Home > The Last Mile (Blood Ties : The Logans #2)

The Last Mile (Blood Ties : The Logans #2)
Author: Kat Martin

 


CHAPTER ONE

AN ODD SOUND PENETRATED THE DARKNESS OF HER BEDROOM. Abby stirred awake and opened her eyes, her gaze landing on the neon-red numbers in the digital clock on the nightstand.

Three a.m. She muttered a curse. The old Victorian house she had recently inherited creaked and groaned as if it were alive. She’d get used to it, she told herself.

Rolling onto her side, she plumped her pillow, determined to go back to sleep, but the sounds returned, and this time there was no mistaking the quiet footfalls creeping along the downstairs hallway.

Abby’s breathing quickened as she eased out of bed and slipped into her terry robe. Grabbing the heavy, long-handled flashlight she kept beside the bed—partly for self-defense—she moved quietly out the door, down the hall to the stairs.

The sounds grew more distinct. There was someone in her grandfather’s study. She could hear them opening drawers and cabinets, clearly searching for something.

Her pulse accelerated as she realized what the intruder was trying to find, and her grip tightened on the handle of the heavy flashlight. No way was she letting the thief get away with it.

She needed to call the police, but her phone was upstairs, and by the time she got back up there, it might be too late.

The door stood slightly open, the soft yellow rays from the brass lamp on the desk providing enough light to see. Flattening herself against the wall, she peered into the study and spotted a figure dressed completely in black, searching the shelves in the armoire against the wall.

Her first thought was her cousin. Jude wanted the map, and he would be just stupid enough to sneak into her house to get it. But as she eased the door open wider, she realized the black-clad figure had a lean, sinewy build that was far too solid to be her pudgy gaming nerd cousin.

A trickle of fear slid through her. Abby steeled herself. Whoever it was, the thief wasn’t leaving with the map.

Easing closer, she raised the flashlight, holding it like a bat, and swung a blow that slammed into the intruder’s shoulder, knocking him sideways into the wall.

“Get out of here!” Legs splayed, she prepared to swing the flashlight again. “Get out before I call the police!”

He straightened. She could see the movement of his eyes inside the holes of his black ski mask, but instead of leaving, he charged.

Abby swung her makeshift bat again, but the man was fast, and he was strong, ripping the weapon from her hands and tossing it away, the flashlight landing with a loud clatter against the wall. She screamed as he spun her around and dragged her back against his chest. Wrapping his gloved hands around her neck, he squeezed, cutting off her air supply.

“Where is it? Tell me where it is!” He shook her hard enough to rattle her teeth, and her vision dimmed. Dragging in a breath, she clawed at the hands locked around her throat.

“Tell me!” His hold tightened, and terror struck. There was no mistaking the attacker’s intent—he wanted the map badly enough to kill her.

“It’s not . . . here.” She fought to suck in air. “Safe . . . deposit box.” It was a lie but a credible one. She had taken it from the box just that afternoon.

Her attacker swore foully but didn’t release her.

“I don’t believe you. I want that map!” He started dragging her toward the curtains, grabbed the sash to tie her up.

No way was she letting that happen! Forcing down her fear, Abby made two fists with her thumbs exposed, as she’d learned in her self-defense class, jerked up her arms, and jammed her thumbs into her attacker’s eyes. One thumb hit its mark, gouging into his eye socket, and a scream ripped from his throat.

“You bitch!”

Kicking backward, Abby twisted and jerked free, her bare foot slamming into his kneecap. The guy stumbled as he hit the wall and swore another foul oath. Abby ran.

Out of the study, down the hall, through the entry, bursting out into the street. The grass felt wet and cold beneath her bare feet. She stepped on a stone, and pain shot up her leg, but she kept running.

The house was located on Vine Street in an old, historic section of Denver where she had already met a few of her neighbors. She raced to Mr. Godwin’s house and started banging on the heavy wooden front door.

It took a while for the lock to turn and the door to swing open. Elderly Mr. Godwin appeared in his bathrobe, his gray hair sticking straight up, his eyes groggy with sleep.

Abby darted into the house. “Close the door! Hurry! And lock it!”

Mr. Godwin swiftly closed the door, his watery blue eyes wide. “Abigail, what’s happened? Are you okay? What’s going on?”

Abby’s hand went to the bruises forming a chain around her throat. “A man broke . . . broke into the house. He tried . . . tried to kill me.” She sucked in a deep breath of air. “I need to call the police.”

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

Three weeks later

 

 

ABBY WALKED BENEATH THE DARK GREEN CANVAS AWNING THAT RAN the length of the two-story, redbrick building, stopping to peer through the plate-glass windows into the office. Treasure Hunters Anonymous was located in the LoDo neighborhood of Denver, an area of historic buildings turned into trendy shops and restaurants. She pushed open the door and walked inside.

“May I help you?” An attractive woman in her mid-forties with silver-touched dark hair rose from behind her computer, one among three sitting on desks along the wall. Several large wooden tables were stacked with papers and files; others were covered by topographic maps and navigation charts.

“My name is Abigail Holland,” she said. “I’ve got an appointment with Mr. Logan.”

The woman smiled. “I’m Gage’s assistant, Maggie Powell. I’m afraid Gage is on the phone. He should be finished in a few minutes. Have a seat, and I’ll let him know you’re here.”

Abby sat down in a burgundy-leather wingback chair next to the window. Aside from the chair and the small antique oak table beside it, an area that was visitor friendly, the office was clearly a work space.

Logan’s assistant headed down the hall, disappeared behind one of two closed doors, then returned a few minutes later. “Gage is finished with his phone call. You can go on in.”

“Thank you.”

Abby hoisted the strap of her leather purse onto her shoulder and smoothed back the copper hair she wore in a single long braid down her back. The door to Logan’s office stood open. He rose and rounded a big carved antique oak desk to greet her.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Gage Logan.”

“Abigail Holland.” She extended her hand.

“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Holland.” Logan’s big palm wrapped around her smaller one, and she felt a little kick she hadn’t expected. He was six-two, she’d read when she’d researched him online, far taller than her own five-foot-four-inch frame. Dressed in khaki pants and a yellow button-down shirt, he had wide, muscular shoulders, and what appeared to be a deep, powerful chest.

“Thank you for seeing me,” Abby said. He was thirty-five years old, she knew, born and raised on a big ranch west of Denver. At nineteen, he’d left home for college and never returned.

He was incredibly handsome, with dark brown hair long enough to brush his collar and a solid jaw roughened by the faint shadow of an afternoon beard. His eyes, an amazing shade of blue against his darkly suntanned skin, carried a fierce gleam of intelligence. Though she’d seen his photo on the internet and seen his face on the cover of National Geographic, she hadn’t been prepared for the impact of meeting him in person.

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