Exclusive Excerpt from Last Loose End
by KR Allen
He dumped his ruck sack on the bed and washed the blood from his hands before heading over to Sean’s room. In front of the door he put his knuckles up to rap on the wood then realised that the skin was open. He glanced behind him and scooped up a small rock from the garden to use as a knocker. A moment later Sean opened the door, sweat glistening on his bare chest and arms and red face.
“Whoa. Are you okay?” Cole asked. Are you alone? he almost asked but bit his tongue in time. Sean stepped back to let him in. There was a towel in the middle of the floor. So yes, alone. Maybe.
“I was just doing some exercises, push ups, burpees, that sort of thing. I’d prefer to go for a run but that doesn’t seem practical right now.”
“True. I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“No, I was almost finished anyway. I just need a shower.” He scooped the towel off the floor and ran it over his face and hair before hanging it around his neck. A sweat bead dislodged from the bottom of his throat and ran down the centre of Sean’s chest between the pectoral muscles and Cole watched its progress intently before realising what he was doing.
“I’ve never seen you exercise before.” He said to cover his confusion.
“You’ve known me for a week and there hasn’t exactly been the time or opportunity lately.”
“True. Anyway, I won’t take long. I just wanted to let you know that I went for a walk and ran into another guy. This one was for me though, I think, more than for you.”
Sean turned away in exasperation.
“How do they keep finding us? The tracker is dead supposedly. We’ve changed our appearances. What more do we have to do?”
“These people are smart, Sean, and resourced. I’d say your guys have been hired to take you out specifically. My guys are after whoever they can get to first. Mind you this guy said he had been sent for me plain and simple.”
At the kitchenette Sean filled a glass with water. “Are they working together?”
“I wouldn’t say together. I’m thinking that it’s more that they’re trying to achieve the same thing.”
“How is that not together?”
“Well so far they aren’t sharing too much intelligence. When they start doing that we’ll be up shit creek.”
“As opposed to the happy place we are now?”
Cole shrugged. From across the room he could sense Sean’s annoyance at his dismissive gesture.
“Look, I’m not saying this is a great situation to be in. All I’m saying is it could be a damn sight worse. And maybe today we’ll talk to your farmer mate and we’ll add a bit more information to what we have.”
“You hope. Okay, well I’ll have a shower and meet you back at your room.” He started to walk off, pulling the towel from around his neck. The muscles in his broad brown back rippled as he moved and Cole swallowed. Then Sean turned back around.
“What’s that on your leg?”
Cole looked down to see a thin line of red marking the thigh of his jeans. He had forgotten about that but the brisk walk back must have gotten the blood running.
“Nothing really. I’ll go and get cleaned up and then get us some brekkie. See you in say, forty minutes?”
“Okay.” Sean seemed to accept that explanation and headed off.
“Right. I’ll lock up behind me.”
Sean raised one hand in acknowledgment and kept walking. Cole got out of there and locked the door firmly behind him. He didn’t know what the hell was going on in his head at the moment but he needed to focus on the end game. The cold slapped against his hot face and was almost like a splash of icy water to his senses.