Witness to Passion

By: Naima Simone



Yeah, Fallon had to remain hands off.

Clenching said hands around the steering wheel, he strong-armed his thoughts back to Fallon’s protection and away from all things naked. She finally opened her door and entered the car. He waited until another vehicle pulled behind her before easing away from the curb and following. The drive from the diner to her Allston apartment was short—ten minutes. As she slid into a spot on the side of the three-story brick building, he parked across the street with a direct, unhindered view of the entrance.

Glass door with double panes on each side.

Flimsy green, wire fence that ran from the entrance and edged the sidewalk.

While Shane had finished up outstanding items on his desk earlier that day, Khalil Jordan, one of his three business partners in their security firm GDG Security Solutions, had conducted reconnaissance on Fallon’s apartment building. His report had relayed that the security camera over the door was just for show, and the tenants didn’t require a key or code to unlock the front door. It was a free-for-all for whoever wanted to enter the dwelling.

Why the hell was she living in such a dump? When Addisyn had called three days ago to inform him about Fallon witnessing a gangland hit, she hadn’t mentioned her friend’s living situation. His sister had told him about Fallon being fired from her job at an event-planning company after the murder, but she couldn’t have found better employment than that eyesore of a diner? Something that paid well enough so she could afford better than this place? Surely, her father was helping her financially. Or better yet, with a sociopathic murderer on her ass, why hadn’t she moved in with her father at his Beacon Hill brownstone? Nothing added up.

But then again, this was Fallon. The same logic that would prevent her from asking her very wealthy parent for help was the same that had her insistent about depending on the overworked and underpaid Boston PD for protection for the last three months instead of calling on him. Him, who handled private security for a living.

He snorted, more than a little irritated. Thank God his sister had finally wised up and ignored her best friend’s insane demands for secrecy. Of course it’d taken her noticing a suspicious car sitting outside Fallon’s apartment for two nights in a row for her to make that call to him.

In the two days and nights he and his team had been trailing Fallon, he hadn’t noticed anyone watching her or him, but that little fact did nothing to lessen his frustration at Fallon or his sister.

Fallon exited her car, slinging her purse over her shoulder. The gesture struck him as…weary. No. He studied the slight droop of her shoulders, the customary buoyancy and energy missing from her step as she rounded the corner of the parking lot.

Not weary.

Defeated.

Something inside him leaped and snarled. In the eleven years he’d known Fallon, he’d experienced the full gamut of her emotional range. Defiant. Mischievous. Jovial. Angry. Even sorrowful. But never defeated. On her it was…blasphemous.

The first time he’d seen a man die, Shane had almost lost the burger and fries he’d eaten at the chow hall earlier that evening. The crimson stain of spilled blood. The unnatural stillness. The sick, soul-staining knowledge that he’d taken a life. A taint—a memory—that couldn’t be washed away by years of service and sacrifice.

But he’d been a soldier, charged with defending his country on foreign soil. Weapons, facing attacks, and yes, death, were expected parts of his time in the military. Fallon had just been starting another workday, buying coffee… She never should’ve been brushed by the ugliness of this world. Never should’ve had to witness the cruelty men could inflict on one another. Never should have to be forever tainted with the memory of murder.

If he could, he would steal that knowledge from her, lock it away so it couldn’t touch her. But while he was three months too late to do that, he could still protect her.

As Fallon neared the short walk to the entrance, he noticed two shadows separating from the darkness surrounding the neighboring apartment building. Between one moment and the next, he eased from the vehicle, the disabled interior light not betraying his presence to the pair stealing up the sidewalk. Jerking the short brim of his knit cap lower, he circled the back end, soundlessly keeping pace with them across the street.

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