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“Sorry, I guess I’m more tired than I realized.”

“We need to make a decision about how we want to move forward.”

“After everything you’ve told me, I guess it all comes down to trust. Do you trust Connor enough to hand over all that information?” she asked.

“I don’t think we have a choice.”

“So what happens if we’re wrong?” She wrung her hands in her lap.

“We find someone else to listen. The information I stole from Calero implicates Davis and Foster in a lot of illegal activities and there’s no way Connor can use it against me. I was never involved in any of their dealings. Before I took that info from Calero I knew it had to be bad if they were willing to blackmail me into getting it, and once I got my hands on it…” He shook his head. “They’re facing serious jail time, possibly execution for their crimes. Davis and Foster aren’t going to stop until one or all of us are dead.”

“Okay, then I’m on board. I say we make the call.”

Hunter glanced at his watch. “If I call tonight they’ll probably want to meet us in the next hour.”

It was wrong and selfish but she wanted a few more hours alone with Hunter. Earlier, when he’d said “your life,” she realized what had bothered her. He planned to walk away from her and Jonathan again once this was all over. Maybe it was for the best. Hell, she didn’t know. The only thing she did know was that she wanted one more night with him.

No one knew where they were and they couldn’t bring any proceedings against Davis in the middle of the night. Not to mention her son was already asleep and he’d already been through so much. Letting him have a full night’s sleep as opposed to waking him and moving him again couldn’t hurt. “What do you think we should do?”

“The call can wait until the morning.” His voice was strangled.

That was the answer she wanted to hear.

Shifting closer, she traced her hand up his leg, savoring the feel of his muscles clenching under her fingers. Walking away now would be the smartest thing to do, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop touching him. Too many nights she’d lain awake thinking of him.

Missing him.

Wanting him.

Even if she might regret it later, she needed to feel his hands on her body. Needed to feel something tonight.

Just one more time. She knew that was all it would be too. She hadn’t had a chance to think straight since he’d walked back into her life. Now, she didn’t want to think at all. She just wanted him to touch her and block out the rest of the world.

Before she could change her mind, she shifted from her position next to him and straddled him. Her knees sank into the couch cushions as she molded against him. There was no way she could make her intentions more clear.

“What are you doing?” He sounded as if he’d swallowed gravel.

“I broke up with Michael.” Any more details were completely unnecessary.

Hunter had been hot and cold the past day, but she knew he still wanted her. It was in his dark eyes every time he looked at her.

His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down at her declaration, and a satisfactory, predatory look came into his eyes. Then something else crept in. She wasn’t sure what it was, but it almost looked like fear. “I have nothing to give you, Alexis. Nothing.”

Before she could grasp what he meant, he grabbed her hips and gently slid her off him. He growled something unintelligible as he stood and strode from the room.

Hot tears pricked her eyes as she watched him disappear from sight.

Embarrassment washed over in not-so-subtle waves as his rejection sunk in. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe he didn’t want her as much as she wanted him. The years had changed her, and for all she knew he had someone waiting for him. Someone younger, prettier, thinner, whatever. Someone not her. Hunter had come back to make sure she was safe, but not once had he alluded to staying in her and Jonathan’s life long-term. She’d known it but she’d thought maybe they could have one night together. Batting away her treacherous tears, she hurried to her room.

Hunter leaned against his door and tried to steady his breathing. Alexis had been on top of him. On. Top. Of. Him.

Her invitation couldn’t have been any clearer.

He was seriously broken. The woman of his dreams, the mother of his child, was ready to give him what he wanted, and he couldn’t take it.

How could he, knowing he had nothing left of himself to offer her? Once this mess was over, he’d have to leave her. The man she’d fallen in love with had had dreams and desires of starting a family with her. That man hadn’t been a killer. He hadn’t been a soulless bastard working for the scum of the earth. He might not have sold drugs, but he’d sure as hell peddled guns. Lots of them. Davis wanted him to get close to Calero and that had been the only way. He’d had to make a name for himself to get invited into Calero’s inner circle. Moving large shipments of guns had gotten Hunter noticed. It had taken years but once he’d started raking in money and dealing with bigger fish, Calero had sat up and taken notice. Even then it had still taken more time to become a trusted associate. The reasons behind what Hunter had done didn’t seem to matter anymore. He might have made those choices to save Alexis, but he’d still made them.

As he stared at his empty bed he cursed. Alexis at least deserved to know why he’d walked away.

He made his way to her room then stood in front of her door for what felt like forever. After wiping his palms on his jeans, he knocked.

“Who is it?”

“Open the door, Alexis. Please.”

“Go away.” Her voice was muffled, but it sounded like she was crying.

Ignoring her request, he tried the knob. Locked. Using his pocket knife, he made quick work of the lock and opened the door.

Curled up in the middle of the bed, Alexis was turned away from him. She flipped over as he shut the door behind him.

Her face was wet but she looked more angry than upset. “Get out of my room.”

He hurried to the bed, but as he came toward her she threw the covers off and came at him fast. “I get it, Hunter. You don’t want…me. I don’t need an apology or anything. Just get out and let me sleep.” Her voice shook but her pale eyes spit fire.

“Don’t want you? All I’ve thought about for six years is you.”

She laughed, the sound brittle and sharp.

“Don’t believe me?” Not caring about the consequences he grabbed her wrist and placed her hand between his legs. This was one reaction he couldn’t hide from her.

Her eyes flared as she stared up at him. “So you do want me?”

“More than anything.”

“Then what’s the problem?” She bit her bottom lip but she also didn’t remove her hand from his crotch. Instead she squeezed lightly before letting go.

For a moment he forgot to breathe. Then he remembered why he’d come to her room. “When I said I had nothing to offer you, I meant it. And I don’t mean financially. After this is over, I plan to make sure you and Jonathan are well taken care of.”

“I don’t want your money,” she whispered.

“It’s all I have to give you. There’s so much about me you don’t know, Alexis. I’ve done things. Things I’m ashamed of.” He couldn’t say the rest of the words aloud though. Voicing it was too much. He just needed to let her know he wasn’t worthy of her.

“Would you have done these things if you hadn’t been coerced into them?” The question was quiet, thoughtful.


“Then the next move is up to you, Hunter. I’m not expecting anything from you. Just this one night.” But the look in her eyes said differently.

He really was a bastard for even contemplating going to bed with her. She deserved so much better than him. The white picket fence, a husband who was home every night, a man who hadn’t shed blood or sold weapons and who knew how to be a father. Anyone but him.

Walk away.

The voice in his head was loud. But the other voice, the one that told him this was the last chance he’d have with her, was louder and more demanding.

His selfish, primal side won out. Closing the distance between them, he covered her mouth with his. Just one night. That was all he’d take.

Heat pooled between Alexis’s legs as Hunter stroked his tongue over hers. He invaded her mouth and her senses until she could barely think straight. Their tongues and bodies meshed together with a hot urgency.

She looped her hands around his neck, and at the same time he gripped her hips. His hold was hard and dominating. It was impossible for them to be closer with their clothes still on. Shifting back a little, she tugged at his sweater with a heated fervency and yanked it over his head. She needed to see him now. Felt almost animalistic with her need to see his naked body. To feel him inside her.

After she stripped off his top, he gripped her backside and hoisted her up. She instinctively wrapped her legs around him. The moment she did, instead of tumbling them onto the bed as she expected, he headed out of the room.

“What are you doing?” she gasped.

“Condoms. In my room.” Then his mouth was on hers again, hungry once again.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” he growled as he shut his door behind them.

She nodded and once he put her on her feet, she started grappling with his belt. Stupid thing was stuck.

“Alexis.” Hunter cupped her face with his hand and she stopped what she was doing. “Say you want this. Aloud.”

Staring into his dark eyes, she nodded. Could he not tell? She wanted him so bad she was practically shaking for him. Even knowing this was a onetime thing and she was destined to get her heart broken again, she wanted him so bad she ached with the need and didn’t care about the consequences. “I want this. Very much.”

Without his shirt on, she had a hard time focusing on anything other than his half-naked body. For a moment they stared at each other, neither saying a word. It was impossible to know exactly what he was thinking, but his intense expression told her everything she needed to know. The desire she felt wasn’t one-sided. Not even close.