Edge of SurrenderBy: Laura Griffin
* * *
Emma was gone.
One minute, she was in the safe house. The next minute, no Emma.
Ryan looked up and down the street as his friend’s pickup truck whipped around the corner and screeched to a halt beside him. Jake hopped out and eyed the Dodge Charger parked at the curb.
“She didn’t take the rental car?” Jake asked him.
“No,” Ryan said, with a knot in his gut. “This witness said she got into a black Land Rover with some guy.”
Jake shifted his attention to the elderly woman standing on the sidewalk with a bouncy Chihuahua at her feet.
“He was very tall,” the woman provided. “Caucasian. He was dressed nice, too, like a businessman.”
“Did he get in front or back?” Jake asked.
“Back. Somebody else was driving, I guess. And she got right in with him.” Her brow furrowed. “There wasn’t a struggle or anything. I would have noticed that.”
“Which way did they go at the stop sign?” Ryan asked.
The woman gazed down the street for an eternity as Ryan clenched his hands at his sides. “Left.” She looked up at him. “Yes, they turned left on Bella Vista, which curves around to the front of the neighborhood.”
Ryan was already jumping into the pickup, but Jake stopped to get the woman’s contact info.
“You didn’t pass a Land Rover on the way in?” Ryan asked as Jake peeled away from the curb.
Which meant too much time had elapsed—as much as five minutes. Ryan had been in the shower three minutes, tops. So Emma must have taken off the instant he’d turned his back on her.
Ryan scanned the street ahead as they blew through the stop sign and skidded around the corner. Emma was gone. Gone. Ryan never should have left her alone, not even for a minute. He should have dragged her into the damn shower with him. He’d wanted to, but he’d somehow managed to control himself, and now Emma was paying the price.
“God damn it.” He pounded his fist on the door.
“Could she have gone willingly?” Jake glanced at him.
“She could have called an old boyfriend to pick her up, or maybe an Uber. You said she had a meeting, right? So maybe she called a ride.”
“You sure? Maybe you did something to piss her off.”
Ryan shot him a look.
“Shit, you did, didn’t you? I bet she ditched you.”
Ryan gritted his teeth. He’d never been ditched by a woman in his life. And yeah, he’d never been with a woman as headstrong as Emma Wright, but still.
Her storming out of the house and leaving for her meeting without him, that was her being pissed off at him. Her getting into the back of a car with some guy? No way. That was something else.
Ryan tried her cell number again, and again no answer. A cold fist squeezed around his heart. She’d been taken. He could feel it.
“So what the hell happened?” Jake asked. “You two have a fight?”
But she was pissed off at him, and she had been since this morning, when he’d dropped the bomb that he’d called her father to help deal with the escalating threat to her safety. Emma’s dad—a freaking congressman, no less—was probably already on a plane from Washington to help arrange a security detail his daughter didn’t want.
And she was probably ticked about some other things, too. Such as his refusing to sleep with her until she all but begged him.
No, she had begged him. He could still hear her breathy little pleas as he’d touched her.
“She’s pissed at me,” Ryan admitted. “But she wouldn’t just take off like this.”
Jake lifted an eyebrow skeptically. “Still, we should check in with her meeting, see if she showed.”