Keep Me SafeBy: Maya Banks
CALEB Devereaux turned out of the sharp switchback and onto the driveway leading up to the tiny mountain cabin, swearing when he hit pothole after pothole. Fury and impatience simmered in his blood but the anticipation of having finally found Ramie St. Claire after an exhaustive search kept his mood from being completely black.
Ramie was his sister, Tori’s, only hope.
The moment Tori was kidnapped, Caleb had begun his search for Ramie St. Claire. She certainly wasn’t the first person on most people’s go-to list when looking for a loved one. Ramie was psychic and had been helpful in locating victims in the past. While many would be skeptical, Caleb absolutely believed in Ramie’s abilities.
His own sister had psychic abilities.
He and his brothers, Beau and Quinn, had always been extremely overprotective of their baby sister. With good reason. Caleb was the head of a veritable empire. Security was always top priority. They’d always feared kidnapping for ransom, but in their worst nightmares they’d never imagined that Tori would simply disappear and be at the mercy of a madman.
There’d been no ransom demand. Simply a video of Tori bound hand and foot and the maniacal laughter of her captor as he told Caleb to kiss his sister goodbye.
He just prayed he wasn’t too late. God, don’t let it be too late for Tori.
It infuriated him that Ramie St. Claire had simply dropped off the map three months ago. No trace of her, no forwarding address. No evidence that she even existed. How could she simply disappear when she was such an invaluable aid in finding kidnap victims and missing persons? How selfish of her to simply refuse, by her actions, to help anyone.
He’d worked himself into a rage by the time he finally pulled up to the small cabin that looked as though it wouldn’t weather the upcoming winter at all. He wasn’t even certain there would be electricity. Only a person determined not to be found would live in a place like this.
He got out and strode to the ramshackle front door, his fist up and pounding. The door shook and rattled under the force of his knock. Only silence greeted him and it sent his blood pressure soaring.
“Miss St. Claire!” he roared. “Answer the goddamn door!”
He beat on the door again, shouting for her to answer. He likely looked and sounded like the madman holding his sister, but at this point he didn’t care. He was beyond desperation. It had taken every resource available to him to finally track Ramie down. No way in hell he was leaving until he’d gotten the information he’d come for.
Then the door swung open and he was greeted by the sight of a petite woman with wary gray eyes. He was momentarily taken aback, going silent as he stared at Ramie St. Claire for the first time in person.
The photos he’d seen of her didn’t do her justice. There was a delicate air to her as though she were recovering from an illness, but it in no way detracted from her beauty. She looked . . . fragile. He felt a brief moment of guilt for what he was about to ask her to do, but he brushed it away. There was no price too high to pay for his sister’s life.
“I can’t help you.”
Her softly spoken words slid like velvet over his ears, a direct contrast from the anger her refusal caused. He hadn’t even made his request yet and she was already giving him the brush-off.
“You don’t even know what it is I want,” he said in an icy tone that would wither most people.
“It’s rather obvious,” she said wearily, fatigue drooping her eyelids. “Why else would you come all this way? I don’t even want to know how you found me. It’s obvious I did a piss-poor job of covering my tracks if you managed to find me here.”
Caleb frowned. Had she been ill? Was that why she’d dropped out of sight, so she could recover? It didn’t matter why now that he’d found her. He didn’t care what her reasons were.
“With your abilities why would you purposely make yourself difficult to find?” he demanded. “My sister’s life is at stake here, Miss St. Claire. I’m not merely asking you to help me. I’m not leaving until you do.”
She shook her head adamantly, fear chasing the lethargy from her eyes. “I can’t.”