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Authors: Avery Duncan

Tags: #romance, #action, #cowboy, #innocent

Logan's Woman

BOOK: Logan's Woman
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Logan’s Woman

By Avery Duncan

Copyright 2012 Avery Duncan

Smashwords Edition

Chapter 1

 

Claire walked through the hotel, staring around
her. It wasn’t what she was used to, but it would do.

Her life had changed so much in the
past month that she was amazed her head was still screwed on tight.
Everything she’d known or done or even
breathed
had changed, and she had a
feeling that even though she’d been promised it would all come
back, it wouldn’t. Most likely
couldn’t
.

Her father had been right to send her away, she
thought numbly, going to the receptionist at the counter and
forcing a smile.

“Hi,” an old woman with greying hair and
crooked teeth said with required happiness. Her hair was pulled
back in a tight bun and her hands were sharp and thin on the
keyboard as she stood there with her back perfectly
straight.

Claire sighed with resolution and started to go
through her backpack. “I need to book a room,” she started, finding
her gold Louis Vuitton wallet that she’d gotten as a gift from her
father last week.

“For how long?” the receptionist asked,
lowering her head and tapping away at the keyboard.

Claire grimaced at the question. She had no
idea how long she was going to be staying here.

“Ah…About a month or so.”

The receptionist looked up, eyes sharp. “Now,
if you are trying to use us as a homing place, that is against our
policies. There are apartments downtown that you can rent
–“

Claire slapped ten hundreds onto the counter,
shutting the receptionist up. “Would you really turn away that much
money? Let me talk to your manager, please,” she said, irate. What
did she look like, someone who had crawled out of a
hovel?

She knew what the receptionist had been
thinking in her mind and was disgusted.

“Oh, he’s uh – out. Did you want a suite?” the
woman asked, voice suddenly skittish. Her fingers kept tapping and
her eyes lowering, looking anywhere but at Claire. She felt like a
bitch, but she didn’t have time for questions or answers to them
and being evasive was what she had been taught best.

That, and knowing which fork to use for salad,
she thought with bemusement.

“Yes, I would. And I don’t want any
maids in my room,” she tacked on, remembering what her aunt had
told her.
Don’t let anyone too close to you
or things that belong to you.

“Yes, yes, of course.” Claire stood in silence
as the woman continued to type and then she pulled a card out from
under the counter, swiping it through a black box and then handing
that with several papers to Claire.

She quickly gave the receptionist her
information.

“Your room number is S437 and I’ll make sure to
let the maids know.” Her stick-like fingers curled around the bills
on the counter before she disappeared into the room that was behind
her.

Claire took hold of the papers and shoved all
of it, except the card to her room, and looked for an
elevator.

There were only two windows around the whole
room, on opposite sides of each other. The door she had walked in
from had paint chipping off of it and the ceiling wasn’t in the
best condition either. She barely kept her shudder under control as
she grabbed the handle to her suitcase and, after finding the
elevator, wheeled the black leather bag towards it.

She pressed the button, waiting for it to
ping.

It didn’t.

Claire frowned, looking around. Was it out of
order? Even the button hadn’t lit up.

“Wow,” she said, closing her eyes.
“Seriously?”

Guess she was walking up the stairs, all the
way to the fifth floor. Just great…

“Why, hello there.”

She turned at the voice, pulling back from the
person that was standing so close to her sharply. The balding guy
was maybe a foot away from her and definitely invading her personal
space.

“Uhm, hi,” she said awkwardly, grabbing the
handle of her suit case tightly in one hand and clutching her
backpack strap to her shoulder with the other. She backed away from
him and tried to get past to the stairs.

He stepped in front of her quickly, reeking. “I
can carry that for you, if you’d like.”

She started to shake her head, blonde locks
sliding over her shoulders. “I think I can –“

“Really,” he insisted, reaching for the
suitcase with a fat hand. Intense body odor wafted through the air
and practically slapped her in the face. She held her breath and
shook her head again, pulling on the handle.

“Sir,” she started, backing away from him
again.

“You can call me Gerry. I am the owner of this
hotel and I only aim to please,” he said, jeering at her, looking
suggestively at her jeggings and button-up blouse that didn’t do
anything to hide her cleavage.

He reached for her, this time making to grab
her wrist and not the bag.

“I got it, let go.” Her voice was nothing but a
squeak and before he could do anything about it, she was dragging
her bag up the case and trying to get away from him, disturbed
beyond belief.

I have to stay here for a
month
? she thought, trekking up the stairs
so quickly that in the next minute, she was on the third floor. She
wasn’t going to be leaving the room much if she had to deal with
that every time to tried to leave.

Her back itched, and by the time she was up to
the fifth floor, she was out of breath. Tennis practice hadn’t done
much for her, she thought to herself bitterly, shoving the stair
doors open.

The low lighting in the hallway
flickered when the door slammed close behind her, making her
flinch.
Please,
she
begged,
thinking of her
suite
, don’t be infested with
rats.

Much to her own luck and intense pleasure, it
wasn’t. She found her room quickly and settled in without a
problem. The room wasn’t as great as it could have been, but it was
in better condition than most of the hotel itself was. The bed had
an unoriginal spread over it, the blue, red, and green colors
casting a dank feel over the room.

One of the ceiling lights was out
but struggling to live, flickering every second or so. The only lap
in the room had a pink light bulb, and she didn’t even
want
to know
why.

Cautiously, she set her things on the floor and
sat on the barstool that matched the not-so-clean looking kitchen.
She pushed her hands into her hair and leaned into the counter,
eyes closing as reality started to seep over her.

Her aunt had said to find a dirty, run-down
hotel that no one ever went to. Claire had been horrified, but had
listened and found this place, even though there was a much nicer
hotel just across the street from this one.

Claire had been instructed to go to somewhere
country. Her aunt hadn’t told her where to go, and no one but
Claire knew where she was. Not even her father.

She squeezed her eyes shut tightly, letting a
sigh out on a shuddery breath.

No one was going to be able to find her. She
had twenty-five thousand in cash for the next month, none of her
credit cards were active, and she had a cheap payphone that her
aunt had given her and told her to get rid of the second she called
someone. It was for emergencies, and strictly that.

She couldn’t call for pizza, call for a taxi,
check on her family, or do anything that might leave a trace of
her. That’s why she was using cash.

Claire had never done anything like this
before. How her aunt knew what to do and how to do it, amazed her
and kind of scared her. She took another shaky breath and then
opened her eyes, feeling numb on the inside.

The rest of her family was in similar
conditions, probably ones much worse than what she was in right
now. But she had no way of knowing or anyway of finding them if
anything happened.

That is probably what scared her the most. What
if they found her, or she got hurt? Who was she going to call? Her
college classes had been long-since abandoned. None of her friends
knew where she was or what was even going on.

Her heart clenched.

Her father…

He was in more danger than even she was. At
least she was assumed dead. Her father, on the other hand, was out
in the open and continuing his job as if nothing happened. The
tabloids thought she’d been in a car crash, the injuries fatal
enough to end her life.

Still, as another precaution, her aunt and
father had sent her away. For how long, she had no clue. Maybe
until Jefferson was out of office, or when her father finally ended
his term.

He couldn’t resign. It didn’t work like that.
At least, not when so many people had so much information on you
that it could condemn you so badly, even your grandchildren would
be paying for it. Not only that, though, but his enemies would make
an example of her if they ever found her.

Claire prayed to god they didn’t.

She picked herself up, forcing the thoughts out
of her mind.

Maybe she should just take a nap…there wasn’t
much else to do. It was almost six in the morning; none of the
stores would be open. In such a small town in the middle of
Montana, next to ranches, nothing could be awake this
early.

Unused to what was around her and frightened
after managing to keep her cool for the past hour on her way here,
she laid herself down and, before she knew what was happening,
passed out.

---------------------------------------------------------

She slept until it was so bright out, it was
impossible to sleep. Groaning, she forced herself to stand and
snapped the thin curtains closed, and still the cheap material let
the light shine through. She rubbed a hand over her
face.

Claire decided on taking a hot shower and
getting freshened up. She had to go to town to get food and hair
things, and she might as well get it over with before the day was
over. She looked at the watch and noticed it was already four in
the afternoon.

The bathroom was low in lighting and
unappealing.

She quickly got undressed and climbed into the
Jacuzzi, turning on the water to an almost scalding hot and sighing
with mute pleasure when it touched her skin. In minutes, the large
tub was filled enough to please her. Claire shut off the water and
then sunk under.

Her eyes closed as her muscles relaxed more
than they probably ever had before.

Now that she had found a place to stay and had
finally rested, she felt less nervous and more resigned. A couple
of weeks or months here wouldn’t be that bad, she thought, emerging
from the water for a breath of air.

A distant relative of her father had agreed to
put money into a separate account that he had made, where she would
have access to it in case of an emergency. If she had to stay away
longer, then she could and most certainly would. Putting herself at
risk would put her father in danger, and she refused to be a
problem for anyone that was trying to save her life.

She rung the water out of her pale blonde hair
and leaned into the neck rest at the end of the tub. Claire closed
her eyes, not intending to dose off, but that’s exactly what she
did.

By the time she opened her eyes, her hands were
prunes and the water was getting a chilly touch to it. Claire
quickly climbed out and, shivering her butt off, wrapped a towel
around herself.

She quickly towel-dried her hair with another
towel and then sprinted her way to the main room, where her
suitcase was. In minutes she was dressed in a pair of sweatpants
and a sweatshirt. Her hair was still damp, but it would dry soon
enough. While in New York it was chilly, here in Texas it was still
hot from summer and she didn’t have to worry about getting a
cold.

Claire was just about to leave when trepidation
kicked in. Grabbing her suitcase, searched around the hotel room
for the most secretive place. The hotel owner had access to every
room, and something about his eyes made her weary.

BOOK: Logan's Woman
3.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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