Skin Page 36

Together they jogged back up the drive toward the cabin. She limped, mostly, due to her foot. Moaning came from behind them and the buildings to their left. A couple of sheds and what must have once been the office and caretaker’s house. Where the hell had they all come from? She hadn’t seen a single one when they’d gone jogging. All the noise from the gun and her yelling must have drawn them out of hiding.

Ahead, the cabin came into view, light flickering within. Much more light then there should have been.

“No. No!” Nick dropped her hand and shot forward.

From within the cabin an infected shambled out, backlit by the fire raging within. The zombie must have gotten in across the boards and knocked over the candles. Its clothes were alight.

Nick stood ahead of her, fists clenching and unclenching in the dwindling light. The set of his shoulders made it clear he was furious. Absolutely livid. He tore the rifle off his shoulder and aimed. Boom. The infected toppled onto the walkway, gone for good.

The wooden cabin was ablaze with light, well beyond hope of saving. She had to shield her eyes from the heat and the light. Nick gave her one quick, filthy look, nostrils flaring angrily.

No. Not her fault. There had been extenuating circumstances.

“Get in the truck,” he said. He didn’t look back at her.

Nick strode to the driver’s side door, wrenched it open and threw himself in. She hobbled to the passenger side and climbed in as he gunned the engine, revving the life out of it. Tension lined his face, clearly visible thanks to the fire blazing in front of them.

She felt that she should say something, but she couldn’t think of a single word.

“Put your seatbelt on,” he said.

She did so.

He threw the car into reverse and she jolted forward against the restraint. They tore out of there.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Nick had been hoping Roslyn would keep quiet. All night would be nice.

She’d been silent on the half-hour drive, had made only the barest of comments as he broke into a large shed suitable for holing up in. An uncomfortable night lay ahead, but they were shit out of luck when it came to options. He needed to get her somewhere safe and dark had settled in. Staying on the road would only get more dangerous. More infected would be coming out and the noise of the engine and the lights attracted them. The roads were covered with all sorts of debris. One blown tire and it would be all over. They'd be sitting ducks.

He drove the pickup into the shed and left the parking lights on. Got out and locked up the big double bay doors. The inside of the place was cluttered with crap but secure. He’d given it a going through while she waited in the vehicle holding her tongue. But there were lots of sidelong glances. She was working her way up to saying something. He could feel it. Goddamn, he wished she wouldn’t.

Everything in him felt wound tight, making him keep his mouth shut solely because his fear of losing his temper was huge. Their home was gone. Just … fucking gone. Their security and almost all of their supplies were up in smoke. The big metal box on the back of the truck had some weapons and a basic first-aid kit, but nothing fancy. He thought he’d thought of everything. What a joke. One f**king candle knocked over and the place was tinder. Hadn't thought of that, had he?

“We could go back to the school,” she said, disturbing his peace.

“No.” Not even remotely an option, but she didn’t know that. Hell, it had probably been where she’d been headed.

An old single mattress sat in the corner. He dragged it out and dusted it off a bit. It would do. He carried it over to the back of the pickup and slid it onto the bed. Better than her being on the floor. There were probably mice and cockroaches scuttling about. Now for a blanket or something to keep her warm.

Shit. They literally had nothing but a selection of guns, a few knives and some ammunition. Plus the good old basic first-aid box. She wasn’t wearing shoes or a jacket and he wasn’t much better.

“Nick, we need to talk about this.”

“Not now.”

“Yes, now.” She positioned herself in his path, hands on h*ps and her mouth a determined line. “I need to explain.”

Every last bit of him rejected the idea. He had so much anger churning him up inside that he didn’t know what to do with it. He needed to hit something. A wall or the side of the truck would do. Just drive his fist into something solid that wouldn’t give a f**k for the abuse. He sure as hell did not want to open his mouth and say shit he couldn’t take back. And that was what would happen if she kept pushing it.

“Ros …”

“I was coming back,” she said.

“No.” He stepped back and shook his head, shoved a hand through his hair. Not wanting to hear a f**king thing she had to say. At least, not right then. But … “What? You were what?”

“Nick—”

“Did you say you were coming back?”

She wrung her hands in front of her. “I changed my mind. I got down to the road and I realized I couldn’t leave like that. I realized we needed to talk things out.”

His mind reeled. “You did?”

“Yes.”

He barked out a laugh. It was funny, but it wasn’t. Mostly it wasn’t. “You were coming back. Bloody hell, that’s great.”

Her features sharpened. Brows descended. And that was fine. Let her be pissed. Let her share the fun. “What did you expect, Nick? You’ve been keeping me chained. Of course my first instinct was to escape.”

“And you did. And now we’re f**ked.”

“Which is not all my fault.”

“Did I say it was?” Of course he hadn’t. He’d been doing his best to keep his mouth shut to prevent exactly this sort of shit coming out. “Did I?”

“Close enough,” she said, voice rising. Because she never bloody learned.

“Keep. Your. Voice. Down.”

Her nostrils flared. “You put me in an impossible situation, Nick.”

“Was it worth it?”

“What?”

“Nearly getting killed,” he said. “You were about to be eaten alive by a pack of infected when I found you. So was it worth it, Ros? Do you feel better now? Work out whatever you needed to?”

“Oh, you ass**le.”

“That was our home that just burned down. Our home. Do you get that? Is it sinking in?”

“Hard to think of it as home when you were keeping me prisoner.”

“I treated you so badly?” he asked. He took a step closer, forcing her to back up or have him right up in her face. She was right, he was an ass**le. But he was so damn angry he didn’t care. She’d left him without a word. “Well? Is there anything I didn’t give you?”

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