“They’re okay,” her small voice says, while her fingers run along my neck, and my eyes blink open. “Harlen is okay.” She shifts, moving to look down at me, and that’s when I realize I’m in a hospital room.

“Why’m I here?” I frown, looking around the small sterile room, trying to recall what happened after Harlen was shot, but I draw a blank.


“You had an episode,” she says gently, running her eyes and hands over me.

“Episode?” I repeat, trying to understand what she’s saying.

“The guys said you went crazy. They couldn’t get you to calm down. You kept going after Jordan, even after he was unconscious and the other man was disarmed.”

“Christ.” I close my eyes, feeling her head rest against my chest and her arms tighten around my middle.

“I was so scared,” she whispers, burrowing closer.

Rolling us to the side, I tuck her into my front and run my hands down her back as I listen to her cry. “It’s okay,” I murmur gently, feeling her body rock with the force of her tears.

“Wh… When I heard the gunsh… shots, I thought—”

“I’m fine,” I cut her off before she can finish. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere,” I vow. Her head tips back and her tear-filled eyes meet mine.

“Don’t ever scare me like that again,” she demands, and I fight a smile that catches me off guard.

“I won’t.”

“And you’re not allowed to help my uncle anymore. I forbid it,” she continues, closing her eyes.

“It will be okay.” I kiss her forehead, rest my chin on the top of her head, and then wrap her up in my arms.

“I need to tell the doctor and everyone else that you’re awake,” she mumbles into my chest, but snuggles into my side.

“In a minute,” I mumble back, then close my eyes and wonder what the fuck happened and why I can’t remember any of it.

“Fuck, man, I’m glad you’re okay,” Wes mumbles, after taking a seat in the chair next to the hospital bed, where I’m laid up with a sleeping June tucked to my front.

She didn’t tell the doctor I was awake. She fell asleep, and I didn’t bother waking her; I just pressed the buzzer for the nurses’ station and let them know I was up and needed something for my head. Soon after that, the doctor came in to check me over and tell me that they were keeping me overnight for observation. Apparently, in my fight to get to Jordan to end him, Wes was left with no choice but to knock me out, leaving me unconscious with a minor concussion.

“You ever think of going MMA?” I joke, and his jaw clenches.

“You scared us, brother,” he growls, looking away from me. “There were three of us on you, and we still couldn’t control you.” His head shakes before his eyes meet mine once more.

“I don’t remember any of it. My last memory is of Jordan pointing the gun at Harlen and pulling the trigger,” I admit, running my hand down my face.

“We knew you weren’t yourself. I knew I had to stop you from doing something you’d regret. Even if that motherfucker does deserve to pay for what he’s done, you don’t deserve to live with his death on your conscience,” he says quietly, dropping his eyes to June for a second before meeting my gaze again. “If you hadn’t shown—”

“Don’t say it,” I rumble, feeling June’s body tense against mine. I know from my talk with Nico earlier that Jordan’s plan didn’t involve anyone leaving the compound alive. Jordan’s father had been taken down early in the morning, and he knew the cops were on the hunt for him and the rest of their crew.

“You know you have my heart, brother.”

“Same,” I agree, holding his gaze, meaning that shit to the bottom of my soul.

Nodding, he stands, tucking his hands in his pockets. “I better go, and just so you know, the girls are already planning a get-together for when you get home, so rest up while you can.” He smiles for the first time since entering the room, and I shake my head, not even a little surprised by the news.

“How’s Harlen?” I ask when he reaches the door.

“Guy’s a brick house. It’ll take a lot more than one bullet to knock him down.”

“True.” Lifting my chin, I watch the door close behind him then put my fingers under June’s chin and lift up. “I know you’re awake, beautiful.”

“How long have I been asleep?” She yawns, looking around.

“Awhile.”

“Has the doctor come in?” She frowns, trying to sit up, but I hold her in place.

“You slept through everyone coming in, including your family,” I say, gently running my thumb over her bottom lip then under her eyes. “You look tired.”

“I’m okay.”

“You should go home and get some re—”

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