“Hey,” I whisper, relaxing minutely, studying Evan as he comes to stand in the doorway.

“Hey,” he whispers back, then moves toward me and stops at the end of the bed as he drops his eyes to my hip. “Ninja, off,” he commands, and Ninja lets out a huff but hops off the bed, stopping to get a rub before wandering out of the room.


“Um…” I pause, watching him drop his gun to the nightstand then take off his shirt before he tosses it to the chair in the corner of the room. I watch him unloop his belt and unbutton the four buttons of his jeans, exposing a pair of form-fitting black boxers that look really good on him.

“Evan,” I say quietly, watching his jeans fly across the room and land in the chair.

“Fucking tired,” he mutters, dropping to the bed, reaching over, and turning out the light.

“Um…” I repeat, blinking into the dark.

“Sleep, June.”

Okay, one could say Evan and I had our fair share of arguments when we first started out. Some were heated, others were just bickering, but we never just went to sleep without figuring shit out.

Not once.

“What’s going on?” I ask, still sitting up in bed.

“Tired,” he mutters, and at his words, I feel my fear start to turn into anger.

Flipping on the light on my side, I watch his eyes come to me, and then I straddle his waist and lean my face toward his. “What the hell is going on?”

“Nothing, go to sleep,” he says, as his hands wrap around my waist.

“Go to sleep?” I repeat, studying him, and his eyes narrow in a way that sets my teeth on edge.

“Baby, we’ve been up since six. It’s after midnight. I’m fucking beat.”

“Maybe you need to get out of my bed and go to sleep in your own,” I suggest in a way that doesn’t sound like a mere suggestion at all.

“Don’t start your shit,” he growls, sitting up taking me with him as he twists and puts me in the bed at his side.

Getting up on my knees in the bed, I push against his chest and yell, “You don’t start your shit. This morning, you were all over me. Then you cancel dinner, and come home tonight barely looking at me?” I lean forward. “I don’t need this kind of heartache in my life. I don’t need games and back-and-forth.”

“I had a fucking shit day,” he roars, and I shake my head. I don’t care, not even a little.

“You left me! You married me, promised me that our lives would be intertwined until the end of time, and then you fucking left me. So, I’m sorry, but I don’t give a fuck if you’ve had a bad day. I don’t care, not even a single bit, because I’m here. Stupidly, I’m here, so if you have a shit day, we talk about it. You don’t shut me out!” I shout.

“Baby,” he says gently, and I watch his face soften and his hands come toward me.

“You don’t get to do this to me again,” I whisper. “You don’t get to come back, make me fall in love with you again, and then decide that because you’re having a bad day, you can’t handle being with me.”

“June.” He tries reaching for me again, but I lean back out of his reach.

“I hated you,” I whisper, scrambling off the bed. “Or at least I was able to make myself believe I did enough that I was able to move on. I won’t do this again, Evan, and I won’t lose you again. Not with you right in front of me,” I whimper, fighting back tears.

“My brother broke into your house,” he says, and my lungs freeze, my lips part, and my heart topples over inside my chest.

“What?” I whisper after a moment.

“Fuck.” He snarls, running his hands down his face. “Last time we spoke, he was trying to get his shit straight. I told him he could come to Tennessee, but that he had to be ready to move on in a way that would mean he would be clean and actually find a job and get his shit together.”

“Ev,” I whisper, taking a step toward him, then pause when his eyes lock on mine. “Today, he showed up at the compound, telling me he was ready to make a fresh start and work his shit out.”

“Honey.” I move closer.

“Ten minutes after I left him in my room to settle in, I get a call from one of the local cops letting me know your shit showed up in one of the pawn shops in town. I went to check it out and watched the tapes. Lo and behold, my fucking brother was on the tape, selling your shit.

“Oh no,” I whisper, slumping back to sit on the side of the bed.

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