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“Same,” she whispered, looking up at him with adoration. “Kiss me?”

“Every chance I get for the rest of my life, baby.” He kissed her softly, taking care not to wrench her neck in any way.

She sighed into his mouth. “Much better.”

He didn’t argue, but he wouldn’t feel better until she was out of the hospital and no longer looking like an extra in a slasher film. “Love you,” he whispered instead.

“Love you,” she said back.

He’d love to climb in the bed with her, but they didn’t make the damn things for his size. Instead, he sat back in the chair and took her hand.

“When can I go home?” she asked, then cringed. “My voice sounds terrible.”

“It’ll heal, baby.”

“I sure hope so. Otherwise, you’re stuck with an ol’ lady who sounds like an old dude who’s smoked his whole life.”

He laughed, and it felt so damn good after all the day’s tension. Fuck, he loved this woman. Able to crack jokes less than five minutes after waking up from a horrible attack. If that wasn’t strength, he didn’t know what the hell was. “I’ll take you any way I can get you, baby.”

“Good answer,” she croaked. A few seconds later, her eyes began to droop again.

“Sleep. I’ll be right here when you wake up again.”

“Mm…kay,” she mumbled. Her hand went slack in his almost before she finished speaking.

Jinx exhaled a thousand pounds of pressure from his chest and rubbed a hand over his heart. That woman owned the heart lying beneath his palm. No matter what happened in the future, he’d never get it back. It was hers, and he wasn’t the least bit upset about it. In fact, it felt fucking incredible.

Unlike the pain in his side, which grew more intense by the second.

Brooke and Curly showed up a few minutes later, allowing Jinx time to get the wound checked out. No surprise, he busted the hell out of his stitches. Unfortunately for him, the same ER doctor who’d sewn him up the night before was working. The sadist seemed to take an immense amount of pleasure in jamming the needle into Jinx’s skin again and again. He’d never make an accusation, but Jinx swore the doctor went light on the numbing injection just for shits and giggles as a punishment for Jinx fucking up his original handiwork.

The next time Harper woke, she could swallow some ice chips and a bit of Jell-O. It’d hurt, but her doctor seemed pleased. They released her the next morning with a pile of instructions, follow-up appointments, medications, and a promise to have someone stay with her.

That wouldn’t be a problem since Jinx planned to settle her in his house and stick to her like glue. The fact that she didn’t put up even an ounce of fight against that suggestion showed how off her game she was.

When they arrived at his house, the ladies were already there, waiting with a freezer full of ice cream, a bunch of crappy movies sure to make them all cry, and about ten bottles of wine, which he vetoed. The rest of them could get as sloshed as they liked, but he wasn’t taking any chances combining Harper’s meds with alcohol.

“C’mon, Jinx,” Liv pressed as she rolled her eyes. “Since when do you follow the rules?”

“Yeah, where’s your outlaw spirit?” Jo chimed in.

“Since the woman I love more than anything else in the world was almost killed. No mixing booze and meds. I’m not taking a chance she gets anything worse than a paper cut. Even that’s too much. Those things hurt like a bitch.”

“Oh, well, that’s actually very sweet,” Jo grumbled as she yanked the cork from a bottle of wine. “But I’m having some.”

“Knock yourself out.” He rolled his eyes, then leaned in toward his woman. Harper sat on his couch wearing a cute light blue lounge tank and shorts Brooke had brought. A light blanket covered her lap, and she held a pint of her favorite ice cream in one hand with the spoon in the other. This could look like any weeknight if it weren’t for the gruesome bruises and destroyed voice. But as he was about to go and exact some serious revenge on the man who attacked his ol’ lady, this was anything but normal.

“Behave,” he whispered against her lips. “Don’t talk too much, no booze, and no getting up unless you need the bathroom. Oh, and eat every last bite of that ice cream.”

Harper nodded and gave him a sweet smile and a nod while Liv snorted. “Oh my God, Dad, just go. Do your pissed-off biker thing. We’ll take good care of your girl.”

He gave Harper a sweet lingering kiss. “I mean, if you wanna call me Daddy later, I won’t say no.”

Her soft chuckle reassured him more than anything else that she’d be okay.