“I don’t do this often, you know…” I didn’t quite know why I was telling him this, but for some reason, it was important to me. It was important what he thought of me.
The man standing in my bathroom doorway, who said his name was Cain Andrews, raised an amused eyebrow in my direction.
“Don’t do what?” He smiled, gently playful, and I felt something fall inside me, tumbling through my chest…like glitter, or tiny shards of light. Whatever it was, it sparkled. “Approach strange men in bars and invite them into your bed?” I grimaced ruefully, somewhat embarrassed.
“Of course you don’t,” he said, still smiling, then nodded at me, honest and knowing. “I can see that about you, Annabelle.” He grinned, jovial again. “So I must be special, right?”
I smiled simply, not sure what to say for the best. My entire core had responded immediately in the affirmative to his question, but I didn’t want to seem frightening. As he said, we were technically strangers…but there was no getting away from this. I truly felt something startling for him, something like never before…
Now, listen. I don’t want you to get me all wrong here – I’m not a ‘love at first sight’ sort of woman. I’ve never been the star-crossed, Juliet type who thinks every man she shags will love her! I certainly hadn’t intended to feel this way when I approached Cain. I’m a career girl – and love was the last thing on my mind. Cain Andrews was just another guy, in another town, another bar, on another, ordinary work night.
When I failed to respond to his question, Cain made his way back to the bed and lay down beside me, propping himself on an elbow and turning towards me. He made for a wonderful, naked sight, and I watched him move…impossibly, still hungry.
I slid my right hand under the pillow and dropped down onto my own elbow, until our eyes were level. His dark gaze met mine, then continued through me like a knife through butter. I shook my head lightly, to loosen the hold of dizzying serotonins. Get a grip, Annabelle! I scolded internally, as Cain stretched towards me and kissed me lightly.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he murmured against my lips, nipping at my mouth between words. I made a noise in response that might have been inquisitive, but I dare not speak lest the magic of his exquisite mouth left mine. “You think…” he sighed, breaking off as our kiss deepened. “That this can’t be happening...” He rolled onto his back when I pushed at his shoulder, raising the intensity, and gasped his next words breathlessly into my hot, open mouth. “You think you can’t feel this way…after just one night…but…”
My breath caught in my throat and my heart, I’m certain, ceased beating… I clawed strands of hair off my face that were entangled in our kiss, and knew I couldn’t let him continue. If he said it, if he told me he felt this too, I wasn’t sure I could end it the way it ought to end.
Wrapping my arms around him, I buried the fingers of my left hand in his thick, dark hair, savouring the final essence of a moment I would never forget. His mouth against mine, fell open in shock when he felt the knife pierce his ribcage, sliding into his heart through his back, like tender steak.
For the few moments he lived, Cain stared at me with pain and confusion. He mouthed my name soundlessly… and I replied.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, and I meant it. Another second, I added, in silence, with my eyes, it’s almost over.
As his body went limp in my arms, I settled him back into the bed. If it weren’t for the blood, glistening and oozing, he’d look just as though he were sleeping. I rubbed my clean hand over my face to sober myself, and breathed deeply. It was a shame…and I really was sorry - for both of us.
He was the most engaging mark I’d ever had the honour of killing…and this was the only hit that had ever hurt me. Money usually compensated me, but as I looked at Cain Andrews, lying dead and beautiful beside me, I knew, I wouldn’t sleep well tonight.