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“What the fuck is he doing here?”

Thomas Brooks’ gaze wanders down to my black leather gloves before he stuffs his own pair into the pocket of his dark gray trenchcoat. He walks towards me as Case stands.

“I was invited,” Brooks says simply, sliding his coat over the back of the barstool on the other side of me. “Because you don’t seem to be very dependable these days. You’re going off the rails, brother. And Case thinks you need a little intervention.” He sends me a snarled grin. “Isn’t that right, Case?”

I turn to Case and he’s already shaking his head, knowing I’m about to protest. “Don’t bother, Linc. He’s right. I told him everything. You can’t go on like this. It’s one thing to hide up on that mountain of yours, it’s quite another to start killing people and calling it justice. And this plan you assured me was not a big deal suddenly became a very big deal.” He pauses to stare me down. “You need help, man. That’s all this is.”

“That’s fucking classic coming from the two of you.”

“Martini,” Brooks says to Mac, who, when I look over at him, is looking like he might bolt out the back door any second. “And relax, Mac, it’s me. He’s not doing anything stupid tonight because we all know who’s in charge when I’m in the room.”

“You prick—”

“Lincoln,” Case says, grabbing my shoulder and turning me around to face him. “Shut the fuck up and listen. Because he’s back and when he’s back, he’s the boss. There’s nothing you can do to stop that aside from killing him, and we all know you won’t do that.”

“We have history,” Thomas says, talking more to Mac than me. “And if you want a fight, Lincoln, I’ll give you one. But don’t expect me to pull any punches for old times’ sake.” He shoots me a semblance of a smile before turning his head to hide it. “Besides, we’re on the same side. We’ve always been on the same side, Lincoln. You just require regular convincing.”

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