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All the same, I scanned every last bit of the tree line. If Johnny was there, I was going to find him and kill him.

There was no trace of the man, no sign of tire tracks in the light dusting of snow. When I was ready, I entered the house and began a sweep.

Room by room, I checked out the house to make certain it was clear. When I was satisfied, I leaned against the kitchen wall where I stood and tried to collect myself.

Regret took hold of me.

I’d screwed up.

When Georgia had told me that Johnny was in town, an indescribable rage had coursed through me. I’d needed all the restraint I had to not explode with anger. While I’d managed to keep myself cool, I’d made a huge mistake.

No doubt Georgia was furious at me for the way I’d talked to her. My best bet was to find out what I could about the Johnny and Nico situation, then check in with her later. After all, I was right about one thing—nothing was more important than keeping her and the girls safe.

I went back into the living room and stood near the stairs. I heard the buzzing of my burner phone in the kitchen. Hurrying back in, I snatched it off the counter and checked the screen. It was a New York number. I answered.

“Who the hell is this?” I asked, snarling into the phone.

A chuckle sounded from the other end, one that I recognized as Nico.

“Sounds like the good doctor has lost his cool. How are things in Colorado, Alexandros?”

I glanced at the tire iron in my hand, wishing more than anything that Nico were there with me so I could end this bullshit once and for all.

“I’m going to tell you something, and I’m going to say it as clearly as possible… if you so much as touch a hair on their heads, I’ll rip you apart with my bare hands. Got it?”

“An interesting choice of words, Alexandros, considering that one of the girls is as bald as they come.”

My blood ran cold. His comment meant that, one way or another, he’d seen Daphne. How long had he been watching us from afar?

“You’re walking a dangerous line, old man,” I growled.

“Maybe, maybe not. As far as I can tell, you’re all the way over there and I’m all the way over here. ButI’mthe one with people in your neck of the woods.”

“Do you have any idea what’s going to happen to Johnny if I get my hands on him?”

Nico chuckled. “I’m sure you have big plans. But you know, there’s a way that we can get through all of this without any harm coming to your adorable little family. Come to New York. Now.”

“What happened to two weeks?”

“After our last conversation, I changed my mind. I want you here as soon as possible. We have matters to discuss, and I have a good idea that you know what they are.”

The cops. He had to have learned by this point that I had sold him out.

“You want me to come to New York so you can kill me.”

“A true gambler never shows his hand. But I think it’s a safe bet to say that you’ve officially done enough to get on my bad side. It’s not too late to do the right thing, Alexandros. Come to New York and pay penance for what you’ve done, and I’ll leave your family alone. If you insist on making this difficult, well, who’s to say what Johnny will do?”

More anger raged through me. Johnny was pure scum, the type of prick who wouldn’t hesitate to do horrible things to women and children.

“One phone call and I could end this right now. It’s really as simple as that. And Johnny stays with Georgia until you’re back here with me. Understand?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Not a chance in hell, Nico.”

Several beats of silence followed. “Then whatever happens next in your life is on you, Alexandros. I only hope that you can live with your decision at the end of today. That is, if you have a life left to live.”

The line went dead.

I turned and ran toward the entrance, out to my car.

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