Ultimate Courage (True Heroes Book 2)

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Authors: Piper J. Drake
really good at disarming her. Or she was tired. Probably a little of both. Either way, his presence was comforting and exciting at the same time. She didn’t think it was a good idea but she also didn’t want him to leave just yet either.
    Taking the offered goodies, she headed over to the nightstand to save herself from a clumsy fumble and drop. The last thing she needed was to spill food all over Gary and Greg’s wonderful carpet. Opening her frozen yogurt, she carefully shook out a portion of each topping into her container then closed everything up again and handed the sides back to Alex.
    As he took them and stowed them back in his bag, she risked a glance at his hips. The tennis ball was gone. She had no idea when he’d taken it out of his pants, but she didn’t have an excuse to be looking anymore, so she risked a glance up at his face.
    He was watching her, a bemused sort of half smile shaping his lips.
    Heat burned her cheeks and she was pretty sure embarrassment was going to strangle her to death in the next few seconds. Curiosity. It was such a bad idea to give in to curiosity.
    Alex cleared his throat. “I’m going to get this back to Boom. In the meantime, take this.”
    He reached into his back pocket and held something out to her.
    It took her a long minute to recognize what he had in his hand. A new phone.
    “Oh no.” She held up her hands and shook her head. “I can’t take that from you.”
    “It’s a pre-paid loaner.” He shifted to a firmer tone. “If you’re running, and I think you are, you need to get rid of your current phone. Now. I’m going to take it for you and ditch it someplace away from here. I’m not going to ask you why right now, or from what, but I won’t let you stay here with friends while you still have something that could lead whoever you’re running from to you the minute you turn it back on.”
    Her breath left her in a rush. He was right. She’d felt a little bad and worried some, but she hadn’t considered the full impact. He had. And he was taking action.
    Alex came a step closer, still holding out the phone. His jaw was set, but his eyes held a kindness, an understanding. “It’s okay to accept help. We don’t know your story, but we know how to take care of ourselves. Part of that is taking simple precautions like this. I could’ve recommended for you to do this and you probably would’ve on your own. Right?”
    She nodded, her mouth dry. “Maybe not as fast. Maybe too late.”
    And she’d been lucky she hadn’t been found sooner. Each time she’d left a place, she had gotten a new phone. But not until she’d safely reached her next destination. It’d seemed more prudent to have a phone with her while she was traveling, for the GPS and to call 911 in case she got caught up in an accident. The way Alex presented it, she’d be wiser to get rid of the current phone right away and grab a pre-paid along the way.
    It was just that every time she’d left in the past, there’d been no time. She’d been rushed and panicked and had to get as much distance as possible between her and her pursuers.
    His voice broke in on her thoughts, quiet and almost comforting. “Don’t start going down those routes. Asking ‘what if’ too much is going to ruin your night.”
    He was right. So right. She reached out and took the phone from his hand. Their fingers brushed in the exchange, and she tried to ignore the zing the minor contact gave her. There were so many other things she needed to concentrate on, but suddenly all she wanted to do was look him in the eye and find the stillness in his gaze again. The eye of the storm. Instead, she pulled her phone out of her back pocket and gave it to him. She hadn’t even realized he’d turned it off earlier.
    “The new phone is a pre-paid number, like I said. I got it with cash, so it’s not traceable to any name, and we can take the cost out of your paycheck if it’ll make you feel better. I programmed a couple of

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