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domainkaufmann > The Mercenary: Skewed > Part 17

I woke the next morning to find Vee asleep in the single bed beside mine. I was relieved she was still there and hadn't run back to her own room in the middle of the night. Like me, she hadn't felt safe enough to sleep naked, always aware that we might need to spring into action at any second. Of course, I had my own reasons for wanting to stay dressed, but she didn't know about that.

Moving quietly, I left the room and went to find us something to eat and drink. The motel had an ancient vending machine, but I figured I'd keep walking. There looked to be another building further down the road, which I took to be a small store. I could get better coffee and some breakfast sandwiches from there to take back to Vee. I figured she would be hungry after last night.

The memory brought a smile to my lips, and I quickly snapped the expression from my face. Smiling wasn't something I did, unless it was in a sarcastic or cold kind of way. And yet this woman made me want to smile. This woman I had been paid to kill.

I'd only received half of the money. The rest I would have been paid upon completion of the job, which would have been proven by a photograph of her dead body. Part of me thought I should give the money back, but I didn't want it being in the hands of her father. Maybe I should give it to Vee-though I doubted she would want it either, as she wouldn't want to take money from me, and she especially wouldn't want it if she knew where it had come from.

I bought us both coffee and hot sandwiches, and headed back to the room. If Vee was awake, she'd be itching to get moving, and I didn't want to be the one to hold her back.

I propped the takeout cups of coffee one on top of the other. Securing the lid of the top cup beneath my chin, I pushed open the door.

Vee was standing in the middle of the room and she spun to face me, her dark eyes wild. "Where the h.e.l.l have you been?"

I lifted the cups as a response, and then the brown paper bag containing the sandwiches. "I thought you would appreciate breakfast."

The tension left her body and she dropped down to sit on the edge of one of the beds, her head in her hands. I dumped the food and drinks and went to crouch in front of her, my hands on her shoulders.

"What's wrong? What's happened?"

Beneath my fingers, her slender shoulders trembled. She said something, but it was too quiet to catch.

"Say that again?" I said, softly.

She lifted her eyes to mine. They were red, but dry. "I thought you had gone. I thought I was going to have to do this on my own."

I shook my head. "No, I hadn't. I wouldn't."

I pulled her into me, wrapping my arms around her frame and placing a kiss on the top of her head, lingering with my nose and mouth in her hair.

She sniffed and withdrew slightly so she was able to look into my face. "Why does facing my father in a secure prison scare me more than facing a whole car of armed gangsters?"

"Because he has more

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