Chapter Fourteen

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"You want to kill me, you son of a bitch, then go right ahead. But you keep your hands off my daughter!"

Zoe was too stunned to move. She wanted to cry out, to ask her father what he was thinking, but the best she was able to do was raise her hands to cover her gaping mouth. Nate's father, Mr McKay, had stumbled back with a grunt of pain. He was clutching his now bleeding nose, but he made no move to retaliate.

Paris stood wide-eyed, his jaw hanging open.

Nate was the only one to move. He positioned himself between his father and Zoe's, his hands up in a placating manner. There was fire in his eyes and a scowl on his lips, and there was no doubt in Zoe's mind that he would fight her father if it came to it.

But before he could open his mouth to say anything, his own father had put a hand on his shoulder. "It's all right, son. Go on inside. Your mother's worried."

Nate looked like he wanted to argue, but thought better of it. Instead, he stepped around his father and headed into the house, with only a quick glance back over his shoulder. His eyes briefly met Zoe's before he was gone.

With a single look from his uncle, Paris scuttled in after his cousin.

Zoe stood alone in the dark, her bare feet freezing. She was too afraid to breathe lest it set Mr McKay off. The man was built like a warrior, and there was no way she would be able to stop him if he tried to hurt her father.

Mr McKay looked past her father and met her eyes—as dark as they had ever been in her dreams, but lacking whatever it had been that struck fear into her. Now they were just eyes, clear and calm and as gentle as Nate's, examining her before turning back to her father.

"I don't know where you got that idea from," the southern accent supplied, "but I have no intention of harming either one of you. You have my word that nobody here does." He stepped aside, gesturing to the door. "Now would you like to come inside? Your girl's freezing over there."

Zoe wasn't sure whether her shivering was actually from the cold, from her fear, or from the panic of the night that was slowly starting to wear down. Whatever the case, one look at her was enough to soften her father's resolve. She could only imagine how pathetic she looked, standing there in dirty flannel pants and an old A Nightmare on Elm Street t-shirt. He held an arm out to her, and she went to him gladly.

Mr McKay nodded. "Everybody's waiting in the living room. It's just to your left."

Everybody was exactly who Zoe had expected.

There was the second man she had seen in her dream, blond haired and blue eyed and now very obviously Paris's father. He was checking his son over when they stepped into the room, saying something too softly for Zoe to hear. Like Mr McKay, there was nothing evil in his expression when he turned to look at her and her father, and she couldn't help her confusion. Her dream had been very clear on this matter, and her dreams were never wrong. So what was going on?

The third man she didn't recognise, but she had no doubt that he was the man who had grabbed her in that same nightmare.

He stood with his back against the far wall and his arms crossed over his chest, his blue eyes moving between Zoe and her father with interest. His hair was a lighter brown that Nate's, almost bordering on sandy blond, and his skin was sun-kissed. She wondered what accent would come out of that mouth.

Celia rose to meet her husband when Mr McKay slipped around Zoe and her father to join the rest of his family. She frowned as her fingers brushed along his cheek, feeling the blood there.

Paris gave his uncle a sympathetic look. "You want me to fix that for you, Uncle Mike? It'll only take a second."

"Maybe in the morning, huh?" Mr McKay frowned. "You look dead on your feet, boy. What happened out there?"

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