Home > Hidden Away (KGI #3)(12)

Hidden Away (KGI #3)(12)
Author: Maya Banks

Garrett raised an eyebrow, immediately suspicious.

“Relax. I read people. Nothing much else to do around here when what little tourist season we have is over.” He stuck out his hand to Garrett. “Rob Garner. Retired army. Opened up shop here five years ago. Doesn’t take much to live here and the scenery’s good. I got in at a good time. In a few years, the rest of the world will catch on to what we have here and the property values will soar. Then I can sell and live high on the hog.”

Garrett returned his hand shake. “Garrett Kelly. Marine Corps. And yeah, here for some R and R and no, I don’t like people much.”

Rob laughed and clapped his hands together. “I don’t have much use for them myself. Now, if you want to do some surf fishing, I’d suggest a casting rod that you can get out there a ways with. Then you can slip it into the holder, kick back with a beer and wait for the fish to bite. All the casting and reeling those bass fishermen do is for idiots. Fishing’s supposed to be relaxing.”

Garrett cracked a smile. “Fuckin’ A.”

“Come on, I’ll get you what you need. For bait you can use shad or shrimp. Cut bait is good too.”

Garrett watched as Rob pulled down about a twelve-foot rod, handed it to Garrett and then went down another aisle to get hooks, surf weights and liters. A few moments later, he piled everything onto the counter. “You’re all set. I’ll ring you up and you can be fishing this afternoon if you want.”

“Thanks. I might do that. Got the beer already. Maybe I’ll grill some steak and have dinner on the beach.”

Rob nodded. “Yep, that sounds like a pretty good damn day to me. Enjoy it. If there’s anything else you need, don’t hesitate to come back in.”

Garrett broke down the rod to make it more manageable to carry, then collected the bag with all the other supplies. With a nod, he headed back outside.

Hopefully the kid had delivered the groceries while Garrett was in the bait shop. Breakfast had consisted of a dry bagel on the plane, and his stomach was doing some serious protesting. A steak and a little fishing sounded next to heaven.

He glanced over to the market to see a woman step out, bag clutched close to her chest. She glanced furtively left and right and then strode toward the coffee shack. His pulse picked up. If he wasn’t mistaken, he’d just gotten his first real-life glimpse of Sarah Daniels.

On impulse, he crossed the street toward the coffee shack. He’d intended to take the main road back, but carrying the fishing pole and supplies, he had a ready excuse to take the beach path.

When he rounded the corner of the shack, he saw her head bob down the stone steps leading to the beach. He waited a moment to give her a bigger head start and then took out after her.

At first she didn’t realize he was following her. Which further cemented his opinion that she was hopelessly naïve. When she did look over her shoulder, her eyes flared in alarm. Then she made a concerted effort to shield her reaction. She even offered a semblance of a smile as she took in the fishing gear he carried before turning around and increasing her pace.

Twice more she turned just enough that she could see him and each time she sped up. By the time she reached her cottage, he could tell she was alarmed by the fact he still trailed her. She hurried up her steps, and in her haste to open the door, she dropped one of the bags she carried.

She yanked the door open then turned so she could see him while she picked up her things. Her gaze never left him as she shoved the items back into her bag. Garrett found himself strangely transfixed and unable to look away. The pictures hadn’t done her justice, nor had they captured the haunted, frightened eyes rimmed with shadows. She looked infinitely fragile, scared out of her mind, but he also saw something else. Maybe it was the way she tried not to look scared or maybe it was subtle stiffening of her shoulders and the rebellious twist to her lips. She was a fighter, not the timid mouse he’d imagined.

Awareness prickled over his skin and tightened the hairs at his nape. He rubbed the back of his neck in an attempt to dispel the momentary discomfort. His reaction irritated and intrigued him all at the same time.

He offered a friendly wave and continued on his way, though he found it hard to drag his gaze away from her. He didn’t want her to feel threatened by him, because he planned to see a lot more of her.


SARAH watched from between the slats of her wooden blinds as the man jogged down the beach. Every so often he’d stop, drop down and do a series of push-ups. Sweat gleamed in the sunlight and she could see the strain on his face as he pushed himself harder.

Ever since she’d freaked out two days ago when she’d realized he was following her, she paid careful attention to her new neighbor. Granted, her imagination had run wild, but she didn’t get down on herself for being careful.

He was a big man. Beautiful. She chided herself for her fanciful thoughts, but the man was beautiful. He was solidly built, lean and muscled with no amount of spare flesh anywhere that she could see. His black hair was mussed on top, as if he’d outgrown a more severe military cut. Judging by the amount of time he spent working out and the way he’d roll his shoulder with a grimace, she figured he’d been injured. Maybe he was on leave or maybe he’d been discharged after his injury.

Or maybe she was just trying to convince herself that her new neighbor wasn’t a threat to her.

She closed her eyes and let the slat fall. Not everyone was the enemy. The problem was figuring out who wasn’t, and she didn’t have the luxury of differentiating.

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