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Paint It All Red: Chapter 7


Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.


Jake’s eyes almost bulge out of his head as I walk in with Logan. Logan slides his arm around my waist like he’s ready to protect me, as though Jake is about to do something stupid.

I lace my fingers together with Logan’s, as Jake continues to gawk at me.

“Are we under arrest?” Jake asks, so confused that it’s almost comical.

Logan grunts out a breath, and I lean against him. “This is neutral ground. No talk of killing people, and no talk of arresting,” Logan finally says. “As of right now, there is no talk of this town or what’s going on inside it.”

Jake looks between us, his eyebrows still raised as he keeps the laptop in his lap. The monitors all around have the town from various angles, and Logan glances at each one.

“That explains a lot,” he says on a long breath. “You really have the entire town under surveillance. But yet I haven’t spotted a single camera.”

“I thought we weren’t discussing the case,” Jake says warily.

Logan pinches the bridge of his nose, and I stifle a sad smile. He’s in love with his job and curious by nature. Right now he’s suffering the ultimate battle of right and wrong; a confliction I haven’t faced in a long time.

That struggle I see in his eyes is my fault.

“It’s NSA tech Jake swiped a few years ago, and he built his own versions,” I explain.

Jake looks like he’s about to fall off the couch, but I shrug like it’s no big deal. “The monitors cover all the most important parts of town, and we stay with the sheriff, watching his every move. We also keep a close eye on the deputies. It’s how I knew Hollis was coming after you.”

I don’t look at him as I say the words as emotionlessly as possible. But my voice unfortunately cracks and betrays me on that last sentence.

Logan’s hand tightens on my side, and he pulls me to him, hugging me against him. I take in his scent, closing my eyes, soaking it all in while I can.

He doesn’t know what’s to come, because he can’t see all the conversations the way we can.

“So you’re safe here?” Logan asks, the heartwarming concern in his tone coupled with a defeated sigh. He knows which route I’m going to choose, even though his option sounds better.

“It’s not just about me,” I say, peering up from his chest as he looks down.

He breathes steadily, but I can tell it’s with strain.

“Just like it’s not just about you,” I add, clutching the front of his shirt. “You’re good. I won’t take that away.”

He starts to speak, when suddenly the front door opens, and I turn in time to see Hadley stumble in, her eyes wide and fixed on Logan.

Her mouth opens and closes several times before finally locking shut. Then it pops back open. “What’s going on?”

“I’m wondering the same thing,” Jake says, not moving from his spot on the couch.

Logan groans, and I tug his hand. “We’re going to the bedroom to have a night off.”

“Four bodies is your idea of a night off?” Hadley asks dryly.

I grimace, but Logan doesn’t make an expression as he follows me to the bedroom.

I hear whispers erupt in the living room as Jake and Hadley panic a little, but I shut the door on them and lean back on it, studying the man in my temporary bedroom.

He looks around at the floral patterns lining every surface and quirks an eyebrow at me.

“The owners only come here for summer and Christmas.” Just in case he wants to look for their missing bodies or whatever. I don’t know if he trusts that I’m not killing innocent people.

He sits down on the bed, clasping his hands together. One glance in the mirror has me cringing. Blood is splattered across my face and matted in my hair.

“I’ll shower,” I say awkwardly.

I’m pretty sure there should be a sense of horror filling me, considering his white shirt has smears of blood on it as well.

The bloody ex-girlfriend takes on a new meaning.

He doesn’t object or say anything as I step out, leaving him overwhelmed with everything going on.

I feel like the devil’s advocate who has lured a saint to the edge of a cliff and now beckons him to jump.

With quiet steps, I grab the note from the drawer in the hallway—the note I never knew if I’d use or not. The living room is quiet, but I’m sure Jake and Hadley are in the back bedroom, making use of their kindred ways.

Instead of interrupting them, I tuck the note inside Hadley’s bag, right where I know it’ll be safe until I want it found. Then I retreat to the bathroom, and start stripping.

My sense of self-loathing left a long time ago, washed away with the tears and pain. Yet it’s coming back with a vengeance as I step under the shower with a new flow of tears that refuse to stop falling.

I scrub away the blood, watching the red run down the drain for the second time tonight. I’m barely holding it together when the shower curtain slides open, and I jump, startled.

Logan steps in fully naked, that trademark smirk playing on his lips as he nears me. I half wonder if I’m dreaming, until he kisses me, tangling his hands in my hair as he tilts my face up to devour me better.

I moan into his mouth as he lifts me, sliding his hands under my ass as his naked body gets more slicked by the spray of the shower. Our heights are so different that picking me up always makes it easier for him to kiss me, but it also lines up our bodies in a much better way.

Our kiss turns frantic, hungry, and desperate. We both know that tonight might be the last time we’re ever allowed to love each other. The gray area has only a brief window of opportunity before it’s closed and we’re back on our opposing sides.

But this? This is the right way to say goodbye. Not the way we left things before.

My back slides against the wall as I struggle to find friction, but Logan is strong enough to maneuver my body without my help.

He thrusts in hard, and I cry out, breaking the kiss to keep from accidentally biting him. He buries his face in the crook of my neck as he starts working his hips, driving me crazy from all the right angles.

My fingers dig into his shoulders, clinging to him, as my back slides up and down on the slick wall. Water hits our sides as Logan moves us closer to the back, his face still against my skin as he kisses, licks, and nips a trail up the column of my neck.

That all-consuming, bone-deep sensation of ecstasy starts to unfurl at my core, and I grip him tighter, praying I don’t draw blood as I move against him, desperate to tip over that edge.

His hips falter as he nears the same intense feeling, and his lips find mine as I cry out, my entire body shuddering with the force of the orgasm. A guttural noise escapes his lips as he stills inside me, struggling to keep me up as his strength tries to give out, his body going lax.

My legs lazily slide down his sides as he lifts me off him, and I wobble a little when I’m standing on my own again. His lips find mine in a soft, reverent kiss as he backs me under the spray of the shower again.

I lose track of time, and it isn’t until the water starts getting cold that we’re forced to finally end the shower.

“I can’t let you go,” he says against my lips as he shuts the water off.

My eyes meet his as my lips fall away, losing the contact that keeps me grounded in reality.

But then I’m on him, kissing him again, passionately, deeply, hungrily…

And I stave off the onslaught of emotions that would surely wreck me if given that sort of power.

I can’t let you hold on, I silently tell him, refusing to ruin any more of our night with heartbreaking truths.


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