*Paranormal Suspense Romance 18+*
Days began to run together. Addie lost track of how many. She’d slept most of the day today, not unlike all the other days recently. Nowhere she wanted to go. Nothing she wanted to do. Sleep was an escape as long as she didn’t have a nightmare, but lately she dreamed of Cael most times. Unfortunately, he didn’t remember her in any of those dreams. Too much like real life.
Addie watched particles of dust float within the ray of light coming in through the window as the sun began its slow descent into the horizon. Like most things, cleaning house was not a high priority. Glancing at the kitchen, she considered making some coffee when the faint knock on the door jolted her. Addie didn’t know why it surprised her. She’d been expecting another visit from Darcy or Maia. What she hadn’t expected when she opened the door was Aiden. Aiden was Gerry’s best friend growing up and best man at his and Maia’s wedding a few weeks ago. Aiden had come by a couple of days after Cael’s disappearance to check on her, offering coffee and donuts, but Addie had been rude. Very rude, she remembered. He hadn’t been back since.
She sighed. “Why are you here?” Still rude, she thought, but wasn’t sure she cared.
“Came to see how you are. They say you haven’t left here since the wedding.” His voice dripped with the same thickly coated Scottish accent Gerry possessed.
Addie shot him a dagger-riddled glance. “Yes, I have,” she stated defensively. “I went to …” She hesitated and thought about the place where she’d last seen Cael and cried, begging him to hear her thoughts again and come home. Her voice shaky and raw, she tried to finish the sentence, “…to the spot where …”
“The spot where your boyfriend disappeared,” Aiden finished for her.
She turned away from him, trying desperately to keep the well of tears in check at the memory. “Yeah, and what business is it of yours, anyway?” God, Addie, the man’s only trying to be nice.
“None, I guess.” Aiden rubbed his chin, looked around the living room. She followed his eyes as they swept over the furniture, taking in the chairs and marble-topped coffee table. Then his brilliant blue gaze traveled to the all-too-comfortable deep-red leather sofa where she and Cael enjoyed many pleasant conversations as well as some steamy sexual encounters while taking in the heat from the large rustic fireplace. Aiden meandered his way through the entry, his gaze lingering on the massive window spanning the entire wall, and the breathtaking view of the ocean. His eyes glanced briefly up the stairs before settling back on hers. “This is a nice place you have. I can see why you might want to hole up here and hide for a while.”
“I’m not hiding,” she shot back at him, not meaning to sound so curt. Lowering her voice a tad she added, “I’m … adjusting.”
He nodded. “Aye, I see that you are.” He reached out, took a strand of her hair that hung annoyingly in her face between his thumb and finger, slid them to the end. She flinched at the gentle gesture. “You look thin. When did you eat last?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, I ate …” she had to think about that. When did she last eat? “Um … recently.” Addie frowned, pissed that she couldn’t think of a good reason not to be nice to him. He was only trying to help.
He nodded again. “I, uh … was on my way home from Manny’s grocery store. I saw the smoke from the chimney and thought I’d stop in. I have a couple of steaks in the car. I wouldn’t mind sharing … if you want.”
Her stomach grumbled at the mention of the steaks and she placed her hand over the traitorous organ in an attempt to cover up the rumble. Maybe she was hungry, but having Aiden in for dinner was not going to happen. She was certain to find something in the kitchen to fix. Maybe. There had to be some leftovers from the last time Maia brought her something to eat.
Aiden grinned at her. “Your stomach seems to like the idea of food.”
Something about Aiden tickled her. He always seemed a little shy, but not, if that made any sense. He was full of charm but unpretentious. That was it. He was pretty hot for an older guy too. Okay, he wasn’t that old and he wasn’t as gorgeous as Cael. Addie caught herself comparing the two; well, maybe, but in a different way. Her mind rambled on with the strangest thoughts lately. It must be because she hadn’t been taking very good care of herself.
Aiden swiped his hand through his shoulder-length dark hair similar to the way Cael always did. Addie shook her head. “No. I …” she glanced at the kitchen. “I have dinner. I ... I’m sure of it.” Why was she having such a hard time talking? “I mean, I do. I do have dinner … already.”
“Right,” he said, strolling to the kitchen as if he’d been invited to stay.
“Hey! Where are you going?” Addie trailed behind him.
He stopped at the entrance, glancing around at the empty counter, the empty stove, and the dark oven. He opened the refrigerator and saw the starkness of the cold box. “Yeah. I see you have plenty to eat.”
His sarcasm exhausted her. She leaned against the doorframe, suddenly faint, unable to hold herself up.
Aiden stepped within inches of her, staring into her eyes as he propped his hand along the side of the doorframe very close to her face. She stole a quick glance at his long fingers.