She came sauntering into the grill and if she realized everybody in there was staring at her, she didn’t pay them any attention.  He suspected she noticed.  Suspected she’d even noticed him, sitting in a booth and chowing down on wings.   She wasn’t one to miss things.

That bothered him, even as it excited him.

She’d be a fighter…like her cousin.   It was a thought that thrilled him, frustrated him.  He wanted her, could already feel that burn—but knew he couldn’t risk this.  Not after Jolene.  Not only would it throw doubts on everything he’d done when he’d killed Carson, but there was no way he could take somebody like Nia and not have expect it to be noticed—very noticed.

The sort of notice that he would do anything to avoid.  So he would keep his distance, and he would content himself with his memories of her cousin…and thoughts of what it might have been like.  There wasn’t much of physical similarity between the cousins.  Next to none.

But he could see…something.

Attitude, perhaps.  Arrogance. And strength.

She wasn’t here to leave flowers in her cousin’s memory.

He watched as she slid onto a barstool, watched as a few men shot her considering looks.   Three of them were married. Two started toward her side anyway.  He was considering moving to that empty spot himself.  He could be friendly, make small talk.  It would be…amusing, he thought, talking to her, trying to figure out just why she was here, even though he suspected he already knew.

But one man beat them all.

Law Reilly.


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