Kane groaned and opened his eyes, but everything was dark and blurry, and his stomach lurched with the sensation that he was moving. Hallie’s long blond hair swished against his face, bringing him to instant alertness.
She’d come back to him, as he’d hoped she would. He had so much to share with her, so many things left unsaid. Like why he’d disappeared after their special Halloween kiss so many years ago—how her controlling parents had threatened his less well-to-do family if he didn’t leave her alone.
He hadn’t had the courage to follow his convictions then, but he did now. That was why it was so important that he beat Cris to the punch.
He smothered another groan. The punch.
Kane had been waiting for Hallee at Autumn House, her grandfather’s will in hand, when Cris had snuck up on him and swung a heavy limb at his head. Kane’s nemesis didn’t want Hallie to see what was inside the old house, the reason lights had been seen so many nights, flickering from its gloomy windows.
No—Cris wanted to ruin the very thing that could change Hallie’s life for the good. She already had money. Kane had once thought money would buy happiness, but it hadn’t. And it wouldn’t now. No conglomerate could ever offer what Kane could—if he had the opportunity to explain.
He reached up to brush his fingers across Hallie’s soft cheek and she jumped, startled.
She pulled him to her, practically strangling him in her embrace.
“It’s Cris,” she breathed raggedly in his ear. “He’s not taking us to see Dr. Snick. I don’t know where—Kane, I’m frightened.”
He sat up. His head was still spinning, but there was no time to worry about that now. “I’ve got you, babe.” Just like all those years ago, she melted into his arms.
He looked around the back of the police cruiser, but there was little he could do from here. There were no handles on the door, nor could he reach Cris through the screen separating them. He’d have to wait—but for what?
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Per the terms of the will, there was a way to get around the big conglomerate, and the threat of an amusement park being built on Hallie’s land. He had proof of that in his pocket.
Should he? Was now--?
“I see you’ve come to,” Cris said with a wicked chuckle. “Just in time for the party, it seems.”
“What are you talking about?” Hallie demanded. “What party?”
Cris snorted. “Figure of speech, doll. You’ll see in a moment.”
Hallie screamed and launched for the screen separating her from the dirty cop. “You let us out of here right now.”
Kane reached for her shoulders, trying to sooth her. It wouldn’t help either one of them to lose their heads right now. They needed to think, to figure their way out of this mess.
Cris stomped on the brakes, sending Hallie flying backward. Kane couched her in his arms, taking the brunt of the fall. His head exploded in fragments of pain, but he shook it off. For Hallie’s sake, he had to stay alert.
“You wanted out?” Cris asked with a leer. “Then get out.”
“You know good and well that we can’t.” Kane gestured to the handle-less doors. “And anyway, we’re out in the middle of nowhere.”
Cris cut the engine and lifted his right hand, brandishing his Marshmallow, Maine police-furnished pistol. He laughed as he loaded the barrel. “Exactly.”