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Authors: Elizabeth Finn

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BOOK: Conflicting Interests
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Instead, he kissed her. He lingered as his lips tasted hers
and his fingers wandered down to her nipples. Her sigh and frustrated moan as
her nipples hardened into tight little pebbles was his sign to leave. He
grabbed the chair from the balcony, returning it to the desk, kissed her once
more and then left her.

* * * * *

“Dad, where were you last night? I got up and your door was
open but you weren’t there.”

“Uh, bathroom.”

“You were not! I went to the bathroom!”

“Oh umm…uh…closet.”

Jake snorted and Seth just shook his head. “You’re weird.”
They grabbed the toast Molly had just made them and scooted past Katrina who’d
just shown up in the doorway.

“Closet? Really? You couldn’t have said kitchen?” Molly sat
down beside him as Katrina poured herself a cup of coffee.

“What about a closet?” Katrina sat on the other side of him,
pulling her leg up under her.

“Apparently Dillon spent some time in his closet last night
and that’s why Seth couldn’t find him in the middle of the night.” Katrina gasped
and by the time Dillon looked at her she was already blushing the most
incredible shade of pink. Molly laughed and Dillon shook his head.

Dillon caught up to Seth before he managed to get out of the
house with Jake. “Take a walk with me.”

“Okay.” Said more like an annoyed question.

Once he and Seth were halfway down the block, Seth peered at
him with an expectant expression. Dillon was eating up his daylight after all.

“Kat…Ms. Page and I are dating. I wanted you to know.”

“No duh.”

“Really? No duh?”

“Uh, yeah. You brought my teacher to San Francisco with you,
you stare at her, she stares at you. That’s what people do when they like each

“They stare at each other, huh?”

“Yeah, Dad, duh. And they compensate.”

“You mean copulate.”

“Whatever. I’m taking health class right now and I know
about the birds already.”

“And the bees too, I assume?”

“What bees?”

“Yeah. So, you’re okay with it?”

“Sure. Ms. Page is cool. She’s way cooler than you are.”

“Oh she is, is she?” They strolled on for another minute.
Seth was becoming more impatient by the second. “So you know she’s been having
some trouble.”

“I know something happened to her. I mean somebody hurt
her.” Seth suddenly sounded far too mature for thirteen. He sighed a heavy
breath. “Is she going to be okay?”

“Someone is trying to scare her and we don’t know why and we
don’t who but we’re doing everything we can to figure it out. And we’re doing
everything we can to protect her.”

“Scare her? Dad, I’m not a baby. I know somebody hurt her.”

“I know you’re not a baby.”

“But why would someone do this to her? She’s nice. She’s a
good person. I just don’t understand how anyone could want to hurt her.”

“I don’t know why, Seth. What people do to others doesn’t
always make sense. I wish it did but it just doesn’t. But you’re right. She
doesn’t deserve it. I don’t want you to worry about it though. The police are
doing everything they can to figure out who’s trying to hurt her.”

“Does the person doing this want to kill her?”

His heart hammered in his chest at nothing more than the
words. The frightened and confused look on Seth’s face didn’t help his
reaction. He couldn’t answer that question honestly without worrying Seth but
at the same time, lying wasn’t exactly the approach he wanted to take either.

“It’s hard to know what his intent is. We’re not going to
let that happen though. Do you understand?”

Seth nodded and spaced off for a while as they rounded the
far side of the block and headed back around to the house from the other

“So, you like…
like her,
like her? Like
you love
like her?”

“Yes I do.”

“And she actually likes you too?”

Dillon laughed. “She actually loves me too—hard as that
obviously is for you to believe.”

“That’s cool.” Seth was silent a moment but Dillon knew he
had more to say. “She should live with us. She’d be safe with us. She shouldn’t
be alone.”

“I don’t think she’s ready for that. And I’m not sure you
are either. That’s a big deal, Seth.”

“You said you love her. That’s what people do when they love
each other. They get married, they live together, they have babies, they get
old and wrinkly. I mean, you’re already old, Dad.”

“You don’t know what old is do you? I’m barely thirty-five.”

“So what? You’re going to wait until you’re like
really old?”

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t feel better having her closer but
it’s more complicated than just that.”

“Then uncomplicate it!” Seth was getting that frustrated
edge to his voice.

“It’s not my choice! She has to agree to move in and she’s…well,
she’s stubborn as a mule.”

“It’s stupid. Her being alone is just stupid. She doesn’t
even have a house anymore.”

“You heard that?”

“I heard Aunt Molly and Grandma talking about it last night
in the kitchen. You need to make her move in.” Dillon couldn’t agree more but
how the hell was he going to do that? He took a deep breath and sighed as they
approached the house.

Given his audience, Dillon couldn’t help but think the
conversation went well. Seth liked Kat. He respected Kat. He understood the
importance of caring for someone who needed help and that likely impressed
Dillon more than anything else that was said. Seth was a good kid. He always
had been and Dillon had always known he was, and not in the
my-child-can-do-no-wrong sort of way. Seth could do plenty wrong but he could
do a heck of lot more right.

That wasn’t to say he didn’t escape from Dillon with Jake as
soon as possible exclaiming in a rather juvenile tone, “My dad is totally
dating Ms. Page. They’re like,

To which Jake responded, “At least he’s dating. Mom never
goes out. I bet they’re like, doing it.” Of course neither boy managed to wait
to have the conversation until they were away from the house. Molly was
standing by two feet away with her head cocked to the side, chastising with her

“That’s totally gross. They’re old. Eww,” Seth exclaimed to
Jake’s suggestion.

Dillon was watching Molly try hard to glare at the boys when
she really just wanted to laugh. The boys didn’t stick around long enough for a
lecture and the second they were out the door Molly weighed in. “I do too date.
He doesn’t know nothin’.”

Dillon chuckled while Molly scowled. “Mom and I are taking
Katrina to the spa. You and Dad are in charge of the juveniles. If Jake says
‘doing it’ again feel free to ground him for being an idiot.”

“Got it.” Katrina came down the stairs at that moment,
smiling shyly at him.

“Hey, Kat. You sure you’re up for spa time with Mom and me?
My mom plays a wicked game of twenty questions but I’ll run interference for ya—I

“Sure. It sounds great actually.”

“Oh and the boys were just talking about how you and Dillon
are ‘doing it’ so the cat’s sorta out of the bag with the boys on that one, I’m

“Well at least they didn’t say ‘box grab,’” Katrina
commented dryly as her cheeks started to redden.

Molly erupted in laughter and Dillon started shaking his
head in mock disapproval. When Katrina looked to him again, his eyebrows shot
up tauntingly. The red cheeks turned crimson as he watched and her gaze flitted
from his for a moment before looking back.

She obviously hadn’t forgotten about their midnight tryst
but he certainly hadn’t either and he was just waiting, biding his time as
patiently as his dick would allow to get his hands on her again.

* * * * *

unfortunately didn’t happen for the remainder
of the trip and come Saturday morning when they were packing up Molly’s
Traverse, he’d decided sex deprivation might make him go insane. He simply
needed to get his hands on her before he lost his mind. Sadly the closest he
got to her was holding her hand as he steered Molly’s car northward.

Molly claimed the third row for herself, complaining about
already having had to endure driving the boys by herself for a day.

The second Dillon reached for her hand there was snorting
and sniggering from the second row. Dillon adjusted the rearview mirror,
focusing its aim on Seth.

“Are you two going to laugh like idiots every time I touch
Kat or could you maybe grow up a little?” He smirked and Seth rolled his eyes.

“Hey Ms. Page?” She turned to Seth. “You know my dad is like
way old, right?”

She laughed. “He
way old. There’s no doubt.”

“I’m thirty-five! Way old is at least thirty-seven.”

“I heard that! And I’m young at heart, jerks!” The voice
came from Molly’s body which was buried under a blanket in the back row.

Eventually, Seth and Jake got over thinking it was weird
that Dillon was holding Kat’s hand in much the same way they’d figured out it
was really quite natural that he’d want to kiss her on the cheek occasionally,
or kiss her good night.

They’d had a few days to deal with it all at his parents’
house and while the sniggering had driven him crazy at first, it had tapered
off a bit more every time he touched her, kissed her, whispered something in
her ear and even now as they joked about it as they passed out the city limits,
the tension was gone. It was just plain funny to junior high boys to laugh at
such things.

Leaving hadn’t been nearly so joyous or filled with
laughter—at least not on the adults’ part. Del had nearly sobbed as she pulled
Katrina into a tight bear hug. It wasn’t as if he ever questioned whether
they’d like her or not—he oddly truly had never questioned it. But it was more
that they were worried about her. Hell they were worried about him too.

It was clear their lives were wound up tightly together and
what was done to her would affect him. Del would have rather Kat and Dillon
just moved in, quit their jobs, adopted new identities and hidden from the bad
guy for the rest of their lives. She was just that worried and it showed. Del
cried, Michael kept his hands on the tops of her shoulders to calm her and
reassure her and Katrina sniffed through her own tears as Dillon held her hand.

They invited her to visit anytime Dillon came and she
nodded. Her jaw was tight with emotion she was trying hard to rein in and he
squeezed her hand, kissing her on top of her head.

Now they were headed back to their nightmare. He wasn’t
ready to go back any more than he supposed she was. The only real benefit was it
would be far easier for him to get her into bed at home than it had been at his
parents and regardless of the nightmare, it didn’t change his need to consume
her or apparently for her to be consumed by him.

It was a long day and it was dark by the time they pulled
into Molly’s driveway.

“Hey, Seth. You should come over for the night after you
drop your bags off at your house.” Molly was eyeing Dillon as she spoke to Seth.
She’d done it for his benefit and he smiled and nodded at her.

“Okay. Is that cool, Dad?”

“Sure. I need to get Kat home so she can take care of her
actual cat and I might just stay there tonight if you don’t mind.”

“Cool. I’ll be down in a few, Aunt Molly.” Seth grabbed his
suitcase and started lugging it up the sidewalk the short jaunt to their house.

“Thanks, Mol.” He pecked her on the cheek before he grabbed
their bags as well. Molly hugged Katrina and told her she’d see her soon and
moments later they were headed up the sidewalk, trailing after Seth.

He made a quick pit stop in the garage and tossed Kat’s bag
in his Tahoe and when he came back inside, he caught on the sound of Kat’s and
Seth’s voices from the kitchen. They were comfortable around each other, even
more so now than before San Francisco and his heart fluttered as he listened to
them for a second, remaining hidden around the corner. They couldn’t see him
and he stood still listening.

“Maybe you should just move in with us. I know he wouldn’t
care. He really,
has a crush on you.”

“That’s sweet, Seth but I’m really going to be fine. The
police are doing a lot to figure out who is doing this and I’m going to be just
fine. I don’t want you to worry about me.”

“You love him, so what’s the big deal? I won’t even tell
anyone at school.”

“That’s not it. I won’t be your teacher after this year and
there’s nothing wrong with your father and me dating, but moving in just
because he’s worried about me isn’t the right answer.”

“That’s crap! For a grownup, you’re not making very smart
decisions.” Seth sounded so much like Dillon in that moment that he had a hard
time stifling his breath that caught in his throat on a lurch, but their
conversation was far too serious for him to interrupt it.

He listened to her sigh before she spoke again. “We’ll talk
about it another time.”

“Fine.” Seth was muttering. It wasn’t until Seth told
Katrina he was going that Dillon made his presence known and as he passed
Dillon on his way toward the front door he hollered over his shoulder. “Bye,

“Bye, bud.” Dillon’s eyes followed Seth from the room before
returning to Katrina. “Ready, Freddy?” He was forcing himself to smile. He
wanted to finish the conversation Seth had started but he didn’t want to start
an argument and as though he knew exactly how such a conversation would play
out, he was becoming oddly irritated just standing facing her. She’d done
nothing wrong but the fact he knew the argument existed whether it was a
conversation they were having or not didn’t seem to stifle his mood that was
starting to sour.

“For you, always.” Her expression was the most understated
seductive look he’d ever seen and it slowly eased his tension and pulled him
back from the brink of irritation. There was nothing contrived or overt about
her response. Just her need that so perfectly matched his etched on her stunning

BOOK: Conflicting Interests
6.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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