The Dangerous Thief

By: Mallory Crowe


Willa jerked awake and stared in horror at the desolate sight outside the window. “Where are we?” Everything flooded back. The disastrous attempt to ask Matt Forbes for help, tracking down Melody Murray, and then being handed off here. Wherever here was.

The view outside the window was scattered trees and foliage. Nothing to give her any indication of where her strange driver was taking her. She glanced over at said driver of the truck. The man she’d met less than a day ago. And by met, she meant she was Adam had shuffled her into the car and abandoned her.

The man next to her was big enough to more than fill up the roomy front cab of the large pickup truck. And by big, she sure as hell didn’t mean fat. He seemed to be all muscle and strength and silence. Lots and lots of silence. As in he still hadn’t told her where they were.

“I asked you a question.”

He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye before he put his attention back on the road. “I thought you were talking in your sleep again.”

Again? Fantastic. As if this whole situation wasn’t mortifying enough. And considering the nightmares she’d been having, she didn’t want to think about what she’d been saying. “So?”

“So what?”

This guy couldn’t really be this dumb. He had to be doing this on purpose to annoy her. “So where are we?”

“Northern Texas.”

“Texas?” Willa looked out the window at the trees and grass. Not exactly the image of Texas she had in her mind. “Aren’t there supposed to be cattle and oil fields everywhere? I’ve never been to Texas before. No real reason. I think the last time I counted, I’ve been to forty of the fifty states, but I guess I’ll have to recount. Have you ever been to Texas before?” Willa knew she was rambling on, but she didn’t really know what else to do. Talking was her default setting, and she’d been cooped up in this truck for almost twenty hours now with the most boring of boring jugheads next to her. She wanted to go back to sleep, but considering the nightmares.... “Maybe we should get a steak or something while we’re here? I don’t think I can use my credit card to pay for it, but I have a little cash. I can treat you to a dinner. I mean, you’re not the most polite company, but I do appreciate what you’re doing for me.”

“I’m not doing it for you.”

He speaks! Figured some of his few words would be rude and dismissive. She adjusted her place in her seat to stare at James Weston. He drove with both hands on the wheel. The bright Texas sun made his eyes seem more green than brown. His strong jawline was unshaven, and Willa wasn’t sure whether that was because he’d been too busy with her or it was the look he was going for. His hair was a sandy blond that was almost the same color as his tan skin.

Any other time, she’d be thrilled to be in such close quarters with someone this smoking hot. Of course, in most other circumstances, someone this smoking hot would also be excited to be alone with her.

Not that she had a high opinion of her looks. Well, she did. She worked damn hard in the gym to keep herself small enough to fit in sample sizes from designers, and she spent a fortune at the salon in the club her family had joined to make sure her hair, skin, and nails were all perfect. Her carefully cultivated image fit into any situation, be it a high-society party or the elite club scene in Chicago. Her hair was her natural brown color, with some subtle blonde and red highlights that gave a lot of dimension to the shoulder-length wavy locks, and her dark-brown eyes could become extra dramatic when she did her trademark smoky eye.

But she was smart enough to know that her looks alone weren’t why she was always the center of men’s attention. Everyone back home knew who she was. As Jadon Belli’s daughter, when she walked into a room, people paid attention. Money always got attention.

She was willing to bet that James Weston didn’t give a damn about her money. Which was good, because at the moment she didn’t have much to offer.

“So why are you helping me then?”

“I owe Melody a favor.”

“What do you owe her for?” Willa knew very little about Melody Murray, but she’d put a hundred percent of her faith in the stranger to keep her safe. Which led to her trusting Adam Smith to keep her safe. Which led to her trusting James Weston to keep her safe.

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