Wicked choice, p.2
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       Wicked Choice, p.2
 

         Part #4 of Wicked Horse Vegas series by Sawyer Bennett
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  "Looking forward to it," the brunette says.

  Oh, me too.

  I turn away from the bar, content to just stand and watch my buddies continue the poker game. Kynan McGrath owns The Jameson Group now, and he led our operation in Riyadh. Including me, we have three other men who make up Eagle Team One.

  Eagle is the name of our high-profile security group. I belong to Team One along with my best friend Cage Murdock, a wily southern boy from North Carolina. Our team is completed with Locke Meyers and August Greenfield, both former law enforcement turned security specialists. In addition to doing security on the Eagle team, I'm also on a Renegade team, which is our special-ops division.

  As I walk back toward the poker table, I catch movement from the corner of my eye. My entire body tenses up when I see Rachel Hart walking toward me.

  We've barely spoken ten words to each other since our mission in Paphos, and the reason for that is two-fold. First and foremost, I've been on Eagle operations since then, and Hart has been... well, elsewhere. Secondarily, I think we're avoiding each other because what happened in that hotel in Paphos shouldn't have happened. Hart was nearly drunk, and we were both sapped of any common sense following such a harrowing mission. While members of The Jameson Group tend to hang out at The Wicked Horse since the founder of our company is the owner of this esteemed sex club, we never cross lines by fucking each other. It's not a written rule, but it's totally understood. We can't afford to have personal connections muddying up waters when we need to have crystal clarity in all situations.

  Still, as Hart walks toward me, I can't help but remember that night because it was hot as fuck. Probably the best sex of my life. That's because she's gorgeous and adventurous in bed, but mostly because I respect her as a capable and trustworthy teammate.

  It hits me all at once, though, that I don't think she's at The Wicked Horse to play. Oddly, that relieves me somewhat. It's not something I can tell from her expression alone. Many of the guys tease her, telling her she has "resting bitch face," but I've never thought that. In my mind, she wore a determined look because she's one of the most seriously determined people I know. She's got that look tonight, but that's par for the course.

  Usually when she is on the prowl at the club, Hart would be wearing a dress barely covering her tits and ass, which never lets anyone forget that she's first and foremost all woman. I expect it's a nice change from sweaty combat gear and the stench of danger she normally wears.

  Tonight, Hart is wearing a pair of faded jeans with rips in the knees, a V-neck shirt that fits her nicely but isn't overly sexy, and a pair of tennis shoes. Her nearly midnight-colored hair that normally sits just below her jawline is pulled into a stubby ponytail, and she's devoid of makeup. When she's playing in the club, she always wears dark eye makeup, which makes her pale blue eyes stand out so brightly it's hard to look away from them.

  She doesn't even spare a glance at the poker table, but her eyes stay locked on mine. A feeling of immense apprehension takes root deep within me.

  "Hart," Locke calls out, but I don't look away from her gaze. "Come play poker with us. Wright's too much of a pussy to continue."

  She shoots a glance his way, gives a tight smile, and says, "Can't tonight."

  And then, they're forgotten when she reaches me. With lips pressed into a grimace, she murmurs, "I need to talk to you. Privately."

  "Okay," I say somewhat hesitantly, but I put my beer down at a nearby table, prepared to follow her wherever she wants to go for a private discussion.

  Hart spins and marches out of The Apartment. I take in the set to her spine and the way her hands are clenched into fists. Same hands that were clenched around my cock six weeks ago--

  Okay, stop that.

  I follow her down the private hallway, through the Social Room, and into the private elevator that takes us to street level. It's slightly chilly outside. While the temps can get in the upper eighties in Vegas in mid-May, the evenings still call for a light jacket. Hart's hands come up and cross to rub at her bare arms. I can faintly see the pink scar left by the bullet.

  I'm surprised when she does a quick look left and right down the street, and then darts across when there's an immediate break in traffic. I jog behind her, following her to an empty bus stop bench.

  Hart takes a seat and I sit down as well, angling my body so I can face her.

  She pulls no punches with me, but then, Hart isn't the type of woman to ever sugarcoat anything.

  "I'm pregnant," she says bluntly. Since I'm the one she's telling this information to, I know it means I'm the one who knocked her up.

  "Fuck," I mutter, dragging a hand through my short hair. I knew this was a possibility.

  That night was all kinds of wild and crazy. Neither one of us had any condoms and in hindsight, neither of us cared. With Hart fisting my cock and rubbing the head through her wet folds, I was dizzy with fucking lust.

  Her soft words, "Just pull out, okay," told me all I needed to know.

  I was going to fuck Hart, and there was no stopping that train.

  She was safe or else she would have never said that to me. The trust I had in her was inherent as evidenced by the fact I let her cover my back while I blew up an ISIS camp. It also meant she trusted me, or else she knew I would have said no if I wasn't safe.

  Her words also told me she wasn't on the Pill, and there was a risk of pregnancy.

  Except there was no explaining that to my dick or her uterus, because I plunged in hard and deep. She responded by digging her nails into my back and drawing little half-moons of blood.

  In my mind, I'd pulled out in perfect fashion. Jacked my cock three times and came all over her stomach and breasts. It was one of the hottest things I'd ever seen.

  Guess something of me got left behind, though. I remember all about sex education in school, and I know damn well a woman can get pregnant even if the pull-out method is employed.

  Apparently, being the risk takers that we were, it just didn't matter to us that night.

  Still, a flush of guilt heats me up from within. Hart had been drinking, and she was emotionally vulnerable that night.

  I should have fucking said no.

  "You're sure?" I ask, not doubting it's mine, just curious if she's been tested.

  She nods. "I didn't think anything of it when I missed my period because I'm not regular, but I'd been having some nausea and my boobs started hurting. I took a home pregnancy test, and it was positive. Had Doc McCullough do a blood test, and he called me this afternoon to tell me it was positive."

  "Jesus," I murmur as I give her my sincerest, most apologetic look. "I'm sorry, Rachel."

  She flinches, and I know it's because of my tone and the fact I called her by her first name.

  "I don't want a baby," she says flatly, her expression bordering on hopeless.

  I've never even thought about this moment transpiring. I'm years from settling down, marrying, and having kids. But something instinctive rises within me, and I find myself blurting out, "I want it."

  Hart blinks at me in surprise. "You want a baby?"

  "If it's mine, and I believe you when you say it is, then yes... I want it."

  Her eyes go dull, and her voice is practically listless. "Then let me rephrase. I don't want to carry a baby. I don't want to be pregnant."

  "And I don't want you to end my child's life," I say softly, forcing myself to remain calm. "Because when you say you don't want to be pregnant or carry a baby, you're talking about getting an abortion, right?"

  Hart grinds her teeth in agitation, but I can see the conflict in her eyes. "You seriously want me to carry a baby for you to raise? You think you can do that with the career you have?"

  Again, I fly by pure instinct. "No. I couldn't continue in this line of work and raise a kid by myself. I'd probably move back home and work my parents' farm."

  Hart's jaw drops, and she stares at me blankly.

  "Rachel," I say pleadingly. "Please do not termin
ate the pregnancy. I know I'm asking an awful lot of you, but this is important to me. The most important thing that's ever been laid in my lap, and I can't tell you why I feel so strongly about this, but I just know that I do. It would kill me if you terminated something I'd created. That may sound dramatic, and you're really throwing me here, but I have an obligation to this child. If you don't want a part in raising it, I get it. But don't take it away from me. Carry this child and I'll do anything for you. Anything in the world."

  Her face turns away from me, and she stares across the street in quiet contemplation. I can't force her to carry the baby. I can only hope to appeal to her humanity here.

  When she turns to look at me, I'm not reassured. "Let me think about it. But I promise... we'll talk again before I decide. I'll hear you out, Wright. I owe you that."

  "Thank you," is all I can say.

  Everything else has been said, and the decision is up to her.

  CHAPTER 2

  Rachel

  Adjusting the rearview mirror, I take another look at myself. My face is back to a normal color, but my eyes are still a little red. I pull some Visine out, give a few drops to each eye, and blink. The stuff is amazing, and the irritated little veins brought on by my unexpected crying jag ten minutes ago are erased like magic.

  I take another look in the mirror, deciding I'm presentable enough to pass Kynan's muster.

  I'd called him this morning to ask if I could come to his place to talk. As expected, his response was classic Kynan. "Bring donuts."

  I grab the box of donuts from the passenger seat of my Maserati. Since I make fucking awesome money, I have all the toys. But I put my life in danger all the time, so I don't mind the splurge. Besides, I grew up with two doctors as parents, so I'm just continuing the same lifestyle I once knew--minus those few bohemian years I had living out of a suitcase in my early twenties.

  After locking my car up, which is probably stupid as Kynan lives in a luxury gated community, I trudge across his sidewalk, lined with flowering cacti, to the front portico of his large Spanish colonial-style home. I ring the doorbell, and it takes him only moments to answer the door.

  "Good morning," I say, trying to put on my brightest, most carefree face.

  "Morning," he grunts, grabbing the donuts from me.

  I follow him into his kitchen. He plops down on a counter island stool and pulls a chocolate-covered donut out. Dropping my purse and keys to the counter, I move around it to the Keurig and make a cup of coffee. I know Kynan's house well as he's about my closest friend in the world, and I've spent a lot of time here over the years.

  As I grab half and half from his fridge, he asks, "Why have you been crying?"

  Jolting, I whip my head around to look at him in disbelief. I know damn well my complexion and eyes give nothing away. "What makes you ask that?"

  Kynan smirks and waves the donut. "You forget... I'm a former British commando. Reconnaissance is my middle name."

  "Your middle name is Lee," I say dryly. I turn back to the fridge, hoping he doesn't see guilt on my face since I was, in fact, crying out in the car.

  "I fucking watched you sit in the car for ten minutes with your head bowed," he says with obvious delight, and my shoulders sag in defeat. "Then I saw you wipe your snotty nose and pop some Visine."

  It's almost comical how his British accent make the words "snotty nose" sound almost refined, but I'm not in the mood to laugh.

  With a sigh, I let the fridge door swing shut. I keep my back to him while I doctor up my coffee, using the rote actions to let me collect my thoughts. I came here intending to get advice, because I know that I can't be rational about my current predicament.

  When I finally turn toward Kynan, he's halfway through his second donut. That he can eat unlimited carbs and sugars and maintain the chiseled body of a Greek god kind of makes me hate him. He just patiently stares at me, chewing on the sugary goodness.

  "I'm pregnant," I say, dropping the bomb because there's no easing into something this monumental.

  Kynan's eyes round with surprise. His jaw locks and he swallows, setting the rest of the donut on top of the box from which it came. Pushing the box aside, he rests his forearms on the counter, leaning slightly toward me to show I have his undivided attention.

  "It happened in Paphos," I continue, dropping my gaze into my coffee. It's easier to look at right now. "With Wright."

  "Wright?" Kynan blurts.

  My eyes rise to meet his, and I lift my chin a little defiantly. "Don't judge. It happened, okay?"

  "Are you two... like together?" he asks hesitantly.

  I shake my head before taking a quick sip of coffee. "No. It just happened. Emotions were high. Bourbon was involved. And we were fucking stupid for not using protection."

  "Jesus." Kynan rubs his hand over the top of his head while he stares at the donut for a moment. When he looks back to me, he asks, "Does he know?"

  "Yeah." I pace to the kitchen island, opposite of Kynan, and put my cup down. Mimicking him with my forearms to the granite, I lean toward him. "I told him last night."

  "And what does he think?"

  "I note you don't ask what I think," I say pointedly.

  "Because I know what you think," Kynan replies blandly. "I've known you for almost thirteen years. Know you better than anyone probably. And you, love, don't want to have a baby. You don't want to involve your heart, nor impede your career, because your career is all you have in life."

  Fuck... he nailed it.

  "Wright wants me to keep it," I say morosely. "He wants to raise it."

  "Not surprised," Kynan says dismissively. "He's a family man through and through."

  "He's only twenty-six and has the rest of his life in front of him." My voice sounds so bitter, and I hate it. "Why would he possibly want to ruin it?"

  "Rachel," Kynan chastises, and I cringe over how guilty his tone makes me feel. "You know fucking well babies don't ruin anything."

  I don't respond because there's no need to even voice it. Kynan knows the true source of my fear, and he's not going to let me pretend otherwise.

  Thankfully, he doesn't pick at the scabs, but comes at me a different way. "You need to be careful, Rachel. It's not just your life that's being affected by this. I know the choices you face, and one path will end up devastating one of your teammates. Can you do that?"

  I really don't think I can, but I was sort of hoping Kynan might give me permission to do so anyway. "So I have to give up a part of my life to carry this baby for him?"

  "It's a few months. Big deal."

  "Childbirth is painful," I say, completely offended that he'd try to diminish this.

  "You've been through worse," he counters.

  "Yes," I bite out angrily. "You do know I've been through worse."

  Kynan winces slightly, and then has the grace to look semi-chagrined. He knows my worst is really, really bad. "I'm sorry. I know this is scary and the last thing in the world you wanted. But you're strong, healthy, and even if you don't want this child, Bodie does. You both made a mistake by not using protection, and he's apparently stepping up to the plate. Are you going to do the same?"

  My entire being deflates when I realize I didn't even need to come over to Kynan's to talk this out. I knew what I was going to do, and he just helped me confirm it.

  "You know I am," I say softly.

  "That's my girl," he praises.

  "What does this mean for me with The Jameson Group?" I ask hesitantly. When Kynan's eyes drop to look at my stomach, I realize I'd been subconsciously rubbing my belly.

  Kynan's eyes drift back to mine. "I don't know exactly. We've never had a pregnant member on staff before. I'll have Doc McCullough refer you to a good OB/GYN, and you'll need to see what that doctor says."

  I nod, my mood completely glum over the fact that at some point, I'm going to be out of commission. There's one thing Kynan is right about. My career is everything to me. It's what sustains and fulfills me. I have no clue
what I'm going to do if I can't go on operations.

  "Don't even ask me to do secretarial work," I mutter as I pick my cup back up. I take a sip as Kynan laughs at me.

  "The minute you go on inactive status, I'll have you work on strategic planning with me. I know it's not getting your hands dirty, but you'll still be actively involved. Your brain and cunning are probably your best tools to be honest."

  "Damn right I will," I snap, but I'm secretly relieved to hear him say that. Kynan doesn't dole out a ton of praise or affirmation, so it's nice to hear it right now.

  Kynan chuckles and shakes his head. "Wow... our first Jameson baby. If it's a boy, you should name him Jameson. Or Kynan. That would be nice."

  "That's up to Wright," I say with a pointed look over the rim of my cup. It's not going to be something I even need to wrap my head around.

  I get a return grin, and it chafes he's amused at me.

  "So," he says slyly, with a little wink. "You and Wright, huh? Can't say I saw that one coming."

  "I didn't see it coming either." The petulance in my voice makes his chuckle go to a belly laugh. I roll my eyes. "Just stop. I was upset over Joram, had way too much liquor, and well... he was all hot looking and I needed the distraction."

  "Was it good?" he asks. In normal circumstances, I should be offended. Yes, this man is my friend, but he's also my boss. And he's asking about a personal intimacy.

  But I'm not, because Kynan and I used to be lovers before we settled into a good friendship without benefits. That was long ago, but there was a time I laid in bed with him and spilled secrets. He was by my side during some of my darkest days. While we haven't been carnal with each other in almost a decade--since I started work at Jameson as a matter of fact--he still has firsthand knowledge of my sex life. We can't exactly frequent the same sex club without seeing a few things.

  "It was good," I admit, but that's not the full truth. It was spectacular, and that's surprising to me. I was totally buzzed from the alcohol and full of seething anger at myself. It should have been hard as hell for anyone to get me off, but damn if Wright didn't do it in just a few short minutes.

  He'd thrown me on the bed and because I'd already been naked, his first move had been to shove his face between my legs. The first touch of his tongue on me and my back arched so high I thought I'd broken it.

 
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