Snow Bound

By: Dani Wade



“What did you call me?”

“Nothing, sorry. I just can’t believe it.” He looked away, almost as if he were ashamed of what he’d said, though she couldn’t imagine this forceful, larger-than-life hero anywhere close to ashamed or humble. “Tell me what happened.”

She’d rather not, but what did she have to lose? After tonight, she and Damon probably go back to simply nodding whenever they passed each other on the street. But she desperately didn’t want to be alone with Bobby Joe Resmondo lurking in the darkness somewhere outside her house. Just the thought tightened her muscles in a paralyzing grip. She’d gotten through her last encounter with him only with the help of her parents and local law enforcement. Facing him again, alone, didn’t rank on her list of life goals.

Swallowing hard against the constriction in her throat, she struggled to relax despite her mounting tension. “I, um, I dated Bobby Joe in high school.”

“Oh yeah, you were captain of the cheerleading squad, I heard.”

She nodded, remembering that all too brief time when life had been normal, before she’d gotten sucked into a darkness she’d never encountered in her innocence. One so impenetrable that even her best friends hadn’t believed her until it was too late.

“I was. And Bobby Joe was on the football team—“

“Captain?”

Tori glared across the dim room, irritated both by his interruption and his glib tone. “This isn’t a joke.”

His hands lifted as if in surrender. “Sorry.”

If he thought she’d spill her guts now, he had another think coming. “Anyway, to make a long story short, he was later accused of attempted murder of a girl he was dating at UT. My testimony established a pattern of abusive behavior, and the judge ended up giving him the maximum sentence for his crimes. He was paroled a few weeks back for good behavior.”

She thought the realization that a criminal might be lurking outside contributed to his sudden stillness, until he spoke. “Abusive, huh?”

Her impulse was to curve into herself, protecting her vulnerabilities, but she forced herself to stand up straight instead and meet his gaze head-on. “More controlling, really. It took me a while, but I learned to handle it.”He studied her until she squirmed, solemn and still. A long, low whistle had her eyes widening in surprise, but the heat in those dark brown eyes melted every other emotion away. “I’m impressed, Princess. I really am.”

Ducking her head, she retucked the hair behind her ear, the motion more habit than need since the hair remained right where she’d put it earlier. Needing a distraction, she asked, “Why do you call me that?”

The grin that tugged at his shapely mouth should have been classified as illegal, both sensual and secretive at the same time. She glanced away from the temptation, but his voice just picked up where the visual left off. “Ever since I saw you in that princess dress at the bookstore, I’ve thought of you like that.”

She nodded. “I know a lot of people probably think it’s silly, but the girls love it.” Relaxation tiptoed through her body as happy memories from the little tea parties she gave at the bookstore came to mind.

“Oh, I think it fits you just right.”

That statement could either be a compliment or not, she couldn’t tell from his tone, but she was going to assume the best. “Thanks.”

Her limping steps back to the couch immediately drew him next to her. “Princess, I’m going to need to take a look at that leg.”

She eased down, tucking the nightshirt around her as her rear met the seat. “I’ll be fine. A little bruising is all.”

“Look,” he said, moving into her line of vision.

Unfortunately her height put her face right at the level of his crotch. How wrong was it to hunger for a glimpse of what was hidden behind the straining zipper ten inches from her avid gaze?

“We’re in the middle of nowhere with no phone service, no way to contact the police or ambulance, and a guy with a vendetta on the loose with a snowstorm raging outside. We need to take extra precautions to make sure this doesn’t go from ‘oh shit’ to ‘bum fuck’ in the space of a few minutes. Got me?”

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