Katana
matching the color of his loose-fitting pants. My eyes drifted up to the hard lines of his bare chest.
    Kim smiled at me, but I wasn’t sure if it was in greeting or from noticing my staring. With burning cheeks, I pretended to study the Bruce Lee poster next to him with exaggerated interest. He’s a jerk, Rileigh, I reminded myself. He preys on innocent girls. But then, I wondered, with abs like that, why would he have to?
    Kim took the papers in front of Sumi and slid them inside a nearby folder. “Sumi, leave these for tomorrow.” He placed the folder under the counter. “Why don’t you take off early?”
    “But,” she said, lowering her thick lashes, “I was hoping to train with you tonight. My test is in a few weeks, and I want to be ready.”
    He set a hand on her shoulder and something flashed over her face. Adoration—or something more? It happened so fast it was hard to tell. “You’ll be fine,” he assured her. “You’re the highest-ranking brown belt and my best student. You’ll have no problem earning your black belt.”
    She beamed.
    “However, I have business to attend to tonight. It’s time for you to leave.”
    “I don’t understand. The others—”
    “Sumi.” Kim’s smile disappeared. “I am not asking you.”
    Her face wilted like a week-old rose. She snatched her car keys from the counter and marched toward the door I was still blocking. The anger that radiated from her prickled my skin as she stopped in front of me, scowling, as if sizing me up for a fight.
    I wasn’t sure what her problem with me was, but I wasn’t in the mood for any more drama. With my hands held up, I moved to the side.
    She still managed to bump my shoulder on the way out.
    “Nice girl,” I said as soon as she was through the door. “Very wise of you to have her as your receptionist—a real ‘people person,’ that one.”
    Kim laughed. “Sorry about that. Sumi has difficulty affording lessons, so I allow her to organize my class lists in exchange for training. She’s a good student, but can be a bit … abrasive.”
    “Uh-huh,” I answered, rubbing my shoulder.
    He laughed again, but this time there was a ring of familiarity in it that inspired a chill under my skin. There was something about that laugh, a clue of sorts, lying under the blanket of my subconscious. But that couldn’t be. I narrowed my eyes, comparing his image to the memories of people I’d met at events like football games and parties. Other than the hospital, nothing came to mind. So I asked, “Have we met before? I mean, before the hospital. Your laugh … ” I couldn’t put my finger on the weird feeling of déjà vu.
    He raised a single eyebrow.
    I shook my head. “No, that’s silly.”
    He tilted his head. “You know, you do look like someone who just woke up.”
    “What?” I smoothed my hands along the sides of my pulled-back hair. Maybe the rolled-down windows had done more damage than I thought. “I’ve been up all day.”
    The corners of his lips curled down in an amused upside-down smile. “That’s not what I was talking about.”
    I quit fussing with my hair. “Then what are you talking about?”
    “Follow me if you want to find out.” He swept his hand in front of him as a gesture for me to walk through the door.
    I shook my head. “Uh-uh. There’s no way I’m following you into that room.”
    Kim cocked an eyebrow.
    “I don’t know you. I don’t know what you want or why you won’t leave me alone. In fact, the only reason I came here tonight is to tell you to stop bothering me. No more phone calls and no more notes.”
    “Notes?” All traces of amusement left Kim’s face. “What notes?”
    I groaned. “Puh-lease. Like you don’t know. The one that said ‘I know your secret.’” I wiggled my fingers in the air to exaggerate the eerie effect I knew he was hoping for.
    “Rileigh, I didn’t leave you a note.” Kim’s voice was full of concern, with a hint of fear. He must take acting

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