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“Wish me luck,” I tell Miles.

He grins. “Something tells me that you’ll be just fine.”

“Hummm.” I start walking through the station toward the front entrance with both men following close behind me. As soon as we all get outside, I stop on the sidewalk and focus on my dad when he calls my name.

“You and I need to have a talk,” Dad says.

I feel Clay get close, so close that his arm brushes against mine.

“I know and we will, just not tonight, please.” I really don’t want to be interrogated by him—not after today—and I know that’s what any conversation with him would consist of: a million and one questions that I might or might not be able to answer and some that I probably just won’t want to.

“All right,” he agrees after a long moment and my muscles relax.

“Thanks, Dad.” I walk toward him, and he opens up his arms. As soon as I’m in his embrace he wraps me in a tight hug.

“You’ve always had to be so fucking stubborn, just like your mom.”

“I know.” I don’t even deny it because ever since I was little, I’ve pushed back and driven him crazy by not doing exactly what he wanted. I love my dad, I love the way he loves our family, and I appreciate that he’s always made keeping us safe a priority, but there have been times where his protectiveness has been suffocating. Especially when it comes to my sisters and me. My brothers always had a chance to grow and stretch their wings, and we did too, but within limits. And that’s probably why I’ve tended to rebel when I’ve felt too stifled.

“I love you, kid.”

“I love you, too, and I’ll call you tomorrow.” I promise and his chest expands before he lets me go.

“You hurt her or if harm comes to her while she’s with you, you won’t be able to run far enough to get away from me,” Dad says to Clay as I walk to where he’s standing on the sidewalk

Besides the jerk of his chin in my dad’s direction, he doesn’t respond to him. “Ready?” he asks once I’m within reach.

“Yes.” I take his hand then head down the sidewalk with him, but glance over my shoulder to see my dad heading back into the police station. “So that was fun, huh?”

“Your dad is protective, I’d be worried if he wasn’t.” He opens the door for me to get into his jeep and as soon as my ass is in my seat, I lean my head back against the headrest and close my eyes. “When we get home, I’ll order dinner and we can eat in bed.”

“You can just drop me at my place.” I open my eyes to meet his gaze as he pulls my seatbelt around me. “I know you didn’t plan on me staying with you again, I just didn’t want to be interrogated by my dad all night.”

“It’s cute you think I’d give you a choice, Mouse.” He brushes his mouth against mine, then steps back and slams the door before I can respond to his highhanded statement.

“Whatever, his bed is more comfortable anyways,” I mutter to myself as he walks around the hood.

“What do you want to eat for dinner?” he asks as soon as he opens his door.

“I have food at my place that’s going to go bad if I don’t cook it and I need to get clothes anyway, if I’m staying with you, so if you’re good with it, I can make us dinner there.”

“Are you sure you’re up to that tonight?”

“I like cooking, so I don’t mind,” I say as he reaches over for my hand then brings it to his thigh.

“All right.” He puts the engine in drive then fifteen minutes later we arrive at my building.

As soon as we get upstairs and into my apartment, I flip on the lights then kick off my heels by the door and walk to the kitchen to set my bag on the counter. “I’m going to go change real quick.”

“I’ll be here.” He takes a seat on one of the barstools and I go to my bedroom then change into a pair of sweats and a tank top with a long sweater and slip on my slippers.

When I walk back out, he’s on the phone, so I go to the fridge and start pulling out the stuff I picked up a couple of days ago to make chicken and mushroom risotto. I place all the ingredients on the counter, half listening to him talk quietly about some building supplies that need to be approved and a trip that needs to be planned. As I start to chop things, adding them to the pan I already have heating on the stove, he comes into the kitchen to join me with the phone still to his ear and steps up behind me caging me in.

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