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“Do me a favor?” Zoe asked before Darcy could remember.


“Don’t blow off what you feel for AJ like you blow off all your other feelings.”

Darcy choked on her toast. “I don’t—”

“You do. Promise me.”

She stared into Zoe’s solemn eyes. “I’m not blowing off anything, but he doesn’t feel the same for me.”

Zoe frowned. “He tell you that?”

“No, but—”

“Promise me.”

Darcy blew out a sigh. “You’re more stubborn than Wyatt.”

“That’s right. And you’re more stubborn than both of us put together. This isn’t about AJ’s feelings for you, which, by the way, you’re wrong about. This is about you and your heart, and for once learning to trust it.” Zoe leaned over her and tucked her in. “Now go back to sleep and let that hard head of yours repair itself. When you wake up, maybe your heart will do the leading for once.”

But that was the problem. Darcy didn’t know how to lead with her heart.

The next time she opened her eyes she could tell by the fading light that it was late afternoon. She’d slept the day away. She stretched and sat up, and then went still at the realization that someone was sitting on the bed at her hip.


“Why are you here?” she asked.

“Take a guess.” Pinning her in with a hand at either hip, he leaned in and looked her over. “Better,” he said.

“I’m fine. I just needed a nap.” Or a break from her life. Pick one … “I think I made things perfectly clear at the hospital,” she said.

“Your car is in town for repairs,” he said, completely ignoring her statement. “The damage isn’t bad.”

“The dog—”

AJ patted his thigh and a dog’s head and torso appeared, his front paws resting on AJ’s leg. “This is Chance,” AJ said.

“Oh,” she breathed, feeling gratitude nearly choke her. “Oh, he’s beautiful.”

“Handsome,” AJ said. “Beautiful is too girly. Good boy, Chance. Lie down.”

The dog lay back down on the floor.

Darcy blew out a sigh, not wanting to soften toward AJ, but she couldn’t help it. “You went and got him for me.”

“Not me. Xander.”

Xander stood from the chair in the corner of her room and she couldn’t breathe. Just couldn’t breathe. She was so happy to see him that she lost all her words, too. Plus, she was afraid to say anything and scare him away.

But he wasn’t going anywhere. He walked around to the other side of the bed, sat, and took her hand in his before finally meeting her gaze. “Hey.”

“Hey,” she managed around her tight throat. “Why do you have a black eye?”

Xander’s gaze went to AJ and then back to Darcy. He let out a low laugh. “I walked into a door.”

Darcy looked at AJ, too, at the shadow of a bruise still on his jaw, and felt her own jaw drop. “You hit him?” she asked AJ. “Are you kidding me?”

“Actually, I took the first swing,” Xander admitted. She stared at both of them. “You two brawled?”

“Only for a minute,” Xander said. “He kicked my ass with the return punch. And I deserved it.”

Darcy squeezed his fingers, hating the image of the two of them hitting each other. “Not that I’m not happy to see you, because I’m ecstatic, but …”

“Why am I here?” he asked.

She smiled. “Yeah. You were holding on to a really good mad at me, I know that much. Don’t tell me that my stupidity today made you soft.”

Xander’s eyes went suspiciously shiny and he shook his head. “I’m here because what happened to you today made me realize something.”

“That I should stay off the road?”

“No. That I’m an asshole.”

She choked out a laugh. God, she’d missed him. “No, you’re not,” she said. “You know, I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to have two guys in bed with me. It’s not quite what I thought it’d be.”

Xander choked out a laugh and brought their joined hands to his chest, not taking his gaze off of her.

“What, did I break my face and no one told me?” she asked, trying to pull free. “Get me a mirror—”

“No. You’re gorgeous,” he said. “But I once promised I’d never hurt you. And then I did. I’m so sorry, Darcy. So fucking sorry.”

“It’s okay. I understand—” She tried to shift so that she could hug him but pain sliced through her head.

“Just be still,” AJ said quietly. “I know it’s not your strong suit, but try.”

“Okay,” she whispered. “Being still.” She squeezed Xander’s fingers again. “You got the dog for me.”

“Yeah. Because AJ called me and asked me for help. He’d have gone himself but he wanted to stay with you, even though it meant letting that moneybags dick leave town without signing the deal.”

“Xander,” AJ said in soft warning, but it was too late.

Darcy stared at AJ. “Wait— What?”

“Yeah,” Xander said. “Ariana said he walked away from a meeting to go find you. Which, by the way, was exactly what he was supposed to do, put you first. He always does and I never did.”