The wait is finally over! Forbidden Temptation is live everywhere! Thank you all for your patience while you waited for Kenzie and Sawyer’s story. We hope it was worth it.
MACKENZIE SWANSON WAS driving as if her life depended on it.
Maybe because it did.
She looked in the rearview mirror to make sure she wasn’t being followed and then glanced down at the passed out cat-shifter lying in the front seat with his head on her lap. What in the hell am I going to do? And why am I stuck with Sawyer again? Why couldn’t I have been kidnapped with some sex god instead? Thankfully, she didn’t have to pretend to be his wife anymore.
To say they had a complicated past would be an understatement.
But she needed to put that aside for now because it wasn’t important. Kenzie and Sawyer had just escaped from their kidnappers after being abducted and locked up for ten days—or maybe it was eleven. All the days had started to run together after a while. Now, they were on the run. If she didn’t need Sawyer’s help to get back home, she’d probably tell him that they’d be better off parting ways.
They’d finally escaped their kidnappers, but they had been shot at. They were driving a stolen vehicle with a possible GPS tracker. They had no cell phone, money, or IDs, and they had no idea where they were. The icing on the cake was that Sawyer had been drugged and smacked in the head, and he was now unconscious.
Kenzie was trying really hard not to panic, but without her cell phone, she didn’t know anyone’s number. Stupid electronic age. She had her fingers crossed that Sawyer would know someone’s number. Knowing him, he probably had every number memorized, and for privacy, he hadn’t even thought of putting their numbers into his phone. She snorted. He probably deleted his call history after every call, too.
Because of Sawyer’s uptight ways, his very nature gave Kenzie hope that they would be on their way home soon. After Sawyer woke up, they would find a public phone somewhere, and he could call someone to pick them up.
First though, they needed to ditch the car that she was driving. Not only was Kenzie worried about it having a GPS tracker, but it also had bullet holes from when they had been shot at. She was driving a cop magnet. That might sound good to anyone else, but how would she explain to the cops that Sawyer and she had been accidentally kidnapped? Being mistaken for the Minnesota Pride alpha’s son and a vampire princess wasn’t information she could volunteer. Of course, she wouldn’t have to give them all the details, but she was pretty sure they would still investigate. When she had been gifted the knowledge of vampires and shifters, she had promised to keep the secrets.
Right now, she needed to find someplace safe to go until Sawyer woke up, so she could make sure he was okay and then ditch the car. But where in the hell was somewhere safe? She had no idea where they were. She didn’t even know if they were in Minnesota anymore. When they had been kidnapped, she had been unconscious for part of the trip, so she didn’t know how long they had driven or what direction they had headed before they had made it to the house where Sawyer and she had been held captive.
At the moment, they were in the middle of BFE, out in the country on some lonely two-lane highway, with a fourth of a tank of gas. Oh, yeah, and it was November. They needed to find somewhere to go and soon, or they could add freezing to death as another thing to worry about.
Shit, shit, shit. They were so screwed.
Kenzie wasn’t a very emotional girl. She didn’t cry at sad movies or books, and when boyfriends had broken up with her, she’d either blow it off or get pissed. But frustration was a whole other thing. If she was really and truly frustrated, that was when the tears would come. Currently, she was frustrated, and she could feel the burn at the back of her eyes, which only made her more upset. Crying wasn’t going to save them.
After about five minutes of taking calming breaths, she saw a sign for the next town—Hudson, Wisconsin. Had they finally caught a break? Her whole body sagged with relief. Maybe Sawyer and she had finally run into some good luck because her brother lived in Hudson. She could simply go to Bastian’s house, dump the stolen car, wait for Sawyer to wake up, and use her brother’s cell to call whomever Sawyer thought of first. Then, bam, they’d be rescued. Their ordeal was almost over.
After she made it to Bastian’s street, she drove around the block a few times to make sure that she hadn’t missed someone following them before she approached the house and went up the driveway. She sprinted from the car to open the garage door with the keypad on the side of the house. The garage was empty, but she had expected that since her brother should be at work. Then, she quickly pulled the car inside and closed the door.
Turning off the engine, she sighed. Step one of the plan—finding someplace safe—was done, but step two—getting Sawyer into the house—was going to be difficult. Sawyer was over six feet and had to weigh over two hundred pounds. She was five-four and weighed one hundred ten pounds. She couldn’t get him inside even if she dragged him. He’d been drugged and knocked out, and she had no idea if she would be able to wake him. It wouldn’t be ideal, but if he remained unconscious, she would have to leave him on the garage floor while she got rid of the car. He hadn’t moved since they got away, so the floor was looking like it might be her only option.
She stared down at Sawyer, asleep in her lap. He looked so peaceful, and she felt a little bad that she would have to wake him. She brushed his tawny hair off his face and neck before picking his head up and softly setting it down on the edge of the driver’s seat.
She climbed out of the vehicle and opened the door to the house, so there wouldn’t be anything in their path from the car to the house once she woke him.
She opened the passenger door and poked his leg. “Sawyer. Sawyer.”
This time, she shook his arm. “Sawyer.”
She leaned in and shook his shoulders.
Finally, she reached into the car and lightly smacked him on the face while trying not to fall on top of him. “Sawyer, wake up.”
“Sawyer, you need to wake up, so I can help you into the house. It’s cold out here.”
She went back around to the driver’s side since his head was lying on the driver’s seat. She sat down on the outside half and gave him a few more pats on the face since that had seemed to get a response out of him. “Sawyer, you need to get up. Now.”
“Mmm,” he muttered again. This time, he turned his head toward her and mumbled a word that sounded like make or Nate.
“You big oaf, will you please get up?” she hissed.
He opened his eyes.
Finally. Apparently, calling him names had worked.
She leaned her head over, so he could see her better. He looked at her with his amber eyes and smiled, as in an everything-is-hunky-dory-and-life-is-good kind of smile. Sawyer rarely smiled and never a smile filled with such happiness and contentment. And he certainly didn’t smile at her.
Something wasn’t right.
She tried to see his pupils since he had been drugged and knocked out, but the garage was too dark to assess them.
“Hey there, big guy. Can you get up for me, so we can go into the house?”
“Sure,” he said with a dopey smile, still lying there without even attempting to get up.
Sure? Now, she knew something was wrong.
This was not the Sawyer that she knew. Sawyer was not passive. Sawyer was not cheerful. And Sawyer certainly did not agree with anything she said.
The sooner she got him into the house, the better.
“Okay, big boy, let’s get you up.”
She exited to go to Sawyer’s side of the vehicle again. As she walked around to the open passenger door, he stared at her the whole time through the windshield, almost as if he were in a daze. He was starting to creep her out a little because he was never like this.
When she reached him, she got his legs out of the car and grabbed his hands. “I’m going to help you sit up. On the count of three, you push, and I’ll pull, okay?”
“Okay,” he answered.
She wasn’t sure if he’d even heard what she said.
“Okay.” She nodded. “One, two, three, and go!”
She yanked on his arms, hard, and it appeared that Sawyer was trying to help, but holy shit was the man heavy. She got him into a sitting position, and his feet were on the ground, but it hadn’t been easy. It took another ten minutes to get him into the house, and despite the cold garage, she had started to break a sweat.
“Let’s go to the couch,” she told him.
Thankfully, it was cleared off. Her brother was a bachelor, and even though he was in his early thirties, he still lived like he was ten years younger. After she helped Sawyer get to the couch, she looked around and noticed the place was remarkably clean. She hoped it didn’t mean what she thought it meant.
She went over to the thermostat and saw that the temperature was turned down to sixty-two degrees. That wasn’t good either. She turned the heat up to seventy before she used the bathroom. She prayed her brother’s girlfriend, Anna, had left some feminine products there.
Kenzie was in luck. She was relieved to get rid of her makeshift pad. Thank God that she was on birth control, that her periods were really light and would only last a few days, and that she was already on day three.
After she was done with the bathroom, she rummaged around her brother’s coat closet for a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Once she found a spot to leave the car, she’d have to walk home. To say she wasn’t looking forward to freezing her ass off while wondering if someone was out there, planning to kill her, would be an understatement.
She looked back at Sawyer and tried to ignore her irritation. She knew it wasn’t his fault that he’d been drugged and injured, but it wasn’t fair that she would have to do this all on her own either. She could really use his help right now.
After finding everything she needed, she returned to his side to check on him before she left. His eyes were closed, but he didn’t seem to be sleeping, so she nudged him.
He opened his eyes and looked at her. She could see his pupils now, and they didn’t appear to be dilated. That was a good sign, yet something was up. Even injured, she couldn’t believe he wasn’t taking charge, getting things done, and bossing her around.
She’d have to worry about it later though. If she had to deal with one more piece of bad news right now, she might explode. “I need to go and get rid of the car, but I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
She put on her brother’s winter gear while Sawyer watched.
“Do you think you’ll be oka
y while I’m gone?”
He just blinked and stared at her hands while she put on the gloves.
“Sawyer, did you hear what I said? I need to get rid of the car. Are you going to be okay?”
He slowly raised his head and looked into her eyes. His brow furrowed, he asked, “Who’s Sawyer?”
*****“Are you fucking kidding me? This cannot be happening right now,” the sexy blonde human in front of him screeched. She pointed a finger at him. “You’re Sawyer!”
She grabbed on to the side of the bulky hat she was wearing, pulled it down over her face, and screamed into it. He winced because, even though the sound was muffled, it hurt his sensitive ears, and his head was pounding with one fierce headache.
After she was done yelling, she reached up to the top of her head and yanked the hat completely off. Her brown eyes flashed with a mix of annoyance and disbelief. “This can’t be happening. I needed you so that you could call someone and get us out of this mess. Now, you’re telling me that you’ve lost your memory? We are so screwed.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again to look at him. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
She was obviously upset, and he didn’t like seeing her that way, so he tried to recall…anything.
“Uh…waking up in the car and you bringing me inside.” He looked around. “We don’t live here, right?” He picked up on the scent of a human male and the fainter scent of another human female, but it didn’t smell like either the blonde or him, so he didn’t think that this was their home, but he wanted to be sure.
She looked at him like he was crazy. “No, we don’t live here. We”—she gestured between the two of them—“don’t live anywhere. This is my brother’s house.”
He was confused because he recognized what his body was telling him.
“Sawyer, what else do you remember?”
He sniffed the air around them.
She sighed. “Sawyer?”
He sniffed his upper arm.
“Sawyer?” She snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Sawyer!”
Sawyer? Oh, yeah, that was him. He met her chestnut eyes. “What?”
“What do you remember?”
“Like I said, you waking me in the car, coming inside, and telling me my name is Sawyer. What’s your name?”
“Kenzie,” he repeated. He liked the sound of it on his tongue. “Kenzie, is there any way I can get something for my head? It’s killing me.”
“Oh, shit. Yes. Sorry,” she said. She threw her hat on the couch and took off her gloves as well.
Then, she ran into the other room. By what little he could see of it, it was the kitchen.
She returned with a bottle of water and some medication. “So, your head really hurts?” she asked as she passed him the H2O and pills.
He sat up and immediately got light-headed. He waited for the dizziness to pass and swallowed the tablets down. “Yeah.”
She took the seat next to him. “Okay, so you don’t remember anything before now. But do you know anything?”
He set the bottle of water on the table next to the couch. “What do you mean by, know anything?”
She bit her lip. “Um…do you know what you are?” She touched her chest. “Do you know what I am? Do you know that we’re different?”
“Do you mean, do I know that I’m a cat-shifter and that you’re a human?”
“Yes.” She sighed with relief. “Thank God you remember something.”
He was glad that he’d done something to make her happy. He liked her happy. He grabbed her hand, brought the back of it to his lips and nose, and inhaled, trying to determine if he was right about his earlier assessment.
“Uh…what are you doing?”
“I’m smelling you.” He turned her hand around so that he could sniff her palm.
“I can see that. Why are you smelling me?”
Because her lemony aroma had only a trace of his earthy scent on top of it. “I’m just trying to confirm what you are to me.” He was definitely confused now because his scent was deep in her pores yet not as strong as it should be. Something didn’t add up because either–
She yanked her hand away. “What in the hell are you talking about?” She stood up and grabbed her hat and gloves. “You know what? Don’t even tell me. I don’t have time for this right now. I need to go and dump the car.” She pointed a finger at him. “You stay here. Do not go anywhere. Don’t even go outside. I have enough to deal with, without having to look for a cat-shifter with amnesia. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
It raised his hackles a little that she was talking to him like he was a child, but he could see that she was under a lot of stress at the moment, so he didn’t push her. They could discuss things after she returned. He really needed to find out what had happened before he lost his memory.
He wished that he could help her more right now, but with his headache and vertigo problem, he knew it would be better if he stayed back. “I understand that you are worried right now and you need to take care of some business, but we really need to talk when you get back. You need to tell me everything that you know.”
She put on her hat and gloves. “I agree. We can talk as soon as I get back.”
“Sorry you have to do this by yourself.” He shook his head. “I should be the one doing it.”
A small smile reached her lips. “There’s a bit of the Sawyer I know and hate.”
Hate? She had to be joking because how could she hate–
Before he realized that she’d even left, the door slammed, knocking the rest of his thought right out of his