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By´╝ÜJamie Begley


“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?”

“No, Lily. Go home with your husband; Henry will stay. With all the medications they’ve given me, I’m just going to sleep anyway,” King answered his daughter while his eyes surveyed the occupants of his hospital room.

His daughter, Lily, sat on the edge of his hospital bed, holding his hand. Her adopted sister, Beth, and her husband, Razer, both stood at the foot of his bed. The last occupant of the room was Lily’s husband, Shade. He stood in the open doorway of the hospital room, his attention on the people in the room and those entering it.

King hadn’t kept himself alive all these years in a variety of illegal activities without being a good judge of character. The man his daughter was married to was a scary son of a bitch, and he should know; he had seen a lot of scary shit with his own disreputable lifestyle. Fuck, he had stared down death since he was thirteen-years-old, and was an immoral son of a bitch, but Lily’s husband had chills running down his back.

When Lily stood up, releasing his hand, King felt a brief moment of loss. It had been the first time she had ever voluntarily touched him. When he had kidnapped her from the church store where she worked, she had struggled against him, surprising him with how well she was able to defend herself. He had no doubt who had taught her those moves.

When he had found out whom his daughter had married, he had ordered a background check done by his bodyguard, Henry. However, the report Henry had brought back hadn’t set off any of the alarms that were now shrilling their warning. In fact, he had been relieved she had married a man in the military, whose assets included a large amount of properties and a very healthy bank account. All the bare facts had been laid out before him.

Fuck. He should have known it was too good to be true; he must be slipping. Belonging to The Last Riders should have been a warning sign, but he had checked them out, also. Their survivalist company was very lucrative, and they’d had a few run-ins with the law, yet that was it. Hell, he certainly couldn’t throw any stones because of that; his own police record spanned a decade before he’d become smart enough to cover his tracks.

All in all, he had been satisfied Lily would be cared for until he heard Digger had escaped. Trying to protect Lily, he had kidnapped her to keep her safe. Instead, he had almost gotten her killed. How was he to know The Last Riders had more connections than God? Lily had been safe where she was; he had been the one to fuck up. The accusation and anger on Shade’s face made sure he knew it, too.

“I’ll come back and check on you in the morning.” Lily brushed a brief kiss on his cheek before moving away from his bed.

“All right.”

Beth moved beside the bed as Lily moved away. “It’s nice to learn that Lily and I both have a relative left.”

“I was sorry to hear about your mother and father, Beth.”

He saw the closed look that came over his cousin’s face. Beth’s father, Seth Cornett, had been his uncle. He had never been a friendly bastard—the over-righteous asshole had always gotten on his nerves—but he had provided Lily a safe home, which was more than King had been able to do.

Razer and Shade both said brief goodbyes before following their wives out.

King was still staring at the doorway when Henry came inside the room, shutting the door.

King lay back against his bed, wincing at the pain in his chest, no longer trying to hide the pain he was in.

“You okay, Boss?”

“Tell the nurse she can give me something for the pain now.”

As Henry pushed the call button, requesting the medication for him, King gritted his teeth against the pain. He had wanted to be clearheaded with Lily in the room, and as a result, it was now well past time for his meds.

The nurse came bustling into the room, giving him an injection then King waited for her to leave.

“What did you think?” he asked his friend.

Henry closed the door again after the nurse walked out.

“I think there’s more to him than the bio I gave you.” Henry frowned. He would blame himself if something showed up that he’d missed; however, he was going to have to deal with it.

King agreed with his assessment. He was willing to bet his fortune that Shade was hiding information from Lily. “I do, too. Do another check on him. This time don’t go through our contacts on the force; use Jackal. If anyone can find out something, he will.”

He had used the Predators several times over the years when he needed to be discreet. Henry took out his cell phone, making the call while King listened to the one-sided conversation.

“He’s on it.” Disconnecting the call, Henry moved to stand beside his bed. “What are you going to do if he comes back with bad news?”