Sarah Morgan was a good shot. The first one wasn’t deadly, but the next two pumped into her husband’s body got the job done. Apparently, it wasn’t a happy marriage.

Lucky vaulted the stage and was running toward Taylor when Sarah stopped him in his tracks. A cool little number, she was now standing behind Taylor, shielding herself with her body and holding the gun to her head.

She tugged Taylor to her feet, backing up to the door. Taylor cried out at the rough treatment and Lucky instinctively thought to take the shot. He’d never hesitated before, but this was different. What if he missed? His hands were like ice and he didn’t have the focus necessary to be precise.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” Sarah was calm, in total control. Eddie Wilkes had seriously underestimated this girl. Lucky had seen professional mercenaries who could learn a thing or two from her. “I don’t have any problem with you. I did what I came to do and now, I’m going to go and start living my new life.”

“How do you think you’re going to get out of here? As soon as I get the chance I’m going to stop you,” he said.

“No, you’re not. You’re going to be a good boy, throw down your gun, get in this closet and wait for the sheriff to let you out later. Much later. After I’m gone.”

Taylor whimpered when Sarah pressed the gun against her neck, and he knew he was going to comply. He could think of a million ways to get the drop on this girl and a million and one ways it could go wrong.

Raising his hands to display his actions clearly, he lowered the gun to floor, walked forward, and stepped inside the closet. The seconds seemed like an eternity until Taylor was shoved into his arms and the door shut behind them.

He crushed her to her chest, inhaling the sweet coconut scent of her hair and feeling the rapid tattoo of her heart against his own. She was shaking, the mixture of adrenaline and fear causing tremors that made her teeth chatter loudly. He tugged her onto his lap, removing the gag, chafing her arms and back with his hands to offset the effects of shock.

“It’s okay. You’re safe now.” He pressed his lips against her silky hair, so grateful she was alive and unhurt. He blinked back tears, refusing to let her see him lose it. He’d never been so glad of the dark. “I’ve got my phone and I’ll have Sheriff Burke here soon.”

He loosened his hold on her body, intending to reach for the phone in his pocket, but Taylor clutched at him, her arms wound tight around his neck.

“Don’t let me go, Lucky. Not yet. Not yet.” Her voice broke, her tears soaking his neck and shoulder where she rested her head. “Don’t let me go.”

He knew it was the shock talking. The release after a terrifying experience. But he wound his arms around her and held her close. Just for a while he’d pretend she meant something else with her words. Pretend she wanted him and not just comfort.

He’d pretend. Just for a while.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

“Hey, Taylor. Can I talk to you?” Teague asked.

Taylor turned from the window, her favorite view of the mountains on display in all the glorious colors of summer. She’d escaped here to think, finally getting away from the sheriff’s questions, the paramedic’s probing, and her mother’s hovering long enough to catch her breath. A shower, food, and a crashing sleep in her own bed had made her feel like herself once again.

But now she was ready to talk, and her brother was a welcome companion. Maybe he could help her with her problem. Settling on the window seat, she moved the duffel bag full of Lucky’s money off the seat to make room for her brother. Sarah had left the money behind—on purpose or accidentally, they’d never know. If they ever found her. She was long gone.

He glanced down, nodding at the bag. “You planning on keeping that money?”

“No.” She frowned at him before turning back to the window. “I’m just trying to get the nerve to take it back to Lucky. I feel like I should do it in person.”

“Yeah. It isn’t every day someone uses his entire savings to ransom you from a crazy mobster.”

“Don’t joke, Teague. He could have been killed.” Taylor blinked back the tears burning her eyes. She couldn’t lose it now. She needed to settle things with Lucky, and then she’d have plenty of time to bawl her eyes out when he kicked her to the curb for being an idiot. “I was just trying to think of the right thing to say to him.”