I’m vaguely familiar with the Scarecrow Crew or Scar’s Crew as they’re officially known. They’re a gang of unorganized criminals, lowlife cranks. I’m aware they’ve been wreaking havoc in this part of the state, but they’ve never done anything that’s made them a target of the Nordic Mafia.
Addie gulps. “I get letters containing paper dolls with their limbs ripped off and once their leader Scar showed up in the middle of the night. He walked up to my porch and then he just stood there, waiting for me to come out.”
Her eyes widen. “But you know what I did? I fired a shot and yelled,you get out of my land, you son of a biscuit! And he did, ran away with his tail between his legs like a coward.”
Anxiety crosses her face and she gets up from the swing and wrings her hands. “I promise you the farm’s safe. Oh, you aint worried now are you? For your safety, I mean?” She turns white in the face. “Doan tell me you goan leave now cause you scared. Please doan...”
Scared? Me? The thought is laughable. Last time I felt fear, I was twelve years old and in a fistfight. I came out on top and ever since, I’ve never been afraid of anything. Least of all something as pathetic as Scar’s Crew.
Her expression switches to frantic. “I doan want you to go...,” her eyes dash, “I’ll do anything you want, cook any meal you want, let you take any bed you want...”
“I’m staying,” I rasp to calm her down and she lets out a sob that makes me want to take her in my arms and let her feel my heart beat, feel how steady it rhythms because nothing fazes me. If it did, I’d crush it without blinking which is what I’ll do to the Crew. Though there’s one thing that seriously disturbs me.
I don’t think Beauregard died from a kick to the face. At least not a kick from a cow. Wrath ravages me because if they did that to him, it’s only a question of luck and time that my lamb was spared.
“Thanks,” Addie breathes before turning the knob, “and there’s a hatch in the kitchen where we can hide if it comes down to it.”
“That’s a relief,” I say in a wry voice but Addie doesn’t pick up on the irony and she nods, shooting me a smile. Eventually, I’ll teach her never to hide. She will stand in my shadows and laugh at her fears in the face. Eventually danger will become familiar to her. It will sleep next to her every night from now on and she’ll grow to learn to love it.
I take a look around at her home and it’s humble but clean, and it seems like she picked up most of her stuff at the flea market. She lacks a lot while I lack nothing. And I’m already planning on sharing all I have with her.
Shepherding me toward a chair in the kitchen, she fusses over me and its nice being fussed over. Makes my lids feel heavy and there’s an ache in my pants. I adjust myself under the table while she rummages through the cupboards and the hem of her dress, trails up over her knees. When she turns around with a jar of sugar in her hands, our eyes meet and she gasps.
“Why you looking at me like that for, Rev?” she whispers. “You want anything?”
I do. I want everything.
Breakfast, he wants breakfast...the man must be starving. Shivering, I shoot Revenge a nervous smile before promptly turning around and grabbing a pan. Turning on the stove, I mix all the ingredients in a bowl and I’m not exactly being smooth. Flour, sugar and milk are flying because I’m fidgety.
I’m not always this scattered. I can be sturdy but I’ve never had someone like Revenge in my house before. Whenever I glance at him, his gaze cuts me right in the gut until I almost drop like a puddle to the floor. My throat’s dry, pulse acting like a barrel race horse in my veins and the sun shining through the windows suddenly seems so sharp as if my body is longing for something cool and dark.
Something like Revenge...
I twitch. Where did that come from? Revenge isnotdark. I look at his face again and it confirms what I’m thinking. Those spirited eyes, that attentive mouth and those gorgeous and caring hands. When he brushed back my hair it was probably one of the most meaningful moments of my life. The touch was everything I’ve ever wanted, firm and strong and...
“You’re burning the pan,” Rev says huskily and I jerk. I quickly turn down the heat and throw some of the batter into the pan. I hope he’ll like this because I meant it when I said I’ll do anything to make him stay. I know Revenge isn’t the kind of man I asked for but he’s the kind of man, I could grow to adore.
Besides, I’m not the kind of girl who cares whether her husband can protect her or not. I won’t mind hiding in that hatch for the rest of my life if I need to as long as my future husband is Revenge.
The batter bubbles fiercely and I’m close to burning everything again. Good grief! I should probably pay more attention to preparing the perfect meal for Revenge than fantasizing about being his. Shaking my head to myself, I turn off the stove and make sure the pancakes are rowed nicely on the plate before taking a deep breath and I go over to Revenge.
“If you doan like it, just say so. You won’t hurt my feelings.”
Well, that’s kinda not true...if Revenge would ever be displeased with me, I’d probably start bawling. I have so much admiration for him and I don’t care that he’s a drifter. I’m not exactly royalty myself so I could never look down on Revenge for being a simple wanderer.
And there’s nothing wrong with a man trying to find his place in the world, nothing wrong at all. I bite my lip because I wouldn’t mind if Revenge found his place righthere.
Revenge’s eyes flash to mine and there’s something in them, something swirling in their depths that makes me gasp. Really, adrifter?You sure about that, Addie...?I shrug myself because of course he is. Nobody ever comes to my farm unless they’re lost or need a place to stay.
“I appreciate it,” Revenge murmurs and his gaze roams down my body, lingering around my childbearing hips before moving down my bare legs. I’m not wearing any shoes but he probably doesn’t mind. Though his gaze on me does make me feel like the temperature just reached equator levels and I hurry to grab a napkin.