Wicked ties, p.40
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       Wicked Ties, p.40

         Part #1 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
 
Page 40

 

  He cared about Morgan much more.

  “When it comes to Morgan, I want to be a selfish bastard and keep all her sass and submission and sweet smiles to myself. I want to be the only man who wraps his hands in that gorgeous flame-colored hair and watches while she takes me deep in her mouth. I want to be the only man who tastes her pussy, feels the bite of her tight ass on my cock. ” He blew out a long breath. “But that’s not what she wants. ”

  “You love this girl?”

  Jack squeezed his eyes shut and gripped the cold bottle in his hand so tightly, he wondered if it might break. How could he answer that when he’d never experienced love before? If feeling euphoric at her happiness and somber at her sadness, being willing to kill anyone who threatened her, and kicking himself in the ass for cursing her desires and crushing her burgeoning sexuality, then…

  “Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s the case. From the beginning, it’s just been…so different with her. ” He barked with bitter laughter. “Hell, I even dreamed about her before I knew her. Her body, her smell, the way she makes me feel. From the first, I felt like she had me by the balls, but I’m thinking maybe what she’s holding is a bit farther north. ”

  “You’ve got to make this right for her. ”

  “I just don’t…” He heaved a long sigh and started over. “I intend to claim her, and I know it’s my responsibility to see to her every desire. But I honestly don’t know if I could see someone else—you—fuck her and not want to rip your balls off. ”

  “If you love her and you want to see her happy, you’ve got to give her what she needs. Or she’s never going to be whole. And what you have is going to be a lie. ”

  So calm, so rational. So perfectly correct. Damn Deke!

  “Not only that,” Deke went on, “but whatever it is she’s holding back from you is something she’ll never give if you’re not fulfilling her. ”

  “Holding back?” Jack paused. A sick knot twisted his gut with apprehension. He still hadn’t reached her, not totally. He’d hoped… But no. So apparently, he’d hoped in vain. How could he make her his if she wouldn’t surrender completely?

  But then, Deke’s words reminded him that she was only part of the recipe. The other part had to come from him.

  “C’mon, Jack. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you? You’ve seen it? Felt it?”

  “Do you take some perverse pleasure in being right and throwing that in my face?” Jack sighed and took another long swallow of his cold beer. “Where is Morgan?”

  “I tucked her into bed, safe and sound, and I’m hoping she’s asleep. She looked worn out. ”

  “Did you cop a cheap feel?”

  Deke smiled at Jack’s growl. “I might have. She’s a hard woman not to want. ”

  Jack knew that too damn well. While he didn’t like Deke touching her, he had no one to blame but himself for running out on her. So he let it go…this time.

  “Morgan is like a soft stroke to the cock and a kick in the teeth all at once,” Jack muttered.

  “You’re not the only man who loves her. She’s got a fiancé back in Houston, right?”

  Brandon. Son of a bitch! As if he needed the complication of that pansy-assed bastard.

  “Yes. ”

  “What are you going to do about him? With him in the picture, she’s not yours to keep. ”

  “Thanks for the reminder,” he grunted sarcastically.

  Taking Morgan from Brandon would be the best revenge of all, way better than simply emailing video footage of them fucking to her esteemed fiancé. But that wasn’t the reason Jack was determined to win her. Not even close.

  He just wanted her all to himself. Today, tomorrow, every morning, every night. His.

  Deke rose with a quirk of a smile. “What are friends for?”

  Indeed, he thought, watching Deke amble down the steps, get into his boat and push away from the dock.

  For a endless moments, he sat there. And damn it, he couldn’t even manage to get drunk. Instead, he tried to sort through the tangle of shit swirling in his gut: fear, anger, possessiveness, jealousy, determination, concern, need…love.

  When his feet finally turned to ice, his stomach started growling, and he thought Morgan might have rested sufficiently to talk, he stalked into the house, threw his empty beer bottle away, and headed for the bedroom.

  Only he didn’t find Morgan.

  Her scent lingering in the room told him she hadn’t been gone long. The ruby pendant he’d given her lay abandoned on his pillow and told him more effectively than words that she’d left.

  He’d lost her before he had her.

  And that if he didn’t find her fucking fast, he could lose her to a stalker’s jealous rage for good.

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  “You can stop hiding now,” Deke said, laughter lilting his voice.

  Morgan stiffened under the tarp on the floor of the little boat. Deke was talking to her. Crap! How on earth had he known she was here?

  His rhythmic paddling ceased, and now the boat sat stationary, the thick waters of the swamp splatting against the side of his small metal vessel. Had they arrived at the little dock outside Lafayette?

  “I know you’re there, Morgan,” Deke said as he lifted the tarp off of her.

  The night’s cold breeze suddenly swept across her halfdressed form as she looked up—way, way up—at Deke. The silvery moon backlit his towering frame, shadowing his angled cheekbones and strong, square chin. Amusement played across his grayed features.

  “How did you know?”

  “I had to step over you to get into the boat. ” He laughed. “The tarp hid you, but the displacement of the boat made it obvious someone was on board…and not a big someone. That left you as my only suspect. ”

  Damn it, she’d tried so hard to get away from Jack, from the tangled morass her life had become, without anyone knowing.

  With a chuckle, Deke bent down and helped her to her feet. “You look adorably frustrated, doll. Don’t feel bad. We Special Forces types pay attention to the small details. You never know when it will keep you alive. ” He shrugged. “Jack would have heard you sneaking out the bedroom window if he hadn’t been sitting on the porch and drowning his thoughts in beer. ”

  The wind whipped around her again, and Morgan shivered. A pair of Jack’s overlarge sweatpants, a cotton shirt with the tails tied at her belly and a thin pair of socks were no match for the cold slice of the humid breeze in forty-degree temperatures.

  “I’m not going back. ”

  “You don’t have to. ”

  Morgan wrapped her arms around herself, trying to ward off both the cold and a suspicion that Deke’s answer was intended to mislead.

  “Good. I just want to get my purse, find my car, and get as far away from here as possible. ”

  “You mean as far away from Jack?”

  “You’re going to blab to him, aren’t you?”

  He shrugged. “Only if he’s too drunk to figure it out himself. As it is, I expect to hear from him shortly, so I won’t have to say a word. ”

  “Drunk or sober, he’s not coming after me. ”

  “Give him an hour, two tops. ” He glanced at his watch. “My guess is more like forty-five minutes. ”

  That didn’t seem possible. Was Deke blind? Stupid? “The man walked out on me after I shocked the hell out of him. ”

  “You shock him?” Deke laughed. “That’s funny, but not possible. You surprised him. He just walked out to think. If I believed for a second that he wouldn’t come for you, I would have left you with him in the swamp. ”

  Deke honestly believed that Jack was coming back for her. Tonight. Was he delusional? Convincing himself so that he didn’t have to babysit her?

  It didn’t matter. She had to get out of here, away from the swamps and Lafayette, and from Jack, before she did anything else she’d end up regretting.

  “Why? I want to get away. Why would yo
u leave me with a man who doesn’t want me?”

  A fresh rush of February wind cut through the thin clothing, chilling her to her bones. Morgan huddled further into her arms.

  “Doesn’t want you?” Deke asked incredulously as he ripped his sweatshirt off over his head. “Woman, you know shit about men. When he comes, ask Jack why he came after you. It won’t be long now. ”

  Morgan tried to follow the train of his words and not to swallow her tongue. Every sculpted inch of Deke’s torso was blessedly, achingly bare. She took in the angled dips and hard swells of his body. The man was enormous! Those

  shoulders…they had to be damn near three feet wide. Holy cow, it was a good thing she already knew Deke wasn’t going to hurt her. Otherwise…she’d be terrified to meet the man in a dark alley.

  “Arms up,” he commanded.

  “You’re going to get cold. ”

  He shook his head. “I’ve got a spare in my Hummer. Arms up. ”

  This time, she complied. The allure of warmth was too strong to resist. The sweatshirt settled over her body like a soft, warm cloud that extended at least six inches past her fingertips and nearly down to her knees.

  Deke laughed. “You’re a little thing, doll. My sweatshirt makes you look like someone’s six-year-old sister. ”

  Torn between laughing and screaming, Morgan stomped out of the boat and onto the decaying wooden dock. Deke tied the boat off and followed her.

  “If we’re done laughing at my expense, can you drop me off at Sexy Sirens so I can get my purse and blow this taco stand?”

  Deke raised a tawny brow. “You know that’s the first place Jack will look for you. ”

  “Well, then let’s hurry so I can be gone by the time he decides to chase after me. ” If he does.

  “Your chariot, my lady. ” He gestured to a gleaming black Hummer H3 sitting in the dirt-and-gravel lot ten feet ahead, perched up on monster truck tires nearly taller than her.

  Morgan snorted. As if a guy that tall and huge needed such an intimidating vehicle to make a statement. Talk about overkill.

  Once he unlocked the doors with the press of a button on his key fob, he opened the one on the passenger’s side and lifted her into the vehicle. She couldn’t call it a car. It was more like a tank with leather seats and satellite radio.

  Settling into the seat and shutting the door, she was grateful for the fact that it blocked that terrible cold wind.

  Behind her, a rear door opened and closed. A few moments later, Deke climbed into the driver’s seat wearing a West Point sweatshirt and a smile.

  On the road to Sexy Sirens, Morgan asked him to drop her at the back door. The last thing she needed was to crawl through the crowd wearing Jack’s too-big sweatpants and Deke’s even bigger sweatshirt, sans bra and shoes. She probably looked like a refugee from an all-night frat party.

  “As if I was going to drop you off at the front door. ” Deke’s voice dripped sarcasm. “I think your stalker friend is in California. I don’t know it. Until I know where the bastard is, we lay low. ”

  Morgan couldn’t argue with that logic. Better safe than sorry. She wanted to believe Reggie was still in California stewing that she’d given him the slip, but who knew…

  Deke parked the Hummer in the alley behind the club, then helped her down. He stopped before the back door and pounded his fist on the cracking paint. A new blast of arctic wind cut down the narrow lane of the alley. Morgan’s teeth chattered. Her thin L. A. blood really couldn’t take this.

  With a curse, Deke moved his body to block the brunt of the wind and he wrapped his arms around her.

  Alyssa opened the door and stared at them with a surprised gaze that quickly turned jaundiced. “Well, if it isn’t He-Man. ”

  The sexy club owner was dressed tonight in a black leather corset just shy of illegal and a matching skirt a breath away from indecent that emphasized long legs encased in sheer, thigh-high stockings. She stepped back on black stilettos to let them enter. A wall of throbbing music made the little back room vibrate, despite the doors closing them off from the club’s main stage. It was hard to miss the heavy suggestion of the song, some 1980s tune about naughty girls needing love, too.

  They stepped inside and Deke shut the door behind him. “It’s my favorite pole dancer. How the hell are you?”

  Alyssa tossed back a curtain of platinum hair and regarded Deke with disdain. “Smart enough to avoid you and your tagteaming cousin. The last woman the two of you finished with didn’t walk for a week. ”

  “You’re in no danger. We’re looking for a lady. ”

  The former stripper stiffened. “Fuck you. ”

  Deke gave an easy shrug. “I would, but you’re not Luc’s type. Thanks, anyway. ”

  “I wasn’t offering,” she spit out. “Next time you feel the need to be here, send your cousin instead. He’s got charm. ”

 
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