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WERE

WERE in my heart.

Until I just fucking shattered it.

Ti floated back toward me and I battled with my original plan to push her away again, but the closer she got the more determined I was to fix what I had broken. Tomorrow was coming no matter what happened tonight.

I knelt down to pull her in, but when she saw my outstretched arm she shook her head. Rowing with even more vigor then before, water splashing into the boat in her furious attempt to get as far away from me as possible.

Fuck this.

She just said she wanted me because of who I am and that was a good thing because I was about to show her exactly who I was.

Already barefoot, and wearing only my jeans, I pushed them off my hips and stepped out of them. From Ti’s position I knew she couldn’t see me in the shadows. I tossed my jeans out onto the dock and into the light.

It was a warning. I was coming for her.

I was completely naked, and I didn’t give a fuck.

The slightly salty air tasted like fucking freedom. The musty smell of decay of the nearby wetlands stung my nose but I wanted more.

More was the plan.

More was in a rowboat in the middle of the big bay and I couldn’t help but think how little she looked. How innocent. How vulnerable.

My cock hardened.

“What are you doing?” Ti called out, the fear in her voice doing nothing to placate my raging hard on.

“Suddenly, I feel like a fucking swim,” I said wickedly, stretching my arms over my head.

“No! Stay away, Bear. I mean it!” Ti shouted, lapping her oars so hard into the water she was finally able to break free of the current, gliding easily across the water. “You’re not coming in here.”

That’s what you think.

“Oh, yes. I fucking am,” I muttered. I sucked in a deep breath and dove head first into the dark water.

A predator seeking it’s prey.

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

Thia

Bear had lost his damned mind.

From the second we left the park he hadn’t been the same.

I knew he wanted me to walk in on him with that girl. It wasn’t what she was doing to him that both pissed me off and broke my heart. It was the fact that I knew he’d done it on purpose. He wanted to get caught.

He wanted to HURT me.

Even though I was free of the current I continued to row, wanting to get far enough away from the shore that Bear would give up on swimming and turn back around. As I got closer to the shore on the opposite side I’d thought I would see other houses surrounding the bay, but the rest of the shore was covered in a mixture of tall thin trees that bent and swayed with the slightest breeze and short stumpy mangroves that sat on top of the water on little sticks that reminded me of the pillars that held up King and Ray’s house.

I really hadn’t thought Bear was going to jump in. An empty threat that turned out to be not so empty.

The spot where Bear had jumped into the water created a rippling effect over the surface, growing larger and larger as it spanned out. By the time it reached the boat it had turned from slight ripple to little wave, rocking the boat from side to side.

That’s when I realized that there was no other disturbance in the water. No indication of movement of any kind.

Where is he? My anger and irritation temporarily replaced by worry.

I counted to ten.

Nothing.

I counted again.

Nothing.

“Bear!” I shouted.

No response.

Keeping one oar raised out of the water I turned the boat around and followed the path from where I came, scanning for signs of life. I’d only gotten a few strokes in when the stillness exploded beside the boat. My heart leapt into my stomach as Bear launched himself through the surface of the water like an orca, soaking my hair and clothes.

“Why do you care? Why are you really mad?” Bear asked, grabbing onto the side of the boat. “Tell me, Ti, and be fucking honest with me because we both know you can’t lie for shit. Why do you care if I fuck and snort and drink myself into an early fucking grave?” Fire danced in his eyes, water dripped into his face and mouth. “Tell me,” he challenged. “Right fucking now ’cause I need to know.” He lifted a leg over the side of the boat. I held onto the sides to prevent myself from going in as it tipped more sideways then I thought a boat could, letting in a few inches of water. Bear lifted his other leg into the boat and it righted itself again as he climbed in. With limited space he sat behind me on the little bench seat, my back to his chest. His knees splayed out on the side of my hips. I turned sideways to glare at him.

Bear was running a hand over his head, wringing out the access water.

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