I see a dark flash flying up the road and I cringe when I recognize the car. It’s my Dad’s.
“Get dressed!” I snap as I swim over to the ladder.
Colton dives off the floatie and gets out of the pool as fast as he can.
We’re both putting on the last of our clothes when my parents come walking over with annoyed looks on their faces.
My dad’s eyes narrow when he spots Colton soaking through his clothes.
“What are you guys doing here?” I blurt out.
“Where’s Joy?” my mother asks with a raised eyebrow.
Shit. I guess my cover is blown.
“That’s right,” she says. “Joy showed up at our place this morning looking for you. Now, I know why you weren’t answering your phone!”
“Who is this?” my father snaps. He’s pointing at Colton, but refuses to look at him. “You better have a very good explanation for this young lady.”
“Hello, Mr. Briggs,” he says, stepping forward with his hand extended. “My name is Colton Hughes.”
My father doesn’t even look at him. His jaw is clenched as he glares at me. I can see the anger radiating off him.
“Mackenzie,” my father hisses through clenched teeth. “Who is this?”
I look at Colton and he’s standing proudly with his chest out and his chin in the air. He hasn’t bowed down to my father like every other man I’ve seen. He’s proud. He’s strong. He’s a true alpha male and he gives me strength. Enough strength to say the next few impossible words.
“This is Colton, Dad. He’s my boyfriend.”
My dad looks like he’s going to blow the last few remaining gray hairs off his head.
“No, he’s not!” he shouts as he sticks a finger in my face. “He’s in his thirties, for Christ’s sake.”
“He’s twenty-seven,” I snap back. “I’m nineteen. You and mom have a bigger age difference.”
“Oh, don’t even,” my father says. “He’s leaving and you’re coming back home with us. Now!”
“I’m not going anywhere, sir,” Colton says in a firm matter-of-fact voice. “And neither is Mackenzie. Unless she wants to.”
My dad whips his head around and finally looks at Colton. His eyes are shooting lasers of hate at his forehead. I’ve seen my dad lose his temper, but I’ve never seen him like this.
“Mom,” I say, trying to get her to help out. “We were just relaxing at the cottage. It was innocent.”
She raises her eyebrows as she looks at my dripping wet hair and clothes that are now soaked through. “In the pool?”
I swallow hard.
“Where are your bathing suits?”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake!” my father shouts as he throws his hands in the air. “You are a dead man!”
I scream as he charges toward Colton.
“Dad!” I shout, but it’s drowned out by the roaring of motorcycles.
We all stop and turn toward the long driveway that leads to the gate. I’m watching in confusion as six men on motorcycles come riding up.
Colton is by my side in an instant. “Mackenzie, take your parents and get inside!”
It’s then that I see Scorpion at the head of them. His face is all bruised up with dark purple, green and yellow patches. He looks different, but I would recognize that long greasy hair and slithering grin anywhere.
“Who are these thugs?” my father asks as he stares at them. “Friends of yours?”
“Not friends of mine,” Colton says as he stands protectively in front of me. “I suggest you take your wife and daughter and hurry inside.”
But it’s too late.
One of the men rushes over toward the door and blocks the entrance as Scorpion and his friends strut over like they own the place.
My father’s anger melts away and he looks scared. It’s always a freaky thing seeing your parents scared. It always feels like the world is a dangerous out of control place.
“I told you we were going to fuck you up, Colton,” Scorpion says with a look of triumph on his disgusting face.
That’s when it hits me. No…
That voice. I thought I recognized that cop who called. Scorpion had my number when he texted his phone from mine. He called and pretended he was a cop to get the address.
And I fell for it.
The three people I love most are in danger and it’s all my fault.
Heat is flushing through my body as I crack my knuckles and stare Steve down. He might think he’s a scorpion, but I’m a boot that’s going to crush him.
“Your beef is with me, Steve,” I tell him through clenched teeth. “Let the girl and her parents get in the car and go.”
He scoffs. “I don’t think so. She’s your girl, right?”
“Hell yeah, she is.”
He laughs. “Good. Then you won’t mind me keeping that pussy warm after we cave your head in?”
I raise my fists and roll my shoulders as I size the guys up. Three look pretty easy to take out. Three are bigger than me. I got to do this fast. For my little chipmunk.