Home > Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(2)

Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(2)
Author: Jackie May

An unfamiliar car is parked on the other side of the street beneath a lamp. My creepy neighbor, Xavier, and one of his friends are hanging out in front of it. Xavier is leaning against the hood and peels away from it as if he’s been waiting for me. My stomach churns.

I grew up in the foster system since I was six years old. Some of the families I was placed with were nice and genuinely wanted to help. The last family I was with when I turned eighteen wasn’t. The wife worked all the time, leaving me with her drunk of a husband who couldn’t keep his hands to himself. I got the hell out the day I turned eighteen, but unfortunately that led to me taking an apartment in a slumerific building in the worst part of Detroit. I’ve grown up here, so I’m used to it, but lately I’ve had a problem with my neighbor Xavier.

Technically, Xavier’s dad is my neighbor. He happens to be my landlord, but I don’t see him much. Xavier, on the other hand, is around all the time now. He just started his third year at Wayne State University. He lives in the dorms, but he was home all summer and doesn’t seem to want to go back now that classes have started. He’s got more interest in me than school.

Pretending not to see him, I turn toward the apartments and take off at a brisk walk. If I can just make it inside my place, I’ll be safe.

“Hey, Nora!”

His voice, though innocent and cheerful, makes my skin crawl. Every time he touches me, I’m momentarily pulled into his head. I hear his thoughts, feel his intentions toward me. His disgusting mind terrifies me.

I pick up my pace and don’t stop until his hand grabs my arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Instantly, I’m flooded with his feelings and intentions. The images that flash in my mind make me shudder. He’s not just perverted; he’s twisted. The things he plans to do to me are degrading, painful, and sick. He prefers his women to feel like victims. He gets off on their fear.

A small squeak escapes me. “Xavier!” I gasp, clutching my chest as I feign surprise. “Hey. What are you doing here?”

My heart races as I glance down the street. I’m not close enough. Even if I could break away from him and make a run for it, I wouldn’t make it to my apartment. He’d catch me.

Xavier’s eyes narrow, and the side of his mouth twitches as if he’s suppressing a smirk. He’s surprised me. He knows I’m panicking on the inside, and he’s enjoying it. “I was waiting for you. Pops said it’s your birthday. I thought I’d take you out to celebrate.”

I feel his pleasure as he says the words. I sense his arousal and excitement. He’s waited for this since the first time he saw me. He thinks I’m a virgin because I don’t date and don’t even talk to guys, if I can help it. He’s both wrong and right. Technically, I’m not a virgin. But at the same time, I have never experienced the act of making love. What my first foster father used to do to me doesn’t count.

Anyway, Xavier knows there’s a lot I haven’t experienced, and he can’t wait to be the first one to please me that way—not that he actually could. He especially likes the fact that it’s my birthday. He feels as if he’s giving me some kind of amazing gift.

He flashes me a smile that anyone else in the world would find charming. He’s a handsome guy. He’s a tall, lean black guy with a gorgeous smile, golden-caramel eyes, and an athletic build from the vast amounts of sports he plays. Despite his good looks, I find him repulsive, and he knows it. It drives him crazy.

“Sorry, Xavier. I’m not feeling so well tonight. Maybe another time.”

His jaw clenches so tight I’m amazed I don’t hear his teeth grinding. He knows what I’m doing. I’ve been successfully dodging him for weeks. In fact, that’s probably why he was waiting at the bus stop instead of closer to home. He wouldn’t be able to force me out of my apartment once I was safely locked inside, and he knows I’d never go with him willingly.

People leave behind psychic imprints on the things they touch. Thanks to my gift, I’m able to pick up those imprints. The stronger a person’s emotion at the time they touch an object, the longer the imprint stays, and the more vivid the vision I receive.

Xavier swiped my key from his father’s collection and started breaking into my apartment a few weeks ago. He left behind enough imprints to give me nightmares for the rest of my life. I found the cameras he tried to hide in my ceiling fan, on my bookshelf, and in the vent above the bathroom shower. Last week I went to get a drink from the two-liter of soda in the fridge, and I caught a glimpse of the roofie he’d slipped in it.

I saw the suspicion in his eyes when I came out of my apartment later that evening with the empty bottle and wasn’t the least bit drugged. He doesn’t know how I’ve been avoiding his traps, but he knows I’ve been doing it intentionally, and it makes him angry. As angry as the fact that I haven’t fallen for his charm. Tonight it seems he’s reached his breaking point. “But it’s your birthday,” he insists.

I shrug. “I’ve never really celebrated my birthday.”

His smile returns, wider than before. The victorious gleam in his eyes churns my stomach. “All the more reason to make sure this one is special. You’re twenty-two, right? That’s as good an age as any to celebrate.”

“Sorry. I had a long day at work today, and I’m exhausted. I’m going to have to pass. Thanks, though.”

I try to maneuver around him, but he grabs me by the waist and steers me toward his waiting friend. “I don’t think so.”

My heart starts racing. I dig my feet into the ground. When I try to escape him, his grip becomes painfully tight. “You’re not ditching me again,” he snaps. I startle at the venom in his voice, and he immediately calms himself. “There’s no way out of this, Nora. You’re all mine tonight.”

I don’t need my gift to recognize the double meaning in his words. When I glare at him, his cheeks flush with anger, and I suddenly feel a knife poking in my side. “Don’t embarrass me. You’ll regret it if you do.”

Thanks to the knife, I have no choice but to go with him. I know he won’t hesitate to use it. His thoughts prove that.

Xavier smiles at his friend. The guy nods back and slips into the front of the car while Xavier yanks me over by the arm and forces me into the backseat. “Hey, Parker, you don’t mind playing chauffeur, right? My girl wants me to sit with her.”

His knife hidden again, Xavier slides in after me. He looks at the guy in the driver’s seat. “Parker, this is Nora.” He points to Parker and says, “Nora, this is my new friend, Parker.”

Xavier looks a lot like all the guys I saw on the bus. His hair is hidden under a do-rag, and he’s wearing clothes ten sizes too big for him. It’s a typical look for guys in Detroit. Parker, though…he’s different. He’s a little older, maybe late twenties, and he looks like a GQ model. On top of the nice outfit that fits him like clothes are supposed to fit a man, he’s got dark, short stylish hair; beautiful alabaster skin; and striking blue eyes. He’s gorgeous. Too bad he’s hanging out with Xavier.

Parker nods at me and then starts the car. “It’s nice to meet you, Nora. You’re even lovelier than Xavier said you were.”

I’m more thrown off by the manners than the compliment, but I don’t have time to dwell on it, because Xavier snakes his fingers up my thigh and says, “And tonight she’s all mine.”

I shove his hand away. “That’s not happening.”

Parker glances at me in the rearview mirror with shrewd eyes while Xavier chuckles and slips his arm over my shoulder, dragging me into his side. “Nora loves to play hard to get,” he says to Parker, “but I’m feeling lucky tonight.”

He pulls me even closer and pushes his free hand beneath my shirt. I try to squirm away, but he’s holding me too tightly. He brushes his lips along the length of my neck and says, “You know you want it, baby. I’ll have you begging me for it before the night is over.”

He laughs as if he’s just said the world’s funniest joke.

“Get off me.”

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