“Sounds good. I just wanted to offer again to hire you to find Sarah Morgan for me. I can sweeten the pot, say, fifty thousand dollars when you bring her to me and get my money back.”

“No. Hell no. We’re going.” Lucky turned, motioning for Jack to follow him out the door. This was a waste of time, no surprise, but it had to be done.

“I wonder if your Taylor could use the fifty grand?” Eddie’s voice was pleasant, mild, but the layer of threat stopped both Lucky and Jack in mid-step.

Lucky spun around. “What did you say?”

“Ms. Elliott needs money, and I’ve offered to loan it to her.” Eddie clutched his heart in a way—as if he had one. It wasn’t convincing. “Well, not me exactly. My bank. And we’re happy to help her out.”

Eddie hit a button on the remote on his desk and the curtains covering the ceiling-to-floor windows parted, revealing the bank floor below. Taylor was like a fucking magnet to him, and he immediately zeroed in on her. Seated at a desk. Talking to a banker guy. In Eddie Wilkes’s bank. His day just got shittier.

Lucky pulled his gun and pointed it at Eddie. He didn’t think about it. Every part of him screamed to protect Taylor, and he was fucking going to get her out of here and away from the threat he’d brought into her life.

Mr. Clean leaped off the couch, his gun out and pointed at Lucky before he could take another breath. Silence in the room, thick and heavy as smoke, choked out everything except the deadly serious business of kill and be killed. No matter what he did or where he went, it was the same. His dad said that trouble followed him, and he was right.

“Eddie.” Jack, as usual, was going to be the voice of reason. “Why don’t you say whatever you need to say, turn down Taylor’s loan application, and leave her the fuck alone? Otherwise, I can’t guarantee that Lucky won’t blow your head off.”

“It’s simple. Find Sarah and get my money. I know where you live and who you love,” Eddie said.

“Go to hell.”

“Is that a no?”

“Fuck you.” Lucky started backing out of the room, his gun still trained on Eddie. Jack followed him out and down the stairs, but instead of going outside, Lucky popped the door leading into the bank floor. Every second Taylor was in this place chilled his blood. He couldn’t think straight, all of his training mixing up with the voice in his head screaming for him to get Taylor to a safe place.

She saw him from halfway across the room. The joy on her face quickly clouded with surprise and then doubt. He could kill Eddie Wilkes just for making her smile falter, for putting uncertainty in her eyes.

She stood. “Lucky, what are you—?”

“We’ve got to go.” He grabbed her arm, guiding her a little more harshly than he usually would to get her out of here as quickly as possible.

“Lucky, what—?”

Jack intervened. “Taylor, we’ve got to go. We’ll explain in the car.”

The short walk to Jack’s SUV was silent. Jack took the driver’s seat and Lucky jumped into the back with Taylor, and as soon as they pulled away he scooped her into his arms. Holding her, knowing she was okay, his blood started to warm.

Eddie Wilkes had just upped the game. He knew Taylor was his weakness, and Lucky would do anything to keep her safe. What he had to do was repugnant, but necessary. Sometimes you had to help the enemy to protect your assets.

“Lucky, baby, what’s going on?” Taylor asked, her face marred with a frown.

“That bank belongs to Eddie Wilkes. What were you doing there?” Lucky tucked a blond lock behind her ear, his thumb tracing the line of her cheekbone.

She bit her lip, worry creeping into not only her expression, but voice. “Mother isn’t going to sell the house. This bank is the only one that offered me a loan. I didn’t know it belonged to Eddie Wilkes.”

“You can’t take his money.”

“But…”

“Taylor. You cannot take his money. He’s a criminal.” Lucky kissed her mouth, the worry line in between her brows, her mouth again. “We’ll figure something out, okay?”

“Lucky, without the money from the house I can’t go into business with your mom. This won’t work—”

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