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Mountain Darkness (Wild Mountain Men 1) Vanessa Vale 2022/7/22 14:36:57

“You’re walking away from being DA.”

“I’m walking away from being your puppet,” I countered.

“Puppet? We’d be perfect together. Keeping the town safe.”

“You want the power. I want justice.”

He scoffed at that. Put his hands on his hips and paced in a circle. “What are you going to do now?”

“I’ll put out a shingle.”

“You’re making a huge mistake,” he replied.

It was very obvious he wasn’t going to be coming to our wedding.

Nix came down the hall at a fast clip, stopped in front of us. He nodded at Pops, then looked to me. “A man turned himself in and confessed to killing Erin Mills. Miranski and the chief questioned him. He did it.”

Relief coursed through me. Kit was safe. She was no longer a suspect. That meant we could be together. “Then we can go get our girl.”

Nix nodded. “That’s right.”

“What are you talking about?” Pops asked.

I looked to him, saw him differently for the first time. A weight had been lifted. Not because of the murderer being caught, but because I was no longer considering my dad in any of my decisions. I was excited about quitting. Cutthroat wasn’t a metropolis like New York, but I punched a clock, reported to a boss. And my boss reported to Pops.

I was free of that shit now. I was free of the politics that came with the DA’s office, with my dad.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” I told my dad. “You might have known about me and Kit, but Nix is fucking her, too. We’re both marrying her.”

The look on Pops’ face was priceless.

“What am I supposed to tell people?”

I laughed, slapped him on the shoulder. “As mayor of a progressive, modern town, I’d say you’re thrilled your son’s found love and that Kittredge Lancaster is quite the woman if she’s captured the hearts of not one man, but two.”

After Detective Miranski left, escorting Mr. Mills to his car and ensuring he pulled out of the diner’s lot before leaving herself, I went into the storage room and c

Cried for Erin, who’s end was because of some man who was now in custody. While Miranski blatantly shared that a man had been arrested for the crime, she hadn’t shared the why of it all. Why had he killed her? Who was the man and what was his relationship to Erin?

It would all come out soon enough, but for now, I was relieved he was in jail. Relieved he hadn’t really been after me, although that was still just an assumption. I grieved for my friend, for what could have been.

I also grieved for myself. For losing a friend. A job. For my mother who was still a hot mess, for what could have been with her if she wasn’t so consumed by her mental illness. By finding love with Nix and Donovan and losing it. For giving it up.

I was back in Cutthroat where I belonged. I could avoid Mr. and Mrs. Mills. I’d done it for years. Perhaps he’d only find me a money grubber now and not a murderer on top of it. And yes, I’d totally corrupted Shane by stealing his virginity, but he wouldn’t see it that way. As for any other haters… they could fuck off.

I had Dolly. Clyde. The other ladies at the diner who’d I’d been friendly with but broke ties when I moved away. I had my first job as an event planner. All on my own.

It wasn’t much, but it was something. I didn’t need to go big, I just needed to keep moving forward.

As for Nix and Donovan? Fuck, it was going to be really hard to see them walking down the street, at a restaurant, moving on and dating someone else. Marrying her.

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I swiped my tears away. I’d done the right thing. I had.