I wanted that shirt.

“What can I get…?” Roxy’s hazel eyes widened behind the glasses. “Hey, how are you?”

Shocked that she recognized me, I floundered for a moment. “Good. I’m good. You?”

“Great. I haven’t seen you in a while. Wow. It’s been forever.” She leaned against the bar, grinning. “I wasn’t even sure you still lived around here.” The door opened and a group rolled in, heading toward the bar. “What can I get you?”

“Just two Cokes.” I paused. “And a menu.”

Roxy nodded. “Coming right up.”

I glanced over at the table. Jillian was staring down at her phone, her fingers flying a mile a minute.

“I’m giving them another minute, and if he’s not out, I’m going in,” I heard Jax say as he reached around Roxy, grabbing a bottle of liquor.

“For rescue?” she replied, her brows raising as she scooped ice into two glasses.

“Hmm,” he grunted, screwing off the lid.

“I have no idea what’s going on there. I thought they weren’t together,” she said, placing the two glasses in front of me. She grabbed a menu as she looked over her shoulder at Jax. “He needs to hurry up anyways. Reece has already texted asking where his brother is.”


My heart stopped. They were talking about Colton. Holy crap. Okay, there was a tiny part of me that hoped he’d be here but also was terrified of the fact if he was, because then that meant he wasn’t at work. And he hadn’t gotten in contact with me.

And I hadn’t gotten in contact with him either.

And it didn’t sound like he was alone.

“Here you go.” Roxy smiled as she placed the menu down.

I numbly handed over the cash, and had just picked up the glasses, along with the menu, when I saw him.

He appeared on the other side of the bar, and even from where I stood, I could see that his jaw was a hard line. My heart started racing. I tightened my hands on the glasses. Roxy said something, but I really didn’t hear her.

Then I saw her.

The tall blonde I’d seen him with before. She was as gorgeous as I remembered. Hair shiny and straight, well past her shoulders, and she was thin. Like I would probably hurt her if I sat on her level of thin. Blood drained from my face as I realized who this woman was. In my heart of hearts I knew it was her, his ex-fiancée.

Oh my God.

“I was getting worried about you,” Jax said, placing the bottle back.

Colton glanced over at him, and his gaze was icy as it moved past Jax and Roxy and then over me. He stopped. Literally stopped walking, jerking to a halt.

Our eyes met, and I couldn’t even think. There were no thoughts as we stared at each other. My heart…it felt like it stopped, just like him.

“Um,” Roxy murmured.

The woman with Colton said something. Her bow-shaped lips moved, but he didn’t react. Not at first, and then he did.

“Shit,” he said, and he turned to the stunning blonde, who had placed her hand on his arm. The touch was familiar, as if she had done it a thousand times before.

I whipped around, my skin tingling as I walked the drinks and menu to the table. I put them down before I dropped them.

“Are you ok…oh my God.” Jillian’s eyes doubled in size.

The twisting in my stomach made me nauseous as I flushed hot and then cold. “I think—” I shook my head, my cheeks burning. “God, I’m so sorry, but I really need to go.”

Jillian rose, sympathy crossing her face. “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t think something like this would—”

“I know.” A knot formed in my throat, and the ache pouring into my chest told me that what I felt for Colton was not simply like or attraction. “I hate to do this.” Pressing my lips together, I breathed out of my nose. “This is so embarrassing.”

“It’s okay.” She squeezed my arm. “Go. Just call me when you get there, okay?”

Nodding, I bent down and kissed her cheek, then I grabbed my purse. I didn’t dare look back as I headed for the door, and I knew even as I yanked it open, I was being such a coward.

My confidence sucked and I was a coward. Great. Winning combination. I didn’t remember much of the drive home and as I walked inside, I kicked off the heels and left them just inside the door.

After I texted Jillian, I felt horrible. I shouldn’t have bolted. I should’ve sat there and pretended like what the fuck ever. Tossing my phone on the couch, I pressed my palm against my forehead. The whole being an idiot thing was a running theme.

But Colton had been there with the same beautiful blonde. The fiancée—ex-fiancée, and Sunday, he had been kissing me, touching me, and telling me that I was beautiful and smart, and tonight he was with her?

What in the hell?

Anger surfaced, and I dug my phone out from between the cushions of my couch. I didn’t even know what I was going to do. Text him? Call? Throw my phone? All seemed like a viable option.

A knock at the door stopped me.

I turned around and for a moment I didn’t move. Despite the fact I’d just seen Colton with her, hope sparked deep in my chest, and how incredibly stupid was that? I doubted they just happened to run into each other. Then again, it had been purely coincidental that I’d even been there.

I shouldn’t have left.

The knock came again, and my feet came unglued from the floor. With my phone in one hand, I opened the door.

It happened so fast.

A shadow—a person—shoved inside, slamming the door against the wall. There was a glimpse of a band of dark ink around thick biceps. A scream built in my throat and ripped loose a second before pain exploded along the side of my head, stunning me.

I stumbled to the side, my phone slipping from my fingers and hitting the floor. A door slammed shut and a second later, the wind was knocked out of me as my back hit the floor. My lungs seized as I stared up.

It was him—the shooter.

Holy shit.

Had he pistol-whipped me? Wet warmth trickled down the side of my neck. The whole left side of my head throbbed.

A fine sheen of sweat dotted his forehead as he towered over me, a gun in his hand. “You couldn’t keep your fucking mouth shut, could you?”

My heart lodged in my throat as I scrambled backward, my hands slipping over the wood floors. A flip-flop came off as I reached the edge of the throw carpet.

He followed me. “All you had to do was keep your fucking mouth shut. That was all. Now Mickey is dead and the son-of-a-bitch Vakhrov is gunning for me, all because you couldn’t keep your cunt mouth shut.”

My vision blurred a little as I tried to remember who Mickey was. It took a moment for my brain to process the fact that Mickey must be the other man I’d seen him with. “I… I didn’t identify hi—”

“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” He shouted, his finger twitching over the trigger of the gun he held. “You’re going to tell me you didn’t say shit? Because Mickey is dead and the Goddamn police raided my momma’s house yesterday.”

I scooted back against the wall, my heart pounding so fast I thought I’d be sick. This was so bad, so freaking bad I could barely process what was happening. The only thing I knew was that I was staring death in the eyes.