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“Interview go well?”

She jumped about a mile and let out a little yip. “Oh, shit. You scared me.” With her hand pressed to her heart, she glared at him.

He lifted his arms in surrender. “Sorry, sweetie. Wasn’t my intention.”

“Sweetie?” She rolled her eyes, making him laugh.

So, she was one of those women who didn’t like pet names from random men. Who could blame her?

“Meant no offense, ma’am,” he said, tipping an imaginary hat.

She didn’t laugh, but her lips twitched.

“The interview went really well, thank you.” She took two steps forward before he rushed over.

“Careful. Those steps are shit. Give me your hand, and I’ll help you down.”

Instead of reaching for him, she shook her head. “I got it.”

“Not trying to be fresh.” He kept his arm extended, but she still refused to take it. “Seriously, they’re so unstable that I just jump over them.”

“I got it,” she said again.

“I don’t bite.”

“I. Got. It.” She white-knuckled the railing as she descended the three wobbly steps. “See?” she said with a smirk once on solid ground.

Huh. So serious. Independent.

“I do see. My apologies for doubting you.”

Again, no laugh. Not even a grin. Maybe he was losing his touch. Or maybe she didn’t like giant tattooed bikers with in-your-face personalities.

Nah, that couldn’t be it.

All women loved him.

He wasn’t deterred. “Let me walk you to your car. Never know who you’ll run into along the way.”

She pursed her lips and looked over her shoulder toward the clubhouse. “There’s literally an empty field between me and my car. I think I’ll be okay.” With that, she started across the field. After about five steps, she turned. “But thank you for the offer,” she said as she walked backward. “It was kind of you.”


He almost laughed out loud, but then she turned again, affording him a good look at her ass. He swallowed his tongue.

Hot damn, that thing was made for squeezing. Firm, high, and round as fuck. The woman must do two hundred squats a day to get a booty like that. Dayum. He wanted a bite. Maybe two. Hell, he’d like to devour that whole peach.

What a fun development in his life.

Here’s what he knew about Harper so far—she was uptight, serious, and didn’t seem to want a lick of attention from him.

He grinned.

Challenge accepted.


HOW COULD A day that started on a high end in such an infuriating disaster?

Harper scowled at her flattened tire as though her annoyance could magically patch the hole and reinflate the tube.

Running over a nail. That’s how a day could turn to shit in the blink of an eye.

She’d woken at six thirty, worked out for an hour, meditated for ten minutes, guzzled coffee, and polished off her new favorite mixed-cereal breakfast just as the phone rang. It’d been three days since her interview with Brooke, who’d called with an official job offer. Harper managed to keep her squeal of delight inside until they arranged a time to meet, fill out paperwork, and introduce her to Brook’s two business partners. As soon as she hung up, she let out a joyful whoop and spent the next ten minutes dancing around the apartment like a loon.

Because she could.

Because she was alone.

Because there weren’t any guards to tell her to shut up or inmates to heckle her.

She had true privacy for the first time in ages. It was the most incredible feeling in the world, even if it did come with a hearty side of loneliness.

So far, she’d successfully shoved those feelings of isolation aside and focused on the excitement of autonomy and space.

The news had called for a celebration. Since she had no one to celebrate with and only pennies to spare, taking herself for ice cream would have to do. Ever since she’d been a child, ice cream had been her weakness. She’d never admit to a soul how much she’d consumed in the week since her release from prison. The staff at her new favorite ice cream shop already knew her face and favorite flavor.

At least she’d managed to scarf her chocolate peanut butter fudge sundae before a three-inch piece of sharp metal ruined her day.

“Okay,” she said to her phone as she opened the search engine. “How to change a tire.” Her fingers crawled over the keyboard. The teenager she’d seen in the ice cream shop texted faster than she could think, but with this being the first phone she’d owned in a long time, she was slow as hell to learn the new technology.

Sure enough, YouTube had thousands of videos on DIY tire changing. “Let’s try you with your seven million views,” she said as she tapped on the screen.

Calling a tow truck would be divine, but it’d suck her account dry. As it was, getting the tire patched would run her more than she could spare.

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