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The clock on the wall revealed fifteen minutes had passed since the girls left. She closed her laptop. Trying to work anymore was useless. Time to head to the clubhouse. She sent up a quick prayer to whoever was listening that Jinx would be receptive to talking with her.

After a quick tidying of the office, she shut the lights off and headed outside. The early evening sun still shone strong with burning rays, and the humidity immediately dampened her skin. Harper didn’t mind, though. All it did was remind her of the freedom she’d never take for granted.

Using care, she walked down the three steps to the ground and stretched her arms over her head like a cat in a sunbeam. As she lowered her arms, movement to her left caught her attention.

A lone man rounded the side of the shed and came to a stop the moment he saw her. She frowned. The crew typically left at five, which passed about a half hour ago. Maybe this guy had forgotten something and returned to retrieve it.

She started to lift a hand in greeting when recognition slammed into her. This was the man who’d seemed too familiar earlier, and now she knew in her bones who he was.

Even from a distance, the clover tattoo glowed like a beacon on the hand he had shielding his eyes from the bright sun.

This was the man who’d attacked Lock and sent her crashing into the bookcase. This was the man who stabbed Jinx last night.

They both froze, apparently stunned by the sight of each other. Harper’s heart rate shot up like an eager stallion out of the gate.

He reacted first, seeming to levitate off the ground as he sprinted toward her.

Run. Run. Run!

Her mind screamed at her, but her body remained immobile, feet rooted to the ground as she watched him rush closer in utter shock. His feet seemed to move to the hammering beat of her pulse.

“You fucking bitch,” he shouted.

It was the kick she needed to get her ass in gear. Harper dropped her bag, spun, and ran toward the clubhouse like her life depended on it, which it very well might.

“Help,” she screamed as she pumped her arms and legs with more speed than she ever had before. Feet pounded on the dirt behind her, driving her to push harder and run faster. “Help me!”

Please, please, somebody help me.

Her lungs burned, and her muscles ached.

Why the fuck didn’t the clubhouse seem to be getting closer?

A loud bark had a drop of relief washing over her until a heavy weight slammed into her back.

She crashed to the ground on her stomach with the man on top of her.

Every ounce of breath whooshed out of her. Her diaphragm spasmed, then seemed to stop working. She couldn’t breathe beneath him.

Dirt crammed beneath her nails as she clawed at the ground in a desperate attempt to escape.

He snarled as he pinned her between her shoulder blades, keeping her immobile and breathless.

Was this it? Was this the end of the line? Had she survived seven years in prison and finally met the man of her dreams only to have it ripped away?

She hadn’t even had the chance to tell him she was sorry.


JINX BOUNCED HIS leg under the table as the meeting dragged on. No one had ever described patience as one of his strong qualities, and never had that been truer than sitting there in church while he wanted to be clearing the air with Harper.

She’d had enough space as far as he was concerned. As soon as Curly ended the meeting, he’d be out the door and searching her out. They weren’t over, and he planned to prove it to her.

Wincing, he shifted. His side ached like a son of a bitch. It might have had something to do with his refusal to take any more pain meds. They made him a little fuzzy-headed, and the last thing he needed was to stick his foot in his mouth while talking to Harper because he’d had one too many pain pills.

Once they’d worked their shit out and made up with a few hot fucks, he’d down a few pills. He could stand a bit of pain until then.

“You all right?” Tracker whispered from his left.

He nodded. “I’m good. Just fucking aching.” He shifted again, this time unable to hold back a soft grunt of discomfort.

Curly’s gaze landed on him. “Last bit of business,” the prez said. He paused, then sighed. “I don’t know how to say this, but it’s time to take some action with Lock.” He slumped in his seat, looking more defeated than Jinx had ever seen him. “I’ve given him time to clean his shit up.”

“A lot of time,” Ty said in support. They all knew this decision had been killing Curly. He truly thought of them as family—they all did—and as head of the family, he felt a sense of responsibility for all of them. Lock’s downward spiral hit him hard and left him feeling guilty.

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