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Cole Roberts and Mason Scott loved each other since childhood, but they needed something more to make them whole. They searched for a woman who could complete them, but a terrible accident tore them apart. Their perfect life shattered, they were each left angry and alone.
Kitten Taylor’s past is filled with heartache. She yearns to be part of a family she can call her own. When Cole takes her in, she hopes to finally find the place she belongs, but quickly realizes something is wrong. There is a chasm between them and every day it seems to get worse. When they are alone together, she can sense the wonderful bond they could share, but they can’t seem to find a way to connect.
Everything changes when Kitten meets Mason for the first time. She instantly feels a connection and realizes how perfect their lives could be if Mason and Cole could look beyond the past.
When a killer puts the trio in their crosshairs, Cole and Mason will have to put aside the betrayal and hurt they allowed to consume them in order to forge a future with the woman they love.
Release date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Print pages: 315
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Though his elegant office was kept at a perfectly cool temperature, Cole had started to sweat. It was stupid, but he was nervous.
“So to what do I owe this pleasure, Julian?” Cole asked as he offered a chair to his old friend.
And tried to settle the worry gnawing at his gut because he had a suspicion why Julian Lodge had decided to show up in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday. If the meeting was about business, he would have called or sent an e-mail. So this visit must be personal and if it was personal, then there was only one way in which Cole intersected with Lodge’s family.
“I’m here about Kitten.” Lodge let the statement drop, a rock he’d dumped in between them. There was a politely blank look on Julian’s face that told Cole he was serious.
But then when wasn’t Julian serious? He was practically the grim reaper and Cole was suddenly worried Julian had come to end something important to him.
And that pissed him the hell off.
Still, he held on to his temper. It wasn’t the time to play the possessive caveman. Not with the man who could very likely take away the possession he wanted to keep. Kitten’s primary loyalty was probably still to the people she considered family. He had to view Julian as a potential father-in-law, though Cole doubted he would appreciate the comparison. “We had a nice time at dinner the other night.”
It was best to put on a brave front. He was in charge of Kitten Taylor and he didn’t want that to change. Not when he was almost certain he was falling in love with the woman.
The trouble was, he couldn’t seem to reach her. She’d been living in his home for almost a month and he wasn’t any closer to real intimacy with her. He’d taken everything slow. Even after they’d signed a contract, he’d done his version of courting her. He’d allowed her to stay in Julian’s home for a while. He’d called and spent time talking to her. He’d walked the dungeons with her. He’d escorted her to a wedding. He’d thought things would move more quickly once he’d actually moved her in.
He needed more time.
“Leo feels she’s losing hard-earned ground,” Julian stated flatly. His thousand-dollar shoes tapped against the floor as he enumerated his points. “She slipped into third-person speech twice the night you brought her over to the penthouse. She’s obviously lost weight. And you haven’t brought her to The Club on a regular basis. I don’t know that I like that.”
“Do you want to complain about the collar I bought her?” He seemed to be complaining about everything else. Why not bitch about Kitten’s collar, too? It was Cartier and stunning. If Julian complained about it, he might punch him in the face.
And as Julian was the closest thing his submissive had to a father, that would go over so well for him.
The possessiveness he felt was something new and he rather liked it. It had been so long since he’d wanted someone to belong to him.
“No,” Julian replied, his expression never changing once. “Her collar is perfectly satisfactory.”
Her collar had cost him twenty grand. He’d meant it as a promise of the future, one he hoped to have with her. “You have to give me time, Julian. What happened to Kitten can’t be erased in a month.”
Now the club owner’s mouth tightened, his eyes narrowing slightly. “It’s been years.”
Sympathy crept up on Cole. In the end, Julian was simply watching out for a woman he viewed as family. And he understood. As a Dom, Julian wanted to be able to do something. To command the problem to go away. Life wasn’t as simple as it was in the dungeon. “And it will likely never truly go away. She was kidnapped, raped, and molded into something she wasn’t before. She has to figure out who she is now, and that’s a difficult process.”
Julian finally sighed and sat back in his chair, his left ankle resting on his right knee. “I hoped she would be better when I found her a proper Dom.”
At least Julian still considered him “proper.” “We’re working on her problems, but you know I move cautiously.”
Patience was required to forge a good relationship.
Except sometimes a wildfire took over. Sometimes passion couldn’t be contained. Like Mason. Images rushed through his brain. Their hands tearing at each other’s clothes. Mouths fusing into one. Arms and legs tangled.
But he had to be patient with Kitten. It wouldn’t hurt to remind himself that wildfires tended to burn a man. He was done with the wildfire portion of his life. Now he would plan out his future and that included using everything he knew to help Kitten find herself again.
“I understand, Cole. It’s one of the reasons I selected you,” Julian said finally. “I believed you could truly be patient with her. You have a reputation for working with difficult subs. I still find myself worried about her now that she isn’t under my roof. She’s important to Finn, you see.”
Liar. She was important to Julian, though he would never admit it. Julian liked to play the stoic, cold bastard, but Cole had watched him over the last few years. He’d watched Julian Lodge go from heartless Dom to family man.
Damn, but he wanted that for himself. He’d known he might be able to have it if he could help Kitten. If he could show her that she could find herself through discipline and careful work. She would never be the same person she was before. She would be someone new, but she would be able to choose for herself.
He wanted to make sure that when she chose, she truly chose him. That was the delicate balance he was walking.
“I care for her. I honestly do. She’s a sweet woman and I want this to work. And I think we can expect her to slip more than once. I know she’s been under a Dom’s authority before, but I’m her first real Dom. I’m the first one she’s lived with and truly submitted to. She slips back into the habits that bastard taught her. It’s only to be expected. She didn’t know anything before him. And in some circles, referring to herself in the third person would be perfectly acceptable. You have full-time Masters and slaves at The Club.”
Julian was right back to being the hawk, his eyes sharpening. “Is that what you’re looking for? To own her?”
Frustration welled, a wave that threatened to swallow him. “You knew what I was looking for when I inquired about her. I prefer a Master-slave relationship. I prefer a firmer power exchange than most of the couples and trios at your club. And that’s what she needs as well. We simply have to find our footing. I can’t do that if you continually threaten to take her away from me.”
This wasn’t Julian’s first visit. Julian had inspected Cole’s home, tested his private dungeon equipment for sturdiness, run multiple, invasive personal checks through his in-house private investigators. Setting Chase Dawson on a man proved that Julian Lodge was a complete sadist. He’d had to submit to interviews by not one but two psychologists. He’d expected to deal with Leo Meyer, The Club’s resident psychologist. He hadn’t expected to be treated to an afternoon with Eve McKay, a lovely woman who used to profile serial killers for the FBI.
Cole truly worried for the first young man who was stupid enough to try to date Julian Lodge’s daughter.
Cole had suffered through it all because from the moment he’d heard her story, he’d wanted to help her. And the minute he’d actually seen her… Fuck, his dick got hard thinking about her. She was the first human being to move him since Mason left, and he meant to do right by her.
“Is she happy?” Julian asked, his face softening slightly.
He had to be honest. “I don’t know.”
She was with him one moment and somewhere in her head the next. Kitten was elusive. She was fragile and he had to be careful not to harm her when he caught her. He didn’t truly want her in a cage. He wanted her to find her freedom through submission.
“Perhaps you would consider bringing her to The Club more often.”
Cole nodded, relaxing a bit. The tension had gone out of the room. “Yes. I will if you think it might help. I wanted her to settle in with me. We’ve been playing privately on a regular basis. Nothing heavy, just some impact play to get her used to me.”
“I appreciate your patient approach. I truly do, but you should know that she’s performed some hard-core scenes with her handlers. She’s a bit of a pain slut. She needs it.”
“And she’ll get it, but not until I discern what is for her pleasure and what she’s forcing her Doms to give her in order to punish herself.” He couldn’t move on until he was sure.
“And how about affection? You didn’t even hold her hand at dinner the other night.”
Because in the last two years he’d forgotten what real intimacy felt like. Since Mason had betrayed him, he’d become cold. Perhaps he’d been born that way, but at least with Mason around, he’d had someone to remind him to show his affection. Mason always prodded him for kisses and rarely allowed him to leave a room without a hug. Mason had been the one to teach him how to curl up on a couch and that dinner tasted better when someone else fed it to him.
Kitten couldn’t ask for the affection she needed. He struggled to remember to show his emotions in a physical way.
He was starting to feel inadequate.
“I thought I should give her time,” he reiterated.
Julian took over. “To get used to you. Yes, you’ve said that. Are you giving her time? Or yourself?”
“Maybe a bit of both,” he admitted. “I don’t want to screw this up. She’s been through a lot. She doesn’t need a ham-handed Master making things uncomfortable for her. She needs to settle in. We signed a six-month contract. There’s no rush. I’m not going to force her into bed with me.”
“No one is worried about that.” Julian stared at him for a moment. “I am worried that you won’t see the signs that she genuinely wants to sleep with you.”
“With me? Or with any Dom?” It was a definite worry in the back of his mind. He didn’t want to be a stand-in for some other Dom. She’d had several and she talked about her former Masters often. Including Logan Green. He definitely didn’t want to be the stand-in for a kid he’d watched grow up. Sometimes he wondered if he was too old for her, but then he would catch glimpses of the sadness that lay under her surface and he knew that no matter what her chronological age was, she’d seen enough that she wasn’t truly young, not the way other twenty-five-year-olds were.
“She only tried to sleep with one Dom,” Julian said, his face so serious that Cole knew he was struggling with what he had to say. “I don’t like to gossip, but this is important. She wasn’t in love with the men who watched over her.”
“But she wanted one of them.” He hated the fact that jealousy was burning through his gut.
“Not really. She wanted something familiar. She went to Chase one night and begged him to hurt her.” Julian shook his head as though releasing some terrible memory. “Chase declined. Finn had to calm her down. I worried for her sanity that night. I worried she would never be able to tell the difference between love and abuse. You have to understand that she didn’t receive love and affection from her parents. They were cold. Hawk was a monster, but she found some physical affection from him. And she became close to her fellow hostages. I believe she thought if she allowed Chase to hurt her, he would pay her back with affection. She’s come a long way since that night.”
Chase Dawson had a dark side, but he wouldn’t hurt a woman. God, Cole could only imagine how Chase had felt about being the man Kitten picked to hurt her. Cole was trying everything he could to make sure she didn’t make that mistake with him. “We need more time. I’ve been working a lot lately, but in a week I should be free and I plan on spending plenty of time with her.”
“And if she disappoints you?”
What the hell was that about? “I don’t expect she will.”
“But if she does?” Julian prodded.
“Then I suppose I would try to work it out. If I couldn’t, I would find a way to ease her out of my life.”
A single brow rose over Julian’s eyes. “That’s good to know since you didn’t do that with Mason.”
Fuck. Even the mention of his name caused an ache. “What happened between Mason and me is my business.”
“No, it’s my business if it’s the way you treat your submissives. Kitten is my family. She’s my responsibility and she will remain that way until such time as I trust the man who cares for her. I do not trust you yet, Cole. Not with her. She’s had a hard life. Even before her unfortunate kidnapping, her life was marked with intolerance and harshness. Her father has a limited view of what love means. Of what love is. There was no affection for her. No kindness. If you can’t give that to her, I need to take her back.” Julian’s face tightened, the closest Cole had ever seen to the man becoming emotional. “I have to do right by her. I hope you understand.”
He did. Julian was one of a few men that Cole understood. His life was defined in a particular way. He needed to make things right for the people he cared about. He needed to be important, and that included placing boundaries and guarding them. Kitten was firmly within Julian’s fence line—the one between him and the outside world. That made her important to him. Cole needed him to understand that she was in his fence, too.
“I’ll take care of her. What happened between me and Mason was different. He let me down. We had a sub we shared and she died on his watch. She died because he couldn’t control himself. Can’t you understand that? I loved him, but I did what I had to do.”
Julian sighed and stood. “I truly do understand, but not in the way you think. I understand that you did what you thought you had to. I merely question the fact that you think what you had with him was love. I believe if it was love, you couldn’t have broken him the way you did. And you should watch out for it. I also happen to know that breaking a man that way can come back to haunt you. If you choose to break with a person, it’s almost better to eradicate them. I should know. I had a relationship very much like the one you had with Mason. The man let me down and I cut him out of my life. My Mason almost killed Danielle.”
Cole had heard the story. Julian had caught his male submissive with drugs in his club and had dismissed the man. He’d come after Julian, nearly killing both him and his now wife, Dani, in the process. “I don’t discuss Mason with anyone. That part of my life is over.”
Though lately Mason had been more and more on his mind. He didn’t quite understand what Julian meant by “breaking” Mason, but he was unwilling to ask for clarification.
“That’s a shame. I watched you with him. I rather thought it was love. You proved something different. Know that if you treat Kitten with such indifference, you will deal with me. I will not be as simple to handle as Mason.”
Julian stood and walked out the door, his message plain.
What the hell had Julian meant? He’d loved Mason with everything he’d had. How was he supposed to forgive him for what he’d done? Mason had broken with everything that they had agreed on.
Julian was married to Danielle and Finn. Wouldn’t he break with them if they harmed each other?
Or would he simply try to figure out what had gone wrong?
Cole took a long breath. Julian didn’t understand. Mason had caused the death of their sub. His sub. Mason had put pleasure before the woman Cole had pledged to protect.
He was in the right. Surely.
He stared at the door Julian had shut behind him, memories of Mason playing through his head.
* * * *
Kitten Taylor let the sun warm her skin as she lay out by the pool. She took a deep breath. The air was humid, sultry. Not that sultry would help her in any way. There was nothing hot about her world except the temperature.
“Do you need anything?”
She kept her eyes closed because the last thing she wanted to see was Ms. Hamilton frowning down at her. Ms. Hamilton’s face was in a perpetual frown that not even Botox could solve, though Kitten had thought several times about injecting the woman in her sleep.
“No, thank you.” The Dallas sun heated her up. She was wearing a modest two-piece that Julian had purchased for her the prior summer. It made her resemble a Hollywood star from the sixties, but she had to admit, it fit her look.
The housekeeper sighed as though horribly put out and Kitten heard her functional heels begin to tap impatiently against the cool-crete of the pool area. She couldn’t stand Ms. Hamilton. Her eyes were always judgmental, and she didn’t even try to disguise her hatred of Kitten.
Of me. Sometimes it was hard to remember to refer to herself in the first person. It was a sure sign that her life had taken a wrong turn that she had to remember narrative terms outside of her English class.
“Really,” she said quietly. “I’m fine, thank you.”
“The schedule Cole left says it’s time for your snack.”
She opened her eyes and sighed. Ms. Hamilton had a tray in her hand. She was sure it included something incredibly healthy. Apparently Cole wanted her thin as hell. It was working. The food he fed her during the day had caused her to lose five pounds during the month she’d been his submissive. The only time she ate well was at night when she ate with him. If he didn’t come home for dinner, she was given a salad and nothing else.
She was starting to think this had all been a horrible idea.
She was also starting to think she didn’t need this anymore. She’d longed for her own Master. Cole Roberts was everything she’d dreamed of, but he didn’t seem to want her the way she wanted him. He wasn’t cold. He could be quite warm when he wanted to be. He just didn’t seem to want her.
She was starting to understand she needed a little indulgence in her life. She wasn’t the piece of trash Hawk made her believe she was. She was something more. She was the same girl who’d earned straight A’s in high school and was voted Most Likely to Succeed. Unfortunately, she should have been voted Most Likely to Get Kidnapped and Forced into Slavery, but she was out of that now. “I’m not hungry.”
“Your hunger doesn’t matter. Cole said it’s time for you to eat. You will eat or break your contract.”
That contract was starting to chafe. Mightily. “Just leave it.”
There was a clatter as Ms. Hamilton placed the tray on the table near her. “Well, I’ll make sure Cole knows how you feel.”
She was sure Ms. Hamilton would. She was sure the housekeeper wrote up reports on her daily. Cole would soon ship her right back to Julian Lodge, and Kitten wasn’t sure how many chances she had left. Julian had taken care of her because Finn Taylor was her first cousin. Finn was Julian’s male submissive. Julian loved both Finn and his female sub, Dani. He loved them so much he took in their stray relatives who had been traumatized.
Years of living under Julian Lodge’s roof had taught her a couple of things. First, it taught her that she was fucked up. Like totally, maybe irrevocably. Second, even if she could never find that girl she’d been, she could find a new her. She could find a Katherine Taylor who could live and love and have a happy life. Julian had taught her that. Masters Chase and Ben had taught her that. Her friend Nat had taught her that.
She was more than a victim. She was Kitten. She was an I.
I am worthy.
It was her new mantra. That and I hate kale salad.
She turned away from the “snack” she’d been brought. Kale wasn’t a snack. Popcorn was a snack. Chocolate was a snack. Undressed kale salad was a punishment and she hadn’t earned one.
She’d been damn near perfect, not that it had gotten her anything. Sure, he’d spanked her a couple of times and he’d gotten her off, but no sex for Kitten yet.
Damn it. No sex for me.
Maybe her Master didn’t find her attractive. He’d bought her clothes and cuddled her while they watched television, but every night he sent her to her room and he went to his.
It made a girl think. And not good things.
Her phone rang, a trilling sound that reminded her of bunnies and flowers and daisies. She glanced down and grimaced. Cole.
He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever met and she was thinking about ducking his call.
She sighed and flipped the switch to answer. “Hello.”
“Hello? Is that what I get?” His dark voice did things to her feminine parts.
“Hello, Sir.” When he was with her, when she could see him, she had hope. When he was away, there seemed to be so many walls around him.
“Hello, pet.” If only she truly was his pet. “Tell me what you’re doing.”
She smiled. That made her feel wanted—the hitch in his voice that let her know he actually was interested in the answer. “I’m lying by the pool.”
A deep chuckle came over the line. God, the man had the sexiest voice. “Tell me you’re not wearing a thing.”
She wasn’t supposed to lie to her Master. “I’m in my swimsuit.”
He sighed. “Tell me you’re wearing sunscreen.”
He was deeply interested in sunscreen. And vitamins. And her diet. “Yes, Sir.”
“I’m so glad to hear it, pet. I don’t want my lovely sub to be sunburned.” That sexy voice might mean something if he’d ever touched her with pure affection.
“Did you need something, Sir?”
There was a pause and then he sounded slightly disgruntled. “Not really. I wanted to call you. If I’ve interrupted something, I certainly apologize.”
This was what they seemed to be best at. Getting themselves into uncomfortable situations. It wasn’t like her relationships with Masters Chase and Ben and Master Logan. Well, except for the fact that Master Cole didn’t want to have sex with her either. “No, Sir. I was worried I had forgotten something.”
His voice softened. “You never forget anything, sweetheart. You’re very good at remembering. I’m looking forward to our session this evening.”
Her body tightened. The only time she felt connected to her gorgeous Master was when they spent time in the dungeon. In the month she’d been living in his home, she had spent six glorious evenings getting familiar with his excellent flogging and spanking techniques. While he was working her over, she was relaxed and happy, but being sent to her own bed was getting old. She hated to sleep alone. She rarely slept more than an hour or two when she was all by herself.
“I am as well.”
“We’ll begin an hour after dinner. I thought we would start adding in some protocol. I’d like you to be naked tonight for dinner.”
That was promising. She quite liked being naked. Her exhibitionist side was one of the things she’d discovered about herself. “Yes, Sir. If it would please you.”
“Would it please you?”
“Yes, Sir. It would very much please me.”
He chuckled. “I rather thought it would. You prefer your own skin.”
She’d fought hard to be comfortable with her body. Sometimes she could still hear Hawk shouting at her that she was too thin or too fat. She was never perfect. Never attractive. “It is nice to feel the air on my skin.”
“You don’t have to wear a suit to swim.” There was a small pause. “I was surprised to find you owned one.”
“Oh, Master Julian was worried about The Club becoming a nudist resort. He said if I did it then Master Chase would want to as well, and he didn’t want to look at that.”
Now her Master laughed long and hard. She enjoyed the deep sound of his amusement. When he laughed like that, she felt like she was giving him something he needed. “All right, then, pet. I’m going into an important meeting. I won’t be available for the rest of the afternoon. If you need anything, ask Ms. Hamilton. I’ll see you at dinner.”
The phone disconnected and she was left with that odd feeling she’d come to associate with Cole. It was somewhere in between hope and desire and a bleak acceptance that nothing worked out.
She wanted Cole. He was big and strong but had such kind eyes. They were a stark blue that warmed up the minute he looked at her. She’d thought at first that it was desire in those eyes, but now she wondered if what Cole felt for her was something closer to pity.
She’d been an object of pity for long enough. Still, she wasn’t sure she was ready to walk away. Walking away meant disappointing the few people who loved her. Finn. Nat. Her friend Haven. They would all think she’d gone backward.
She sighed, allowing the sun to warm her skin. Maybe she should slip out of her suit and feel the air against her flesh.
She was going to have to make a decision soon. She was twenty-five years old. She had to figure out who Kitten Taylor was. She knew who Katherine Taylor had been. She’d been a college student studying education and dating a boy her mother approved of who she’d barely kissed but talked about marrying.
Her father didn’t talk to Kitten Taylor. Her mother turned her back on Kitten.
On her. Her parents had turned their backs on her. Because they didn’t understand this version of their daughter. Because in so many ways they believed she’d done something to justify her kidnapping. Her rape. Her torture.
Tears pierced her eyes, but they were actually a lovely feeling. They came on their own now. She didn’t need a spanking to cry. She could do that all on her own. She could find a well of sorrow and it was pure. How sad was it that she was grateful to be able to cry?
Or how beautiful? Katherine Taylor had taken her emotions for granted. Kitten did not. Kitten found a profound beauty in the small things.
Like sitting near a pool on a sunny day. She sat up, her nose wrinkling at the sight of the salad Ms. Hamilton had left. Snack? Barf. She would wait for dinner. For now she would sit by the pool and hope that tonight brought something new. Maybe a long kiss from her Master.
A nice long fuck would be better though.
She was on the edge of her lounge chair when the phone rang. Not the cell at her side, but the one inside the house. She could hear it ringing in the distance. One. Two and then three rings.
Kitten wondered why Ms. Hamilton wasn’t answering. Four rings. And then nothing.
She looked at the back of Cole’s ridiculously large house. Her Master was wealthy. There were five bedrooms in the house plus a lovely pool house. Ms. Hamilton lived in a small one-bedroom guesthouse on the grounds. Kitten squinted and as she’d feared, Ms. Hamilton was walking toward her home, her gait sure and stately.
The phone began to ring again.
Kitten sighed. She wasn’t supposed to answer the phone, but someone obviously needed to talk. She crossed the patio and slipped into the house, the conditioned air cool on her skin. She shivered as she answered. “Hello?”
“Is Cole Roberts there, please?” a crisp, feminine voice asked.
“I’m sorry. He’s at work. May I take a message?” She’d been Leo’s administrative assistant for over a year. She’d learned a few things. Sometimes she missed working.
“I’m a patient advocate at Parkland Hospital. There’s a patient here named Mason Scott. Mr. Roberts is his emergency contact. I need to get in touch with Mr. Roberts or a woman named Emily Yarborough.”
She’d heard the name Mason Scott before. Julian and Leo had talked about a Mason and being worried about him. And they’d talked about the fact that Mason had been close to Cole.
She knew she shouldn’t, but she couldn’t help herself. “This is Emily.”
She was definitely going to get in trouble for that.
There was a sigh over the line. “Thank god. Mr. Scott has been in an accident. He’s got a concussion and a sprained ankle. He’s in and out of consciousness. It would be helpful if one of you would come down here and stay with him until we can release him. Are you his sister?”
Kitten wasn’t dumb. She knew that her Master had been involved with Mason Scott. She knew her Master had loved him. She was interested in meeting Mason Scott. “Yes. I’ll be down there as soon as I can. What is his prognosis?”
Her Master no longer talked to this man, but that didn’t mean a thing. He was important—the way her college boyfriend had been important. Michael Rhodes had been her everything and then she’d been nothing because she wasn’t pure and perfect. Kitten needed to see Mason. She needed to understand why Mason was no longer special to Cole Roberts.
“It’s good. He’ll be fine if he gets proper care.”
Like she had needed proper care. Nat had saved her, and Finn and Nat and Julian and everyone at The Club had made sure she was all right. “I’ll make sure. Can you give me a list of what’s required? I can be very precise if I know what to do.”
She would take care of him. Like she’d been taken care of. She could make sure Mason Scott survived. Her heart swelled at the thought. She could be important to someone.
There was a long sigh over the line. “Yes, miss. I can make sure you know what to do. Thank you. He seems like a nice man. I wanted to ensure that he gets what he needs. He seems to think no one will care what happened to him.”
Tears welled in her eyes. She knew that feeling. She’d been alone for so long. Even when she’d met Nat, she’d wondered if she was expendable. She didn’t know this man, but her heart ached for him. “I’ll take care of him.”
Mason Scott. He didn’t know it yet, but he needed her.
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