miss anything?”

“No.” Mary Anne shook her head a little too frantically. She needed to calm down. She couldn’t blow things when we were so close.

“Good. I wouldn’t want to have to invite you in next time, would I?” He checked her out again. What a sick bastard. I assumed he wasn’t talking about her watching while he took a shit, but who the hell knew with this piece of work? I didn’t want to throw her to the wolves—figuratively and literally, by making her do the dirty work, but I didn’t have any other ideas. Falcon wasn’t as sharp as the others, but we still weren’t likely to slip past him.

“I’m going to go upstairs and read.” Mary Anne patted the worn book in her hands. I figured it was one Hunter had given her.

“Oh yeah?” His eyes were on her chest and not her face. After a minute he turned to me. “And how about you? What are you going to be doing?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I could use some sleep.”

“Fine. I can arrange that.” I nodded, and he smiled. “Glad to know you’re being cooperative.”

“Do I really have another option?”

“No.”

We went upstairs, and Falcon followed me inside the guest room while Mary Anne walked into Hunter’s room. I wasn’t surprised when Falcon double checked the bars on the windows. Yes, bars. Hunter had them on every window in the house. I also wasn’t surprised when my door locked from the outside when he left. I was relying on that. Falcon wasn’t wasting his chance to spend time alone with Mary Anne. Maybe the seduction would be easier than we thought.