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.We think someone in his own gang killed him.The threat is over.”Wow.So that was everything.As planned? Kata paused, frowned.then something dawned on her.Last night hadn’t only been about saying good-bye.He’d hidden her until he knew she was safe, and he’d bribed her with the divorce she’d been fighting him for since their marriage began just so she wouldn’t run home and put herself in danger.He’d done that, at his own expense, for her.Kata’s heart plummeted to her knees.Pain battered her.even as love welled up.She bit her lip, shoving down an urge to bury her face in her hands and cry.No matter how he felt, he’d promised to live up to his end of the deal.He might take control from her in the bedroom, but when it counted, he’d given her the ultimate power.“If it’s any consolation, he was one miserable bastard.That man loves you.”No, hearing that wasn’t any consolation at all.She felt fucking wretched.“Where is he?” Maybe they could talk, slow things down while she got her head together, work it out.His leave wasn’t over for another thirty hours.Pity crossed Tyler’s face.“Gone.His CO cut his leave short again.I’ll bet he’s out of the country by this afternoon.”For at least six months.Oh, God.She wrapped her arms around her middle and fought new tears.God, this couldn’t be the end, not this way.He closed the distance between them and put an awkward arm around her.“I’ll um.there’s juice and toast ready in the kitchen once you’re dressed.”As soon as he stepped out, Kata swiped away the tears on her cheeks and tossed on her clothes.She stalked down the hall to the cheerful kitchen and the smell of burned wheat with peanut butter.“Where’s your phone?” she demanded.Tyler shook his head.“Unless you’re really sure you want Hunter for good, let it go.Don’t jerk his heart around anymore.”“I love him.”“But can you live with him? The way he is?” Torment whipped across Tyler’s face, and he blew out a tense breath.“Don’t start this if you’re not sure.Alyssa did that to me before she married Luc.She cared, but.she didn’t want what I wanted.Once, she tried.” He shook his head with a curse.“We didn’t make it far before she called it off.It fucking crushed me.I’m not it for her; I get it, but I wish she hadn’t tried me on for size.It would have been easier if she’d just walked away.”Kata’s heart stuttered.Was she ready to be with Hunter in every way he needed? Last night, he hadn’t enslaved her.She’d felt strong, connected.So empowered that she’d let go.But was she ready to be with him that way for a lifetime?“If you have to think about it that long, then you’re not sure.”She tried to swallow down a rush of denial, but it bubbled back up.“He won’t be home for months, and by then he may have moved on.”“If he isn’t for you, then you’ll have moved on, too.Problem solved.”At the moment, with her lips still swollen from Hunter’s kisses and his scent still clinging to her, Kata didn’t believe that, for her, Hunter would ever be solved.AFTER forcing down some of the extra-crispy toast and too-tart juice, Kata rode in silence with Tyler back to the Colonel’s house.Logan greeted her in jeans and a white tank clinging to a body slabbed with muscle that obviously got a lot of exercise.He sent her a cold glare but let her in, locking up tight behind her.“Your mother is upstairs.She wants to talk to you.” He turned away.Kata grabbed his arm.“Did Hunter come by here before he left?”“Yes.” Logan stood almost frozen—except for the living fury on his face.“He signed your papers, despite the fact it killed him.If you ever fuck him over again, I swear I won’t be responsible for what I do to you.”With that growled warning, he turned and marched to the back of the house, slamming cabinets in the kitchen as he went.Kata flinched, then pressed a trembling hand to her mouth.She’d really, truly hurt Hunter.She’d been so wrapped up in her own fears that she hadn’t really seen the depth of his pain.God, that realization hammered guilt through her.What the hell had she done?“Kata?” her mother called down the stairs.With a sigh, she rubbed her hands down her jeans, then ascended two steps at a time.If Mamá wanted to talk to her this early in the morning, something was up.Maybe hearing her mother’s problems would take her mind off her own.“Yeah, coming.”At the top of the landing, she glanced into the airy bedroom the Colonel had settled her mother into, right beside his own.She rocked in an antique wooden chair, a thoughtful smile on her face.That peaceful look wasn’t her mother at all.“Morning,” Kata greeted, testing the waters.“Mija!” Then she frowned.“You need a shower.And some way to cover the love bite on your neck.”Instinctively, Kata raised her hands to cover herself.Hell, Hunter had a propensity to leave behind his mark when he made love to her.And she’d never have another mark of his possession.More misery pressed down on her, and she choked back fresh tears.This was about her mother now.Her own heartbreak could wait.God knew, she’d have a lifetime of it to deal with it.She pasted on a plastic smile.“How are you feeling today? You look better.”“I feel better.I am at peace for the first time in years.You can thank Hunter for that.”Kata sent her mother a puzzled stare.“Because he took you away from Gordon?”“And he urged me to talk to his father.Caleb and I are fine now.We will be good friends, I think.He is a good man.They both are.”Good friends? “Yesterday, you couldn’t stand the overbearing man.”“Hunter pointed that out to him.They had something of an argument.which I overheard.Do not worry about me, Mija.” Her mother grabbed her hand and squeezed.“I will recover here with Caleb.I am going to divorce Gordon and go back into nursing.”“Really?” She’d decided all of that in one night?At Mamá’s broad smile and nod, joy infused Kata, sugary.but bittersweet.She had tried for years to help her mother see another future but had encountered one barrier after another.Enter Hunter.He’d gently taken charge of Mamá.In doing so, he’d given Kata another precious gift.She’d be eternally grateful to him.Even if her life was falling apart, Mamá was getting hers together.That meant so, so much to Kata.“That’s great!” She hugged her mother.“This will be good for you.Mari will be completely over the moon.”“She seemed so when I called her this morning, yes.” Then something sad flitted across her face.“My sweet girl, why did you not talk to me? I cannot tell you how sorry I am that I set a poor example for you.I made you doubt yourself and cost you a marriage.”“No,” She wanted to reassure her mother.‟I.” What? She couldn’t reassure her mother that she’d played no role in it.“The decision not to stay in the marriage was mine.”Mamá’s expression chided her.“Sí, because of me.I heard Hunter and Caleb arguing.It never occurred to me that you would be afraid to become like me.You?” She shook her head.“It is impossible.You are so strong.”“Maybe today, but look what the years with Gordon have done to you.”“Because I let them.It was not that I lacked strength to stand up to him; I lacked will.” Her mom squeezed her hand [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]