“What’s on the drive?”
“It’s better you don’t know.”
“I need to know.”
“No,” he says. “No, you do not. But if this doesn’t happen soon, me and my wife, we’re dead. He’s closing in on us. I feel it. And I’m running out of money.”
“I know how much money you made because I was right there with you making it. You’re rolling in bucks.”
“And getting to it is risky. You know how that is. I burned through my cash. I’m texting you the pick-up and drop-off details now. Pick-up is at a cabin in Gatlinburg and drop-off about three hours down the road. Call me when you get to Tennessee.”
“Who am I picking up from?”
“No one involved in any of this. It’s complicated, but not messy.”
“All right,” I say. “I can bring you some cash after I deliver. Where are you?”
“You could lead that bastard to me.”
I snort at that. “Come the fuck on, man. This is me you’re talking about. And if this bastard, whoever he is, finds me, I’ll kill him. Which is why you need to tell me who he is.”
His rejection is hard and fast. “I’m not pulling you into this. Just in and out, nice and clean. Invisible.”
I want to push for more, but a cellphone isn’t a safe way to extract information. “Where are you?” I repeat. “I’ll bring you money and we can drink to this being over for you and me.”
He hesitates and then says, “I’m texting the address. Thanks, man. If you pull this off, the story reverses. I owe you.”
“No debt. I’m done after this.” I disconnect and slide my phone back in my pocket, wondering how the fuck I’m going to tell Candace I’m leaving days before our wedding.
My phone buzzes with a text, and I glance down to read the locations Max has sent me. I’m headed to Tennessee and then Colorado. I text the private airport Walker frequents and put a plane on hold.
Once that’s done, I walk back inside the building to find Adam’s big-ass self waiting in the hallway. “What was that?”
“You aren’t my mother, man. Back up.”
“But I’m your damn brother from another mother. What the fuck was that?”
He’s right. He is my brother from another mother, which is exactly why I don’t lie to him. And I’m not getting him involved in my bullshit. I blow past him and bump the fuck out of his shoulder as I walk on by him. Because what’s a brother for if not to show love?
Nicolas is waiting on me. “Your tuxedo is missing,” he announces.
I decide right then the universe is conspiring to keep me away from Candace, but it won’t work. If I have to show up to the church in my birthday suit, the way God brought me into this world, I will. Nothing will keep me from marrying my baby girl.
Less than one week.
In less than one week, I will finally marry the love of my life.
I stand on a pedestal in the center of the bridal shop’s dressing room and stare at myself in the mirror. My dress is ivory, with a plunging neckline, but the sheer flesh-colored mesh neckline somehow defines it as less daring than it truly is. And the back, the back is stunning, low cut with the same mesh.
“The flowers down the skirt and train are just stunning,” Julie exclaims.
Julie is the blonde bombshell wife of Luke Walker, the middle Walker brother who I’ve spent the last six months getting to know. Her and Lauren, Royce Walker’s wife, have become fast friends who have made New York City feel like home. Julie is also pale and a little sickly today, having just found out that she’s pregnant. “I pray I don’t get sick at your wedding,” Julie says, turning paler and sitting down on a bench.
“If you do,” I declare, “we’ll make the men clean it up.”
She laughs. “That would be entertaining.” She glances at her watch. “Grrr. I have to get to a meeting. Lauren and I have a new client. Someone Royce really wants us to take on.”
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