Luis' head moved slowly toward hers and Sheridan held her breath, expecting reality to crash in on her and reveal
it to be a fantasy. But no, Luis was actually going to kiss her...
Their lips met like a gentle whisper, his merely brushing hers for a split second. Then Luis kissed her again and
this time it was a real kiss, their lips pressed firmly together. Sheridan felt her knees go weak and she wrapped
her arms around him tightly, to avoid melting to the floor. He had kissed her before, on the wharf, in Julian's
office and in the jail in Boston, but those hadn't been like this. This kiss was soft and gentle, full of emotions
that she had never felt before from any kiss. She made a soft sound in the back of her throat and ran her hands
up to brush through his hair.
Luis returned her touch, his hands roaming over her back and sides as he continued to kiss her. He deepened the
kiss, a low sound, almost a growl, escaping as he did so.
Suddenly the kiss turned frantic, their hands moving over one another fervently and they clung to each other as
though their lives depended on it. Sheridan's hands slid under his shirt, her nails raking his back as she let
herself become completely immersed in the moment. She was shocked when Luis pulled back and leaned his forehead
against hers. They were both breathing deeply and trying to catch their breath.
Luis thought his heart was going to pound right out of his chest. He'd never experienced anything like that before...
anything that intense. Feelings that strong and raging scared him a little. He knew that if he hadn't pulled away
when he did he might not have been able to later. Her touch on his skin had been his undoing and it drove him wild.
He'd never lost control with a woman before, and the thought of losing it with Sheridan, the woman who he now knew
was the one, terrified him. If he ever hurt her or scared her he would never forgive himself.
He gazed into her beautiful blue eyes, seeing a mixture of desire and confusion. She didn't know why he'd stopped
and as he stared at her the desire faded and sadness took its place. He wondered what she was thinking and decided
she was regretting the kiss.
Sheridan returned his gaze and stifled a sigh. He had stopped because he realized who he was with. He'd merely
gotten caught up in the moment and the kiss and when it dawned on him that he was kissing Sheridan Crane it had
been like a bucket of ice water thrown on him. That was the only explanation that she could imagine. If he had
felt the same things she had during the kiss he never would've pulled away. She had been willing to give herself
to him right then and there and he had been completely unaffected. She took a deep breath to try and keep the tears
at bay and she moved away from him.
"I wonder where Hank is..." she said to break the silence in the room. Luis didn't answer right away.
When he did his voice sounded strange, as though he were distracted. "I don't know... I haven't heard anything
for a while." "Maybe he's gone." She said hopefully. Luis shook his head. "I doubt it. He's
not going to give up Sheridan. Whatever they are holding against him must be pretty terrible. I can't imagine that
he's doing this for the money alone."
Hank was, at that moment, talking to the Boss on the phone. He was practically whining into the receiver. "But
Boss... they are in a safe room. The damn bathroom has steel walls or something. The bullets won't penetrate..."
The Boss said "She should've been dead long before the cop came back." Hank was quick to defend himself,
trying to cover up the fact that he'd have had the job done if he hadn't been trying to rape his victim first.
"I know I should've had her... she's a tough woman. She knocked the gun away and then Luis showed up and they
got into the damn bathroom. There was nothing I could do sir."
"You listen to me dimwit... I want them dead... both of them! You are not to leave that house until they are!
I don't care if you shoot them or they starve to death in that damn bathroom! You just make sure they die!"
Hank made a weak agreement, one that the Boss apparently didn't think was sufficient. "You don't sound very
committed Bennett. Let me offer you a little extra incentive... if you leave that house while they are still alive
the Bennett clan will start to thin out... do you understand me?"
"Yeah..." Hank mumbled sadly. "Excuse me?" "Yes sir. Consider the job done." "I'll
consider it done when I see their obituaries in the morning paper." The Boss hung up and Hank stood there
staring at the dead phone. He threw the phone onto the sofa and swore. He'd known this was a bad situation before
he even started and it just kept getting worse. First he had to kill Sheridan, a woman he actually liked and wanted.
Now he has to kill Luis. His best buddy since grade school and he was going to shoot him down in cold blood.
The worst part of the whole thing was that he had no clue how he was going to do it. Shooting them wasn't even
a possibility unless he could get them out of the bathroom. Waiting for them to starve... ha... great idea the
Boss had. That would take weeks... time Hank just didn't have. The longer nobody heard from Luis and Sheridan the
better the chance that someone would come looking for them. What was Hank supposed to do? Kill half the town of
Harmony? Hank shook his head in frustration. He was going to get caught. Those were his choices... stay here and
get caught trying to kill them or run for it and have his family killed. There was no choice... not really. He
couldn't let anything happen to his nieces. He would just have to figure out a way to get the job done before he
got caught... that was all there was to it.
Sheridan sat on the floor at one end of the bathroom and Luis at the other. Their gazes kept meeting and skittering
away. She had never felt so uncomfortable with someone in her life. He looked every bit as uneasy, as though he
didn't know what to say to her. All she could hope was that he wouldn't apologize...
"Sheridan, I’m sorry..." The thought was still floating in her head as he spoke. She shook her head.
"Please don't Luis... don't apologize." her lip quivered. "I know you just got carried away. I know
it had nothing to do with me."
Luis was relieved that she realized that his stopping had nothing to do with her. If she thought he'd stopped because
he didn't want her... well, it was good that she didn't. "Great, I’m glad you understand." "Yeah,
I understand completely. I got carried away too... it didn't mean anything... hormones will do that."
Luis' heart thudded. It didn't mean anything? Was that what she said? He had been so sure there for a minute that
they had been in sync... that they were both feeling the same things. He forced a smile onto his face and replied,
"Great. We understand each other...we're on the same page... that's great." 'That's just great,' he thought.
'It meant nothing to her and everything to me... fabulous!'
Sheridan forced a smile too and nodded. " Yeah, the same page..." Inside she thought ' The same page?
We aren't even in the same book... I’m in a romance novel and he's in a playboy magazine...'
They sat there, deep in thought, both wondering how they were going to manage to keep their feelings from the other
while stuck here in a ten by ten foot room. They would have to guard their hearts carefully, because it would never
do if the other discovered the love they were feeling. The feelings would have to be guarded at all costs.
Hank was in the hallway, thinking about a way to drive them out... and he had a thought. He moved to the thermostat
at the end of the hall. There were no windows in the bathroom... he turned the dial all the way to the hottest
setting and smiled with satisfaction as he heard the furnace in the basement growl to a start. All he had to do
was keep the hallway cool enough so that the thermostat stayed below the setting and the furnace would run continuously.
He would sweat them out... water or no water, they couldn't stand heat like that forever.
He walked away with an evil grin on his face... he had them now... a couple hours and they would be begging for
him to shoot them.