The Calling Page 65

When I opened my eyes, he was watching me. Really watching me. I looked at the water pounding off his lean chest, trickling down to his soaked boxers, and … and I wasn’t thinking it’d be nice to lean over and give him a chaste kiss. Really wasn’t.

I was sure this would be a scene I’d lock away to replay when I was alone, but for now, I couldn’t cross that space between us. He’d brought me here to tell me something, and even if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t cross it, because that would lead to places I wasn’t ready to go.

You don’t make out half naked in a shower with a guy if you aren’t planning on going somewhere with it. Actually, you shouldn’t be half naked in a shower with a guy if you aren’t planning on going somewhere with it. But under the current circumstances, normal rules didn’t apply.

I eased forward and leaned up to his ear. “Is this what you wanted?”

He chuckled. “Mmm, I’d better not answer that.” His gaze traveled down me, then zipped back to my face. “Sorry.”

“Focus, Rafe.”

“I am. Just on the wrong thing.” He leaned in to kiss me, but pulled back sharply, his face twisted in a look of pain, like he’d just been jabbed in the back.

“Are you okay?”

“No. Not really.” His look then was so wistful I felt that chill again. Then he leaned down to my ear and whispered. “It’s a trap.”

“Sam?” I whispered. “You think they came while we were—”

“No. Not Sam.”


I looked up into his face and saw the pain there, his eyes dark. Then I looked out the shower door at his clothing, dropped in the far corner of the bathroom.

If he’d just wanted to talk to me in private, he could have gotten me aside easily. Just let me come with them to look at houses. Talk to me in one of them. Or in the forest. But he’d been the one who’d wanted me to stay behind. Who’d suggested I take a shower.

I looked at his clothes again and whispered, “They’re bugged.”

He didn’t reply, but I saw the answer in his eyes. I backed toward the door. He caught me and slapped his hand over my mouth, then leaned down to my ear. Water trickled from his hair onto my shoulder.

“I won’t let them take you, Maya,” he whispered. “I swear I won’t. I’d never do that.”

He pulled me back under the spray and spoke against my ear. “They grabbed me when I got to town. It’s the St. Clouds. They have Annie. Either I help them or they won’t help her. I … I had to, Maya.”

His eyes pleaded with me to believe him. I did. Annie meant everything to him. If they had her, he’d go along with any plan to save her. But that didn’t mean Ididn’t feel like I’d been betrayed. By someone I’d finally trusted.

“I know this means it’s over,” he whispered. “I got a second chance, and I blew it, and I…” He swallowed and turned his head, his expression hidden behind the curtain of water. “I’d give anything not to do that. I would, Maya. I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true.”

When I pushed past the pain of betrayal, I did believe him. Because he’d let go of my hand as we dangled from that helicopter. Because he’d been ready to die to save me. And because even if he wasn’t looking me in the face, I could hear the pain in his voice.

“It’s going to be okay,” he said. “I wouldn’t let anything happen to you. I have a plan and you’ll be safe.”

“And the others?”

“Them, too.” He looked at me again, still close enough to whisper through the pounding water, close enough for me to feel the heat of his breath. “I know that’s just as important to you, and I swear everyone will be okay. For now, though, you need to go along with the plan. It’s the only way we’ll get out of this place. And you can’t tell the others.”


He gripped my arms and pulled me even closer, gaze locked on mine. “They need to act like everything’s okay, so you can’t tell them. Not even Daniel.”

I backed up, freeing myself.

“That’s the deal-breaker, isn’t it?” he murmured. “Daniel.”

“I trust—”

“I know you do. But I don’t, and not because I think he’s untrustworthy, but because I don’t know him well enough to be sure he won’t screw up. The only person I trust is you.”

Then trust me when I say you can trust him. But that was asking too much, because if the situation was reversed, I’d say it was unfair. I trusted him. But would I put my family’s life at risk if he gave his word that someone else could also be trusted? No.

“If things go wrong, I have to tell him,” I said. “If he’s in danger, I have to warn him.”

Rafe hesitated, then nodded.

“There’s no woman in Vancouver is there?” I said as I pushed back my wet hair. The water was cooling now. “No contacts your mom gave you.”

“No, that’s a story they fed me. But we’re going to follow it, because getting you guys to Vancouver is the best chance you have.”

You guys. Not us. Best chance you have. Not we.

“When we get to Vancouver, you’ll pretend to suddenly realize it’s a trap,” he said. “You’ll turn on me and you’ll run, and leave me behind.”

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