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“No charges are being filed.”

Tyler followed behind the officer, shocked. As he gathered up his personal effects—except for his knife—he was escorted out to the lobby, where Martinez and Sparks stood waiting for him.

“Come on, dude. There’s a lot of people waiting for you,” Sparks said.

Tyler followed behind them as they walked outside and climbed into Sparks’s truck.

“Yeah, a whole crowd looking to welcome back the conquering hero,” Martinez said.

Tyler shook his head in the backseat. “I’m nobody’s hero, man.”

“I don’t know. You rescued that little boy, and the people responsible were arrested today. Makes you a hero to me,” Martinez said.

“Plus, I know at least two people who think so, too.” Sparks got on the freeway and headed east.

“Where are you going? I want to go to the hospital and check on Dani and Noah.”

“They aren’t at the hospital. They’re waiting for you at your place,” Sparks said.

Tyler had never heard sweeter words in his life.

DANI STOOD OUTSIDE of Tyler’s house with Noah in her arms, surrounded by Tyler’s friends and family. Some of the kids who had gone through the Alpha Dog Program, including Jeremiah Walton, stood in a group with banners and signs. Most had trickled in overnight, and had been waiting for word on when Tyler would be released. Noah had been up for an hour, and Dani hadn’t slept at all since she’d woken up in the hospital a little before midnight.

Megan stood next to Dani—well, hovered over her was more accurate.

“Why don’t you let me hold Noah?” Megan asked for the tenth time.

“Because I’m not ready to give him up yet.” Dani kissed her son’s forehead, more than aware of how close she’d come to losing him today.

“Then at least sit in the chair before you both fall down.”

Dani sank into the folding chair with a sigh. “I

’m fine, Megan.”

“Yeah, so you keep saying. Don’t make me get your mother.”

Her mom was standing off to the side with Gloria Best, gushing about Tyler, and the two women kept hugging and holding hands as if they’d been friends forever. Gareth and her dad stood with Blake, talking intently, and Dani could only imagine football was the topic.

“Here they come,” one of the boys hollered as the truck rounded the corner.

Dani started to get up again, and a hard hand on her shoulder pressed her back down. She glared up at Megan.

“It will take a minute, so you might as well keep your ass in that chair.”

Noah lifted his head and grinned up at Megan. “Ass.”

“Way to go. You’re never babysitting,” Dani said, not even bothering to correct Noah now.

Dani couldn’t see over the group as it surged forward. The truck pulled into the driveway, and ignoring Megan, she stood up with Noah.

“Tywer!” Noah shouted when he saw him.

Dani waited for him to find her with that deep blue gaze, and once he did, she wanted to run. Wanted to vault over the crowd and into his arms.

But he was already pushing past everyone and rushing toward them.

His arms closed around the two of them, and she ignored the pain in her ribs as Tyler’s mouth found hers, his kiss filled with desperation.

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