Chapter 9, part 1

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He tucked himself into her doorway, fading light in what had never been more than a gloomy day to begin with helping him blend into the shadows

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He tucked himself into her doorway, fading light in what had never been more than a gloomy day to begin with helping him blend into the shadows. Rain still fell, but it had dwindled to a gentle flow over the past hour; the wind's howl died with the light. Still, Ryker shivered as he stood sentinel, awaiting Emmie's return. Water dripped onto the back of his jacket, pooling in his collar and depositing itself in a stream running down his back. No matter where he shifted to, he couldn't seem to escape it.

Just like Emmie, he thought with an uncomfortable dose of melancholy. He couldn't escape her either, however much he tried. He thought about her when he was at work, when he woke in the morning, before he went to sleep at night. He fantasized about the curve of her breast, the tantalizing way she twisted herself around him in bed, the taut heat of her legs gripping his thighs. But there was more to it than just the sex and that was what had him lingering in her doorway, shirt wicking icy water from the overhang in front of Emmie's home.

She hadn't said anything today about the necklace he'd left for her. He took that as a good sign. If she'd still been upset about it, she certainly would have told him so. Emmie wasn't one to hold back. Perhaps she'd accepted the fact that there could be something more between them. Her initial rejection of his gift had made him realize that he had already accept it; that he wanted it, in fact.

Emmie was so careful about adhering to her entanglement clause -- that may have been why he was willing to forego the clause altogether. He deserved to have a real relationship again, especially after what he'd gone through with his ex. How he hadn't seen that earlier was beyond him. Carin be damned. He knew Emmie well enough by now; she was no Carin. There was no sense in letting the past rule his heart.

Blinding headlights flashing past him as a car turned onto the street brought his attention back to the present. The vehicle slowed in front of Emmie's building. Ryker pressed himself against the brick wall to the side of her door. He'd parked his car in the alley behind her building so that Trish wouldn't spot it and put two and two together, but if his sister saw him standing there, it would be game over. Emmie would be pissed beyond measure.

A door opened and then slammed shut. The car pulled away as footsteps approached him. His hands began to sweat as he realized he was unintentionally about to frighten Emmie. This wasn't what he wanted. She was going to think he was a stalker hiding in the dark waiting for her to come home.

The footsteps stopped about five feet away. "Sam?"

Cringing at the mention of his rival's name, Ryker stepped out of the shadows into the slightly less shadowy doorway. "No it's me. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you—holy crap! Don't shoot, it's just me!"

"And this is just pepper spray." She lowered the canister and slipped it into her purse, her hand shaking. "This is the second time I've almost dosed you with cayenne oil. For crying out loud, Ryker, what were you thinking?

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