Authors: Jenika Snow
Brick grabbed his helmet and put it on her head. The thing was a bit big on her, but he adjusted the straps and grinned down at her.
He had never uttered those two words before. “Come on.” He straddled his bike, turned, and patted the seat behind him. “I won’t bite, Darra.”
At least not until you beg me for it.
His cock pressed against the zipper of his jeans at that thought.
She moved closer and threw one leg over the bike, wrapped an arm around his middle, and climbed up. Once on she tightened her hands around his middle—far too close to his cock for comfort. Brick gritted his teeth when she moved closer, pressing her pussy right against him. Fuck, he could smell that she was on the precipice of arousal. This little interaction was turning her on, and he could smell that musky sweetness between her thighs.
“Where are we going?”
He cranked the engine, and before he pulled out onto the road, he looked over his shoulder. “I was thinking of taking you to dinner. I think we should talk.”
She watched him and then nodded. He pulled onto the road and headed to the sports bar owned by the club. It was small, but they had a private room specifically for parties, and that was where they could eat a nice meal and he could tell her things about himself he had never told anyone else—not even the MC. It was only a ten minute drive to the bar, and when he pulled into the gravel parking lot, right beside a row of other Harleys, he realized he was nervous as fuck. But this was a necessary evil.
He helped her off the bike, and they headed inside. The interior was decked out in Harley décor, with a partially restored WLA hanging from the beams. Since this place was where a lot of the Grizzly MC’s from around the country hung out when passing through, they had a building behind the bar that was broken up into smaller rooms for members to crash and recuperate. A few girls who hung out at the main clubhouse were working the floor as waitresses. He tilted his chin to Mike, an older guy from town that had known the club for years and who was now working as the bartender.
“Hey, I’m taking the backroom as long as it’s free.”
“It’s free.” Mike was cleaning one of the glasses and grinned at Brick. He had a gold cap on one of his front teeth that glinted when the light hit it. He reached under the bar and handed Brick two menus. “I’ll send one of the girls back to take your order. You want me to bring some drinks back to yah?”
A beer for me.”
He looked at Darra.
“Um, I’ll just take
Brick took her hand again and led her down the hallway and into the only backroom they had for parties. There were a few tables in the room, all dressed for service, a small private bar pressed against one side of the wall, and a little stage for entertainment purposes. Once they were seated, Mike had brought their drinks, and a waitress had taken their orders, they were left alone once again. A long moment of silence stretched, and he watched as she smoothed her hands over her linen napkin.
“Why are you so nervous?” He could smell the tangy scent of that particular emotion in his nose.
She lifted her head and looked at him. “I’m not.” She straightened her shoulders when he gave her the look that said he knew she was full of it. “Okay, I may be a little bit, but it’s only because I want to tell you some things about myself, and they aren’t very pleasant.” “Darra, you have nothing to be nervous about.” He leaned back and ran his hand over his jaw. He should have shaved. “Listen, I don’t believe in beating around the bush or lying, and although what I’m going to tell you is something I’ve never told anyone else, I think it needs to be told if anything is to work between us.” He reached out and took her hand. “And Darra, I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted you, that you’re my female, and that I won’t let you go.” Her eyes looked so big and blue, and her nervousness was evident. “And I will never let anyone hurt you or take you away.” If she left on her own that was a different matter, but Brick wouldn’t allow anyone to take what was his, and Darra was his.
Darra admitted that she was scared of whatever Brick had to tell her. He seemed far more serious than any other time, and that was saying something since the man hardly ever showed emotion. After a week of knowing him, but only actually seeing him a few times, she knew that opening up to each other was the logical step. She had thought about it long and hard, and knew that if she really wanted to give this a go with him—which she did—then she had to be truthful. He had things to tell her, too, so maybe they weren’t very different after all.
“You are in this with me, right, Darra?” He phrased it like a question, but there was still that hint of domination in his voice.
If someone had told her she would feel this strongly about someone so quickly, especially after the life she had led, she would have laughed in their face. But she was sick of questioning it. “If I hadn’t decided that I wanted you, that I wanted to give whatever this is between us a chance, I would have told you right away.”
He nodded, as if pleased with her answer. “And you feel this intensity, this connection that doesn’t seem logical or sane?” His words were now soft and inquisitive, but he didn’t lose that hard edge to him.
“Yes, Brick, but you know all of this.” She knew he was an animal at heart, had senses far superior to hers, but he was also a determined male and wanted to hear her say it.
He let go of her hand and leaned back in the chair. His focus was on the bottle in front of him, but she could practically see his mind working. “I’ve been with the Grizzly MC for a very long time. I’ve known Jagger, the President, for just as long.” He was quiet once again, but she knew all too well that whatever he was trying to tell her was hard. “That is the only place I call home, and the members within that clubhouse are the only people I care about.” He looked her right in the eyes. “That is until I met you. We’ve only known each other for such a short time, and I’ve never thought that I would ever want someone to protect, to take care of, as much as I do you.” He didn’t break eye contact. “I love the members of the MC. They are my family, my brothers, and I’d die for them. But even after saying all of that I have never told them about my past, and about the shit I have done.”
Darra’s heart was beating so hard at his words. It was like she was staring at herself, feeling the same things Brick was. He stayed silent, but there was so much emotion on his face, and she decided that she’d be the one to open up to him first.
“I got pregnant at sixteen.” Her whole mouth felt swollen as she pushed those words past her lips. “I’ve never told anyone that since it happened.” When he didn’t say anything she lifted her eyes to his. He watched her, but there wasn’t any judgment in his expression.
“Your parents didn’t take care of you?”
She shook her head and suddenly found her napkin very interesting. “My dad left when I was a baby, but my mom might as well have left, too, since she was at her boyfriend’s house more times than not.” The room felt so hot all of a sudden, and beads of sweat lined her temple. “But I didn’t get a chance to tell anyone I was pregnant, because when my boyfriend found the pregnancy test he went crazy.” Tears threatened to well in her eyes, but she forced those bitches back. “I had plans on breaking up with him because Eric had a bad temper, especially when he drank.” Brick’s expression stayed neutral, but she felt this intense heat come from him and saw the way he clenched his fists on top of the table. “Eric was older than me—twenty-two at the time—and had his own place. But he partied hard, and didn’t like it when I said no.” Although Darra had thought about all of this stuff throughout her life, she didn’t dwell on it now. She was a firm believer that the past should stay in the past. Besides, it hurt a lot having these memories bombard her. “So, he found the test, confronted me one night while he was drunk, and beat me so badly that I had a miscarriage.” The tears she tried desperately to hold back slipped down her cheeks. She had buried these parts of her life deep down inside of her, and having it resurface had all of that emotion come crashing back inside of her. Brick reached out, and she saw that his hand trembled. Darra could feel his anger at her past as if it were her own.
“Where is he now?” His softly spoken question took her back a minute.
She cleared her throat and brushed away her tears with the back of her hand. “A few years back I saw on the news that he was in a fatal car accident. Alcohol was involved.” Brick clenched his jaw so hard she heard his teeth grinding.
There she was again, confused. “What?”
“Good, Darra. It’s a good fucking thing that he is dead, because if he wasn’t,” he leaned in and looked her straight in the eye, “I would have hunted him down and made him beg me for death before I was done with him.”
Her stomach tightened at the threat in Brick’s voice. His stare was unwavering, and the very real promise of what he would have done to Eric was right there below the surface. She cleared her throat again, not knowing if she should continue, but knowing she needed to get this out. It hurt to replay all of this, but it also felt good to finally tell someone else. “After I went to the hospital, had to make up some lame lie as to where the bruises came from and how I lost the baby, I decided that once I was done with school I was going as far away as I could. My mom was shitty, my home life filled with a revolving door for her boyfriends when they felt like being there, and I had one more year of high school before getting out of that crappy city and starting my life over.” Darra leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms over her chest. “But the night of my graduation I came back home intent on getting my things and leaving, when I saw my mom passed out on the couch with her boyfriend sitting
her smoking out of a crack pipe. He tried to coax me over, but I had one goal in mind and that was to get out of there.
Seems he had other plans, though.”
Darra looked down once more, not able to meet Brick’s’ eyes as those memories washed through her hard and fast, and hurting so damn bad.
“Baby…” His voice was gruff and cracked at the end, and when she looked up at him the anger and empathy moving across his face were so very tangible.
“He raped me that night, but I didn’t let it define who I am, didn’t let any of that shit define who I am. I left California, left the city I grew up in, and just took a bus to the first place I picked out on a map. I didn’t have much money, but I had been saving since I started working at fifteen years old. I didn’t care if I had to live under a bridge. I just wanted out.” She took a deep breath, because even for as ugly as her life had been, she was going to make it right. “I got help from a women’s shelter, got a crappy job, that paid even crappier, but I was doing it on my own. I even got an associate’s degree in business. I did all of that until I was able to finally stand on my own two feet and support myself. But I didn’t want to live in a city anymore, and decided I wanted peace.” She snorted at that thought, because even though Steel Corner was a mountain town, there were still parts of the city she had tried to leave embedded in it. “I’m not telling you this stuff to upset you or to garner sympathy, but because I do believe that truth is the best way to start things.
How can we really know each other if we aren’t honest?”
Brick scrubbed a hand over his face and exhaled roughly. For a few moments he didn’t do anything but stare at the ground and grind his teeth. Then he seemed to get control of himself and looked at her.
He looked so big and intimidating sitting in what seemed like a too small chair. With his short sleeved dark tee, and his cut over that, she could still see every line, dip, and curve of his muscles. The scar on his cheek only seemed to amplify the hardness of his exterior, but also seemed to match the darkness she saw inside of him. Until today he had always worn long sleeved shirts, but on his left arm he had an entire sleeve of ink. But they weren’t colorful tattoos, but dark lines, twisting curves, and sharp edges. They looked angry, as if they were cutting into his flesh, and disappeared under his sleeve. How far did they go? How much of his ripped, tanned flesh did they mark? For as traumatized as one would think she was after the life she led, there was a dark part of Darra, too. There was this side that wanted to feel herself beneath Brick, feel the hard tug of his hands in her hair, or his tongue and teeth moving along her body, and of those big, strong hands of his holding her down as he brought her to heights she had never been to before.
Clamping her thighs together as everything inside of her clenched from her sudden onslaught of arousal, she knew these types of emotions were completely unjust at this specific moment. But Brick was lost in his thoughts, and didn’t seem to react to the fact she was aroused.
He didn’t say anything for several seconds, and the time seemed to stretch as she watched him try to control himself. He was clearly angry over what had happened to her, and something melted inside of her at the thought that this man felt so strongly about her past. They may not know each other very well or intimately, but he was right. There was a connection between them, and there was no trying to deny it.
“I have lived my whole life feeling the same cold, dead feelings. That is what has gotten me through each day. I have never questioned it, or felt any remorse for keeping people at a distance. And then you came along, and all it took to shake the hard exterior that I made sure covered me was one look at you.”
Darra didn’t respond because she didn’t know how to. He spoke these very powerful words in his deep, slightly gruff voice, and she could hear the emotion laced with his words. She knew that this had to be new for him, the same as it was for her.
“I want to be honest, too, Darra, but I’m also afraid of how you’ll react.” His eyes seemed darker, colder.
She swallowed all of her arousal at that look he gave her. “It can’t be any worse than what I just told you.”
He said nothing and gave nothing away in his expression. He shifted in his seat, and the chair creaked from his massive body. “I’m not a good person, Darra, not by a fucking longshot.”
“Brick, the fact you want to tell me, that you’re afraid of my reaction, lets me know you
a good person.” Now it was her turn to reach across the table and take his hand. He had it in such a tight fist. “How can I judge someone when I have not led a perfect life? I make my living stripping for men on top of everything else.”
His jaw hardened at her words, but he did open his hand and let her run her fingers along his big, thick fingers. “We will talk about the whole stripper thing later.” He placed his other hand on hers. “Come here, Darra.”
She took a deep breath and pulled her hands free from his. After pushing her chair back and standing, she slowly made her way toward him until she stood right in front of him. They stared at each other, neither moving, neither speaking, but although nothing verbally was said, there was plenty of energy being passed between them. And then Brick reached out and wrapped his hand around her waist, pulled her down until she was sitting on his lap, and curled his other hand around the nape of her neck. The hold was gentle, but very proprietary, and even the look on his face was the same way. It said, “I am yours, and I want you to fully realize that.”
“What is it, Brick?” She kept her voice low, but they were so close, only inches apart, that the intimate space meant he could hear her just fine.
I’m just memorizing every line of your face, counting every eyelash, and tracing each tiny freckle lining the bridge of your nose.” But he didn’t give her time to respond because he had his mouth on hers, and his tongue moving along the seam of her lips.
A small groan left her, and when he tightened his hold on her nape, digging his fingers into her flesh and keeping her right where he wanted her, Darra’s head spun. He tasted spicy and sweet, and the way he took possession of her mouth, and held her like he couldn’t bear the thought of her leaving, had her lifting her arms and wrapping them around his neck. A deep sound of need left him when she tilted her head and opened her mouth, taking his tongue inside and moving hers along with his.
They must have kissed for minutes, because when he pulled away she felt drunk from her pleasure and desperate for more. He might have broken the kiss, but he still held her tightly. “Why don’t we start with something easy like basic facts about ourselves?” Maybe she should have started with the easy stuff first, but she felt a lot lighter after telling him, and she hoped he would feel the same way, too. She smiled and ran her fingers along the bottom of his head. “Darra Strand. Twenty-four year old stripper with her associate’s degree, living in a crummy apartment, but falling hard for this big, tough biker that I met not long ago.” She leaned in and kissed him once more, but she felt how tense he was beneath her. “Tell me about yourself, Brick. I won’t go, but
it isn’t because I have no other options, but because I want to stay here
. I don’t want to fight this, to fight you. I just want to feel alive, to feel something other than this need to move forward. I want to start my life without worrying if that will ever happen.” She had murmured all of that against his lips, but he hadn’t pulled back, and instead she felt him pull her closer. “And I feel alive with you, Brick. You are the first person to really make me feel that way. I knew I was in trouble, and that it was going to be hard to fight this attraction I have for you from the moment I felt you step up behind me at
.” She pressed her chest more firmly against his and loved how hard he was compared to her softness.