“It’s about time. I thought that would never happen.”

Anna laughed again.

“So, do you have everything ready for Karen?” Russ asked.

The laughter died. “Yes. I do.”

“Tell me about her.”

“You want me to talk about Karen.”

“She meant a great deal to you. We’re not going anywhere, and I’m curious about you two.”

“I told you we were both in foster care, and how we always ended up back together.”


“I don’t need to know those kinds of details. Think of the happy memories. Tell me about, I don’t know, some special memory.”

Biting her lip, Anna stared down at her hands as she thought about everything she’d experienced with Karen.

“It had to be on the night of my eighteenth birthday. Karen was older than I was by about four months. Karen stayed in foster care as she was allowed to stay until we graduated high school. We were both working, and on my eighteenth birthday she was waiting outside for me.” Anna rubbed her hands together, trying to do everything she could to keep her emotions in check. If she started crying, she wasn’t going to stop, and she needed to stop. “I expected her to have cake or something. She had a car. We had been working for a couple of years, and we saved every cent we earned so that we could make a plan for when we left the foster system. She told me to get in the car, even pretending to hold a gun to my head. Her gun was made out of her fingers. It was only joking around. I got in the car, and she drove for what felt like a lifetime. Finally, she stopped at an apartment that was rundown, and completely shit.”

“It was yours?” he asked.

“It was ours. Karen had placed three months rent, and we were moving in immediately. She had a cake ready, and we celebrated my birthday, and our freedom. It was amazing.”

“See, now you’re not feeling sad, you’re feeling happy.”

“I am. Thank you.”

For several moments neither of them spoke, and they just stared at each other. Anna took a deep breath as the tension between them mounted.

She was the first to look away.

Her life was upside down, and she didn’t even want to think about having a possible crush on a guy.

****

The following day, Russ was running behind, so he ended up jogging down the long hospital ward toward Anna. He had told the nurses to keep her locked in her room if they had to. Russ didn’t want to leave her alone, and he only did so when he knew the nurses were attentive. When he wasn’t with Anna, he was at work, or trying to get as much information off the devices as possible. The MC was working its ass off to help save as many women as possible. There wasn’t any time for screwing the club girls at the moment. Since he’d been seeing Anna, none of the club girls interested him. The club so far they had only encountered a shopping list for women. They had given the information to the cops, and were now waiting for news from the local missing person who matched the descriptions of the girls. The more women they saved, he hoped would help ease Lewis’s conscience. His friend was not doing too well in the last week, and he’d been unsuccessful with the voice recognition on his informant.

Russ truly believed Lewis was hunting a ghost that didn’t exist. If she did, Mandy wouldn’t be the same person who’d left.

When he rounded a corner he saw there was a nurse who was guarding Anna’s door.

“She try to make a run for it?”

“Yes. She doesn’t seem to understand that she is being released into your care. Make sure you keep an eye on her,” the nurse said, giving Anna one last look.

Leaning against the doorframe, he raised his brow at his woman. “You tried to run?”

“No. I wanted some fresh air, and not to be stuck here. Okay? It sucks being here, and I hate it.”

“Well, I can help you now. I’ve got my car, and we’re out of here.”

He grabbed her bag and headed out of the room. Anna was still on crutches to help her walk, and he made sure to keep his movements slow.

“You can speed on ahead if you’d like.”

“Not going to happen. I’m happy to take it at your pace.”

She wore a large pair of jeans and a shirt that swamped her body. He’d given the nurses money to buy her some clothes, but they had appalling taste. Her hair was down, and the lush length made him want to run his fingers through it. Over the past week he’d found himself wanting to do things to her. Touch her, caress her, strip her naked, and fuck her brains out. Anna fired the blood in his veins, and many nights he’d been in a constant, painful state of arousal from watching her. She would throw the blanket off herself, and he’d get a good look at her fuller body.

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