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“Yes.” I ground out the word, my chest heaving, and my mouth watering to fight.

“Perfect. Now, let’s have some fun.”

He lightens his hold; I have the brief flash of hope, until I feel his hand painfully cup my crotch. That’s all it takes for my body to go rock solid and the fear to invade again. It’s like Brandon all over again.

“Did the little bitch decide to stop playing so hard to get? Going to take it like a good whore?” He brings his hand up and grips my waistband before giving a hard tug and tossing my body on the floor.

The biting pain of my head hitting something solid seems to clear the fear that has begun to fog my mind. I look up at this nameless man, and all the things I wish I had done to Brandon come rushing to the surface.

“NO! Not this time!” I rush to my feet and charge at him. My nails scratch and claw at his face. My feet, legs, knees, anything that can make purchase, slam into his body. He grunts and blocks what he can, but I have the benefit of catching him unexpectedly. He never thought I would fight, but I have too much to lose to lie down and let him win. “You motherfucking fucker!”

I start moving as quick and as powerfully as I can, slamming into him with every limb. By the time he finally manages to push me roughly off of him, I’m breathing heavy and covered in blood. His blood. I let a smile curve my lips up when I think about how good it feels to fight. I’m not just fighting for Asher’s life and my own. No, I’m fighting for everything that this man and his employer have taken from us.

This is for Coop.

That’s the last thing to filter through my rage before I pick myself up and throw my body against his again. He manages a few hits, but he has nothing against me now. I have too much to lose, and too much keeping me fighting. My violent fury is almost a living, breathing thing.

I push hard against his chest, kick up and slam my foot into his crotch, and watch with satisfaction when he crashes against the floor. Right when I’m about to kick again and collide with his head, I’m jerked back. I can’t focus around the blood thirst. I want to kill that fucker with my own hands. Panting roughly, I finally place the scent that is surrounding me.

Beck.

My Beck is here.

“I’ve got you, Wildcat.”

And just like that, I sag against him and the fight drains from my body.

Chapter 31

There are no words to describe how I feel when I walk up to my house and see the door wide open, Dee’s stuff mixed with a pool of milk, and the sounds of a fight coming from inside my house. I pull my gun from the holster at my side and start to step over the mess at my front door.

For as long as I live, I will never forget rushing through my house and finding my wildcat fighting with everything that she has in her against a man almost twice her size. I don’t even know what she’s saying; it’s all coming out in garbled, unrecognizable words. Before I can reach her, she brings her leg back and slams his crotch with one hell of a kick. She goes to kick him again, but I hook her by her waist and pull her to my body. The sense of relief I feel when her body is next to mine is unimaginable.

She is safe.

She is fighting.

And I’m going to kill this motherfucker!

“I’ve got you, Wildcat.”

Her body relaxes against mine. The adrenaline, the fight, falls from her body.

“I’ve got you.” I whisper again.

“Oh, God,” she sobs. “Asher!” She pulls herself from my hold, and I watch her run behind the bar and drop to the floor. I don’t have time to ask her if he’s okay, because I see this motherfucker that was trying to hurt my woman start to stand.

“I don’t fucking think so.” I don’t move my gun from his head when I call over my shoulder for Dee to call 911. “Who THE FUCK are you?”

He doesn’t move a muscle. Nothing, but his eyes narrow.

“I won’t ask you again. You came into my house, you touched MY woman, and I don’t even know what the hell you did to my friend. It won’t be hard to put a goddamn bullet through your fucking skull and work that in my favor, so do not fucking try me. Who. Are. You?”

His smile grows before he speaks “Nico Slater. Your woman is fucking delicious.”

He licks his lips and I don’t even have to think twice. I let off a round and smile when he is thrown back with the force of the bullet slamming into his shoulder.

“Don’t fuck with me.” I walk over to his withering body and stand over him, “Who do you work for?”

His lips press tightly and he looks away with a grimace.

“Answer me!”

He doesn’t say a word so I bring my booted foot up and press against his bleeding shoulder. The howl he lets out in pain brings a smile to my face.

I lean down and press my gun against his forehead. “Who. Do. You. Work. For?” With each word I speak, I tap his head with the barrel of my gun. He might be a tough little shit, but there isn’t anything more terrifying than having a loaded gun pointed at your head.

“Dominic Murphy.”

The fuck he says?

“You’re kidding?”

He shakes his head and groans when I press harder against his shoulder. Dom Murphy has been on our radar since we set up Corps Security. It’s no secret that he has his hands in just about everything dirty that can be found in the South East. Especially Atlanta, but there has never been one single thread to connect him to anything. He’s essentially a ghost with little pissants running the show for him while he sits back like a king.

“You might as well kill me. I’m as good as dead anyway.”

“I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction, you sick fuck.” I pull my empty hand back and land a punch to his temple that has his eyes rolling back in his head. Out like a light.

Pushing my gun back into my holster, I stalk to where Dee is sitting on the floor with Asher’s head in her lap. She’s just running her hand through his hair and whispering softly to him. His eyes aren’t open, but I can tell he’s awake.

“One second, Baby.” I rush out of the kitchen to the garage, grab the rope off one of the shelves, and making quick work getting back inside to tightly secure this fucker Nico. He doesn’t even flinch when I throw his bound body against the wall.

Turning, I rush back to Dee’s side. “Are you okay?” I check her over, making sure there isn’t anything pressing.

“I’m fine. I’m fine.”

She looks up, and when I meet her eyes, I realize that she’s right. She’s obviously shaken up, but there isn’t anything else behind her eyes other than relief.

“I’m really okay, Beck. A little scared, a whole lot shaken up, but I wasn’t going to let that asshole win.”

“You did good, damn good. Fuck, Dee, I think you took ten years off my life when I came in and saw you going head-to-head with that guy!”

Asher makes a noise and opens his eyes. “Would you two shut up? My head hurts. I’m never drinking again.”

It doesn’t take long before the sounds of sirens start to echo through the air. Asher’s already standing and threatening to kill Nico, who is still passed out against the wall.

“That asshole sucker punched me. Didn’t even have the balls to take me out like a man. No! He just waited until I had my back turned and got me. Let me at him!”

At one point, I have to push him out of the room because he won’t stop barking at the officers to turn around and let him finish what was started.

“Calm down, Ash. He doesn’t deserve a quick death. Let him get his ass in prison and make some Big Dick Don happy to have a new little bitch.”

His eyes heat, and the wickedness that is usually present is back with a blinding force. For the first time since Coop’s death, I can see a little of the old Asher coming back. It’s not going to be an easy battle, but he’s going to be all right.

It takes a while to finish answering all the questions, but with Dee tucked to my side, unharmed, we settle in. The detectives don’t even bat an eye when I explain why Nico has a bullet fired from my gun in his shoulder. However, when they find out that Dee is the reason he looks like he just got the shit beat out of him, there isn’t a single person that doesn’t smile at that.

Nico Slater has warrants out for his arrest in four surrounding states. He’s a known drug dealer, a suspected enforcer, and wanted for the murders of numerous individuals. He’s been a ghost to the authorities for the last three years, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be going away for a long time.

When Dee repeats his message to the detective, the energy in the room goes electric. I don’t have to look to know exactly why. I can hear Asher panting, his emotions almost too much to control. Luckily, we now have the name of the motherfucker who put all of this in motion, and if I know Asher Cooper as well as I think I do, there isn’t going to be anything that can stop him from avenging his brother’s death.

Six hours later, the house is empty of all emergency responders, the milk cleaned from the entryway, and all other messes are gone. The house once again looks like it did before the hellish afternoon. The only difference is that the heavy feeling of grief and heartache is starting to thin. Don’t get me wrong. I miss Coop more and more every day, but knowing that we’re one step closer to bringing those responsible down, makes that pain just slightly more bearable.

For once, Asher isn’t passed out drunk, but he’s locked in my office looking up everything he can on Dominic Murphy. I’m sure the day will come when we have to fight again, but for today, for once in the last few months, the good guys win.

After shutting the house down, I make my way upstairs with one thought in mind… taking my woman in my arms and reminding her just how much I love her. It’s been a long damn road, but the woman waiting for me in our bedroom doesn’t hold a single thread of those ropes that have been holding her back and tying her down. No, not my wildcat. She’s back, and she’s finally, fucking finally mine.

Epilogue

(One Month Later)

I had my last appointment with Dr. Maxwell today. It feels beyond liberating to know that I have not only hit rock bottom, but have also fought to overcome. Even with all the struggles along the way, I’m finally in control of my own happiness. No, I haven’t just overcome… I’m flying higher than I ever thought possible. I’ve embraced the love I never thought existed, and I’ve conquered each and every roadblock that has held me back.

Things with Izzy and Greg didn’t immediately go back to normal. They both held some guilt about everything that happened to me. I kept telling them that they shouldn’t feel guilty about something they didn’t know about. I didn’t want them to know, so I played the part to make sure that they didn’t.

Things lately have been perfect. We’re back to the friendship that we had from day one.

Not everything is perfect, though. Chelcie has finally agreed to tell Asher. Since Asher started looking into Dominic Murphy, he’s been channeling all of his pain over losing Coop into a new unhealthy obsession. We all want the people that are responsible for Coop’s death to be dealt with, but Asher isn’t able to do anything else. He eats, sleeps, and breathes vengeance, and I know I’m not the only one that’s worried about how he’s coping with things. Or not coping. So, after a long talk with Chelcie she has decided that maybe if he knows about her pregnancy, he will be able to focus on the positive things left from Coop. It’s a stretch, but at this point, it’s all we have.

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