Before I left, my dad had tried to warn me that I could end up creating a much bigger mess than I’d envisioned. He’d urged me to give the donor registry time to come up with a match. As a mother, though, I couldn’t pass up the chance of there being a treatment option available before Sam became sicker. While I may not have been able to see that the outcome had the potential to upend our quiet little life in more ways than just losing the government’s protection for myself, I had known nothing was going to stop me from seeing if August could be a donor.

Although I have no intention of committing to a permanent move here, I nod anyway. In my heart, I’m only agreeing to Sam coming here for treatment. I’ll deal with the fallout over our futures when I’m feeling a bit stronger.

Right now… all I want to do is go to sleep and hope tomorrow will be a better day.

CHAPTER 5

August

I step off the elevator into the welcoming lobby of The Wicked Horse. The hostess at the podium greets me by name. “Welcome, Mr. Greenfield.”

I nod, searching the Social Room for a familiar face. A quick hook-up that won’t require more than a few moments of flirting and well-intentioned compliments. Not seeing anyone, I move through the club. I consider the Waterfall Room, but it’s my least favorite. While it’s beautiful—a large waterfall coming out of the ceiling onto a raised dais that people can fuck under—it’s just not practical. The Orgy Room is too dark for how I’m feeling tonight. When I stick my head in to take a peek around The Silo, I find it wall-to-wall packed.

That leaves The Deck, an outdoor area off the south side of the building accessible by a private hallway or The Waterfall room. It’s a wonderful place to either relax with a drink or engage in some adventurous fucking. The entire deck is made from a thick, transparent acrylic, which allows patrons to see forty floors below to the lighted streets of Vegas. It’s not for the faint of heart or anyone with a height phobia.

When I step into the cool evening air, I immediately spot Declan Blackwood at the outdoor bar. He sits alone, talking to the bartender and nursing a drink.

A man like Declan is rarely ever without company in here. I figure he just arrived or he’s already finished with someone. Maybe he’s simply enjoying his drink.

Regardless, I could use a drink as well, so I head that way.

After shaking hands, we exchange pleasantries. As soon as I’m handed my bourbon, we tap glasses in salute.

“How are things going?” Declan asks, politely making the prerequisite small talk.

For a moment, I consider giving the standard and expected response of “Good,” after which we’d bid each other farewell or perhaps find a woman to share.

Instead, I say, “Just found out the girlfriend I thought had died ten years ago is very much alive. And she had my kid and never told me about him. Oh… and then I learned he has leukemia, too, on top of all the rest.”

Declan’s chin jerks inward, eyebrows raised. “You’re shitting me, right?”

“Not shitting you,” I mutter. Taking a healthy sip of my bourbon, I try to enjoy the taste and burn as it slides down my throat.

“Okay…” he draws out, leaning an arm on the bar. “I need more than that.”

I consider this. I’ve known Declan for months, think he’s a good dude, and, well… I’ve shared moments with him in this club that are more intimate than most people could ever imagine happening. He’s a dirty, kinky fuck… just like me.

He’s also a friend, I realize.

Starting at the beginning, I explain what happened in the early morning hours when Leighton showed up at my doorstep. About how stunned I was to see her, clearly recognizable to me, yet a completely different woman. And about her dad and his mob connections. Finishing with Sam—my son—who knew he had a dad, but understood he could never get to know his father without losing the protection of the program his family was in.

“Have you taken the test to see if you’re a match?” Declan asks, seeming thunderstruck by the volley of soap-opera-like drama.

Just then, a beautiful, voluptuous blonde approaches us. She only has eyes for Declan, though. He’s about as close to a celebrity as people can get around here. Hand on his shoulder, she presses her barely contained breasts against his arm while whispering into his ear.

Declan listens before considering me. Gesturing between the three of us, he asks, “Interested? She’ll take us both.”

She’s stunning. Sexy as hell. My dick should be twitching its head right now at the prospect. When it remains mysteriously still, I know my heart isn’t into it.

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