Then there she was. I knew in that moment that she was my reason. The path I’d been on was to get to her, and I’d crawl through any filth to reach her. The only reason I was standing here right now was for her and her alone. I don’t care about my mission anymore. None of that matters. She’s all that matters. Making her nightmares disappear is my only objective. I’ll give her that if it’s the last thing I ever do.

His face scrunches with disgust. “Just like her mother, I see. Getting men’s attention with her pussy. All they’re good for.” He shrugs one shoulder, as if Paige and her mother are nothing more than trash.

Maybe he really has gone off the deep end. I’m standing here holding a gun to his head and he’s done nothing to protect himself. He must feel the shift in the room. The anger pulses off me and fills up the space. The smirk drops from his face.

“You didn’t even know who she was until I told you.”

“Never said it started with her,” I say flatly.

“So you’re some kind of cop?”

I don’t answer him.

He starts to move, and I take a step closer to him. He holds his hands up. “I’ve got this. It will make your fucking career.” He nods toward a stack of books. “Dirty cops, senators?there are names in there you wouldn’t believe.”

I keep staring at him, letting him run his mouth.

“You don’t want it? Fine. I can get you money. How much do you want?”

“I don’t want your money.” I enjoy watching him squirm. A dark part of me wants to do other things to him. Make him cry and beg, after all the years he haunted my Paige. Make him pay for all of it. A single shot to the head seems too fair.

“What do you want? I’ll get it. I can get you anything.” He drops his hands to his sides, his fists clenching. Clearly not a man who likes to beg. Probably never begged for a thing in his life, thinking he was too important to do something like that.

“The only thing I want is you dead.”

“Why?” He takes a step back, but there is nowhere to go.

“I told you that already. I’m here for Paige.”

He studies me for a second, trying to get a read on me, but I give him nothing. “She hired you?”


He lets out a humorless laugh. “You love her.” His tone suggests it’s the stupidest thing in the world. An emotion I’m sure he can’t comprehend. “You came here to kill the father of the woman you love? How romantic”

“The only reason I haven’t killed you yet is because I thought maybe the plans Miles had for you would be enough. But after hearing her talk about you, the pain I see in her eyes, the anger and fear there…I know only one thing will do. She didn’t have to ask me to do it. I wanted to make sure I got to you before she did. I wasn’t letting your filth touch her ever again. I won’t let anything touch her.”

“You think you’re any different than me? You kill to get what you want. It’s the same. We just want different things.”

“Maybe so.” I shrug, because on some level this is true. I’d do anything for Paige if it made her smile. “She wants you dead, so be it.” With that, I pull the trigger. His body drops to the ground, and I only pray that with this, my kitten finds some peace. I stand there wondering if this will be enough to win her back. I tuck the gun away. I’ll find a way or I’ll die trying.

I see a movement out of the corner of my eye, and I freeze. Paige is there with a gun in her hand. It’s down by her side, and she’s looking at me with tears in her eyes. She’s seen it all. Heard it all.

I’m angry that she’s here and that she’s put herself in what could be a harmful situation. She’s had to see another one of her parents die. Even if she hated him, I didn’t want her to have this memory branded into her brain, too. I didn’t want any of this to touch her. Seeing her makes every protective instinct I have push forward. I want to shield her from this dark, ugly world.

“Kitten,” I whisper, and I want to run to her and take her in my arms, but don’t know if she’ll let me.

Her father lies dead between us, blood coating the dirty floor, and I don’t know if she can look at me after this. It’s one thing to want him dead and to wish for it to happen. It’s another to see the man you love doing it. That is, if she still loves me.