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Chapter 4

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"You sure it's a good idea to be getting back on your bike?"

I turned from checking my saddlebags—everything was still in place from the day before—and saw Bull standing only yards away, his arms crossed over his chest. "Didn't know I was required to stay here. Just because you put me on probation didn't know I'd be treated like a prospect again."

Bull's face pulled down into a scowl. "You're going to want to start watching that mouth, Devil. You're already on thin ice. Mouthing off to me or any of the other officers isn't going to endear you to us."

I couldn't help but think about Hawk. He was the only one I wanted to endear to. No, no, no. No! I couldn't think like that. Especially not when facing one of the men who held my future in his hands.

I was sure that was a smirk twisting his lips up. He couldn't know what I was thinking. Could he? I couldn't let him. But, I remembered that hurt in Hawk's eyes once again, and it twisted a knife right through my gut.

"What's wrong?" Bull dropped his arms and took a step toward him. "Your head still hurting?"

I hadn't thought I'd reacted physically to that emotional pain, but apparently I had after all. "It's fine. I need to get out of here."

Bull studied me for a moment then nodded. "I get it. Despite what you might think, I do understand. Just watch yourself out there."

"Yeah. Whatever." I said and pulled my helmet down over my head. If I didn't get out of here soon, I would lose my mind.

The ride back to my place didn't do the usual job of clearing my head. In fact, it seemed to be spinning even more. Maybe Bull had been right. I gritted my teeth at that thought.

By the time I made it up the stairs to my apartment, I was pretty sure I was going to be sick. I should have stayed back at the clubhouse a little longer. If I had done that, I'd probably be climbing the walls. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I'd been able to get a little more sleep the night before. I hadn't been able to forget the feel of Hawk's hand on my elbow, making sure I didn't fall as we headed to my bedroom. Or the sight of him pulling down the sheets for me.

My stomach twisted up now, remembering. We'd never shared a bed before. He was moving into a different division when I got through my training and got stationed at the same base as him. We still saw each other, but there wasn't a lot of interaction. Except for when he sought me out.

We only talked at first, and it was so much better than letters. Because I was finally face-to-face with him. That made it worse, too, because I was so afraid of my feelings showing. Then, I got the letter from my mom, saying they'd sent Andy to rehab--the first time-- for drugs. I wanted to be back home so bad. To talk some sense into my brother...or shake him. But, I couldn't. I was getting ready to deploy for the first time.

Hawk found me sitting against a wall, far away from the rest of the base. I had to be alone, or I would end up punching someone in the face. I didn't punch Hawk, though. I told him what was happening. It started with a hug, then I kissed him. He pulled me away to a dark room. The rest...well, it was a lot of dark, sweaty, grasping moments. And we almost got caught.

Then, Hawk was gone. I felt myself spiraling out of control without him there. Andy lost himself to drugs. I was losing myself to...I wasn't even sure what. I was in disciplinary meetings more often than not in the weeks before we were deployed. I was almost surprised they didn't make me stay behind as some sort of punishment.

Going overseas may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. It was hot and ugly and hard. It also felt like a slap in the face. I straightened up. I put all my energy into what needed to be done there, to staying alert when we were on patrols. I didn't let myself look at the other men.

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