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"Are you really so nervous to marry me?" Tom asked as he tugged me to a stop just outside the communications room

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"Are you really so nervous to marry me?" Tom asked as he tugged me to a stop just outside the communications room. "We can wait until you're ready. Don't let what Sean did pressure you into anything."

"He's not." I fanned my hot face. "I'm not nervous. It's just a really big deal, you know? Marriage." I glanced down at my black clothing. "And I'm wearing fatigues. And have a crap load of knives stuck in every spare pocket. Just not your typical wedding attire, you know?"

"Let's wait. I talked to Adams. He's more than prepared. He can do it after this threat is neutralized. Then you can wear white with just a couple knives stashed in your garter."

I laughed and leaned forward, resting my forehead on his chest. He rubbed my shoulders with his warm hands.

"Nope. I'm good. I'm so ready to get married." I stared up into his eyes. "I love you, Melace."

He kissed my nose, then we stepped into the communications room. Six pairs of wide eyes stared at us. Tom's arm tightened around my shoulders.


"Adams missed his last check in," Tom said.

"I guess we're not getting married after all."

A massive, black, shiny-topped table filled the tiny room. What was left of the TLC team huddled around it, and they all stared at me.

"Wait, did I hear y'all say married?" Kelsey asked.

"Yep. But Adams was going to officiate. So, let's go grab Sean and kick his ass. Maybe he knows what happened to Adams," I said as I strode toward the table, passing a tiny desk with two monitors on it and a black radio set next to them.

"We can come, right?" Briana said.

"I'm thinking no." I glanced at Tom. "What do you think?"

"Either way, if Smith knows we're alive, the cat's out of the bag, right? If he's got Adams, too, he'll know emergency protocol has been activated." He ran his hand through his hair and looked upward.

The ceiling was less than a foot from the top of his head. He reached up and picked at the speckled tiles and let out a sigh. A table, on the other side of the room housed another set of monitors with a stack of cell phones, placed on charges next to it. The wall, just behind the table the team surrounded, was covered with a map of the town, detailed to the name of every street.

I stepped around the team and pointed to the spot on the map where my special spot, The Hill, was. "But if we can contain Sean and see what he knows, we might find out Smith doesn't know. Then we'd have the advantage of having these guys as back up. If we need to storm the castle, I'd rather Smith and Sean think it's just me and you."

"True. They've probably already written everyone else off anyway, thinking it's only us he needs to fear. It'll be a surprise to have some firepower show up suddenly." He nodded toward me. "Your call."

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