“Mase is here visiting. He’ll probably come with me. Where are y’all?” I asked, then buttoned up my shirt.

“Vegas,” he said with a sigh.

“I’m on my way. Not sure when I can get a flight out but I’ll be there. Keep me posted.”

“I’ve already sent the jet. It’ll be at the private strip in Destin waiting on you in about thirty minutes. Your daddy wouldn’t want you in a commercial airplane.”

“Thanks, I’ll try calling him. If he’s gonna answer anyone’s phone call it’ll be mine,” I said.

“Yeah. Keep trying him. I’ll see you soon, kid.”

“Bye,” I replied, then hung up and grabbed a suitcase. I had clothes to pack. I didn’t know how long this would take. I also needed to wake up Mase.

Opening my door quietly, I walked down to Mase’s room and knocked several times before I heard him grunt. Good, he was in there.

“What?” he grumbled.

I opened the door slowly and peeked inside. “Dad’s missing. I gotta go to Vegas and help find him.”

Mase sat up and rubbed his face hard with both hands in an attempt to wake up. “You have got to be shitting me. How old is he, eighteen? Fuck. How does he just up and go missing? He’s Kiro Manning, for fuck’s sake.”


Mase had no idea how common this was. “It’s something that happens with him on tour. I’ll find him or he’ll eventually answer my calls. I just have to go. The jet is picking me up about twenty minutes from here.”

I watched as Mase battled with himself on what to do. He didn’t like being around the band. He rarely came around anymore. Looking for Dad also wasn’t something he wanted to do.

“I’m going, too. You can’t go alone to Vegas. Let me get dressed and grab some shit.”

I didn’t tell him he didn’t have to; I just nodded and closed the door behind me. I still needed to pack and brush my teeth and hair. I dialed Dad’s number on my way back to my room and it rang three times then went to voicemail.

Once I had my overnight bag packed I headed down the hall and for the stairs. I needed some coffee and I knew Mase would, too. Waking Nan up to tell her was pointless. She would be mad that I’d disturbed her. Might as well not even tell her we were leaving. She probably wouldn’t notice.

Just as I put the coffee into the filter there was a light knock on the front door. What the heck? I glanced at the time and it was only three-forty-five. Who would be here this early?

I closed the lid to the coffeepot and pressed brew before going to the front door. It was too dark to see outside. I turned on the outdoor lights and saw Grant standing outside with a thermos in one hand, looking wide awake.

Opening the door, I stared at him, completely confused, but I couldn’t just leave him out there.

Grant grinned at me. “You ready?”

What? Was I dreaming? Was Daddy really not missing? Had this been some elaborate dream where I ended up in bed with Grant again? I had those often enough.

“Dean called Rush who called me. Can I come in?” he said, stepping by me and into the house.

“What?” I finally managed to ask.

Grant held up his thermos of coffee. “I’m ready to go find Kiro. I’ll even drive us to the airport.”

Mase’s heavy footsteps broke into my thoughts and I turned to see him walking toward us. “Is this a damn search party?” Mase grumbled, dropping his bag at his feet and looking from me to Grant.

“Looks that way,” Grant said.

“I, uh . . .” was all I could think of to say. I still hadn’t figured this out.

“Go get you some of that coffee I smell, Sis; you need it to make coherent sentences. I’ll deal with this,” Mase said.

I didn’t want to leave Grant alone with him but, honestly, I didn’t know what else to do.

So I went to get the coffee.


“Explain this,” Mase said, standing with his feet apart and his arms crossed over his chest. He was Harlow’s older brother and possibly the only person who had ever stepped into the father figure role in her life. I respected that.

“I want to go with her. I have a lot of shit to make up for. I’m starting now.”

Mase frowned and continued to stare at me. “What the hell does that mean? Last I heard you were f**king Nan. What do you have to do with Harlow?”

She hadn’t told him anything. I wondered if she had done that to protect me. “I was scared of having feelings for someone. Harlow stirred things in me I wasn’t familiar with and it made me run. I’ve decided I don’t want to run.”

Mase took a step toward me. “You need to be real damn sure of that. ’Cause she likes you more than she wants to and I don’t trust you. Not at all. If you want to go help find our sorry-ass father then fine, but I’m going, too.”

I preferred to have her alone but this was okay. At least I was near her. I was tired of not being near her and watching her from afar.

“Understood,” I replied.

Harlow walked back into the foyer carrying two mugs of coffee. “Here,” she said, handing one to Mase.

“Thanks. He’s going with us. He likes looking at you or some sappy shit like that.”

Harlow’s eyes went wide and I bit back a smile. That wasn’t exactly what I’d said but the look on Harlow’s face was perfect.

“Oh” was all she said.

Mase picked up his bag and then looked at Harlow. “Where’s your bag?”

“I left it in the kitchen. Let me get it.”

“I’ll get it,” I said, heading to the kitchen before she could finish her sentence. If I wanted to gain her trust back and even slightly crack that wall she had up around herself I had to do anything I could to let her know I was serious.

“I’m confused,” I heard Harlow whisper as I left the room. I just smiled. Good. Confused was a good thing.

A Louis Vuitton duffel bag was sitting on the floor of the kitchen. I went and picked it up. The bag was worn out. I had no doubt this had been a gift from Kiro and she’d carried it for years. This wasn’t something that Harlow would buy for herself.

I brought it back to the door and then opened the door. “Time to go,” I said to both of them, still holding her bag. She glanced down at it and then back at me.

Mase made an amused sound in his throat and rolled his eyes at me as he walked out the door. Harlow followed him but stopped as she got close to me.

“Thank you,” she said simply, then went outside.

This was going to be good for us.

Mase climbed into the front seat and I doubted it hadn’t been on purpose. He didn’t want me close to Harlow. He was going to make this hard on me. Fine. I could handle it.

“You good back there?” I asked Harlow, looking back to make sure she had enough leg room.

“Yes, thank you,” she replied as a blush touched her cheeks. Damn, she was beautiful.

I turned back around and cranked the truck. “Rush said this was normal for Kiro. Is there a process on how to find him?” I asked, trying to make conversation.

“Yeah. Harlow calls him. He finally answers and she goes to get him. She’s the only one he listens to,” Mase replied.

I didn’t like the idea of this all falling on Harlow’s shoulders. The man had three grown kids. Why did everything have to be Harlow’s responsibility?

“You can’t call him and get him?” I asked, unable to keep the annoyance out of my voice.

“Dear ol’ Dad has a favorite. He only listens to her.”

“That’s not true. You have your mother and you don’t really need him. You have a good life. Then there’s Nan, and she doesn’t make it easy on him. I’m just . . . I’m just the one that . . .”

“You’re just the special one. He loved your mother. She was his world and when she died you became his world. That’s just the way it is, and I’m damn happy he gives a shit when it comes to you,” Mase told her.

Harlow didn’t say anything. She stayed quiet. I wanted to ask her more. I wanted to know how she was feeling and if she was worried. But Mase was sitting beside me, and now wasn’t a good time.

“I need food. That jet better be stocked,” Mase grumbled.

“It always is,” Harlow replied.

This wasn’t the first time I had been on Slacker Demon’s jet but it was strange getting on it with Kiro’s kids. It had always been with Rush. These two had a dynamic that I’d never witnessed before. Until Mase showed up in Rosemary I wasn’t even aware they were close. I thought Kiro’s elusive son stayed away from that whole world.

“Have you two always been close?” I asked.

“Yes,” they both said.

“Grandmama always took me to stay at the ranch with Mase and his parents when I was a kid.”

“Parents?” I asked, because that didn’t make sense since his father was Kiro.

“My stepdad and my mom. He’s more like my father than my own father,” Mase said with his head resting on the seat and his eyes closed.

I hadn’t realized that. Interesting.

“Harlow’s visits were always something I looked forward to. I thought having a sibling was so cool. Especially one as proper and sweet as Harlow. Getting her all muddy and talking her into riding a horse or feeding the cows was always entertaining.”

Harlow let out a small laugh from the backseat.

Maybe having Mase around wasn’t so bad. At least I’d get a chance to know her better.


As soon as we got on the jet, Mase ate a bowl of oatmeal and went to bed. He was not a morning person. I sat down on the leather sofa beside the window so I could look out while I thought about where Dad could have gone instead of the fact that Grant was here. With me.

I didn’t turn to see what he was doing or where he was going to sit down. I wasn’t sure what to say to him now that we were alone. I also hated that my heart sped up when he smiled at me.

His warm body sank down beside me close enough that his arm was brushing against mine. “Hey,” he said simply.

Ignoring him was impossible and it was rude. I wasn’t rude. “Hey,” I replied, glancing over at him then back out the window.

“You worried about your dad?” he asked.

Not really. This was common. “No. Just frustrated that he never seems to grow up.”

“You not gonna look at me?”

I didn’t want to. He made me forget that he was dangerous. “Probably not,” I replied honestly.

Grant chuckled. “That’s a shame. I like looking into those eyes of yours.”

I closed my eyes and swore silently. Why, Grant? Why are you doing this to me? It isn’t fair.

“Are you going to hate me forever?” he asked.

I didn’t hate him. That wasn’t what this was about. Did he not get that? He had laid the terms down. I was just protecting myself from him.

“I don’t hate you. I just know where I stand with you and I’m being careful not to think too much about it, or you, for that matter.”

He didn’t say anything. Good. I’d shut him up. Maybe he would move and I wouldn’t have to keep smelling him. All warm and delicious. I knew how that skin felt against mine and I did not need reminders.

“I made a mistake, Harlow. I was scared and I f**ked up.”

I finally turned to look at him. We’d already had this discussion. I didn’t want to have it again. “I know. You told me already. I get it.” I started to turn away again but Grant grabbed my chin and gently turned my face back to his.

“No. We haven’t talked about this. I told you bullshit that isn’t true. I told you I wasn’t ready for a relationship. That was a lie. I was f**king terrified of loving someone so much and then losing her. But I’m not anymore. I can’t keep doing this to myself.”

I didn’t reply because I had no idea what he was talking about.

“I want you. I’ve wanted you since the moment I laid eyes on you. When I was buried inside of you I knew then I was sunk. Those pretty hazel eyes and angelic smile had started digging inside me and making themselves at home in my heart. But that night . . . you claimed me, and I can’t shake it. I can’t forget it.”

Oh. I stared up at him as his words sank in. Did this mean he wanted this with me? Or was he just saying this because he wanted to have sex again?

He lowered his head until his lips were barely brushing my ear. “You’re all I want. Forgive me for running? Please.”

I moved away from him, putting some space there between us. “Don’t. I’m not ready to just forget that you slept with Nan or that you didn’t call me for two months.”

Grant frowned and ran his hand through his long hair, making it even more tousled looking. “I did call. Ask Dean. He’ll tell you. I don’t know why you didn’t get calls to your phone but I was calling the hell out of it. I thought you had found out about my drunk screw-up with Nan and were done with me. Your dad threatened to call the cops if I showed up at your house. I started drinking a lot to forget you, and yeah, Nan happened to be there.”

Had he really tried to call me? Why would Dad keep me from him? Unless he knew about Nan and Grant. That would be a reason for Dad to threaten Grant. Was he telling the truth?

“I want to be near you. When I am, everything else fades away and I can’t concentrate on anything but you. That’s what scared me, but I’ve decided I was stupid to be scared of that. It’s special. You’re special.”

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