Home > Hidden Away (KGI #3)(15)

Hidden Away (KGI #3)(15)
Author: Maya Banks

The constable’s brows drew together as if he had no liking for her telling him how to perform his duties.

“He pulled a knife on the lady,” her neighbor said in a dangerous voice. “If you won’t deal with the matter, I’ll report this matter to your superiors.”

“Of course the matter will be dealt with,” the constable huffed. “He’s going to jail. He’ll be summoned to appear before the judge.” He looked to both Sarah and her neighbor. “I’ll need the both of you to come with me and give a proper report.”

The pulse at the base of her neck pounded viciously. Report the crime. What she hadn’t, in her cowardice and shame, done before. She so indignantly informed the constable that she didn’t want this man to be free to terrorize others, and yet she’d done just that when she’d refused to report the crime against her so many months ago.

She eyed her attacker bleakly, shame crowding her mind, pushing her fear and anger and everything else solidly aside. She was a hypocrite. And a coward. She didn’t deserve justice because she’d never sought it for herself.

“You don’t have to be afraid,” her neighbor murmured. “I’ll go with you.”

Startled, she took a step back and found herself pinned against the wall again. She stared warily at the big man who’d come to her rescue, hating the inadvertent fear that raced up her spine.

He stood there waiting, not making a move toward her, almost as if he knew how badly he scared her. He watched calmly, waiting, his gaze drifting over her face, taking in every detail. It unnerved her and exposed her vulnerability.

“If you’ll come to the station straightaway,” the constable urged as he pushed Didier down the alleyway in cuffs. “I’ll need to log a full report so the proper charges can be pressed.”

Sarah swallowed the nausea that welled in her throat. Regret burned in her chest over past mistakes. But she wouldn’t make that mistake again. She was through being a victim. She wanted control back, and she was tired of living in fear.

Her neighbor held out his hand, palm up, his expression devoid of any emotion. It was though he wanted to appear as nonthreatening as possible; and the thing of it was, she wanted to take his hand. She wanted to lean on someone else, just for a few minutes. She wanted it more than anything.

She wiped her hand over her mouth to disguise the tremble and then averted her gaze. “We should go,” she said without taking his hand. She started after the constable, leaving her rescuer to follow.

He fell into step behind her, but he kept at least a foot between them. Still, he loomed over her, blocking the sun as they stepped onto the street. She quickened her pace, unsettled by him, and why, she wasn’t sure.

When they reached the small station at the far end of the town square, her neighbor held the door open and ushered her inside. There was no air-conditioning and it was a good twenty degrees hotter inside the boxlike building. None of the windows were open to allow the sea breeze in, and she glanced nervously back toward the door. She couldn’t remain in this airless place for more than a few minutes. She’d go nuts.

A younger officer sat at a desk idly flipping through paperwork. He looked up when she and her neighbor entered.

“Comment puis-je vous aider, madame?”

“English please,” she said. “Parlez-vous Anglais?”

The officer nodded. “But of course.”

“We’re here to give the constable our statement,” her neighbor said.

“Ah, very good. If you’ll have a seat, he’ll be with you momentarily.”

Sarah nodded and sank onto one of the metal chairs, relieved to be off her feet. She stiffened when her neighbor sat next to her, their legs grazing as he shifted to get comfortable.

“My name is Garrett.”

“I’m Sarah,” she said quietly.

“Pretty name. Very classic. I like non-frou-frou names.”

She glanced up and smiled. He smiled back and she found herself mesmerized by his deep blue eyes.

“Thank you.”

He cocked his head. “You’re welcome.”

“We’re neighbors,” she blurted.

He smiled again. “I know.”

“He tried to take my bag. I couldn’t let him.”

The words came pouring out and she winced at how defensive and silly she sounded. She hadn’t done anything wrong.

“It’s not worth your life,” he pointed out.

She shook her head. “You wouldn’t understand. Everything is in that bag. I can’t ... I can’t lose it. Especially not to some bullying jackass.”

Garrett chuckled. “I’m not convinced you even needed my help. You had him disarmed before I got to you.”

She made a face. “I was scared out of my mind. I’m so grateful you were there.” Then she frowned. “You were swimming when I left the cottage. How did you get into town so fast?”

He lifted a brow and amusement gleamed in his eyes. “Keeping tabs on me?”

She flushed and looked down. “I saw you exercising. When I left, you were in the water.”

“I came into town after my swim. I’d only just arrived when I heard the commotion in the alley.”

“You have excellent timing,” she said ruefully.

The constable strode into the tiny waiting room and gestured for Sarah and Garrett to follow him back. Sarah rose and nervously ran her palms down her sides. It occurred to her that as angry as she was, and as much as she wanted the ass**le to pay for his crime, it was stupid of her to draw attention to herself. Even dumber to go on record where her name and information would be a matter of public record.

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