by Christina Jean Michaels
Publication Date: July 2013
ExcerptSomething inside me cracked right along with Aidan’s expression. Everything he’d been hiding spilled from his eyes.
“Aidan . . .”
“I need a drink.” He strode away, leaving me glued to the spot where he’d trapped me. A crash resounded from the kitchen, followed by splintering glass. I willed my feet to move, ignoring the little voice of reason pointing out that maybe I should leave him be for now.
He was sweeping broken glass into a dustpan when I walked in. “Are you okay?” Instantly, I wished I could cast a net and pull back the stupid, inconsiderate question. Of course he wasn’t okay. “I’m sorry. I know you’re not . . . okay.”
“Don’t worry about it. I know what you meant.” He emptied the dustpan into the trashcan and then opened a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, all the while refusing to meet my eyes.
“Mind sharing?” I asked. If there was ever a time for drinking, it was now.
“I thought you were beyond corruptible.”
I recalled how he’d said something similar on Halloween. “You remember more about that night than you let on, don’t you?”
He pulled two tumblers from a dark cherry wood cabinet. “I remember you.” Amber liquid sloshed into both glasses as he poured, and a moment later he closed the distance between us. “Straight up?” The question sounded like a challenge.
“Sure.” I gulped down the whiskey and ignored the burn as it slid down my throat. Heat ignited low in my belly, though whether from the alcohol or Aidan’s scrutiny, I wasn’t sure.
He leaned against the kitchen sink and finished off his own drink before pouring another. “I’m sorry I blew up on you. I didn’t come here to make friends . . . to complicate things.”
“I’m a complication?”
His laughter was empty, cold as a morgue. “You’re about as complicated as they come.”
I stared at the bottom of my glass. “Why’s that?”
“You look at me as if you see right through me. It’s unsettling.”
“I don’t mean to unsettle you.”“Consider me unsettled. Problem is, I think you’re using more than eyesight.”