“Obliged,” he muttered.

I opened the door and the alarm started beeping. Then I panicked because I forgot the code. Then I deep breathed and remembered the code. Then I punched it in and the beeping stopped.



I turned to see Tack followed me in and closed the door.

“See you domesticated,” he noted, glancing around.

“No, my stepmom has been in residence due to fire damage to her living room. She domesticated.”

His eyes came to me. “She in residence now?”

“She’s at her house cleaning up fire damage.”

“That sucked, babe,” he said softly.

“Tell me about it,” I agreed and walked into my house, dumping my bag and purse on my couch and turning to find he followed me and he did it close.

I tipped my head back to look at him.

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“I don’t have any tequila,” I remarked and he threw his head back and laughed. His laugh was just as gravely and rumbly as his voice and I had to admit, I liked it.


Time to lay ground rules.

“You should know, yesterday, I made a new life decision. I’ve sworn off men.”

His brows went up. “You have?”


“Hawk know this?”

“I haven’t shared directly but I sent a message.”

His eyes grew intense. “Why?” he asked.

“It’s a long story and I don’t mean to be rude or anything but I have to get some work done. Then I have to gather up all my little black dresses and high-heeled shoes and take them to Goodwill. Then I have to go help clean up fire damage. Then I have to come home and make cookie dough. So maybe we can have your talk.”

He ignored my suggestion. “Sounds like you got a full day.”

“I have a full life.”

“Seems to me your fixin’ to punch some holes into that, no Hawk, no high-heeled shoes.”

“I’ve decided to take up hiking.”

He grinned.

“And ferret rescue,” I added.

His grin turned to a smile.

“Um… you wanted to talk?” I prompted.

“Yeah –” he started but didn’t continue because right then, the room exploded.

That’s right, exploded.

One second we were standing there bantering and the next the windows blew inward, glass shattering, plaster burst from the walls everywhere and then, of course, there was the loud noise of multiple automatic weapons all around.

I stupidly froze but luckily Tack didn’t. He picked me up at the waist, bent low but somehow managed to carry me through the living room to the kitchen where he put me on my feet and threw the door closed.

“What’s happening?” I shouted forgetting to pause and, say, check for bleeding gunshot wounds on him or me.

“Fuck,” he muttered, yanked his phone out of his jeans and flipped it open all the while crowding me across the kitchen until I hit the wall at the back at the same time the noise came into my living room.

I put my hands on him as he pressed in, shielding me with his body. “Tack!”

The noise stopped.

He had his phone to his ear and he had obviously engaged. “Drive-by, Gwen’s house. Sounds like three, four weapons. I’m cut off from my bike and Gwen’s car. I need immediate recon and I need to know why the f**k they targeted her house for a drive-by.” He paused. “Right.” Then he flipped his phone shut.

I was staring up at him, my throat feeling clogged, adrenalin surging through my system, every centimeter of skin on my body tingling, a feeling that was becoming all too familiar.

“Tack,” I whispered.

He looked down at me. “Stay here, hang tight. I’ll be back.”

He’d be back?

What did he mean, he’d be back?

Then he was gone.

Oh God. Shit. What did I do? Someone shot up my living room!

My purse was in the living room. My phone was in my purse. Shit.

Why hadn’t I put a phone in the kitchen? Why? Why, why, why? First thing whatever morning it would be when it was safe again to be in my f**king house I was putting a phone in every room.

The kitchen door opened and Tack was there, his arm extended to me. “Gwen.”

I was still pressed against the back wall and my panicked eyes went to him.

“What?” I snapped.

“Come here,” he said.

Was he crazy? Here was the living room! And ten seconds ago that room exploded!

“What?” I snapped again.

“Now!” he clipped back and I moved. Rushing to him, he grabbed my hand, dragged me through the nightmare that was my living room, out the front door and straight to his bike. He threw a leg over then I climbed up behind him, wrapping my arms around him and holding on tight. The engine roared, he backed it out, turning into the street and then we shot away.

Tack drove behind Ride where the garages were. I’d never been there but saw that also back there was a rectangular, one-story building. He rode right up to the door and stopped. I hopped off, he followed, grabbed my hand and a biker had the door held open for us as Tack took us into the building. It looked like a bar and bikers were all hanging around though they were hanging around alert and their eyes all came to Tack and me.

“Callouts, brothers,” Tack growled but that was all he said, he kept dragging me through the bar and around it to a back hall as men moved toward the front door.

Tack pulled me down the hall. It was filled with doors and he took me to the last one. He pushed it open and pulled me in. It was a bedroom and it needed to be cleaned, badly.

A biker followed us in and Tack looked at him and then he looked at me.

“You done with Hawk?” he asked what I thought was insanely.

“What?” I asked back.

“Babe, gotta know, you done with Hawk?”

“Um… yes,” I answered.

He stared at me and then asked, “You sure about that?”

“Yes! What are you –?”

I didn’t finish my question. The minute he got my answer he turned to the biker.

“Hawk shows, any of his boys, you aim to maim and you get her outta here. Yeah?”

Oh my God!

“Tack!” I shouted and he swung to me.

Then both his hands came to either side of my head and he pulled me up to his face.

“You may be done with Hawk but Hawk doesn’t finish with a woman until he finishes with that woman. You just bought yourself a situation, I don’t know why but I’m gonna know. And since I was there and nearly got filled with bullets right alongside you, peaches, now this is our situation. Do you get me?”