I fill the tub with steaming water, intent on using the jets to work on some of the sore muscles in my back. Sleeping on the hospital recliner is hell on the spine. When the tub is full, I slip off my clothes, pile my hair on top of my head, and settle in for a nice long soak.

I consider my future. Surprisingly, I genuinely like it here in Vegas. Whereas mid-October in Denver would be quite nippy, the warmer climate of Vegas agrees with my body. I like the desert—the brown mountains and arid weather. As soon as Sam gets out of the hospital, I think I’m going to start searching for a job. While I might not like admitting I’d like to live here, I believe the fact I’m considering employment speaks for itself.

Really, though, it has nothing to do with whether I like Vegas. It’s that Sam loves being near his dad as he’s getting to know him. I know August is never going to move to Denver. His job is based here, and it’s too important to him. Conversely, there is nothing holding me in Denver except my dad if he decides to return. His employer is holding his job for another few weeks—unpaid, of course—and then he’s going to have to decide what to do. The government has been silent. No communications from Dad’s handler, which sends a clear message… we are on our own.

As I weigh the pros and cons of moving from Denver to Vegas permanently, I shave my legs and slather a vanilla bean body wash over my skin with a washcloth. I turn the jets on, letting them pound my lower back. When the water starts to cool, I step out of the tub and pat most of the water away with a towel. While my skin is still semi-damp, I slather on vanilla lotion and check myself out in the mirror. It appears that after getting some good sleep, halfway decent nutrition—at least eating consistently—and moderate sleep, I’m looking a little more normal. The dark circles under my eyes have disappeared, and I don’t look so gaunt and washed out.

The only thing I need now is my soft cotton sleep jammies and the overly comfortable bed in August’s guest bedroom.

I open the bathroom door, a waft of steam coming out with me, and slam right into a solid wall of manly muscle.

August has his hand on the knob of the bathroom door, clearly intent on walking in. By the wide flare of his eyes, I can see he’s as surprised to see me there as I am to see him home this early.

I realize my hands are pressed to his chest, and there’s barely an inch of room between our bodies.

August stares down, his gaze moving past my face to the cleavage formed by the towel wrapped around me. His eyes go even wider, and he inhales sharply.

His hands settle on my hips, and I’m stunned he’s willingly touching me in such an intimate way. In the last few weeks, he’s given no indication he’s even remotely interested in me.

“You smell good,” he says, and a shiver runs up my body from the low, guttural tone of his voice. He sounds just like a wolf that found a tasty snack.

His hands tighten on my hips, and he dips his face closer to mine. Is he going to kiss me?

“Go get dressed,” he murmurs, his eyes sparking with something that both puts me on edge and makes me curious as hell. “Wear the nicest thing you brought with you.”

I honestly have no clue what I’m doing, especially since I didn’t even bother to question August about where we were going. I simply put on the nicest thing I had brought with me, which was a black dress. It wasn’t even a sexy dress. I had bought it to wear to a funeral two years ago when a coworker died. I have no clue why I brought it to Vegas with me, as I didn’t even bring the heels that go with it. Instead I’m wearing a taupe-colored pair of booties with a spiked heel I bought on sale a few years ago, which look amazing with boot-cut jeans but a dress? Eh, taupe goes with everything.

I look awful, I’m sure of it. At least my clothing does. I did put on makeup for the first time in forever. Because I didn’t wash my hair, I performed a hack by slicking it back from my face at the sides, poofed up the top a little, and managed to twist and curl the ends of my bob so they pointed forward under my ears. It comes out a little punk-rock looking, so I add an extra layer of kohl liner under my eyes. I didn’t bother putting in my contacts, but the one thing I can say is my blue eyes look way better with my brown hair than with my blond.

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