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“Does it look like I’m concealing anything, motherfucker?” Bear seethed. Gesturing with his chin to the double holster he wore around his arms that he hadn’t had on earlier. He must have had his holster in the truck but I hadn’t seen him put it in there.

Buck raised his hands and slid to the ground on his butt, his back against the bars. “Listen, I’m just doing my job.”

“No you’re not, Buck. Yes, I shot him. But he was on my land and didn’t leave when I asked him to. The law is the law. You got no right to keep me here because you think I need a time out! I get that you’re hurt but you got to let me go.”

“If she didn’t break any laws I suggest you let her out of that cage right the fuck now before I break one that you won’t live long enough to arrest me for,” Bear warned.

Buck’s hands shook as he took the key from his pocket and unlocked the cell door. Bear reached forward and grabbed me by the elbow, dragging me out of the cell and then from the room. Leaving Buck on the floor inside the room he slammed the door and locked it from the outside.

Bear’s steps were long and it took me three of mine just to keep up with him. His grip tightened around my arm as he dragged me toward the truck. I was about to ask him what’s wrong but something told me I didn’t want to know the answer. He opened the passenger door and didn’t wait for me to climb in. Grabbing onto my waist he tossed me into the cab and slammed the door.

“You were screaming,” Bear said through his teeth, getting in on the driver’s side and starting up the truck.

“Yeah, because Buck was being a dick,” I said. “He’s just hurt and trying to prove a point.”

“I should go back and kill that motherfucker right now for laying his hands on you,” Bear said, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand while the other was white knuckling the steering wheel. He spun us out onto the road and within seconds we were clear of town.

“He wasn’t going to hurt me,” I assured him. I was growing worried over the fact that he wouldn’t look at me. I grew more worried when he turned completely silent, the rattling of rocks bouncing off the undercarriage sounded like bullets in the quiet.

“You got history with that guy? He your boyfriend or something?” Bear asked.

“Buck? No! He used to be my friend. My only friend. Now he’s just an asshole who works for the sheriff.”

His jaw was set in a hard line, a muscle by his temple jumped and his throat was tight with tension. Bear suddenly pulled over to the side of the road and put the truck in park. He lunged at me, my back still smashed up against the passenger door he set his hands above my head on the window and glared down at me. “He laid his hands on you. You screamed. He didn’t stop. I would kill him without blinking. I almost did.” Bear’s eyes darkened, gleaming with intensity. “If he ever touches you again I am going to do just that. You got me? Fully expect me to break his fucking wrists or end his fucking life, but I get to choose which. Not you. Is that understood?” I nodded, not because I agreed with him, but because I knew he meant every word. “Good girl. This shit between us? I got no clue what it is, but it’s something. That’s why I gave you my ring back. You know it too, and that’s why you didn’t hesitate to put it back on.” At the mention of it, I felt for the skull ring beneath my shirt. “But, Ti, I’m dead serious when I tell you that if you need someone shot, it’s me who does the fucking shooting.” He ran his nose along the line of my jaw. “Is that fucking clear?” he asked, pulling away, cupping my jaw in his hand, searching my eyes for the answer.

“Yes,” I whispered, lost in what it was that I was agreeing to because my thoughts were mostly on the fact that Bear was only inches away from my face.

From my lips.

Which was where his eyes went when my tongue darted out to wet them.

“Good, now fucking kiss me,” Bear said, crushing his lips to mine.

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

Thia

Bear’s lips on mine wasn’t just something amazing. It was an event. It was downright magical.

Which is why it needed to stop.

All of it needed to stop.

I pulled back, but he didn’t move, hovering over me, breathing hard. His lips glistened from our kiss, his hair fell into his face. His muscles bulged as he braced himself on the window above my head. His sapphire blue eyes mirroring the raw lust I knew he had to see in my own because it was so overwhelming I felt like I was about to bust out of my own skin. “You can’t do this again. I won’t let you. If you plan on kissing me and walking away just so you can prove some sort of point about how much of a joke I am, then stop now because I won’t be toyed with.”

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