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Dark Tide Rising

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Jake pushed the sunglasses up on his nose and let out a breath as he swiveled in his seat. It was a hot day and he'd been sitting there for a half hour, the Honda parked directly across the street from Cloak and Dagger Books. He wiped the sweat off of his forehead with his sleeve and tried to get comfortable.

A black BMW passed through his sightline, going too fast, but he didn't move an inch. Only when he heard the door of the bookstore open did he tense and turn his head – just enough to catch the entrance out of the corner of his eye. His gaze darted toward the rearview mirror, thinking he might get a better angle, but it wasn't, so he pivoted his head back left. Slowly.

Jake held his breath.

Watched Adrien walk Guy out of the bookstore. Guy Snowden, professor of the dark arts at the university. At least that's how Jake saw it. Tall. Lanky even, in a sinuous slithery way. Kind of delicate. With that long graying hair. Guy looked like a man who should wear a cape. Jake didn't laugh.

A boost of adrenaline shot through his system, and he coiled. Jake itched to spring the door and stride over and put his fingers on Adrien, around the nape of his neck maybe, or at the small of his back. He swallowed hard, and tried to contain the bile rising in his throat.

He steadied himself though, and breathed through it. Thought about Kate and his family. His job, damnit, his whole damn life. And he felt the dark tide take him and the waves pull him farther and farther from shore. Closed his eyes to the sight of Adrien and Guy and almost, almost allowed the water to close over him.

Instead, Jake moved his hand down to grip the meat of his own thigh. Curled his fingers into the flesh when he saw Adrien lean up to kiss Guy goodbye.

Jake took a breath. And then another, more deeply. He loosened the iron grip he had on his leg.

Damnit. Damn it all to fucking hell.

He put the car in drive, tapped the gas pedal, and pulled away from the curb knowing that he had just made the biggest fucking mistake of his life.