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Powerless: Chapter 23

Jasper

Jasper: Any news?

Harvey: Still nothing.


She doesn’t talk to me as we pack our things. She doesn’t talk to me in the car. She doesn’t talk to me the entire way out of the mountains to Violet’s farm in Ruby Creek.

Sloane turns the radio up and stares out the window. Right now I can see her doing the same thing in her head she always says she can see me doing. She’s freaking out and I can’t blame her. I laid a lot on her.

Her dad being a piece of shit.

Me hiding my feelings for her.

Then I made her come on my fingers while having her admit she thought about me while she fucked her fiancé.

I might have gone too far with that part, but I’m irrationally pleased about it.

My jealous side came out to play, and I didn’t hold him back at all. I let him dig his claws in, and now I’m worried I might have embarrassed her in the process.

She told me so much, and I gave her so little in return.

Like I always do.

When we turn onto the road that leads to Gold Rush Ranch, I catch her checking her phone since neither of us had reception coming down the connector.

I want to peek over and see who’s texting her. Woodcock hasn’t stopped and her dad hasn’t either. But she’s playing mad at me right now, so I don’t ask.

As we pull up to the sprawling, fancy racehorse training facility, I chance another look at her. All the blood has drained from her face, and her eyes are stuck to the screen, finger suspended above it, shaking.

I glance back at the perfectly paved circular driveway, careful to turn wide enough that I don’t catch a corner with the trailer. This place looks expensive to fix.

Where Wishing Well Ranch is all wood posts, dirt roads, and rustic finishings, this place is glass, white vinyl fence posts, modern touches all over the place.

There’s a fucking chandelier hung over the entryway to the barn.

And below it is Violet.

Smiling.

And sobbing.

As soon as I put the vehicle in park, she runs to the truck, blotchy face popping up beside me as she wrenches the door open.

I’ve barely put my Blundstones onto the asphalt when the words burst from her lips. “They found him! He’s safe!” Safe comes out as a sob, and she launches her tiny body at me, arms tight on my neck as I lift her off the ground.

They found him. He’s safe.

They found him. He’s safe.

They found him. He’s safe.

The words echo in my brain. If I repeat them enough times, they might actually sink in.

I feel the wetness from Violet’s tears. The little sister I still have. My chest cracks open. Because I’ve been so focused on how Beau’s disappearance felt to me, I forgot to think about everyone else.

I’ve been selfish. So fucking selfish.

“They got him. They got him, Jas.”

My arms lock around her as she cries into my shoulder, my own eyes filling. “Where? How?” I murmur against her hair.

“I don’t know. We’ve all been trying to call you, but it goes to voicemail. No reception, I’m guessing. All I know is they found him and he’s getting medical attention. I’m sure dad will hear more.”

We both sigh, and I slowly drop her to the ground. She’s so small, but somehow looks even tinier right now.

Her head turns, and she sees Sloane standing at the front of the truck, watching us, tears streaming down her face. “He’s okay?” Her voice breaks and her hand flies over mouth to hold back the sob.

Violet nods, holding her arms open to her cousin for a hug. Sloane flies toward her, the two women holding each other and crying.

I wipe my nose and tip my head up to the sky, hoping the tears welling might leak back into wherever they came from.

The sky is perfectly fucking blue, like Sloane’s eyes. Not a cloud as far as the eye can see. Not for the first time, I wonder what Beau is looking at right now. Bright hospital lights? An aircraft carrier of some sort? The back of his eyelids?

I see Cole, Violet’s husband, approaching us. Appearing all dark and foreboding—but he isn’t. Well, unless you’re the dumb sucker who slighted his wife, then he has the same switch Beau does as a military member.

The switch that flips and they turn into the man who can kill you with their bare hands.

He gives me a nod as his hand slides over the back of Violet’s head, and I itch to touch Sloane with the same comfort, the same possession.

When his wife turns into him and disappears into the cage of his arms, it’s Sloane who turns to look up at me.

“He’s okay,” she says again.

I nod, feeling my throat go thick and the bridge of my nose sting.

She reaches for me at the same time I reach for her. All the tension between us washed away by how desperately we need each other. One of her hands grips my shirt while her right one slides inside my jacket and flattens over the tattoo. I squeeze her tight, and when her forehead presses to my chest, I drop my lips to the crown of her hair.

Like always.

“We’re all okay,” I reply roughly against her hair.

Pure relief courses through my veins.

She nuzzles against me, and I nuzzle against her. We latch onto each other like we have for the better part of our lives.

Because no matter what else is going on in the world, everything is better with her in my arms.


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