Page 12 of Coercion

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Bristol puts her hand over mine.“I’m being coerced.This is coercion.”

This is because I love you.

What the fuck.I’m not going to say that.

I’m not going to say that unless I have to.I’ll say anything if it gets her to stay in this SUV until we can make sure nobody’s going to shoot at us.

“Yes.And don’t think I won’t do more.”

“What, you’re going to tie me up in a Starbucks storage room?Give all the baristas hush money?”

She’s scared, her face pale, but there’s warmth in her eyes.Bristol Anderson is rubbing my hand, so gently, while sheteases me.

Fuck this.I want my arms over my chest.I want a wall between us.I hate this soft, defensive feeling.I hate that she’s looking at me like I just mentioned pickleball again, or made a cheesy joke, or admitted that I care about her.

And I don’t hate it.

And I don’t want a wall.

Not really.

“You want me to tie you up in a Starbucks storage room?Is that it?Does that get you off?”

Evan coughs.Bristol turns bright red.

“I don’t know.I’ve never been tied up in a Starbucks storage room before.”

“Agree to wait in the SUV, or we can find out right now.”

“Fine.I’ll wait.”

We’re only a couple of minutes out.Bristol stares out the front windshield.The hand over mine shakes.

“Would you at least let them bring me a Frappuccino?”

The jokes are going to kill me.I don’t know how she can keep making them.And I know exactly how she can keep making them.


She turns wide, green eyes on me.“Are you serious?”

“Dead serious.”

Evan makes the last turn, and we’re at the warehouses.It’s the same row of warehouses where they hold the boxing matches.

It’s just a match.That’s all.The stakes are higher, but I’ve been in high-stakes fights before.

Donovan cranes his neck, looking at the numbers stamped on metal walls, then steers the SUV off to the side and throws it into park.

I stick my hand over the seat.“Gun.”

He opens the glove box.

“There are, like, six guns in there.”Bristol’s eyes are huge.“Why do you have so many?”

Donovan moves one pistol aside and pulls out a second one, which he hands to me.I check the safety first.Confirm it’s loaded.

It is.