Home > At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(3)

At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(3)
Author: Kristen Ashley

How did this happen?

It was like a dream, a weird, bad dream that you woke up from and felt strange and unsettled and it left you thinking, What the f**k?

But, it was happening, I was there, breathing, conscious and all I could think was, God, I miss Tim.

“Stay,” my neighbor commanded to me in his deep, scary voice and I tipped my head back to look into his clear blue eyes and I could do nothing but nod.

Then he let my arm go and stalked into the depths of the house.

“Cal, darling, I just wanted –” Kenzie Elise started but he disappeared from sight so she stopped speaking.

I wondered why she didn’t go after him instead of standing there with me in the room, the front door open, wearing nothing but that teddy that left little if anything to the imagination.

Then again, in his frame of mind, I probably wouldn’t follow him either.

It was at this point I wondered why she didn’t run to her Porsche and get gone.

I didn’t run because he’d told me to stay and I didn’t think it was a good idea to defy him. He didn’t seem mad at me, not at that juncture, and I wasn’t fired up to make him that way.

She didn’t look at me and I eventually pried my eyes away from her but I was able to do this because he returned, carrying in his arms a bundle of clothes. He walked right by her, right by me and right to the door where he threw the clothes into the snow.

My mouth dropped open again.

“Cal!” she shouted. Rushing on her stripper shoes to the door, she peered out at her clothes then whirled back around again to look at him, her eyes never once hitting me. She was avoiding me or ignoring me. I didn’t know which but I thought both were good ways to play it.

He had her purse in his hand and he was sauntering back into the room. He yanked out a set of keys as she turned back to him.

“You threw my clothes in the snow!” she shrieked then jumped to the side as he tossed her purse at her. It was open and stuff flew out everywhere as it sailed through the air and then more stuff flew out when it landed on the floor.

“Cal!” she screeched, bending, bony knees to her chest, ass to the ground and scrambling to get her things.

I started to bend too, to help her but stopped when his voice sounded.


My head snapped back to look at him and his eyes were pinning me to the spot. He was so angry, visibly livid, and so frightening, I forgot how to breathe.

I slowly straightened, forcing air into my lungs as Kenzie scrambled on the floor, now on her hands and knees in her teddy and stripper shoes, shoving stuff into her purse.

“This is insane,” she snapped and she was definitely right.

He was taking a key off her keychain and had this task accomplished by the time she made it to her feet with her purse again intact which was lucky for her because he tossed her keys to her without hesitating to make sure she was prepared. She lunged to grab them, bobbled them but kept them in hand.

“Out,” he ordered tersely.

“Cal –” she started.

“Get the f**k out.”

“This scene is ridiculous,” she hissed, leaning toward him which, I thought, was not a very good idea.

“You’re right,” he agreed.

She changed strategies so fast I wasn’t keeping up.

Her voice was a purr again when she began, “Darling, I thought –”

“What, Kenzie?” he asked, his eyes moving the length of her, his lip curled in disgust. “You thought what? Fuck, woman, I had better head in junior high. You think I’d come back for more from your mouth? Sloppy. So sloppy, I was f**kin’ embarrassed for you.”

At his words I’d drawn in breath but Kenzie’s face had gone paler than her signature flawlessly-pale-skinned pale.

When Kenzie stood still as a statue and didn’t speak, he noted. “You’re still here.”

“I –” she started.

“Need to get a f**kin’ clue,” he finished for her. “Christ, how many times do we need to do this? It was a mistake, biggest f**kin’ mistake I’ve made in years. When I was doin’ you, I faked it. I had to jack off in the shower to get off after I was done with you.”

I swallowed, wanting really badly to be anywhere else, anywhere but there.

“You faked it?” she whispered, sounding horrified and beaten, her voice like a little girl who, way too early in her young life, just found out there was no Santa Claus.

“Yeah and if your head wasn’t so far up your ass, you woulda noticed. Instead, you keep playin’ out this f**kin’ drama and, swear to Christ, it happens again, it’s not gonna make me f**kin’ happy.”

He seemed to be pretty unhappy currently but I’d just met him, maybe he could get more unhappy which meant I never wanted to be near him again.

“Cal, I –” she started again but he leaned forward and her mouth slammed shut.

“Not gonna say it again. Get. The f**k. Out.”

Thankfully, she’d had enough. She turned, avoiding my eyes, and walked in her teddy and stripper shoes out the open front door into the snow and bitter cold.

I stood unmoving as he stalked to the door, slammed it and, to my extreme discomfort, locked it.

I swallowed again.

Then I said softly, “I’d like to go home now.”

He turned to face me and his eyes leveled on mine.

I pressed my lips together and my stomach clenched.

He didn’t speak and I didn’t know what to do.

Finally, his eyes dropped and I watched as they slid, slowly, from my face down my body to my feet and, just as slowly, starting back up to my face.

During this journey I realized that my robe had fallen open and he could see my nightie. Pale lavender satin, short, hitting me at the upper thighs but there was a three-inch hem of smoky gray lace below that. The same lace was at the bodice over the cups of material covering my br**sts. The nightie fit close at my chest and midriff but there was room to move around my h*ps and thighs. It was nowhere near as risqué as Kenzie’s teddy. It left something to the imagination and that was good, unless you had an imagination.

Carefully, I pulled the edges of my robe together and his eyes speeded up to hit mine and I knew the instant they did, without any doubt, he had an imagination.

My mouth went dry.

“I’m Joe Callahan,” he stated.

“Hello Joe,” I said quietly.

“Cal,” he corrected me and I nodded but remained silent.

When this stretched the length of the Porsche firing up and reversing out of the drive, Joe Callahan prompted, “You are?”

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