“Never on a woman,” Sam says through his teeth. “I know what you’re thinking, man. But she is not in danger from me. I’d jump off a fucking cliff to stop her from crying.”
“Of course I’m not in danger from you,” Cassie whispers, laying a hand on Sam’s arm. “Miles, I…I had a feeling there was something like this in Sam’s past, but my heart led me to him. The real him on the inside. It led me to both of you.” She implores me with her gaze. “Can’t you look past what he’s done and see what he’s capable of?”
“Cassie,” I grit out. “His past tells me what he’s capable of.”
“No. What we are together…is a new beginning.” Moisture fills her eyes and I feel like a bastard. “Miles, please.”
Sam leans over, presses the nose to the crown of Cassie’s head and inhales deeply. “You’re not taking her away from me.”
Irritation snakes through my gut. “You don’t make the rules.”
His nostrils flare and he barrels toward me, anger breaking out across his features. I only have seconds to react, but I grew up fighting, same as him, so muscle memory kicks in and I swing, my fist glancing off Sam’s jaw and snapping his head back. Cassie screams and her anguish chills my bones. I want to stop, then and there. To reason this out. But Sam throws a right hook and connects, sending me reeling back.
Even as pain blooms behind my eye, I can’t blame him for fighting. Not with Cassie on the line.
I duck his next punch and drive my fist into his stomach.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a crying Cassie turn and run.
Watching her go is like a bucket of cold water being dumped over my head. It’s the same for Sam. He turns to watch her flee with a look of horror on his face—and both of us go running after her. My heart is in my fucking throat. I’ve upset her. We’ve upset this sweet girl who gave us the gift of her body last night and it’s unacceptable. If she wants to overlook Sam’s past, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything—
The sight that greets us when we come around the back of the tent will forever be seared on my brain.
Cassie, being held at gunpoint.
By Mooney, the horse trainer. The man I found touching himself in the stable yesterday while looking at Cassie.
He’s pressing the muzzle of the gun to her temple, a crazed look in his eye.
“Back up!” Mooney screams.
“Miles,” Cassie whispers shakily. “Sam.”
“Baby,” Sam rasps, reaching for her.
He snatches his hand back when Mooney cocks the gun. “I said back up!”
Sam and I do as he says, but it’s a wonder I can concentrate enough to follow the instruction. My heart is being ripped out of my chest. Not my girl. God, please don’t take her away from me. In this moment, I realize how Sam must have felt when I threatened to do the same. The mere suggestion of living without her is excruciating.
“What do you want?” I ask Mooney, raggedly.
“I heard you rutting her last night, talking about how she’s got some world-class pussy.” He licks his lips noisily. “I aim to try it out myself.” Before I can process his horrifying words, he aims the gun at me instead. Then Sam. Then back at me. “If it’s as good as you said, you can’t keep it to yourself. If you try and stop me, I’ll shoot.”
He’s lost his damn mind.
There’s no way he can keep that gun trained on both of us and do what he’s thinking of doing. Not at the same time. Sam sends me a knowing glance out of the corner of his eye and a plan forms between us, without words. For better or worse, we’re on the same side, his past be damned. I won’t question that again.
Slowly, we start to separate, circling around Mooney step by step. My shotgun is in the tent, a fact I lament, but the farther apart we are, the harder it will be to keep the gun pointed at us both. Eventually we’ll distract him enough to wrestle him away from Cassie. If one of us gets shot in the process, so be it. As long as he doesn’t harm a single hair on her head.
“She’s been tempting me so long,” Mooney pleads, starting to get nervous. “Just let me get a little taste. Just a little one.”
“Now, you know we can’t allow that.” I keep my voice even. “Every inch of her belongs to me and Sam. We only share with each other.”
The hand holding the gun is starting to shake from being held up too long and now, he doesn’t know where to point it. Sweat pours down his forehead. “I’ll shoot!” he spits, whipping the gun toward me—and that’s when Sam drops into a crouch, there’s a flash of metal at his ankle, and he fires.