Abigail’s heart pounded as she stared at the metal object lying in the middle of the blanket. As many suspicions as she had about Ryan, she’d never really believed he was the killer. Aside from the fact that it would devastate her, it didn’t make sense for him to have murdered anyone. Her father’s shooter had left him for dead. Ryan had lost his mind because he’d thought she’d broken her arm.
She looked into Ryan’s eyes—eyes that were looking directly at hers. As bad as his having a gun looked, as bad as everything she’d surmised about him seemed, something inside her was telling her to believe in his innocence. She was sure she ought to be committed for even thinking that way. But she just couldn’t believe that this guy she’d come to know and even care about could be a killer.
“Shouldn’t you be calling the cops?” Ryan asked.
“I—”Abigail hesitated. Hardly believing her own naiveté, because she was certain that she was being very naïve, she said, “I’m not calling the cops. I don’t know why, but I believe you. At least, I can’t be sure enough that you did anything criminal without more definitive proof.”
The warmth in his eyes shot straight to her aching core. “Thank you.”
Abigail smiled briefly. As though it were someone else saying the words, she went on, “I like you, Ryan. I’m sure you know that I do, but”—emotion spilled into her voice—“I can’t do this anymore. It’s dangerous, and…” She took a centering breath. “Just because I might believe in you, doesn’t mean that you believe in me. So once I walk out that door, I don’t think that we should be alone like this again.”
Ryan nodded. Walking toward her, he wrapped his arms tenaciously around her body. His warm mouth coming against her ear, he said, “That doesn’t mean we can’t be together tonight.”
A sensation of candescence spread through Abigail’s body. After months of fighting, she was sure Ryan had been doing everything he could to push her away. But here he was, standing beside her in a dark room, making her weak with the very sound of his words. A man she’d just discovered with a loaded gun—she was about to trust him with everything she had.
She trembled as Ryan inched closer. He took her hands and laid them against the center of his chest, just where they’d been before they pulled apart. She didn’t know what he intended, only knew that she wanted whatever it was like a desire she didn’t dared to dream.
Weary of the look in his eye, which indicated he wanted more than just to hold her, she said, “I don’t know, Ryan. After everything that’s happened, all the doubts and suspicion I’ve been carrying, and now this.” Looking from the gun on the bed to his twinkling blue gaze, she said, “I’m just not sure.”
He tightened his grip on her hands. “I know you’re not sure if you can trust me. I’ve never given you any reason to trust me. But if you knew how much I want you, how much I’ve wanted you since the beginning, Abigail…” He shook his head. “One night. That’s all I’m asking for. Just give me this one night. And I’ll make all of your dreams come true.”
Warmth shimmied over Abigail’s skin like melted butter. He was serious, and the look in his eyes confirmed that he meant what he was saying. Until just five minutes ago, she’d thought Ryan Newberry couldn’t stand her, that his only agenda where she was concerned was keeping her out of his hair. But the way he was looking at her, passion burning like wildfire in his eyes, all common sense seemed to escape her.
She perched on her toes as Ryan leaned in. Her eyes fell closed as his warms lips surrounded hers.