Unconcerned that they would regroup while he was inside, Stump went back into the café. He was hoping they were still outside when he came out five minutes later with another cardboard holder in his hands and irritated that he missed seeing Ice and Jackal fuck up Kristen for flirting with their wives. However, they were gone.
It was turning out to be a pretty good day, what with Ice and Jackal taking out Kristen. Since he decided to accept the permanent job Penni offered him, he couldn’t handle it himself without getting fired and making Zoey angry.
The fight outside the café burned off the anger from the stalker not showing last night. Or, if he had, they hadn’t spotted him. And since Ginny flew out with Kaden, his security force, and The Last Riders to Nashville to start the twelve performances she had agreed to, the stalker should stay away from Zoey from now on.
After the elevator arrived, he pressed the button for Penni’s floor. Expecting to see a fucked-up Kristen laying in the hallway, he was disappointed to hear laughter coming from Penni’s office.
Standing in the doorway, he antagonistically watched as Kristen pet his dog while Zoey held him.
“Stump, you’re back with the tea.” Penni’s voice had everyone in the room turning toward him.
“I brought you one, too, Zoey.” Seething, he moved forward, handing her the tray with one hand while taking his dog with the other.
“Thank you.” Her sunny smile eased the tautness that had his heart racing when he saw the other man touching his dog.
Penni and Grace reached for their tea when Zoey set them on the desk.
“We were just congratulating Kristen on his engagement.”
At Penni’s sugary sweet announcement, Stump held out his free hand for Kristen to shake. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks. It wouldn’t have been possible without Zoey’s help. She gave me the confidence to ask. She’s amazing.”
“Zoey? Or your fiancée?”
“They both are. I was just telling Penni and Grace that I won’t be seeing them again. Zoey said I don’t need her weekly sessions anymore.”
If the too good-looking man had a confidence problem, he would kiss his ass.
Zoey peered at him with a suspiciously vacant expression as Kristen strutted toward the door.
Stump waited until he heard the elevator doors close before he turned his gaze back to the women.
“Which brother spilled the beans that hustler was about to get his ass taken down a notch?”
“Kristen isn’t a hustler.” Zoey’s reprimand didn’t sway him. He knew a hustler when he saw one, and the man who just left was one of the biggest one he had ever seen.
“He’s a hustler. If he’s engaged, his fiancée should get the ring appraised.”
“Don’t be negative. Kristen is very sensitive. He believed women only wanted him for his looks—”
“He’s right about that,” Penni cut in with a laugh. “He’s one of the best-looking men I’ve ever seen.”
Jackal tensed. “That would have been nice to know before you convinced not me to beat his ass.”
Penni rolled her eyes. “Like you guys don’t look at beautiful women. Your eyes almost popped out when you saw Ginny last night.”
It wasn’t often that Stump saw the club’s enforcer embarrassed, but when he did, he enjoyed it for a moment, before he decided to wade in and save the brother.
“It would be hard for any man not to look. She went from a country mouse to….” He broke off, deciding to shut up before he got himself in trouble.
“That’s why she did it.” Penni sat down behind his desk, her eyes filled with concern. “She wanted the stalker focused on her. She confided to Shade after the show that, when The Last Riders were visiting, she found a note laying on her bed when she got home. He told her about the ones that Zoey was getting, and when she heard that you were attacked at the nursing home, she put it together that it was because of her. Shade tried to convince her to go back to Kentucky with them, but she didn’t want to put one of her friends in danger. That’s why she agreed to do the show, trying to draw him out so he could be caught. Unfortunately, we don’t know if he was there or not.”
“He was there. I felt him, but I didn’t see him.”
At Zoey’s bleak despair, Stump moved Hannibal to his other arm so he could put an arm around her shoulders.
“He’ll have trouble getting close to her now to leave any notes.” Penni also tried to make her feel better. “I doubled the security around her and Kaden’s family when Ginny asked me if she could be the opening act for Kaden. She was too frightened that Gianna would get hurt if he managed to get in their apartment again. She’s trying to protect everyone but herself.”
“Your brother won’t let anything happen to her.” Jackal crossed the room to reach for her tea.