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“What question?”

“How you doin’?”

“I’m fine.”

His eyes held mine again for several long seconds before he whispered, “Liar.”

“I am,” I decreed.

“Gwen, baby, you’re curled in a protective ball again.”

Shit. I was.

I uncurled and pushed up, taking pillows with me so I could rest against my headboard. Hawk moved too, pulling himself up and in so his hip was beside mine and his weight was leaning into his hand on the other side of me.

“Is Meredith downstairs?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered.

“Is she making homemade donuts?” I asked.

“Is that a hopeful question or a serious one?” he asked in return.

I had to admit, it was hopeful, but I would only admit that to myself.

Therefore, I didn’t speak.

He grinned again and answered, “No, she’s makin’ eggs and bacon.”

Meredith made good eggs and bacon but her donuts were better.

“Do I have eggs and bacon to make?”

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“Apparently, since she’s doin’ it in her nightgown and your robe and she doesn’t have a car and neither do you so it’s doubtful she went out and hit a store.”

I probably did have bacon and eggs. At least eggs, they were a standard ingredient in all kinds of cookie dough.

“Where’s Dad?” I asked.

“Some guy named Rick came an hour ago with a change of clothes then took your Dad to work.”

See!

“My Dad’s a nut,” I muttered.

He lifted a hand and nabbed a lock of my hair, tugging it then his hand fell while I thought that was a sweet thing to do.

Hawk could be sweet. Hawk was a cuddler. Hawk saved my life or, at least, delivered me safely out of a burning building.

All three for the pro side of the Should I Explore Things with Cabe “Hawk” Delgado List.

Shit.

That was what I was thinking before he asked a question that would explain why he was being sweet.

“You want the good news or the bad news?”

Great. There was bad news.

“Can I have the good news and you tell me the bad news in the next millennium?”

“Sure,” he agreed and I didn’t think that was good.

“The bad news,” I mumbled.

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His face got serious. “Ginger got away.”

My face, I was sure, got confused. “What?”

“She got away.”

“From what? The fire?”

“That and the guys who firebombed your house to smoke her out.”

Oh shit.

“They didn’t firebomb my house to kill her?”

“Babe, my car was at your curb.”

“So?”

“You think they’d think I’d let anyone in that house die?”

I crossed my arms on my chest and stared at him. “I know you’re a step down from superhero, Hawk, but seriously?”

He grinned. “You think I’m a step down from superhero?”

Oh shit! Time to cover.

“I was being facetious,” I informed him.

His grin got bigger. “No, you think I’m a step down from superhero.”

“Don’t you have good news to tell me?” I prompted in order to change the subject.

“Probably it was that night I gave you the triple orgasm,” he stayed on the current subject and my mouth dropped open.

Then I snapped it shut to ask, “What?”

“That night when I did that thing with my mouth and fingers and you –”

“I didn’t have a triple orgasm, Hawk,” I snapped but the truth was, I did.

“Babe, you did, I counted.”

“No, it was just really long,” I lied.

“Gwen, don’t you think I know when you stop comin’ and start again?”

“No, I don’t think you know,” I retorted.

“It happens enough,” he observed and he was right.

There was one for the con side of the Should I Explore Things with Cabe “Hawk” Delgado List. Hawk was arrogant.

“Hello?” I called. “Good news? Or, maybe you can tell me why Ginger getting away is bad news.”

He grinned at me then finally changed the subject.

“Ginger getting away is bad news because, I had Ginger under my thumb, I could hand her to Lawson. I didn’t get Ginger under my thumb. Instead, I tackled the inferno in your Dad’s livin’ room.”

I felt my brows draw together. “Hand her to Lawson?”

“Only safe place for her to be is with the police. She cuts a deal, they cut her jail time or, if she’s got half the shit they think she’s got, they hand her to the Feds who give her a new identity, Ginger Kidd testifies then she disappears but she does it breathin’.”

“The Feds?” I whispered.

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At my whisper and possibly the terrified look on my face, Hawk’s face gentled. “Babe, you know she’s in serious shit.”

“Yes,” I confirmed, “but the Feds?”

“Her shit is serious,” he repeated with variation.

I looked at my lap and whispered, “Damn.”

Hawk lifted my head with his thumb and finger at my chin until my eyes met his, he dropped his hand and went on. “I had her under my thumb, they wouldn’t have made a play for her. They wanted to smoke her out and get me occupied. They succeeded in that.”

“She was only there a few minutes. Did they have enough time to conceive and execute this dire plan?”

“They’re resourceful.”

That wasn’t good news.

“But she got away,” I finished.

“She got away,” Hawk affirmed.

“And Dog?” I asked.

“Found him. He’s allergic to the police so he took off. He arrived after the fire started, doin’ a drive-by, keepin’ an eye on you for Tack. He didn’t see anything, not even Ginger or she’d be at the Chaos compound right about now.”

“Keeping an eye on me for Tack?”

His look shifted to unhappy. “Told you, babe, you do not want Tack’s attention but you got it.”

“I got it, I know, but I don’t get it. Why was Dog doing a drive-by?”

“Tack’s orders, keepin’ you safe.”

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