“Hasn’t been since Michelle left,” he mutters with a slight whine to his tone. I had no intention of bringing her up because there’s nothing to say, and I don’t even experience an emotion at all over her name. I have no clue why they broke up. Don’t care why they broke up. It’s pathetic if her leaving is what caused him to turn out this way. But I have more important things I care about so I’m moving on from that.

“Just leave,” Jayce says as he flings his hand toward the door and leans his head back on the couch. I get it… he’s having a shitty day.

Going to get shittier.

“Stand up,” I command.

His eyebrows draw together. “What for?”

“You hit Trista,” I tell him as I set the envelope on a tiny table near the door. “You’re going to pay for it. Now stand up.”

Jayce just blinks at me as if I’m crazy.

“I’m in a generous mood, Jayce. I’m even going to let you defend yourself. Now get the fuck up.”

He may be a slovenly pig nowadays, but he apparently still has some grit left inside as he stands up to face my wrath. “Let’s do this.”

Five minutes later, I walk out of the trailer, money held tight by bleeding knuckles. Jayce got three good hits on me, but I left him on the floor with a broken nose, some missing teeth, and bruised kidneys. He’s going to be pissing blood for a while.

I left him conscious because I wanted his assurances he’d never hurt Trista again. I wanted to demand he stay away from her, but I can’t do that. He’s her brother and despite how despicable he is, I can’t impede on a relationship if she wants one with him.

But he’ll be on good behavior because I was very careful and exact in explaining what I’d do to him if I found out he so much as looked at her wrong.

When I climb into the Range Rover, I hand the envelope to Kynan. “I’ve got to get some more cash, but I want you to pay off the loan shark Jayce got the money from.”

Kynan blows out a breath of disbelief that I’d do that. “By that, I take it he’s still alive in there?”

I nod as I start the engine, looking at the trailer for a moment. “My debt to him has been repaid. He’s nothing to me now.”

“And Trista?” Kynan asks as I put the car in reverse.

Throwing my hand over his headrest so I can turn in my seat to look behind me, I give Kynan a brief glance. “What about Trista?”

“You have to fix that shit with her,” Kynan says as I back out of the dirty driveway.

I shift into drive, hit the gas, and head back into the city. “There’s nothing to fix. I’ve tried calling her and texting her. She won’t respond, and frankly, Kynan… after what I did to her, I can’t expect her to want to talk to me.”

“But you weren’t going through with it,” he points out. “She needs to understand that.”

“She knows,” I tell him. “Didn’t make a difference to her.”

“So you’re just going to give up?” he asks me incredulously.

I turn to look at him for a moment, then back to the road. “Fuck no, I’m not giving up. But I am going to give her a bit of space first. She was pissed and hurt, and there’s no reasoning with pissed and hurt.”

“I can see that,” Kynan says with amusement in his voice. “Give her a few weeks.”

“That’s what I’m thinking,” I tell him. “And to keep myself occupied, I’m going out with Renegade Three.”

From my peripheral, I see Kynan’s head snap my way. “You what?”

“You heard me,” I say with a chuckle.

Renegade is the name for our special-ops groups. There are four of them, and number three is leaving for a mission in the Congo. This will keep my mind occupied while Trista gets her space, hopefully loses some of her anger, and be ready to listen to me when I return. I’m prepared to beg and hound her until she gives me a chance, but I know what anger, hurt, and betrayal can do to a person. I know exactly how Trista feels right now because I’ve been there. This is the best course of action to take right now.



I open the single steel door to the three-story building on E. Bridger Avenue. It’s a unique building and I’ve seen it before but never knew what it was until now.

The Jameson Group.

To the brief glance and why it looks weird is that it appears to have no windows. White stucco square columns rise from the street to the roof on the third floor. In between, it looks like where windows could be placed, there is nothing but stucco walls. But as I approached, I saw they’re glass windows that are somehow frosted so it’s impossible to see inside. I wonder if they can see out from inside.

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