I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to smash every single piece of furniture in sight right now. I paced back and forth. My mind was still whirling. I was just so furious, hurt, enraged that River left like as easy as that—she didn’t care. What she said might be right after all. Why would she care anyway? It was me who concocted and considered the idea of making her bait to that motherfucker.

My phone rang. It was Conner.

“Where is she?” My greeting was a bark.

“She went thermonuclear. I swear your woman is scary when she’s pissed.” He laughed, outraged, and admired her at the same time. River never ceased to amaze me. I knew she could be scarier when she wanted to. I was a fucking bulldozer, but she’d never been intimidated by me.

“Where is she now?” My voice was thick when I asked again. Calling River my woman made me feel proud, but I knew the reality— she left me.

“I sent her to her apartment. I’m still waiting here down for your heads up.”

“Is she okay?” It took considerable self-control not to go to her apartment and ask for forgiveness so that we could have make-up sex, but I knew River. The way she just left me, she would make everything extraordinarily fucking difficult for me.

“I’m gonna be honest with you, boss. She’s spitting fire, but physically, she’s okay. For someone who had been in a long-term relationship, I would advise you to give her some space.”

“She’s still terrified.” My voice hardened. “You didn’t see her curling on the fucking floor. I let it happen.”

“She would realize that what you did was for her own good. If it makes you feel any better, she cares a lot about you. I know a woman when becomes enraged, turns into a firestorm because she cares.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, rubbed my temples as I tried to let myself believe that River cared about me. On the other hand, maybe Conner was right. She was still mad at me. “Just stay down for a while, then you can go.” There were a lot of questions I wanted to ask, but I let it go for now.

“Got it, boss.”

I disconnected the call and slumped myself to the couch where we fucked each other. This place reminded me of her. In every corner of this penthouse, she was everywhere, and it was driving me insane.

I knew myself.

I had known it in my bone that I was stupidly, madly, and tragically in love with her.


“Hello? Who’s there?” A voice of a man interrupted me from starting a fire.

I turned around. It was an old man in his fifties or so. “Yeah?” When he got closer, I realized I knew him from years ago. “Wait. Sheriff Ward? Is that you?”

He stopped a meter away from me, trying to remember me, I guessed. “Retired, son. Selik kid?”