“Back off.”

“All the other weird shit that went missing, you did that too. Changing the hotel reservations. Sending groupies Devin’s way.”

“Shut your mouth and back off or so help me God I’ll—”

“What?”

Then he pulled a gun out of his jacket, pointing it at her with a very shaky hand. “I said back off, bitch.”

Her heart raced, but she kept a calm facade. “You gonna shoot me now?”

“If I have to. I’ll tell people you were being attacked and I jumped in to save you and some crazy motherfucker shot you dead.”

“How much money do you owe?”

“Why? You got a spare two hundred grand? Right. If you did, you wouldn’t be trying to f**k your way into Devin McClain’s bank account.”

Liberty kept walking backward, letting him think he was pushing her forward against her will. “Why didn’t you ask Devin for the money? Two hundred large is chump change to him.”

“Because I don’t wanna lose my job! I told you these people on this tour are my family.”

A few more steps and he’d clear the concrete wall protecting him from all sides.

Come on. Keep moving.

“Bullshit. Family doesn’t steal from family. Family doesn’t lie to family.”

JT reached up to wipe his bloody nose with the back of his free hand. “Maybe not your family, but mine sure as f**k did.”

Footsteps skidded on the cement behind her.

Please don’t let it be Devin.

“Jesus, JT, what the f**k is wrong with you?” Crash boomed.

“This is your fault,” JT yelled at her, and his hand holding the gun wavered enough to worry her.

“Put down the f**king gun,” Liberty said evenly.

“You’re making me do this. Right now I’d be better off in jail. Carny’s guys can’t reach me there. At least not in this state.”

“Liberty,” Crash snapped. “Just f**king shoot him.”

Events never happened in slow motion for her. For her, they happened in a nanosecond. She saw the shadowed form in her periphery vision and then a split second later the form tackled JT. She turned to reach for her gun, saw the muzzle blast and heard the pop as JT’s gun fired.

Then she felt the bullet rip through her flesh and a warm gush of blood. In shock, she staggered backward before she fell forward onto her knees.

Devin’s roar vibrated through the air.

Dozens of footsteps pounded past her. Shouts sounded, and a male voice yelled in pain.

Crash crouched in front of her. “Liberty, are you okay?”

“He shot me.”

Then Devin shoved Crash aside. “He f**king shot you?”

“Devin—”

“Where did the bullet hit?”

“My left arm. Fuck. I always forget how f**king much it hurts to get shot.”

“Ambulance is on its way,” Crash said. “Cops too.”

“She can’t wait for the f**king ambulance,” Devin snarled.

Then Check was right there. “Move. I know what to do.” He spoke in a low, soothing voice, asking where it hurt, gently poking the outside of her biceps and fashioning a tourniquet out of his bandanna.

Liberty needed to focus on something besides the pain. “Who’s dealing with JT?”

“Event security guys. They stun gunned him a couple of times.”

“Wish I coulda had a go at him,” Crash grumbled.

“Good timing on your part, but how’d you find us?”

“Devin and I suspected JT was up to something, so in the past couple days, I started watching him.”

“You suspected JT,” she said evenly. “And yet you didn’t think to oh, discuss it with me? Since I’m—”

“Not thinkin’ clearly,” Crash interjected, jerking his chin toward Check, who had no idea that Liberty was Devin’s bodyguard.

Dammit. Even now, sporting a goddamn gunshot wound, she had to keep her mouth shut.

“Tonight I had to deal with equipment breakage, so I couldn’t keep an eye on him after the show. SOB probably vandalized the equipment so I would be occupied,” Crash said bitterly. “How’d you find JT?”

“I was by the bus and I heard a strange noise. I tracked the sound and came upon JT and some enforcer type guy beating on him.”

“Devin said you were lookin’ for me, so I went lookin’ for you. When I couldn’t find you, I knew something was up.”

“Did you bring Devin along as your crime-fighting partner?” Liberty asked, unable to keep the disapproval from her voice.

“Fuck no.” Crash glared at Devin. “Odette told him you were worried someone was watching you two and you’d followed JT outside. So Odette distracted security and Devin snuck out.”

Liberty aimed a cool stare at him, hoping it masked the pain in her eyes. “You decided it’d be a good idea to jump in front of a gun?”

Devin’s jaw tightened. “I was just supposed to let him shoot you?”

She opened her mouth, snapping it shut when he made a snarling noise.

“I lost a hundred years off my life seein’ him with a gun pointed at you. I reacted like any normal man would when the woman he’s in love with is threatened.”

“He could’ve shot you.”

Devin curled his hand around the side of her face. “Baby, he did shoot you.”

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