Blushing—something she hadn’t done since her teens—Lara avoided his gaze, glancing around instead.
This wasn’t anything like what she imagined Red’s grandma’s cabin looked like.
One huge room with a couple of doors jutting off at the back, it was Field & Stream meets Modern Life. Slick, clean lines, leather furniture and a TV that took up an entire wall. She’d call it man land, but there were no pinups on the walls or dirty socks on the floor.
“Where are we?” she asked for the second time.
And, of course, for the second time Castillo ignored her.
She forced herself to look at him and realized she shouldn’t have been embarrassed. He probably hadn’t even seen her almost face-plant at his feet. Obviously, in his mind she still didn’t exist.
How long was he going to keep this up?
All because—what? She’d left before round two of the hot sweaty delight match? Or because she hadn’t cowered under the hotel bed, whimpering for him to keep her safe?
It was stupid. What was done was done, no harm, no foul—well, except to the questionable body back in her apartment.
“You are such a girl,” she snapped.
Feeling as though the roller coaster of a day had finally derailed, Lara stomped into what was clearly the living area, threw herself on the couch and, laptop still cradled close, glared at Castillo.
“I’m a what?” At least he was looking at her again, even if his expression did hint toward worries about her sanity.
“A girl.” Lara carefully tucked her laptop onto the cushion next to her so she could throw her hands in the air. “Your feelings get hurt. Instead of talking about it, or even bitching about it, you go into deep chill. The cold shoulder. The silent treatment.”
His eyes iced over. Whether her words pissed him off more or he was just affirming her claim, she couldn’t tell. Because he still didn’t say a damned thing.
Lara’s hands fisted, her teeth tight to hold back a frustrated scream.
“See,” she ground out. “A girl.”
He gave a dismissive shake of his head. Then went right back to pretending she didn’t exist while he thumbed through the stack of mail on the counter.
It was enough to make a woman want to strip bare again just to prove she could get a rise out of the guy.
Lara was too exhausted, though.
As if that thought was permission to let go, her entire body seemed to sag into itself. Her shoulders fell and her chin drooped. Her fingers were so heavy, all she could do was drop her hands to her lap.
But when Castillo stepped into the room, she snapped to attention.
“You can take a shower, get some rest. Bathroom and bed are through there.” He gestured to the door on the left. “We leave in the morning.”
“Where are we going?”
She might as well have asked where they were again, since the response was exactly the same.
Instead, he grabbed a paper bag from the kitchen, walked out the door. Lara shifted her aching body off the couch to follow, but before she got to the door he was back.
“Your stuff.” He shoved the bag into her arms.
Her entire world was now contained in a brown paper bag.
Life was good at whipping out those little ironies.
Ready to cry, Lara carried the bag to the couch to set it next to her laptop.
“Get some rest. I’ll be back later with food.”
“What? Wait.” Lara hurried back across the room. She grabbed his arm. The rock-hard muscles were a tempting distraction, but she managed to resist the urge to pet him. “You can’t leave me here alone.”
“Sure, I can. I leave. You stay. Easy.”
Easy? Then why was she seeing black spots dancing in front of her eyes?
“But what if those guys come? More of them?”
“They won’t.” At her panicked look, he waved his free hand in a circle to indicate the cabin. “The space is secure. You’ll be fine.”
No, she wouldn’t. Not without him. Lara wet her lips, her racing heart barely keeping up with her spinning thoughts.
“But I’m hungry. I didn’t get breakfast, remember?”
His eyes chilled.
Oops. She winced.
That probably wasn’t the best thing to remind him of.
He pulled his arm away.
“There are crackers, dry cereal, that kind of thing in the kitchen.”
Lara swallowed hard, trying to keep from begging. She knew it wouldn’t do any good and she figured she’d humiliated herself enough for one day. For one lifetime, even.
She grabbed her last option: bravado.
“You really think I’ll stick around if you leave? C’mon, we’ve already seen how that works, haven’t we?” She made sure her smile was both cocky and seductive, then tiptoed teasing fingers up his arm. “It won’t be nearly as easy to find me out there with all those trees, you know.”