“Me? What the fuck is wrong with me? That’s the same question I have for you.” Cole’s deep baritone reverberated through the room, bouncing off of the walls and back at them.


Luke felt the burning rage ignite inside of him once again, and he pushed Cole with everything he had, sending the man flying back into the opposite wall before Luke descended on him.

“Oh my God!” Sierra’s shriek startled them both, and Luke staggered back when Cole launched himself at him once again, this time losing his footing as both men went to the floor. Sonuvabitch. They landed with a thud on the carpet, rolling until Luke was on top of Cole.

“What are you two doing? Stop it!” Sierra screamed, scolding them both like they were children.

Luke ignored Sierra, staring down into Cole’s face, expecting to see rage, or anger, or anything except what he did see. The dark, midnight blue eyes staring back at him reflected none of those things, only… affliction.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Luke growled, trying to keep his voice low, but knowing Sierra would hear everything regardless of how quiet he tried to be.

“I want him here.” Sierra stated, answering the question for Cole.

Luke ignored her, waiting for Cole to answer for himself.

“She’s leaving.” Cole choked out, not trying to move.

What?

“What are you talking about?” With a huff, Luke pushed off of him and stood.

“Sierra’s going back to Nashville.” Cole stated, all of the anger seemingly draining from his body as he pushed himself up off of the floor, his eyes darting between Luke and Sierra, finally landing on Sierra. “She’s leaving.”

Luke stared at the beautiful woman standing in the middle of her living room, draped in a black sheet, her hair in disarray, looking like she’d just… crawled out of bed. Shit. He was too late.

“What does he mean you’re leaving?” Luke asked Sierra pointedly, trying to ignore the fact that Cole and Sierra must have just come out of the bedroom. Sierra didn’t answer; she simply glanced at Cole as though trying to figure him out.

“Sam called me last night.” Cole admitted, taking a step closer to Sierra. “She told me you were going back to Nashville.”

Fully expecting Sierra to set the story straight, to reassure both of them that she wasn’t going anywhere, Luke held his breath as he waited for her response.

“I am.” Sierra whispered, a single tear rolling down her cheek.

“What?” Luke’s stomach knotted, and he clinched his fists at his side. The sudden need to hit something overwhelmed him and he had to remember where he was. “Why?”

“There’s nothing for me here.” Sierra said, wiping that lone tear away. “I tried. I really did.”

Was she trying to convince him or herself? Luke knew she’d tried. She’d done everything that could be expected of a woman and he still succeeded in pushing her away. And now, as he stood in Sierra’s house, only feet from the two people he needed more than he needed oxygen, Luke felt his body come to life. Apparently heartbreak wasn’t even enough to dispel the sensual need these two aroused in him.

“Shit.” Cole stated, turning his back on Sierra.

“I’m sorry.” She said, taking a step closer to him, not looking at Luke.

Cole surprised Luke when he turned around quickly. “You don’t have anything to be sorry about.”

When his penetrating glare landed on him, Luke knew what Cole was getting at.“What do you want from me?” Luke growled back at Cole, fury lighting him up from within.

Cole turned to face him, and Luke noticed Sierra was stepping backward, leaving them alone in the living room. He wanted to call out to her, but the intent look on Cole’s face captivated him.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you, man, but this shit has to stop.” Cole said, his voice low. “You’ve been running for too long.”

“Fuck you.” Luke barked, his hands clenching at his sides. He was sick and fucking tired of being told that. He hadn’t run last night, had he? No, he’d gone home where he was supposed to go, looking for Sierra and waiting for Cole. Neither of them had shown up. But he didn’t fucking run. “What the fuck does it matter to you, anyway?” Luke asked, suddenly feeling like the outsider.

“Are you serious? Are you that fucking dense, Luke?”

“Why are you even here?” Luke choked out. “Why aren’t you with Lucie?”

“Lucie? Why the hell would I be with Lucie?” Cole asked, sincere confusion contorting his features.

“I saw the way you two looked at each other. I know you’re paying the doctor bills. I know you care about that little girl.” Luke found himself rambling, but couldn’t seem to stop.

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