Romantic Suspense and Thriller

Sour Cherry By Nichole Severn

Friday, June 21, 2013

My first night in the safe house turned out to be a disaster.

One twin-sized bed.

Two people.

One of which couldn’t keep her damn hands to herself.

That would be me.


When I woke, I found myself draped over the exact place I’d found my number one lay of all history. Apparently even in my sleep I was a whore.

I slowly tried to maneuver out of the bed without waking Cooper. After all, I’m sure I kept him up all night. First, I removed my hand from his groin. Second, my legs from the top of his. Then I tried to climb over him. In the end, my strength failed me.

Just as Cooper opened his eyes, my whole body plastered itself onto his.

I wrenched myself off him so fast, I landed on the floor.

Hard.

Carpet was a bitch to land on when the padding had been removed out from under it. I remained motionless on the floor, staring at the ceiling. The throbbing in my face increased and I tried to will the pain away

Unsuccessfully.

“If that was your attempt to seduce me, it sucked.” Cooper smiled down at me from the bed with an awful, but charming, crooked smile.

My eyes fluttered toward the camera. “Who’s watching those?”

“Nobody. I review the footage from the day every night.”

“Does that mean you’ll be watching this later?” His laugh made me grind my teeth and throw my arms over my eyes.

“Over and over.”

I groaned and uncovered my eyes, still gazing at the ceiling. I couldn’t look at him right now. Not after what he’d just seen. “And yesterday, too?”

Cooper got out of the bed, naked from the waist up. He bent over, that damn smile still in place. “I already watched it. Do you want to know how many times?”

Another groan escaped my throat. “No.”

He offered me a hand. “Come on, Filatova. Let’s get some food in you to bring back some of your color.”

I didn’t miss the gymnast jab as I took his hand. When I made it upright, I rubbed my eyes clear of sleep. “You watch gymnastics?” I asked from behind my hands.

“Of course I do. Those women are hot.”

I followed Cooper into the kitchen, my eyes glued to his backside. Even with clothes on, he still managed to make my heart race. And wasn’t that just perfect? My conversation with Trish replayed in my head.

He’s off limits.

Ha. Wonder what she’d say now considering I’d technically defected. Not to another side. Just defected. I scooted onto the only barstool at the counter. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Omelet.”

An unwelcome laugh shot through my nose then turned into a whimper. I cradled either side of my nose with both hands. “Oh, God. Don’t make me laugh. It hurts too much.”
I worked to control my laughter while still imagining this lean, scruffy-looking man crack a delicate egg. It seemed impossible.

“Hurts that much, huh?” he asked.

I righted myself, catching a brief glimpse of concern shadow his features. “Imagine having a skateboard slammed into your face.”

“Is that what happened?” He busied himself with wiping down the pan in his hand with a dishtowel. “Can only imagine what you did to the poor schmuck.”

I didn’t want to go into the specifics of my encounter with Blondie. Besides, nobody wanted to hear they had a hit out on their life. I’d save Cooper that paranoia and fear. I couldn’t explain my need to hide it from it except for the fact I was the one who’d been paid to kill him. I changed the subject. “You cook?”

Cooper froze, pan in one hand and cheese in another. “What’s so funny?”

“I just can’t imagine it is all.”

“Another bit of information you didn’t bother to learn during our acquaintance the other night.” He prepared breakfast as if he hadn’t just offended me. I deserved it in all honesty, but subtly labeling me as a whore didn’t sit well.

Most of the time, my hard outer shell repelled insults like that. This time, however, his words sank in deep. I couldn’t explain why. It was almost like I cared what he thought of me.

Cooper placed a finished omelet, complete with onions, peppers, mushrooms and all, in front of me.

I had half a mind to refuse it, but I hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning. I took an experimental bite. Despite our differences, his cooking was fantastic. I tried not to moan
in pleasure. God only knew what my face looked like. “So what’s the plan?”

He took a bite of his own, chewing methodically, but refused to meet my gaze. “What plan?”

His question nearly made me choke on a piece of omelet. “The plan to keep us from dying of high-speed lead poisoning.”

“Us?” Cooper chuckled. “I have nothing to do with this. I gave you a place to crash for the night. That’s it.” Shoving the last of his omelet in his mouth, he turned and loaded his dishes into the sink. Not so much as a glance in my direction.

“You’re kicking me out?”