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Eli sat nearby in one of the folding chairs surrounding the pit that was usually occupied by bikers when I’d had parties. He was resting his head back against his interlocked hands. His legs were stretched out and resting on the ledge of the fire pit.

Eli was as if he was watching an opera, beholding something beautiful and wondrous, his eyes wide, as he intently watched the brutality taking place in front of him. I cracked my knuckles. As the assault continued, another guy, one with bright orange found his amusement by sprinkling the glowing embers of the fire onto Bear’s backside.

A bold motherfucker with thick black swastika tattoo on his shaved head, pulled his cock from his pants and stepped up to Bear, whose head was now hanging down off the chair, his chin almost touching the grass. The man pulled the rope from Bear’s mouth and yanked on his hair, lifting his head up. The man grabbed the base of his cock and rubbed the tip of it across Bear’s lips. Bear must have lost consciousness because he didn’t even move. It wasn’t until the motherfucker forcefully shoved his cock into Bear’s mouth when I knew that Bear was not only conscious, but he was ready for a fucking fight. His eyes sprang open and the guy jumped back from Bear, holding onto his crotch and screaming, trying to hold back the blood that was pouring out between his fingers.

Bear spat out what was left of the man’s cock and smiled from ear to ear, blood dripping down his face, coating his teeth.

And he laughed.

It was now or never.

I unholstered my gun and pulled a grenade from the duffel bag. I took a deep breath and cleared my mind of everything except what I was about to do.

Crouching down as close as I could to the ground, I snaked my way over to the fire pit. I pulled the pin from the grenade with my teeth and tossed it into the fire.

One second.

Two seconds.

Three seconds.

BOOM

The fire pit exploded into a blinding wall of white light. An image of Pup sleeping peacefully in my bed, her limbs tangled with mine, flashed in my mind as I ran toward the chaos.

Toward Bear.

And directly toward the possibility, that come morning, I’d be in a place reserved just for me.

In hell.

Chapter Thirteen

Doe

It had been three weeks without a single word from King. I was starting to give up hope that he would ever come back for me.

Tanner’s mission to help me remember my life continued, fueled by the revelation that I remembered loving him when we were kids. I tried to explain to him that it was a memory, not a current feeling, but I knew that Tanner still looked at it as a step in putting back together what we’d had in the past.

“How are the meetings going with the specialist?” the senator asked, slicing into his rare steak, blood gushed from the meat, flooding the plate with red. He rubbed the piece on his fork through it before pulling it off the fork with his teeth.

It was the first time I was sitting down to an actual meal with my father, my mother once again at the ‘spa’ or wherever she claimed to be. But despite my angry brain telling me that I shouldn’t be nervous, I was still wiping my damp palms on my jeans every few minutes. Sammy was napping on the couch just a few feet from the round dining room table where we sat.

“Okay, I guess. I don’t really know how those things are supposed to go, though.” In actuality, the specialist barely asked me any questions and on two occasions, he’d nodded off during our session.

“Good. I want you to continue your visits with him. We have some functions coming up at which I’d like you to be present. There is a charity event for the campaign in a few weeks. We are hosting it in the Redmond’s backyard, Tanners parents place,” the senator said, making the event sound more like a business meeting rather than a party.

I scrunched my nose and poked at my dinner with my fork. “I don’t know if that’s such a great idea. I assume I’m supposed to know who these people are. Won’t it be obvious when they start talking to me and I look at them like they have thirty heads?” I asked.

“Ray, you’ve never liked what I do for a living. You’ve never really acclimated to being the daughter of a senator,” my father said, sitting forward in his chair. “It wouldn’t be unusual for you not to know who these people are.”

“Ray, it could help with your memory. You should come,” Tanner gently chimed in. Trying to regain my memory would be the only reason I’d agree to play the part of ‘dutiful daughter’.

“Will my mother be there?” I asked.

The senator kept his eyes on his plate. “Yes, she attends all the campaign functions. It’s part of our…agreement.”

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