Page 74 of Coercion

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“I would never cry over you.”Her eyes are shining anyway.“I’m offended that you didn’t tell me about any of this, though.You owe me drinks.I’m not letting you off the hook.”



Christa swipes her phone from the table.“I should head down and check on my team.See you for the three o’clock?”

“I’ll be here.”

She leaves, and I hear her say her goodbyes to the receptionist.Then I take a few paces around the conference room and stretch my arms over my head.

I don’t like being away from Bristol, but other than that, there’s no dread in the pit of my stomach.I could learn to live withthiskind of massive-corporation work.Beneath the veneer of autoresponders and company potlucks, it can be quite vicious.

If I’m an asshole for liking that, then so be it.

Next on the agenda: collect my still-hot cup of coffee and update Finn on the meeting.

Halfway to my spot at the conference table, my phone buzzes in my pocket and keeps buzzing.A call.

Emerson Leblancis centered on the screen.

“Not everybody works from home, Em.Some of us—”

“Are you at Hughes?”There’s noise in the background, and his voice sends a chill down my spine.


“There was a lockdown at the twins’ school.They’re both fine, but—”


“Bristol went with Evan to pick them up, and there was an incident outside the school.”

“Mr.Leblanc?”I have zero memory of walking out toward the elevators.The receptionist stands up behind her desk.

“What the fuck kind of incident, Em?”My skin is icy, clammy, and the next second it’s on fire.“Emerson.”

“One of the guys you were looking for was there outside of the school.Heather from the twins’ team described him asseven feet tall and fast.”

My stomach drops so hard and fast that I wouldn’t be surprised to find it on the floor.Mountain Man.That motherfucker.“I thought Evan was with Bristol.”

“In the process of chasing after them, Evan got hit by a car.”

Someone’s pulling my hair.Takes too long to realize it’s me.

“—hang up?Will?”


“Evan’s alive, Will.An ambulance is taking him to the hospital.Daphne’s going to be at the school in twenty minutes with a backup team so somebody besides security is there for the twins.They’re okay, and they can go back home with her.Sin’s with me.We’re on our way to Hughes unless you can think of a place—”

His question clears my head.I don’t have to think about it.Mountain Man wants a rematch.“I know exactly where he went.”



My beach afternoonwas not supposed to end in a warehouse down by the city docks.It wasn’t even supposed to detour here.

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