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She didn’t have a second to react. No time to flee. No time to absorb details about him beyond the fact he was a light-skinned man with light facial hair and a four-leaf clover tattooed on his hand. The rest of his features were hidden beneath the dark hood.

He crashed into her shoulder, sending her flying into a bookshelf. Her head whacked against the wood. “Aah,” she cried as stars exploded across her vision. The worst part was the way her shoulder blade and spine dug into the bookshelf. There’d be bruises tomorrow, for sure.

The front door slammed, and Harper blew out a breath of relief.

He was gone. Thank God.

Her eyes floated shut, and she sank to the floor. As her butt hit it, her head cleared. “Lock!” Her eyes flew open. He hadn’t so much as moved an inch. “Lock, wake up.”

She scrambled across the floor on all fours, stopping just short of touching him.

“Oh God, please wake up.” A tentative shake to his shoulder did nothing to rouse him. She breathed through her nose to try and keep from hyperventilating as she stuck two fingers under his body against his neck. God knew what she’d do if he didn’t have a pulse. She’d probably pass right out and be of no use to anyone.

Thankfully, after a few seconds, she felt a light flutter against her fingers.

“Oh, thank God,” she said as she blew out a breath. With shaking hands, she withdrew her phone and dialed emergency services. They instructed her not to try to move him while promising help was on the way and asked her to stay on the line until the ambulance arrived. As she sat there trembling next to his unconscious body, her entire reason for being there slammed into her harder than the assailant.

“Caleb,” she whispered.

“Ma’am?” the dispatcher asked in her ear, but Harper ignored it.

Where the hell is the baby? Is he here? Is he hurt?

She shot to her feet, groaning as her newly acquired bruises protested. The discomfort would have to wait. She ran through the house and into Caleb’s room, where she found him sound asleep in his crib, making the most adorable snuffling sounds.

Relief hit so hard she doubled over panting, but only had a second to process before the sounds of sirens had her running to the front door.

EMTs rushed through the door and straight to Lock. Dispatch hung up, and Harper was asked a million questions about Lock and his situation, none of which she knew the answers to. As the team went to work assessing Lock’s condition, Harper made another phone call, this one for herself as much as Lock.

“Hey, baby,” Jinx said by way of greeting. “I was getting worried. Took the scenic route, huh?”

“Jinx?” she said, her voice wobbling.

The teasing immediately stopped. “What’s wrong? Where are you?”

“At Lock’s house. He’s hurt. I need you.”


“HEY, I’M OKAY. I promise. You can stop hovering.”

Jinx glanced across his small, rarely used kitchen to Harper, sitting at his table, seeming small, uncomfortable, and shaken.

Yet still fucking gorgeous.

Her phone call had brought equal amounts of stark terror and animalistic male pleasure. How he could experience two such opposing emotions simultaneously would remain a mystery. Still, as the fear and sadness in her voice had penetrated his brain, the panic won out over being overjoyed she called him in her time of need.

What the fuck had Lock gotten himself involved in?

Whatever it was, it earned him a hospital say for a grade four concussion and a three-inch scalp laceration. The idiot was lucky he didn’t have bleeding in his brain, according to the emergency room doctor. Curly and Brooke had taken Caleb to their home while Pulse and Tracker followed the ambulance to the hospital, leaving Jinx to tend to the bruised and traumatized Harper.

Damn, when he’d walked—okay, ran like the hounds of Hell were on his heels—into Lock’s house to find her sitting on the floor against the wall with her legs drawn up and her head resting on her knees, he nearly lost his shit. A woman like Harper, who’d already suffered so much, shouldn’t experience another day of sadness, fear, or worry for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, the world didn’t fucking work that way.

“Jinx?” She observed him over the mug of tea with two shots of whiskey he’d given her when they arrived a few moments ago.

“Sorry. Just thinking.” He pushed away from the counter and went to her, placing a kiss on the top of her head.

“Well, I said I’m okay. The mother hen routine is sweet but not necessary.”

Sweet? The woman gave him far too much credit. He snorted as he dragged a chair next to her and sat. He placed his hand on her thigh, needing to touch her to settle his soul. “Maybe not necessary to you. But it is for me. I’m still salty you refused to go to the hospital.”