I tilt my head… not quite able to grasp what he’s saying. “But what makes you think that?”

“Because we talked about it a couple of days ago when we went out for beers,” he murmurs.

“You knew what he was planning… and you didn’t tell me?” I accuse.

“No,” he replies with a censuring look. “I only knew he was worried about bringing danger to you and Sam.”

“But that’s ridiculous, right?” I ask, needing him to tell me that my dad is being stupid to think this.

August sighs as he brings his hands to my shoulders. He slides them up until his hands rest against my neck on both sides. Dipping his face a little closer, his eyes apologetic, he says, “I don’t think his feelings are ridiculous. Not with everything you all have been through. His fears are deep, and it’s hard to move past them. And while I think the chances he’ll be found are slim, if he is, you and Sam are definitely safer away from him.”

My mouth drops open, incredulous over this assertion. “So you want him to go, don’t you? You think this is a good opportunity to separate him from us, so you’ll have Sam to yourself more.”

“What?” he exclaims as he steps away from me, only to immediately scowl. “You seriously think I’d do that?”

I deflate instantly, ducking my head down in shame for what I just said. “No, of course not. I’m just out of sorts. I’ve never been away from my dad. I don’t want him to go.”

Once again, August is before me, hands now on my face to force my gaze to his. “It’s not like he wants to leave tomorrow. You know he’s going to stick around until Sam is doing well and doesn’t have any issues. We’ll work on him. Convince him to stay in Vegas, okay?”

I nod, incredibly mollified August is uniting with me to keep my dad here. “I’m sorry I accused you of wanting him to go. Sometimes I blurt things out I don’t mean when I’m angry.”

“I seem to remember that about you,” he teases, then dips his head closer to brush his lips over mine.

Many things have shocked me tonight, but none more so than this kiss.

True—August and I have had our mouths on each other a lot over the past few weeks. It’s all been wild and raw.

But right now, he kisses me with a soothing reverence I can feel clear down to my toes. It settles me into calmness.

Pulling away, he murmurs, “You should go to bed and get some rest.”

I take a step back, causing his hands to fall from my face.

In a way, this softer side of August is very much appreciated. He’s managed to take a situation that had me beyond upset and smooth over my fears. His kiss was sweet and born of caring.

On the flip side, what I wouldn’t give for that kiss to have turned into more. Just yesterday, we’d spent an amazing hour at The Wicked Horse, yet my body still craves him. I’m not sure what’s going to happen between us now. Sam is home, and my dad may possibly be leaving. I’m thinking our opportunities to be together sexually may become too limited to sustain whatever it was we had going.

It’s a thought that nearly breaks my heart, because while we agreed what we have going on is just sex, the type of sex we’ve been having has made me infinitely more closer to him on an intimate level than I ever was before when we were dating. The level of trust I must have in him to allow him to do the things he does to me is something that just can’t be replicated in my opinion.

In other words, there will never be anyone like August. I always suspected it was so, but now I know it.

And yes… thinking this might be coming to an end nearly breaks my heart.

“Goodnight,” I say, turning on my heel to head down the hallway to the guest rooms.

“Night,” I hear him say, and I can feel his eyes on me the entire way to my room.



The levels upon which this is wrong are too vast to even count. But it’s almost two in the morning and I’m completely unsettled, so sleep is eluding me.

I’d tossed and turned in my bed, knowing exactly what I needed to quiet me, but refusing to act on it.

And yet, here I now am, standing in Leighton’s bedroom like a fucking creeper. I managed to open her door without even creating the slightest of sounds, grateful for the thick carpeting that muffled my steps, and slipped it closed just as quietly.

A small amount of moonglow comes through the shades of the window, but it still takes a moment for my eyes to adjust. Little by little, I can make her out in the middle of the queen bed I’d furnished this room with. It’s nothing fancy—part of a three-piece set I bought at some outlet-type furniture store when I first bought this house four years ago. Just a headboard bolted to a frame and a desert-motif comforter set I’d bought online. I wonder if it even appeals to Leighton, or does she hate the bland decor of this room with its beiges and creams because color obviously seemed to offend my manly sensibilities when it came to decorating this house.

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