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My breath quickened. Remembering the night of the carnival when we’d fought right up until the moment he was inside me, and then even our sex had been combative.

Deliciously combative.

“The only thing I’m sorry for is the how it all ended when you left. The shit with the senator. That’s all on me. I was fucked up after prison, after Preppy. I thought it was the only way to get back the only blood I’ve got.” King ran the back of his hand down the side of my face and leaned in closer. “It was a mistake, because this thing here, between us? It’s not the kind of thing that can just go away.” He brushed his lips against mine and I leaned forward, seeking more contact, but he held me in place by my shoulders.

“What?” I asked.

Hard lines appeared between his eyes. “I told you what you needed to hear. What I needed to tell you. Now you need to tell me what I need to know.” King’s tone grew harsher. “You got ten seconds to tell me why that fucking kid was in your room. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want.”

“I don’t?” I asked, suddenly feeling very confused.

King shook his head. “No, you don’t. But just know that if you chose to go that route that I’m killing the little fucker regardless,” King seethed.

“Jealous much?” I cocked an eyebrow at him. I was baiting him, but the fucker deserved every second of uninformed agony after what he’d put me through.

“Very,” he admitted, much to my surprise. “So don’t push me, little girl.” His hands tightened on my shoulders, reminding me that King wasn’t someone who liked to play games.

“He wanted to talk,” I explained. “And then…”

“And then…what?” He said through his teeth.

I bit my lip. “He asked me if I loved him, and I told him the truth. He made it seem like I was breaking up with him.”

“He didn’t try to touch you?” King asked again, a shimmer of relief in his voice.

“Nooooooo!” I said, drawing out the word to drive my point into that thick skull of his.

King looked almost disappointed. “Kid gets to live after all,” He said. “For today.”

“You still haven’t told me how you are even here,” I said. “How did you get out so quickly? Did you post bail or something? I don’t really know how that all works.”

King sighed. “Always with the questions, Pup.” He tucked my wet hair behind my ears in a move that was both soft and intimate. “I missed your annoying ass questions.”

“I thought I might never see you again,” I said, burying my face in his neck, willing the tears away that threatened to spill onto my cheeks.

“That was never going to fucking happen. Even if the senator hadn’t crossed me. I will always find my way back to you, baby. Always.” King traced his fingertips over my eyelids.

“What aren’t you telling me?” I asked, sensing his hesitation.

“The detective that arrested me wasn’t a detective and he wasn’t taking me to jail. He was a contractor.”

“I don’t understand…”

“He was hired to take me out.”

“Holy shit,” I said, feeling foolish for fighting him like I had when he’d been so close to losing his life.

“Thank fuck I realized it before it was too late.” The rain stopped instantly, like a faucet being turned off. Immediately, a mist started to rise from the water around us, cloaking us in white cloudy wetness.

“What did you do? How are you still alive if he was hired to kill you?” I hung on to him tighter, grateful that he was right in front of me. The question made me feel sick to my stomach to even ask.

King shrugged. “In my world it’s kill or be killed, baby.” He set his mouth in a hard line. “So I killed.”

It should have bothered me that King had just admitted to killing someone but strangely enough it didn’t.

I was glad.

Then it hit me. “Fuck, it was the senator wasn’t it? He hired that guy to kill you!”

“That’s what I’d thought at first. That maybe your father didn’t view sending me back to prison as a permanent enough solution to keeping me away from you,” King said. “But as it turns out we’ve got even bigger problems. There is this guy, Eli. He was Isaac’s main supplier and he’s not taking kindly to the idea of his gravy train running dry. And all signs of the reason for that happening, and Isaac ending up as worm food, point right back to me and Bear.”

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