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The place was packed and freaking crowded, and anxiety shimmied down her spine. “I didn’t realize there’d be this many people here,” she yelled to Liv above the noise.

“You good?”

No, she wasn’t, but no one needed to know that.

“Oh yeah. I’m great. Just didn’t realize how popular you guys were.”

“It’s not always like this. There are plenty of times we hang with the family. But sometimes these parties are fun too. Oh, look, there’s the gang. Brooke,” she shouted as she waved. She released Harper and wormed through the crowd toward her people.

“You sure you’re good?” Spec asked near her ear to avoid screaming.

“Oh yeah. I got this.” Lies. Total lies.

She was seconds from turning and sprinting out the door. The only thing that kept her from bolting was the promise she’d made to her friends to be there. If she wanted to develop strong friendships, the first step was keeping her word. Being someone people could trust was important to her.

It didn’t take a trained professional to figure out why.

Spec chuckled. “I see why he hates that.”

She frowned. “Who hates what?”


What did Jinx hate?

He never clarified. “C’mon, let’s go. My woman is ready to dance all over me, and I’m not missing a second of that. Plus, I know a guy who is dying to get you in his arms.”

Her eyes widened, and she sputtered.

Spec winked, then followed the path his ol’ lady took toward the back of the room.

Harper stared after him for a second. Then, as she shifted her gaze right, she locked eyes with Jinx.

Her throat dried up. The man captured her attention in a way she didn’t even understand. His large, imposing presence dominated the room, even a huge crowded one like the Handlers’ clubhouse.

Was he standing directly under a light?

He seemed to have an aura around him. His ink stood out against his suntanned skin—the skin that covered all those impressive muscles. He stood a head above almost everyone in the room, and that was saying something because the guys in the MC were all big. He carried himself with a confidence that bordered on arrogance, but it only made him hotter.

And he’d kissed her.

And now he was staring at her with an intensity that left her exposed and raw.

She had no idea what to do with a man, let alone a man like him. Or if she even wanted to do anything. She should have stayed home and skipped standing here ensnared by his gaze like a fly trapped in a spider’s web.

This was too much too fast for her battered soul.

But still, she didn’t look away.

And neither did he.

Until a woman wearing shorts so short her ass would chap if the wind blew too hard sidled up to him. She batted her long eyelashes, pursed her shiny lips, and slid a manicured hand up his chest in a sensual caress.

His gaze flicked to the woman. He smiled.

The spell was broken.

Harper’s stomach soured.

“She’s no one.” A voice near her ear had her jumping in surprise. When she turned, Tracker stood next to her with a drink in each hand.

“For you. Double whiskey.”

She didn’t give a shit what it was. “Thanks.” She grabbed the glass and chugged the liquid like it was water, and she’d run a marathon. Fire burned her throat and chased the liquid down to her stomach. Her eyes watered as her chest heaved with a violent cough.

“Easy there, champ,” Tracker said with a half laugh. He snatched the glass from her hand before a violent cough could send it crashing to the floor. “Might wanna pace yourself.”

After a final throat-clearing cough, she said, “I don’t care who she is.”

Tracker laughed for real this time. “Sure you don’t. Let’s go, party animal. If I don’t head back to Jo with you in tow, she’ll leave me. She’s been looking for you.”

Harper chuckled and rolled her eyes. “I told them all I’d show up,” she grumbled but followed a snickering Tracker.

The few shots of whiskey she’d pounded were warming her blood and loosening her muscles. This was what she’d needed—a little something to take the edge off and bleed the tension out of her.

She smiled at the back of Tracker’s head.

I got this.

And then, as though by magic, Jinx appeared in front of her, looking more delicious than her favorite bowl of ice cream. People milled around them, drinking, partying, and having a damn good time. But the rest of the clubhouse barely registered as she lost herself in his hungry look.

He wanted her. That much was clear.

But for all her tough talk and spiny exterior, she was scared.


Both from her lack of physical experience compared to a man like him and her lack of emotional experience. The one time she’d trusted a man with her body and heart, she had ended up missing out on a huge chunk of her life.

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