Then she saw him. She hadn’t expected Morgan to be out here. She wasn’t sure what she’d expected, but there he was.
Morgan stood staring at the building. Tara couldn’t help but stare at him. The shadows accentuated the breadth of his shoulders. He didn’t move, and she wondered what was going through his mind. Did she really want to know?
Unable to speak, she took a couple steps toward him. Gravel crackled beneath her feet. His head whipped around, and she felt rather than saw the glare that shot through her.
“What are you doing here, Tara?”
“Following you.” She was in for it. No holding back now.
“Go home, Tara.” He walked away from her, a purpose in his step. “You don’t belong here.”
“And you do?” She crossed her arms, as much to keep from reaching out for him as to look stronger.
“That’s what we keep trying to tell her.” DJ stepped forward.
“And you are?” Morgan glared at him.
That was not going to help, and she hurried to explain. “These are my brothers. DJ and Wyatt. And some of Wyatt’s employees.”
No one shook hands, no one even moved, except maybe to breathe but she wasn’t totally sure about that.
“I’m sure there’s room inside.” Morgan lifted an arm toward the door. “If that’s why you’re here. Otherwise, if you’ll excuse me, I have a match.” He started walking.
She should have known he wouldn’t stop for her. He just kept walking, his steps loud against the gravel. She hurried to get into step beside him and heard the others close behind.
As they drew closer to the metal barn, she heard the sounds of loud voices. Cheers and whistles broke through the night.
“Go. Home. Tara.” Morgan stopped at a metal fire door, his hand on the knob. “Do me a favor, gentlemen. Take her home.”
Tara crossed her arms. “Nope. Not going without you.”
“Oh, we’ve tried,” DJ said.
Morgan glared at her. She glared back. “Why are you doing this?” she asked.
“You know why.”
“No, I don’t. Not this time. Is she here?”
“I don’t know—yet.”
Suddenly, the door flew open and two men stumbled out. Tara squealed as they nearly landed on her and she jumped back.
“Fine.” Morgan’s hand clamped around her wrist, and with little effort, he pulled her to his side. “Stay with me. Don’t even think about going anywhere, you got it?”
Morgan turned to the crowd of men behind her. “At least try to blend in.”
Inside, the door slammed with a vibration she doubted anyone heard. The noise level inside was deafening, with voices bouncing off all four metal walls.
Down a flight of stairs, where a group of big rigs were parked, a crowd of people gathered around a circle of dirt. Mostly men, though she did see a few women scattered around. Morgan ignored her except to drag her with him as he made his way down the steps.
A voice came out of the dark. “Hey, Dewey. You sure about this?” A big hulk of a man separated himself from the crowd. He looked the way she expected a brawler to look. Big, rough, with shoulders that made Morgan’s seem small. She felt miniature.
“I’m sure.” A scraggly looking man grinned. He had his hands full of money, the bills nestled in between his fingers as if he were trying to keep each pile separate. “You just wait and see, Will. Just you wait and see. Welcome back, Thane.”
Morgan grunted. “Let’s just get this done.” He barely moved his mouth, his jaw was clenched tight. “Or you just gonna stand there and yammer?”
“No, man.” The man with the money grinned. “Let’s get down to business.” He led the way through the crowd, which parted as Morgan followed.
What was she supposed to do? The crowd closed in on her, and the scent of dust and other undefinable odors, not so pleasant, engulfed her. Where were her brothers? She looked back. They were close, but the crowd swarmed around them.
The vise of Morgan’s hand was all that kept her from being swept away, as well. She hurried to keep up.
The open path behind them vanished. Engulfing her. Pushing her toward the wide-open dirt ring.