I’m not sure how much longer I have, and when I feel Wilder at my back, I know he’s thinking the same thing.
“I’m here to collect what he’s stolen from me,” I say to the blonde, and her brows pull together in confusion.
“Carter, what did you take from these”—she looks Wilder and me up and down—“mountain men?”
“Nothing of value,” Carter says, and his cocky smile is enough to make me clench my fists.
“That’s it, pretty boy. You fucked up.”
Without thinking, I fling myself at Connor before he can do something he regrets. The last thing I want is him getting thrown in jail or sued and losing his home because he came to help me. Connor easily catches me, but as quickly as he does, he’s moving me behind him to face off with Carter. I can actually feel the rage coming from Connor.
“Don’t do this,” I cry, making another grab for him. I can’t lose him again, and I don’t think I could bear it if they take him away. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s here.
Connor turns to glance down at my tear-filled face, and Carter steals the moment to try and catch him off guard. He swings, knowing this is the only chance he’ll ever get to take Connor down. Connor pulls back a few inches so the fist only grazes his jaw.
I gasp, but all Connor does is smile. “Thank you for that,” he says slowly, confusing me for a second.
“What the fuck are you thanking me for, you dumbass hick—” That’s when his words are cut off by Connor’s fist that doesn’t miss.
Wilder’s arms wrap around my waist, pulling me back. My feet leave the ground, so I have no choice but to go with him, and it all happens so fast. One second Carter is standing there, and the next he’s on the floor with Connor looming over him. He managed to hit him three times before Carter hit the floor. How someone as big as Connor can move so fast, I’ll never know.
To my utter horror, more men in black suits come up on Connor next. Their intent is clear, but they aren’t going to try and remove Connor from the party. Instead, they’re going to get payback for what he’s done here tonight. Carter's mom screams across the room for more security to come, and almost everyone else watches the show. I’m sure a lot of them are enjoying it because I think more people dislike Carter and his family than they’re willing to admit. Everyone pretends to be loyal to them, but they’re all rejoicing in the chaos.
“Put me down. We have to do something,” I plead with Wilder. I know I won’t be able to wiggle myself free from him because he’s as big as his cousin.
“Connor can handle himself,” he tries to reassure me, and although I know he can, I don’t want him killing someone by accident because he’s in a rage.
I watch, unable to do anything as two guards attack him. Within seconds, the two men are on the floor next to Carter as Marilyn kneels down and tries to wake her son.
“Someone call the police!” she shouts again when she realizes her security is nothing to Connor.
“All I wanted to do was collect my girl. Does anyone else want to stop me from doing it?” The room falls completely quiet. The security guards that rushed over at Marilyn’s cry hold their hands up. “That’s what I thought.”
“Don’t think this is over!” Marilyn shouts from the floor as Carter finally starts to come around.
“Mommy?” he mumbles as spittle and blood fall from his mouth.
“I’m here, sweetheart,” she tells him before glaring back at Connor. “I’ll be pressing charges,” she hisses.
“Carter hit him first!” I shout. I’m so angry, tears fill my eyes. “Your security attacked him. He should be pressing charges against you and your pathetic son.”
“You better watch yourself, Evie. I thought you were a nice girl.” She shakes her head at me. “This will be reported to the school board.”
“As it should be,” Connor agrees. “A fancy private school abusing one of their scholarship fosters. I’m sure the Times would love this story.”
“You have no idea who you’re dealing with.” Marilyn’s tone is eerily calm and cool. I don’t know how far this family's grasp might be, and although it might not scare Connor, it does me.
“Let’s get out of here.” I wiggle, and Wilder finally releases his hold on me before I rush over to Connor. I know he wants to say more to them, but I’m hoping I can lure him out of here. “Please, I want to leave with you.”
“All right, little duck,” he agrees but not before giving his own parting words to Carter and his mother. “It’s you who doesn’t have any idea who you’re dealing with.” Connor issues the threat before he wraps his arms around me, tucking me into his side.