* A treat for you, the first kiss from Earth Enchanted. This reminds me my why I love romantic suspense. *sighs* Sweet. 


The theater was dark except
for the tiny floor lights used to light the aisles. They took their seats in
the very back, with a huge bucket of popcorn between them, while the previews
played across the big screen. “I hope you don’t mind sitting all the way back
here.”
“Nah, this is fine.” As long
as he could keep his hands in the popcorn and his mind on the show, he silently
added.
“I like to watch other
people’s reactions.”
He liked it for completely
different reasons, but kept that piece of information to himself. He wasn’t
sixteen anymore, after all.
The movie—a psychological
thriller rather than a monster flick—began on screen. Liv curled her fingers
around the arms of the theater seat and waited, breath held, for the heroine’s
next encounter with the maniac. Jack uncurled her fingers and twined them with
his own. It was as automatic as breathing, this need to soothe nerves. She
jolted, then seemed to ease a little. The simple gesture was romantic and
innocent yet at the same time very intimate. What would it be like to have her
twined around him?
Jack walked hand in hand with
Liv through a throng of teenagers. Housed in an outdoor mall between a law
office and hair salon, the theatre was in the heart of town. He pulled her into
the alcove doorway of the law office. The full moon shone brightly overhead,
and summer breeze that had been stifling earlier was now comforting and warm.
Turning her, he pressed her back against the wall. He heard a young girl giggle
as she walked by.
“Liv?” Jack brushed a kiss
across the knuckles of the hand he held. “I wish you could put off your trip
home for a while. I want more time with you. What am I saying? I don’t have any
right to even ask you that. But I am asking.”
“Life’s too short to worry
about the little things. I never expected to find you. I didn’t realize I was
searching. Home will be waiting when I get back. I can trust Skye to look after
things for me.”
A weight he hadn’t known he’d
carried was suddenly lifted off his shoulders. “That’s good.” He brushed the
lightest of kisses over her wrists, drugging himself with the beating of her
pulse. He thrilled as he felt his effect on her under his lips.
“Jack?” she questioned, but
her mouth was already tilting up to meet his. Eyes were fluttering closed.
He lightly touched his lips to
hers, barely even a whisper, but the earth seemed to tilt and fall out from
under his feet. He couldn’t hear anything but the beating of his own heart and
his own ragged breathing as he crushed her to him. He plundered her mouth,
taking all she offered, demanding more than he could give, drowning in the
taste even as he cursed himself for doing so.
* * * *
High on the roof of the
restaurant across from the library, Shadow’s finger rested heavy on the trigger
of his AK-47. From his rather interesting viewpoint he could see the Corrigan
woman had taken the writer for a lover, tacky little sl*t. It
paid to research your targets and their associates. It figured. Oceans
draw rivers.
 Thinking back to the conversation with Gueraldi, he
wondered why he’d taken the job.
“Shadow, I wish I could say it
was p
leasant, but our business is anything but. Make
sure to do it in a public place. I want it to look random, but I’m sure
Corrigan will still get the message.”
Shadow, as most who had
acquired his services knew him, was a marksman for hire. “No kill shots?” he
asked.
“No, try to exercise some
amount of control, but make it bloody,” Gueraldi rasped into the phone. “Otherwise…”
He’d make sure of it. He was
under contract after all, but she’d still suffer plenty. He craved the sound of
bullet
s ripping into flesh and
the agony of screams that followed, but either way he’d get paid. “Consider it
already done. My usual fee?”
“Will be transferred upon
completion.”
The line went dead.
Shadow had been following the
woman for him since the day she touched down on American soil. He’d watched as
she and the man got into the old vintage car outside her brother’s house. He
let them get a couple lengths ahead, then followed.
Now here he was, rifle sighted,
perched alert like a damn squirrel. He might have been uncomfortable, but he
was already lost in the hunt. Predator scented prey. He craved blood, waited to
taste the kill. Disgraceful, he complained silently, climbing all over him in
public, a man she’d only met a few days ago. He just needed a clear shot. It
was all he was waiting for. He could have killed the writer first, but he
didn’t work for free. The writer had his back turned to him, blocking his view
of the woman. Then his good luck came through. They broke apart. He checked and
reloaded the clip. Sighted and took the shot.

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