She could see the relief on his face when the jury proclaimed their guilty verdict. It’d been how many years of living in complete and utter fear and now he was free. She smiled watching his body relax. He held his head in the palm of his hand shaking it maybe out of disbelief. 

She frowned when his shoulders started to tremble. “Kyle, are you alright?”

He looked up at her with his eyes filled with tears. He grabbed the nape of her neck and pulled her mouth to his. She was surprised at first but eventually closed her own eyes and let her mouth relax around his.

She looked at the pew behind her when one of her colleagues cleared their throats. She rolled her eyes at the smirking men and women and knew the next time she saw them she’d not hear the last of it. 

It was Major Delaney who spoke up, the only one who wasn’t amused, but had his typical scowl in place. He was standing with his arms positioned behind his back. She knew without a doubt that he was the one that cleared his throat.

“Come on,” she said, to Kyle. “We should go and get you to your little ones.” It’d been near 2 weeks after his testimony which made it almost 2 months since he’d seen his children.

Ever since she fucked up at the hotel, Kate made sure Kyle had around the clock supervision. The entire team escorted him to the courthouse. He thought the entire thing was overkill, but there was no way she’d feel what she did when she woke up and noticed him gone at the hotel. 

Her guts fell out through her feet when she saw the man holding the gun to Kyle’s head. She’d been caught with her pants down, or more truthfully off. She was determined not to let that happen again.

“We’ll trail you to the state line. I have Lieutenant Darkman waiting up near the border.” The major handed her a cell phone. “Speed dial one to get him if you run into any trouble.”

She nodded. “Thank you, Major.”

He placed a heavy hand on her shoulder and gazed down at her with his unique intensity. “Always an honor, Lieutenant.” The major looked over her shoulder and stood straight. “Keep it to five minutes. I’ll leave Evers and Stays up here by the elevators and the rest of us will be in the parking garage.”

She glanced back at Kyle who was standing a few feet away from her. He was looking at her in a way that she was certain would have made any other woman melt into a puddle instantly. She turned and faced him as he took a few measured steps to close the space between them.

He slid a hand around her waist and cupped her cheek. “Thank you for everything. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

She presented a shy smile and looked down at his chest. “Of course.” She glanced back up at him from under her lashes, then cleared her throat. “I guess we should get you to your babies. I’m sure you mi--” Her words got caught spinning around her mind when he claimed her lips again. He slowed his haste taking time to massage her lips and slide his tongue along her bottom lip. He pulled away slowly so their lips stuck together before peeling apart. 

He stroked her cheek with his thumb for a long moment and gazed into her eyes. 

Eventually, his eyes fell to their feet; he grabbed her hand and led her to the elevator.

How the hell did he say so much without saying anything at all?


Kyle pressed a firm hand over his bouncing knee. He hadn’t been able to stop moving it since they left the courthouse. He couldn’t describe how he was feeling. The past several weeks had been a whirlwind. Fear. That was the only feeling he could really define after his run in at the motel. Kate had been distant and short with him ever since too. 

They’d been driving for hours and were still a number of hours away from the Canadian border. Kate’s military crew had been trailing them until they crossed over into Washington State.

“If you tell me where we’re going, I can help drive.” 

She glanced over at him briefly. “I told you we were going to Canada.”

He laughed. “That’s hardly adequate information.” 

“What’s important is that in a few short hours, you’ll have your little ones in your arms.”

He smiled turning his attention out the window. He was beyond anxious to see his children again. It seemed like an eternal second being away from them. He worried about them, then he’d remember how capable Kate was and she had such faith in the woman named Jade. 

He wondered what kind of life they’d been living. Had they spent the time in fear? Did they miss him? Were they taking care of each other? And then there was the question that’d been gnawing at him:

“What now?” He turned to look over at Kate.

She curled her bottom lip down and shrugged. “Well, I’d like to say things go back to the way they were, but the reality is you’ll never be able to live in the U.S. No matter the verdict, which was a great one, you’ll never be safe here.”

He let out a strange sound that might have been interpreted as a laugh. “That word has no real meaning to me. It’s an illusion, always has been.”

“Perhaps so, but does that make it an less real?”

“I’m just so upset with myself that I took this on, that I led my kids into this insanity. I know I saved other people’s lives, but still, I can’t help but think selfishly.”

“You’re just scared is all.”

“Hell yeah I am.” He looked back out the window uncertain of how he was going to get around to asking the question that would give him the answer he really wanted. “I’ve lost so much already, and soon I’ll lose you too.” He chanced a glance in her direction. He was ready for the entire thing to be over, except for his time with her.

“I-I was planning to stay with you and the kids in Canada at least long enough to get you acclimated to the landscape. I own the cabin they’ve been staying at. Bought it cash a while back. It’s less than an hour outside Vancouver.”

He didn’t try to stop the joy that filled him, the warmth in his chest. He took her hand and held it on his lap rubbing his thumbs over her knuckles. “It’s not your fault you know.”

He caught her furrowed brows when he glanced over at her.

She took a deep breath and released it.

“I know you’ve been blaming yourself, but it was my fault--”

“No, if I’d have been doing my job--”

“Kate, please. I-I knew better. I just felt so safe and comfortable and I fucked up. That was me.” She was shaking her head.

“You came to me for help.”

“Technically, I went to your brother.”

She rolled her eyes, but was smirking despite herself. “The point is, you entrusted your life to me. I-I was caught up in you, in the past.” She rubbed her hand down her face. 

He kissed the back of her hand and her eyes drifted to him. “It doesn’t matter what could have happened.” His voice was gentle. He really wanted her to hear him. “It matters what did happen and what will. You saved my life in more ways than you could ever imagine-- What are you doing?”

She pulled off into a rest stop, put the car in park, unclipped her seatbelt, and dove on him, wrapping her arms around his neck and smashing their mouths together. He moaned and pulled her onto his lap loving the feel of her weight on him. He started to rise against his jeans when her heat and lips, tongue and smooth skin started to recall distinct memories to his mind. 

After a long hot minute, she pulled away and let her head tilt to the side as she examined him. “I don’t know what  I would have done if something happened.”

He smirked and leaned into her touch when she cupped his face. “It’s a good thing you’ll never have to find out.”  





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****This is an unedited draft which means there will be mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, word usage ETC. I post these drafts for feed back and to gauge interest in the story line and characters. ****Ye've been warned!****


Copyright © 2020 by Alexandria Ashcroft

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the email below.


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