Badd motherf cker, p.20
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       Badd Motherf*cker, p.20

         Part #1 of Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder
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  My eyes lifted, and I saw the mirror behind the bottles of Patron and Sauza and Johnny and Jack and Beefeater, saw the name of the bar emblazoned in frosted letters across the top of the mirror: Badd's Bar and Grill. I saw the table where Sebastian had done such delightful, dirty things to me, and the door where he'd done other things...and then my eyes lifted to the ceiling, just beyond which were seven incredible men, one of whom could rock my world to the core without even trying. And when he tried? Holy hell.

  I knew I could never go back to Michael. I didn't want to, first and foremost, for myself. Not because of Sebastian or any other reason than that I just didn't want that life or that version of myself. I wanted this me. The one who took a chance on a different life with a stranger in a bar in Ketchikan, Alaska. The one who wasn't afraid to kick some ass, fuck like the tigress I was, and never apologize for any of my sharp edges. Hell, maybe I'd get some tattoos. Take those edges and sharpen them, flaunt them for everyone to see.

  I stood up, straightening my back. I turned around, took a deep breath, and let it out, feeling peace wash through me. "You're right, you know. I did change myself. That wasn't you, that was all me. And I guess I owe you an apology. It turned our whole relationship into something it wasn't, into something it could never be. So, for that, I'm sorry."

  "Dru, wait, just listen--"

  "I'm not done, Michael. Yes, you were right about that. I turned myself into a boring version of me, went to college and got a degree I didn't really want, took a boring job I hated, lived in a city I've never felt at home in, spent four years trying to convince myself I loved a man I couldn't ever really love and never had."

  I jabbed a finger at him, let everything spill out. "But that doesn't excuse what you did! If you weren't happy, you should have broken up with me! If the sex was boring, you should have--I don't know, tried to spice it up! Tried something different! Tied me up or put it in my ass or something. Anything! But you never did. So what if it wasn't enough? I wasn't enough for you? Fine, okay, whatever. Maybe we were both at fault, or maybe I'm the only one at fault for pretending to be something I wasn't, but you should've broken up with me if that were the case, not proposed! And just because I wasn't enough, just because I wasn't what you wanted, that doesn't mean you get a free pass to start fucking around!"

  "I know, I just--"

  "NO! There's no you just." I slammed a fist on the table. "Tell me why! Why her, why then?"

  He deflated further, if that was even possible. "Tawny and me...we'd known each other before you and I met. We'd had a thing in college, just a brief fling, but--"

  "Wait, college? Can she even read?"

  His expression soured. "Don't be a bitch, Dru."

  I seethed. "What did you just call me?"

  He held up his hands. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for."

  "Damn right it was."

  "Point is, yes, she went to college."

  "And how do we get from you having a fling with her in college to you fucking her on our wedding day?"

  He shifted, getting uncomfortable now. "I--she and I, we..."

  "Spit it out, Michael."

  A sigh. "That time you went backpacking with your dad?"

  I gaped at him. "Really? We were gone three days! Not even!"

  "Everybody came over for some drinks, and Tawny was the last one to leave, and we'd both had a little too much..." He shrugged. "And one thing led to another."

  "That was two years ago." I was barely holding myself together, seconds from ripping him apart. "Two years ago. So all this time...?" I trailed off, waiting for him to fill in the rest.

  And he did. "All this time, yes."

  "I never even guessed."

  "We were careful."

  I struggled to keep some composure. "When? Where? How often?"

  He sighed. "Does it matter?"

  "YES IT MATTERS!" I screamed.

  "The salon where she works." He was eyeing me as if I was a time bomb liable to go off at any second--which, admittedly, I was. "The tanning booths. Pretty much every day."

  "I never smelled her on you. You never called her, never texted her."

  He sighed again. "I'd go see her in the morning, on the way to the gym. We'd meet at her salon, and then I'd go work out, take a shower, and go to work." A wave of his hand. "She never called me, and I always deleted our text threads before I got home."

  "So you've been seeing Tawny on the side for two years?" I nearly crumpled. "Two years. You've ben cheating on me for two years?"


  I wobbled, and the room spun. Hearing it said outright took the earth off its axis. I collapsed onto my butt on the floor behind the bar. "And...the proposal, the wedding,'d have gone through with it, but kept seeing her on the side?"

  "I don't know. It was sort of obvious that you were clueless, so I just went with it. Figured I'd just...I don't know what. Figure it out later, I guess. If things between us got better, I'd dump Tawny, but if not, she'd be there for me."

  "And she was fine with this arrangement? Knowing she was the side chick?"

  "It feels a little more complicated than that to me, honestly," Michael said. "She...gets me. I always...I've always sort of felt you..." He hesitated again. "Like you were the side chick."

  "That's..." I shook my head, palms to my forehead, heart pounding, gut clenching. "That's fucking batshit crazy, Michael. I'm the side chick, but you asked me to marry you and arranged a wedding..."

  I stood up, then, because I was at the end of my ability to handle anything more. And that's when I saw it.

  A thin, plain gold band on the ring finger of his left hand.

  "You...wait, wait," I was about to vomit. "You married her?"

  He stood up, pushed the bar chair in. "Yes."

  "Saturday? After I left?"

  He nodded. "Yeah. My family was there, the pastor was there, the rings were there, and I'd never signed or sent in our marriage license...and I knew how I felt about her, so I figured why not? Your dad and his cop buddies went after you, and that was the entirety of your side, just worked. She was fine with it."

  I had trouble formulating words for several seconds. "This is crazy." I blinked, tried to get my head to accept what he was saying. "Your family...they were fine with it?"

  He chuckled, a little awkwardly. "They were kind of confused, at first. But there was an open bar at the reception, so..." He trailed off, as if that explained it.

  "You gave her my ring? The ring you proposed to me with? The wedding bands we picked out together? The pastor I interviewed, the catering company I hired, the venue I picked out..."

  "It was all there and set up and paid for, so why not? No sense letting it go to waste."

  I shook my head. "This whole thing is making my head hurt. I don' doesn't make any sense." I finally made myself meet his gaze. He seemed untroubled. "Why are you here, then?"

  He shrugged and held both hands palms up. "I just...hated how you found out. You deserved more than that."

  I choked. "I deserved--" I couldn't even finish repeating his words. "You're crazy. I don't even know how you're capable of craziness of this caliber. You're acting like this whole thing is perfectly normal."

  "I know it's not. It's unusual, sure, works for me."

  "And what about me?"

  He shrugged, and I was going to break his shoulders if he shrugged one more damn time. "You're a strong girl, I knew you'd be fine."

  I circled around from behind the bar, opened the door to show him the street. "You need to leave."

  He nodded. And that was it. A nod. A single bob of his head, and he was out the door, as if he'd said what he came to say.

  "Michael?" I said, and he stopped just on the other side of the door. "Just one more thing."

  He eyed me cautiously. "You're going to punch me, aren't you?"

  I smashed my fist into his nose. "How'd you know?"

  He staggered backward, blood sl
uicing down his chin. "Lucky guess."

  He walked away, then, and I was finally alone.

  And wondering how the hell I'd spent four years with the man and never knew he was capable of...whatever bizarre kind of craziness that was. Like...really? He married her? Instead of me? Who does that? I mean, if we'd broken up, or it had been a few months, or even weeks...but he literally just brought Tawny out and was like, I'm marrying her instead of that other bitch.

  But yet somehow I deserved more than how I'd found out?

  None of it made any sense. Had I fallen down a rabbit hole?

  My head was spinning.

  I heard feet on the floor behind me, and then felt Sebastian's arms go around me.

  "Nice shot," he said.

  "How much did you hear?" I asked, not quite ready to turn around and face him yet.

  "All of it." He, apparently, had other ideas, since he spun me around and tucked my head under his chin, my ear against his chest. "I was on the other side of the door the whole time, listening."

  "Asshole," I murmured, not really meaning it.

  "Yeah, well, that's me. King of the Assholes." He touched my chin, so I was looking at him. "I know shouldn't've listened to your private shit, but...I wasn't ready to let you go through that alone."

  "Meaning, at the first hint that he was going to get out of line you were ready to rip him apart?"

  He grunted an affirmative. "Nearly came out when he called you a bitch."

  "You do know I can handle myself, right?" I said, frowning up at him.

  He just smirked at me. "Yeah, 'course. But now you don't have to."

  I sighed, not minding it at all, if I was being honest. "So...can you believe all that?"

  He rumbled a negative. "Not even close. I think he's gotta be one of those...whaddya call 'em, psychopaths, or whatever. Like, the ones who don't even really get the difference between right and wrong."

  "I think that's a sociopath," I said. "And I think you may be right. I makes no sense."

  "No, it doesn't." He scooped me up in his arms, set me down on the table nearest the door. "Now kiss me, so we can both forget that crazy fuckhead."

  "Sounds good," I murmured, but the words were lost as he kissed me, and I realized that, from the outside looking in, this thing I had with Sebastian might seem just as crazy, just as unlikely as what Michael had done with Tawny.

  I only met him the other night but I knew I wasn't going anywhere any time soon. Neither of us were claiming this was some kind of undying love, but we also both knew that was where it was going. How long would it take to get there? No way to know, and I didn't really care. A month, a year, five years? As long as it was real, both of us all in and honest about what we had and what we wanted...that was all I needed. Well, that and...

  "You gonna take me upstairs and fuck me or what?" I whispered.

  He laughed. "Wild thing, we've fucked like eight times today."

  "So? I'm ready for number nine." I cupped his hardening cock over his shorts. "And from the feel of it, so are you."

  "Yeah, always. But I got brothers you ain't met yet."

  The door to the bar opened then, and Sebastian swiveled to put me behind him, but then when the figure stepped over the threshold and into the light, he immediately let me go.

  "Lucian!" He took an eager step forward. "You're here! Wasn't expecting you for a while yet, from what I was hearing."

  Lucian Badd...dear god. Whatever magic had gone into the creation of these eight brothers hadn't spared the beautiful gene. Lucian was--like the twins I'd only barely seen and the youngest brother, Xavier--tall and thin, rangy, corded with lean muscle, more of a razor than a burly bear. He had the same rich brown hair as the others, but his was so long I wondered if he'd ever cut it. It was bound low on his nape and hung to mid-spine. He had a bit of everyone's features, the sharp nose, the strong jawline, the deep-set dark eyes, the perfect symmetry, but where even Brock, the most classically handsome of them all, was still handsome in that rugged, masculine way, Lucian was...

  I struggled to put a word to it.

  Ethereal. Otherworldly.

  Something like that. All of the brothers I'd met were larger than life and could easily dominate a room with their loud, brash personalities, and the quieter ones like Brock were still fascinating, people you couldn't ignore. But Lucian just...sucked you in.

  It was hard to explain, honestly.

  He was gorgeous, freakishly so. Sharp-featured, hard-eyed, tall, emanating a quiet strength. His presence was...unnerving, in a way. He hadn't said a word, but his gaze was taking in me, Sebastian's shirt on me, Sebastian's protective posture, and he'd probably seen Michael outside with his bloody nose. Lucian's gaze missed nothing.

  Finally, Lucian stepped forward, slammed his arms around Sebastian. "Good to be home, Bast."

  "How'd you get here so fast? I thought you were in the Philippines?"

  Lucian tilted one shoulder upward. "Red-eye from Honolulu."

  "Hawaii?" Sebastian asked.

  A nod. "Some sick waves on the North Shore."

  "So were you ever in the Philippines?"

  A shake of his head, ponytail bouncing. "Not for a while. A few months ago? Got the call from the lawyer in Honolulu. Been there a few weeks."

  Sebastian chuckled. "Never could pin you down. What were you doing in Hawaii?"

  "Surfing. Fishing." A sly wink. ", na'mean, brah?" He held out his hand to me. "Lucian."

  I shook his hand, still trying to get a read on him. He was chill, quiet, and terse even, but I could see a whirling, dizzying depth boiling beneath his placid exterior. He just...gave away little of what he was thinking or feeling. But you just knew it was deep, and that he was seeing and hearing everything, missing nothing, and you couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking, if only because he was so hard to read.

  "I'm Dru Connolly," I said. "Welcome home."

  "Home?" Lucian asked, and it was just one word, but the inflection he lent that one syllable put a dozen questions out in the air.

  Sebastian clapped his brother on the back. "Yes, home. For you, for all the others..." he curled me against his other side, "and for her, if that's what she wants."

  A lifted eyebrow, and a single nod from Lucian. "Gonna be crowded, then." He let go of my hand, and even offered me a small smile. "If Sebastian likes you, then pleased to meet you."

  "I more than like her, punk."

  This got Lucian's attention. "No shit?"

  Sebastian seemed to be able to read Lucian a hell of a lot better than I could, and they obviously had that silent guy-communication going on. "Yeah, no shit."

  Lucian nodded and shrugged. "All right then." He had a huge backpack on his back, the kind people who hike the Appalachian Trail for weeks and months at a time use. "I'm hungry."

  And, just like that, all the Badd Brothers were home.

  And, it seemed, so was I.



  I fuckin' hated suits. Put me in ghillie suit in the goddamn desert and I won't complain, but when I stuff my ass into a tuxedo I'll bitch till the cows come home.

  Dru didn't seem to give a shit. "It's for like twenty minutes, Zane. Soon as we start the reception you can take the coat and tie off."

  "I want the goddamn tie off now," I growled.

  She just patted my chest. "But you're the best man. You have to wear the tie. Plus, if you don't wear the tie, none of the other boys will. And then all hell will break loose, and my wedding will be ruined. You wouldn't want that, would you?"

  I frowned at her logic. "The stupid fuckin' ties aren't what's keeping them in line, Dru, it's the threat of violence and the promise of booze."

  She gave me her patented freeze-your-balls-off glare. "Wear the goddamn motherfucking tie, Zane Badd."

  God bless Sebastian and may he have a long life and a happy one with Dru Connolly, but god, it took balls to parlay with this woman. She was something else, that was for damn s

  I held up my hands in surrender. "Fine, Jesus. But the second that service is over--"

  "Then I'll take the tie off for you, if you're so worked up about it," she cut in. "Just please quit bitching about it."

  "I can't breathe wearing the fuckin' thing," I started.

  Dru just hissed at me. "You're a Navy SEAL, Zane. You can hold your breath for, like, ten minutes."

  "That's beside the point," I said. "Doesn't make the goddamn monkey suit any more comfortable."

  She just shook her head. "Pussy."

  She turned away from me, then, because Baxter was rolling up on his Harley. The bastard had gotten one look at Xavier's bike and had decided he needed one too, but of course he needed the biggest, baddest, loudest one ever made, so you could hear the stupid gorilla coming from a mile away. He wasn't wearing a helmet, being absurdly vain about his hair, and he wore his tux like he'd been born in one. But then, he went to a lot of players' dinners and such, so he wore one more frequently than I ever had.

  Dru, wearing her wedding dress, gathered up the back of her dress and swung onto the bike behind him. I was pretty sure only Dru Connolly could pull this off. She'd taken her old wedding dress, the one that douche-canoe Michael hadn't ever even seen her in, and went to town with a pair of shears and a needle and thread. A joke, a joke--I'm just kidding.

  She'd taken it to a qualified seamstress and had it professionally altered. I'd never seen the original version, but this dress looked pretty good to me. I'd heard she'd had the top part loosened so she could breathe in it, and had the skirt part cut away up to her thighs so she could walk it in while leaving the back long enough to be a real train. I don't know how the seamstress had managed it, but she had, and Dru looked fuckin' bangin'. Classy, sexy, and regal all at once.

  This being Dru and Bast, the wedding was anything but traditional. The service was being held on the docks outside the bar, and the reception was on the street outside the bar...during normal business hours. It was seven p.m., and Bax was only taking her around the block so she could make her grand entrance on the back of a Harley. No aisle, no "Here Comes the Bride". Well, actually, I think Cane and Cor were planning on surprising her with an impromptu version of it.

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