Allison heard the front door slam. Trevor stalked toward the van, his face contorted into a mask of rage. She clutched the pepper spray, trying to catch the knife on her cuffs. She sawed the plastic, gouged her hand, sawed further. Blood made her fingers slippery. She was almost free.

So close .

Suddenly headlights beamed into the rear windows. She stumbled to the back of the van. “Help!” she cried, pounding on the windows, smearing the dust-caked panes with blood.

The other vehicle skidded to a halt and rocked with the force of the stop. A car door shut.

“I’m here! In the van. Help!”

A second later, the rear doors whipped open. Hope collapsed as Trevor stood over her, uncompromising. Deadly.

He flung her out of the van, spun her around. The other vehicle’s headlights blinded her. A shadow moved, blocking one headlight. Then a cold circle of steel pressed to her forehead. She froze.

“Drop the weapon.”

Her heart slammed against her ribs. Logan ?

Trevor’s forearm cut off her windpipe as he held her in front of him. She struggled to breathe.

“Take it easy.” Logan’s voice was shockingly calm. “I know what she means to you, Trevor. You don’t want to hurt her.”

Trevor’s jaw clicked repeatedly. His face muscles twitched. A precursor to a psychotic episode. This could turn ugly fast. “Take one more step, and I’ll blow her brains out.”

Allison choked. Her eyes stung. She didn’t want to die. She needed to tell Logan she loved him. Needed to bring her baby into this world. She fought for every gasp of air.

“You came a long way to get her back. I won’t stand in your way. I just need to know this is what she wants.”

“I know what she wants.” Trevor’s breath seethed against her cheek, the one he’d struck weeks ago. How could Logan ever think she would return to this man?

“I get your loyalty. How much you need her. That’s natural. She was your wife.” Logan’s tone was almost hypnotic. She imagined in his line of work he’d talked people down from the brink before.

“She is my wife. A piece of paper from the court doesn’t change that.”

“That’s true. The courts would never realize what you’ve been through together.”

“I was out of the country. I couldn’t fight them all.”

“No, it was too much. One battle at a time. I’ve been there. I know where you’re coming from, and they had no right to take her away from you.”

“That’s right.” Trevor removed the blunt pressure from her temple.

Allison realized Logan’s tactic. As she wriggled her wrists against the half-cut plastic bindings, she stacked the odds in Logan’s favor.

“It was all a mistake, Trevor.” Although it sickened her, she played to her ex-husband’s twisted belief that possessiveness and violence equaled love. “I didn’t know you still cared this much.”

“You ran away from me.” Trevor’s voice grew unsteady. The hand holding the gun flexed with a spasm.

She flinched, held her breath. The barrel steadied.

Inching forward, Logan said reasonably, “If you still love Allison, I want you two to be happy. I won’t stand in your way.”

Allison’s heart dropped. She knew what Logan was trying to do. Still, the words stung.

“Damn straight you won’t.” The clicking in Trevor’s jaw intensified, as did his facial tics.

“Logan’s right,” she said.

“Don’t speak his name.” Trevor flexed his forearm.

“Okay. H-he’s right,” she stammered. “I missed you but I thought we couldn’t be together. Then I met him. He reminded me of you.” She flicked a nervous glance at Logan. The slight narrowing of his lashes was only reaction.

“The good things,” she added, hoping Logan knew she was playing along. Then, holding Logan’s gaze, she spoke directly to him. “Your steady strength. The way you opened your life to me. I never knew what kindness and passion were until I met you.”

Logan’s face went blank. Then she caught the depth of emotion swirling in his eyes.

“I gave you every reason to back out, to walk away. You stayed. You gave me time, letting me learn how to trust again. Lowering my defenses with patience and protection.”

Trevor murmured something she didn’t hear. These two men were completely different. Guilt knifed through her, thinking how unfair it was she had compared Logan to Trevor during their fight.

“I ran because that’s what I always did. It’s all I knew. I was afraid of taking the next step. I made a huge mistake. I’d give anything for a second chance.” A tear slid down her cheek. She whispered, “I love you.”

Logan’s lips parted. He was about to speak but stopped himself, his almost-words a puff of air in the chill night.

“It’s about time you came to your senses, Allie.” Trevor’s death-grip eased off her throat.

“I’m sorry, too.” Logan’s voice was gruff. He looked at her with heart-wrenching devotion. “I didn’t understand what you needed. I was holding on too tight, when I should’ve let go and trusted things would work out. I wasn’t comfortable with that. I’m still not, but I’m trying. I’ll work past it, if that’s what you need. I’d do anything to make you happy.” His voice cut out and he swallowed hard.

“Good.” Trevor nodded. “You heard her. She’s happier with me.” He took the gun away from her head and directed Logan with it. “Get in your car. Pull away slowly. And never look back.”

Allison coughed to cover the snap of her cuffs breaking. The plastic dropped to the ground. She gripped the mace.

“There’s one problem, Trevor.” She wrenched out of his grip. “I wasn’t talking about you.”

Before he could react, she aimed the mace at him. Pressing with all her might, she emptied the canister of liquid poison into his eyes.

Trevor howled, cursed, clawed at his face. Thrashing, he knocked her hand away, throwing her off balance. He brandished the gun wildly. Blind, he aimed in her direction.

Logan moved like a swift, silent shadow. As Trevor pulled the trigger, Logan dove, caught her around the waist. They landed on the pavement. He rolled out of the bullet’s path, his arms and body cushioning her and the baby from impact.

Then Logan lunged to his feet, knocking the gun from Trevor’s hand. The weapon skidded several feet before sliding under the Escalade.

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