“Gahhh, I hate tequila.” I laugh then pick up another shot.

“Baby,” Wes laughs, taking the shot from my hand, lifting it to his mouth and shooting it back then wrapping a hand around the back of my neck and pulling my mouth to his. He presses his tongue into my mouth until I moaned down his throat.

“Get a room,” Tuck says, pouring another shot.

“Fuck off.” Wes smiles, kissing me again, this time below my ear.

“So have you taken July to meet Mama Judy?” Tuck asks, sitting back in his chair and taking a pull from his beer.

“Not yet, I was thinking this weekend,” Wes says, rubbing my shoulder.

“Uh…what?” I wheeze out.

“She has next weekend off, so I figured we could take a ride up to Nashville.”

Holy shit.

“Where is Z?” I ask, changing the subject before the conversation can turn to family and parents.

“He and your girl were supposed to be on their way when you called.”

I frown then pull out my phone and check the time. “I got here over an hour ago,” I say, and my frown grows deeper as I dial her number.

“Hello?” Kayan answers breathlessly then moans and I feel my face heat up.

“I…uh…later.” I hang up and set the phone on the table, whispering, “I think they were having sex.”

Wes and Tuck both start laughing and the music gets turned up, so I look around, noticing more people have shown up, and by more people, I mean more women, all of them wearing close to nothing.

“You good?” Wes asks, and I nod and look at the bottle of tequila when loud explosions fill my ears. Wes and Tuck both shove me under the table. My knees and hands hit the concrete hard, causing me to yell out in pain. Then the table is flipped to its side, blocking my view as women begin to scream, and the guys in the open court start yelling out at each other.

I tuck myself into a ball and cover my head with my hands when I realize they were gunshots. I don’t know how long it lasts, but before I even think it’s safe, Wes is picking me up off the ground and running, with me tucked in front of his body. My eyes are squeezed shut and my pulse is going haywire as I’m set down on a soft mattress.

“Baby, open your eyes.” I shake my head, trying to clear the loud ringing in my ears. “Baby.” I feel his hands hold my face and my eyes open, blinking a few times. “There you are,” he says, pulling me forward and placing a gentle kiss on my lips.

“You good, man?” Wes pulls his mouth from mine and we both turn our heads toward the open doorway, where Tuck is standing, holding a gun.

“Yeah.” His eyes leave his friends and come back to me and then flash, and he begins touching everywhere on my body until he gets to my knees, where they are scraped and bloody from hitting the concrete so hard. “Shit. Get me the first aid kit from the shop.”

“It’s okay. I’ll just wash it with some water,” I assure him then look towards the door, but Tuck is already out of sight.

“Who did that?” I ask, and his jaw clenches.

“No idea,” he grits out. “I’m going to get you cleaned up then head out with the boys. Tuck will stay here and watch over you until I get back.”

“Stay with me,” I whisper desperately. No way do I want him out where he can get shot at.

“Here you go,” Tuck says, coming back into the room and setting down what looks like a tackle box on the bed next to me, and Wes opens it up and starts to pull out supplies.

“You’re going to stay here with July,” Wes tells Tuck, wiping off my bloody knee.

“Fuck no, I’m going with you.”

“You know you can’t get in trouble when you’re on leave, brother,” Wes tells him, and I look at Tuck and see that his jaw is hard and his fists are balled at his sides.

“Please don’t leave me,” I plead, looking back at Wes, who gently cleans my wounds then covers them with some kind of ointment. If it weren’t for the hardness of his jaw, I would guess he hadn’t heard me. He closes up the box then pulls out a gun from under his mattress, drops his fist into the bed near my hip, and kisses me before standing up to his full height again.

“What are you going to do?” I ask, but he ignores me then looks at Tuck.

“Watch her,” he tells him.

“Wes!” I cry, getting up from the bed and going after him, only to be grabbed with an arm around my waist that prevents me from following behind him. I kick out with everything I have, but my strength is no match for Tuck, who only holds me tighter against him.

“He’s going to get himself hurt,” I say, attempting to breathe.

“He’ll be fine,” Tuck argues, and my body slumps against him when I realize he’s not going to help me. He walks backward two steps and sets me on the bed.

I look towards the exit and hear Tuck mutter, “Fuck,” under his breath as he moves to the door and closes it.

“You’re not going after him. He would kill me if something happened to you while I was on watch.”

“You cannot expect me to just sit here and do nothing while he’s doing God knows what!” I yell, standing up and looking around the room for something to throw at him.

“That’s exactly what I expect you to do.”

“This is ridiculous. I need to go out there. What if someone needs my help?”

“No one was hurt, and even if they were, you’re staying here.”

“I need my phone,” I try again, hoping he will let me go look for it.

“Nice try.” He shakes his head then mutters, “I see what he meant,” while running a hand through his hair.

“Seriously, I need it. Can you call Z to ask if he and Kayan are okay?”

“Fine,” he growls, pulling out his phone from his back pocket, pressing a couple buttons and putting his phone to his ear, then mutters a few things while watching me before putting his phone back in his pocket.

“Your friend is fine. She’s home.”

“Can I call her?” I ask, and he shakes his head.

“This is stupid,” I murmur, flopping down on the bed. “You’re lucky you have a gun or I would totally Kung Fu your ass and leave whether you liked it or not.”

“Jesus.” He shakes his head. I scoot back in the bed then lean back against the wall, crossing my arms over my chest and glaring at him.

“How is it I have been with my friend in some of the worst environments known to man, but after meeting you, I’m more concerned for his wellbeing than I ever was?”

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