Suspense for the Romantic Heart
Discover a new kind of Romance - Tarot Two of Wands - Fallout by Amy Romine (Romantic Suspense)
Jack and Kate struggle to navigate through the web of lies surrounding them. Chasing shadows, the truth is closer than they realize. Isolated and hiding from unknown forces, can they uncover the buried secrets that killed Mike and put a price of their heads? When Kate makes a deal and leaves Jack behind, will she make it back, or will one misstep destroy all of their hopes for the future?
“Goddamn it, I should have seen it.”
“It’s a key.”
“They already have the data. They always had. It explains the time lapse between the lab fire and Mike’s death. They had the data but they can’t get to it.” She rose from the couch, her mind obviously working faster than she was able to express. “That’s why they killed the research team, they created the key. They found out we were about to bring her into custody so they killed her. Lloyd Andrews must’ve figured out what was going on and sent the data to Mike. Mike hid the data, knowing that eventually those responsible would crawl from the woodwork.”
“Okay back up, explain what you are talking about?”
“The flash drive has what’s called a key on it. It is the key to unlocking an encryption code used in protecting a file. Namely the data file we thought they were looking for.”
“So all this time they weren’t after the file itself by the key to open the file?”
“Yep,” she said, rubbing her neck.
“So is this good news or bad news?”
“I haven’t decided yet,” she said with a smirk. “The data was clearly defined, cut and dry. This is something different. There has to be something special the encryption is holding to make so many parties actively searching and or killing for it.”
“So what happens now?”
“We have to get the chip into the right hands before they find us, and hopefully put an end to all of this.”
“How do we do that exactly?”
“That, I have to think about.”
Jack moved to where she stood, brushing the hair off her shoulders. She looked to him, her eyes wide and intense. “What can I do?”
“Jack, I’m going to need you to trust me…”
“I already trust you.”
“It’s going to be more than that. I need you to really trust that I am going to do what needs to be done.” Her hands rested on his chest, “even if you’re not there.”
“You can’t come with me, Jack, it is too dangerous.”
“Wait, I thought you hadn’t even decided what to do yet?”
“I haven’t, but I already know you’re going to have to stay here.”
“I thought we were in this together?”
“Obviously not, Kate, you are willing to walk into this alone with no one to watch your back. Which to me sounds like a suicide mission and I’m not going to let that happen. No matter how much of your pride I have to fight.”
“This can’t be about you protecting me while I hide in the bathroom. We have to be in this together or this isn’t going to work.”
“Don’t you think I know that?”
“So, what then, you asked me to trust you, doesn’t it go both ways?”
“Of course it does.”
“Then why can’t you trust that I can handle this?” She met his eyes and then turned away.
“You staying here has nothing to do with me trusting you, or whether or not you can handle yourself, Jack.”
“Then what is it?” She continued to avoid his eyes, causing the frustration in his chest to build. “Stop pushing me away and just tell me the truth!”
He waited, preparing himself for the ugly truth of him being dead weight and a liability. He wasn’t an agent and this was too important to leave to inexperience. He waited to be patted on the head and told to wait, safe in the shadows until it’s over.
“I can’t…” Her face scrunched in frustration and he held his breath. “I can’t deal with the fear of something happening to you. Something I can’t stop.”
“That’s not going--”
“Stop Jack, please. I’m just not strong enough to be the federal agent who is protecting you as well as the girl who loves you. Out there, it has to be one or the other, because I can’t do both.”
“I’m sorry, Jack, I almost lost you once this week. Taking you with me is asking me to do something I just…can’t…I won’t do.”
Speechless, Jack watched her turn away, and flee to the back porch. He stood staring, her words piercing him like a molten blade. He wanted to back her up, be the man. He didn’t care what happened to him, and when she said she didn’t want him to go he assumed it was because he was a hindrance. It was completely beyond him that she didn’t see him that way at all. Her decision was defensive. She was protecting him, to protect herself.
Her decision of not allowing him to go with her had nothing to do with him and everything to do with her fear of losing him.
Jack’s stomach dropped and he felt like an idiot.
Taking a breath, he reigned in his guilt and self-induced frustration, before moving to the back door. Stepping out the cool lake air hit him and a chill ran up his spine. He breathed it in seeing her stare out at the water.
“It’s cold out here.”
“I’m not changing my mind, Jack.”
“I know.” Jack caught her shining eyes in the moonlight.
Her gaze was open and trusting of him. There was nothing hidden, just her, and his heart stopped in devotion. He caressed her cheek, wiping away the tear that slid across it. Jack encompassed her within his arms before caressing her lips with a loving tender kiss. He pressed his forehead to hers and she closed her eyes against him. “If you say I need to stay here, than that is what I need to do. You go do what needs to be done and I will be here when you get back.”
“I just want to love you, Katie. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
Her emerald eyes opened looked up at him in complete love and hope. He brushed her lips again, and she melted into him. The cold around them disappeared. He wanted to stop the moment in time and keep it forever. After losing themselves in each other they took a breath. His arms held her tightly against him, and a grin spread across his face. “It’s really cold out here.”
She hugged him a little tighter. “Oh it’s not that bad.”
“My nose is frozen.” She laughed and he released her before taking her hand leading her back into the house. “Time to go inside.”
He led her back inside and she ventured into the kitchen starting a pot of coffee. Jack loaded some logs into the fireplace and Kate appeared next to him with a cup of coffee. Jack took it, and put it on the table. Then he took hers and did the same. She smirked at him before he pulled her down against him. He claimed her lips and didn’t let go.