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By´╝ÜKristen Ashley

“No,” she answered. “No one.”


“I’ll think, Alec. I’ll think about it. I need some time. But I promise, I’ll think and I’ll let you know.”

She was looking at him again, straight in the eye. She wasn’t lying. She’d think. But right now this was too much…for anyone. Most people would lose it just from finding Angie’s body. Feb was holding on.

His anger dissolved. It was no longer his place but he was proud of her.

“You’ve got my number?”

Those dents came back at her eyebrows and that lost look came back into her eyes before she masked it.

“Morrie’s got it.”

Colt straightened and dug in the back pocket of his jeans for his wallet. He pulled out a business card and handed it to her, flipping the wallet closed and shoving it back.

She stood, his card held in both hands by thumb and forefinger at both bottom edges, her head bent studying the print.

“I want you to have a care. Keep your cell on you all the time, keep it charged. Let people know where you’re going and when you get there. Don’t ever be alone. You feel something you don’t like, see someone who makes you feel wrong, it doesn’t matter they’re innocent, you tell me, Feb.” Her head came up and she looked at him. “Doesn’t hurt them for me to ask a few questions, dig around.” He watched her suck in her cheeks and he knew she was hesitating, Jack and Jackie’s daughter, through and through. “This is serious. This is murder, Feb. This is about Angie.”

She closed her eyes tight and looked away but not before he saw them get bright. Then she took in a breath and opened her eyes, the brightness gone. She’d locked onto her control. Looking back at him, she nodded.

Colt had one more piece of unpleasant business to deliver and he hated it, but he did it.

“Tomorrow, first thing, you need to write a list.”

“A list?”

“Anyone who wronged you. Anyone you felt slighted by—”


“Anyone someone not in the know might think did you harm or upset you.”

Her eyes went bright again and her bottom lip quivered. “Alec—”

He hated to see her lip move like that, knowing her throat burned with the effort at fighting back the tears. But he had to be relentless, lives were at stake. “If this is about you, we need to lock it down.”

“People are gonna—”

“Freak.” Colt nodded. “But better they freak and stay breathin’ than—”

“They’ll hate me,” she whispered.

“They won’t. But if they do, they’re stupid. This isn’t about you. This is about a sick fuck who’s out of his mind. They blame you, you’re better off without them.”

“Easy for you to say, people like you.”

“People like you.”

Something in her face shifted. He couldn’t read it, it was there and gone. But whatever it was, it made that weight in his gut feel even heavier.

“Feb, I’ve no idea what this fuckin’ guy is thinking, but I’ve gotta—”

She lifted her hand and waved it between them, the movement desperate. “I’ll write a list.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to say, that’s my girl.

He didn’t say it.

It was then the full realization dawned that this business was going to take its toll. On Feb, on him, likely on Morrie and undoubtedly on Jack and Jackie who, as soon as they heard what was going on, would be back. They were probably already on their way.

And the toll to be paid was not just because of Angie’s murder and Feb’s admirer, but because Colt and Feb had no choice but to be wound together again after years of being unraveled.

“Can I go back to the bar now?” she asked.

Colt nodded.

“You wanna talk to Morrie?”

Her question struck him like a blow, she knew him so well. And a thought he hadn’t contemplated, hadn’t allowed himself to contemplate for two years, came into his head.

How in the fuck could this woman who was laced into the fibers of his life be so fucking removed?

Colt nodded again.

Feb lifted her chin and without another word walked out the door.

When he lost sight of her, Colt’s neck twisted and he bit his lip.

It was either that or tear the fucking office apart.