There’s a serial killer on the loose, or so Elijah and Zeke have been told. Zeke has spent his life working as part of a secret organization tracking and trying to put an end to the sporadic murders of the man who ruined his life. When he rescues Elijah from a murder scene, he takes it upon himself to be his protector. But Elijah doesn’t need his protection. In fact, he's not at all what Zeke expected.
As they are forced to put their trust in one another and find comfort in their growing companionship, Zeke struggles to suppress his feelings. After an attack on their safe house causes them to retreat to Zeke’s agency, all the lies they have been living start to unravel.
Will they learn the truth before it’s too late? Or will they trust the wrong people and lose the chance to remember what happened last time they tried to escape and who really brought them together and destroyed both their lives?
NOTE: This book includes suicidal references and actions, self-harm, and depictions of disordered eating.
Zeke turns around immediately as the flashing of the car’s hazard lights grabs his attention. He walks cautiously towards the car, then takes out his gun and raises it.
“Show time. Get out of the car, quickly,” Elijah’s captor orders.
Feeling the wet knife pressed against his neck again, Elijah does as he’s told. His heart racing and the rapid rush of blood to his wrist making him feel lethargic already. “Zeke, watch out,” he shouts as soon as he sees Zeke running towards him.
“And the man of the hour finally arrives! Can’t believe I get to be the one to hand you over-” The man doesn’t even finish his sentence before a shot rings out.
The grip on Elijah’s shoulder becomes weak and then the weight of the body behind him falls against him, crippling him to the ground too.
“Get back in the car,” Zeke says, heaving the dead body off Elijah and rushing to the boot. He pulls out a bottle of gasoline from the decoy car and drags the body back to the enemy’s car. Elijah stumbles back to the car, getting in the passenger seat and holding his bleeding arm, trying to keep it above his heart to slow the flow, but he feels too weak. Zeke shoves the body in the driver’s seat of the other car, covers it with gasoline and throws a match at it. As the car bursts into flames, Zeke runs back and gets in the driver seat of the car Elijah is waiting in.
Elijah stares at the burning car, mortified. “Did you just light him on fire?”
“I shot him first, so it’s not like he’s alive to feel it, anyway.” Zeke starts the car and starts driving away from the chaos of the night. “I told you to leave. What the hell were you thinking?”
Elijah groans. “I wanted to help. A thank you would be nice.”
“You put your life at risk against my orders and you want me to thank you for that? You could have died Elijah. Do you understand how stupid that risk was?” Zeke snaps.
“It helped though, didn’t it? Besides, I might die yet the way I’m going.” Elijah moves his hand from his bloodied wrist that he’s becoming too weak to keep holding tight. Zeke glances over and his eyes widen.
“Jesus fucking Christ, Eli. Are you okay?” Zeke pulls over and lifts Elijah’s arm to inspect the injury.
Elijah gulps back the fear and gives a single nod, then takes a deep, shaky breath and lets it out slowly. He feels like he’s going into shock seeing how much blood he’s losing.
“Fuck. You’ll bleed out before we make it there, so I have to deal with this now.” Zeke pops open the glove box and retrieves a small first aid kit that seems ridiculously inadequate for the injury Elijah has. Zeke turns on the light inside the car and opens the kit, grabbing out a tourniquet and wrapping it tightly above the open wound to slow the bleeding.
“Zeke.” Elijah’s breathing is lethargic and heavy, his entire body aching with a weakness he’s never felt before.
“You’ll be fine,” Zeke says as he pulls on some sterile gloves and opens a small bottle of alcohol to sterilize the wound. “This will hurt. Hold my hand and squeeze it if you need to.”
Elijah clings to Zeke’s hand and throws his head back. Tears from the pain silently roll down his cheeks as Zeke pours the alcohol over the open wound. Zeke uses a sterile wad of gauze to dab the blood clear from the cut to see how deep and long it is.
Zeke takes Elijah’s hand and places it against his neck. “I need to report to headquarters, don’t speak, but press your fingers here,” he orders. Elijah pushes his fingers against the scar on Zeke’s neck as hard as he can considering how weak he feels. “Hi. There’s been a safety breach at my house, about five men dead, a few tranquilized, requiring evidence clean up. I’m on my way into the facility with an injured companion. Knife wound to his left lower arm about four inches long and bleeding profusely, will require stitches and a possible blood transfusion.” While Zeke is talking, he is working at covering the wound and wrapping Elijah’s arm with compression bandages. “Do you know your blood type?” he asks, looking at Elijah.
Elijah shakes his head.
“Unknown blood type. Check his parents’ records. They were case eight-nine-two-eight. Our ETA is seventeen minutes. Get Corey to meet me at the third entrance.” Zeke finishes bandaging Elijah’s arm and moves his hand away from his neck.
“We’re going to your work?” Elijah asks, surprised. “Won’t you get in trouble when they find out about me?”
“I’ll handle it.” Zeke shrugs and pulls out a pair of the handcuffs, putting one on Elijah’s wrist and the other on the handle above the car window to keep the blood flow above his heart. “Now, I’m sorry about this, but it’s for the best, okay? I’ll wake you when we get there.”
Before Elijah gets a moment to react, Zeke takes the tranquilizer Elijah had dropped, shooting it into his thigh and sending him into peaceful darkness.