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“Y-yeah.” Donny nodded fast, then flinched as his neck moved.

Good. Hope it hurts like hell.

“Great. You tell anyone about this, what’s gonna happen?”

“Y-you’ll kill me.”

“No, Donny. I’m not gonna kill you.” Spec jerked his thumb in Jinx’s direction. “He will.”

Jinx gave him a feral grin and rubbed his hands together. This shit was fun.

“W-what happens when it’s over? Am I free?”

“Well, now, that is a good question, Donny boy.” Spec stroked his chin as though deep in thought. “I think I’ll leave that up to my man, Jinx, here.” He slapped Jinx’s shoulder. “Guess it’ll depend on how pissed he still is that you almost killed his woman.”

Jinx’s grin went from feral to straight-up evil. He’d never forget. Donny was screwed.

“I can take it from here if you wanna head home, brother.”

“You sure?” Jinx asked.

Spec nodded. “Go be with your woman.”

“Thanks.” Jinx hugged Spec, slapping him on the back. If Harper wasn’t at home waiting for him, he’d stick around, but he was anxious to return to her.

After leaving Spec’s little torture playhouse, he hopped on an ATV and rode across the farm.

Time to get back to his ol’ lady.


HARPER LOVED HER friends like the family she’d always yearned for, but she really wanted them to leave. They’d done a fantastic job of trying to take her mind off everything, including what Jinx was doing right then, but she hurt and could use a fifteen-hour nap.

Besides, nothing could stop her from worrying about the man she’d recently professed her love to. What was he doing?

Something that could land him in jail?

Something that could get him injured?

Something that would haunt his nightmares?

After yesterday, she’d have enough of those to last them a long while.

“You look exhausted, hon. Do you want to go lie down?” Brooke sat next to her on the couch, concern all over her face.

Tired as she was, lying down didn’t appeal to her. She wanted Jinx to return, and she might start whining if this dragged out much longer. “Nah, I’m okay. Just worried about Jinx.”

“If he’s with Spec, as I’m guessing he is…” Liv said, “… then he’s fine. Pretty sure there’s not a force in this world that could take my man out.”

Her worry extended far beyond something taking Jinx out, but she didn’t mention it. “Thanks, Liv. My head’s still a little scrambled from the pain meds and… well, everything, so if I failed to say it yet, thank you to all of you. I appreciate your friendships so much.”

“We love you too, Harp,” Liv chirped.

“Even if we can tell you’d like to kick us the hell outta here,” Jo added.

“What? No.” Could she sound any less sincere?

Thankfully, her friends didn’t have wafer-thin skin and only laughed at her weak attempt to reassure them their presence was desired. “I’m sorry.” She flopped back against the couch, wincing when the careless movement jostled her sore body. “I’m just overstimulated. I kinda want to sit alone in the dark until my brain settles.”

“I get that.” Brooke walked in from Jinx’s kitchen with a fresh glass of icy water.

Swallowing sucked right now, but the cold did feel wonderful on her throat.

“Thanks.” She accepted the glass from Brooke with a grateful smile. “I really do appreciate you guys, even if it doesn’t seem like it.”

“We know. Trust me. You’re a whole lot less cranky than I’d be.” Jo shuddered. “I do not like being babied.”

Liv snorted. “Believe her. She’s the shittiest patient imaginable.”


“Am I lying?” Liv asked with an arched eyebrow.

“No,” Jo grumbled.

Ever the voice of reason, Brooke patted her hand. “I’m sure Jinx will return soon, and we’ll get out of your hair. You two need some quiet time to yourselves. Seems like you worked out your issues, though.”

For the first time in what felt like days, Harper smiled. “Yeah. I think we did.”

“Good.” Brooke beamed. “Without a doubt, you are the best thing that’s happened to that man.”

Damn, that was nice to hear. Before she had a chance to thank Brooke for the sweet compliment, the door opened, and in walked her six-foot-six, rough, gruff, sweet, and very sexy ol’ man.

He looked fantastic. Settled in a way he hadn’t appeared since before getting stabbed. “Ladies,” he announced. “I love you all, but get the fuck outta my house.”

“Not even a thank you? Or a travel mug with coffee for the road?” Jo pouted. “Geez, where’s the appreciation?”

Jinx grunted. “Bet your ol’ man will appreciate the hell outta you if you get your ass home.”

“Hmm… you make a compelling point. He does like my ass.” With a wink, Jo shook her ass in Jinx’s direction.

He rolled his eyes as the girls laughed, including Harper. It felt good to enjoy their silly banter.

“Bye, sweetie,” she said as she walked past Harper, dropping a kiss on her cheek. “Call if you two need anything. I’ll keep my phone close.”

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