“It means I can’t be trusted.” I rub my head. “I do impulsive, stupid things that ruin lives.”
“Okay. Question: How many manic episodes have you had?”
I shrug, feeling self-conscious. “Mine last a while, and I’ve had two I think.”
“Two’s not a lot. Could you be trusted in the interim?”
“I like to gamble sometimes,” I confess.
“Do you gamble excessively?”
“I get myself into a place I don’t like sometimes. But I also win a lot.” I arch a brow.
“That sounds normal enough.”
I shake my head. “I’m not normal. I’ll never be normal.”
“What if I don’t want you normal?”
Stillness settles over me like a warm blanket. “What do you mean?” I whisper. I look into her eyes, and I can’t breathe.
“I’m saying that I want you, Marchant.” She grabs my forearm. “Stay! I’m tired of you running from me.”
“You want me how?” I rasp. I don’t believe what I think I hear; I’m still wearing my poker face.
“I want you like, I want you.”
“For sex,” I murmur.
“More than sex.”
My mouth moves on its own. I swear it does. Because I say, “I want you, too.”
We spend the next few hours in bed, cocooned in blankets and pillows. I’m caught up in a weird combination of feelings. I’m elated that Marchant said he wants me, too. I can’t get enough of touching him, talking to him. And yet, I’m kind of scared. The police officer I talked to didn’t seem to take the break-in very seriously, but Marchant’s security team definitely is. I feel safe now, with Marchant right by me, but sometimes when I close my eyes, I feel like I’m still standing at the foot of the bed, waiting to see what will come at me next.
In between kissing me—everywhere—Marchant keeps in touch with the security people.
“What are they saying?” I ask after coming out of the bathroom. I heard him on the phone while I was in there, showering.
He turns to me with a weird, expressionless face. “I think they found out who it was.”
“You’re kidding. Who?”
His lips pinch. “One of the ex-SEALS on the team spotted Marissa in a rental car at a gas station a few miles away. She’s wearing her hair long, just like you said you saw, and she’s also slim. When questioned, she claimed that she had come to find me as part of her AA steps.”
He just sits there, staring at me without moving or even breathing, and the first thing I feel is a rush of sympathy for him.
“Marchant—God. That’s crazy. Did they arrest her?”
He nods once. “Lucky for us, she was driving on a suspended license.”
“Oh.” So that’s it. “Wow. That’s so weird.” I look up at his face. It’s solemn, guilt-ridden, so I grab his hand and squeeze. “You didn’t do this, Marchant. You didn’t do it. Marissa did. And I’m okay.”
“You have bruised ribs and stitches.” He’s up now, off the bed and pacing. “That is not okay.”
“It’s not your fault,” I repeat.
He stops mid-step. “Suri—can’t you see? This is never going to end. As long as I’m me, this shit will happen. And anyone who’s with me will get caught in the crossfire.”
I close the space between us and grab his neck, wrapping both my arms around him and pulling him down close. “I’ll take your crossfire, any day,” I say into his collar. “It’s better than a day without you. Marchant—” I pull away and look into his eyes— “I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, and finish up the job, and finish this with you.”
He stares at me again—that long, hard stare that gets the butterflies fired up in my stomach. After a few thunderous heartbeats, he stuns me with a little smile. “So call Lizzy.”
And that’s how I see the text—the one that says: “We’re on our way. Hunt n me, and Cross + Merri, too. Suri…I’m wearing white! We want to do this now! This week! In Vegas!”
I squeal and hold the phone up so Marchant can read the text. His eyes widen, and he says, “Well, hot damn.”
“Will you be my date to the wedding?”
He pulls me down onto the mattress with him. He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear and whispers, in a husky voice that sends chills racing over my skin: “If you’ll have me, Suri Dalton.”
“I will have you.” I grin wickedly. “If I lie still so I don’t hurt my chest, can I have you right now?”
I’m so busy pulling him down over me, I don’t notice the shadow outside the window.