Saved by a Dangerous Man

By: Cleo Peitsche

Corbin took it away, dropped it back in. “Pencils. Look at it in your room. And no sharing with Henry.” His voice had gotten clipped again.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you want me to work for you so you can keep an eye on me.”

“But you do know better.” He retreated to a corner, where he proved that a scowl could make my blood run cold. As much as I wanted to pretend that he was jealous, that wasn’t the case. He didn’t want me mixed up in this.

If I hadn’t felt terrible about going before, I sure did now. The only person who knew all the details didn’t want me to do this, and the people who didn’t have all the facts would not have been in favor. But I was going.

I kissed him goodbye, suddenly unable to meet his eyes, then went out, closing my bedroom door behind me.

Henry waited near the front door, where he was eyeing my stack of credit card offers and unpaid bills. “Ready?” he asked.

For a moment, I almost wanted him to know, wanted someone to know. Because I was so unbelievably happy.

Yet I was miserable, too. Because I’d held heaven, incandescent and fleeting, cupped in my hands, and every passing moment dulled the memory.

I stared out the tiny window and contemplated a very unflattering theory. Maybe Henry knew more about Corbin than I did. Maybe he could tell me some of the things that Corbin wouldn’t.

Corbin didn’t need to worry; at the rate I was finding out his secrets, it could be a century before I even knew his birthday.

Somewhere a few rows back, a baby was giving her lungs a thorough workout. I made the mistake of turning to make sure she wasn’t being tortured, and from the middle of my row, Henry caught my eye.

“Need anything?” he mouthed.

I forced a smile and shook my head. I’d been lucky that the seats closest to him were already assigned. He was sitting half a plane away on the return trip, and I sensed that by then I would need that distance.

He tried to get my attention again, but I pretended not to notice. I turned back to the window and let my head rest on the scratched plastic as I stared at the black smudges on the plane’s wing. Something about flying in a dirty plane seemed chancy. Good thing passenger jets didn’t set off my claustrophobia.

A soft hand gently touched my elbow. “I think your friend would like to tell you something, dearie,” the grandmotherly type next to me said.

“Thank you. Again.” I said it warmly; it wasn’t her fault that Henry was driving me insane. I leaned over and raised an eyebrow.

He shook a bag of chocolate-covered peanuts at me.

“Would you like some peanuts?” I asked my seat mate.

“Gracious, no,” she said. “Too hard to chew.” She grinned widely and tapped her perfectly even teeth, then leaned in. “I met a new man, and I’m thinking about getting implants. My friend got them. They’re very natural, and she looks younger.”

My jaw dropped.

“But the implants are expensive and my insurance doesn’t cover them. I haven’t decided if I’ll dip into my savings. These dentures keep me from eating a lot of things.”

“Oh! Dental implants.” My face had gone hot. “Ok, then no peanuts.” I shook my head at Henry. He furrowed his brow, probably wondering why I had blushed red.

My brain was foggy; I needed a nap if I planned to keep up with Henry after we arrived. I leaned back and closed my eyes.

Inside every woman lives a voice. A perceptive voice that will speak the truth if given the chance. Mine knew three things.

Corbin did care about me, and in a way that felt healthy, even to my inexperienced-at-relationships psyche.

He was fucked up. He had to be, or he wouldn’t be so good at his job. Because there was no such thing as a well-adjusted assassin.

And I knew, deep down, in the coldest, most rational parts of my soul, that Corbin was capable of just about anything.

Sometimes it was a look. Or the way he said something. But… I knew. It didn’t dampen my desire—no, my uncontrollable need—one iota. At least, not when we were in the same room.

Being capable of something wasn’t the same as doing it, and it wasn’t fair to punish him for his honesty.

Maybe his confession about that particular murder was a good sign. He hadn’t killed anyone innocent; he’d just said that he would have if it had been needed. Perhaps this was proof that subconsciously, he wasn’t comfortable with his job after all. An assassin, yes, but one who had qualms about his deeds. Maybe he’d been a killer for so long that he believed he didn’t have limits.

Top Books