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Authors: Kathryn Thomas

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BOOK: Devil's Ride
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“I want you,” I whispered as I held his head to my neck, my face leaning lightly against his hair.

 

He rose, picking me up with him, and carried me to my bedroom as I wrapped my legs around his back. This was a near repeat of the last time I asked him to stay, but this time I wouldn’t send him away. He dumped me into the bed, falling with me, pressing me into the mattress with his weight. He stared at me, perhaps wondering if I was going to twist the knife again, and I smiled at him.

 

“When do you have to leave for Dallas?”

 

I saw him think about it. “I
have
to leave no later than eight in the morning.”

 

“Stay with me until then, until eight, and not leave one minute sooner?”

 

“I won’t hurt you, Alex. I promise.”

 

“I know,” I said as I pulled his lips to mine.

 

I heard him breathe deep, then the kiss came alive, and I welcomed it. It was more than just a kiss; he was making me a promise, a promise that I gladly accepted and returned in kind. As the kiss began to spiral out of control, I pushed at him. He rose up on his hands and looked at me, his facing darkening in hurt and anger.

 

I smiled, silently telling him that I wasn’t toying with his emotions. “Undress, I whispered as I pushed him away and slid out from under him. “I’ll be right back.”

 

I hurried into the bathroom and relieved myself before undressing and returning to the bedroom. He was there, the linens covering him to the waist, the bed turned back in invitation. I felt a tingle of anticipation and excitement as I slid between the linens. Each time we had made love it had been special, magical even, and I was looking forward to tonight. I draped myself over him and kissed him with everything I had. If I was going to go all in with this man, then I was going to go
all in
and
hold nothing back.

 

He rolled, forcing me over onto my back, cradling me in his arms, and then he kissed
me.
And damn, what a kiss. As he sucked gently on my lower lip I could feel my toes curl as erotic energy poured into me. Then his lips were gone, yet they seemed to be everywhere as he caressed me with lips and tongue, working his way down my body. I squirmed in delight as he teased the inside of my thigh with his tongue, and then gasped as his lips tickled a place behind my right knee that caused me to flood with wetness. He was turning me inside out in pleasure with his soft kisses and teasing strokes.

 

I tried to fight back, tried to take control so I could please him as he was pleasing me, but he was a force of nature, rolling over me and leaving me gasping for breath, and he hadn’t even touched my most intimate place yet. He reared up on his knees, my lower leg between his, as my big toe found its way into his mouth. He dragged his fingers softly along the back of my leg as he sucked, and I shuddered as erotic fire danced along my nerves. But he wasn’t done. As his fingernails scraped gently along the back of my leg on a return trip, he drove into me, a sudden insertion that caught me by surprise and made me gasp in delight. I had been so wrapped up in his touching that I hadn’t even noticed that he had positioned himself to enter me.

 

He held himself deep inside, unmoving, while he kissed along my leg. “Please,” I begged softly as I began to thrust my hips, trying to get him started, but he refused to move. He swung my leg over, tipping me up onto my side, and placed my upper leg over his, so that I had a prop, before he began to move. But
my god,
when he did, pleasure exploded from me in a way I had never experienced before. I clamped down on his leg, and his cock, the tightness like nothing I had felt before. He moved slowly, doling out the pleasure in measures that had me swimming in ecstasy as his hardness touched me in ways I had never been touched before.

 

I felt wild and out of control. “Ram it,” I begged, reaching for my orgasm. “Ram it into me…”

 

The groan that escaped Cain as he began to drive into me hard and fast was the most erotic sound I had ever heard. I began to burn in orgasmic fire, my skin hot as if I were suffering from a sun burn while my orgasm rose to a frightful, towering, height.

 

“Yes… yes… yes… I’m coming,” I whispered as he continued to drive into me. With the power of a thunderclap, my orgasm collapsed, overwhelming me with erotic fire. I wanted to scream in pleasure, cry my orgasm to the world as I tore at the linens with my upper hand, battling my body for control, channeling the scream of completion into a low moan.           

 

I felt a hitch into Cain’s motion as I lay awash in the aftermath of my orgasm. “I can’t…” he grunted out as another shudder passed through him and he growled deep and feral.

 

He was fighting his orgasm, but I wanted him to come. I wanted him to come just as hard as I had, for us to finish at nearly the same moment. “Harder,” I begged, egging him on, trying to drive him to orgasm.

 

“I’m going to come,” he gasped, his strokes becoming even harder and faster.

 

“Don’t fight —” I began, but before I could even complete the thought, he shuddered hard and drove in deep, holding himself there as he grunted softly with each splash of heat I felt inside of me.

 

  He disentangled himself from my legs and flopped to his back behind me, pulling me in close and wrapping me in his arms with a deep sigh as he tipped up onto his side, tucking his knees in behind mine. I smiled as I wiggled backwards, tucking in tight, enjoying the feel of his still hard manhood pressing against my ass and his chest into my back. I wanted to say something, anything, but I couldn’t find the words, so I reached behind me and gave his leg a soft caress.

 

“Thank you for letting me stay… for giving me a chance,” he murmured as he nuzzled at my neck.

 

I smiled and sighed softly to myself as I closed my eyes. I floated, hovering between wakefulness and sleep, that period when everything seemed so clear, and I wondered why I had been frightened of him. Here, now, in his arms, I felt as safe and protected as I ever had in my life. He would always be here for me; I could feel it in the way held me. I was safe, and everything would work out for the best. I sighed again and allowed sleep to take me, my smile still on my lips.

 

 

Chapter 4

 

I was sitting in my new office, fuming. Peter had dropped the news on me yesterday that I had been replaced as the bartender, effective immediately. That little tidbit of news had come less than a week after I came clean and admitted to him I was pregnant. I didn’t want to tell him, but I felt like he should know before he figured it out himself.

 

Up until yesterday, these past two weeks had been better than any time since I found out I was pregnant. After he had left, Cain had called me every afternoon before I left for work, and having him try to cheer me up after a bad night was nice. I was still struggling with my act and he had encouraged me to come clean with Peter. The worst that could happen, as he pointed out, was I could be fired.

 

I hadn’t been fired; I had been “promoted,” if you could call it that. I was now in charge of inventory at the bar. Peter had told me he needed someone to take some of the bookkeeping duties off his plate, and claimed this was a perfect opportunity. I had even been given me a small raise. The problem was that over half of my income before came from tips… tips that I no longer received.

 

Even worse, he had replaced me with “Titillating Tina,” the bartender from
Over Easy,
a competing joint from across town. She was a pretty good flairtender, but not as good as I was, and I had taken her out in the local flairtending competition to move on to the district match. That was just another thing in the long line of bad blood between
The Cat’s Claw
and
Over Easy
, each establishment talking smack and stealing talent from the other.

 

I picked up my phone and dialed Cain’s number. He would be calling in a couple of hours for his regular check in, but I needed to vent now.

 

“What are you doing up so early?” he asked in greeting.

 

“I’m at work.”

 

“Work?”

 

“Yeah. I’ve been promoted.” I got up and shut my door. I didn’t need Peter to overhear me bitching.

 

“That’s great! Promoted to what?”

 

“No, it’s not great. I’m in charge of inventory, ordering the food and liquor, that sort of thing. The only good thing is that I work eight to five, Monday through Friday, like a normal person.”

 

“Why isn’t that good?”

 


Because
now I don’t get tips. Even though I got a raise, I am still taking a huge pay cut.”

 

“Oh. Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. At least now maybe you can rest better and you won’t be around all the smells that upset you.”

 

“I guess,” I mumbled.

 

“Are you surprised?”

 

“No. Well, maybe a little. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had fired me.”

 

“Well, he didn’t, so that must mean that he thinks you’re valuable enough to keep around. He was also probably worried about you and the baby.”

 

“How so?”

 

“The way things are today? He may have been concerned that if the baby was born with a problem, you would sue him for an unsafe workplace or something.”

 

“I wouldn’t do that!”

 

“I know. But I’m sure it has happened before.”

 

“Yeah. Maybe.”

 

“Hey, cheer up! Now maybe you won’t feel sick all the time. That has to be worth something, right?”

 

I smiled. “Yeah. A lot actually. If it works.”

 

“I can call you later tonight?” he asked.

 

“Yeah. That will be nice. I can tell you how my day went before the next day.”

 

“I would like that. But I have to run. There’s a problem.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Yeah. There is a rival club that is stirring up trouble.”

 

I felt my blood run cold. This was the very thing I had been worried about. “Trouble, how?”

 

“Nothing to worry about. They are like one of those barky little dogs. They are trying to steal one of our customers away.”

 

“You’re not in any danger, are you?”

 

“No. If they manage to steal our customer, then my name will be Mudd with the club, but other than that, no danger.”

 

“How can they do that?” I asked.

 

“Just like every other business… they are offering better merchandise at lower prices. The thing is, I think it’s all a scam. I thought I had this headed off once already, but they are like the bad penny. They just keep turning up.”

 

“But you can handle it?”

 

“Don’t worry. You worry about your new job and taking care of yourself. I’ll handle the Bulls.”

 

“Bulls? Is that the name of the other club?”

 

“Blacktop Bulls. Yeah.”

 

“Okay,” I said slowly, wondering how much was the truth and how much was him lying to protect me.

 

“Don’t worry. I will keep sending the money.”

 

“That’s not why I was asking!”

 

“Okay. But don’t worry, okay? The Bulls are always trying shit like this. We’ve dealt with them before; we’ll deal with them again.”

 

“Just be careful.”

 

“Don’t worry! You’re worse than my mother.”

 

I snickered. “I’ll try.”

 

“See you in a couple of weeks for your next appointment, okay?”

 

“Okay.” We said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone. I stared at it a moment. Just when I was starting to feel comfortable with his whole motorcycle club thing, I get a splash of cold water in the face. This was exactly the kind of thing that I worried about: other clubs trying to move in and take over. Cain didn’t seem that worried, but it was always hard to tell over the phone.

 

I opened my door and sat down at the computer. I would worry about Cain later. The first thing I had to do was to figure out exactly what
The Claw
had in inventory. I opened Excel and began to enter all the brands and sizes of liquor from Peter’s handwritten inventory sheet. As I typed, I realized that getting a handle on this was going to be a real pain in the ass. No wonder Peter had given me this assignment. He wouldn’t have to do it himself anymore, and if it made me quit, that was one more problem he didn’t have to deal with.

 

***

 

I bounced to the door when I heard the Harley pull into my drive. Cain was going to spend the night tonight then go with me to the doctor in the morning. Despite my cut in pay, I was making ends meet, barely, but I was feeling a lot better. Whether it was because my morning sickness was ending on its own, I was sleeping normal hours, or it was getting out of the bar and sitting at a desk that made the difference, I didn’t know and I didn’t care. All I knew was, I wasn’t as sick as often, and that was a huge improvement in my quality of life.

 

While the loss of income was a bit of a downer, of more concern was Cain. He had started sounding more and more depressed on the phone. He kept assuring me that everything was okay, but I was certain that he was lying to me. I was hoping that now that he was here, I could find out what was bothering him and could cheer him up a little.

 

I opened the door just as he stepped up onto the porch. It was late, nearly nine o’clock, and he looked like hell. “Cain?”

 

“Hey,” he said quietly as he stepped inside. As I shut the door, he turned me to face him, placed his hands under my jaw, and kissed me like it was the single most important thing in his life to do.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“You don’t look okay.” I looked into his face, trying to read him, and saw the exhaustion and concern.

 

“Bad week at the office,” he said as he picked up his small duffle. “Your room?” he asked as he raised his bag slightly.

 

“Yes.” That got me a ghost of a smile. I guess he was afraid that I had changed my mind about us again. I followed him into the bedroom. “Can you tell me about it?”

 

He sat on the bed, pulled his boots off, and flopped backwards. I crawled up into the bed with him and lay down at his side, snuggling in close. “I’m on everyone’s shit list in the club. The Bulls are undercutting our deal with our biggest client. The customer canceled their latest order and that has left us hanging with a half-million dollars’ worth of goods. Everyone is looking to me to figure out how they are doing it and I can’t figure it out. It seems impossible.”

 

I was quiet a moment, my head on his chest as I listened to the slow thudding of his heart. “Could they be selling below cost to steal your customers away?”

 

“Maybe. But I don’t think they have the resources to do that. We couldn’t do that, not for long, and we are in a lot better position than they are.”

 

“Do they, the Bulls, have another income stream they could be using?” I asked, trying to help him figure a way out of his box.

 

“Yeah. They run whores, but I can’t see that generating enough income to do this.”

 

“Is that what you do? Hookers?”

 

He woofed out a single laugh. “No. I told you before, no whores, no drugs, and no guns for hire. We…” He paused but I held my tongue, hoping he would finally tell me what the Hellhounds do. “We import guns.”

 

“Guns?” I said as I rose up and looked him in the eyes. “That’s the big secret? Lots of people sell guns. Hell, I have one that I carry sometimes – a little thirty-eight. It’s in the nightstand right there.”

 

“Not these types of guns,” he said softly as I put my head back on his chest. “These are full auto, machine guns like the Army has, and heavy sniper rifles. Things like that. Not the type of thing that you can buy at the local gun store. We buy Eastern Bloc weapons from a dealer in Albania and import them. They come in as parts — machined parts — and we put them together.”

 

“And someone is doing it cheaper?”

 

“Worse, they are selling U.S. and NATO hardware for less. It’s like we’re selling Chevys, and they are selling Mercedes, but they are selling their Mercedes for less than our Chevys. I don’t know how they are doing it. Our contact in Albania doesn’t know how either.”

 

“What happens if you can’t figure it out?”

 

“The Hounds will be in a world of hurt. A lot of us depend on this deal for our livelihood. Me included. Without it…”

 

I felt a rush of doom. I hated to be so calculating, but if Cain could no longer send the checks…I was making ends meet on my reduced income, but barely. When the baby arrived, I wasn’t sure how I would manage.

 

He must have realized what I was thinking when I became quiet. “Don’t worry. I have some money put back. I will keep sending money as long as I can. You’ll be okay; I will make sure of it. By the time the kid gets here, we will have this resolved one way or another.”

 

“That isn’t what I was thinking,” I lied.

 

“Well, it’s what I have been thinking,” he said. “I’ve been talking to our supplier and customer, trying to put a deal together. We’re not going to go down without a fight. There will be blood in the streets before we let the Bulls march in and take over our contract.” I stiffened in alarm at his choice of words. “Metaphorically speaking, of course,” he said and I relaxed.

 

“I hate it when you say things like that.”

 

“Sorry. I sometimes forget that you think I’m some kind of gangster.”   

 

“How long can you stay?”

 

“I have to leave right after the doctor’s visit tomorrow. I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s okay. We have tonight. Will you hold me? I’m afraid for you. For us.”

 

“All night, if you like.”

 

BOOK: Devil's Ride
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