Chapter 33

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I have to lie to Nick. As much as I want to explain to him that the reason he has to release Hazel is because she's helping me get close to the girl whose father I am going to murder, I have a feeling he won't take the news all that well. I'm released that evening with no evidence to accuse me of anything, but Hazel is involved in whatever Rusty is charged with, which – judging by the treatment he receives – I can tell is a nasty raid. Rusty never really thought those things over very well. Nick only does what he does because I beg him to get her out, and if the sergeant finds out why, Nick will be walking on even thinner ice than he's already on. The Sarge is already still with him for what Connor and his low-life crew did to the squad car on our second date, and for catching the two of us passionately making out in the interrogation room. I'm surprised Nick risks it.

But that's the kind of guy he is. And I used him. I'm a horrible person.

"You want to tell me why she has to stay at my house?" Nick whispers to me in the front seat of the car as he drives us both back to his place. Hazel sits in the back with her head resting against the window and by the sound of her snores, she's clearly asleep.

"Because her boyfriend is still in prison and Alice ... doesn't like her." I hate lying to him, especially when his jaw is set hard as he turns the wheel and pulls onto the main road. "I'm really sorry to put this on you, it's not fair."

Nick's steps on the accelerator a little too hard but Hazel doesn't wake. I feel awful. It's the hardest thing to be in a relationship with someone and lie to them every day. Now I know how spies do it in the movies. It's obvious what's going to happen when he finds out – he'll be furious and we'll have that cliché fight where I cry because I'm so guilty and he points at me and says, "this relationship was a lie!"

I know how it ends.

Nick sighs and glances at me once with those beautiful, brown eyes. There is suddenly something different about him. Somehow, he looks more peaceful.

"I've never had a long-term relationship," he says.

Well. That came out of nowhere. "Come again?"

"Everyone knew who my father was. Girls who were interested in me ... they eventually skipped out on me because they were afraid I would turn out as my father did. No matter what I do on the force to prove I'm not my old man, it never does any good. I'm still his son. I'm still filled with the blood of Diablo and I used to be worried that I'd never get away from that name. Then I met you." He pulls up in his driveway and turns to face me. Hazel wriggles in the back but continues breathing heavily. "I was scared, like I always am, that you would judge me. But after getting to know you I realized that you're different. You don't see the world like everyone else. You looked past my father's shadow and ... saw me for who I was. Who I am."

I lean over the gear stick and lock eyes with him, running my fingers down his jaw until I come to his chin. Then I gently lay a kiss on his lips.

"We only get one life Nick," I say. "Why should we waste it by dwelling on things we cannot change?"

He takes me in his arms and lifts me onto his lap. My back brushes up against the steering wheel as he kisses my neck and tucks his hands under my jumper. I shiver at the touch, lost in its comfort. My words replay in my head over and over again. No matter how many times I hear them, I can't figure out where they came from. Because they apply just as much to my own life as they do to Nick's. I have been training so hard for the Mafia so I can get my revenge on the men who killed Belle, but that won't change the fact that she's gone. It won't bring her back. Why am I punishing myself for what happened in the past?

A pleasant tingling erupts inside me as Nick's teeth bite my skin just beneath my ear and I cry out softly. I feel him chuckle and that's was when my hand rests on the center of the wheel and the horn honks hard.

Hazel jumps to life in the backseat and both Nick and I split apart as if we're on fire. She is so disorientated that she doesn't see us in a heated embrace, nor does she realize we are both struggling to hold back giggles.

"Are we here?" she asks sleepily. "Fuck, I really need a shower."

"Sure," says Nick and he helps her out of the car.

The brisk night air bites at our ankles and fingers as we jog inside. Nick offers to make coffee and I show Hazel to the stairs. Maria and Kayla are already asleep.

As we make our way to the bathroom and I grab Hazel a towel, she turns to me with a smirk on her face.

"I still can't believe your boyfriend's a cop," she says eagerly. "That's so kinky."

"Shut up," I snap and shove her in the bathroom.

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