Dirty wicked, p.3
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       Dirty Wicked, p.3
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         Part #11.5 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
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  Suck his cock? Fuck, yes. “When I say so.”

  As she sat back on her heels, he stared. Who was this woman? Mike had called her modest, sexually restrained. In retrospect, Nick could see how months on the run had turned his buddy’s prim wife into a pragmatist willing to give him a blow job to keep her kid alive.

  And didn’t he feel like a prick? Ten minutes ago, propositioning Sasha had seemed like the perfect antidote for his compulsion to touch her. If he spewed toxic bullshit that made her fear and loathe him, she’d stay far, far away. Then…boom. Temptation removed. Problem solved.

  But here she knelt, blinking at him, pink lips softly parted. Blood surged to his cock until he swore his zipper would strangle it.

  How’s that plan working out for you now?

  Mike Porter had been a true-blue kind of guy. A good friend. Undoubtedly, a model husband. He’d definitely been a protective one. If Mike could have read the thoughts running through Nick’s head, his old pal would have wanted to castrate him. Unfortunately, neither that nor his guilt was stopping the endless loop of high-quality porn—starring Sasha—from playing in his head.

  He had to get her the hell away from him.

  “Hands down,” he barked as he released her.

  She complied, still staring at him in question. Though she tried to hide it, he couldn’t miss the relief on her face. She was grateful for the reprieve.

  “I’m sorry if I…” She bowed her head as if she wasn’t sure what to apologize for and searched for something that wouldn’t piss him off. Or maybe she couldn’t stand to look at him.

  He had no right to, but Nick thrust his hand around her ponytail and tugged just enough to force her gaze to him again. Visually was the only way he should touch her, but he threaded his fingers through her strands. Her hair slid like silk against his skin. “For what, rushing me? Crowding me?”

  “Yes.”

  Liar. A grim smile danced at the corner of his lips. She apologized so he wouldn’t change his mind about helping her and protecting Harper. Because she was afraid of him.

  God, that made him feel low.

  He released her, stepped away. “Take a shower. Get in bed.”

  “Y-yours?”

  He’d fucking love that. The thought of unraveling her reserve and making her cling to him went straight to his dick.

  “Stay with your daughter tonight. I’d rather have you once you’ve rested. Because once I start fucking you…well, expect a long night,” he warned.

  As he suspected, she shot to her feet and backed away from him. She could barely keep her opinion of him off her face. Yeah, he was a vile asshole. Perfect.

  “I’ll, um, leave you until morning.” Her back hugged the wall as she edged away.

  Nick grabbed her arm. “Wait.” He brushed past her and grabbed a clean towel, a bottle of shampoo, and his comb from the master bathroom. He returned and put the items in her hands. “You’ll need these. Sorry. That’s the only comb I’ve got.”

  She frowned, looking utterly confused by his consideration. “Thank you.”

  “Rest. Let me know if you need anything.”

  “I will.”

  Another lie. If Sasha could afford to, she would walk away from him now. She’d certainly never ask him for anything else, believing every favor came with a price. The sooner they found Mike’s evidence, the better for both of them.

  He just hoped that breakthrough came before desire crushed his self-control.

  * * * *

  Harder than ever, Nick woke to a half-empty king-size bed. The morning would have been a whole lot better if Sasha Porter had been naked and sated beside him.

  With a sigh, he glanced at the clock. Shit. Twenty past eight in the morning.

  Hopping into a pair of sweatpants he’d discarded at the foot of the bed, he rushed down the hall to the first of the spare bedrooms. Why the hell Xander and Javier had rented him a huge house rather than just a crappy apartment near his old stomping grounds, he had no idea. He’d bet London had a hand in it. He had a soft spot for the woman who had helped to save his friends from self-destruction. He’d bet she had one for him for roughly the same reason.

  The vague smile widened when he found Sasha wrapped up with Harper in one twin bed, sound asleep. A nearly empty bottle of children’s Tylenol rested on the nightstand. Neither one looked as if sleep had helped much. Nick felt guilty that he hadn’t realized Sasha might need a hand with her daughter. Hell, he had no experience with kids.

  He walked into the enormous shower. Fantasizing about having Sasha under the spray, clinging to him and panting his name in his ear as she rose to climax was definitely more exciting than soaping up with a bar of Irish Spring. He didn’t punch his express ticket to self-pleasure this morning. With Sasha under his roof, the idea fucking bored him. Instead, he cut the water, dried off, and made his way into a pair of jeans. His black T-shirt had a cartoon depicting terrified people fleeing a hulking figure pursuing from behind. The caption beneath read ZOMBIES HATE FAST FOOD.

  Fingercombing his hair, he headed for the kitchen. When he reached the end of the hall, the doorbell rang. A glance out the window at the sleek Infiniti SUV told him exactly who stood on the other side of the door.

  With a wry shake of his head, he opened up.

  “Where is she?” London asked, her sweet face curious as she held her infant daughter and tried to peek around him.

  “You forgot to say hello, belleza.” Xander’s smile revealed how much he adored his wife.

  Javier didn’t look any less smitten. “She’s been pacing since she took Dulce out of her crib at six a.m. You’re lucky we got her to wait this long before we headed over.”

  Nick opened the door wide and directed everyone to the kitchen. “Sasha and Harper are still asleep. Coffee?”

  London walked in and gave him a loose hug around the neck. “Which I assume you want me to make?”

  “Please,” Xander all but begged. “Nick makes terrible coffee.”

  “It’s a single-cup brewer, asshole,” Nick shot back. “Foolproof.”

  “And yet you fucked it up yesterday morning.”

  Javier barked out a laugh as he carried in a couple of sacks of groceries. “You’re both helpless.” He plucked their seven-month-old out of London’s arms and handed her to Xander. “Hold Dulce.”

  After Javier planted a kiss on the baby’s head, he disappeared into the kitchen with London and tucked items into the refrigerator or pantry. Nick lingered with Xander in the adjoining dining room. It looked so weird to see the former manwhore holding a little girl in a frilly dress. With her daddies’ dark hair and her mother’s bright blue eyes, Dulce was going to be a beauty.

  “Bought a baseball bat to fight off the boys yet?” he asked Xander.

  “Screw some stick of wood. Guns are where it’s at. I’m collecting an arsenal. Not one of those adolescent pricks is touching my daughter.”

  Spoken like an overprotective father. “What about when her teenage hormones kick in? She might want—”

  “If you’d like our help, shut your fucking mouth.”

  Nick laughed. Yanking Xander’s chain had always been on the fun side, but now it was a downright blast. “Shutting it now.”

  “Good man.” Xander glanced across the kitchen to see Javier pulling London close before he dipped his head to cover their wife’s mouth. Nick had seen them kiss before. Usually, they oozed passion; they still did. Both brothers had always looked at her as if she was their moon, sun, and stars. Their very happiness, in fact. But it was different now that they’d had a child. More reverent. More devoted. More sacred. They were a family in every sense.

  Nick looked away and shoved aside a weird stab of envy he could totally do without.

  “So what’s your plan?” Xander asked, bouncing his daughter in his arms and smiling when she giggled.

  “Like I said last night on the phone, I think the little girl is too sick to be anything but a distraction to Sasha. We should
be focused on keeping her and her daughter safe. And if we wait for Harper to recover first…I think the kid having a cold will be the least of our troubles.”

  “Yeah. Given the contacts and resources Clifford has, he’ll find you fast. I think you’re right; Harper is better off with us and away from the danger.”

  Nick nodded. “Convincing Sasha will be the hard part.”

  “If she’s half as attached to her daughter as London is to ours? Oh, yeah. She’ll fight you like hell.”

  “I’m betting on it. But the solution to this shitstorm isn’t going to magically roll up to my door. Sasha and I will have to search Mike’s old stomping grounds for whatever he left behind. A sick kid is a liability. If she and I find what we’re looking for, they’ll have a chance to live happy, healthy lives.”

  “And the bastard who put you in prison will go down.”

  “That, too.” Nick nodded.

  “Then what? Got any plans beyond that? You haven’t talked about reopening your business or taking on new cases.” Xander looked at him as if he saw too much.

  “I haven’t thought that far ahead,” he hedged. Who the hell would hire him now?

  Xander raised a dark brow. “We’ll make you head of security at S.I. Industries.”

  And fire the guy already occupying that position to create a vacancy for their ex-con pal? They had already done too much for him.

  “Thanks, but you know I’m not much of a corporate guy. This is fancy office attire for me.” He gestured to his T-shirt.

  Xander rolled his eyes. “Because you never tried. Look, you’ve had some tough breaks, and I know you’re probably thinking this is a pity hiring, but it isn’t. Just…think about it.”

  “Nick?”

  The sound of Sasha’s startled voice saved him from answering Xander right away. He pushed away from the table and approached Sasha, who held Harper, coughing with red-cheeked abandon. “Morning.”

  She braced a hand on her daughter’s back and cut a glance at Xander, who closed in behind him. He heard London and Javier approach, too.

  Nick didn’t follow Sasha’s gaze. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Her clean hair looked rumpled and sexy in a pale cloud around her shoulders. Her hazel eyes were wide and wary. Then she looked to him instinctively for reassurance and safety. He felt a jolt of satisfaction—and the rise of his dick.

  As he reached her, he couldn’t stop himself from curling his hand around her shoulder and bracing his finger under her chin until she lifted her gaze to look at him. “These are my friends. They’re here to help.”

  “You’re sure they can be trusted?” she whispered.

  Nick wasn’t insulted. She’d probably stayed alive this long by questioning everything and everyone in her life. “Positive.”

  He forced himself to tear his gaze off her long enough to perform the introductions. London had backed away and now held Dulce so the baby wasn’t exposed to any of Harper’s germs. But she smiled and waved at Sasha with a warm friendliness that had Sasha almost smiling back.

  “We brought groceries,” London said. “If one of my husbands will hold the baby…”

  Javier turned to pluck Dulce from her arms. “Go ahead. I’m sure Sasha and Harper would like a home-cooked breakfast. I know I would.”

  “Great. Maybe you’d like to talk to me while I get everything ready?” London asked Sasha. “We’ll send the men to the living room. I’m sure they can find some college football pregame to watch until the doctor comes.”

  “Sure.” Sasha didn’t look as certain as her answer sounded, but she followed London into the kitchen, still carrying a limp, hot-cheeked Harper.

  Reluctantly, Nick followed the Santiago brothers into the living room as the sounds of bowls clacking and the gas stove firing filled the air. Female chatter followed.

  “Let London work her magic. She’s a warm, comforting presence,” Javier murmured.

  Yeah, Nick had liked her immediately back in the day and known she’d be good for the overly driven executive. The fact that she’d also settled the younger Santiago had been nothing short of a miracle.

  “Everyone loves London,” Xander assured.

  “I just don’t want Sasha to feel abandoned. She’s out of her element as it is.”

  “She’ll be fine.” Javier dragged him to the sofa.

  The moment he was seated, Xander plopped into a chair, leaned closer, and leveled a direct gaze at him. “You, I’m not so sure about, my friend.”

  “What do you mean?” Nick scowled.

  “Why didn’t you level with us? This isn’t just about revenge, and don’t try to bullshit us otherwise.”

  “I don’t know what you mean,” Nick insisted.

  “This is also about Sasha,” Javier insisted. “That’s obvious to me now.”

  Fuck. They knew him too well. “Mike and I grew up together. If the shoe was on the other foot, he would have helped my wife out of trouble, too. I owe him. Before he died, he asked me to look into Clifford. I didn’t get the goods; I just got set up. That bastard found the perfect means to get me out of the way so he could off Mike.”

  And if Nick hadn’t failed, maybe the kid who had single-handedly pulled him out of the gutter would still be alive and raising the daughter he’d had with the wife he loved. Neither of them had imagined Clifford would have the balls to use his own niece to fabricate charges against Nick. They’d underestimated the bastard—and paid a terrible price.

  “Right, but this is about more than helping your late buddy’s widow,” Javier pointed out. “You want her.”

  “You look at her the way my brother looks at our wife,” Xander added. “The way I’m sure I look at London, too.”

  Desperate. Smitten. Hungry.

  Fuck, what did he have to offer a woman? A bankrupt business? A prison record? Zero experience in making a monogamous relationship work? Life had already dealt her a tough hand. She deserved better, especially since Mike had been taken from her for good.

  “Leave it,” he told the brothers. “She doesn’t want me and never will. I’ve made sure of it.”

  Javier clenched his jaw, a sure sign his legendary temper was brewing. “What did you do, you stupid bastard? Now isn’t the time to be noble.”

  Certainly that’s the last thing Sasha would call him. “I don’t need romantic advice. I just need to keep her alive and solve her problem.”

  “We figured you’d say that.” Xander sighed. “So we left a new SUV registered to S.I. Industries in our parking garage for you.” He tossed the keys, and Nick caught them in his fist. “It should be clean. The gas tank is full. There’s five grand in cash in the glove box.”

  “I’ll pay you back.”

  “Shut up.” Xander rolled his eyes.

  “Know where you’re going yet?” Javier asked.

  “No. Sasha was too tired and worried about Harper last night for me to grill her with questions.”

  Today, Nick knew he couldn’t afford to be so polite.

  Javier pulled a device from his suit coat and slapped it in Nick’s palm. “Here’s a burner phone. Keep us posted. And we’re serious about that job offer. When this is over… That’s how you can pay me back.”

  “I appreciate it, man.” He tried not to let gratitude choke him up. “I do, but…”

 
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