Crush, p.22
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       Crush, p.22

           Lacey Weatherford

  Chapter Nineteen


  “Be careful. You’ve got to handle it just right. Wrap your hands around it like this and slip your finger right here.” I gave a satisfied grunt as she did so, and I wound my arms around her tighter. “You’re a natural, I can tell already. Feels good, doesn’t it?”

  “I guess. It’s heavier than I thought it would be, but it’s not too bad.” She shifted, like she was trying to get a little more comfortable.

  “That’s good, right there,” I whispered in her ear. “Now aim and carefully squeeze the trigger.”

  She closed her eyes and fired, the shot going wide.

  “No, no, no!” I said with a laugh. “You can’t close your eyes when you’re shooting. It isn’t a game of chance—see your target, visualize hitting it. Try again.”

  I was rewarded with a very exaggerated eye roll.

  “Visualize the target—whatever!”

  “What if some poor guy ran in front of you at the last minute? You’d shoot him because your eyes were closed. That would be a bad, bad thing, Goody.”

  “I don’t really think there’s any danger since you’ve dragged me out into the middle of nowhere. Who’s around to run in front of me?”

  “Me, and I don’t particularly relish the idea of getting shot.”

  “Not even by me?” She grinned. “I’d be gentle, I promise.”

  I let my eyes drift over her and sighed, shaking my head. “I don’t think anything you do to me is gentle.”

  She laughed, bumping her hip against me before she lifted the gun again and pointed at the soda can several yards in front of us.

  “Relax your stance. You’re too . . . Charlie’s Angels . . . or something.”

  She snorted. “Quit making me laugh or I’ll never hit it.”

  “But I like making you laugh.” I slipped my hands down her waist onto her hips, grabbing them firmly. “Center yourself here, but relax everywhere else, and use your gun sight to focus on the target.”

  She took a deep breath and held it, squeezing the trigger. The bullet hit the dirt right in front of the can, causing it to fall over.

  “It moved! Did you see that?” She cheered, all smiles as she jumped around, and I reached to still her, pointing the gun away from both of us.

  “This is still a loaded weapon, honey. Let’s try not to kill ourselves with it, shall we?” I couldn’t help my smile. She was hilarious. “Do you want to try again?”

  She nodded and quickly resumed her earlier stance. Her face was a mask of concentration, and I watched her zero in on her target. She pulled the trigger, and the can jumped as she hit it.

  “There you go!” I said, quickly taking the weapon before her next victory dance got one of us shot. “That was much better.”

  “You do it now,” she urged. “I want to see how good you are.”

  I shrugged. “I’m not too bad, I guess. I just like shooting.”

  “Show me.”

  I lifted the gun—my eye zeroing in on the target instantly—and fired the rest of the clip into the can in rapid succession, hitting it every time, even as it bounced around.

  Cami’s mouth hung open in disbelief. “You’re a liar. You’re amazing! What are you—some gun-toting drug dealer, and you haven’t told me?”

  I laughed loudly, enjoying showing off for her. “Yes, that’s exactly what I am. You’ve figured me out.” I put the safety on and popped the empty clip out. “I just really like shooting, and I happen to think one can never be too prepared when it comes to safety. You want to try a rifle now?” I hoped she was having a good time. She wanted to know what I liked to do, so I figured this would be a fun thing. I loved being able to share something real about myself with her, although her comment hit uncomfortably closer to the truth than I’d like.

  “Sure, I’ll try it.”

  I smiled—glad she seemed willing to participate. It was a sneaky way to teach her a little self-defense too without her knowing. I went over to the trunk of my car, put the handgun inside, and pulled out the thirty-aught-six and a box of cartridges.

  “Now these bullets are a little heavier, so there’s going to be some recoil with this one,” I warned as I prepared and loaded the gun.

  “What does that mean?” she asked confused.

  “It means it will kick back into your shoulder a bit when you fire. I’ll demonstrate for you first, so you can see what I mean.” As soon as the gun was ready, I pointed to the far cans we had set up on a fence railing some distance away when we’d arrived. “Okay, I’m going to shoot at those out there this time.” I took a moment to sight the target, firing, watching as the can bounced up wildly.

  “You hit it again! That’s so awesome!” She squealed, clapping her hands together. “You make it look so easy.”

  I grinned. “Thanks. Now you try it.” I handed her the gun and helped her get into a comfortable stance. “Okay, remember to keep looking at your target and gently squeeze the trigger whenever you’re ready.”

  She blew out a soft breath and fired. The shot went wide again, hitting the next can over from the one she’d been aiming for. “Owww!” she howled, and I couldn’t help my chuckle.

  “Kicked you good, didn’t it?” I rubbed where she’d had the gun nestled against her.

  “You could’ve warned me better. That really hurt!” She looked slightly teary eyed. “I don’t want to shoot this one anymore.”

  I bent to quickly place a kiss against her shoulder. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to get hurt, but I didn’t want you to tense up and be scared either. Tell you what. I’ll use the rifle and you can use the handgun, and we’ll see how many of these cans we can hit together.”

  She nodded as she continued to massage herself. “Okay. Sorry. I’m not very good at this.”

  “You’re doing amazing,” I replied, meaning every word. “I’m happy you wanted to try it.”

  “I like finding out about the things you do.” She smiled and slipped her arms around my waist, hugging me.

  I shifted the gun and hugged her back, taking a moment to dip down and kiss her sweet lips. “I like it too.”

  “I’m glad you were able to get off work,” I said as we drove back toward Copper City. “I’ve enjoyed sharing things with you today.”

  “Me too. I didn’t know if my boss was going to let me since I’d taken Wednesday night off for my concert. I had to beg a little.” She laughed.

  “Well, I’m happy you did. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the evening with you.”

  “We have another spot available at the theater, you know. If you want a job, you should come apply. We could work together.”

  “Really?” This did interest me, not because I needed a job, but because it would give me the opportunity to be close to her. I knew Clay worked there, even though she said they didn’t get scheduled together much these days. It would give me an opportunity to check into him some more. I’d been forming a few suspicions about him lately and the possible source of his new income. I was beginning to wonder if he might be encroaching on the drug scene. I wouldn’t put it past him. He definitely warranted watching. I didn’t think he was stable, despite Cami’s defense of him. “I’ll check it out. Do you think they’d let us work the same nights though, seeing how we’re dating?”

  “As long as we do our jobs and aren’t making out in the supply closets they’re pretty good about letting couples have the same shifts together.”

  “Hmmm. I don’t know. The supply closet thing might be a deal breaker. I like pushing you into dark corners and doing wicked things to you.” I shook my head and she laughed.

  “You’re so bad.”

  I chuckled. “I’ve tried to warn you. You don’t seem willing to listen.”

  “Maybe I like bad,” she challenged.

  I placed my hand on her thigh, gripping slightly. “Works for me.” She was gonna be the death of me.

  She intertwined her fingers with mine—gi
ving me one of her dazzling smiles, and my heart skipped a beat.

  “Watch the road, Hunter.”

  I sighed. “You distract me too much.”

  “I like distracting you, but I also want to survive.” She laughed.

  “Good point.”

  “So what do you want to do for our next date? Or am I monopolizing all your time these days? I know you used to like the party scene.”

  “I haven’t much cared for the party scene lately. I’m finding myself presented with a new drug of choice.”

  She gave me a disparaging look. “So I’m a drug of choice now? How flattering.”

  “If you don’t like it, I guess I could go back to my old lifestyle. I don’t want you to feel like I’m a burden.”

  She squeezed my hand tighter. “Don’t you dare. I like that you’ve been trying to stay clean. Plus, I’m sure Gabrielle would be there, waiting to sink her clutches into you. She wants you bad.”

  I groaned, feeling awful I hadn’t been totally honest with her on the partying account. True, I hadn’t been to many parties, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t using. Brushing aside my guilt, I focused on the subject of Gabrielle. “Don’t remind me. I always feel like I’m part of a petting zoo exhibit when she’s around. She’s always touching me.”

  “It’s funny, but I would’ve imagined she’d be exactly your type.” She was frowning.

  “And why would you think that?”

  She lifted her shoulder slightly. “I don’t know. I guess because she’s been everyone’s type before you.”

  “Which is exactly why she isn’t mine.” I didn’t want Cami thinking Gabrielle was competition.

  “You don’t think she’s gorgeous?”

  “She’s very good looking, and she knows it and uses it to get what she wants from guys. It’s not attractive at all.”

  “You really don’t care for her, do you?”

  “Not in the slightest, especially when there are much prettier girls to be noticed.” I winked and she blushed.

  “How do you know I’m not using my looks to get what I want from you?” She grinned slightly as I turned into the parking lot of the grocery store.

  I stopped the car and leaned over, pulling her face close to mine. “Cami, please use your looks to get whatever you want from me.” I pressed my lips to hers. “I like it.”

  She grinned and kissed me back. “What do you want to make for our dinner?”

  “Honestly, skipping dinner and doing this all night is sounding pretty good to me.”

  Her stomach chose this minute to growl, and we both laughed.

  “Okay, message received—food first, kissing later.”

  “Sounds wonderful.” She sighed against my lips, and I had to kiss her one more time. Her stomach growled again.

  “Okay, okay. Let’s go buy some food.” I reluctantly moved away and got out of the car, going around to open her door.

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