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“No, you saved mine. And nearly got yourself killed doing it.” She lifted her hand and touched his brow and eye.
“Nah, I just got beat up a little. It was worth it.”
A few minutes of silence passed. Natasha’s stomach rumbled from hunger and her thoughts took her back. “I miss them,” she said.
“Not that boyfriend, I hope,” he replied.
“No, he was just … we weren’t serious. I miss my parents. My friends, Amy and Jennifer. I had two of the best friends in the world. And I know they’re all hurting. Especially my mom. She loved me so much.” She started to cry.
Liam picked her up and sat her on his lap. “We’ll get out of here, then you can go see them.”
“How? They think I’m dead.” She pressed her face to his chest.
“We’ll make up a story. Say that you were kidnapped or something. We’ll say that they got the wrong body. Hey … I’ll make it happen. Somehow, Natasha, I’ll fix it.”
Della felt despair swell inside Natasha’s chest. “Who are we kidding?” She grabbed a handful of Liam’s shirt. “We’re not getting out of here, Liam. We’re going to die.”
“Damn it! Don’t say that. We’re getting out of here, then we’ll find out how others like us live. There has to be a way.”
Natasha cried a few more minutes, then finally exhausted, she just leaned against him. He knew just how to hold her to make her feel … loved.
And she loved him, she realized. She hadn’t felt this way toward anyone before. Almost as if he sensed her thoughts, he leaned down and kissed her brow again. “Oh, and if you get some scholarship to some school, I’m coming with you. I’m not losing you. Okay?”
“You won’t,” she said. And while she wanted to believe him, that they would get out of this alive, that they would actually get a chance to make a life together, she didn’t. She didn’t believe.
But at least they had now. She lifted her face and kissed him. Kissed him with desire and passion. “Wanna make that four times?”
“I asked you a question!” the voice came from somewhere else. And now it wasn’t Liam’s voice, or Chase’s.
Della snapped open her eyes and the sun nearly blinded her.
“I’m sorry,” Chase said.
Della turned and looked at Chase, he wore the same stunned expression on his face that she must have. Then she saw the officer standing outside the driver’s door, and she met his brown-eyed gaze. Unhappy gaze. Unhappy man. He looked like a bulldog—one that needed a little less time at his food bowl. He even had flabby cheeks like a bulldog, one of those kinds that drooled.
“We’re nervous,” she spit out. “I mean, I’m nervous. I’ve never been pulled over before.”
“That’s probably because you haven’t been hanging out with Speedy Gonzales here for that long.”
Chase lost his usual look of superiority and his expression was one of apology. “I was trying to show off for my new girlfriend,” Chase said to the officer. “I know I was wrong. Ticket me if you have to. But at least I brought her out here so I wouldn’t risk an accident.”
“You mean so you wouldn’t risk getting caught.” The cop frowned, his jowls jiggled. “Let me see your license, son,” he barked.
Chase handed it to him.
He walked off, or rather wobbled off. He even walked like a bulldog. He got into his car again, where his blue lights still flashed.
Chase looked at her. She didn’t say anything, but he must have read the pain in her eyes.
“We’ll find them.”
“We have to,” Della said.
Her phone chimed. She yanked it out of her pocket and looked at it. Probably her mom. She still hadn’t returned Della’s call.
She glanced at the number. “It’s Burnett. You don’t think he already knows we’ve been—?”
“If he does, then he has an informant in every cop shop in Texas.”
Della prepared herself for an ass chewing. “I wouldn’t find that too hard to believe.”
Chapter Thirty-two
Burnett didn’t know they were being pulled over and ticketed. He’d called to inform them that Shawn wouldn’t be meeting them at Uck’s Burgers. The agent supposedly was working on another case. The fact that Burnett was vague about the details almost made Della suspicious.
Burnett’s voice came across the line. “I was thinking you should probably just go back to Shadow Falls.”
“No, we’re going to Buck’s.”
“Why? Our main suspect isn’t going to be in town until Friday. You’ll be wasting your time.”
“No, remember, I got a familiar trace of a were at the restaurant that night. I think it means something.”
“I know but … Shawn can’t make it and—”
“And we’ll be fine,” she said in a determined tone. “Trust me.”
Burnett got quiet. “Fine, but remember the rules. Don’t initiate any trouble. If you get a lead, call me ASAP. And…” He went on for another two minutes and ended with, “But I really think you are wasting your time.”
Thankfully, he hung up before the officer came back to give Chase her ticket.
Unfortunately, thirty minutes after sitting in Uck’s Burgers, Della was afraid Burnett was right. Neither she nor Chase had gotten any scent of a were. There had been a few vamps, and they certainly had checked Della and Chase out, but obviously decided not to cause waves.