Run, Hide

By: Carol Ericson


Those are the words Jenna Stark has lived by for three years. But now the stakes are much higher. Her child is in danger and only one man can keep them alive. The man who forced her into a life on the run: her husband.

Cade Stark curses the day he was recruited for a covert ops organization—and the perilous assignment that tore the Navy SEAL from his new wife’s side. Cade’s only mission now is to protect Jenna and their young son. On the run from a vengeance-seeking arms dealer, desire reignites, hot and unstoppable. That’s when Cade realizes how much he’ll risk to win back Jenna’s trust. And how far he’ll go to offer his son a future.

“You’re both in danger.”

Cade spoke the truth. Danger swirled around her. Jenna blew out a breath and sagged against the car.

He leaned in and kissed her on the mouth, short and oh-so-sweet. “We can get to the Prospero outpost by nightfall if we get moving. Lunch on the road.”

Cade circled the car to the driver’s side, and Jenna had to peel herself from the car door. That man’s touch still worked magic. He posed a grave danger and had the ability to take something precious away from her.

Her heart.

Chapter One

They’d found her son.

Jenna put her hand over the boy’s mouth and held a finger to her lips. His dark eyes, wide above the rim of her hand, danced with excitement. He knew the game.

Only this time it was for real.

The heavy footsteps above them shook the floor. Jenna curled her body around Gavin’s, like a mama bear hibernating with her cub. Protective. Fierce.

The muffled voices volleyed back and forth, punctuated by crashing furniture and banging closet doors. How many? Two? Three? She’d kill every last one of them to save Gavin from their clutches.

The throwaway cell phone in the pocket of her sweater buzzed and she clutched it in her fist, pushing a button with her thumb to turn it off. She could call 9-1-1, but she knew it was pointless. The people ransacking her house wouldn’t let a small, local police department stop them. Worse, they might have already turned the police against her.

Better to hide.

Better to melt away.

Gavin squirmed in her arms, so she loosened her viselike grip. He whimpered and she shushed him. Did he realize this exercise had gone beyond pretending?

He looked up at her with a pouty face and a trembling lower lip. She cuddled him close and whispered in his ear. “Just a little bit longer.”

Her eyes adjusted to the dark, and she gazed around the space beneath the slats of the wood flooring. The bundle of cash she stowed down here dug into her hip. She’d kept it for a rainy day, and it was pouring now.

With her arms wrapped around Gavin, her elbows almost touched the sides of the enclosure. They couldn’t stay here long. When they first moved in here, she’d identified this spot as a place where she and Gavin could hide out from intruders...not take up temporary residence.

Another thump and a crash had Gavin clinging to her neck even more tightly. Despite the chill of the dank air, sweat dampened her armpits. She ran her tongue around her parched mouth.

Her muscles ached with the tension of keeping still and the weight of her son’s body crushing against her. She stroked his hair with a shaky hand and murmured reassurances that she didn’t feel.

A booted footstep stomped over her head, and she instinctively ducked. Please don’t look down. Please don’t see the gap in the wood.

She shivered as a low voice rumbled above them. She caught maybe every third word and couldn’t make sense of the one-sided dialogue. So there were at least two of them.

Would they stay? Would they wait for her return?

Her car had been in the shop for the past week. She’d railed against the inconvenience, but now that broken fuel pump and the fact that her mechanic hadn’t been able to get his hands on the right parts might’ve saved her life. Her car missing from the driveway may have given the men ransacking her house the impression that she wasn’t home yet. Good.

Or would they sit and wait for her to drive up to the house? Not good.

Gavin snuffled and tapped her on the shoulder. Drawing back from him, she wedged a knuckle beneath his chin and tilted his head. She put two fingertips to his lips just in case he’d forgotten that they didn’t speak when hiding in their secret place.

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