Run, Hide(6)

By: Carol Ericson

“And what will we be in Lovett Peak?”

“We’ll be a family among other families.”

She sucked in a noisy breath, but she didn’t respond. Trying to let the irony sink in most likely.

“We’ll blend in. Have some dinner. Talk.”

“Is that safe?”

“I’ll protect you.” He’d been waiting three long years to say those words.

“We can’t go to my house.”

“Of course not. It’s been compromised.”

“It’s been more than compromised.” She sniffled and coughed. “A dead body’s there.”

Cade slammed on the brakes and lurched against his seat belt while the driver behind him leaned on his horn. “Gavin...”

“Conked out.”

He blew out a breath. He didn’t think Jenna would be bringing up a dead body in front of their son. “Who was it?”

“My neighbor Marti. She scared them off with her gun, but they returned...with a bigger gun.”

Cade pounded the steering wheel. “They were in your house with a weapon?”

“We hid the first time they were there, but they came back. They didn’t come in the house the second time. I think they were afraid the police would show up because Marti told them she’d called the cops.”

“Did she?” The cops were never any use in these situations. He should know.

“I wouldn’t let her.” She sniffled again. “I wish I had.”

“They shot her from outside?”

“They shot her with some kind of high-powered rifle with a silencer. The only thing I heard was the window shattering after the fact.”

“My God, Jenna. And you got on the bus after that?”

She shot up in the backseat, her short, blond hair sticking up all over. “How do you know any of this? Why are you here?”

“Safety and food first.” He studied her tousled blond hair in the rearview mirror. “And a long, brown wig for you.”

“A wig?”

“You can make your transformation at the next gas station.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “I have a bag in the back with some...stuff, disguises.”

“How did you...”

“Save it.”

She opened her mouth to say something, rolled her eyes and flopped back onto the seat.

Cade knew the town of Lovett Peak, had studied maps and satellite pictures. Knew every mountain road, convenience store and pizza joint. But he still hadn’t gotten here in time.

His hands convulsively clutched the steering wheel when he thought about how close the assassins had come to Jenna and Gavin. If they had been successful...

“Does anyone know you at Mike and Mo’s Service Station?”

“No. Lovett Peak’s not that small and I kept a low profile.”

How could a gorgeous, sun-kissed blonde keep a low profile in a land of snow bunnies? But Jenna had lost her surfer-girl tan, chopped off her hair and bundled herself in parkas and snow boots.

Checking his mirror for the hundredth time, Cade swung into Mike and Mo’s Service Station and parked around the back. No bathrooms on the outside meant bathrooms on the inside, and he didn’t want to wake up Gavin or send his mother inside on her own to make a quick change.

He popped the trunk. “I’ll get the stuff and you can change in the backseat.”

“Just what am I changing?”

“Jacket for sure—that powder blue color is unmistakable—and your hair.” Prettiest color he’d ever seen, like a field of waving wheat on a summer day.

He slid from the seat, dragging his gun from the passenger seat next to him and shoving it into the back of his waistband. He hoisted a black bag from the trunk and opened the back door.

He swallowed hard. Jenna had her feet on the floor, but her body was tipped over on the seat with Gavin tucked against her. Gavin had grown so much...and he’d missed it all. He’d caught glimpses of his son now and then and had photos, but he hadn’t been this close to him since his birth.

He stuffed the bag onto the floor next to Jenna’s boots. “There’s a black parka in there and a wig and some brown contact lenses—nonprescription.”

Jenna eased into a sitting position and twisted her head back and forth, taking in the empty alley behind the gas station. “This is weird. Why do you have this stuff?”

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