Secrets and Sins:Raphael(9)

By: Naima Simone

But she pulled away and released her grip on his hair, panting hard.

His hooded gaze seared her, tempted her. Urged her to invite him upstairs and indulge in an encore performance of the last few hours. She wanted to. Shivering, she almost buried her hands back in his hair, dragged his head down, and recaptured his mouth. Damn, did she want to. But at the last moment, she inched backward a step.

“Good night, Raphael,” she whispered.

The corner of his lips quirked before he gently rubbed the back of his fingers down her cheek. “Don’t forget to call your brother so he doesn’t send out SWAT after me,” he ordered, and she soaked up the satisfaction of hearing the slight rasp in his voice.

She smiled even as her mind silently screamed, Grab him. Tell him not to leave, that you don’t want him to go. Something—what she couldn’t identify—urged her to convince him to come up to her apartment, spend the night in her bed like true lovers. To not leave her alone. But she remained quiet. With a small nod, she turned, unlocked the door, and closed it behind her before she did something stupid.

Like beg.

Forcing her feet forward, she climbed the steps to her apartment, her mind still on the doorstep with the sexiest man she’d ever met. It’s for the best I walked away. She twisted the key in the front door lock. I mean, what kind of couple would we have made, anyway? She snorted to herself, knowing she was probably far more inexperienced than the women someone like Raphael usually dated. Hell, can’t I even have a one-night stand right? Only I can mentally turn a hot few hours into a potential relationship.

She turned the knob and pushed the door open.

And skidded to a halt.

What the hell?

Gavin? She took a faltering step forward. The blond hair. The sharp line of his jaw.

She squinted, unwilling to believe what her eyes were telling her. Gavin. On her floor. Red splattered his body like a Rorschach test. His back. The floor. Oh, dear God. Who—?

The blue-and-white pin-striped shirt she’d given him last year for his birthday. A shirt now stained with blood. His blood.

A whisper of sound crept through the room like a lethal intruder. She jerked her head up. Fear slammed into her, swallowing her…

Light. Blinding. Hot.

It tried to pierce her closed eyelids and stab into her brain.

Greer gasped, turned her head to the side to avoid the relentless assault, but it followed her. Please…

“Ms. Addison.” A cool hand touched her forehead, accompanying the gentle, patient voice. “Ms. Addison. Can you open your eyes?”

Yes, but it was going to hurt like hell with that light piercing them like an ice pick. Still, she fought past the glue that seemed to have sealed her lids shut, prying them open. Instantly, pain punched into her head. Loosing a whimper, she slid back into the welcoming blackness.

Minutes, hours, days later, the same feminine voice called her name again. She moaned, cracked her eyes open, and waited, breath suspended in her lungs for the sharp, cutting pain. But it didn’t come this time. A dull, insistent ache throbbed at the back of her skull, but compared to the previous agony… Well, it just didn’t compare.

A young, pretty woman in a white physician’s coat smiled down at her.

“Ms. Addison,” she said. “I don’t want you to panic. You’re in the hospital.”

Terror coursed through her in spite of the doctor’s calm assurance. The hospital. Why? How? Her heart thudded in her chest like a wild beast. Fear clawed at her throat, and she dimly realized the keen, high-pitched whines she heard were coming from her.

“Shh.” The doctor patted her hand before clasping it, offering her a raft to grasp in the turmoil her announcement and the resulting confusion had cast her into. “Ms. Addison, calm. You’re okay. I promise. But I need to ask you a couple of questions. Okay?”

Unable to squeeze the word past her constricted throat, Greer nodded.

“Can you tell me your full name?”

Of course. What a silly question. Her name was… It was… Panic spiked as she scrambled for the information she should’ve easily known. Her name, damn it! Why couldn’t she…? Wait, wait. “Greer.” Relief poured through her like a river breaking through a dam. “Greer Caroline Addison.”

“What city do you live in?” The doctor—she glanced at the badge clipped to the other woman’s coat—Dr. Davidson asked, clicking on a penlight and lifting one of Greer’s eyelids, then the other. Her smile didn’t falter as she waited for Greer’s response.

Yes. Greer clenched the sheet beneath her. The answer came quicker than the first. “B-Boston. Back Bay.”

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