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I was going to prison.

And Bear knew.

That’s why he’d tried to push me away. He knew they were coming for me and wanted to sever whatever it is that we had before they did.

Before I was gone.

“No, don’t touch me,” I argued, but Bear didn’t listen.

He grabbed me by the back of my legs. “Remember your promise,” he whispered again, hoisting me up toward the awaiting officers. Bethany threw Bear his jeans and he stepped into them before climbing onto the seawall, the little boat kicked out from under him and without being tied down was quickly launched into the mangroves by the current.

I hung my head and held out my hands behind my back, waiting to be cuffed. Bethany came to stand by my side and gave my shoulder a small reassuring squeeze. It didn’t work.

“You are under arrest for the murders of Wayne and Trinity Andrews anything you say…” One of the officers started and that’s when I looked up and noticed that their attentions weren’t on me. And neither were their guns.

They were on Bear.

“No!” I shouted, lunging forward but Bethany caught me by the shirt and tugged me back. They cuffed Bear and holstered their guns. They pushed him forward through the grass to one of the awaiting squad cars that were parked by the house, the rotating lights painting everything in splashes of blue and red.

“King!” I shouted, but he looked at me in a warning that said to keep my mouth shut. I broke free from Bethany’s grip and ran forward. Bear hopped to the right, dodging the officers long enough to spin back around to me. I launched myself up at him wrapping my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist and I kissed him furiously until one of the officers pried me away, our lips the last of our connection to be severed.

“You don’t have to do this. Please. Please don’t do this,” I begged him, still not fully understanding what exactly was going on. Tears streaming down my face as the officers placed me in front of King who wrapped his arms around my shoulders and whose stone like grip didn’t allow for even an inch of movement toward Bear. Ray came to stand next to me, and Bethany next to her.

The officers forcefully pushed Bear forward, smashing the side of his face against the police cruiser where they patted him down. Before throwing him into the back of the car he looked back at me.

“I love you,” he mouthed and with the echo of the slam of the door shutting Bear off from me, from my life, I swear I also heard the sound of my heart shattering.

CHAPTER THIRTY

Bear

I reined down punches on Corp’s face until it was a mangled mess of skin and blood and my orange jumpsuit was splattered with red. Serves the motherfucker right for coming at me with a fucking shank.

As soon as I knew Corps was in county I knew he’d be coming for me. Too bad they sent a pussy to do a man’s job.

Two weeks I’d been waiting and watching until he finally made his move, but I was ready.

Judging from the wreckage that used to be his face I can honestly say that he wasn’t.

“McAdams, you have a visitor,” snapped the guard. Corps moaned and I delivered one last punch to the side of his jaw, knocking him out cold. I stood up as the guard slid open my cell.

“I see your visit went well,” said the disinterested guard who tapped away on his phone as he led me to the visitor waiting area. He was the prick who put him in there to begin with, fully understanding what it was that Corps planned on doing.

“It did. He’s shit for company though. Doesn’t say much. Moans and groans a lot. I think he might be ill. Splitting headache,” I joked as the guard looked up from his phone long enough to roll his eyes and open the door separating the cell block from the hallway that led to the visitation area. “My lawyer came earlier. Who’s here?” I asked.

“Some chick,” the guard said, pushing open another door. I stopped.

“Take me back,” I said. I told King not to let Ti come. As much as I wanted to see her I didn’t want her to see me in here and her coming for a visit wouldn’t work with the confession I’d signed.

“Can’t, you got a visitor. She showed ID. She signed in. You go in. You got five minutes,” the officer said, opening the little room that looked like a cafeteria. I scanned the tables, which were mostly empty. It only took me seconds to realize that Ti wasn’t among the visitors. There was only one table where a lone woman sat waiting, looking down at her hands.

“Her?” I asked the guard.

“Yep,” he said, shutting the door behind me.

I made my way over to her and was about to tell her that she signed in to see the wrong prisoner, but when she looked up at me all the air in my lungs left in a swoosh.

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