“You’re not getting anywhere near my sister, you sick fuck,” Ellie hisses.
He lashes out to backhand her, but Ellie lifts her forearm, blocking the strike like I taught her years ago.
That’s my girl.
He grips her by the hair, twisting her neck up to look at him. “Call her!”
“No!” Ellie shouts, even as a tear leaks from her eye.
I’m going to rip his head off his fucking shoulders, I swear to God.
But then suddenly he gets real calm. Thoughtful. He releases Ellie’s hair, raises his arm and points the gun at my head.
“Call her, or I’m going to blow his brains out all over that wall. I don’t need him; I’ll still have you.”
A strangled whimper comes from Ellie’s throat, and then more tears. “No . . .”
“You have ten seconds. I’m counting.”
“Logan . . .” Ellie whispers. And it’s tortured. Because she can’t call.
We both know it.
“Listen to me, Ellie. It’s okay. It’s all right, love.”
She shakes her head, sobbing. “What do I do?”
I look into her perfect blue eyes and in my mind I’m holding her, comforting her, giving her my strength. “You know what I want you to do.”
And my gaze drifts over her beautiful face, memorizing every curve and angle.
“I love you, Ellie,” I choke out. “I should’ve told you sooner and more, but I do. These last weeks have been the best of my life. More than I ever dreamed, and I dreamed of you so often. Thank you, my sweet girl, for loving so well.”
Her pretty face crumples. “I love you, Logan. Please don’t leave me . . . please . . .”
“Shhh . . . it’s all right. Everything will work out, I swear, Ellie. I promise you.”
And I believe that, truly. Because there has to be a God—a woman like Ellie Hammond doesn’t happen by accident. My girl was made by design. And if there is a God, he’ll take care of her, protect her.
I hate that it won’t be me. I want to be the man who holds her and keeps her. But even if I don’t get to have that honor, when this ends, however it does . . . she’ll come out the other side unscathed.
I believe that with all my heart—the one that has only ever belonged to her.
She reaches for me. “Logan.”
“Close your eyes now. Close your eyes, Ellie, and know that I love you.”
She doesn’t close her eyes. Ellie falls to the ground, sobbing.
Then a moment later she’s throwing herself at me. She covers my body with hers, wrapping her arms around the chair and hugging me.
“Ellie, stop!” My blood curdles with the horror that he could shoot her.
But he doesn’t shoot. And she doesn’t stop.
Not until she presses the cold, steely weight of the knife I strapped to her leg years ago into my hand, behind the chair—where the fucker can’t see. When she looks into my face, her pupils are tighter and focused; she’s calmer now, almost relieved.
She turns her head, staring at the gun that’s pointed at her head.
“I’ll call. I’ll call my sister now.”
“Get up!” The soon-to-be-dead bastard yanks Ellie off me and tosses her towards the desk. She makes a show of fumbling with the phone, dropping the receiver, giving me time to cut the plastic ties around my wrists.
I wait for him to lower the gun, just a bit to his side, so it’s not trained on Ellie directly. And then I move. Spring up and grab him.
A shot echoes in the room, blasting my eardrums, then another . . .
Then, with the firm, harsh twist of my hands and the sound of a snapping neck—it’s over. The man drops in a dead heap at Ellie’s feet.
I take her in my arms, weak and heavy-limbed with the knowledge that she’s safe. I scan her body, skim my hand over her, checking for injury. “Are you hit? Did he hurt you?”
She shakes her head, then cries, “Logan, you’re bleeding!”
“It’s just a scratch.” I guide her towards the door, my shoulder throbbing.
Ellie grabs a shirt off the bed as we walk out into the hall. I lean against the wall, sliding down to the floor. She yells for help, and there’s commotion as people rush to us and into the room.
Ellie tears her shirt into two pieces and presses one to my shoulder and one to my arm, and I groan—because it fucking stings.
“You’re bleeding a lot.”
Huh. So I am. The white cloths are quickly turning red.
I shrug. “Two scratches. Don’t worry.”
But she is worried. Her full little mouth is set in a tight frown and her brows are puckered.
I tilt my head at her. “You’re looking very pretty today, Ellie.”
Her eyes spark brightly and her eyes flare.
“Seriously? Are you high?”
I grin, feeling a bit high. “Kiss me, love.”
She yells at me instead. “You’ve been fucking shot, Logan!”
I crook my finger at her, drawing her closer. And I wink. “That’s the very best time for kissing.”
Then I pull her to me with my good hand and cover her rosebud mouth with mine, kissing her deep and long.
And then . . . I black out.
Two weeks later
LOGAN IS GOING TO BE knighted by the Queen. For outstanding sacrifice to the Crown. We got the official proclamation today. He’s going to be “Sir” Logan soon.
I haven’t thought of the details yet, but I have a feeling the title will be part of some titillating bedroom role-play in our future.
The story’s been in all the papers. How he saved the day—protected Princess Olivia and her babies and her sister too. He’s a hero. Not that that’s news to me, he’s been my hero for years, but now he gets to be Wessco’s hero as well.
When it comes to recovering from the gunshot wounds in his shoulder and arm, however . . . he’s a big fucking baby.
I think he acts that way on purpose. My bandage itches, my soup is cold . . . My cock is hard—how about you come over here and help me out with that, lass?
The doctor said no strenuous activity, but Logan’s idea of strenuous and mine are two different things. He hasn’t ripped his stitches, but it’s not for lack of trying.
He’s a terrible patient. Sexy and broody and too sweet for his own good.
He tells me he loves me every day. Every. Single. Day. First thing in the morning, last thing before we drift off in each other’s arms. And it thrills me, makes my heart throb every time.
Logan’s accepted having security around the house—because the day he got out of the hospital, I moved in with him. Being the protected as well as the protector no longer eats at him like it did in the beginning.
Seeing a gun held to my head changed that for him.
Now, Logan’s okay having a small army surrounding me, guarding the house and the new life we’re building together. He’s gotten friendly with the guys on detail—telling them when they’re doing something wrong, calling them out when he catches them looking at my ass.
He hasn’t made any big employment moves yet, but he’s leaning toward starting his own security consulting firm. It’s something he’s good at, something he knows—it’s his calling, his duty, he says. For now, he’s okay money-wise, living off savings and focusing on finishing the house and recovering.
Whatever Logan decides to do, he’ll be successful—he doesn’t have it in him to be anything less.
The Queen was right. Love isn’t a cure; it doesn’t magically solve every problem. But it makes solving those problems worth it. Love is our inspiration, our motivation . . . and our reward.
Two weeks later
“Fucking Christ, do I love you.”
Logan’s voice melts against my ear, his breath tickling, his strong chest pressed against my back, his words making me wetter, where he’s hot and hard, inside me. My head lolls against his good shoulder and my arms rise to wrap around his neck behind me.
“Logan . . .” I sigh.
His fingers trace my lips and I suck one into my mouth, scraping the pad with my teeth. Then he slides his hand down, caressing my breast and pinching my nipple. It sends a jolt of sensation between my legs and my pleasure builds and builds. I turn my head, seeking his mouth—wanting his lips on mine.