Excerpt Eight

As Khalid drove to the corner, he thought about Stacy. Who would have thought she was dealing with all those feelings and emotions? He wondered exactly how she was able to cope with everything she had been through and not break. Stacy was definitely a strong woman. Khalid knew that he had earned her trust and he would never do anything to break it. He knew that she took a chance by opening herself up to him. Now all he had to do was figure out a way to cope with the things that she told him. As he approached the stop light, Khalid depressed the brake and ran his hands over his face and let out a breath that he didn’t even realize he was holding. How in the hell would he be able to focus during the team meeting? All the playbooks and film seem trivial in comparison to not only what he heard but just watch Stacy’s emotions play out on her face. What he really wanted to do was wrap her up in a ball of cotton and never let her out of his sight. He knew that she may not want his protection. Stacy didn’t ask him for that. She only thanked him for listening. He sighed audible and he continued to drive toward the freeway that would take him to the team facility. Khalid knew the details would come but would he be prepared for them when they did. He could try to run his concerns by his best friend, Allen, but he really didn’t want to go into too much detail about Stacy’s situation. The way Khalid was feeling he wanted to cancel his schedule for the day and get back to Stacy as fast as could so he could just hold her. Shit, he was falling and falling hard for her.

Stacy finally pulled herself up to a sitting position on the bed. She picked up her cell on the night stand and realize an hour had passed since Khalid left. She took a deep breath. She knew it wasn’t healthy to stay in bed all day feeling the way that she did. Stacy had to come up with something to do. She had been planning to reorganize her home office and now was as good a time as any.

Excerpt Seven

When they reached the front door, Khalid stopped and looked down at Stacy. She looked as though she was shrinking into herself. Khalid lightly ran the back of hand down her cheek. Stacy looked up at him with a weak smile.

“I am okay. I will be fine.”

Khalid continued to stand there and look at her. Stacy began to fidget back and forth. He gently caressed her shoulder and then gathered her in his embrace.

“I hear you but I just don’t feel good about leaving you like this.”

Stacy slowly backed out of his arms and looked at him. “Your willingness to put aside your busy schedule means a lot but trust me I understand. Besides, you said you’d check on me as soon as you had a break, right?”

“Right. Then I will be back here as soon as I can.”

Stacy knew at that moment no matter what she said Khalid had made his mind up. She just nodded. Khalid kissed her forehead and then slowly turned to leave. She watched as his feet crossed over the threshold. He turned and looked back at her as he continued walking to his car.
Stacy watched as he got in, started the engine, and then glanced her way. He rolled the window down. “I meant what I said, call me if you need me.”

“I will.” With that said, Khalid drove off tooting the horn as he went.

Stacy immediately closed and locked the door. She checked it again to make sure it was secure and then entered the alarm code. Once Stacy set the alarm, she tried to think of all the happy things she could to stave off the chill that was creeping into her bones. She could feel herself getting ready to run. The silence whispered loudly in her ears. She moved about the living room and the kitchen checking all the windows to make sure they were locked. Once she was sure, Stacy hurried up the stairs and went into her spare room and did the same. She pushed the bathroom door open as she passed and hurried into her bedroom collapsing into tears on her bed.

Logically, Stacy knew that her home was as secure as she could make it. Besides the alarm, there were the motion sensors as well as the cameras strategically placed around the perimeter of the house. If worst came to worst, she knew she had her gun was in the safe in her closet. Yet, she couldn’t shake the uneasiness she felt. She did not want to go back to being afraid again.