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“Why are you telling me this now?”

“While finding the truth and being paid from beyond the grave, I found a security team worthy of my talents. If Petrov ever finds me out, I’ll need to call in a favor.”

Lori moved within hearing range.

Reed lifted a hand to keep her quiet. “You won’t have to ask twice.”

“Good, now take your girl back inside. She looks cold.”

Reed noticed Lori shivering, her arms wrapped around her shoulders.

“I’m considering a little work on my Texas accent, what do you think?” Her last words sounded less Russian and more Texan.

“If you need our help, you know how to find us.”

“I’m counting on that.”

When Sasha hung up, he shrugged out of his jacket and placed it over Lori’s shoulders. “Who was that?”

“Sasha.”

“Really?”

He turned her back toward the house. “It appears Trina’s mother-in-law has been hard at work beyond the grave.”

Lori paused.

“She hired Sasha to keep your secrets.”

Lori’s jaw dropped. “Why did Sasha tell you that now?”

“For our protection . . . well, Neil’s team’s, in any event.”

They stopped under one of the patio heaters and warmed up from the crisp December night.

“Should I be jealous of this woman who keeps calling you?”

Reed couldn’t help it, he laughed. “There is only room for one woman in my life.”

She lifted his left hand and kissed the back of it. “I feel the need to go cavewoman on you.”

His eyes lit up, his hand moved under his jacket and dipped his fingers past the back of the dress. “Isn’t that out of your comfort zone?”

“I heard once that life begins when you step out of that zone.”

How he loved this woman. “Cavewoman . . . I like it. Next year’s Halloween costumes.”

“Already on to next year?”

“Baby . . . I’m planning the next sixty years.”

She lifted her smiling lips to his, kissed him. “I love you.”

Without breaking their lips apart, he said, “Love you more.”

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