“Jackson and Phoenix think Austin could do such a thing. I don’t, but we have to find proof, either way.”
“What if we never do, Sir?”
Denver grinned. “Jessie, I know one thing. You’re going to be the death of me.”
Denver knew he was in trouble the moment he and Jessie entered Pappy Jack’s hospital room. The old man was sitting up in bed with an IV in his left arm, shuffling cards on his meal tray.
Jackson sat on the end of the bed with several dollar bills in front him. “Darlin’, I’m so glad to see you.”
Pappy Jack looked up and smiled broadly. “Well, if it isn’t sweet, little Jessie. I’m so glad to have you come visit me in this sorry excuse for a hospital. Maybe you can talk some sense into the sawbones’s head that I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Besides, with the nurses coming in at all hours, how’s a man going to get any rest.”
It pleased Denver that his granddad liked Jessie.
“I would’ve thought that you’d like the nurses’ visits,” she teased.
Pappy Jack laughed then patted the bed for her to sit.
She sat on the bed, leaned down, and kissed the old man’s cheek. “You look a lot better than the last time I saw you.”
“A mine explosion is nothing to me. I’ve seen much worse.”
“I bet you have.”
“How’s my grandson over there treating you?” Pappy Jack pointed at Denver.
The old man grinned. “Yes, he is. Not like my namesake here, who is letting me win instead of really trying. Boy, that’s a form of cheating, you know?”
Jackson shook his head. “I thought cheating was when you won by breaking the rules.”
Jackson and Pappy Jack had always been really close. Denver knew the old man liked having Jackson come every day even if he grumbled about it. There wasn’t anyone like their granddad. He was one of a kind, and they’d almost lost him to the explosion. Sabotage in Wilde, Nevada? Denver would’ve never believed it, but it was true. “You need anything, Pappy Jack?” he asked.
“A bottle or two. You could sneak one in here, son.”
“You’re a devil,” Jessie laughed. “You need to get well and back on your feet so you can leave. Drinking now would only delay that.”
The old man snorted then looked back and forth from Denver to Jackson. “Boys, you don’t have a chance with this one.”
Jackson smiled. “That’s for sure, Pappy Jack.”
“Yep.” Denver squeezed Jessie’s hand. “No doubt at all.”
“Boys, do you mind if I have five minutes alone with Ms. Greene?”
Denver didn’t like the idea at all. He’d spent every waking and sleeping moment within inches of her. She needed his protection, and damn it, he needed to be the one protecting her.
“Son, don’t worry.” His grandfather’s voice was softer than he’d ever heard it. “Just step outside the door for a minute. No one comes in or out, understand?”
“Yes, sir.” Denver thought about asking what he was planning on talking about with her in private but then thought better of it. He didn’t need to know, and he trusted the old man as much as his dads. What Denver did know was that though Pappy Jack’s room was on the second floor of the hospital. He’d already surmised that the potential for someone to climb up and get through the window did exist. That kept him from moving into the hospital hallway.
“Denver, I’ll be fine. Promise.”
“Son, I saw you looking at the window. If by some slim chance an asshole tries to break into my room, he reached under his pillow and pulled out a .45 pistol. “I’ve got Dependable Smoke Pole.”
Jessie’s jaw dropped. “You’ve got a gun in the hospital?”