TWENTY

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I left her in that parking lot, but she hasn't left me

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I left her in that parking lot, but she hasn't left me. She's tattooed on my brain, the feel of her trapped under my skin and the taste of her still in my mouth. I can't escape the way she looked at me—the disappointment in her amber eyes when I walked away. It lingers in the back of my mind, haunting me, reflected in every streetlight, even in the moon above. Distracting me, when I shouldn't be distracted.

This was supposed to be fun—she's supposed to be fun—but she's somehow taken over, slowly complicating my life with the lure of her smile, her body, the things she says and does, and the way she has me feeling whenever I'm near her. She had felt like fun, and I had chased her like she was my next adventure, but now I'm screwed because she's become something different altogether, something more. Something that has me second guessing everything else I'm doing.

Even after I'm off my bike, the urge to race back to Evie pulls at me. I shake it off and try to focus. This is where I'm supposed to be. This is where my attention needs to be.

Shit's about to go down, if not tonight, soon. This thing between Jay and Swerve is about to implode, the fuse already lit. I usually live for the rush of anticipation and thrive on the chaos, but not when there's a chance of it exploding anywhere near her.

I keep quiet as we walk down the row of choppers parked in front of the strip club. The metal of the custom Harleys shine in the dark, and our sports bikes look out of place among them.

I've been here with Jay before; it's always been brief. He'd give his Dad an envelope, and then we'd leave. I'm hoping this would be the same deal, and not because I fear any of the bikers in the club. My heart ticks like a timer, counting down the minutes till I can call Evie and check on her. I left her unsure, and I'm not sure if that kiss was enough to wipe that bastard's name from her thoughts and to keep her from seeking her own answers.

I kissed her.

More than kissed her, I tried to claim her. Tried to get her to surrender her mind like she'd given her body the night before.

In front of Jay.

I study him now as he walks in front of me. He hasn't mentioned it. He hasn't said a word. The only sound is the gravel grinding on the broken pavement under our boots and the bass vibrating the walls of the club at our side. The stiffness he carries in his shoulders isn't anything new.

He turns towards Lincoln and me, pulling a cigarette out of a pack in his pocket, his eyes narrowed in the night.

"Giovanni's on his way." He dips his head as he lights his smoke. "We'll give him a couple of minutes."

Lincoln bounces his shoulders with his hands in his pockets, excitement vibrating from him as we wait in the parking lot.

If Jay's mad, I guess he's not going to bring it up now.

He can't be mad. He practically told me to. He told me to deal with her, so I did. Maybe. The way she curved into my touch, her body melting and resistance sliding away as I kissed her was reassuring. But that dark look she shot me as I walked away wasn't.

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