Get a Clue

Breanne pushed up to her elbows and stared at the body she’d tripped over. “Oh my God! Are you okay?”

It was a man. He lay flat on his back, arms and legs sprawled, not moving. There was a gash on his forehead, the blood dried.

Surging up to her knees, she put her hands on his shoulder. “Can you hear me?”

When he didn’t budge, a very bad feeling snaked through her. The thick, icky air seemed to close in around her as she stared at him, heart pounding in her throat. Who was he? Nicely dressed, he wore dark trousers and a dark long-sleeved shirt. He was missing a shoe, she thought inanely. “Can you hear me?”

Nothing. Less than nothing. “I was really hoping you’d blink,” she whispered. “Or moan. Anything.”

He didn’t blink or moan.

Or anything.

Oh God. She got down low and tried to peer into his face. Please be okay, please be okay . . . Could she see a pulse in the base of his neck? As she leaned in, her hand slipped from his shoulder to his chest, which felt . . . stiff.

She pulled her hand back and stared at him in horror. “Oh my God. You’re not unconscious. You’re…”

Dead.

Her entire body went as stiff as his. Her stomach sank, everything sank, weighing her down so she couldn’t seem to move.

Dead.

The knowledge sort of seeped into her brain in slow motion, and when it finally landed and was processed, she did what any sensible city girl stuck in the mountains in a snow storm without luggage, who’d found a naked guy and a dead guy within a few hours of each other would do.

She scrunched up her eyes and screamed.

In what might have been an eternity or only a moment later, footsteps sounded above her. Cooper appeared. “Breanne?” He took the stairs two at a time, those always-aware eyes narrowing in on the body at her feet.

While Breanne’s eyes narrowed in on the object in Cooper’s hand.

A gun.

A gun.

It was hard to wrap her mind around much in the condition she was in, but facts were facts. She’d screamed and he’d come running, ready to slay a dragon for her.

“What the hell happened?” Cooper demanded.

“I don’t know.”

He hunkered down and put his fingers to the man’s neck, then looked up at her, slowly shaking his head.

Breanne slapped a hand over her mouth to hold in another scream.

Rising, Cooper stuffed his gun in the waistband of his jeans low at his back and took her arms in his hands. “You okay?”

A few moments ago, he’d had her up against a wall, skirt shoved up to her belly button, hands in her panties, his fingers driving her straight to oblivion, and now . . . now he was this intense, cool, calm and collected man.

With a gun.

“Breanne. Are you okay?”

She stared at him. He had his shirt loose and draped over the bulge of his gun. He looked rough and tumble. Badass.

Damn it, she had a serious weakness for badass.

“Breanne?”

“P…pretty sure I’m n…not okay.” Her teeth were chattering again though she wasn’t cold. Or maybe she was and she couldn’t tell because she’d gone numb.

With a low sound of empathy, he pulled her close, a protective gesture that felt amazingly seductive for its sweetness, so much so that she felt herself want to cling. Just for a moment, she told herself, and did just that, wrapped her arms around his neck and absorbed his strength, his heat.

How was she going to resist this? Him?

Didn’t matter, she’d find a way. She’d promised herself a break from bad decisions, and anything she did here, while out of her element and scared and hurt, would be bad. Very bad.

Probably she should stay out of cellars too.

Cooper pulled back, and leaving his hands on her arms, and looked into her eyes. “Tell me why you’re standing over a dead body.”

“I got lost. I tripped over him.”

“He was here when you got here? Like this?”

“Well I didn’t put him here!”

“Okay.” He stroked his hands up and down her arms. “Damn. A dead body. I hate it when that happens.”