Hannah Martin’s dogs were barking, and with a sigh she wiggled and stretched her toes as she loaded up her tray. This is just a means to an end, she repeated her mantra and reminded herself that once she had enough saved up for her classes she wouldn't have to work another double shift. The bells above the door jingled signaling a new customer, so Hannah quit the pity party for one and quickened her pace.
“Welcome to Joe’s! I’ll be right with you,” Hannah called out as she set hot dishes down on the table. “My name is Hannah. We’re a little short-staffed tonight, so I do apologize ahead of time. I brought extra napkins and two refills. Is there anything else I can get for you?” she asked her customers with a smile.
“This looks great, thank you,” the gentleman assured her.
Hannah turned toward the hostess podium and stopped short, her heart dropping into her stomach like a lead weight. She’d hoped to never in her life set eyes on Adam Atwood again, yet here he stood in all his towering, chiseled glory. She couldn’t help noticing how his t-shirt strained as it stretched over taut, bulging muscles, or his well-formed, denim-covered thighs. She was irritated by how good he looked and annoyed with herself that she’d noticed.
Skank. His voice echoed through her memories, and that was all it took for the familiar humiliation and anger to wash over her. She was quick to remember his handsome facade hid something ugly inside. He’d befriended her that first day of school, only to cut her down in front of his real friends. Hannah’s chest constricted with old hurt, but she willed her legs to move and forced a smile on her face. Damned if she was going let him know he affected her.
Adam’s eyes widened, and his jaw clenched so hard the muscle bulged and ticked. She was curious about his shocked expression as she grabbed two menus from the hostess station. She took a cleansing breath and reminded herself she didn’t give a shit. High school was over, and he was just another customer.
“Hello, right this way.” She was relieved her voice was confident. After they were seated, she handed them their menus, but neither man acknowledged her. They just sat there, glaring at each other. Uncomfortable and unsure what to do, Hannah nervously cleared her throat. “Can I get you gentlemen something to drink?” She really hoped they were just ordering coffee.
“Can we sit somewhere else?” Adam gritted out.
“Um, of course. Right this way.” Hannah was taken aback. Their booth was perfectly fine, but she grabbed their menus with a smile before she led them across the dining room to another table. She waited for them to sit before she again handed them their menus and took out her notepad.
“What can I—” Hannah started.
“Isn’t this someone else’s section?” Adam interrupted her. “Can’t we get a different waitress? I’d prefer if someone else waited on us.”
Is he for real? Hannah blanched when she saw that he was. Hannah’s eyes watered, and she quickly turned and walked away from the table. She didn’t know what she’d ever done to deserve this hatred or this malice Adam delighted in directing towards her, but it hurt. Even after all these years, it still fucking hurt. Why is he such an asshole? Hannah wiped her tears and quickly walked through the kitchen and out the back door, exiting the restaurant. She relished the sound as the door slammed shut behind her, wishing she could have slammed it in Adam’s face. God, she hated confrontations. Why couldn’t they have gone somewhere else to eat? Hannah took a deep breath and exhaled loudly.
She stepped out into the parking lot, and, save for a few parked cars, the lot was void of people. Breathing deep, Hannah closed her eyes and rolled her head, letting the cool air calm her rattled nerves. Hannah’s heart jumped into her throat when strong arms suddenly wrapped around her from behind, squeezing her tight. Fear threatened to overwhelm when she was lifted off the ground, but she managed to kick out. When she failed to connect with her attacker she took a deep breath, but a large hand covered her mouth and muffled her scream.
“Don’t fucking move.” Warm breath hissed in her ear. Disbelief shocked Hannah into submission. “I don’t want to hurt you,” Adam Atwood whispered.
She swallowed hard when he nuzzled her neck and was bewildered by the sudden need that pooled in her middle. She should be frightened, but instead her nipples pebbled and her pussy gushed. She tried to move her head and free her mouth, but he held her immobile.
“Sh. I’ve got you.” He ran with her across the parking lot and set her on her feet once they reached the driver side of his truck. “Don’t run.” He kept one arm wrapped around her as he quickly fished out his keys from his pocket.
Hannah’s heart beat wildly and she thought about running, but something compelled her to stay. She stared wide-eyed when metal groaned as if he’d almost ripped the door off its hinges. She sucked in a breath when he picked her up, but he gently set her inside and pushed her along the bench seat before jumping in after her. Adam started the truck, put it in reverse, and floored it. Hannah was thrown forward and had to reach out and brace herself against the dashboard. She wasn’t sure what to think when she saw a furious Mr. Atwood exit the diner and start to chase after them. His face was red as he ran and screamed for Adam to stop. Hannah couldn’t believe how fast Mr. Atwood was running, but before she could speak up she was tossed against the passenger side door when Adam cut the wheel.
“Shit! Hang on!” Adam called out to her.
Hannah was afraid the truck was going to flip, but he got them straightened out and on the road. He put the truck into drive, and she was thrown back against the seat as he floored it again. She looked back to see Mr. Atwood, but they quickly outpaced him on the open road. Once he was out of sight, she studied Adam warily. She was glad to be rid of Mr. Atwood—he scared the crap out of her—but she by no means trusted Adam. She hadn’t seen him since high school, and she’d hoped it had stayed that way.