If she wanted it, she got it.

Except a man.

She was a serial dater, not because she liked to play the field, but because most men were motherfuckers and she had zero tolerance for that.

Not that she should.

She just didn’t.

As far as Smithie was concerned, that Rock Chick posse had lucked out. Found the best men there were in Denver. Claimed them (or got claimed, whatever). Game over.

Then again, Lee Nightingale had essentially vetted them for his woman’s friends, so he’d already taken the guesswork out of it.

“Havin’ a kid is a lot easier when you got someone to help,” he pointed out.

“Havin’ a kid is all on the woman,” she retorted.

“Okay then, smart girl, raisin’ a kid is a lot easier, you got someone to help,” he revised, and before she could get anything out of her mouth, he went on, “and you can’t argue that. You had a single parent home and who raised you?”

That mouth closed.

“Your sister ’cause your mom was working,” he answered for her. “Now what’s your sister got?” He again answered for her. “Pointin’ out the obvious, I didn’t wanna hear this shit, but I heard it when you bitches were gabbin’, and from the first, if he wasn’t workin’ a case, Eddie got up with Jet for every feeding. Every damned one. Went and got his boy and brought him to his wife. Took him back and laid him down. Same with the next one that came along. And so on. Jet didn’t even have to get out of bed.”

He had a point to make but he took that too far and he knew it when her chin wobbled before she got control of it.

“Mac—”

“I want a baby,” she whispered.

He believed her.

She also wanted an Eddie.

“Give it time,” he whispered back.

She threw up both hands. “How much?”

“As much as it takes.”

“Sadly, I can’t Mick Jagger this sitch and make a baby when I’m seventy.”

Jagger shouldn’t even be doing that shit.

“Honey, you’re still in your thirties,” he reminded her.

“They’re all gone,” she declared.

Now he had no idea what the woman was talking about.

“Who?” he asked.

She bopped forward on her seat with agitation. “Them. The good ones. The Hot Bunch. The only ones left are Roam and Sniff and they’re too young for me. Not to mention, if Shirleen thought I’d even spoke their names in a conversation like this, she’d cut me.”

She was not wrong.

Shirleen was Roam and Sniff’s foster momma, though in her mind, there was no “foster” about it and it wouldn’t matter one bit that Roam and Sniff were both long since of age and men in their own right.

She would cut her.

Mac was also not wrong that the Rock Chicks had snagged all there was of the Hot Bunch.

Maybe Lee was hiring.

“Mac, darlin’, just give it time,” he urged. “And in the meantime, spoil your nephews. Because when you find a man and you start makin’ your own babies, you won’t have the time for them you have now, but you’ll love it that you had the time you have now. You dig?”

She gave it a beat before she puckered her lips and blew out a breath.

Then she said, “I’m still going natural.”

She dug.

Crisis averted (or at least this one, he corralled strippers, bouncers, bartenders and waitresses, they were all young and fit and prone to do stupid shit, so it seemed his entire life was averting disasters).

This one over (for now), Smithie rolled a hand at her, turning his eyes to his desk. “Do whatever you want with your tits. Just give me some notice. I gotta prepare the staff to adjust to half the amount of asses in seats, I don’t got my headliner.”

“Smithie,” she called.

He turned his eyes back to her.

She was now grinning.

And she had a new declaration.

“You’re the shit.”

“I know that seein’ as I put up with your crazy ass. Now get out. I’m not up here twiddling my thumbs. I got shit to do.”

She kept grinning as she rose from the chair and sashayed her tight ass to his door.

“Close that behind you,” he ordered.

She didn’t close it behind her.

She turned at it and looked to him.

“I’m giving it a year.”

Something else Mac was.

Decisive.

“I’ll take it,” he replied. “Now get out.”

She shot him a white smile that miraculously his retinas had built up a tolerance to so they weren’t burned out, then she moseyed out the door.

Thankfully, she shut it behind her.

Smithie stared hard at it while considering hefting his bulk over to lock it.

He wasn’t going to take the time.

Instead, he picked up the paper, turned it over and read it again.

It stated, plainly, he was fucked.

More alarmingly, it stated, chillingly, Mac was in danger.

This was a problem more than it was already a colossal motherfucking problem.

Any other one of his girls, he’d pick up the phone to Lee Nightingale, the man behind Nightingale Investigations, the commander of the baddest badass motherfuckers in Denver. He’d hand over this letter and he’d get this problem solved.


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