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So, all-in-all about even.

I sit on the flat rock and watch him as he tends to the fire, carefully adding more dry sticks to it. He’s really handsome when he concentrates like that.

Maybe he’s not so bad… I want to believe that he’s a good man.

But the violent images of him pulling the trigger and ending Mr. Brambilla’s life are stuck in my head. I try to picture him in the hallways of his school instead, high-fiving boys and winking at girls. I bet all of the teachers are in love with him. They probably all blush shyly whenever he walks by. All the moms probably gather around and whisper excitedly about him while they’re waiting to pick up their kids. They probably put on make-up, fix their hair, and wear their push-up bras and a nice outfit in the hopes of getting a glimpse of sexy Principal Marsh. I know I would.

“Are you really an elementary school principal?” I ask as he turns the fish.

He looks at me and nods.

“No joke?”

“No joke.”

I exhale long and hard, trying to picture it. It’s hard to imagine after seeing him with that smoking gun in his hand. After seeing him dragging away those dead pilots.

“I’m sorry about your father,” I say in a soft voice.

His eyes begin to shine as he stares at the fish. “Thank you,” he whispers.

“The Brambilla Family killed him?”

He swallows hard as he breaks a stick and prods the flames with it before tossing it in.

“When I was twelve years old,” he says after a long pause. “He wasn’t in the mob if that’s what you’re thinking. He was a regular old blue-collar truck driver. He was a proud man. Stubborn as a mule, but he had a good sense of humor and made my mom laugh every day. I can still remember the way he made her cackle. Her eyes would fill with tears and she’d grip the counter, saying she’s going to pee herself.” He smiles at the nice memory. “And there Dad would be, sitting at the table with a big satisfied smile on his face that he made his girl laugh.”

Those big shoulders rise and fall as he takes deep breaths, trying not to get choked up.

“He was doing a run through New York State,” he continues, his face hardening a little. “Through the Brambilla Family’s territory. Salvatore was younger in those days. This was before he was the Godfather. Back then he was just a capo gaining a fierce reputation for running the most fearful crew around. They stopped my father and tried to take his truck. My father was proud and refused, so they beat him to death on the side of the road. Salvatore took a tire iron to his head and cracked his skull open. They took his truck and left him bleeding to death in a ditch. He was dead when they found him the next morning.”

“Oh, Blake…” I whisper, my eyes filling with tears.

“My mother never laughed after that. She was a shell of who she was before.”

I put my hand on his shoulder and he smiles gratefully at me.

“There was a witness who caught their license plate,” he goes on. “The police arrested Salvatore Brambilla and dragged him into court. The crew got to the witness though, and without him, they had nothing to prosecute Salvatore with. I was twelve years old and watched as the man who killed my father walked free.”

“I’m sorry,” I whisper as my heart tightens.

“It’s over now,” he says, shaking the sadness off him. “I got him. Justice has been served.”

“Justice has been served,” I say, nodding in agreement.

This man isn’t a killer. He’s just a man who righted a wrong. Someone who made the world a bit safer for people like me. He’s a hero.

I take a deep breath as I look at him with new eyes, watching as he tests the fish to make sure it’s done.

My breath quickens as I realize once again that I’m trapped on an island with this man. It doesn’t fill me with dread anymore. It fills me with excitement. With desire.

I’m back to being where I was in the plane when I saw him for the first time—all tingly and shy and wanting to flirt. It’s even stronger now.

He’s a powerful capable man full of kindness, but also able to tap into his dark side when he needs to protect or avenge the people he loves.

“I think the fish is ready,” he says as he pulls it off the stick. “Are you hungry?”

I lick my lips as my eyes roam over his broad shoulders, powerful chest, and strong arms.

“I’m starving.”

“Blake…” I whisper as I stare up at the stars. They’re incredible out here—a never-ending sea of diamonds shining in the darkness. The log in the fire beside us pops and sparks shoot up, trying to join the stars in their eternal brightness before fading away.