that.” The smile did a little to bolster her raw nerves as Montana walked Quinn to the private elevator that led to her two-story penthouse. Her heart beat an erratic thump-thump-bang and she diligently ignored it, focusing on placing one foot in front of the other in the wicked pumps she still wore. Quinn allowed her to board the elevator first, then followed her in, the doors swishing closed sedately behind him. With a light jolt, they began ascending toward her apartment. Her gaze zeroed in on the lights on the operations panel as she tried to focus on anything but the large, imposing man at her side. Although she’d ridden in this elevator her entire life, it had never felt so…small. Or close. And why was her pulse thudding so loudly? She kept taking deep breaths, but all she managed to do was make her heart speed up, the rushing of her blood rumbling through her head in pounding waves. The air around her seemed to waver and the lights dimmed, the elevator awash in grayish light. The doors slid open and she reached out and… “Montana!” The world went all gray and fuzzy as Quinn wrapped his large arms around her, dragging her tight against his broad, reassuring chest. “Montana.” Her world tilted as those strong arms lifted her off the ground. The steady beat of his heart thumped against her ear as Quinn carried her across the room. Her housekeeper had left a few lights on as was her normal custom and the room held a soft, yellow glow as Quinn settled the two of them onto the couch. Montana still saw the room through that weird gray haze that surrounded her in the elevator, but at least her breath was calming, the tight wrap of Quinn’s arms around her body going a long way toward soothing her. “Shhh. It’s okay now. You need to calm down. You’re just in shock. It’s gone, Montana. The threat is gone.” One broad hand stroked her hair as the other ran down her back in large, soothing circles. “What was that thing?” “A bad man, nothing more.” “Two bad men.” When he didn’t answer, she added, “At my home and at the hotel. Two. And he’s still on the loose.” “You don’t need to worry about him. Either of them.” The pulse that had slowed under his soothing touch flared up again at the thought there were more bad people out there. If there were two, there could be more. Biding their time. Waiting. For her. “So even if it’s not him, there’s still a threat.” “Shhh. I’m going to find it and take care of it.” Before she could stop them—could even think to stop them—words began tumbling from her lips. “Why do they want me? I haven’t done anything. Really, I haven’t. I’m just me. I’m just living my life.” He continued crooning in her ear, the nonsense words a balm to her shattered nerves. “Come on, now. It’s fine. I’m going to find out what’s going on and I’m going to put a stop to it.” “All my life, I’ve tried to do right by people. Tried to be a good person.” “I know.” The husky timbre of his voice against her ear continued to comfort as his hands dragged over her back in warm, soothing strokes. Even though she didn’t want to move—didn’t want to give up the comforting circle of his arms—Montana shifted away and sat up. All her life she’d had to make do without the support of anyone. A stranger certainly wasn’t going to change that. Couldn’t change it. With a quick motion, she slid to the end of the couch, a cushion of distance between her and Quinn. “How do you know?” At his wide eyes and lack of response, she continued. “You don’t know me. For all you know, I’m a spoiled rich bitch who has pissed off any number of people. But I can tell you. Whatever is going on, I have no idea what it is. No idea why I’m being targeted.” “You brought up your mother before. Tell me more.” The hot, prickly heat of tears hit the back of her eyes as a tight constriction wrapped around her throat.