Of course, he’s talking about the whole plan to return to Vegas for Sam’s treatment. I pretend ignorance, though. “Don’t be ridiculous. August is great with Sam.”

My dad rolls his eyes, not falling for it. “He’s going to take Sam away from us.”

The vehemence in my father’s voice startles me. I turn to face him, drying my hands on the dish rag. “He’s not going to do that. I’ll always be with Sam.”

My dad leans in, lowering his voice. “Are you so sure? I can tell things aren’t good between you and August. He’s insisting Sam go to Vegas… and why do you think that is? August wants to take Sam away from you. He’s going to make you pay for keeping him away from his son for all these years.”

I give a nervous laugh. “You’re being paranoid.”

My dad utters a low growl. “I’m being rational, something you’re not. Going off all hot headed to Vegas to find August when it was so dangerous—”

Cutting him off with a wave of my hand, I hiss. “I went to save my son’s life. I’d do it all again.”

“You destroyed this family,” my dad condemns me.

I can feel the blood drain from my face as I whisper, “That’s harsh.”

My dad’s face crumples, and I swear he ages ten years right before my eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that, Leighton. It’s just… We had a good life here together. We had time to see if a donor could be found through the registry. But you went off and did this, and it wasn’t the right time.”

“I’m sorry, Dad, but I couldn’t sit back and wait. It’s not within me… not where Sam’s concerned. Not as a mother. I needed to find a solution, and I had to do it fast.”

“I can’t leave,” my father says quietly. “And I feel like I’m being cut out of Sam’s life. He’s my grandson—probably the only one I’ll ever have—and I helped you raise him. And now he’s being taken away from me.”

The voice that comes from behind my father is ice cold. “Now you know how it feels.”

August stalks into the kitchen, pausing by the end of the counter to glare at my father. My dad sighs and turns warily toward him, but I can see by the hard lock of his jaw that he’s willing to continue this argument.

I immediately step in. “No fighting,” I say with a stern glare. “We don’t want Sam to hear this. He has enough burden on him already.”

No one says a thing, hopefully because they are too afraid to cross me on this. But then August clears his throat, gesturing at my dad. “You can come to Vegas with us, Mike.”

My dad snorts his disbelief. “Leave the protection of WITSEC? Are you crazy? I’d be a dead man.”

August shrugs. “Maybe not.”

Again, my father scoffs. “What could you possibly know?”

August moves toward my dad, who steps out of his way. It’s only for show since August merely opens the refrigerator door to pull out a beer for himself. He shuts it, twists the cap off, and says, “I know far more than you do.”

For the next fifteen minutes, August educates us on his background, his job, and the incredible pull that his boss has in the federal government. I’m beyond shocked to find out the sway goes as high up as the president of the United States.

August informs us that while there is still a threat—and the confidential information garnered from informants is that my dad still has a hit on him—no one has any clue where he is. In fact, chatter about my dad and his incredible betrayal of the mob family he worked for is almost never mentioned in regular conversation among those he turned on anymore. Usually only at social gatherings, birthdays, and big celebratory events. Apparently after they get drunk, the men will start to lament about never having taken out Rich Glendale for his treasonous behavior.

“So even though they would kill your father if they ever found him,” August says, “they would literally have to run into him on the streets to find him. They have no clue about his new identity or where he lives.”

I raise an eyebrow at my father. “You could come with us. We still would keep our heads down, keep social interaction to a minimum, and hide out in plain view in Vegas just the way we have here in Denver. You could be there for Sam’s treatment.”

My dad returns a hard look, stubborn to the core. “But then we no longer have the government’s protection.”

While I don’t expect this from August, I am settled by his proclamation. “No one will ever harm a hair on Sam’s head as long as I’m alive. And if you and Leighton happened to be in his proximity, I will protect you as well. Bottom line… Mike, I don’t think you are in any more danger in Vegas than you would be in Denver. You’ll have better protection than what you have with WITSEC with me looking over your shoulder.”

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