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“Be nice,” he ordered right before he loosened his hold.

I slipped free, stalking around my dad and dodging my brother’s hand as I climbed the steps.

“You might want to wait,” Kip suggested from where he stood in front of the Silvers’ door. He stepped toward me, but stopped when Reece jogged up the porch steps.

I stepped inside my apartment and then came to a complete standstill. My eyes had to be messing with me. There was no way this was my place. No way was my apartment full of police taking pics and dusting for prints.

The TV had been knocked to the floor, the screen shattered in large shards. The coffee table and end stand, both hand painted by me, looked like someone had gone Hulk on them, smashing the secondhand pieces until the legs were broken off. Both the couch and the recliner were flipped upside down. From where I stood, I could see that my small kitchen set was in one piece but also knocked over.

My heart pounded as anger pumped through me. Hands clenched, I headed down the hall. The bedroom was a mess. The comforter and sheets stripped, piled on the floor. All my bottles of lotion and perfume were scattered.

Spinning around, I almost knocked into Reece. He reached for me, but I sidestepped him and walked into my studio.

My heart broke.

“Oh my God,” I whispered, pressing the palm of my hand against my chest as I stared into the room.

Thank God Reece had taken my easel and canvas earlier, along with my paints, because everything else in the room had been utterly destroyed. All of the paintings I’d done, even the ones of Reece I’d hidden in the closet, were torn into unrecognizable shreds. It was like rage had exploded in the room.

I shuddered. “My . . . all my stuff.”

“I’m sorry.” Reece came up behind me, wrapping an arm under my chest and drawing me to his front. His other arm came around, securing me against him. “I wish there was something I could say that could make this better for you.”

Part of me wanted to pull away and start kicking stuff. “I don’t understand.”

His embrace tightened and for a few moments, he just held me and that . . . that helped more than I thought it could, but I thought about who was waiting outside. “It has to be Henry.” Anger resurfaced, pushing away the horror and the numbness of seeing my things destroyed. I turned in his arms, meeting his gaze. “It has to be him. Who else?”

He wet his bottom lip. “Roxy—”

“Are you seriously going to defend him? For real? I mean, none of this stuff happened until he conveniently shows up. Then he’s here, innocently knocks on my door and finds it already open? I mean, come on.”

Reece dropped his arms. “I really don’t think it’s him.”

Shaking my head, I stepped away. “It’s obvious!”

“Why would he break into your place and then call the police?” he threw out with an even, patient voice.

“Because he’s a sociopath?”

He cocked his head to the side. “Babe, the man made some shitty choices when he was a teenager and he paid for them—he’s still paying for them—and I don’t appreciate him showing up here unannounced, but that doesn’t make him a sociopath.”

My mouth dropped opened. “You’re seriously defending him?”

“No. He’s a jackass. Just not a sociopath.”

Disbelief thundered through me.

“He’s not defending what he did six years ago, honey.” Dad appeared in the doorway. “He’s just pointing out that it doesn’t make sense for Henry to do this and then call the police.”

I threw my hands up. “Did it make sense when he threw the rock and nearly killed Charlie?”

“Babe, this has nothing to do with Charlie.”

I was about to spit fire. “How do you know? Maybe he—”

“I’ve talked to him,” Reece continued, and effectively shutting me up by doing so. I gaped at him. “I’ve had real long talks with him.”

“What?” I whispered.

Reece glanced at my dad and then his gaze settled on me. He stepped closer. Brave man, because I was pretty sure my expression said I was about to cut him. “After the first time he tried to make contact with you, I had a chat with him to make sure he wasn’t going to cause you any trouble.”

“Good man.” My father clapped him on the shoulder, and I shot him a look. Seriously? “What?” he replied. “Reece was looking out for you.”

I crossed my arms.

“By saying this, I’m not forgetting what he’d done to Charlie. Henry hasn’t forgotten that either. That man is carrying around a load of guilt,” Reece said, and the tone of his voice said he had a lot of experience with that. “And he isn’t looking for forgiveness. He’s looking to somehow make amends. Two different things, babe, and breaking into your place, messing with you like this, serves no purpose.”

For a real long moment, I had no idea how to respond. Caught between fury and shock, I didn’t know what to make of the sense of betrayal coursing through me. All at once I was just . . . done with it all. Exhausted to the marrow, my shoulders slumped.

I turned away, surveying the damage. “I got to clean this up.”

A moment passed and Reece touched my shoulder. “We’re going to talk about this later.”

“Whatever,” I murmured, stepping away and picking up a piece of torn canvas. Holding it close, I sucked in an unsteady breath. The blue was the same color of Reece’s eyes, and I could make out the thin black lines that radiated out from the pupil. I didn’t know what to think as I realized that someone had found my creepy stash of Reece paintings.

Though, whatever I felt didn’t compare to how violating and scary it was knowing someone had gotten in here again and had done this—done something so violent and out of control.

We cleaned up as much as we could, and tomorrow, I’d have to call my insurance company. Luckily, I had renter’s insurance, so it would cover what was damaged and could be replaced.

A lot of the paintings and secondhand stuff couldn’t be, though, but I knew it could’ve been worse. Nothing had been stolen, and in the end, my place was just a mess.

Thomas offered to come back over with me tomorrow to finish up, something that Reece announced—did not ask—that he would also tag along for. I didn’t protest, because the last thing I wanted was to do it by myself.

Henry had left by the time I’d stepped outside again and that was a good thing. While I’d calmed down and could see a little bit of Reece’s logic, I was still fired up about the fact that he had the balls to come to my place and I wasn’t entirely convinced that it hadn’t been Henry. To me, it made more sense than some random guy stalking me.