“What?!” I asked, almost spitting my pancake in Anna’s face, “That’s Liam’s son? Liam has an eight-year-old son?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes, god, why is that so hard to believe?” Anna asked with big eyes before she ordered a coffee.
“What’s so hard to believe?” Finn asked as he approached us, settling into the seat next to Anna.
“That Liam is Collin’s dad.” Anna said with a shrug.
Finn immediately looked uncomfortable as he looked from Anna to me, “Oh… uh, how did that come up?” He asked as casually as he could.
“I just met him.” I said, my gaze not leaving Finn’s.
Finn closed his eyes and sighed, “Of course you did… Because were at Abigale’s. How did I not put two and two together?” He said as he opened his eyes and stared at the menu.
“Why is that relevant?” I asked, setting my fork down.
“This is Liam’s diner.” Anna said before she took a sip of her coffee, “Well, it was his wife’s diner, but they were in the middle of remodeling when she passed away.” She said with a sigh as she looked over her shoulder at the photos on the wall, “Liam dove into this project head first once she was gone, filled it with every photo of her he could find, changed the name to ‘Abigale’s’ and trained every cook they had to make the dishes exactly how Abigale wanted them. It was sweet, it really was.”
“Wow…” I whispered as I followed her gaze. I paid attention to the details this time as my interest in the diner continued to spike the more I learned.
The walls were a pale dove gray with white vintage picture frames scattered throughout the entire diner, all of them containing a different photo of the same beautiful brunette with a bright white smile. Big burgundy booths sat along the windows so customers could gaze out onto their town as they filled their bellies with hot pancakes and fresh fruit. It was a modern day take on an old fashioned diner, but still leaving that welcoming feeling of home as you walked through the door.
As I turned my attention back to my pancakes, I noticed a few hand written notes pressed under the glass top of the bar, all signed from Abigale. “Are these all notes to Liam?” I asked Anna and Finn as I skimmed over each one. They were all short and sweet, and full of love.
“Thank you for all the small things, A.” I read out loud as Anna and I had our noses to the bar top, looking over all the little notes and drawings.
“Yes, they’re all from Abigale, to Liam.” Finn said as he watched us.
I swallowed, “That’s nice.” I said, sitting up straight before I stuffed a piece of pancake in my mouth. How was I going to face Liam after this? Oh hey, I know all about your dead wife, and your diner, oh and I met your son. Cute kid. I rolled my eyes at the thoughts going through my head while I stuffed my mouth with more pancakes.
“Jesus, Katie, take a breath would ya?” Anna said as she watched me inhale my food.
“Stop calling me Katie.” I tried to say but I had too many pancakes stuffed in my chipmunk cheeks so I just sounded like an idiot.
Anna raised her brows and looked over at Finn, “I’m going to the bathroom… Make sure she doesn’t choke and die on her breakfast.” She said to him before she hopped off her barstool and headed to the back of the diner.
I swallowed once she was gone and looked at Finn, shaking my head, “I don’t even know where to start.”
Finn stood up with a sigh and moved over to Anna’s seat, getting comfortable next to me before he rested his elbows on the bar and met my gaze, “The truth is, Kate, it was never my place to tell you anything and Liam has only known you for a few days.” He shrugged, “What did you expect?”
“Not an eight-year-old son who can practically take care of himself. Or a sick wife. Or a diner. I mean, Christ, you told me he had secrets but I never expected this.” I said in one breath.
“What did you expect?” Finn asked softly.
“The Charlie type of secrets. Ya know… How many kills he’s had or how many women he was banging at one time.” I explained.
Finn grinned, “Those aren’t secrets, sweetheart. Charlie has those numbers plastered everywhere back at camp. He’s a God to half of those trainee’s and that’s what worries me. Charlie is arrogant enough for all of us, we don’t need to be creating more like him.” He said softly into his coffee mug before he took a sip. “By the way, your pistol fell out of your denims when you passed out at the hospital yesterday, its being stored in my glove box until you learn how to be more responsible with deadly weapons.”
“Oh, shit!” I whispered, “I completely forgot Brandon gave that to me. I’m not use to having a gun on me, I’m sorry.” I said as I pushed my empty plate away from me, “I’m such a hot mess lately…” I whispered as I adjusted the napkin on my lap.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you what happened with Lou.” Finn said before he took another sip of coffee.
I blinked at him, “What do you mean?” I asked nervously.
“It must have been a pretty heated discussion in order for you to work yourself up enough to pass out cold.” He said with a raised brow as he looked over at me.
“I told you, hospitals freak me out. The environment just got to me.” I lied with a shrug.
Finn set down his coffee mug, “I’m a little insulted at how stupid you think I am, Kate.” He said, his eyes not leaving mine, “You don’t have to be alone in whatever this is.” He whispered.
I appreciated his kindness, and I wanted to express that to him but this wasn’t the time. “I think I do.” I said with a small smile before I got to my feet.
“Kate,” Finn started but was interrupted by the waitress.
“You folks together?” She asked as she laid down the bill.
“Yes.” Finn said before he threw down some cash and guided me out the door by my elbow, “If you would just tell me what the hell is going on in your head then maybe I could help. Even if you don’t want to tell me that’s fine, but at least tell Liam.”
A reflexive laugh came out of my throat unintentionally. “Listen Finn, you said it yourself, I’ve only known Liam for a few days. Relax, I’ll be fine. I’m not in danger.” I tried to reassure him.
“Why don’t I believe you?” He asked, his grip was firm but his eyes were soft. He looked desperate for an answer, but there was no way in hell I could explain to him what Lou told me. Not without consequences.
“What’s going on?” Anna asked as she walked out of the diner, looking from me to Finn as she stepped onto the sidewalk.
“I was starting to get dizzy, I had to get out of there.” I lied, slowly stepping out of Finn’s reach.
“I think we should take her to the clinic.” Finn added, catching on quickly.
“No no. That’s not necessary.” I said shaking my head.
“Kate, really, you should go get checked out.” Anna said as she walked up to me, “There could be something wrong with you.”
“I promise. I’m fine.” I smiled.
“Liam is stopping by the house later to drop off a few things of mine, maybe I can have him take you to our medic just to be sure.” Finn suggested.
I took in a breath, not sure what Finn was getting at, but I didn’t argue. “Sure. Fine. Okay.” I shrugged, “But that’s the end of it. I don’t want to hear anymore about it after that, okay?” I asked them.
“Alright, now,” I grinned, “What’s next?”
Three boutique stores and a two-hour drive later we were back at the house.
“Remind me to never go out with you two again.” Finn said as he carried two arms full of bags into the house and set them by the stairs.
“Oh come on Timothy, you know you had fun.” Anna teased as she walked in behind him.
“Believe it or not, dress shopping is not my idea of a good time.” He said with a sigh.
“Could have fooled me.” I said with a smirk, shutting the front door and grabbing my bags.
“Not so fast, Fox. We have training to do.” Finn said as he folded his arms over his chest.
“Training?” I groaned, “This is payback for the dresses, isn’t it?” I frowned.
“Something like that.” He grinned, “Be ready in thirty minutes.”
I sighed, “Fine.” I whispered before I lugged my bags up the stairs and to my room, “You’re gonna regret taking me on! I’m gonna open up a can of whoop ass, you’ll see!” I yelled from my bedroom.
“Can’t wait!” I heard Finn yell back, followed by a deep chuckle that made me a little nervous.
“Did you really have to kick my feet out from under me that many times?” I whined as I collapsed on the couch. Our training session lasted for about two hours, all of which had me falling on my ass.
“I thought it was entertaining.” Anna said as she plopped down on the couch next to me.
“Of course you did, he used you for a distraction!” I complained.
“You have to learn to always be paying attention, no matter what the hell is going on.” Finn said as he tossed me a water.
“Did you flash me at one point?” I asked Anna.
“Yes.” Finn mumbled with a sheepish grin.
“Yes and it was a damn good distraction too.” Anna said proudly.
“God you’re weird.” I said as I rested my head on the couch pillow, “I’m gonna take a short nap. Don’t talk to me.”
“Uh, Katie…” Anna said.
“How many times do I have to tell you to not call me that?” I asked.
“You should probably shower, you have to leave in a few hours with Liam and you smell something fierce. If I don’t want to sit close to you, I’m sure Liam or that doctor wont either. Just saying.” She shrugged.
“Damn it.” I whispered as I sat up, “I hate you both.”
“Seriously, maybe take two showers.” Anna said as she scrunched her nose.
I stood up with a sigh and headed to the stairs, “If I’m not down in a few hours its because I fell asleep in the shower.”
“Got it.” Finn said.
“Don’t forget to use soap.” Anna said with cheerful encouragement.
“This should be fun.” I mumbled to myself as I slowly made my way up the stairs and to the bathroom.
Seven o’clock on the dot and there was a knock at the front door, sending nervous tingles down to my toes. You can do this, I said to myself as I stood in my bedroom, admiring my new dress in the mirror. It was simple and sexy, all white lace that brought out my tan and green eyes. It was tight fitting around my bust and waist, then it relaxed into flowing layers that ended just before my knees so when I twirled around it caught air and lifted, exposing my white panties.
I heard Finn answer the door and make small talk with his brother as I sprayed some perfume on my neck and slipped on my short white heels. I left my hair down in loose waves that just reached my breasts, but brought a hair tie with me just in case. Taking a deep breath in, I opened my bedroom door and walked to the top of the stairs, making eye contact with Liam as he stood in the door way, all tall and charming. He flashed me a white smile and watched as I made my way down the stairs, not caring how obvious he was being.
“You look great, kid.” He said softly when I reached him.
“Thank you.” I said with a grin before my attention was interrupted by Finn pushing us out onto the porch.
“Have her back at a decent time and don’t let anything happen to her.” Finn told his brother with a serious look on his face before he gave me a nod and shut the door.
“What’s his problem?” Liam said with a soft chuckle as he looked down at me.
“He’s just grown fond of me is all.” I joked as I put my arm around his and walked us off the porch and to the truck, “Where are we going to eat?” I asked curiously.
Liam grinned as he opened the passenger door for me, “It’s a surprise.” He whispered.
“Oh, you’re one of those guys.” I teased with a laugh and went to climb up into the truck but felt Liam’s hands holding me firmly at the waist as he pushed my back up against the truck and held me there.
It was one of those unexpected moments that sent butterflies to your stomach and tingles to your toes. Liam had me pinned between his body and the truck as he leaned in and kissed me eagerly, taking my breath away. I felt his hand behind my neck, holding me still as he massaged his tongue against mine roughly, taking what he wanted without saying a word. I gave into him immediately, melting into him as his free hand roamed my body and his tongue claimed my mouth.
With the passenger door being open and the porch light being off we had some privacy as we became more heated in the moment. It was a slow quiet evening in our neighborhood so the only sounds we heard were the crickets and our panting between kisses.
“Should we…” I swallowed, “Go for a drive?” I asked, resting my forehead against his as I tried to catch my breath.
Liam lifted my chin up so I was looking into his eyes as he whispered, “You’re lucky you said something, I was about to take you right here in the driveway.” His husky tone sending chills up my spine before he gave me one last kiss and lifted me into the truck.
I grinned at him as he shut my door, savoring the taste of his lips until he climbed in the driver’s seat so I could lean over and kiss him more.
“Are you really not going to tell me where were going?” I asked him as he got comfortable in the driver’s seat and backed out of the driveway.
“That is correct, Ms. Fox. It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, now would it?” He asked as he looked over at me with a smirk and a raised brow.
I bit my bottom lip, “How long until we get there?” I asked curiously as I scooted closer to him.
“About an hour.” He said as he watched the road.
“I see…” I said as I leaned in and kissed his neck, taking in his clean scent of soap and cologne.
“I’m not use to having a beautiful distraction while I drive” Liam said with a grin as he focused more on me now than the road.
“Oh, darling, you haven’t seen anything yet.” I whispered in his ear as I unzipped his pants.
When we arrived in the city we parked along the street next to a hardware store and a corner coffee shop. Still having no idea where we were going, I assumed he had reservations a few blocks away in the art district where there were a few up and coming restaurants I never took the time to check out.
“You like Chinese, right?” Liam asked as he locked the truck and put his arm around my shoulder.
“Chinese?” I repeated with a confused tone. He brought me into the city to get takeout? I thought to myself.
“There’s a Chinese joint around the corner with the best eggrolls in the entire city.” He said as he guided me to a door between the hardware store and the coffee shop. “There’s also a great pizza joint, and Thai.” He suggested, opening the door and leading me up the stairwell.
“Liam, what is going on? Why are we here?” I asked as I climbed the suspicious staircase.
“I told you, it’s a surprise.” He insisted as he lead me up one more flight of stairs. We finally stopped in front of a door with the number five hanging from a nail under the peephole. I imagined this was an apartment of some sort but at this point it could have been anything.
“Secret lab?” I asked with a smirk as Liam pulled out his keys and unlocked the door.
“Something like that.” He whispered as he pushed open the door, revealing a very cozy apartment with a gorgeous view of the city.
“Oh my.” I said as I walked inside, admiring the space. He had a big open kitchen to my left as I walked in, and what looked like a movable island for more counter space. Beyond that was a living room, big brown furniture all pointed at a 70inch flat screen TV, with an old piece of driftwood used as a top for a coffee table. It was a very comfortable floor plan, two bedrooms; one on each side of the TV, brick walls everywhere but the view of the city which had ceiling to floor windows. The balcony wasn’t lit but I could see a few string of lights that hovered over a patio furniture set, setting romantic vibes when lit with a gorgeous view.
“Is this yours?” I asked, not knowing what to say. I turned around to see what he was doing and found him locking the door and taking off his blazer. It was then when I realized how handsome he looked in his black dress pants and black button up shirt.
“I’ve owned this place for about a year now.” He said with a nod, proudly taking a quick glance around as he spoke. “It’s hard to keep up with a rent controlled apartment when you’re in and out of the country.”
“Well good for you.” I said with a smirk as I looked him up and down, “Have I ever told you how good you look in black?” I asked, taking a small step in his direction.
Liam grinned, “I don’t believe you have.” He whispered, matching my footing as he stepped closer to me.
“Well in that case, please accept my apology for not mentioning it sooner.” I whispered, looking up at him as we reached one another.
“Hmm…” He hummed with an evil grin, “I think you’re going to have to do much better than that.” He joked.
I raised an eyebrow at his playfulness, “Is that so?” I asked as I placed a hand on his firm chest, pushing him back against the door before I raised myself up on my tiptoes and crashed my lips onto his, not holding back the hunger I felt for him as my fingers started to work at the buttons on his shirt.
From the moment my lips touched his we were picking up where we left off, melting into one another as our hands desperately searched for buttons and zippers. Only seconds went by before I felt a breeze against my bare back, and then at my shoulders as I let my unzipped dress slowly fall down my body and gather at my feet.
“I need you to stay right here.” Liam whispered against my lips before he pulled away and looked me up and down, “Don’t move, I just need to look around and check the perimeter before I get too distracted.” He said as he pulled his shirt off and tossed it on the kitchen counter.
I bit my bottom lip as I watched him walk away from me, a pistol stuck out of his pants and rested against his toned lower back. What was it with men and weapons that turned me on so much? I wondered to myself as I slipped on his button up and walked around the kitchen. Maybe it’s the fact that they know how to protect me, I thought as I made my way to the sliding glass door of his balcony. I opened the door slowly and stepped outside, shutting it behind me as I gazed out at his gorgeous view of the city.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I heard him say as he pressed his chest against my back, leaning in to kiss my neck.
I immediately fell into him as I felt his hot kisses on my skin, closing my eyes as my attention shifted from the city to his hands. His magical fucking hands, knowing exactly what to do. I didn’t know what sensation to focus on, he had one hand pulling down the lace of my bra and massaging my left breast as his free hand slid down my stomach and under my panties. I gasped as I felt his rough fingers start to rub my clit, making my toes curl and my knees weak.
“Don’t stop.” I begged, just as he slipped two fingers inside of me and lightly pinched my nipple.
“You like that, baby?” He whispered in my ear as his fingers moved faster inside of me.
I felt my orgasm building every second he touched me, and then something hit me. His voice. That delicious deep voice mixed with his expert hands. My eyes opened quickly as the realization set in that although I did recognize his voice and his touch, none of it belonged to Liam.
As swiftly as I could I stepped out of his reach and spun around. Charlie was standing before me with a grin on his face that made my stomach twist into knots. He was wearing black camo pants and a black t-shirt, blending in with the shadows, blending in with his soul.
“What in the fuck are you doing here?” I asked him as I pulled my shirt closed with shaky hands.
“I could ask you the same thing, pet.” Charlie said as he slowly brought his fingers to his mouth and sucked them clean.
“You’re disgusting.” I said, shaking my head.
“Mmm…” He moaned, “You taste delicious.”
“Fuck you.” I growled.
“That’s the point, sweetheart.” Charlie said as he took a step closer to me. “Admit it, Kate. Liam isn’t doing it for you. He may be a sweet guy and all, but at the end of the day, you want the big bad wolf who will fuck you the way you need to be fucked.”
My gaze went from Charlie to inside the apartment. Liam was nowhere to be found. “Liam and I are-“
“Fucking.” Charlie interrupted.
I blinked up at him in confusion.
Charlie raised his brow, “You thought I didn’t know?” He chuckled, “I know everything that goes on at that camp. I’m not sure why you’re surprised.”
“You’re not pissed…” I said, observing his relaxed demeanor.
“Oh I was, at first.” He shrugged, “And then I remember that you’re not mine, and I was fine until I watched him strip you down just a few minutes ago. Then I started to get greedy.” He said, towering over me now as he cornered me against a wall.
“What did you do to him?” I asked, looking up at him with a fierce gaze.
“Me? I didn’t do a thing.” He grinned.
“Charlie what did you do?!” I yelled.
“Keep your voice down.” He said, slowly becoming more serious. “He walked out of the apartment just as you were begging me not to stop.”
“Why did he leave?” I asked him, suddenly worried Liam thought I wanted any part of what was happening out here.
“I couldn’t tell ya, I was busy slipping my fingers in and out of you. Surely you remember, we were right over there.” He said, turning his head just enough to give me some advantage.
I swung my left fist at his jaw as hard as I could, hearing something crack as I made contact. Ignoring the pain, I pushed him out of the way and ran to the door, sliding it open.
“Liam!” I yelled out, running into the apartment and searching the bedrooms.
“Would you stop being so fucking dramatic?” Charlie asked as he followed me into the apartment, rubbing his jaw.
“Do not fucking talk to me.” I said to him as I walked into the living room.
Charlie walked to the kitchen and spit blood into the sink, “Why do you always catch me off guard with that?”
“Because you’re an idiot, now leave.” I said, walking to the front door to grab my dress that was still on the floor.
“Oh I came here for a reason princess, so you need to sit your ass down and listen to what I have to say.” He said as he opened up the fridge and grabbed a water.
“And why the hell should I listen to you?” I asked.
“Because I’m the only other person who knows what you’re thinking right now besides you!” He yelled.
I frowned at his odd comment and slowly made my way into the kitchen, “You think you know what’s going on in my head, Charlie? Then why don’t you tell me.” I suggested.
“You think you killed John, and you’re terrified.” He said softly, looking deep into my eyes as he spoke, “I talked to Lou, he told me everything.”
I blinked. My vision started to blur with tears as I heard him say the one thing I was terrified to say out loud myself. “Do you think I’m capable of murder?” I whispered, desperate for an outsider’s opinion.
“Yes.” Charlie said softly.
“Do you think I killed John?” I asked nervously.
“No.” He answered.
“Do you think Lou was lying about my father?” I asked as I felt warm tears spill down my cheeks.
I watched as Charlie thought about it for second. At first I thought he was just going to ignore my question, but then he pulled a small piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to me. I looked down at the chicken scratch and frowned, “An address.” I said.
Charlie nodded, “Lets go get some answers.”