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She couldn’t be much over five-foot-two and swallowed as she visibly trembled. “Uh… well, um… maybe you could have a few more min—”

“Jesus, Jinx, quit it. You’re scaring her to death.” Pulse walked in dressed in royal-blue scrubs, the same hospital issue Harper’s nurse wore.

“Hey, Kels, he’s a friend of mine. I’ll take care of him.” Pulse gave her a charming smile and patted her shoulder. “Promise he’s not as scary as he looks.”

“I’m fucking scarier,” Jinx mumbled.

The nurse, Kels, gave him a wary look but shifted her gaze away when he glared again. “Okay, but if he causes trouble, it’s on you.”

Pulse lifted his hands in surrender. “I’ll take full responsibility for him. Promise.”

“Fine.” She pulled off her gloves, tossed them in the trash, and practically ran from the room.

Good riddance.

“Why the fuck is she still sleeping, Pulse? Does she have a fucking brain injury?”

He shook his head. “No. They did brain scans, and she’s all good. They gave her some muscle relaxers to help with the neck and pain medicine. She’s just exhausted, brother. Nothing to worry about.”

“Well, it’s fucking bullshit.” He ran a hand through his hair. If she didn’t wake up soon so he could satisfy himself that she was truly okay, he was going to start flipping tables.

Pulse chuckled. “Would you rather her be awake and in miserable pain?” Pulse asked, taking on a professional tone.

Jinx reared back. “What? Fuck no, I don’t want her to be in pain.”

“Then chill the fuck out and let us do our jobs. We’re taking good care of her. I promise.”

Fuck, maybe he was acting like an overbearing psycho. He dropped back in the chair, cringing as the vinyl crinkled. “Fine. I’ll back off.”

“Hold her hand. Talk to her. Be here when she wakes up. And she will wake up, brother. Swear to you on my life.”

They didn’t need anyone else risking their lives today, but he appreciated the sentiment. “Thanks, man.”

Pulse nodded. “After she wakes up and you’re satisfied she’s okay, you take your ass down to the ER to get that wound in your side evaluated. You bled through your damn shirt. I can only imagine how much you fucked up the doc’s work.” He held his knuckles out for a bump.

With a sigh and a muttered “Fine,” Jinx tapped his against Pulse’s, then found himself alone, staring at the woman who’d mumbled she loved him right before passing out.

Had she meant it, or was it pre-loss-of-consciousness rambling? This afternoon would live rent-free in his head for the rest of his days. He’d replay the heart-stopping moment of terror when he realized Harper was on the ground every night in his nightmares. Seeing that piece of shit’s hands around his woman’s throat sent a murderous desire through him that nothing but the fucker’s death would slake.

The club had him on ice, and as soon as Harper was settled, Jinx would take his pound of flesh. He wasn’t the enforcer for a reason. Jinx was a lover, not a fighter. Though he could hold his own if need be, his preferred method of violence was a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of sarcasm, but tonight, he’d gladly peel the skin off that asshole one strip at a time.

He lifted Harper’s hand and kissed the knuckles. Had she always seemed so small and frail? Had he not noticed how breakable she appeared? How easy it was for someone to hurt her.

No. That was shock and anger talking. Harper was the strongest damn woman he knew. Still, her hand felt tiny and cold in his. He bowed his head, resting it on the side of her bed.

“Christ, I’d never been so scared,” he whispered. “It was bad enough when I thought I lost you yesterday because of my stupidity. But today was a level of agony I never imagined. Please wake up, baby. Wake up so I can tell you how fucking sorry I am. I love you, Harper.”

A soft hand landed on his head, sifting once through his hair before he connected the dots. He straightened so fast his back cracked. “Harp!”

She watched him with tears in her eyes. “I love you too, Jinx. And I’m just as sorry.” Her ravaged voice sounded as though she’d smoked three packs a day for longer than she’d been alive. Horrifying purple bruises ringed her neck as well, but she was alive.

And awake.

And smiling through her tears.

The most beautiful sight he’d ever seen.

“I freaked out the other night.” She frowned. “Last night? What day is it?”

“Last night,” he said. “But none of that matters, baby. I’m the one who fucked up. Not you. Never you.”

She chuckled, but it sounded more like a witch’s cackle. “Love that you think that way, but it’s not true.”

He stood and leaned over her, pressing a kiss to her head. “I don’t care. I don’t care if you fuck up every single day of your life. I want to be with you.”