Chrome: With a Heart Forged in Steele (Carolina Bad #4) (22 page)

Her eyelashes fluttered to her cheeks, hiding the sexy hazel as she massaged up and down my arms. “Not so bad yourself.”

The beat of the song drew us closer together. “Feel Like Making Love” by Bad Company.

The heat turned up, her undulating hips buttressing my thickening cock.

She grabbed my ass and slapped it twice, looking up with one of her dimpled grins. “And you have, hands down”—she squeezed—“the best goddamn ass on the planet.”

“You think?” My hands snaking down to her jeans, I gave her a hard swat of my own.

She bit her lip and snuck her head against my chest.

The tune poured like loud liquid sex from the sound system, and we gyrated together.

“By the way, did you call me your girlfriend earlier?”

My hand gathering a fistful of her hair, I wrenched her head up. “Yup.”

And I owned it with a searing fast flash of a kiss that left
my girlfriend
utterly fucking breathless.

“Okay,” she gasped out.

“Damn right.”

Heavy breaths.

Racing pulses.

A thickly muscled thigh pulsing between her legs.

And her lips under mine.

Wet.

Hard.

Horny.

The dancing became little more than out and out fucking on the dance floor.

Rutting.

Moaning.

Grunting.

My lips sealed against her thrown back neck. “I am so hot for you Rayce. Gonna pound your pussy later.”

She mewled, lifting delirious, dark-tinged eyes to mine. “Oh God. How can you make me so wet just by saying one little thing?”

“Must be an
old man
talent.” I winked, lewdly dancing against her like we were already fucking on my bed, against a wall—
Jesus Christ
—an empty hall would work.

I kissed her, thrusting my tongue against hers. My hips kicked, my cock pulsed.

She licked across my lips, linking her hands behind my neck to keep me in place.

“Might have to rethink that considering your staying power.” Biting along my jawline, she nipped at my earlobe. “You may not be an old man, but you're
my
old man.” 

“Fuck it. I can't wait until later.” Grabbing her hand, I prowled through the dancers. “Let's go find a room and finish this.”

A dark corner would do at that point.


Uh unh
.” She halted, throwing all her negligible weight into pulling me to a stop.

“What?”

“I'm heading over to Redemption, remember?”

I growled several curses under my breath.

She tossed back her head and laughed. “Good thing there really isn’t a swear jar.”

“What’m I supposed to do with this?” I glared down at my obscenely charged, oh-so-obvious boner.

She squeezed my junk, and I cursed some motherfucking more.

“Save it for
later
.”

“I might not even be able to walk later.”

“Just remember I have every faith in your stamina.” She withdrew her hand to blow me a kiss that left me with a kick to my aching groin.

Sure. She and I had plans to rendezvous later.

I hoped rendezvous meant something dark and dirty and loud. Still hadn’t had her ass yet.

And I wasn’t kidding about the pussy-pounding I needed to give her.

Sporting an embarrassing, unstoppable hard-on and not giving a crap, I watched her swish that ass away from me.

JB and Sadie joined her at the door.

I stared some more. Longingly.

Achingly
.

“You done mooning yet, lover boy?” Brodie lounged against the bar.

“You talking to me?” Hunter asked, after dragging his same starry-eyed gaze from JB.

“Not likely. Don’t mess with the X-Ops. I ain’t stupid.”

“Hey, Boom!” Tail twirled his pool cue. “Why don’t you just piss on her already?”

Mark my territory?

With my come.

Yeah.

Already did that.

“Maybe a shot will take the edge off.” Handsome strolled up, handing me a replenished drink.

For the first time frickin’ ever, I saw his eyes. They were narrowed on me and whiskey-colored. “What happened to your hair, dude?”

“He’s going hipster.” Cole goaded from behind the bar.

“With a man bun.” Tail snickered.

I peered at Handsome some more. Smoothly edged stubble on a strong jaw, and a haphazard—yup—man bun at the back of his head. Ink on his arms, more on his neck, and he had gauges in his ears?

I couldn’t remember ever seeing his ears before.

“Just chalk it up to an invasion of the body snatchers.” Handsome winked, prodding my drink to my lips.

Totally Twilight Zone, he has that right.

Handsome was actually
handsome
beneath all that hair. Who the fuck knew?

I shrugged and gulped my drink.

Then there ensued a debate about man buns:
to call them muns or not.

And a bet to go with.

Tuck and I sat at the bar beside the whetting stone most used by Bo, the
Maverick
of KA-BARs and knife play and all things Krav Maga.

“You and Rayce good?”

I clinked my beer to Tucker’s. “Understatement.”

“She still having problems at home?”

“Not since she moved in with me.” My lips curled.

Any mention of her shit home life hit me in the stomach like a wrecking ball.

“How about you?” He dropped his hand onto my shoulder.

“What about me?”

“Don’t bullshit me, son.” His mustache twitched at the corners of his mouth. “Think I’m about to do your momma and daddy wrong and stop checkin’ in with you? With Cat and Brodie?” He brought his drink to his lips. “You know me better than that.”

“Doing okay.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. I . . .
uh
. . . donated most of their things last month.” Cracking my neck, I lounged back. “Tail and I redid the upstairs too.”

“You still seeing the shrink?”

“Nah. Quit that.”

“Quit it because you couldn’t hack it?”

“Yeah.” My lips screwed tight. “At the time.” I turned to Tuck and slipped my arm around his shoulders. “I let it go. Rayce helped. Trying not to blame myself anymore, like you always told me.”

Tucker patted my cheek. “You done good, son. You all have. You know that’s all your folks would’ve wanted. Me too.”

“Thanks.” I hugged him hard then pulled back. “
Old man
.”


Ha
! Isn’t that what your lady calls you?”

We broke apart when the door banged open, JB jetting inside on a blast of frosty air.

Hunter bolted off his bar stool at the sight of her.

Her wild gaze landed on me, bringing the cold from outside with it. “You have to come, Boomer. It’s Rayce’s dad! At Redemption!”

Chapter Nineteen

The Bad

 

 

 

I TORE OUT OF Retribution, my mind racing as fast as my feet.

Hunter rushed outside after me. “You need backup.”

“Don’t think so. I’ve had about enough of Leroy Lafayette’s shit. I got this.”

Hunter’s hand clamped down on my shoulder. “Not on my watch, my friend.”

I spun on him, eyeing all the dudes who’d appeared behind us, ready to go to battle.

Pointing my trigger finger at Handsome, I said, “Fine. I’ll take him.”

Handsome was the only one guaranteed not to make any extra trouble just for the fun of it.

“Solid choice.” Hunter took up a jog beside me with Handsome joining us. “I’m coming too.”

The three of us made it across the road to Redemption in record time, dodging the heavy traffic on foot.

I crashed through the door to a scene unlike any I’d ever witnessed, and it froze me in place.

It quickly became apparent Rayce’s dad had brought backup of his own.

Several other visibly tanked, grizzle-faced drunks were busy pawing any female they could get their hands on. These women were not pushovers by any stretch of the imagination, but the liquored-up losers seemed to have countless hands and absolutely no fucking boundaries. Not even when they were slapped, kicked, or hissed at.

The ladies’ reactions just made the trio yell louder, lunge faster, grab harder.

One of them snatched at the new bartender, Jerry, when she came out from behind the bar.

Both fear and anger on her face, Rayce yelled, “Get your hands off her!”

“Aw. C’mon. Why you gotta be such a little bitch?” The asshole swung around, Jerry forgotten.

“Yeah. If you won’t give us any . . .” Another drunk fuck leered at Rayce.

She backed away, rounding on her dad when he snagged a bottle of Wild Turkey from Carlie’s hands.

That was when Rayce spotted Handsome, Hunter, and me. “Boomer, what are you doing here?”

“Yeah. What are you doing here?” Leroy defiantly swigged from the open bottle, staring straight at me.

Alcohol sloshed out of his mouth and spilled down his chin, darkening his already sweat-ringed shirt.

“Rayce, get away from him.” My fists clenched and unclenched as I took several steps closer.

“Dad, please. You need to leave.” Rayce ignored me, trying to cajole him, reaching for the bottle he held beyond her reach.

“Little whore. I ain’t leavin’ until you do. I got me some drinkin’ to do.” He glugged some more then wiped his sloppy mouth on his sleeve. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and all that shit.”

“I’ll come home now.” She tugged on his arm.

Not on my fucking watch.

He shook her off with a snarl. “I’m goddamn drinkin’, I said!”

He raised his arm to backhand her.

I was across the room before I even knew my feet were in motion. Grabbing the bottle, I smashed it against the bar. Glass shattered. Booze sprayed out. I clutched Rayce’s dad by the front of his neck with my other curled fist.

I was so goddamn tempted to glass him. Didn’t want to cause an all out bloodbath, but I was mighty damn close.

Holding the jagged bottle near his face, I growled. “What did I tell you last time you raised a hand to Rayce?”


Oooh
, worried about your precious
Princess Phoebe
gettin’ hurt?” Leroy gave a rusty laugh, and my fingers cinched tighter on his neck. “Trust me. She ain’t no princess. No good planting ideas like that in the heads of nasty girls like her.”

My gaze cut to Rayce.

She stood with her mouth open, her eyes wide, her face bleach-white.

Swinging back to her dad, I dropped the bottle. The rest of it broke apart at our feet, and I punched him with the full force of my rage. His lip split on contact, and he howled. His face had barely recovered from my last assault, and I couldn’t wait to add more bruises. Recoiling, I threw another vicious blow at him. That time I let go of his neck, and he slammed into the bar before slumping to the floor.

Bet all that shattered glass felt great against his prone body.

Too bad I didn’t give a shit.

I turned in time to see Hunter trading punch for punch with one of Leroy’s boozer friends.

And Handsome—whom I’d considered mostly tame—became a grade A badass right before my eyes. He handled the other two wasters like he’d been born to beat shit. His fist blurred with precision aim. Fuck, he almost put Bo’s Krav Maga moves to shame. The two alkies stood no chance against him.

Soon enough all four of the shitheels were laid out on the floor.

Handsome wasn’t even breathing heavy.

I tapped his fist. “Where the hell’d that come from?”

“Been workin’ out.”

“The hell you say.”

Glancing at Rayce, I saw her standing statue-still, staring down at her dad. The other women looked just as shell-shocked, disbelief written all over their features.

I tipped Rayce’s chin toward me and swept the hair back from her face. “Hey. You okay?”

She chewed her lip, a tremor crossing her face.

Hunter ambled up. “What now?”

“Now we take out the trash.” I scanned around the bar, nodding.

“How ’bout I call it in to the station?” Hunter asked with an evil smirk. “Disturbance of the peace. Keep ’em in the holding tank at least overnight.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Rayce broke out of her trance, whipping her head toward Hunter. “No. Please. Not my dad.”

“Jesus Christ, Rayce—” I started.

Her head dropped down. “I’d just have to bail him out,” she whispered.

Or she could just let him rot.

This damn woman.

I grabbed her to me, rocking her softly back and forth.

Peering over her head, I nodded. “Not her dad. But everyone else. Do it.”

Five minutes later the MPPD officers showed up, cuffed the conked-out bottom dwellers, loaded them into the cruisers, and
took out the trash
.

Vouched for by Hunter and backed up by statements from the Redemption women, Handsome and I were free and clear. There was just one other problem to take care of.

“What about this?” Handsome shoved a steel-toed boot cap against Rayce’s dad’s shoulder, and he groaned, still mostly unconscious.

“Taking him home.” There was no way I was gonna let Leroy get behind the wheel.

Sobriety didn’t seem to be his strong suit.

“I’ll run home and get my truck to drive you,” Hunter offered. “You know, just so you don’t assault him more than necessary.”

Probably a good idea.

Keeping my arm around Rayce, I coaxed her to accept a drink of whiskey from Carlie.

I kissed her gently. “I promise I’m just gonna make sure he gets in the trailer all right.”
With my boot shoved up his ass
.

She nodded.

Hunter returned, and he, Handsome, and I stared at the body on the floor. Maybe he’d come-to on the ride home. Maybe not. I voted for option B.

I slung Leroy over my shoulder, only staggering slightly with his fat useless body. Hunter opened the back door of his Tahoe, and I tossed
Dear Old Dad
inside.

“Yo, Handsome. Take Rayce back to the house and wait with her ’til I get home?”

“You got it, Prez.”

“Okay, princess?” I kissed Rayce’s cheek, then the other one, my hands framing her face. “Handsome’ll take care of you.”

She nodded again, her eyes once more downcast.

Hunter and I climbed into the SUV. The inside already reeked of what had to be a weeklong bender from Rayce’s dad.

I directed. Hunter drove. The ride reminded me of that fucking night in December: the Muerte MC, Vicente Valderas, the first time Rayce had let me in that littlest bit.

Now she’d opened up a whole lot more, but I couldn’t figure out why she was still protecting her father.

Dead End Dad woke groggily and sat up in the back seat, holding his head in both hands as we bump-bump-bumped none-too-gently along the dirt track to the trailer.

I kept an eye on him in the rearview mirror.

Looked like all the fight had drained out of him.

Good.

When Hunter pulled up and put the Tahoe in park, the headlights shined on the shitty little trailer on the bald patch of ground in the middle of the junk heap.

Looked worse than ever.

He ran his hand down his jaw. “This is where your woman lived?”

“Yeah.”

He shook his head.

“You need help with him?” he asked.

“Nah.” I hopped out, opened the back door, made sure Leroy exited without splitting his skull on the ground.

Watching him do the drunk man’s swagger to the stoop, I was all out of threats. I didn’t even have the energy left to flip him off.

At least he seemed meek this time. He trudged up the slanted steps, let himself inside, shut the door without another round of backtalk.

During the ride out of Cainhoy, I rolled down my window. “Hope you don’t mind.” I glanced at Hunter.

“Exactly what I was thinking.” He rolled his down, too, and hit the hot air to full blast so we didn’t freeze our nuts off while the truck aired out.

At Retribution, I quickly ducked inside to give the two-thumbs-up to Brodie. He was almost as much of a worrier as me. He gave a jerk of his chin in my direction then began rounding up Ashe to head home.

I had the same idea.

Back outside, I shook Hunter’s hand. “Thanks for helping me cart the old asshole away.”

“Anytime.” He hooked me closer. “You know, there’s the very real possibility Rayce could press charges and make them stick.”

“I don’t think she’d go for that. You saw her tonight.”

“Abuse is—”

“Psychological as much as physical. I know. Been reading up on this victim stuff.” I smiled jaggedly. “Not that I’d ever have imagined Rayce a victim before, you know?”

“Ballsy’s what I’d call her.”

“Yeah, she is that.” I chewed on my lip, shoving my hands into my pockets. “Not on nights like this though.”

“Well, let me know if you want to talk. Or if she does. Can set her up with some counseling and stuff.”

“Will do.”

After one last knuckle tap, I took off.

****

It was late when I got home. I was dead tired, spun out. Instead of going inside, I paced the porch.

Handsome stuck his head outside. “She’s been waiting up for you.”

He stepped out, and I struck his hand with mine. “Thanks for lookin’ out for her, my man.”

“She’s pretty shredded.”

“I know.” I was torn to pieces inside and out, too.

Handsome dipped his head as he backed down the steps. “You go on. Take care of your woman.”

The problem was I didn’t know how to take care of her when she wouldn’t let me.

I found Rayce inside, in the living room, Shitlock purring on her lap. Handsome had started a fire, and she was covered in a blanket.

All I wanted to do was hold her in my arms, tell her everything was going to be all right, but I couldn’t. Not when she wouldn’t cut her cunt of a dad completely out of her life.

“Hey.” I stepped in front of her.

She looked up, looked so goddamn tiny.

I just could
not
wrap my head around how someone usually so forceful and strong could let herself get pushed around all the fucking time by the one person who was supposed to love her unconditionally.

I held her hand for a moment, kissing her fingers. Then I stalked to the fireplace and lowered my head.

“I think you should get a restraining order against him.”

“Why? What difference will that make?” Even her voice sounded defeated.

“Because they can arrest him if he violates it.” Tension crawled over every inch of my body.

“It won’t matter.”

After sucking in a quick breath, I blew it out slowly. “I’m not sure how many more times I can do this, Rayce . . .”

I heard her sharp inhale.

“Seeing you get hurt over and over again.” I wasn’t just shaken, I was shaken to the fucking core.

I didn’t have a problem with taking care of my woman.

Not one damn bit.

But she didn’t want me to take care of her.

And that
bit at me
.

My fists balled, I pivoted around. She was so fucking delicate inside. So breakable.

Fuck
.

But then she rose from the couch with a loud stomp of her feet, dumping Shitlock aside. Her shoulders rolled back and she came at me with a glare. “I never asked you for anything, Boomer Steele.”

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