A little creepy if you ask me.

The van stopped suddenly, the back door opened and I found myself being dragged to a motel room that looked like its previous occupants were roaches.

Nox paces in front of me and barks into the cell phone, “If you haven’t noticed, I’m not there right now! It’s your job to tell me what the fuck happened!” Pause, then, “Yes, she’s fine.”

Um, hello? Kinda freakin’ out here but whatever…

He stops pacing, looks me up and down and says, “Uh huh.” Pause. “Uh huh.” Pause once more. “Yeah. Okay. Lily needs clothes.” Pause. “I don’t know! Underwear and bras and somethin’ that won’t draw attention to us.” Silence, then, “Nah. Lily’s my wife. I asked them not to disturb us. We’re on our honeymoon.”

My brows almost hit my hairline.


The thought of being married to Nox is so damn ridiculous that the laughter I try to quell forces its way out. Hard. And loud.

Busting a gut laughing, tears roll down my cheeks as I lean my hip on the small table for two. Nox watches me with a scowl. He does this a long while before he walks over behind me and covers my mouth with his hand. All that does is make me laugh harder. He whispers, “Shut it, Lily. This is important. I can’t hear a thing.”

Finally getting a hold of myself, I suppress the laughter and pull his hand off my mouth. His arm falls lower, across my neck with a hand resting on my shoulder. I try to pull away but Nox has other ideas. As if he doesn’t even realize it, he talks away with his arm still around me. Looking around the room with wide eyes, I’m not sure what to do here. When his thumb absently strokes my shoulder, my core clenches, and my eyes flutter closed.

My breathing deepens as I listen to him speak. Every word he says vibrates through his chest and onto my back. “What do you mean?” Pause. “Well, when can you get here?”

Jeez, he smells so good. Like soap and something fresh and outdoorsy. His body is so big and hard, yet toasty warm. With one arm, he has me wrapped up tight. And I like it. A handful of erotic scenarios run through my head. Nox throwing me on the bed and telling me he’s going to take me right there. Nox pushing me to my knees and demanding I make him hard. Nox joining me in the too-small shower, soaping up my body. Nox bending me over the-


Suddenly, a record scratches in my brain, rudely ripping me from my delicious thoughts. Whoa. Totally need to give it a rest with the erotic stories.

…But we like them!

My face falls and I mutter, “Books.”

Nox finally lets me free of his clutches and I fight hard not to make a mew or pout from the loss. He says, “What now?”

Heartbreak fills my chest as I explain while sulking, “Books. I didn’t take any books. Now I have no books.”

Every single night at the safe house I’d read before I went to sleep. Nox knows this as he’s been watching me sleep almost every night. The library had become an escape for me. Whenever I went missing, the guys knew where I’d be hiding.

Keeping my eyes to the floor, a large hand squeezes my shoulder, and although it doesn’t make me feel better, it makes me feel better. A little.

Something hard is pushed into my chest and I hold it tight before it falls. Looking down, I gasp when I see not one but two hardcover novels in my grasp.

Disbelief. Total and utter disbelief.

Looking up, I find Nox watching me curiously. I stutter, “H- h- how did you- why did you- I mean it’s not that I’m not thankful, but did- did you know this would happen?”

Sitting on the bed in front of me, he rests his elbows on his knees and links his fingers together. “Didn’t know. But you never know. This shit happens. I’m normally prepared. Wasn’t this time. Sucks for you, princess, because now you got no clothes and we’re in the middle of Bumfuck, Idaho. Next mall is approximately four hours away. Good news is, I got clothes you can wear. Bad news, got no underwear in your size. My shirts are big so they’ll be more like dresses on you.” He makes a face. “My pants. Hell no. Won’t fit, so don’t even try. My boxers you can maybe wear as shorts. They’ll be loose as hell but we’ll improvise.”

Half way through him saying this, my neck got hot and scratchy. The flush reaching all the way up to my scalp.

No clothes. No underwear. For how long?

Swallowing hard, my voice croaks when I ask, “How long for?”

Holding my eyes, he replies, “Three, four days. Unclear.”

Well, that’s just freakin’ dandy!

No clothes. And the workout clothes I’m wearing are stanky. And I mean stanky. As in, block your nose ‘cause the body odors a-comin’ stanky.

Something soft is thrown at my face. I snatch the offending softness off my head to find it’s one of Nox’s tees. It’s dark green, extra-large and says ARMY on the front. He utters, “Wear that over the bra thingy and let’s get somethin’ to eat at the diner downstairs.”

Suddenly self-conscious and moving from foot to foot, I tell him, “I smell really bad, though.”

Walking over to his bag (where the hell did he get a bag from?) he shuffles things around before walking over to me with a can of deodorant. He says, “Ain’t flowery and you’ll smell like me, but it’ll do the trick.”

You’ll smell like me. Yes please! Spraying myself quickly and thoroughly, I throw the can on the bed and walk out the door. As soon as we’re out, Nox closes the door and pulls me close to him. He does this so quickly that I stumble and wrap my arm around his waist for support. Planting a kiss to my temple, he whispers, “We’re newlyweds, remember? When we’re out, always be touchin’ me, holdin’ hands, or some sappy shit like that.” Spying my glare, he says through a forced smile, “Smile for fuck sake. You’re married to me. Happiest day of your life and all that.”

Pinching his waist, hard, I smile, “Oh, honey. The happiest day of my life will be the day I never have to see you again.”

His eyes darken through his smile, he leans forward until we’re nose to nose. Splaying his large hands on my hips, he pulls my body close until we’re flush against each other.

Shit! This is quite possibly one of my fantasies coming to life.

His mouth, a hairs-breadth away from mine. His breath warms my lips when he utters, “Ditto.”

Ugh! Jackass!

Rolling my eyes, he laughs through his nose and says something that I hadn’t thought about. “C’mon, princess. I’m sure you’ve been dying to get out of the house, right? Take advantage of this time while you’ve got it.”

Side-eyeing him, I ask, “Princess my new nickname?”

I see him purse his lips in my peripheral vision. “Not new. Always been one of the Flynn princesses.”

Oh, I get it. “So not really a nickname. More of an insult.”

The corner of his lip lifts, but he doesn’t say a thing. Moron.

We reach the diner looking like a newlywed couple. Smiles, hugs, and happy. No one would guess we’re sweaty, hot, and tired. When I try to sit at the booth, I almost get whiplash when Nox pulls me into the same side as him. Close. The waitress comes over wearing a knowing smile. Before she gets to us, I pinch his thigh and hiss through a fake smile, “Would you stop doing that?”

He places his lips at the shell of my ear and whispers, “You keep pinching me and I might just pinch you somewhere you don’t want to be pinched, baby.”


That certainly shut me up.

The pretty middle-aged waitress reaches our table and asks, “Are you the newlyweds?”

What the-

Obviously having seen the uncertain look on my face, she laughs sweetly, “Oh, darlin’, this is a small town. Everyone knows everything about everyone.”

Nox pastes on a brilliant smile and holds his hand out, “We sure are. I’m Hank.” He points a thumb over at me. “And this is Maude.”

Hank… and Maude?

Still shaking Nox’s hand, she looks over at me, smiling in acknowledgement.

But I’m still stuck on Hank. And Maude.

Nox finally lets her hand go and she flushes while giggling to me, “Oh, darlin’, if I had me a man as strong and big as he is, I’d never let him go.”

And I just can’t help myself. Wearing a look of utter disappointment, I say dejectedly, “Yeah, you’d think he’d be big all over, but…” I fade out while my eyes drift down to his crotch, leaving her to finish that sentence in her mind. When her smile fades a little, I fight the urge to stick my tongue out at Nox.

My body jerks and my knees bang on the table hard, forcing the cutlery to bounce all over. Suddenly, my butt is throbbing.

The jackass pinched my ass!

Nox forces out a laugh, “Oh, don’t worry about Maude. She’s a joker. It’s what I love about her.”

Looking a little uncomfortable, the waitress hands us our menus and we order. Our meals come in record time and I have to admit, I didn’t realize I was hungry until the smell of bacon wafted up into my nose. The first bite confirms it. I’m starved.

Nox watches me eat and a look of disbelief crosses his features when I finish my plate of eggs, bacon, toast, and pan-fried tomatoes. When I see he’s stopped eating and watching me, I ask, “You gonna eat your pancakes?”

His brows rise, his lip twitches, and without a word, he moves his plate forward.

I douse the pancakes in butter and syrup, licking my lips all the while, then wolf them down. Nox asks in wonderment, “Where the hell does it all go?”

Still chewing, I speak around my food so my reply comes out garbled, “Dad says we have hollow legs.”

Shaking his head, he pushes my orange juice forward and I down it in one hit.

That was a great brunch. I know I look pregnant now, but…so worth it.

Nox flags down our sweet waitress and asks slyly, “Do you think you could organize for a platter of sandwiches to be made up?” He smiles a dirty smile. “We may not want to leave our room later on.” Then the ass winks.

Our waitress, clearly smitten with Hank, giggles all the way back to the kitchen after confirming this was more than okay.

On her return, Nox pays for our brunch, our sandwich platter, and leaves a very nice tip; then he takes my hand, links our fingers, and we walk back to the motel room. Well, Nox drags me along. I’m having difficulty walking (and breathing) because I was such a fatty-fat-fat at the diner. Nox lifts me bridal-style and carries me. Normally, this would bother me.

Today? Not so much.

I’m so tired that I’m tempted to cross my arms behind my head, kick back, and relax. Fumbling with me and the key, Nox manages to open the door, no thanks to me, and just as I sigh peacefully from the enjoyment of my ride, he throws me onto the bed.

I jerk and bounce so ungracefully that my hair thrashes about, then falls over my eyes. Currently blinded by my thick locks, I throw both my hands up in the air, flipping him the bird. He laughs to himself as I hear the bathroom door close.

I yell out, “Can I grab some clothes out of the bag?”

Nox replies, “Yeah.” A second passes before he adds, “Don’t touch anything else.”

Which makes me wonder what else is in there to touch.

Sliding my body off the bed like an overweight slug, I crawl to the bag in the corner of the room. I try lifting it but it’s heavy, so I do what any other lazy person would do. I tip it upside-down and the contents spill out all over the place.

The sound of the shower starting alerts me to the fact that I only have a few minutes to snoop through Nox’s things. Quick as I can, I spread it all out and look down wide-eyed in wonder.

How the hell did all this fit into that small bag?

There’s approximately five sets of Nox’s man clothes, deodorant, new toothbrushes and toothpaste (thank God), rope, that damn blindfold, which I shove in my pocket, something that looks like a mini electronic tablet, USB sticks, ski masks, the shiny black cell phone I talked to my dad on, and my eyes widen even more when I spot the collection of switchblades.

Picking up the largest one and opening it, I press my finger to the blade lightly. It’s about eight inches long including the handle, and sharp as hell. I don’t need to press any further to know this thing would surely take off my finger if I tried to push any further. It looks like a hunting knife. The blade is shiny and curved, the sharp tip on an angle.

Running my hand down the back of the blade, Nox says in eerie calm, “What you got there? Not planning to take me out, are ya, princess?”

Eyes still trained on the blade, I whisper, “I want you to teach me how to use this.”

His rumbling laughter fills the room. “Yeah, I don’t think so.”

Eyes pleading, I snap my head up to beg when I see Nox.

Nox in a towel.

Nox in a towel stalking towards me.

His frame is so big that he can’t even wrap the small towel around his waist, he grips the edges shut with a large hand. With every step he takes, I see more of his muscular thigh. His short hair dark as night, and his body glistens with drops of heavenly dew.

Sweet baby Jesus. Is it hot in here?

I’m burning up. My heart rate escalates. Once he reaches me, he bends down to collect a new set of clothes and snatches the knife out of my hand. He’s so quick with his hands that he has the knife shut and back in its place within a second.

I’m still staring at his thigh when Nox utters, “Think you oughta turn around if my nudity offends you.” Then he walks over to the bed and drops the towel. And there’s Nox in all his naked glory. Too bad his back’s to me. I’d kill to see the front of that hard body. Stepping into his cotton boxers, he pulls them up and turns around. And there I am, staring at his fabric-covered pee-pee.

“Like what you see?”

Oh fuck!

He just caught me looking at his junk!

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