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Damaged Like Us: Chapter 41

FARROW KEENE

I HEARD EVERYTHING FROM OUTSIDE, and about midway through I knew what I needed to do. I feel six incredulous, confused gazes sweep my sudden presence. I don’t confront them yet.

Before Maximoff repeatedly asks are you sure you want to do this? I catch his wrist, standing right by his side.

Very softly, I whisper, “Your morality is rubbing off on me.” I feel sick putting Maximoff Hale in a place where he’d be forced to lie to these people.

His family. Who need him.

Who trust him.

Who love him.

He’d be a worse man if he trampled all over them with a lie, and he’s made me a better one because I don’t even hesitate to unleash the truth. I don’t care about the career consequences, and we’re strong enough to survive the blowback. At the end of the road, all I know is that I’m protecting and preserving the very essence of who he is.

And I’d do it five hundred times over.

I nod to Maximoff to go ahead. Tell them.

He fists my shirt and tugs me to his chest. In a swift, pulse-pounding moment, he has two firm hands on my neck, and his mouth meets mine. Not wavering, not second-guessing—his pride for this second and for us lifts his carriage like he’s sky-scraping tall.

He has to feel my lips rising. I can’t restrain a smile. I wouldn’t, even if I was ordered to. Our bodies pull together in a deeper, slower kiss, and I hook my arm around his broad shoulders. His hand slides through my black hair, his desire and hunger urging my mouth open again. Pulsating my veins and heart. All things I’ve felt with Maximoff before.

He went all in.

All in with me.

I recognize like everyone else has to: this is his first kiss with an audience. If they don’t believe him now, then they’re just in denial.

When we finally break the kiss, we exchange one headstrong, stubborn-as-hell look that says, we’re in this shit together, and we’re going to get out together. No matter what.

We confront his stunned family side-by-side, my arm wrapped around his lower back.

“There’s the truth,” Maximoff says. “And I’m not fucking lying.”

His over-protective dad stakes an icy glare into me. And only me. “Either you’re the best goddamn bodyguard and you’re protecting him with a cover-up—or you’re the shittiest bodyguard and you’re sleeping with my son.”

I don’t miss a beat. “I’m sleeping with your son.”

Lo seethes, his gaze butchering me. I expected that one, but all the respect and trust I’d built and earned with him throughout the years just rips right out of my body.

He rotates to his brother. Ryke jumps down from the top bunk before his wife can catch his shoulder.

Maximoff points angrily at them. “Farrow isn’t the enemy. He’s my fucking boyfriend!”

I try not to smile. Damn, that felt good to hear.

Connor Cobalt commands the floor with one step forward. “Let’s clear the air before the overreacting begins.” He raises a calming hand towards Maximoff and me. “We believe you’re together, but the world won’t. Not now. The media will run with the Moffy/Jane love affair story.”

It’s more salacious.

“Setting that aside,” Connor says, “we now need to deal with the private, security issue of a bodyguard having sex with a client

“My son,” Lo sneers at Connor. “I swear to God, Connor, don’t treat this like it means nothing

Dad,” Maximoff interjects. “I’m an adult. We’re two consenting adults. There’s nothing wrong

Ryke points at me. “He’s your fucking bodyguard, Moffy!”

Lily pushes through the wall of men and stands right…in front of me. Green eyes pained. I tried not to wonder what this moment would look like.

Me hurting the one woman I spent years protecting.

But I was on Alpha for three years, surrounded by all six of these people—fuck, I knew how they’d react to any bodyguard sleeping with their children.

I knew there’d be condemnation. I knew that in their eyes, I broke a sacred rule.

I matched you with my son.” Her chin tries to shake, but she sucks in a breath, raises her head, and pokes my chest with a mad finger. “I trusted you, Farrow. You looked me in the eye and you promised me that you’d protect him.”

“I did,” I say from my core. “am

“You took advantage of our son,” Lo cuts me off. “That’s not protecting him.” I force myself not to roll my eyes. I’ve been there for Maximoff Hale every fucking day, and I definitely didn’t coerce him into sucking my cock.

Maximoff groans into a frustrated growl. “He didn’t take advantage of me. Yes, I’m a celebrity. Yes, he knows private shit about me because he’s my bodyguard. Did he ever use his position to seduce me or blackmail me or hurt me? Never.”

Rose perches her hands on her hips. “But we hire bodyguards to protect our children.” She sets a fiery glare on me. “Not fuck them. For your betrayal, your heart should be fed to the wolves.” She extends a hand to her husband. “The knife, Richard.”

Connor lowers her arm. “Let’s shelve the hyperbolic murders, darling.”

Maximoff tries to steal his dad’s attention, but it’s skewering me. “Dad, I’m twenty-two. I make my own choices, and I chose him.”

“How long?” Lo asks me, ignoring his son to grill me. “Did this start before you were assigned to him

No,” I force the word.

Lo considers this for a moment before saying, “I don’t trust easily. And I gave you as much as I give family, and you just shit on me, on Lily. For what?”

“For what?” I repeat with the shake of my head. For what. “I’d do anything for Maximoff. I’m here, willing to sacrifice a career for him. Because I care about him, I want to be with him. And I’m sorry that I broke your trust, but I can’t lie to you or Lily. Given the opportunity, I’d do it all again.”

I’m in love with him.

I haven’t said those words to Maximoff yet, and he’s not hearing them for the first time while I speak to his dad.

Lo stands uneasy, but they all hear what I’m saying.

“I’m telling you right now,” Maximoff says firmly to the room, “you’re not firing Farrow. None of you are. He’s still going to be my bodyguard.”

Connor speaks. “For that to happen, your relationship would need to remain secret from the public.”

Ryke cuts in, “Who the fuck said he’s staying in the security team and on Moffy’s detail?”

“Who’s going to fire him?” Maximoff rebuts. “You?”

Ryke glowers at me. Like he wants me to quit. And just shove another bodyguard into Maximoff’s arms? Fuck no.

“I’m not quitting,” I tell him. “And we’re fine keeping this from the public.”

“You still crossed a line,” his dad says, “and there needs to be repercussions.”

Maximoff motions to Lo. “Again, you’re not

“This is a security issue,” his dad declares. “We’ll let security make the call. If they think Farrow isn’t fit to be your bodyguard and it’s too dangerous, then he’s gone. And that’s goddamn diplomatic of me.”

Before Maximoff speaks, I tell his dad, “Fair enough.”

I sound agreeable, but security has more reasons to fire me than they do to keep me. Plus, I’m betting Price and Thatcher would just love to replace me with an uptight do-gooder. Basically, someone who’d never lower their radios, argue or have sex with a client.

And I’m honestly not sure if Akara and the rest of Omega will vouch for me or turn their backs. My actions reflect poorly on SFO, and if they’d rather remain an untarnished, respectable Force, they’d transfer me.

Here’s what I know: I can be fired from the whole team, just transferred to another person’s detail, or they could put me on probation.

It’s all up in the air.


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