Christmas from hell, p.23
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       Christmas from Hell, p.23
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         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  “Umm, this isn’t my home,” she felt obligated to point out as he carried her through the backdoor that led to his large kitchen, which she would love to get her hands on and up the backstairs, careful of the large packed moving boxes stacked here and there, blocking their way to his attic bedroom.

  “Well,” he said, pausing to lean down and kiss her before he continued carrying her up the stairs that would lead to his large attic bedroom, “to be fair, I never said whose home I’d be taking you to.”

  “What’s with all the boxes?” she asked, her curiosity taking over, which was probably for the best since her nerves were fighting for an opportunity to take over and most likely have her do something that would leave them both scarred for life.

  “Not really sure,” he said with a curious frown of his own, but when he simply shrugged it off, she let it go and focused on that large bed that he was carrying her to and for the first time since last night when he’d showed her exactly what stamina meant, all she could think about was how soft the pillows were and just how good that mattress felt.

  He chuckled as he sat her down on the edge of the bed. “Tired?” he asked, taking another peek at her hand before he went to his closet and grabbed a large trauma bag, the kind that she’d seen in ambulances.

  “Just a little,” she said, embarrassed to admit that staying up all night to have sex with him had left her exhausted.

  As he cleaned her burn with saline and dry linen, she had to wonder how most women did it. How did most women have incredibly hot sex all night long and still manage to get up, lead a full life and not pass out in the process? There was probably something wrong with her, she thought worriedly as she sat there, pondering the idea of buying those five hour energy drinks in bulk so that she would be able to keep up with him.

  There had to be a trick to doing this, she told herself, barely aware that he was stripping her naked or carrying her into the bathroom, mostly because she’d already fallen asleep.

  *-*-*-*

  “Thank God,” he said, sounding like a wimp and not giving a fuck, not when he was sure that he was seconds away from passing out from exhaustion.

  He laid the freshly washed, slumbering woman in his arms carefully on his bed and when she didn’t wake up, he promptly dove for the spot behind her, pulled the blankets up, wrapped his arm around her and closed his eyes.

  Who would have thought that the small woman next door, who couldn’t seem to go a single day without causing a disaster, could wear him out so completely? He’d been exhausted before, but never like this. God, he couldn’t remember hurting this much before, even after working two double shifts, back to back, but here he was, praying that she stayed asleep so that he could get some sleep.

  She’d definitely worn him out, he thought with a smile as he pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder and-

  “Wake her up and it will be the last thing that you’ll ever do,” came the erringly familiar voice of the man that he knew would kill him without a second’s hesitation.

  *-*-*-*

  “Let’s have ourselves a talk, shall we?”

  Duncan rubbed his hands down his face, not even bothering to open his eyes as he waited for Mr. Dixon to get to the point of this kidnapping. Any other man and he probably would have beat the shit out of him for sneaking into his room and threatening him, but this was Necie’s grandfather, so out of respect for her, he’d gone along quietly with this kidnapping.

  “Might as well get it out of the way,” he said, already knowing where this was going.

  Duncan wasn’t good enough for Necie and never would be. He needed to stay the hell away from his granddaughter before-

  “You need to be sure,” Mr. Dixon said firmly.

  “What?” Duncan asked, opening his eyes, because he really hadn’t expected that. “What the hell are you talking about?”

  “Necie doesn’t deserve to be another one of your playthings, Duncan,” Mr. Dixon said evenly as he met Duncan’s gaze and held it as he sat there, reminding himself that he wasn’t the type of asshole to punch an elderly man.

  “I don’t have playthings,” he bit out, beyond fucking offended.

  “No, but you are a Bradford.”

  “Meaning?”

  Mr. Dixon leveled a glare on him as he said, “You know exactly what that means the same as I do.”

  “Apparently not. So, why don’t you do us both a favor and explain it to me,” he demanded through clenched teeth, because if there was one thing that he wouldn’t take, it was someone bashing his family.

  Whether they deserved it or not.

  “I’ve lived in this town my entire life, son, and I’ve seen what you Bradford boys are capable of and if you’re not to the point where you’re willing to risk everything for my granddaughter,” Mr. Dixon said softly, taking him by surprise for a second time that night, “then I’m going to need you to leave her alone, because she won’t be able to handle getting her heart broken by you.”

  “I’m not going to break her heart,” he swore even as a small part of him had to wonder if that’s exactly what he was going to end up doing.

  He was a Bradford after all and he was nowhere near the point of losing his fucking mind in order to keep her.

  *-*-*-*

  Tuesday, December 15th.

  “Oh, my God,” she said, slowly rolling over and wincing when the effort caused her burnt hand to sting, “I am never drinking again.”

  When she realized that she was now face to face with a black leather seat and that the seat was also moving, she realized something was off about this situation. Then of course came the reminder that she didn’t drink, not since high school when she stole one of Grandpa’s beers and after he’d caught her, he’d made her drink the entire six pack until she swore that she was going to die.

  It was not an experience that she would ever willingly go through again.

  So, that made her wonder how she’d got here in the first place and why she felt so damn groggy. She tried to sit up, but there was a dull persist headache that was making that damn near impossible, that and apparently her hands and feet were tied together.

  Either she was twelve again and her grandfather was trying to teach her a lesson on what could happen if she answered the door unprepared or she’d been kidnapped by someone who really liked food. Sighing, with a bit of a wince because of that persistent, dull headache that she couldn’t quite explain, she carefully rolled over, noted the brown bags of food that were on the floor and the empty food wrappers strewn about, the hint of smoke and the cologne that drove her crazy and sighed.

  “Why exactly am I tied up?” she asked Duncan, grateful that it hadn’t been her grandfather who’d tied her up, because she really hadn’t been looking forward to following through with her threats of having him committed.

  Something about the man just told her that he wouldn’t go down without a fight.

  “Oh,” Duncan said, looking back with the sweetest smile, “you’re awake.”

  “And apparently tied up,” she said, raising her hands pointedly.

  “Yeah, sorry about that,” he said, not really sounding all that sorry about tying her up. In fact, his tone suggested that it was really no big deal, which kind of freaked her out a little bit.

  “T-that’s okay,” she said, admittedly a little nervously since she’d just realized that her boyfriend, the guy that she was sleeping with or whatever he was to her, had just kidnapped her.

  This wasn’t exactly a relationship building moment.

  “How’s your head?” he asked, bringing this moment to a whole new level of disturbing.

  “Fine…why?” she asked hesitantly, narrowing her eyes suspiciously on the large bastard and wondering if he actually had the balls to drug her fo-

  But, when he rolled his eyes and sighed heavily in that way of his, she wasn’t exactly surprised when he said, “You fell off the bed while I was gone.”

  Oh, well, sadly that made sense since she did have a tenden
cy of falling off her own bed, which was sadly, often. Something he said, brought her attention right back to him.

  “Why were you gone?”

  “Because your grandfather kidnapped me at gunpoint,” he said with another one of those shrugs that was actually starting to creep her out.

  Chapter 29

  “Do you think that you could untie me now?” Necie asked with a hopeful expression as she held up her hands so that he could free her, but…

  “Sorry, but I don’t think that I can do that,” he admitted.

  With another one of those confused frowns, she dropped her hands and asked, “Why not?”

  With a frown of his own, he said, “Because I think it’s against the rules.”

  “What rules?” she asked slowly with that look that told him that she was starting to question his sanity when it should be more than obvious what he was doing.

  “It’s not important,” he said, instead of explaining the rules since there was a good possibility that they could come back and bite him in the ass at a later date.

  “Okay,” she said much more slowly this time as she slowly sat up and moved closer to the passenger door, but he was prepared for this possibility.

  “The child safety locks are on,” he said, loving her adorable little disappointed sigh that escaped her lips when she realized that he’d thwarted her one and only means of escape.

  “I see,” she said absently as she looked around his SUV, looking for another means of escape, something that her grandfather had warned him of, so of course he’d prepared for every single escape possibility.

  The ones that he’d missed, Mr. Dixon had found, so he seriously doubted that he was going to have to worry about this sweet little thing getting away before he could figure out if she was the one.

  *-*-*-*

  “Necie!” he screamed a bit hysterically as he ran past her hiding spot, again.

  Shaking her head, because seriously this had just been way too easy, she held her bound hands in front of her and bit a small cut into the blue painter’s tape that he’d used, which of course was telling. He hadn’t wanted to hurt her, which was why he’d used tape that was easy to rip off and wouldn’t hurt as much as duct tape. For future kidnappings he might seriously want to reconsider his choice in tape, she thought as she pushed back on the branch, using the snow dusted branches and twigs as cover while she watched him.

  “Necie!” he yelled as he ran past her yet again, giving her a chance to figure out what she should do.

  She could wait until he ran past her hiding spot again, drop to the ground, use his tracks to cover hers, hike back to the highway, hitch a ride and be home by super, or…

  She could continue sitting there, watching him for her own amusement as she tried to figure out why a seemingly normal, rational guy like Duncan would suddenly lose it and kidnap her. He’d never crossed her as the serial killer type, but then again,
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