Brighter Than the Sun Page 65

She motioned him to the first station, and he wanted to laugh. He could do this with his eyes closed. Did she really think KGI was this stupid? If she did, then why bother joining?

She started to drone on with instructions, but before she could finish, Joe snipped the final wire, checked for any remaining traps that would detonate the bomb if the primary trigger were disabled then stood back, holding his hands up.

“Done. Satisfied, ma’am?”

She had a stunned look on her face. She stepped forward with a frown and did a thorough check of the device and then shook her head.

“That was amazing,” she said, a hint of admiration creeping into her voice. “I think that’s the fastest time anyone’s ever registered in any of my classes.”

Joe smiled. “I’m not even the best. We like to give Baker shit about explosives, but he’s the man when it comes to setting, dismantling or detonating any device known, and well, quite a few classified ones that we aren’t supposed to know about.”

Allie looked like she had no idea what to do with that information.

Joe turned to his twin. “You’re up, bro. Try not to show me up too badly.”

The others laughed, but Allie was now giving them all thoughtful looks, and something that resembled guilt and embarrassment shadowed her eyes.

Joe made a subtle gesture to pull Donovan to the side.

“What’s up?” Donovan asked quietly.

“I need you to cover for me with Sam. I’m sure he’s still pissed about me ducking out yesterday, but I have to go. It’s important or I wouldn’t ask.”

Concern shone in his brother’s eyes. “Is everything okay?”

Joe smiled. “It will be, Van. It will be just as soon as I can get back home.”

Donovan grinned with sudden understanding. “Don’t worry about Sam. I’ll handle things here.”

Joe didn’t waste any time, striding out of the war room as Sam called for him to hold up. Ignoring the request, he hopped into his truck and headed out of the compound back to his cabin. He was out of his truck heading to the front door when he noticed it was ajar.

Alarm prickled up his spine. He hadn’t left the door open. Had Zoe taken off despite her promise to stay? He rushed inside, hastily looking in the living room and kitchen before running to the bedroom. It too was empty, but what made his blood run cold, his heart nearly stopping, was the utter chaos there.

There were obvious signs of a struggle. Knocked-over lamps. The covers and sheets were off the bed and strewn all over the floor, and Zoe’s clothing was still where he’d tossed it the night before when he’d undressed her.

But what sent terror blazing through his heart and mind were blood spatters on the bed, the floor and even the wall.

Someone had taken Zoe while he’d left her alone. Without protection. Outside the safety of the compound. Oh God, this was his fault. All the Kelly women were safely ensconced within the walls of the compound, and yet he’d left Zoe to fend for herself. He’d never forgive himself if he didn’t get her back safe and unharmed, and so help him, if it was the last thing he did, he’d track down every last fucker who’d dared to put their hands on the woman he loved. Who’d shed her blood. He’d kill every last one of them.

CHAPTER 20

RUSTY crept through Sean’s house, and then realizing how absurd she was being, she rolled her eyes and made her way into his bedroom. It wasn’t as though anyone was here, and Sean’s security system was an embarrassment for a law enforcement officer.

She paused in the doorway of his bedroom, heat suffusing her cheeks as she imagined being in that bed with Sean. It was humiliating to acknowledge just how long she’d had that particular fantasy. But she was no longer a young girl with adolescent fantasies about kissing Sean. Her fantasies were of the adult variety now. The naked kind that involved Sean making love to her and admitting he wanted her every bit as much as she wanted him.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. She hastily undressed before she lost her nerve and then pulled back the covers of the neatly made bed and slid underneath sheets that smelled like him. She buried her face in his pillows, inhaling his wholly masculine smell that had driven her crazy for more years than she’d like to admit.

She heard the front door open and shivered. Boy, she hadn’t been a minute too soon. She heard his light step through the house, pausing at intervals, and then his pace slowed and she could no longer hear his footfalls. She frowned, wondering what was going on.

Then suddenly the bedroom door burst open and she was looking down the barrel of Sean’s pistol. She shot upward, forgetting that she was naked underneath, and the sheet fell, baring her breasts to his startled gaze.

“Rusty, what the hell?” he demanded. “Are you just trying to get shot? What the fuck are you doing? And put your damn clothes back on,” he said in a strangled voice.

She smiled to herself. His gaze had been trained to her body ever since discovering who was in his bedroom—or bed, to be more exact—and his eyes were focused on her breasts to the exclusion of all else.

“Well, if you insist,” she said innocently, throwing back the sheet to fully uncover her nudity.

Sean looked as if he had just swallowed his tongue, and then he closed his eyes, his jaw tight, and she could see it tic in agitation. His hand shook as he replaced his gun in his holster. Well, at least he wasn’t unaffected, which had been her worst fear.

“For God’s sake, Rusty, what the hell are you doing in my bed? For that matter, how the hell did you get in?”

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