“Nope.” He stared at her. “That’s bugging you, isn’t it?” He looked almost ready to smile, then forced his lips not to. “Why is it so hard to believe she made it up?”

“Just…’cause.” She gathered the cards, leaving the fruit salad on top. Might be a good suggestion to add to the menu.

“Why do you even care? You want to add it to the menu or something?”

“I’ve thought about it.” The idea of cookies reminded Tara of the little girl again. Was she getting food? Attention? Her hair combed?

“You’re worrying about something more than cookies.”

“Not really. Here.” She grabbed the take-out container. “Take your wife her pie.”

“That’s not going to get you off the hook.” He took the container. “And if you’re that interested in having the cookies here, ask Addie. I’ll bet she’d share.”

“Maybe.” Tara wasn’t nearly as convinced Addie would share. Their older sister—the control freak of all control freaks—would have to think it was her idea. And Tara hadn’t been able to pull that off with Addie in…well, ever.

* * *

CALMER NOW, MORGAN settled at his desk, determined to get his work done. He would succeed at this, even if it killed him.

Jack was silent for most of the afternoon, typing away at his computer as if Morgan wasn’t even there. He barely bothered to look over.

“Okay, I’m sorry I blew my stack with Dewey.”

“Yeah, that was pretty stupid.” Jack still didn’t look away from his computer, typing for some time. Finally, the clock hit 5:00 p.m. and Jack started clearing off his desk and shutting his computer down.

“You got plans tonight?” Morgan asked. Jack seldom didn’t have plans.

“Nothing tonight. Want to grab dinner? Catch up?”

“Sure.” Morgan wasn’t cleaning his desk. He didn’t have to. He knew exactly where everything was. “What do you have in mind?” He didn’t know of any diners nearby with amazing food and a pretty owner.

“Mexican sounds good.” Jack grabbed his jacket. “I’ll drive.”

“What’s with you?” Jack never volunteered to drive.

He didn’t respond until they’d reached his SUV and Jack had climbed behind the wheel. He hit the brakes at the stop sign on the edge of the lot. “So.” Jack looked both ways and slowly edged out into traffic. “You going to fight again?”

Morgan didn’t look over. “Not if I can help it.”

“Damn it, Morgan. You heard Dewey say that guy who hurt you so badly nearly killed someone else.”

“He’s in jail.”

“Doesn’t mean there isn’t someone else out there just as bad, or worse.”

They sat at the next red light in silence. Jack broke the quiet first. “I remember what you came home like. I—” His voice faded. “Don’t do this.”

There weren’t many things Jack had asked Morgan for. Ever. As kids there hadn’t been enough of anything, except whiskey for Dad. It wasn’t much different now that they were adults. Torn, he looked for a response. “Do you think I want to?”

“No.” Jack sighed. “There have to be other options.”

“Like what?” Morgan’s anger returned. “We’ve done what for a year, Jack? Chased shadows, that’s what.” His frustration at not finding Sylvie or Brooke nearly overwhelmed him. He closed his eyes, wishing his brother had turned on the music.

They drove another couple blocks, the only sound the hum of the engine. “I met someone,” Morgan admitted.

Jack didn’t say anything, but the look he threw Morgan was full of surprise.

“It’s time to end this. If the only price I have to pay to get my life back is a few bruises—I’m in.” Morgan watched the city pass by, and Dewey’s words came to him. Realization dawned. Dewey had been in Haskins Corners last week. He’d said he could get Morgan a spot this weekend.

Morgan knew where the fight was going to be. “Turn around. Now!”

“Why? I’m hungry.”

Dinner was going to wait. “Here’s the deal. What are the odds you get two loads to a small place like Haskins Corners?”

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