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He smiles appreciatively and slips his hand through the opening in the door before I can shut it again. “Wait,” he says, wiggling his fingers. “Give me your hand.”

“Why? So you can lecture me about how I shouldn’t touch strangers’ hands through locked doors?”

He dismisses my question with a shake of his head. “We’re far from being strangers, Auburn. Give me your hand.”

I tentatively bring my fingers up and barely touch them to his. I’m not sure what he’s doing. His eyes drop to our fingers, and he leans his head against the door frame. I do the same and we both watch our hands as he slides his fingers between mine.

We’re on two separate sides of a locked door, so I have no idea how simply touching his hand can make me have to lean against the wall for support, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. Chills run up my arms and I close my eyes.

His fingers brush delicately over my palm and trace their way around my hand. My breaths are shaky and my hand is growing even shakier. I have to stop myself from unlocking the door so I can pull him inside and beg him to do to the rest of me what he’s doing to my hand.

“You feel that?” he whispers.

I nod, because I know he’s looking right at me. I can feel his stare. He doesn’t speak again and his hand eventually stills against mine, so I slowly open my eyes. He’s still watching me through the crack in the door, but as soon as my eyes are all the way open, he quickly lifts his head away from the door frame and pulls his hand back, leaving mine empty.

“Fuck,” he says, standing up straight. He runs his hand through his hair and then grips the back of his neck. “I’m sorry. I’m ridiculous.” He releases his neck and grips the doorknob. “I’m leaving for real this time. Before I scare you away,” he says with a smile.

I grin. “Good night, OMG.”

He slowly shakes his head back and forth while his eyes narrow playfully. “You’re lucky I like you, Auburn Mason Reed.”

With that, he closes the door.

“Oh my God,” I whisper. I think I might have a crush on that boy.

“Auburn.”

I groan, not ready to wake up, but someone’s hand is on my shoulder, shaking me.

Rude.

“Auburn, wake up.” It’s Emory’s voice. “The police are here.”

I immediately roll onto my side and see her standing over me. She’s got mascara under her eyes and her blond hair is sticking out in all directions. Her unexpected, unkempt appearance scares me more than the fact that she just said the police are here. I sit straight up in bed. I try to find my alarm clock to check the time, but my eyes won’t open enough for me to see it. “What time is it?”

“After nine,” she says. “And . . . did you hear me? I said there’s a cop here. He’s asking for you.”

I scoot myself off the bed and look for my jeans. I find them crumpled on the floor on the other side of my bed. As soon as I get them buttoned, I reach into the closet for a shirt.

“Are you in some kind of trouble?” Emory asks, standing by my door now.

Shit. I forgot she doesn’t know anything about me.

“It’s not the police,” I tell her. “It’s just Trey, my brother-in-law.”

I can see she’s still confused, and that makes sense since he’s not really my brother-in-law. It’s just easier to refer to him that way sometimes. I also have no idea why he’s here. I open my bedroom door and see Trey standing in the kitchen, making himself a cup of coffee.

“Is everything okay?” I ask him. He spins around and as soon as I see his smile, I know everything is fine. He’s just here for a visit.

“All good,” he says. “Shift just ended and I was in the neighborhood. Thought I’d bring you breakfast.” He holds up a sack and tosses it toward me on the counter. Emory walks around me and grabs the bag, opening it.

“Is it true?” she asks, looking up at Trey. “Do cops really get all the free doughnuts they want?” She grabs one of the pastries and shoves it in her mouth while making her way toward the living room. Trey is looking at her with contempt, but she doesn’t notice. I wonder if she’s aware that she hasn’t looked in a mirror today. I doubt she cares. I love that about her.

“Thank you for the breakfast,” I tell him. I take a seat at the bar, confused as to why he would think it’s okay to just stop by without notice. Especially this early in the morning. But I don’t say anything, because I’m sure it’s just me being cranky due to my late night and lack of sleep. “Is Lydia coming home today?”

He shakes his head. “Tomorrow morning.” He sets his cup on the bar. “Where were you last night?”

I cock my head, wondering why he would even ask that. “What do you mean?”

He glances back at me. “She says you called over an hour late.”

Now I get why he’s here. I sigh. “Did you really want to bring me breakfast or are you using it as an excuse to check up on me?”

The offended look he shoots me makes me regret my comment. I blow out an exasperated breath and rest my arms on the bar. “I was working,” I say. “I filled in at an art gallery for extra money.”

Trey is standing in the exact spot Owen was standing in last night. Trey and Owen are probably the same height, but for some reason Trey just appears more intimidating. I don’t know if it’s because he’s always in a police uniform, or if it’s the hardened facial features. His dark eyes always seem to be frowning, whereas Owen can’t seem to help smiling. Just thinking about Owen and the fact that I’ll see him again tonight instantly puts me in a better mood.

“An art gallery? Which one?”

“The one on Pearl, near my work. It’s called Confess.”

Trey’s jaw tenses and he sets his cup of coffee on the counter. “I know the one,” he says. “Callahan Gentry’s son owns that building.”

“Am I supposed to know who Callahan Gentry is?”

He shakes his head and pours his coffee in the sink. “Cal’s an attorney,” he says. “And his son is trouble.”

I wince at his insult, because I don’t understand it. Owen is the last person I would associate with the word trouble. Trey grabs his keys off the bar and begins making his way out of the kitchen. “I don’t like the idea of you working for him.”

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