Read Blindsided Online

Authors: Sayer Adams

Blindsided

BOOK: Blindsided
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Chapter 1

Lost. She was definitely lost. Chelsea didn’t even know which road she was on, never mind which road she should be looking for. And if that didn’t clinch it, the gnawing in the pit of her stomach confirmed it. She didn’t care. She kept driving. Being lost beat the feelings she knew would overwhelm her if she stopped. She had been dealing with those for the past month. Now, even lost and exhausted, she was in control. Control kept the panic at bay.

Freedom was worth a tight gut and a little uncertainty. Tony’s condo was too cramped and empty days allowed too many memories to fly around her head. She missed the joy of waking up in a new place every day. This medically required sabbatical might do more harm than good, she thought bitterly. With an effort, she pushed the events of the past month, or what her mother referred to as The Australian Incident, out of her mind. The old wipers were ineffective against the rain and even seeing the road was a challenge.

Bopping her head in time with the music, Chelsea turned up the radio to block out a new knocking noise coming from the engine. After a decade with the old VW, she’d learned to block out all manner of clunks and clanks. Her happiness evaporated when she noticed thick white smoke in her rear view mirror.

“What the hell?” she said as the Rabbit slowed to a crawl.

Heart racing, Chelsea steered the car to the shoulder of the road before it completely lost momentum. Chelsea turned down the radio and tried to catch her breath, willing her heart to stop thumping painfully against her breastbone. The car died with a pitiful shudder when she turned the ignition off. Poor Bunny.

After a few minutes of listening to the rain pummel the rag top, Chelsea felt calm enough to handle her problem. She dragged her purse onto her lap and started digging through the varied and jumbled contents, searching for her cell phone, finally finding it under her lip gloss and day planner.

The screen of the cell phone displayed a phone icon with a red line through it. No service. How the hell could it not have service, she wondered. She had used this phone to arrange a baby shower while hiking the Inca Trail. It had worked 12,000 feet up in the thin air of Peru and now it wouldn’t work a hundred miles from Seattle. What kind of service was that?

Compressing the scream she wanted to let out into a frustrated cross between a whimper and a growl, Chelsea tossed the phone back in the direction of the detritus littering the passenger seat. She leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes, trying to cover her panic with the in-charge feeling she had when traveling.

Toss Chelsea into a no name Indonesian village where no one spoke English and she was the most confident woman she knew, but send her into a coffee shop to order a latte and she was so insecure she almost wet her pants. I’m a nut job, she thought. I should not be traumatized by my car breaking down.

“You can handle this,” she said to aloud, “Pretend you’re in Tibet.”

Good idea. The near constant news coverage of horrors made it seem like a mass murderer lurked behind every shrub. What she saw on TV while soaking up liquids through an IV made her even more terrified. The sensationalism reminded her of things she would rather just ignore. She had quickly learned to just stick with makeover shows and cartoons.

Armed with the lie of being in a foreign country, Chelsea got out of the car. The driving rain almost immediately soaked her to the skin. Swearing under her breath, she leaned down to open the hood. Thin, acrid smoke greeted her and she stumbled back a step to avoid the smell and heat. Holding her wet sweater over her mouth, she stepped forward and stared down at the boggling array of metal and hoses.

What had she thought she was going to do with the hood open? Though Tony had spent his teenage years buying junk cars and rebuilding them into street racing monsters, she hadn’t so much as peeked under the hood since her brother had shooed her away from his dangerously souped-up Camaro when she was 12.

Besides, she reminded herself, the smoke had been coming mostly from the back. She let go of the hood and it shut with a bang. A trip to the back told her the smoke was coming from the tailpipe. Even with the engine off, it billowed out in greasy clouds. Crawling under the car to inspect was definitely out, so now what? Pulling her hair into a bun and securing it with a pen, Chelsea glanced at the road with concern. She wasn’t stopped in a very good spot. A car coming around the bend even a little over the white line would cream her.

Which meant her options were… what? Stand here and be roadkill? No thanks. Sit in the car and wait to be found? Probably by some family in a minivan, but she couldn’t get past the image of a hairy trucker with bad things on his mind. Her slim jeans and fitted white sweater could hardly be termed provocative, but she was soaked to the skin. Imagination was no longer necessary to see what the sweater covered.

Her best option was to try to find a house and a nice person to let her use their phone. People who owned houses were more responsible, upstanding member of the community, not psycho killers, right? Peering through the rain, Chelsea thought she could make out a driveway a little way up the road. Leaning into the car, she tossed her stuff back into her purse and gave the ignition one last try. It yielded only a grinding noise that made her cringe. Patting Bunny’s dashboard, she said, “It’s okay baby, I’ll get help.”

The driveway was well kept and surrounded by hedges. No house was visible, but it was a relief just to be off the road and away from roadkill-making traffic. Rain dripped down her face and every few steps she had to wipe her eyes so she could see. Her legs still felt like lead, lacking the energy to move very fast, but her desire to be dry pushed her on.

After a short walk, Chelsea caught sight of a house, or more accurately, a cottage tucked in a large clearing in the trees. Stone faced with a steeply pitched roof, it wouldn’t have looked out of place in England. Given the similar climates of England and the Pacific Northwest, it fit in equally well here. Gardens and a well kept lawn surrounded the house, enhancing the British countryside illusion. Even without the sun to highlight them, the gardens were lovely. Reds and oranges blazed away in a bed at one side of the house, while a patch of beautiful, silvery blue flowers lined the walkway. The smell of wet earth mixed with the flower scents to create a heady mix.

Chelsea felt the tension that had accumulated in her back and neck drain away, leaving only her usual low grade uneasiness. Clearly this house was owned by someone who cared about it. No one who cared that much about a house and flowers could be the much feared psycho killer. In fact, it was probably the house of an older lady who would offer her tea and cookies. Chelsea could imagine herself looking at pictures of grandchildren while she waited for Tony to make the two hour drive from Seattle to come pick her up. Confident in her safety, Chelsea all but sauntered the rest of the way up the walk.

###

Oh, hell no. Nate stood at the window, watching a woman stride up the walk. The walk that lead to his peaceful retreat where no one knew who he was. He put up with autograph hunters and groupies wanting into his bed at his house in LA. He damn well wasn’t going to start dealing with that shit here. Even if they looked like this one.

He’d grown used to a certain type of woman in his 15 years in the music business. This woman looked completely different. Even at this distance, he could see a spark in her eyes that none of those groupies had ever had. A spark that meant she was more than just an easy lay. She was also completely dressed, though her wet top hugged her curves and did more than hint at the pink bra beneath. But that wasn’t the point. The point was, she was walking towards his damn house. It was a nice walk, he noticed. Not all vampy and swivelly, just confident.

Hotness aside, she was exactly what he didn’t need to see. She didn’t belong here. No one belonged here but him. Other than his housekeeper, Nate kept everyone out. His bandmates called it anti-social. He called it being an adult. Just because he could sleep with 18 year olds for the rest of his life didn’t make it any less creepy.

Nate took a last sip of his coffee and stubbed out his cigarette before heading to the door. He had to head her off before she could get to the door of his sanctuary. Long dormant parts of him were stirring and itching to get closer to those curves, but he’d just have to ignore that. Giving into those desires just wasn’t worth it.

###

Chelsea didn’t even get a chance to knock. When she was two steps from the door, it swung open to reveal a man blocking the doorway with his massive body. She went dead still, both afraid of and surprised by the man who opened the door.

If there was a person less like the gray-haired grandma she had expected, she didn’t want to meet him. He was shirtless, nearly completely tattooed and surly looking. Jet black hair tousled in unruly waves around his head and muscles rippled beneath his inked skin. He was tall, well over six feet, and broad across the shoulders. Haunted gray eyes, well defined cheekbones and a shadow of stubble made him nearly perfect looking, if you went for the delectable dangerous type. The decidedly angry set of his mouth told her he wasn’t happy to see her. Why she would produce this much ire and angst in someone she’d never met was beyond her.

Twin desires overwhelmed Chelsea into inaction. Run away, or run her hands over his chiseled chest? Running away was out. The houses out here were few and far between and she had been lucky to find this one. Besides, she was soaking and cold from her walk up his long driveway. She couldn’t bear the thought of heading back to search for another house, another phone that may never materialize. Jumping on him and fondling him seemed a just a bit too forward.

Which left the adult thing to do. Mustering up all her courage, she drew herself up to her full five feet five inches and looked straight at him. She was about to forcefully yet politely ask to use the phone when he raised one eyebrow and sneered at her. Well, that simultaneously killed her courage and lit her fire.

He’s just our type. Forget about the phone, let’s get him in bed,
a horny little voice in her head whispered. He’s not my type, Chelsea thought fiercely. Not at all, not anymore. We are through with tattooed gods with troubled pasts. Done, done, and more done. By the looks of him, he had one hell of a past, one that he maybe hadn’t quite put behind him. He was older than her, but the intelligence in his eyes made him even more dangerously attractive.

The man was still glaring at her, utterly silent. Okay, he clearly wasn’t going to help her out. He could say something. Like, hello. Jerk.

Time to be an adult again.

“Hi,” she said, “My name is Chelsea Spencer. My car broke down and I was hoping I could use your phone. And maybe come in out of the rain for a minute or two.”

Chelsea ended her request with a bright smile that usually softened even the hardest, angriest men. She had used it on an honest-to-God head hunter. Since her head wasn’t shrunken and on a stake in some remote area of the world, she knew the smile was magic.

She did her best to ignore her wayward libido and focus on the task at hand. Why couldn’t her libido be happy with nice men? Men whose idea of a good time didn’t involve bar brawls and motorcycles.

“Uh huh, sure sweetheart. Your car broke down, or maybe you’re looking for your sweet old granny who lives somewhere near here and you’re lost. Or, oh, I know, you need to borrow a cup of fucking sugar!”

His voice sank to a throaty growl near the end of his sentence and Chelsea took an instinctive step away from him and his anger. Confusion battled with fear within Chelsea and was quickly trounced.

Chelsea realized with a flip of her stomach that he might be completely unhinged. He certainly sounded like it. Suddenly, walking to find another house didn’t seem so bad. Hell, at this point, getting run over by a Mack truck didn’t seem so bad. But something held Chelsea back from just walking away and looking for another house.
Yeah, he’s soooo hot,
her libido chimed in. Her body agreed, her wet skin tingling in misguided anticipation.

No, it was more than that. His eyes looked guarded, yes, but not crazy. He was mad, but the angry kind, not the requires-medication-and-observation kind. He was fed up. With what, Chelsea hadn’t a clue, but he was definitely fed up.

“Um, ok,” Chelsea said as she lowered her arm back to her side. He wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries. “I really just need to use your phone, and then I’ll just go back to my car to wait for my ride. Or, I could give you the phone number and let you call, if you don’t want to let me in your house.”

Maybe he didn’t want to let her in for pragmatic reasons. She knew it was a safety precaution to not let people in to use the phone. But what did this man with muscles everywhere have to fear from a woman half his size? A kick in the shins?

“Look, sweetheart,” he said as leaned against the door frame, “Why don’t you just tell me why you’re really here. If you just want an autograph and promise not to tell anyone where you found me, fine. Anything else and you can forget it.”

BOOK: Blindsided
8.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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