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“Can’t really go far on this leg anyway,” she pointed out.

Taryn rested a hand on Frankie’s forehead, and each of her wounds glowed through her skin.

Trick frowned at his mate. “You didn’t tell me your shoulder was hurt.”

“He yanked hard on my arm to pull me off the ground, but I’m pretty sure my shoulder isn’t dislocated or anything.”

“It was close,” Taryn told her. Then she put her mouth to Frankie’s, inhaled deeply, and turned to the window as she exhaled. A stream of black particles zoomed through the air and out the window. Then she did it again and again.

As Taryn healed his mate, Trick quickly and succinctly explained to the pack what had happened. “Call Morelli,” he told Trey. “If I do it, there’ll be nothing diplomatic about what comes out of my mouth, and I’ll end up challenging the son of a bitch.” And he didn’t want to leave Frankie’s side.

“Morelli said Drake’s gone AWOL,” Tao reminded them. “He might not have had anything to do with it.”

Trick looked at the Head Enforcer. “But I’d settle for ripping out Morelli’s throat in lieu of Drake’s, which is why Trey needs to be the one who makes the call.”

Their Alpha male nodded. “It’ll be done.”

“You know what will happen,” said Dante. “Morelli will offer to find Drake, bring him in, and then hand him over to us, but only if you agree to an alliance.”

“Fuck him.” Taryn coughed and, done healing Frankie, sat back as she accepted a bottle of water from Grace. “He’ll get nothing from us.”

Trick helped his mate sit upright and checked her over, even though he knew each of her wounds would be gone. Until he saw for himself that she was fine, he couldn’t relax.

“We can get to Drake without his help,” said Ryan. “Besides, the guy’s insane, but he’s not completely stupid. He’ll know that Morelli might make that kind of offer, so he’ll keep his distance from him.”

“I agree,” said Trey. His gaze slid back to Trick as he vowed, “We’ll find him. And we’ll do it before he gets the chance to harm Frankie or anyone else.”

Frankie blew out a breath. “I really wish the hammer had connected with his skull both times.”

Trick blinked at his mate. “What?”

“After I broke his nose—”

“You broke his nose?”

“—I grabbed my hammer. But only the first hit connected. It hurt him, though, which fills me with glee. Still, it would have been more satisfying to have caved in the side of his skull.” Realizing that everyone was staring at her, Frankie frowned. “What?”

Jaime gaped down at her. “You really broke his nose and hit him with a blunt instrument?”

“Clawed his face and stabbed him in the lower stomach too,” said Frankie.

Lydia looked down at her niece in disbelief. “You look so sweet, it’s just hard imagining you swinging a hammer at someone’s head.”

Frankie opened her mouth to speak, but then Trick took her off guard by suddenly scooping her off the floor and stalking out of the room. “I can walk,” she said. His response was a low growl—the sound seemed to come from both the man and the animal. She rubbed his chest, hoping to pet the anger out of him. His muscles were so tight with tension, she wondered if they ached. His blood pressure was probably through the roof.

He didn’t put her down until they were inside his room. She grimaced as she said, “I badly need a shower.” She was covered in dried blood, which was no one’s definition of fun, and she knew that Trick had no chance of calming while the scent of her blood was in the air. He seemed to be barely holding on to his control.

He didn’t respond to her announcement other than by giving a short nod. It hurt her to see him standing there, muscles stiff and eyes fevered, caught up in a mood so dark that she wasn’t sure anyone could reach him right then—not even her. She knew all about needing space when you were angry, so, figuring that time on his own might help, she took a quick shower and scrubbed all the blood off her skin and out of her hair.

Afterward she wrapped a fluffy towel around herself and headed back into the bedroom . . . only to find Trick pacing up and down like a caged animal, neck corded, stare unblinking. His muscles weren’t quite so rigid, but it was clear that he was still far from calm.

He didn’t even look her way as she pulled on a T-shirt, panties, and shorts. She was just done brushing the tangles out of her wet hair when, still pacing, he finally spoke.

“Later we’ll go back to your place, pack your shit, and bring it all here.”

Frankie’s head snapped up. She figured she should have seen that coming. “Trick, I—”

“You’re moving here.” His tone left no room for negotiation. “It’s time, Frankie.”

“You know I can’t until—”

Trick rounded on her. “That asshole knows where you live,” he ground out, fists clenched. “What’s to stop him going back for you? It’s not enough that you’re here most nights. He could still do something cruel like set fire to the fucking house.”

Horror struck her at the thought. “Oh my God, he’d destroy my sculptures.”

Trick’s eyes blazed at her. “Could we forget about them for one damn second?”

“No, they’re important—”

“I know.” Trick cupped her face with hands that trembled slightly with rage. “I know that a piece of your soul went into every single one of them. That is all the more reason to bring them here, where he can’t get to them. Most importantly, you need to be here, where he can’t get to you.”

He should have killed Drake when he’d had the chance, Trick thought. Should have bludgeoned him with the steel bar. No, too quick. He should have held his head in the toilet until his lungs filled with fluid and the life left his body. “Your moving here is going to happen at some point, Frankie. There’s no reason why it can’t be sooner rather than later.” He made an effort to soften his voice as he asked, “Would it really be so bad?”

She sighed. “No. Look, I understand that it must be driving you crazy that you haven’t claimed me yet; I know I’m not giving you what you need.”

“You’re all I need.”

“But I’m not giving you the level of commitment that you rightfully want. And I know the urge to claim me has to be riding you hard, but—”

“I can wait to claim you. But while I do, I want you here, with me. Here, where you and your wolf are happy. Here, where the Newmans can’t turn up and give you shit. Here, where Drake can’t reach you.”

She jutted out her chin. “I’m not moving until the hellhorse is finished. I can’t. It’s not stable enough to be moved yet.”

Hating that he had to respect that, Trick inhaled deeply and took a moment to think. “You said it would take a couple of days to finish the sculpture. While you work on that, the pack will help me move whatever you want to take with you, including the sculptures that can already be moved. I’ll put them in your studio here.”


“I know you’re still hoping that you can fix things with your uncle and grandparents,” he said, striving to sound sensitive. “I know you’re worried that if you move here, they’ll see it as you choosing a side. But they’re not stupid, Frankie. They’re well aware that you’ll come to live on pack territory for the simple reason that we’re mates. You can’t win with them, no matter what you do. I learned that for myself today.”

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