Badd to the bone, p.16
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       Badd to the Bone, p.16

         Part #3 of Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder
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  The anger.

  So much anger.

  At Dad, at Brennan, at Mom, at the world, at Brock.

  He didn't say a word. He just fucked me with brutal, punishing power, and I fucked him right back with all the anger I had, and we were both growling and grunting like snarling wolves fighting over a scrap.

  He held my wrists and he palmed my back and jerked me closer to the edge of the counter and fucked me with complete abandon, and I could only cling to him with my legs and arch my back and move my hips as much as I could and take what he wanted to give me.

  He pressed his forehead to mine, and his breathing was ragged, hissing through clenched teeth. "Take it, Claire."

  "Oh--oh god."

  "No. Say my name."

  "Brock! Oh god, Brock!"

  "Take it, Claire. Take it all."

  "Yes! Give it to me, Brock!"

  "You feel it?" His breath was hot on my lips, his body hard against mine, his cock slamming relentlessly, driving me to an orgasm so powerful I could feel it shaking through me even before it really crested. "You feel us?"

  I sobbed as it crashed into me, through me. Words were impossible, breath was impossible, thought was impossible.

  "Claire--do...you...feel...US?"

  "YES!" I shouted. "I feel us, Brock, I fucking feel us, goddammit!"

  He pulled me hard against him as he prepared to come, and his palm cupped the back of my head to cushion the blow as he slammed my head against the cabinet and kissed me as hard as he was fucking me.

  "What is it you feel, Claire?" he demanded.

  "Us, Brock. I feel us."

  "No, that's not good enough. Say it. Say what it is."

  I sobbed again, harder than ever, tears running down my cheeks, my breasts heaving against Brock's hard chest. I shook my head, struggling against him, denying his words, denying his truth, refusing his demand.

  "SAY IT!" he shouted, and I felt the power of the words in the vibration of his chest and in the ringing in my ears.

  "NO!" I shouted back.

  He fucked, fucked, fucked, and I felt his cock throb inside me, buried deep, and I clenched around him with my own violent orgasm, screaming shrilly, and then snapping out to sink my teeth into his lip as he came with me. I felt him come hot and wet inside me.

  He pounded into me, spurting even more. "Say it, Claire."

  "NO!"

  "Coward."

  I sobbed, pressing my forehead against his, tears on my face, dripping down my chin, knowing he was right, knowing exactly what he was demanding I say. But I couldn't.

  He came, and he came, and he came. So much semen. He slammed into me one last time, and I felt his come squirt out around his cock onto my outer labia, dripping down my taint. And then, when he was done coming, he sagged against me, nestling his head against my shoulder, nuzzling his nose into my neck. His hand released mine, and I couldn't help myself. I buried my fingers in his hair and rested my head back against the cabinet, no longer sobbing but still crying.

  "Claire, please. Fucking say it. I know you feel it."

  "Say what, Brock?" Stupid to pretend I didn't know what he meant, what he wanted. It was my last-ditch defense, though.

  He groaned, a sound of utter despair and frustration. "Don't play stupid, woman. Not with me, not about this."

  He was still buried deep inside me, still hard. His come slid out of me and down into the crack of my ass. He breathed on me, breathing hard, face buried in my neck, words muffled.

  I stroked him, his hair, his broad shoulders. I had to. I couldn't not touch him. I couldn't not comfort him. Not when he was like this.

  A sob broke free from me. "Love," I whispered, my voice barely audible.

  He lifted his head to meet my eyes, and I saw utter agony in his eyes. "Say it again."

  "Love." I spoke loud and clear. "That's what I feel. For you. From you. Love. Fucking love. LOVE!" I shouted. "Is that better?"

  "Claire."

  I spoke over him. "You think me saying it is going to make this work? Like the word has some kind of magic to it? Like I'm just going to suddenly be less fucked-up because I've admitted that I'm in love with you?"

  "There is magic, yes." He held on to me, as if to prevent me from running away again; smart man. "There is absolutely magic in the word. When you mean it, when it's real? When it's down deep, in your blood and bones? Yeah, there's magic in admitting love. Is it going to fix you? No. It's not that kind of magic."

  "Then what's the point?" I asked.

  For the first time since seeing Brock, I became aware of where I was--in my mother's kitchen, on her counter. Naked. With Brock's dick inside me, his semen dripping out of me. I'd screamed and cried and shouted and sobbed. He'd yelled and roared like a lion, and the back door was open, the neighbors less than fifty yards away. I wasn't sure where Mom or the girls were. The only thing I remembered was her talking to the girls when we first got back, and then hearing the front door slam. I hadn't even stopped to consider them, but I still didn't care. Not now. There was too much else to care about.

  "What's the point?" Brock asked, his voice rough and low. "The point is life. The point is, no, I can't fix you, or your life, or your issues. It's not my place to fix them. I'm not trying to. I never have. I never will. That's your job. It's my place to just fucking love you, no matter what. It's my place to be there. To listen, and hold, and kiss, and love, and fuck, and talk, and take charge when you need me to. Back off when you need me to. The point is love--Love is its own point."

  I shook my head. "I don't know anything about this stuff."

  "And I do?"

  "I don't know. You seem to."

  "I'm just as scared as you, Claire. This whole thing is just as big and weird and all-consuming for me as it is you." He cupped my face in both hands, and I met his eyes again. The anger was gone, replaced by...shit, I don't even know. A lot. "I don't know one thing about love. Except that I want it with you. Which means I'm not going to just give up. I'm not going to just you let sabotage us or run away from me just because you're fucking scared and mixed-up and have shit going on that I can't fathom. I've had my own heartbreak and hurt, Claire. I lost my mom when I was a kid. I lost my dad as an adult, and I wasn't even there for it."

  He sighed and rested his lips on my forehead for a moment before continuing. "I lost my best friend in a plane crash. We were flying together, doing a tandem Half Cuban Eight, and she...I don't know. She caught the tip of my wing with hers at the inverted down-line. I managed to right myself, I still don't know how, but she didn't. I watched her crash. I watched her hit the ground and die in a ball of flames."

  "Holy shit, Brock," I breathed. "I never knew."

  "I don't talk about it. Not sure even my brothers know. The point is I've been hurt." He glanced up at me. "I said she was my best friend, because that's what she was. But she was also my fiance. I wasn't going to tell anyone. We were going to fly to Vegas and get hitched by Elvis the day after the airshow. But then she died. And I haven't been able to...to let anyone get close ever since. It's just been casual fun. Until you. And that's all you were supposed to be, but then...I just knew it was more. From the start, I knew you were a hell of a lot more than one night of casual fun."

  "Why didn't you ever tell me?" I asked, my voice a whisper.

  He pulled out of me, finally, and I slid to my feet, knees shaky. He bent and lifted my shorts into place, tugged my bra down. Picked me up and carried me like a doll outside to the matching red Adirondack chairs. Set me in one, and took the other, not letting go of my hand.

  "I've never told anyone," he said, eventually. "Not because it was a secret, but just because it was...it was mine. I didn't want to make a big thing for my brothers. They were all over the world doing all sorts of different stuff, and they'd all want to meet her, and I just wanted to have something be only mine for a while. You've seen how my brothers are, always in your face and in your business. And it's even worse now that Bast and Zane have women in their
lives. I don't know. I just didn't want to share her."

  I struggled to fathom what he was telling me. "You were in love with her?"

  He nodded. "Yeah."

  "Tell me about her?"

  He breathed out shakily. "It's still hard. Her name was Beth. She was one of the most talented aerobatics pilots I've ever met. I mean, there aren't many women in the field anyway, but she was...she was amazing. We started out as friends, but it became something else, and then we realized what it was and...we kept it quiet.

  "She wanted to elope and then bring me to meet her family--apparently she was the black sheep of her family. They wanted her to be a housewife or something, some hoity-toity upper-crust family from the East Coast. She wanted to fly, so she ran off and learned to fly." Another shaky breath. "It was a freak accident. She was so careful, so precise, so talented. A gust of wind, or a blink of an eye, a missed cue, I don't know. Her wingtip caught mine, and she just couldn't correct in time. I couldn't stop it. Couldn't save her. Couldn't do shit but watch her plane crash and burn."

  "Goddamn, Brock."

  "I landed as they were putting out the fire. I--I pulled her body from the wreckage myself."

  I gasped, feeling a pang of agony for him. "I'm so, so sorry, Brock."

  "I didn't fly for three months. Drank myself into a stupor for most of that time. And then another pilot dragged me out of my trailer and forced me to dry out, drove me to a shrink, and told me to get my head out of my ass. So I did. But flying...it's never been the same. Not without Beth. Dad died not long after and I came back here. Met you."

  "You miss her?"

  He nodded. "I do."

  "You really loved her, huh?"

  He breathed out a trembly breath. "So much." He turned his gaze to mine. "You want to know something, though?"

  "What's that?"

  "Yeah, I loved her. Yeah, I miss her. But what I feel for you...it's so much more than anything I ever felt for Beth. That's what makes this whole thing crazy. I loved her, I really did. But you...what I feel for you surpasses that by an infinite amount."

  "How is that...how does that even work?" I asked.

  "I don't know. I just know she loved life and she loved love, and she would have wanted me to keep living and love again. I don't have any qualms or doubts about that. When I'm up in the air, flying the Piper, I feel her, sometimes." He squeezed my hand. "There. That's the one thing I've never told you. And now you know. And you know why I'm not going to give this up easily, no matter how much of a pussy you are about it."

  "That's not fair."

  "You ran off in the middle of the night, Claire."

  "It was early morning, actually."

  "Whatever. You fucking ran. You fucked me, and you let me think it was a dream." He held my gaze. "That's cowardice. I know you're scared, Claire, and I'll say it again--I fucking get it, okay? I'm not expecting you to just be suddenly fine about us, or your family situation, or anything. But you owe me more than what you did to me this morning. If you seriously, legitimately cannot handle us--if you can look me in the eye right now and tell me you don't love me and that you don't want to ever see me again, I'll walk. I'll walk away right now and you'll never see me again. But you owe me that much, Claire. You don't get to vanish like this was a one-night stand with a random stranger."

  Panic. Deep, dark, overwhelming panic. He'd just fucked me the way I've always wanted to be fucked. He took me. He used me. He punished me. I'd never, ever in my life been so thoroughly and beautifully and roughly used like that, and I wanted it every single moment of every single day for the rest of my life.

  But he wanted more from me.

  He wanted LOVE.

  The man I'd called Dad never loved me.

  The man who'd conceived me had never even known I existed.

  My mother...I supposed she loved me, in her way. But she also couldn't look at me without thinking of what she could have had with Brennan, what she lost. Sure, she spent nearly forty years with Connor, but it was passionless. They'd never kissed in front of us, never acted as if they couldn't keep their hands off each other. They were friends, they were life partners, but...it wasn't passion. And I never felt loved.

  How could I show Brock what I'd never felt?

  I didn't even know what love was.

  Was it letting him fuck me softly and gently, in a bed, and pretending I liked it? Was it the soft, melty feeling I got sometimes when I looked at him? Like my heart was expanding and I couldn't handle how hot he was, how kind and thoughtful and sensitive and powerful he was?

  How was I supposed to love him?

  I hated myself. I hated how badly I'd hurt him, this morning.

  And I was selfish enough to want to keep him for myself. I wanted him at my disposal, in my bed, in my life. He made me a better person. He made me feel good. He made me feel beautiful.

  But what did I give him? Aside from a world-class BJ and a high-rev libido, what did I have to offer? I was a fucking mess. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know what I wanted from life. I liked programming and running, but...what else was there? I liked sex. I liked to be dominated the way he had just now. I liked to be used like the dirty whore I was, because that's all I felt like I was worth.

  FUCK.

  There it was. That was the reality. That was the deep-down truth I'd been avoiding for so long: I wasn't worth being with a man like Brock.

  Tears trickled down my face as the truth seeped through me. It hurt. It hurt so bad, but it was also a relief to finally be able to admit it to myself. I wasn't worthy of him. It wasn't about love or sex or how he fucked me or what I wanted. It was just the basic reality that I wasn't good enough. I'd never been good enough. Not for Dad, not for Mom, not for myself, not for anyone, and certainly not for a damn near perfect human being like Brock Badd.

  He was watching me. He saw my tears. He saw the pain.

  "Claire?"

  I shook my head. "I can't."

  "Can't what?"

  I slid off the chair and knelt in front of him, taking both of his hands in mine. I met his gaze steadily with my own. "I can't do this, Brock. I just can't. I don't know how. You tell me to just...try, like it's so easy. But I don't even know where to start. I'm selfish enough to not want to let you go, but...I'm no good. I'm too much of a mess. And I just...I fucking--I can't do this, Brock. I'm sorry."

  "Say it, then." He stared at me unblinking, unflinching, but I saw the agony in his eyes. The anger. "Fucking say it."

  I shook my head. "I can't say that, either. That I don't feel...something for you, that I don't want to ever see you again--neither would be true. But I also can't do this. Not now, at least. Not yet."

  "Then what are you saying, Claire?"

  I broke into a sob, my eyes squeezing shut as tears sluiced down my cheeks. I let go of his hands and buried my face in his legs, shuddering and shaking. "I don't know, Brock! Just that I can't! I don't know how to love you! I don't know how to even like myself, for fuck's sake, so how I could I possibly be woman enough to love you? I'm not that woman. I want to be, but I'm just not."

  "So you want to love me, but you don't know how, and you're not willing to try? Is that what you're telling me?"

  "If that's how you want to hear it, then sure. It's not about not being willing, it's...FUCK! I don't know how to even say it so you understand!" I pushed away, stood up, tried to stop my shoulders from shaking, my breath from catching. "I can't do this with you. I can't be with you."

  "Yes you can, Claire."

  "No, I can't." I turned around and faced him, so he couldn't say I didn't say it to his face. "You deserve more than what I'm capable of giving right now, Brock. I can't be with you. Not yet."

  "Not yet." He stood up and moved so he was inches from me, looking down at me. "That means you might be able to in the future?"

  I shrugged. "Maybe? I can't promise you anything right now. I'm too fucked-up. This thing with my--with Connor, and my mom, and everything, it's too much. And you on
top of it? Wanting me to love you, wanting me to be this woman who can just be...I don't know, something I'm just not...it's more than I can handle." I backed away from him. "You're pretty much perfect, Brock. You've got it all. You're gorgeous, you're smart, you're talented, you know what you feel and how to express it, you can just talk about things that I don't know how to even express within myself, and you're just...you're sweet and sensitive and affectionate and understanding, and--and yet you can come in here and take me hard and fast and fuck me so good it hurts...you're perfect, Brock. And I'm--" I backed away another step. "I'm not. I'm so far from okay that I don't even know what it looks like, what it's supposed to feel like."

  "I'm not perfect, Claire."

  "I know, I mean, nobody is actually perfect and I get that. But to me, for all intents and purposes, you pretty much are." He needed the words, and even though it cost me the last shred of sanity and dignity I had left, I gave them to him. "I don't deserve you, Brock."

  He laughed. Actually fucking laughed, the bastard, and moved toward me. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, Claire. For real. Nobody deserves anybody else. You can't...not deserve someone."

  I backed away again, keeping distance between us so I didn't dissolve into tears, or break down and give in to wanting him. "Intellectually, I understand that. But don't you see? The problem is that, logical or not, it's how I feel."

  He spun away, yanking his hat off and scrubbing his hand through his hair. "Claire, I--how can I make you see yourself the way I see you? How can I fix this?" He sounded agonized, his voice rough, throaty, almost tremulous. "I don't understand where I went wrong."

  I sobbed again. "You didn't, Brock! I--I absolutely hate using this stupid horrible cliche, but...it's not you, it's me. You've done everything right."

  "So why...why can't we work through your problems together?"

  "Because I don't know how to be a we, Brock. I don't...I don't know what else to say, how else to put it. I just can't do this with you. I just can't."

  He replaced his hat and turned to face me. "So that's it? There's nothing I can say? Nothing I can do?"

  I shook my head. "I don't want it to be this way. I don't want to hurt you." I closed my eyes, tasting tears. "But no, there's nothing you can say. Nothing you can do."

 
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