I move to turn, and he grabs my wrist.

“But you won’t always.” He squeezes, and I nod, swallowing hard as I tug and run.

I’m smart enough to know when danger is stalking me, and the best option is to flee. I live in a lawless world where a woman is only as good as the limitations and protections issued to her. Tripping over my own feet as exhaustion and adrenaline battle, I feel the love I hold for my father dip dangerously toward hate. I owe him for raising me, but he’s left me to the wolves in so many ways.

Irritated, I cop knock on the door. The thud of a body hitting the floor followed by a stream of curse words makes me grin. It’s petty, passing the problems down the line, but my skin feels tight. I need some sort of relief. Shifting my weight, I arch an eyebrow at the blonde in her mid-twenties who comes out of the room in a skin-tight, lace-up dress fashioned from a Harley tank top. Her nipples are fit to cut glass, and the sneer on her face is amusing.

“You must be new. Doc’s my father. I’m not trying to take your cash cow.”

Her cheeks redden as she brushes past me, heels clicking on the concrete rapidly. I don’t judge, but I won’t take bullshit either.

“What the hell are you thinking knocking on my door like something important is going down?” my father barks.

“I just got off a twenty-four-hour shift. If you want me to change your bandages and look at your wound, you have about twenty minutes before my body shuts down,” I answer honestly.

“You let them work you into the ground for what? A paycheck? To be one of Uncle Sam’s good little earners.”

“To make a difference. We’ve talked about this. I thought we agreed to disagree.”

“I hate the thought of my flesh and blood hitting the clock and believing the bullshit the government is selling.”

“What I’m doing is saving lives—.”

“You did that here.” He snaps his word, and the ire in his voice turns his hazel-colored eyes into tiny chips of colored glass.

“On a much smaller scale, yes. And infrequently,” I answer softly.

He scowls. “Now you’re on their radar and in their system.”

“hy are you so bothered by this? I’m a woman. I could never join Feral, anyway.”

“There are other ways to be a part of this family,” my father argues as he waves me in.

I step inside. “Does making me a nurse negate my belonging?” The door shuts, and we continue our argument.

“Don’t throw fancy words around me. I wiped your ass once, so I don’t impress or intimidate easy.” He walks into the bathroom and turns on the light.

I follow him into the beige rectangle and walk to the sink while he sits on the toilet and faces away from me. I have to hand it to him; the place is always clean. I thank the army for instilling the ability to keep his space tidy. I’ve seen the hoarding horror shows of some of the other brothers.

“I wasn’t trying to do either,” I mumbled, opening the glass door of the medicine cabinet.

“You giving me lip, girl?” He looks over his shoulder.

“No. I’m trying to clarify the role you expected me to play here. Because I have no interest in serving from my knees or on my back.”

“Ain’t nothing wrong with pleasing your Ol’ Man. A good Ol’ Lady is worth her weight in gold.”

I wince. Ol’ Ladies are a sore spot. My mother left, remarried a lawyer, and never looked back. To her, the patch and the family dad built meant nothing. I don’t think he’s ever gotten over it.

“I didn’t say there was. But I’ve made it clear a million different ways I don’t want to be one. Imagine my surprise when Scar keeps pushing the issue.”

“He’s had his eye on you for a long time. Respect and school were the only things that kept him from making a move earlier.”

“And you’re okay with that?” I scoff.

“He’s the President. You can’t get better than that. He’d take care of you and respect comes along with it. What more can a man want for his daughter?”

“Happiness.” I slam the disinfectant on the counter beside the bandages and medical tape.

Tags: Shyla Colt Crime
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