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“Curly called in a favor. You won’t get any more letters.”

She paused with the chip halfway to her mouth. “From Aaron?” she whispered, eyes darting around as if spies could be anywhere.

He nodded. “Yes.”

Her mouth opened and closed a few times. “I, uh… wow. Give me a second to, uh… process this.”

“Take your time.”

An adorable wrinkle formed between her eyes. “Is something going to happen to him? Can I ask that?”

Jinx held her gaze. “Do you really want to know?”

She considered the question with a quiet moment of reflection. Knowing she wasn’t rash or impulsive was a great thing. Sure, she hated the man, but she didn’t have a vindictive need to see him harmed, or she’d have asked to know the dirty details of the message Aaron received.

“You know what, I don’t.” She bit her lower lip. “Wait, just let me know one thing. He’s not… I mean, you didn’t have him…” She winced.


She leaned in again. “Yeah, that,” she whispered.

Chuckling, he shook his head. “No, babe. We didn’t have him knocked off, but I can promise you he won’t be writing to you again.”

“Good. That’s good.” She gulped water from her cup, then looked at him with glassy eyes. “Thank you.” Her throat rose and fell as she swallowed back the tears. “I don’t understand why you’d do that for me, but thank you so much. I can’t tell you wh-what a relief that is.”

The hitch in her voice told him more than her words how great her happiness was at not having to wonder if and when a letter would show up from the man who put her behind bars. But one part of her statement tore at his insides. “Breaks my fucking heart that you don’t understand.”


“Why I’d step up for you. It’s so fucking simple, Harper.” He stared straight into her eyes, trying to convey with the strength of his gaze how much he meant every fucking word. “You deserve it. You deserve someone in your corner. Hell, you deserve a hundred people in your corner. You might not believe it or trust in it today, but hear me now… you are not alone anymore, babe. You have people who care about you, and in our family, we go to fucking bat for those we care about.”

A single tear rolled down her cheek. She huffed a sad little laugh and swiped at it as though trying to smack it into submission. “I’ve been alone a long time. Not physically…” she tapped her heart, “… but in here. You guys, you especially, seem too good to be true sometimes. It scares me.”

“What scares you? Trusting us? Me?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“Is it because of the club? Are you worried we’ll do something that lands you back in jail?”

Thankfully, they were early for the lunch crowd, so the restaurant barely had any customers. Combine that with the high-back booth, and no one could overhear this conversation.

Harper chuckled. “You’d think so. I probably should be, but that’s not it. I’m terrified of betrayal, of someone I lo—” She stopped before she said the word. “Uh… someone I trust turning on me. I don’t think I could survive that kind of pain a second time.”

“Can I tell you what I’ve seen over the past few weeks?”

She nodded.

“I’ve seen you fight trusting us. The girls, the club, and me most of all, but I’ve also seen signs that little by little, you are coming to trust us anyway. It’s in the way you talk to us. In the way you share, have allowed us into your world, and how you’ve come into ours.”

Her half smile gave him hope. “Thank you,” she whispered. “I’m so tired of fighting with myself.”

“So don’t.” He held up a hand when she went to say something else. “I’m not telling you to put your blind trust in me, but maybe, stop fighting so hard.” He’d dropped the ‘us,’ referring only to himself. When it came down to it, it was all he wanted. She didn’t need to trust the club or the girls, but fuck, he wanted her trust in him.

“Stop fighting, huh?” She fiddled with the cocktail napkin under her drink, a dead giveaway to her anxiety.

“Yep.” He gave her his most disarming grin.

“Damn you,” she said as she huffed out a laugh. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to say no to you when you look at me like that?”

“Why do you think I do it?” He winked.

Once again serious, she nodded. “Okay. I’ll try. That’s all I can give right now, and I’m sorry if it’s not enough, but it’s more than I ever thought I’d give anyone again.”

Fuck. Yes.

“I’ll take it.” He’d take it, run with it, and make damn sure she never regretted it.


“HOW WAS YOUR lunch?” Liv asked with blatant curiosity the second Harper walked into the shed an hour and a half after she’d left.

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