Infatuation(26)By: Melissa Schroeder
With more purpose than he’d felt in months, he walked out of the office and walked down the hall. Mal stepped out of the locker room.
“Look, Kade, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have picked that fight with you. Did Markinson bust your ass?”
“No.” He started toward the door. “Can you take me to the airport?”
Kade hurried down the stairs and ignored the chill in the air and pain in his knee. Now that he knew what he wanted to do, where he wanted to be, he needed to get to Shannon now.
“I’m flying to New Orleans.”
“To get on my knees and beg.”
“Shannon isn’t there.”
He stopped in his tracks and looked up at Mal. “Where is she?”
“Hawaii. She left a couple days ago to spend some time with Jocelyn.”
He huffed out a breath. “Okay, I need to move some money around, and then I’m flying to Hawaii.”
Mal shook his head. “Do you know what you’re doing?”
“Yeah, dammit.” He started walking again. “I’m going to get my woman.”
Shannon sighed as she picked at her food. Chris had been making all her favorite foods, including the Huli Huli chicken and rice she wasn’t eating at the moment. From the moment Kade had left her that morning, she’d hadn’t felt like eating. She still didn’t have an appetite, which was worrisome.
“You need to eat.”
She looked up at her brother, who was studying her as if she were going to fall apart. Okay, so she cried the first three days she was there, but she was done. Sort of. And sure, she hadn’t wanted to talk to any men. Not even Evan, whom she adored.
“I’m just not that hungry.”
He shook his head. “I told Cynthia that you weren’t eating enough.”
“And what did she say?”
“She said I was used to being with a woman who ate enough for five people.”
Jocelyn laughed. “She looks ready to explode.”
“Don’t say that around her. I had to help her get her tennis shoes on yesterday. She cried for an hour.”
She smiled at her brother. “Aw, and you couldn’t take it, you old softie.”
He grimaced then he frowned as his attention was drawn to something behind her. “What the fuck is he doing here?”
Her brother didn’t cuss that much, at least not in front of her. She turned to follow his line of vision and saw Kade.
Her breath tangled in her throat, and her heart started beating so fast she was amazed she didn’t pass out.
He looked wonderful—damn him. He was dressed in his service dress. He freaking looked like freaking Richard Gere. The restaurant had grown quiet. She was sure you didn’t see a Navy Seal in full dress whites march into a local business on a regular basis in Honolulu.
He was looking around, and just for a second, she thought about slipping down in the booth and hiding. She wasn’t ready to deal with the churning emotions he brought about in her. A moment later, though, he caught sight of her and started in her direction. Lord, he was a sight to see. There was nothing like a Seal on a mission, and apparently, she was his mission.
He strode toward her, every step sending panic racing through her.
“What the hell is he doing here?” she asked more to herself than anyone else.
“I don’t give a damn,” Chris muttered as he stood. “I’m going to kill him.”
She stood up and faced her brother. She loved him with all her heart, but she knew Kade and knew what he could do.
“I can take care of this.”
His frown turned darker. “I don’t want you to.”
“I can handle it. Besides, I do not want to help Cynthia raise that baby because you’re in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.”
“You don’t think I could handle him?” Pure astonishment filled his tone.
“Sure you can. Working behind a stove and running a restaurant gets you in shape to take on a killing machine like a Seal.”
He made a face. “Okay, you have a point.”
She patted his cheek then turned to face Kade.
He stopped within a few feet of her and stared. The moment got awkward as he continued to gaze at her as if she were his salvation. He looked better, rested, and for a moment, she hated him for that. She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in three weeks, and here he was looking like a million bucks.
She could feel everyone still looking at them. Something had to give, so she did what every Dupree knew how to do. She joked.
“Kind of dressed up for the occasion, Kade?’
He didn’t say anything, but his lips twitched.
She crossed her arms beneath her breasts. “You flew all the way over here to stare at me?”
He shook his head, but his gaze didn’t leave hers. “I came for you.”
Her heart did that little happy dance, but she pushed it away. She didn’t want this, didn’t want to deal with the hurt again. She thought she could, thought she could be patient while he worked himself out, but she realized that she might not be cut out to have a Seal as a lover.
Poor pitiful Seal.
“Yeah, I said no. Just because you put on a uniform and march into my brother’s restaurant doesn’t mean I’m going to forget everything.”
He glanced around at their audience. “Shouldn’t we talk about this in private?”
“You picked the setting.”
“You tell him, sistah,” someone yelled out.
He grimaced. “I thought we would go for a walk.”
Oh, he looked miserable. Just so miserable. He might love her, but flying across the Pacific didn’t really prove it. She wanted more, she wanted it all. And the only way she could get it was if she knew that he was in it for the long haul, like she was.
A few more of the customers started catcalling, and his face started to turn pink. Oh, my. He was embarrassed. And there was a tiny, evil part of her that was happy he was.
“I wanted to talk to you about our future.”
“We don’t have one.”
Up until that moment, he had been what she would call docile—for a Seal. Now his eyes turned hard, his jaw flexed. She had to fight the urge to step back away from him. She had never been scared of him, but at the moment, she could easily see his anger.
“Don’t say that.”
Even though she could tell he was angry, she could hear a thread of desperation in his voice. It pricked at the already melting ice that encased her heart.