Loyal led the escort up the wide expanse of Highway, up the ramp and the steep roadway. To Silver Cliffs.
To Verity Coleman.
He had a shell in his pocket. One he’d leave for her on the morning they pushed on to the next garrison. He knew the pink insides would delight her. Knew the swirling shape and smooth
surface would bring a smile to her lips.
Escorting a transport to Silver Cliffs was his job. The same as he escorted to other garrisons up and down the Highway. But she drew him there. Like a magnet. He found himself rushing through his last day any time Silver Cliffs was next on the list.
He was a lawman. He didn’t just take official traffic to the garrisons; he brought law and order. He brought the hammer down when necessary. He was the face of a government that could be
beneficent, or brutal.
Every day he had to be hard. He was a hard man. Had seen a lot. Had done worse. He was a killer when he had to be. Solved disputes along the Highway when they pulled into town. Sometimes
that included putting men down for crimes that put the rest of the garrison in danger.
He was good at his job. And for most of his life he’d been happy to do it with no real ties to anyone outside his crew. The men and women he traveled with were also lawmen. Also trained. Under his command they did whatever was necessary and he counted on that over and over. They were the only people he considered himself close to.
One of the escort vehicles at the rear hailed him. “Road is clear behind us. I, for one, am looking forward to some quiet downtime in a room with a bed and none of you anywhere near me and
Marcus. A hot meal, a warm bath and a good night’s sleep. Heaven.”
Trinity, one of his men, and her partner, Marcus, traveled together in their crew. The two of them had a deep and abiding connection. Intense and physical as well. It softened a hard-
edged job to have that. Trinity had her own demons to deal with, and since she and Marcus had ended up together, she’d been stronger, steadier.
Being constantly on edge was hard on a body. Their world was hard enough, even for those living in the garrisons. But out there on the road they saw things daily that chipped away at their
humanity. Made them jaded and cynical about humanity. Sex was a way to blow off steam. To work out the kinks in your heart as well as your muscles. But he sure as hell didn’t need love to get sex.
Sure he liked fucking. A whole hell of a lot. It chased away the brutality from his skin and the taste from his mouth for the time he’d buried himself in a woman. When he felt the physical need to be with a woman, he filled it. There were plenty of women all along the Highway who had no problem laying with a lawman.
He’d never needed to pay or barter for it. He’d been fine with that for years. Until Verity.
After a time on the Southern Highway, he’d been assigned to the northern sector. The first time he laid eyes on her, she’d been standing out at the loading dock where the official transport would unload goods into the back of her mercantile.
Red hair rode in a long, braided rope down her back. She’d been young then. She was young now. Back then she’d been capable, as most were out there on the edge. But she had a hesitance
about her too. Her eyes had flicked up, gaze locking with his, a sweet smile on her face, and that had been the moment she’d begun to capture his attention.
He knew he should have kept away from her. She wasn’t a woman he’d come to bury his cock and his sins in. She was a woman you couldn’t walk away from. The kind of woman a man gave
himself to body and soul because she was worth that constancy.
But he found himself asking her if she had a room to let, or if she knew where he and his people could stay while they were in Silver Cliffs.
And that’s how he found himself in her guest room. Biting his lip as he fucked his fist every night he was there, wishing it was her. They’d leave and he’d think of her daily. And when it came time to go to Silver Cliffs again, it was as if he came home. Not to the garrison, but to her.