Crave (Talon Security #1)

By: Megan O Brien

PROLOGUE

My pencil flew over the blank paper as the words stitched themselves together into the elusive chorus I’d been chasing for days. I plucked at my guitar strings, humming the melody I hoped would work with the words I’d written.

The dull ache in my neck and back bordered on pain and I forced myself up and into a stretch. I’d been at it for hours. Why my creativity only ever seemed to flow while I sat on the floor was beyond me.

“Sam!” my roommate Caden hollered from the other room. “Are we out of peanut butter?”

I laughed, shaking my head. Caden was like a big kid most of the time. He was also one of my closest friends.

“Samantha!”

I wandered out to the kitchen, finding him searching through our pantry as though he could conjure a meal if he studied the bare shelves hard enough. “No need to ‘Samantha’ me.” I rolled my eyes.

He only pulled out my full name when he was desperate. And Caden really only got desperate about one thing: food.

“If you finished it and put an empty container back in the pantry, then yes, we’re out of peanut butter,” I answered him dryly.

“Shit,” he mumbled. “I have to get to work.” He gave me his best beseeching expression, complete with wide puppy-dog eyes.

I sighed. “Let me see what I can rustle you up.”

“Thanks, you’re the best.” He grinned.

“You working late tonight?” I asked as I busied myself whipping him up a quick meal.

As owner of a successful tattoo shop, Caden often worked late, especially on weekends.

“Probably.” He nodded, his eyes on his phone as he fired off a few texts. “Thanks,” he murmured gratefully a few minutes later when I placed a quesadilla in front of him.

“No sweat. Are you going to stay with Danika again tonight?”

Cade had been staying at his girlfriend’s house more often than not. A large part of me worried that he was putting any plans of moving in with her off because of me. With our other roommate, who was also Caden’s older brother, Sid, being gone half the time, and my best friend and former roommate, Piper, having moved to Nevada, I was alone a lot of the time. That didn’t mean it was Caden’s responsibility to take care of me though.

He shrugged. “Probably. What have you got going for tonight?”

“Wild plans, my friend. I want to try to finish that song and then I’ve got a hot date with a Law & Order marathon.”

He cocked his head to the side. “So you’re going to sit here and work on the depressing-ass song I heard you fucking around with all day and then sit alone and watch crime shows?” he verified.

I shrugged. “Yep, sounds about right.”

He rolled his eyes. “Sam, let’s be real—you’re waiting on Sid like you always do when he’s been gone.”

“No, I just want to stay in tonight,” I answered defensively.

It was a lie and we both knew it.

He groaned. “Living with you two is getting fucking exhausting,” he grumbled.

“Isn’t it time you got to work?” I suggested with mock sweetness.

He sighed. “Thanks for the grub,” he replied, stuffing the rest of his food in his mouth. “Catch you later.”

“Later.” I waved, watching as he grabbed his jacket and headed out the door.

“Come by the shop later if you get bored!” he hollered as he slammed the door behind him.

Really, he meant if I got lonely.

Caden was looking out for me as usual.

I wandered back to my room and grabbed my guitar. I tried to pick up where I’d left off, but as so often happened with songwriting, my creativity was a fickle thing. It came and went with an unpredictability that could be beyond frustrating. Even when I desperately wanted to write, when I knew it would soothe me to stitch inner turmoil into a song, communicating in a way I wasn’t good at otherwise, I’d never been able to force it.

Music had always been a constant, so honest in its volatility. I needed that now more than ever, with everything feeling like it was changing so quickly. I sighed, setting my guitar down and abandoning it for the night in search of a warm blanket to curl up with.

When his key turned in the lock a few hours later, my heart quickened its pace as I fought the urge to run to the door. Instead, I poked my head up from the couch, watching silently as he set his duffel bag down beside the door.

Sid.

Dressed in head-to-toe black, his heavy work boots sounded against the floorboards as he walked further into the room. His black T-shirt showcased the colorful tattoos running up the expanse of both of his muscular arms. When his electric-blue eyes landed on me, a warm smile lit his handsome face.

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