In this exclusive excerpt from New York Times bestselling author Kyra Davis’ new novel Dangerous Alliance, Adonica is surprised and taken aback when Lander shows up on her doorstep uninvited, wanting to come in.
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As I walk home from the subway station I find that I feel more delicate than I normally do. The gray-black sky and littered streets have a surreal quality. Things are changing, although I can’t quite put my finger on what those changes are. I pass Mary, a homeless woman I often talk to. She puts her finger against her lips and holds up an open coloring book. It’s a picture of a child, deep in sleep. Mary has colored part of the nightgown that covers the girl’s chest red, and that red seems to spill onto the blankets and then to the floor. Her heart is bleeding.
I take a Clif Bar out of my purse and place it on the ground in front of her. She closes her hand around it, offering me a wide, yellow-toothed grin. “You’re a good girl. I bet your mama’s proud of you.”
“She used to be,” I say quietly. “A long time ago.”
“I like talking to you,” Mary says as she drops the Clif Bar into her lap, “when it’s not so close to bedtime.”
Before I can respond her eyes turn back to the picture. She begins to rock back and forth slowly, her voice rising in song. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.”
It’s not like Mary to brush me off, but as I said, tonight everything feels a little strange . . . a little off. I back away, unnerved by the song and the bleeding-heart girl.
And I don’t see him until I’m almost at my building. He’s standing by the stairs, on the street, one hand in his pocket, posture relaxed. The dim streetlights pick out the natural highlights of gold that ebb and flow through his straight brown hair.
His eyes are already set on me; he must have been watching me approach for some time. There’s no escaping him.
“You don’t belong here,” I say when I’m within hearing distance.
“I don’t really belong anywhere,” Lander says mildly, “and I told you, I’m going to look out for you. It wasn’t an offer or a suggestion.”
I shake my head, look around the street nervously. I’ve never invited Lander here. I’ve never even told him where I live.
“As you can see,” I say tersely, “I’m fine.”
“Only if you have a loose definition of the word.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
He steps forward, into my space, unnerving me the way he always does. “What’s wrong, Adoncia?” he whispers. He raises his hand, traces the curvature of my ear with his finger. Before Lander I didn’t know how sensitive I was there, how just a touch can make my heart speed up a bit, just enough to warm me.
“Talk to me,” he says.
But I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t prepared to see him here tonight . . . I wasn’t prepared to ever see him here. I infiltrated his world with manipulations and seductions, but I never imagined he might infiltrate mine.