Just as apparently, it’d been all Harley had.

There was silence in the room as his words were absorbed.

“It can’t end like this,” Katie finally said. “You love her.”

Stone turned to TJ. “Did you tell her you love her?”

“Jesus.” TJ scrubbed his hands over his face. “We’re not doing this. We’re not talking about it.”

Cam shook his head. “He didn’t tell her.”

“Look, I’ll…work it out.”

“You’ll work it out?” Stone asked as if TJ was a moron. “How? What have you got?”

TJ didn’t say anything. Because he had nothing. Jack shit.

Except the truth-that he was helplessly, 100 percent gone over Harley. Moving to the refrigerator, he grabbed a bottle of water and downed it, which did nothing to help his suddenly parched throat. Swiping a hand across his mouth, he turned and nearly plowed right into Cam, who’d somehow gotten the idea it would be okay to get all up in TJ’s face. He stood so close that TJ could see the brotherly annoyance and affection swirling in Cam’s green eyes. “What?” TJ snapped.

When Cam didn’t respond, TJ nudged him for some space.

Okay, a shove. He gave him a shove.

Cam held his ground, though he did smile. “Let me guess. You’re looking to kick someone’s ass, and since I’m in your face and wanting to know what’s wrong, it might as well be me.”

Because that was true, TJ didn’t bother to respond.

Cam’s smile spread to a grin. “There you go with the silent shit. Man, you always had that down.”

“Do you have a f**king point, or are you just enjoying the sound of your voice?”

“Actually, I have plans with the sexy woman at the table over there, so yeah, you’re right, I’ll get to my f**king point. After my accident, I lost it. Completely.”

Some of TJ’s irritation and frustration drained right out of him at that. “I remember.” They all remembered when Cam had nearly gotten himself killed during a snowboarding race. For a long, terrifying year afterward, he’d been nothing but a shell of himself, and Stone and TJ and Annie had felt helpless watching him suffer.

“Stone tried to bully me into getting better,” Cam said softly.

“Hey,” Stone said from the table.

“You meant well,” Cam said, eyes still on TJ. “But you were relentless. Annie, too.”

Annie, looking grim, nodded. It was the Wilder way. Bully, bug, bulldoze. She hadn’t known what else to do.

“Not you,” Cam said quietly, putting a hand on TJ’s chest. “I told you that the accident had taken my heart and soul and shredded them into pieces. I was done, man. Ready to check out, and you knew it. Do you remember what you told me?”

TJ let out a breath, his throat feeling tight. It’d been dark and terrifying times, trying to reach Cam, save him, when he hadn’t wanted to be either reached or saved. “I told you that your heart and soul might be shredded, but they were still beating. They weren’t destroyed.”


“And that all you had to do was take your head out of your own ass long enough to put yourself back together.”


TJ grated his back teeth together. “Gee, Cam, maybe you should tell me.”

“Not as much fun that way. What else?”

TJ sighed. “And that maybe you’d have to do as you’d never done and actually work hard at something.”

Cam nodded. “Because up until that moment, I hadn’t had to work hard for much in my entire life. Also thanks to you, by the way. You always took care of me.”

Behind them, Annie sniffed. “Goddammit. No one warned me this would be a tissue day. I’m actually wearing mascara!”

Nick pulled her into his lap, wrapping his arms around her, settling his hands on the bump of Not-Abigail.

Cam nudged TJ in the chest again. “It was good advice, Teej.”

“Yeah. But my heart and soul aren’t shredded.”

“Maybe not, but they haven’t been whole, not for a damn long time, maybe not since Sam died.”

“Not the Sam card again.”

“Not Sam,” Cam said very quietly. “You. You’re finally back to letting someone in other than us.”

“This isn’t about me. Harley doesn’t want-” TJ broke off. She didn’t want casual.

And he hadn’t exactly offered her anything else, had he? At the realization, he closed his gritty eyes.

It was him after all.

Skye was standing at Harley’s kitchen counter, slurping up a bowl of Frosted Flakes.

“Why can’t you inhale the crappy cereal?” Harley asked her.

“This is the crappy cereal. I left you some.”

Harley picked up the box of Frosted Flakes and shook it. Approximately three crumbs rumbled around.

“Well, you did say you didn’t want to have to run today. Consider this me doing you a favor.”

Harley sighed and poured herself a bowl of the healthy stuff. It had raisins. Hurray.

“You have e-mail,” Skye said, and gestured with her spoon to the open laptop on the table. “Colorado wants you to respond to their job offer.”

“You read my mail?”

“You have fun spam. You got two penis enlargement offers and someone named Trixie wants to meet you. What the hell’s taking you so long to get back to them about the job offer? Don’t you want it anymore?”