21 April, 2008

Chapter 11

Her entire body froze. Not again! Her mind screamed. Certainly she had screamed it to the world. It sounded so loud in her head. Her arms felt like lead at her sides. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. All she could do was focus on the blade.

Not again!

Swallowing down the lump in her throat she dragged in a deep breath. “I can feel you trembling for me, Cameron. I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking.”

No! Her mind screamed again, but her lips remained stubbornly silent and her body useless. A horrifying cold seemed to eat at her from the inside out. Her blood, her lungs, they felt like they were seizing. She gasped as the panic clawed up from her throat and all she could release was a whimper.

Lucas drew her closer, flicking the edge of the blade along her throat, to the underside of jaw. “I hate giving you these lessons, Cameron. Why do you continue to make me hurt you? We could have been so happy.”

Her knees buckled and the knife bit into her flesh. Through the aching cold, she could feel the slow, seeping trickle of her own blood. Her fingers finally worked, curling around his wide wrist, clawing at him as she felt droplet arrow down the long column of her neck and lower to pool into the little divot at the center of her collar bone.

She didn’t remember whimpering, but she must have and Jon must have heard her. His voice cut through the ice, strong, sure and steely. “What kind of man forces a woman anyway?”

Lucas stilled behind her. “I don’t need to force a woman, I just need to show her the correct way.”

“Right, forcing her, because you’re not man enough to let her have her own mind. Only a real man would know that a woman’s brain is just as sexy as the outside package. And a Stepford Wife isn’t really a wife at all, just a living doll. Perhaps you can’t handle a real woman,” he said thoughtfully.

Cam’s knees nearly dissolved. What was he doing? He was going to get her killed. The blade ticked higher under her chin, slick with her blood and the cold sweat of terror. Lucas dragged her up, forcing her to stand.

Jon started moving slowly. “Is that the deal? A real woman scares you?”

“Stay where you are Mr. Bon Jovi.” Lucas’ voice wavered only slightly. “Clever of you to try the psychology bit,” his voice strengthened. “Perhaps you are just a little more than a stupid rockstar, but it’s too late for Cameron. She’s been tainted. I’m just here to tie up some loose ends.” He nuzzled her neck and she had to swallow back the acid burning its way up her throat. “It’s too bad, she was nearly perfect.”

Her eyes focused as Jon made it to the end of the bed where the bench was tucked up to the footboard. Lucas had looked away for a second and the firelight was on his side. He snatched the chenille throw with the decorative string-like ends and snapped it like a wet towel.

It was just enough to startle Lucas as the end whipped along his cheek. Jon threw his shoulder into a tackle. Cam felt the blade make a shallow cut through her shirt and the quick ooze of blood but she was able to drop to the floor as the two men hit the floor in pile of legs and arms.

The light was limited on this side of the bed, but Lucas was larger than Jon. She heard the curse as he landed a blow and Jon growled into the dark. She crawled to the door, terror blindsiding her. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t see.

Her fingers found the axe handle. She lifted it, swinging like a bat at the larger of the two forms and felt the crack of bone against wood as Lucas cried out. She swung again, glancing off his temple as he went down.



“Jon! Are you okay?” her voice was too high, she could feel the hysteria building. “Oh please, tell me I didn’t hit you.”

“No Sammy Sosa, you didn’t.”

A choked laugh bubbled into the panic and she crawled to him. He gathered her into his arm, dragging them both away from Lucas. “Oh God, you are stupid,” she said on a shaky laugh.

He held his ribs as he tucked her under his arm. “Yeah well, I have three younger brothers that like to beat on me. I’ll be fine.”

“Did he cut you?” she asked as she began patting him down. Her fingers smoothed over the bristly jaw to his neck to his shoulders, until he stilled her wandering hands.

“I’m okay.” They both jumped as Lucas rolled onto his back. “Go!” Jon pushed her past Lucas. “We have to get out of here.” They both scrambled down the stairs, they could hear him moving around. Swearing as he discovered them both gone. “Hurry,” Jon said in a stage whisper.

The snowfall blanketed the surrounding beach and had already piled onto Lucas’ car. It would take too long to uncover it. Jon stomped into his workboots and tossed her sneakers at her. “C’mon. We have to make it to the Ranger station around the bend.”

“Cameron!” Lucas bellowed from the stairs, thundering down them.

She screamed as the iridescent light of a sky of full of snow showed his face. Blood flowed down half his face where she’d cracked him with the axe handle and there was a madness there.

He wasn’t going to let her live through this.

12 April, 2008

Chapter 10

Cam stalked through the shadows of the other side of the room, shaking her hands. She could feel the firm muscles of his chest on the palms of her hands still. Her entire body thrummed with it. She rounded the bed to the soft glow that filled one half of the room.

“Would you light someplace? You’re driving me insane.”

“I can’t just sit.” Her emotions were jumbled with fear, anticipation and…God, was that lust? Was it attraction she was feeling? How? Just the thought of a man touching her was enough to send her walking to Canada in the middle of the blizzard outside. Unless that man was Jon, evidently, she thought in disgust.

There was a sense of safety that seemed to exude from him, and at the same time a blast of urgency left her breathless. Her body wanted him. Crazy as it was to even fathom, she’d nearly kissed him. Her body had flamed at the mere touch of his bearded chin on her neck.

For the first time in months, fear had taken a back seat to needs she’d thought she’d buried. Even at her most delusional Lucas had never put a tenth of the heat into her blood that standing in a room with Jon did. Just standing. It was beyond amazing. He made her want again, when her life had been all about running for so long.

She sat on the bed and curled her legs up Indian style. Her bandages pulled a little, but the pain pushed away the mist of lust that had her near hysterical. Concentrate on getting yourself out of this, Cam. Not on a man that was so far out of reach he should have been in the next galaxy.

She didn’t have time for romance or for someone as public as he was. God, wasn’t he married? She folded her hands over her feet and faced the window. “Jon, where’s your family?”

“In New Jersey,” he said with a sigh.

“Isn’t your wife worried about you?”

“She’s probably relieved that I’m gone.”

“Because she doesn’t understand you?” she asked dryly.

He leaned his head on the glass. “Yeah, you could say that. How can she understand me, when I don’t understand me?”

Happy to focus on something other than her own personal hell she leaned back on the pillows. “Midlife crisis?”

He snorted and tossed a sardonic grin over his shoulder. “I wish. If it was a midlife crisis then I could go get a young mistress, a fast car and burn through some money to make myself feel young again. I could live the cliché they accuse me of with my former pretty blonde hair and my perfect little life.”

She could practically taste the bitterness in his words. “But it’s not,” she prompted.

“No, it’s not something as easy as a midlife crisis; it’s more like lack of inspiration. Nothing,” he paused and the darkness seemed to feed his need to talk. “Makes me happy anymore. Not my music, not my work, not my charity work. Nothing seems to settle me these days. So I came up here to see if I could get my shit together.”

“And you get me,” she said quietly.

He turned to her and sat on the corner of the bed. “And I got you,” his eyes flickered in the firelight, intense, bright and hot. “And you woke me up for the first time in nearly eighteen months.”

“It’s probably just a short term thing.”

His hand covered hers and squeezed. “The timing is the only thing that’s off.”

“Isn’t this sweet? My wife decides to first desert me, then cheat on me like the whore I always knew she was.”

A ball of fire exploded in her belly as fear and surprise flared at the sound of his voice. She felt the harsh grip of Lucas’ fingers as he dragged her off the bed. She tumbled to the floor, her body still not totally recovered from her date with the tree.

“Get up, whore,” Lucas said through gritted teeth. He dragged her up as she scratched at his wrists for him to loosen his hold.

Jon vaulted over the bed, his lean athletic body thrumming with rage and fear. “Let her go, Lucas.”

“I see you’ve been telling your new man all about me, wife.” Lucas sneered as he dragged her back.

“I’m not your wife!” she spat out.

“A mere technicality.”

She blinked away the pain as he yanked on her hair. He couldn’t honestly believe that she would marry him now? She couldn’t make out Jon’s features in the dark, just the outline of his body, and the stiff posture of his fear.

“What are you going to do now?” Jon asked in a cool voice.

“Finish where I left off of course,” Lucas said calmly.

“She’s not going anywhere with you.”

“Oh but she is, Mr. Bon Jovi. It’s a shame you patched her up so well,” he dragged her close, she could feel his hot breath on her cheek and bile roiled up her throat. “Such a waste of time,” he said with the barest hint of regret.

Jon took a step forward and she froze as Lucas’ hand rose and the steel blade of his favorite knife glinted in the low firelight.

07 April, 2008

Chapter 9

The next time he woke it was to duck a flying fist. “Whoa!” Thanking the reflexes of being one of three brothers and the smallest one at that, he saved his face from the punch that was coming. “Cam, wake up.”

“Get off me! Get off me!” she screamed.

He sat up and dragged her into a sitting position. “Cam!”

Her dark blue eyes blinked open and the shroud of dreams pulled back slowly. “What? Where?” she looked around the room and then closed in on herself, putting her hands over her face.


“Yeah, I’m fine.” She pushed her hair out of her eyes and quickly twisted the tail into a knot at the top of her head, snapping the rubber band around the whole mess. Instead of looking ridiculous it just heightened her beauty and the exposed the fragile blue of her eyes.

He just shook his head. She was a constant contradiction in terms. She tried so hard to keep her game face on but when he actually got a look into her eyes he saw nothing but fear. “Tell me something…” he trailed off until her eyes met his. Some of the fear was fading, but she still wasn’t quite back to the feisty girl he saw a few hours ago. “What did you do before you started running?”

“Before Lucas started grooming me into the perfect Captain’s wife?”

“Yes, before Lucas.”

“I was a nobody, Jon. I worked in a dead end job that had no future. Why on earth do you think Lucas looked so appealing?”

“You don’t have a nobody personality, Cam.” He wanted to pull her out of her thoughts about Lucas, remind her of what she was before him. He had a feeling that was the only way to get through to her. She had to find some hope or they were both in serious trouble.

“I was an office manager for a small Mom and Pop distributor. It was so boring I thought I was going to go out of my mind, but I had school loans to pay and a car payment…and well, you do what you have to.”

“What did you go to school for?”

She slid from the bed and walked to the window. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it matters.”

She turned back to him, the stark grey of the sky behind her seemed to treat her with an ethereal glow. “I thought I was going to be the next great artist. What I found out was that I was just an average student with a bit of talent.”

“Or you were afraid to try and be more,” he said hoping to see a spark of something.

A slim, light eyebrow lifted. “Is this your version of a pep talk?”

“Is it working?”

Another real smile twitched her lips. “You’re a sneaky guy, Jon.”

“I have been accused of far worse,” he laughed with her.

The lights fluttered, then went out. The only light now was from the window, casting the room in a dim stone color. Her eyes went from amused to bone deep scared in a flash. “It’s probably just the weather,” Jon said calmly. “I’m going to go look.”

Her fingers twisted together as she stepped toward him. “Don’t go,” she said on a near whisper.

“It’s okay, I’m just going to take a look downstairs.”


“I found a broken axe when I was bringing in some firewood, so I’ve got that as a weapon.”

Her eyes widened, “An axe?”

He grinned, “Just the handle. Wouldn’t want to tax the poor Rock Star with anything too heavy,” he winked and left. He heard her frustrated whisper as she called his name, but he ignored her. He padded silently down the stairs and toed on his work boots, reached behind the door and hefted the axe. He didn’t add in that the blade might have been missing, but it had a damn good weight to it.

He went around to the back door and looked out. No lights penetrated the never ending grey of the lake. The houses along the other side were just as dark as his. He scanned the property along the water and the natural incline to his rental. The good part of deep and blinding snow was that footprints were easily seen. The bad thing…they were easily covered up as well. He looked out into the quickly darkening sky and didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t a cop, and he sure as hell wasn’t a hero, but that woman upstairs certainly made him want to be one and that was a miracle.

He’d been slowly sinking into that dark place he hated so much. It was easy to keep it at bay when he was busy, but it was taking more and more projects to remain sane lately. In fact, Richie had even cornered him and told him to get back to basics. It had worked for him, maybe the same would hold true for the neurotic mess he was turning into.

The last straw had been snapping at Tico at a fundraiser. Tico was the least likely to ever piss him off. Hell, he didn’t talk enough to even be able to do it. And the heat flaring followed directly by hurt had been the final push. He needed to get away and find out what the fuck was wrong with him. Where the happiness had gone and how the hell he’d finally gotten to the point where he didn’t give a shit about anything.

One scared woman with more problems than he could ever imagine had finally managed to get his brain moving. She’d even given his heart a kick start that had been sorely lacking for too many years to count.

A low thud had him heading around to the porch, the axe handle high on his shoulder like a bat. He shut the door quietly behind him and crouched low along the roughcut frame and up the stairs. The garbage can lay on its side. The wind must have taken it out through the storm. He righted it and made his way back around the cabin and inside.

The rooms were quiet now that the low hum of appliances and baseboard heat were gone. He collected two bottles of water from the fridge and a box of cookies before climbing the stairs again.

She’d stoked the fire while he was gone. A soft glow left her face in shadow, turning the wisps of hair into fire around her. She was huddled into the center of the bed, her arms around her knees.

She jumped off the bed when he came in and rushed him, holding herself back in the last second. Knowing he needed her as much as she needed him, he let the axe and goodies fall to the floor as he gathered her in.

Her arms looped around his shoulders as she hung onto him. One hand slid up her back and he buried his fingers into her hair. “It’s okay, just the electricity going out around this area. There are no houses out there with power that I can see.”

She simply nodded and stepped closer. He felt the tremor of fear and it sliced him in two. He felt the soft puff of her breath on his neck and the endless length of a woman’s softness hidden in his workout clothes. She felt so right in his arms. His head told him to step back, but his stupid melting heart would have none of it.

His chin nuzzled along her shoulder as he slowly found the collar of her t-shirt and the scent of her blending with his soap and his shampoo left him achy with want. He heard her quick intake of breath as the rasp of his beard met flesh. Felt the increased heartbeat a second before she drew back.

The liquid blue of her eyes shone in the near dark as her lips parted and the flash of pink tongue had him swallowing back a groan. Temptation was a rare thing for him lately, but this woman pushed buttons and tugged at him in a way he thought was lost. Her eyes drifted from his mouth back to his eyes and the pain was sweet and harsh as her hands slid down from his shoulders to the curve of his chest just before she stepped back.

When she turned away he pressed his hand over the place she’d been and down to the dip in his belly. He willed the swollen length of his cock to ease. She needed his help and protection, not his overactive libido. What kind of a sleaze was he anyway? He sighed as mental flagellation was evidently all he needed to lose a hard on.

He crouched and gathered the cookies and water, setting the axe against the nightstand on his side…well, what was becoming his side of the bed. He handed her a bottle and crunched on a few cookies to keep his fucking mouth busy.

Darkness settled in on the room as neither of them could think of anything to say. Awareness seemed to be another person in the room for all the power it had. He stood by the window and watched the blustering wind as Cam prowled the room.

It was going to be a long night.