Home > Seduced by the Assassin (Forbidden Confessions #7)(3)

Seduced by the Assassin (Forbidden Confessions #7)(3)
Author: Shayla Black

But Ransom swore he’d be back for me the day I turned eighteen. He promised.

With only three hours left of my birthday, I don’t see that happening.

That’s depressing AF.

I always envisioned having some sort of bash on the day I became legal. It didn’t have to be a big one, but maybe some close friends, a balloon or two, and a piece of cake.

The only party I’m having now is all about pity.

Damn it, I hate this woe-is-me crap. I’m responsible for my own happiness, so I’ll stop at the twenty-four-hour diner on the way home, pick up a piece of pie, sing to myself, and start the rest of my life without Ransom.

It’s a solid plan—until I hear a volley of gunshots outside. That’s not unusual for this neighborhood, especially this half-abandoned shopping center. My boss, Dr. Robbins, keeps saying she’s going to leave since gangs have moved in recently. Drug dealers think it’s a great haven, too. I suspect one of the empty storefronts might even be a meth lab. Typically, those guys don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. But this… It’s a lot of gunfire, and I’m scared.

I call 911.

While I talk to the dispatcher, the shots continue. I consider leaving. Even my ratty rent-by-the-week apartment would be safer. But I don’t dare run out of the building during a hail of gunfire.

“Meow.”

One of the kittens who got spayed last week mewls from her cage. She has food. She has water. Is she crying because she’s afraid? Or because she wants affection?

“That makes two of us, Shadow.” I open her cage and gently scoop up the little black fur ball.

She cuddles up in my arms, nuzzling my neck and licking my cheek. Aww, she’s lonely.

Like me.

Her owner was supposed to pick her up days ago but never did—and never returned our calls. Dr. Robbins and I suspect the crazy woman who brought her in isn’t coming back.

I rub Shadow’s small head, and she looks up at me with sad green eyes. “I know how you feel, girlie. We’ll stick together, okay?”

If her owner doesn’t return soon, I’ll find some way to pay the doctor for the surgery and take this baby home with me. I could use the company—and a friend. My apartment doesn’t allow pets, but I can sneak her in. Just temporarily. I’ve been saving money to move out of the shithole I’ve called home since shortly after I left Ransom’s place. I’ll look for a new building that will accept Shadow.

“We’ll make each other happy,” I promise her. “Girl power and all that.”

She meows at me again and starts to purr. I hear her loud and clear since the gunfire abruptly quiets.

At least I’ll get a little peace for my birthday. And I made a new friend. It’s not all bad…

But you were really hoping for Ransom.

And I have to stop. He’s not coming.

Suddenly, Shadow quits purring. I feel a shift in the air, followed by sounds I shouldn’t be hearing this time of night.

No. That couldn’t be the back door opening and closing, right? It was locked…

I don’t know the first thing about guns, and Dr. Robbins doesn’t “believe” in them. That seems naive to me. At least she keeps a baseball bat here, just in case.

“Be right back.” I ease Shadow into her cage, open the door of the surgical room, then creep down the hall, bat in hand. I have my phone in my pocket in case I need to call 911 about an intruder.

If he’s already inside, won’t it be too late?

My heart thuds as I head down the hall. Then I hear a deafening crash, like all the supplies in the storeroom I spent the day organizing have tumbled to the floor, along with their metal shelving.

I bite my lip to hold in a gasp. Definitely an intruder.

Shaking, I whip out my phone and start a one-handed dial back to emergency services while gripping the bat with the other. Before I can hit the button to complete the call, I hear a splat like something—or someone—hurtled into the wall. Then comes a distinctly male moan of pain. He’s hurt. Was he shot?

I can help.

This instinct may be the worst mistake of my life, but I darken my phone and tuck it away.

Before I can rush inside, the man on the other side wrests the portal open.

I look down at the familiar face, my name croaking from the firm, wide mouth I remember him slanting possessively over mine. My heart stops.

“Ransom! Oh, my… What happened? I’ll call an ambulance.”

He must have gotten caught in the gunfire I heard outside. Jittery and stunned, I try to complete the call. My fingers are shaking too hard. I have to breathe. I can’t fall apart. Ransom needs me.

With a surprisingly strong grip, he grabs my wrist. “No. No police. No hospitals. Get to safety.”

And leave him here? Never. “Where are you hurt?”

“Go. Now.” His dark eyes slide shut, and he loses consciousness.

I stop arguing and start panicking.

“Oh, my god.” I need to think—fast. What can I do for him if he doesn’t want me to call for help? And why doesn’t he want me to?

Because he’s done something illegal?

Ethan used to claim that his father was a hitman, and I laughed, convinced he must be kidding or trying to make his life seem cooler by giving his dad a shady occupation.

One thing I noticed? Ethan never laughed in return.

Holy shit, was he telling the truth?

I’m not sure how I feel about being in love with a potential contract killer, but that’s a problem for later.

I scan Ransom’s prone form. If he faded out of consciousness, he must be injured and losing blood. He’s definitely soaking wet from the unexpected rain. I don’t want to move him, but if I’m going to help, I have to. First, I need to make sure we’ll be safe.

With a shaky breath, I stand just enough to flip on the storeroom’s light. The place is a disaster, but I don’t care. Ransom tied off the back door with some sturdy rope. It will hold for a bit, and the front door is locked tight. From both the parking lot and the alley, the animal clinic appears dark and empty. Thankfully, the gunfire seems to have ended. I pray that whoever shot Ransom fled when the police showed.

Dashing back to the surgical room, I hunt down the rolling cart Dr. Robbins uses to carry larger animals who come in injured. Since it can support a horse, it can easily handle Ransom’s weight.

I drag it into the hall, along with a piece of plywood we sometimes use to move an unconscious animal onto the rolling metal slab. I lock the wheels on the cart, then brace the wood against it. I don’t know how I’ll lift him, but I’ll find a way. This may be life-or-death.

Shoving aside my worries, I roll Ransom closer to the board so I can pull or lift him. Something. It’s looking as impossible as it sounds.

But when I get him on his back, the cement floor is covered in rain—and blood. He’s deathly pale.

My heart stops.

I whip out my phone again. He told me not to call 911, but he didn’t say anything about Ethan.

Thankfully, my ex answers right away. “Havana?”

Of course he’s confused. We haven’t spoken since the morning he walked into the kitchen and caught his father and me lip-locked, my body writhing shamelessly while I silently begged for more.

I can’t worry whether that hurt him now. “Your father is here. He’s bleeding. He won’t let me call for help. He passed out. I n-need to lift him, but I can’t and—”

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