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Eric came to a skidding halt next to the bed. “How is he?”

Maddox folded his arms over his chest and glared at us. “I believe this to be unwise. Haydn needs his rest.”

“I’ll rest better if I know she’s okay.”

So I blocked out everyone and everything. I moved closer to the bed and took the hand he held out to me. The smell in the air was more fire crackles, just after you tossed the autumn leaves on. I could sense no sweetness at all. What does that mean?

“How are you?”

“Recuperating,” he promised. My eyes caressed the pale drawn look on his face, the deep circles under his eyes, and lines of pain pulling at his mouth. “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” I hiccupped as I tried to keep back my tears.

“Please spare us,” Maddox drawled.

Haydn started to pull himself up, and needed both Eric and Maddox to help him. When he was settled on the cushions, he glared at his friends. “Leave us alone,” he ordered.

My happiness when they obeyed was impossible to hide.

“Come here,” he opened his arms and I managed to slide onto the bed next to him. “Talk to me, doll face.”

“I’ve missed you,” I sniffed.

His smile was clear in his voice, “I missed you as well. What’s been going on? None of my men would tell me what you’ve been doing.”

“They’re all mad at me.”

“For what?”

“I shouldn’t have let us go out without your men to protect us.”

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