Home > Because I Can (Necklace Trilogy #2)

Because I Can (Necklace Trilogy #2)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

 


CHAPTER ONE

Once the lights go out upstairs, I know I’m not crazy.

Someone is in the house.

Huddled in the dark corner of the wine cellar of the house Tyler inherited from his grandmother, the home I’m presently living in, I listen for any and all sounds, praying whoever is here will just go away. I’ve given up on the call to 911 actually connecting and I can only pray that when Dash and I were disconnected, he called them for me. Seconds tick by like hours and there is nothing happening. I begin to explain away what is happening.

Could the other Allison be in the house? Maybe it’s her and she has no idea there’s another tenant? Who else has the alarm code but her? Tyler, I think. Natalie from Human Resources, as well. I should have changed it. Why didn’t I change it?

More time passes, and then suddenly rapid, heavy footsteps sound above. My heart thunders in my chest before I hear, “Allie!”

At the sound of Dash’s voice, I’m on my feet screaming, “Dash! Dash! Down here.” The lights are on again above.

I’m already running up the stairs when he appears at the top in the doorway. Relief, so much relief, floods my body, at the sight of him. He catches me as I clear the last step and pulls me into his arms. “Are you okay?” he demands urgently, scooping me close. “Are you okay?”

“Now I am,” I say, clinging to the T-shirt he’s wearing, and swallowing hard with the sight of his black eye and swollen face. “God,” I whisper, touching his jaw. “Dash.”

He catches my hand, ignoring my concern for his own. “You scared the fuck out of me, Allie.”

As he did me, I think, flashing back to him in that underground club, about him daring the other fighter to hit him, wanting him to hit him. Wanting me to go away and just let him self-destruct, when that was never going to happen. But he’s here now. He came for me when I wasn’t sure he would, not after what I witnessed in that underground club.

“Not intentionally,” I say. “Dash I—I didn’t think you’d come.”

Footsteps sound, and already on edge, I jerk around to find a tall, dark-haired man wearing jeans and a T-shirt approaching. “All clear,” he announces, holstering his weapon.

Dash’s hand is on my shoulder. “Easy, baby. He’s a friend.”

Baby.

As if were still together. As if I’m still in his life.

“Thanks, Jack,” Dash says, releasing me to shake his hand. “I owe you. Come drive the M4. Hell, I’ll give you the damn thing.”

It hits me then that this is the cop who pulled Dash over that first night we were together. Jack chuckles. “I won’t hold you to that, man. Just happy I was nearby,” he adds, glancing at me. “You okay ma’am?”

“I am,” I say. “Thank you for coming. I swear I set the alarm. I don’t know how anyone got in here, but someone was here. I heard them walking around. They turned out the light.”

“I checked the alarm,” Jack says. “It’s off. If someone was here, they had the code. Who would that be?”

Dash’s jaw sets hard, and I know immediately where his head is at. “It wasn’t Tyler.” I glance at Jack. “That’s my landlord,” I explain. “He wasn’t here. I talked to him. It could have been the woman who lived here before me. She had a personal relationship with my landlord. I’m not sure she knew someone else moved in.”

“Then why run off when we arrived?” Jack asks, obviously not buying that idea.

My cellphone rings in my hand, and I know with dread in my belly and without even looking at caller ID that it’s going to be Tyler. Sure enough, it’s Tyler, and considering the circumstances, there’s really no way to avoid him right now. I glance at the other two men. “It’s my landlord.” My gaze goes to Dash. “I called him to see if he was here and then hung up on him. I need to—”

“Take the call.”

The command is short, biting, and feels like a slammed door between us, a reminder of what I walked into tonight at that fight ring, and who lead me there. Tyler might have had good intentions, for at least part of this night, but he instigated trouble. Unable to win or fight this moment, I answer the line, “Tyler.”

“What the hell?” he demands. “I tried to call you back ten fucking times. I called the police.”

“So did Dash,” I say quickly. “And they’re here.”

“As in the police or the police and Dash?”

“Both,” I say, as Jack asks, “Can I talk to him?”

“One of the officers wants to talk to you, Tyler,” I say. “Can I put him on?”

“I’m almost there, but yes, put him on.”

Wonderful. He’s almost here. This night just won’t stop giving. “Don’t,” I say, hoping he reads between the lines, hoping he’s smart enough to know that he and Dash, together tonight is the hornet’s nest of all hornet’s nest. “But here is the officer.” I hand the phone to Jack while my gaze collides with Dash’s.

Jack begins talking to Tyler while Dash and I just stare at each other, his eyes narrowing on mine, understanding in their depths. He knows I told Tyler to stay away. I’m glad he knows. After a night fighting over Tyler, Dash needs to know I chose him as if that was ever even up for discussion. Of course, I chose him.

But despite my intended message, the pulse in Dash’s jaw says he is not pleased, and I get it, I do. Tyler insinuated himself into Dash’s life tonight, and me with him, in a way Dash had not yet intended, and may never have allowed, which was intrusive. He stole Dash’s freedom to choose and exposed his dirty secret. But on the flip side of the coin, Tyler wasn’t wrong to be worried about him. And I can’t regret knowing what I now know, not if I can help Dash. I just really hate the way this all came about.

But the universe works in mysterious ways and Dash needed an intervention.

I know that now, standing here with Dash, looking at the damage to his face. That doesn’t mean Tyler is forgiven or welcomed either. He needs to stay away right now. He needs to give Dash space. He needs to give me a chance to protect him, to help him. To just be with him.

Seconds have ticked by like hours when Jack finally hands me the phone. “He wants to talk to you.”

He being Tyler again, of course, and I accept the phone while Jack eyes Dash. “I’m going to look around out back. You two stay here in the kitchen until I give you the ‘all clear.’”

“Thank you,” I say, but Jack is already heading toward the door.

I press the phone to my ear and say, “Tyler?”

Dash’s expression tightens, almost as if he can’t even stand Tyler’s name on my lips. So much so that he turns away, walking to the kitchen, his back to me, as he presses his hands onto the island, his shoulders bunched.

“Are you sure someone was in the house?” Tyler asks.

“Someone was here,” I assure him. “The lights were on and they went out.” As if reacting to news he’s already heard, but perhaps digests differently or fully now, Dash turns to face me again as I add, “I know I turned on the alarm, but it’s off now. Could it have been Allison?”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Den of Vipers
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» ENEMIES
» Credence
» Archangel's War
» Fake It 'Til You Break It