Page 31 of Coercion

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His expression turns serious.“I’m pretty sure that model can survive a nuclear explosion.”

“Wow.”For Mia and Ben.Forme.This has to mean something.Or it might not mean anything.Let me take care of you.Was that a temporary offer?An armored SUV doesn’t seem like something you’d do for just anyone.“And the security…”

“I want them there in case the people after your dad try anything.I don’t think they will now because I put a bounty on Mountain Man’s head.”

“Mountain Man?”

“The guy at the warehouse.Seven feet tall.Too much muscle, if you ask me.”

God, hewashuge.He could’ve hurt the twins with zero effort, and a man that strong didn’t need a gun to kill my dad.My stomach goes cold, but I push that feeling away.Nothing’s going to happen in Will’s apartment.He wouldn’t have sent the twins with those agents unless he was sure Mia and Ben would be safe.I probably would’ve been a nervous wreck dropping them off, so it’s for the best.

“You have a nickname for him already?”

The corners of Will’s mouth turn down.I love the sheepish, vulnerable look on him, even if he hates it.Maybe especially because he hates it.I don’t think anyone else gets to see him this way.“We’ve met before.”

“You have?Where?”He gives me a look, and I can’t help it.My mouth drops open.“At one of your fights?”

“At the last fight I went to.”

“Oh my God, Will.He’s at least three times your size.”He was covered in blood the night he showed up at my apartment.“You got a terrible concussion.I can’t believe you went up against him.”

“You can’t be retroactively pissed at me about it.”

“I’m not retroactively pissed.”

He glances down at my hands, which have become fists in his shirt.I loosen my grip.Maybe I am a little scared.More than that, I’m worried for Will, even though the fight is over.I don’t see how this man would’ve gotten involved with my dad, unless…

“You don’t think he’d take the twins over one fight, do you?Hehurtyou.”

“He beat me up, but he didn’t win.”I put my palms flat to Will’s chest and find his heartbeat.Then I put two fingers to the side of his neck and check his pulse there, too.His hands move gently at my waist.“What are you doing?”

“Seeing if you’re alive, or if something else is wrong with you.There’s no way you beat that guy.”

“I did.Ask anyone.”

“Are you going to drive me to the warehouse so I can find somebody who’s part of your underground boxing club?”

“It’s not a club.Anyone can fight.And no, I’m not taking you there.”I look into Will’s face, and I’m seeing a different person.A supernatural being, maybe.He narrows his eyes.“What?”

“How did you win?”

“He…got ahead.I was pretty fucked up, and I should have tapped out, but I didn’t think he was going to quit.And then I thought…” He widens his eyes for a heartbeat, and I could swoon.Will probably has no idea that he looks like this when he’s about to admit something he thinks is embarrassing.“I thought of somebody having to tell you thatthatguy killed me during a boxing match, and I lost it.Next thing I knew, I had him on the floor.”

“Youknocked him over?”

Will scowls.“Yes, I knocked him over.And then I beat the shit out of him.”His voice gets softer.“I couldn’t stop.Some guy from the crowd had to pull me off him.”

“Holy shit.”It seems impossible for anyone to go up against that guy, but Will did.“So that’s why you’re banned?”

“How did you know I was banned?”

“You told Sinclair about it when he came to pick you up.”I run my fingertips over the last shadows of the bruises on his face.“The twins were revenge, then.”

“No.He was surprised when I showed up with Evan to get them.I don’t think he knew I was with you.”

With yousounds so good out of his mouth that I want to cheer or dance or something.I don’t.I play it cool.“But…he got away, and he definitely knows now, so—”

“So there’s a bounty on his head.Nobody threatens your safety and gets away with it.”