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Oreo whined, like Please don’t make me leave the new love of my life.

“He doesn’t like discord,” Darcy said.

“Does he know you live in that state?”

Wasn’t he a laugh a minute? Thankfully Zoe came back into the room.

“Sorry, I’ve got a flight change, and then Mom called.” She looked at Darcy. “She and Dad are heading to Istanbul next week. They wanted to let us know they’ll be out of touch.”

“Aren’t they always?” Darcy asked.

“Pretty much.” Zoe took in the way that Darcy and AJ stood practically nose to nose with Oreo in between them looking worried. “What’s up?”

“Nothing,” Darcy said.

AJ didn’t say anything.

Zoe divided a look between them. “It feels like something.”

No kidding … “AJ needs a favor,” Darcy said. She met his easy and relaxed gaze.

She, on the other hand, felt the opposite of easy and relaxed. Heat flickered through her whenever he was around, and even when he wasn’t and she only thought of him. And she spent way too much time thinking of him, wondering if he knew how to use that big body of his in bed.

She suspected he did. “I’ll go,” she told him.

“You’ll go where?” Zoe asked.

Darcy waited for AJ to explain but he didn’t. Of course not. He wanted her to say it. “To Boise to meet a potential bigwig interested in funding AJ’s grant program.”

Zoe turned to AJ and grinned. “Yeah? You got someone interested?”

“Yeah,” he said, but he hadn’t taken his gaze off Darcy. “And he’s asked that I bring along someone I’ve treated after their insurance cut them off.”

“Aw,” Zoe said. “And Darcy’s going to pay back a favor for a favor. Nice.”

“Wait— What?” Darcy asked, and turned to AJ just as he was making a slicing-finger-across-the-throat motion to Zoe.

Zoe was staring at him in confusion as she answered Darcy. “For all the pro bono physical therapy work he did when your insurance stopped paying at four months—” She broke off when AJ shook his head in disgust.

Yep, definitely missing something, Darcy thought, not liking where this was going. “I thought you and Wyatt covered me,” she said to Zoe.

Zoe sighed. “AJ wrote the bills off.” She turned to AJ. “I’m sorry, but you said you’d tell her. I just assumed she knew.”

“I hadn’t gotten to it yet,” AJ said, looking resigned to having this conversation, the one about how he’d not only saved her life but also not gotten paid.

Darcy could scarcely breathe. “You … you wrote the bills off? But that had to be hundreds of dollars of treatment, or more.”

“Forget it. Oh, and the dinner’s dressy. And we’re going with no drama so don’t bother packing any.”

Zoe winced. “Maybe I should go, too. I can pack food for the trip, it’ll be fun.”

Darcy was struggling to contain herself. Her inner bitch really wanted to come out but … he’d written off her PT bills. “I’ll skip the drama if you skip being an ass.”

“I’m not sure either of those things are possible,” he said. “But while we’re in negotiations, let’s put this on the table—no crazy.”

“Okay,” Zoe said. “I’m definitely coming with.”

“Maybe you should print me out a list of rules,” Darcy said to AJ, ignoring Zoe. “Like when I talk to you, should I say ‘Sir, yes, sir,’ or not speak at all?”

“I mean I have work,” Zoe said. “But it’s no big deal for me to cancel a few flights.”

“Not necessary,” AJ said to Zoe as he poured himself a mug of coffee and leaned back against the counter to take a leisurely sip. “And as much as I like the ‘Sir, yes, sir,’” he said to Darcy, “let’s go with door number two—not speaking at all.”

Okay, this wasn’t going to work. Darcy was working at paying off her debts. She always paid off her debts, but this one might kill her. “Do you want to approve my wardrobe as well?”

“Yeah,” Zoe said, pulling out her phone. “So I’ll just start cancelling some flights right now—”

“No,” Darcy told her. Having Zoe the Worrier there would make everything worse. “Thank you but we’ll be fine.”

“Fine dead, or fine in prison?”

AJ smiled, albeit a little grimly. “Fine fine.”

Zoe didn’t look convinced but she nodded. “Well … it’s really nice of you to help him out,” she said to Darcy.

Nice had nothing to do with it. Darcy waited for AJ to mention that he was paying her a thousand bucks to go, something she would absolutely refuse now—but he didn’t say a word. She looked at him pointedly.

He looked right back at her from those impenetrable hazelnut eyes.

A point in his favor, she thought reluctantly. “He offered to pay me,” she told Zoe, and had the pleasure of catching a flash of surprise from him.

He’d underestimated her. She was well used to that. “A lot of money,” she added. “That he’s no longer going to pay me now that I know what he did for me.”

“I’m sorry,” Zoe said. “I’m going to ask again. Are you two sure this is a good idea? It’s a long car ride, and we all know that the two of you don’t exactly …” She trailed off, grimacing again when both Darcy and AJ just looked at her. “… get along,” she finished.