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Leaving had been an immature, stupid move on her part, but at the time, it had seemed the right thing to do—a step in the right direction she should have taken on her path.

Her life hadn’t been going the way she wanted it, so leaving it all behind had seemed smart. Of course, that had been at the time, and she regretted staying away that long.

Since packing up her shit, quitting her temp job, and moving back to town, she’d settled in well. She was living in Big’s place now, but he was at the club more times than not. So was she, working at the club and helping the guys get their shit organized.

The club might run smoothly, but behind the scenes, their paperwork and finances was a huge mess.

The sun streamed down on her back, and with her black hair, she felt heat seep into her bones. Sweat lined her spine and the valley between her breasts. They’d been riding for the last half hour, and although she didn’t know why Big wanted to take her so far out of the city limits, she couldn’t deny she liked this personal alone time with him.

After another five minutes on the asphalt, Big made a left and followed until the road turned to gravel. He finally pulled off to the side of the road and cut the engine. He was off the Harley first and had his hands wrapped around her waist and hauled her off the bike before she could even move. God, she loved his strength.

The sound of the wind moving through the trees, the sight of the lake ahead of them, and the lulling noise of the water lapping against the shore was calming. Although, she had this tightness in her as to why Big wanted to drive so far out just to spend time with her.

She watched as he opened one of his saddlebags and pulled out a blanket and something thick wrapped in dark plastic. He held the package and blanket in one hand and reached out with his other to twine their fingers together, pulling her close to his body.

He led them through the trees and closer to the lake. Once the space opened up and they could lay the blanket on the ground, they sat on it. She looked behind her, still seeing his Harley, but her gaze traveled to the black plastic package he had, and her curiosity was piqued.

For several moments, they just sat there, neither speaking, but the air comfortable, the silence almost welcoming. They both had lived lives that probably weren’t the best and were crazy at times, and Big had definitely been in the violent, dangerous aspects of all of that. But right now, when things seemed calm, it was…nice, normal.

She looked at him, at his profile, at the fact he was so ruggedly handsome.

Grayson Micah Harrison.

That was his real name that was never spoken aloud. He wasn’t that person anymore. He was only Big, a Bleeding Mayhem MC member, and a biker not to be fucked with. He was the man she’d fallen in love with and wanted to be by his side forever.

“Is there something you’re thinking about, Big? You seem pretty deep in thought.”

It took him a second, but he finally turned and faced her. He lifted his other hand and cupped her cheek, smoothing his thumb along her flesh. “I have a lot of things on my mind, baby. A lot of things overdue that I should have said to you.”

“You know I’m here. I have your back always,” she said. Claire might never be able to physically back him up, not in the way he could with her, but she’d always stand by him. “What’s wrong?”

“We’re in a good place now?”

She nodded. “Yeah, we really are.”

“I shouldn’t have let you walk away two years ago. I should have told you I loved you and that you were my old lady.”

She didn’t know what to say, so she just listened.

“You were it for me, but like a fucking dumbass, I let you leave. I thought you were going to do what you wanted to do, and there wasn’t anything that I could say to change that. I was pissed you left, and I was too hardheaded to realize I should have told you everything, Claire.”

“I should have done things differently, too. I shouldn’t have left. I should have been strong enough to tell you how I felt and what I wanted.” She let that sink in. “That is in the past. Let’s focus on here and now.” She took her hand and placed it over his, which rested on her cheek. He let go of her and stared at the lake, and it seemed like ages that they sat there in silence.

“I love you, Claire. I really fucking love you, and you’re it for me, baby,” he said and faced her again. “I’m not going to be a fucking idiot again and let time pass between us.”

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