Deacon Page 2

I did more staring at my handsome, thoughtful, supportive boyfriend thinking where on earth did that come from?

I didn’t get the chance to ask. There was a knock on the door, and as we were fighting in the foyer, Grant close to the door with his back to it, he turned, grabbed the knob, and yanked it open.

“What?” he barked, angrily and unwelcomingly.

But I saw the man standing in the doorway and I took an automatic step back.

I didn’t do this because he was handsome and handsome men freaked me way the heck out.

Good-looking guys like Grant, no. Grant could turn heads. Even though he wasn’t tall, with his lean, defined body, shock of messy dark blond hair and clear blue eyes, he got more than his share of attention.

But Grant wasn’t like the guy at the door.

The guy at the door wasn’t good-looking. The guy at the door was handsome. Amazingly. Tall. Dark-haired. Rugged-featured. His large frame built tough and solid.

He looked like the model a cologne company would choose when they decided to break in to the difficult market of trying to convince hardcore bikers they should smell good.

But I didn’t take a step back because of that.

I did it because he was terrifying.


Huge. Dark. His face a cold, emotionlessness mask. His chill swept through the foyer, causing a shiver to glide over my skin even though it was a sunny day in August, warm, and we had no air conditioning.

Further, I knew in a glance he was gone. There was nothing there. He was standing. His blood was coursing through his veins. He was breathing.

But that was it.

He existed.

He did not live. He did not feel. He did not smile. He did not laugh.

In other words, he was the guy a cologne company would approach when they decided to break in to the difficult market of trying to convince hardcore bikers they should smell good. He was also the guy who would listen to this then rip the head off the person who suggested such absurdity.

I got this all from a look, and as I kept looking, I knew with complete certainty I was right.

And it scared the heck out of me.

He scared the heck out of me.

But this was only part of the reason he scared the heck out of me.

The other part, the bigger part, was even feeling all that, I had a near-overwhelming urge to go to him and wrap my arms around him.


And maybe never let go.

For eternity.

Yes, standing in my foyer with my boyfriend, staring at that man, and thinking these thoughts, he scared the ever-living crap out of me.

His deep voice rumbled through the hall, and as deep as it was, there was no warmth to it. It wasn’t even benign. Even saying everyday words, it was ominous and wintry.

“You got a unit open?”

“We got eleven units open,” Grant replied, tossing out a hand toward the door to indicate the cabins down the lane. “Take your pick, man.”

“Unit eleven,” the man stated instantly and I was not surprised by his choice, though I was unnerved that he knew which cabin to pick. He’d either been there before or he’d checked out the lay of the land before he approached us.

Number eleven was the cabin up the hill, almost fully surrounded by woods, removed from the other cabins. Secluded.

I stood there, staring at him, thinking I didn’t want him to rent a cabin. I didn’t want him on my property. He wasn’t a threat and yet, some part of me knew he was. I didn’t think he’d harm me or Grant. It wasn’t like I got a serial killer vibe off him (not that there was such a thing).

It was just that his menace came from something else. The hurt he could deliver would be the kind of hurt you’d never recover from. The kind of hurt that didn’t cause scars to the skin but it was still the kind of hurt that would destroy you.

The problem with that was Grant was not entirely wrong. We had limited money that wouldn’t stretch forever, especially considering how much needed to be done to the cabins.

We needed to rent the units, even in their state.

Because of this, I forced myself forward and said, “Cabins are forty bucks a night.”

His eyes came to me, beautiful tawny eyes, and my stomach twisted.

It twisted because I didn’t want his attention.

It also twisted because those eyes, if they were warm, smiling, affectionate, happy, were eyes you could look into and immediately feel what he wanted to make you feel. All those things. The warmth. The smile. The love. The joy. Lose yourself in them. Lose yourself in him.

Just like right then, staring into those eyes with their dark spiky lashes, I felt precisely what he wanted me to feel.

Cold down to the bone.

It took effort but I forced my lips to tip up, stopped by the spindly-legged table where we had our registration book, and said, “We just need you to sign in. Name. Address. Telephone. License plate number. And I need to run a credit card and see your ID.”

He stepped in, pulling out his wallet, his eyes, thankfully, now on the registration book.

But his lips said, “Cash.”

I looked at Grant who was sizing up the man, something in his snit he didn’t do before.

I was about to explain why we needed a credit card on file when Grant said, “Cash’ll be fine. How long you stayin’?”

The man had picked up the pen lying on top of the registration book and he didn’t look to Grant when he replied, “Three days. Maybe four.”

“Works for us,” Grant muttered.

I gave him big eyes.

He narrowed his at me, an indication to keep my mouth shut.

I didn’t want to keep my mouth shut but I also didn’t want to say something without Grant taking my back, which he was making clear he wouldn’t do.

I didn’t mind someone paying in cash.

I did mind that he interrupted his sign-in when he handed Grant his ID, no credit card, and two hundred dollars. I hadn’t been in the business very long but I wasn’t sure this said good things. Credit cards were kind of important for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they verified ID.

He finished signing in and Grant moved to the locked cabinet where we kept the cabin keys, saying, “I’ll get your change.”

“No. What you got should cover tax. We’re good,” the man replied.

That didn’t bode well either. If he stayed four days, the cost of his cabin was $160 and tax on top of that wasn’t an extra forty.

Now, who had forty extra dollars to throw around? More importantly, why would they throw it at a sub-par cabin in the middle of nowhere?

I couldn’t think on this too long because I saw Grant pocket the money as he handed the man his key.

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