Mackenzie sank down on the closed toilet seat, burying her face in her hands and trying unbelievably hard not to cry. The voices in her head screamed at her to go back to the bedroom, but she couldn’t do it. Couldn’t face Will, couldn’t stand to see the love and frustration in his eyes.
Tonight had been a mistake. She shouldn’t have succumbed to her desire. She should’ve tried harder to resist him.
Say you want to be with me.
The sound of his smoky voice filled her mind, bringing tears to her eyes. Outside, the storm continued to wail, making it difficult to hear anything but the sound of the rain against the window and the wind rocking the house. But she could imagine what was going on in the bedroom. Will gathering his clothes, zipping up his jeans. The material of his windbreaker rustling as he slid it over his powerful shoulders.
She’d hurt him just now, refusing to say what he wanted. But though the idea of causing Will pain made the tears fall faster, she couldn’t give him what he wanted.
He didn’t understand. He claimed to, but how could he? So far, he’d only seen what she’d allowed him to see. He’d never been with her when a vision of death came, and no matter how many times he insisted it wouldn’t bother him, she knew it would.
Dan had said the same thing, and look what happened with him.
The memory of that night two weeks ago flooded her brain, making her eyelids sting. Someone from town, an elderly man named Colin Garber, had died that night. Burned to death in his bed after his house had caught fire.
And across town, Mac had been in bed with Dan, asleep after a slightly bland lovemaking session. Only to be woken up by images of fire and pain. She could smell the smoke, feel the heat of the flames as they’d devoured poor Mr. Garber. She hadn’t been able to make it to the bathroom, and, mortified, she’d thrown up at the side of the bed, while tears streamed down her cheeks. It was a common physical reaction to a violent vision, the nausea, the shortness of breath, the uncontrollable sobs.
It had been too much for Dan. He’d broken things off that night.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t believe it would be any different with Will. Oh, he might pretend it didn’t freak him out, stick it out for a week, a month, maybe even a year. But eventually he’d get sick of it. Of her, and the visions, and the constant chaos.
Better to put a stop to this now, before…before what? Before she lost her best friend?
She laughed humorlessly. After tonight, she’d probably lost him anyway.
The sound of footsteps in the hall confirmed that devastating thought. Lifting her head, she listened, waited for him to approach the bathroom door, but he didn’t. A creak rang out, indicating he’d passed the noisy fourth step on the staircase. Then a few seconds of silence, finally followed by the sound of the front door shutting.
Tears poured down her cheeks. He’d left. Not that she was surprised. She’d all but thrown him out.
Yet it still hurt.
Legs shaking, she rose from the toilet and approached the sink. She stared at her reflection in the mirror, taking in the sight of her red-rimmed eyes, her wet cheeks and tousled hair.
“Well, you did it,” she mumbled to herself. “You officially drove away the one man who’s always—”
Pain exploded in her temples.
Then the vision came.
“Oh my God, Will, have you ever seen a more glorious kitchen?”
Will glanced around the room in bafflement. A long cedar work island, stainless steel appliances, a table, some cupboards, a small pantry. Looked like an ordinary kitchen to him. Then again, he wasn’t a chef, and the only time he used his own kitchen was to shove Chinese takeout boxes in the fridge. He didn’t even do dishes, just bought paper plates and tossed them in the trash when he finished eating.
“It’s nice,” he said, trying to sound impressed.
Holly Lawson’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Nice? Are you kidding me? This kitchen is twice the size of the one in my old apartment.” She shivered. “Jeez, I’m close to orgasm just looking at it.”
The last thing he wanted to hear was the word “orgasm” coming out of his friend’s girlfriend’s mouth. Not that he didn’t like Holly. She was a great girl, but talking sex with her seemed weird.
He watched as Holly dashed toward the stove and started running her fingers over the burners. She turned around, her brown hair falling into her wide-set green eyes. “Is this not the best stove ever?”
“Yes. I swear, Will, don’t you possess a single domestic bone in that big, strong body of yours?”
A blond head poked into the kitchen. “Are you flirting with my Lieutenant?” Carson Scott demanded, frowning at his girlfriend.
Holly shot him an innocent smile. “Of course not.”
“So you didn’t just comment on his big, strong bod?”
“I was just stating the obvious, Carson. He’s got a nice body.”
Carson studied Will for a moment. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Hello, I’m in the room,” Will said, waving his hand around. “Will the two of you please stop staring at my big, strong body?” He moved toward the door. “Or better yet, give me something to do, because I’m sick of loitering around here doing nothing.”
He wasn’t sure why he’d even agreed to help the couple move. He tended to spend his free time up in Hunter Ridge, visiting with Mackenzie, but after what happened last weekend…