Savage Love, page 37
He stomped into the fray, pulling Carolina off the other women. Hurriedly scooping up the discarded robe, he covered her luminescent body and gloriously heaving breast. Completely ignoring the dancers, he addressed her in a persuasive tone, “Honey that's enough. They were doing their jobs. I told you I didn't enjoy it.”
She pulled away from him, brushing curly strands of disarrayed hair from her eyes and face. “You liked that fake red-haired hussy well enough. Her stench was deeply embedded in the weave of your boxers as if she'd been burrowing into your lap trying to take root. Through the thick fabric of your jeans, those witches were able to put their stamp on you. I'm surprised pink thong's acidic cunt juice didn't sear your privates off.” Glaring around him Carolina spied the dyed-haired tart and lunged in her direction.
Dylan blocked her path, kept stepping in the way as she tried passing him to reach her target, until she, huffing and puffing, ceased her pursuit of the dancer. “I need you to calm down and consider what you've done. You have children to care for. They're important, not what went on here.”
“Ah-ha, you admit something did go on.” Standing so close to him, her nose was assaulted again by the smell of those women on his person. The putrid odor of month old garlicky sardine oil sprinkled mackerel left out in the blazing sun filled her nostrils and she realized he'd dressed in the same jeans he'd had on earlier. Her hands moved with speed and precision, quick, agile fingers reaching in and searching his front pockets. She excavated a folded napkin with a name and phone number scrawled upon it in bold handwriting accompanied by a pink lipstick kiss. Carolina waved the napkin in his face before she tore it to bits, tossing the pieces in the air like white confetti. Her tone was lethal, “So help me if I thought you'd tapped her fetid well I'd let the silicone out of her breasts and break all your guitar strings.”
She turned to the assembled dancers and still blinded by fury yanked open the front of her robe to expose her breasts, her hands stroking and jostling them at the huddled women. “These are real you silicone she-devils. Dylan doesn't need your toxic tits.” Belting the robe, she then twirled around and raised its hem to expose the full curves of her derrière, which she bounced, patted and caressed, swaying it enticingly at the group. “Take a good look because I'll soon be finding your mates and scooting these halves all over them and I guarantee when I'm through, be they man or woman, they'll leave you for me and you'll know how it feels to be blindsided.”
Allowing the hem to fall back in place Carolina looked into Dylan's disapproving eyes then physically pushed him, trying to get him out of her way. When he wouldn’t budge, she clenched her fists at her sides and ordered through gritted teeth, “They have three minutes to get out of this house, one second past and I’ll let loose Fire on them.” She righted the toppled chair and sat smoothing the robe over her thighs, watching as Patrick hurried the women out.
When he reentered, Patrick approached her tentatively, stopping a good distance away. “Gingernut, I'm sorry. I didn't think you would get so upset. Dylan and I both love you. I swear he did nothing untoward with those girls. Let's kiss and make up.”
She frowned contemptuously at him. “I'll not kiss ye, miserable wretch. If this was your plan to make him leave me at the altar, I will not let it work. I know now you never loved me. You sought to make him abandon me with a brood of babes so I'd crawl to you for scraps of affection. But I warn you Patrick, if he does not legally bind himself to me on the morrow I will cut your fecking heart out and see ye in Hell.”
He knew she was everlastingly in love with him so he did not entertain the notion that she meant what she was saying. With a dimpled smile, he softly assured her, “Gingernut you know I've adored you since the day we met. Calm yourself, and you’ll realize I am due partial credit for getting you and Dylan together. I have only ever wanted your happiness, the very best for you. Tis why I never legally wed ye. You deserve more than I can ever be.”
Her fay family had assured her they had her best interest at heart too and they'd deceived her. She felt he was lying, that their entire life had been based on deceit for his own selfish reasons. Sorrow dampened her fire, causing her voice to break, “I credit you with blinding me. You were the only man I ever lay with before Dylan and you hid from me the secret ways of passion so he's forced to seek out other women, first Liz and now those tramps. Was I not an apt pupil? Did I not eagerly do all you ever asked?”
Kneeling before her he caressed her cheek, wiped the wetness from her lashes. “You were everything I ever wanted. There was nothing I needed to teach you. I knew pure pleasure in your arms, perfection beyond the rights of a mere mortal. What you gave me jeopardized the purpose of my existence. How could I live and work as an earthling when you loved me like a god. I had to let you go.”
Her distress caused her to shake and with unsteady fingers, she brushed his hand away. “You belittled my appeal, told him I wasn't good enough, and boasted that you hadn't taken me in six years to prove I have insufficient womanly charms. But it's your fault I can't give him what he truly needs. Then to further salt my wounds, you sneak those women in to pleasure him under the roof that is to be my home, where my babes rest, allowing cyprians the opportunity to steal him away. You even dared to mock me, picked a fake fiery haired lass to fuel his desire, wearing his favorite color over her poisonous pit as an alternative to me. Was it not an egregious enough insult to my sexuality that he writhed atop my resting place with the whore Liz not even a week ago? You should still be filling his ear with reprimand for that offense. I know the truth now; saw with my own eyes tonight that you have a mighty hankering for her yourself. I bet you were upon her as soon as my back was turned to really torture me.”
“'Tis not true sweet Gingernut. I respect and prize thee above all mortal women.”
The noise was back in her head amplified to a soul shattering pitch and she covered her ears to drown out the sound. From beneath the layers of deafening breakage came the voices shouting out the truth she long denied, had been recently told but had chosen ignorant bliss over rightness. She began to shake from head to toe and without uttering a word, fell upon Patrick, wanting to hurt him as he’d done her. Drawing her fist back she was ready to bop him royally when she heard Vienna crying out for him, begging her not to fight with him because she didn't ever want to go back to foster care. Shutting her mind to her little girl, Carolina jumped off him just as quickly as she'd pounced to take up her seat again. With murder still in her eyes, she watched as he righted himself before her to kneel once again and she didn't care. Though she was physically still, her emotions were like a speeding car on a long stretch of black ice and though she instinctively clutched his medallion for strength and protection, there would be no stopping the inevitable wreckage. Her voice was angry and trembling but barely above a whisper, “You respect and prize me so that you stole from my womb our sons the day you claimed my first true maidenhead. Then the day after deflowering me you skulked off for a ménage a trois with my brother and his wife, filled her womb with our children while mine sat empty and longing for your noble babes. You are cruel and wicked. I was your savior, gave you my heart when I was but a lass of eight, slayed over a dozen men for you of my own will to restore your honor within the same year and was your faithful fille de joie until a few weeks past though you have not desired me for what feels like a century. I waited like a fecking brainless twit, for ye to honor me, as should be my right for all that I've given and done for you, holding my breath and secretly praying every day that you'd raise me from the knees of a harlot to a place of dignity at your side. I should have been taken to your true home as your wife, given pride before your entire family, but instead my brother and his wife reside there. The whole time you were laughing at me with him and Clover, giving to them what I so desperately wanted. You denied me children and my right to love you so that Dylan had to give me your sons and tell me the truth of my own blood twins being stolen by you and your loved one. The nefariousness of your being, P
“I beg you, don't do this. I am humbled, on my knees before thee,” he wailed.
She closed her eyes and started over, “May God forgive me for my sins against him and my faith, but I see ye no longer, you miserable cur. You are cast forever from my children and me. Leave here at once or I'll block your seeing Ciaran.”
Patrick felt tortured. He reached out to her, crying, “You don't mean it Gingernut.”
Opening her eyes, she stared straight through him as if he were invisible, and then turned away, looking toward Dylan's brothers, her vision blurred by brimming tears. “You three, I loved as my human kin and you allowed Dylan to be sullied. I even revealed my true spirit to you, presenting you with gifts of your brother's devotion and thought you were accepting of me, now I know I was a fool. If you wanted me not in your family, why did you let me come to care for you, your wives and children? It would have been kinder to cast me into the ocean and let the sharks tear me apart. My true family threw me away. Why did I expect differently from you?”
Chris gave her a sympathetic look. “Now gal, stop right there. You are-”
With a wave of her hand, she silenced him, not willing to hear what she felt would amount to a hill of lies. “From the beginning Chris, you made no secret of your disgust for me but I thought and felt you'd grown to care for me as a sister, now I know the truth. Even my babes don't want me, preferring the sweet tits of Vega, Sarah and Hannah to my peppery milk.” She let out a pained yowl, bowing her head at the memory of her perceived absolute rejection, shoulders shaking, with tears cascading down her cheeks.
Dylan could see, hear that she was really worked-up and knew her tirade wasn't solely about a few lap dances and finding a woman's telephone number in his pocket. She was still fretting over Patrick's not marrying her legally. But whatever the case, she needed to accept that her outburst had been disgraceful, her immodesty totally inexcusable, and make amends to the people she'd offended. “Carolina, there's no need to take that tone with everyone. I've explained and you'll accept what I say or I'll paddle your rump. Also, for the last time, Patrick can't legally wed you now, accept and get over it. But, you know he loves you. So, you'll see him. He's not cast out and you'll not interfere with his relationship with Ciaran.”
Swiping her palms across her wet cheeks, she humphed mightily. “I'll do as I please, and if you keep at me you'll find yourself beyond the doghouse.”
He clenched his fists. Gosh darn it she was mouthy and infuriating. If he wanted such misery, he could remarry Liz and let her finish sucking the life out of him. “Don't sass me. You are to be my wife, are the mother of my children but you've revealed yourself to my brothers in a more intimate fashion than those strippers. For that and your attack on Patrick you will apologize.”
She sniffed, wiping at her eyes. “No, I won't. When I walked in they were all getting their poles greased by those low-rent curb-crawlers. Had you stayed I'm sure they would have talked you into similar carnal intrigue. They should apologize for allowing me to bear witness to such debauchery. However, you make me out to be the vulgar one. I greased no poles this night Dylan Savage nor am I likely to do so for several moons since you held that floozy’s kiss in your pocket.”
“Woman I've already told you what I thought would be easiest for you to accept. But if you must know the whole truth, it was your three eldest sons who created this mess with that pink wearing gal, not Patrick. They've been on a course of well-intentioned mischief making to test my devotion to you and separate Patrick from us.”
She gaped at him in disbelief. He was already so totally corrupted by that galaxy traveling thief that he would lay the blame upon her sons without hesitation, the three least likely candidates to even know such a woman existed least of all be able to hire her for a party. “Don't waste your breath. You are shameful, standing before me with no qualms about laying the blame for another's misdeeds upon the heads of my innocent sons. Since you've bound yourself to that villainous backstabber, you've taken to murder, stealing and lying. I'm of a mind to pack all my children up and leave you for such wrongdoing and your foul accusations. Would you also have me believe they hired a crotch fairy to secret that napkin in your pocket or they called forth invisible mermaids still reeking of the sea to drop by and magically soak your jeans with stinking fish juices, without your awareness?”
Extending both her palms toward him she shouted, “Silence your lying tongue. I'll not be suckered by you, as I was by that scoundrel you’re bound to. We'll not speak again of your accusations against my sons least I'm unable to refrain from changing you physically into the jackass you are. I'm going to bed and ye need not follow. It's your turn to sleep out with the crickets, or better yet, bunk in the stables in case I awake in the night and decide being a donkey is really the punishment you deserve.” She rose to her feet only to have him forcefully push her back down.
His voice was low and threatening, “I said, apologize.”
With her hands gripping the arms of the chair, she gave a yelp of outrage, “You filthy goat, how dare you lay hands upon me and block my path. Don't think because I've had your babes that I won't blacken your eye. I'm of a-”
Chris, clearing his throat loudly, interrupted her and when he had everyone's attention, he tried diffusing the situation. “Dylan, we all have wives, except Patrick here. It's not like we haven't seen a butt-naked woman before and judging by what's been said, Patrick's seen her in the raw plenty of times. So, there’s no need to get your boxers bunched up. Cut her some slack. She's most likely acting all crazed cause she's hormonal. Hell, she's been shootin' out babies like a Pez dispenser.”
Jesse nodded in agreement. “We just hadn't seen her naked butt before, and now that we have I must say it’s damn fine. She's got more junk in her trunk than all those strippers put together. Damn, when she smacked and shook it at us I nearly went off like a Roman candle,” he offered with a huge grin, not trying to be helpful at all.
With a wolfish whistle Frank added, “Man, her performance was hotter than hell. When she takes up pole greasin' again I'm gonna be first in line.”
His brother's taunts rankled on Dylan's nerves. He felt embarrassed and impotent. “Carolina, apologize and let’s go.”
“No.” She folded her arms across her chest in defiance.
“If you don't, I'm going to the kitchen to toss out all the honey and that darn chili sauce you've been gobblin' up,” he seriously threatened.
She was mad, scared and grieving, not thinking straight. “If you do, I'll fly away and find fifty men willing to let me wriggle around on them and grease their poles for good measure. Just because you and Patrick don't want me doesn't mean there aren't tons of guys who'd cut off a limb to have at me. When I'm done, I'll come back and hop in your bed. We'll see how you like it.”
Frank and Jesse were inching up their hands to volunteer when Chris slapped them both behind their blond heads then stated, “Dylan I wish we could stay and help you out, but I think we better go before some people end up making the situation worse.”
Chris pointed Frank, Jesse and a crestfallen Patrick to the door. As they passed in front of Carolina, she shoved the Savage brothers into Dylan's path. Daringly she tried to flee past them and make her escape but Dylan snagged her wrist and held her in place. Struggling, she kicked him hard in the shin and immediately felt herself lifted off the ground by her upper arms, and shook violently.
Dylan's voice rumbled, deep and alarming, “Be still or I'll take my belt to you.”
Patrick looked at Dylan holding Carolina in anger and felt possessive of her, conflicted because of his bond with the other man. “Maybe you should release her and the two of you sleep apart tonight?”
Dylan gave Patrick a fed up look, “You should fix it so these three forget they saw her tonight and erase from my mind the fact that she's so in love with you my soul aches in response or I'll not be responsible for the misery I let loose.” Not waiting for an answer, Dylan lowered a jolted Carolina to her feet, gripping her upper arm tightly.
She felt the violence in his touch, saw such anger in his eyes she feared he'd hurl her across the room but most disturbing was the realization that he felt intensely hurt and unbelievably betrayed. Snapped out of her fury she wanted to shrink down and runaway, hide beneath a dense planting of blanket flowers to conceal her shame. Placing her palms on his chest, her voice was squeaky and woeful, “Dylan I'm sorry. I was afraid, thinking you were leaving me and I lost my temper.” She turned to the other men speaking sincerely, “I've been disrespectful, am ashamed and sorry. Please forgive me, though I don't deserve it-”
Loud bawling from the doorway behind Dylan cut across her words and all eyes focused on the four children, three looking remorseful and the other absolutely inconsolable. Both Dylan and Carolina extended their arms to the little girl at the same time but she ran beyond them to the comfort of Patrick's embrace where he lifted her up to rest her sobbing face against his shoulder. Of the three boys in the doorway, one stepped forward to explain, “Mom, what dad said is partially true about that woman. But Calder and Callum had no part in the plan and Vienna has worked herself up into a tizzy trying to persuade me to come down here and confess. I planned to let Patrick take the blame for what I'd done so you'd send him away and focus all your devotion on dad. Earlier today, I read your insecurities so I'd know what violation you'd be least likely to forgive. The stripper with the red hair was something I created to make you furious with Patrick, hoping you'd believe he was putting temptation in dad's path. I caused the note to appear in dad's pocket when he came upstairs to check on us, because I didn't think you'd be angry enough without some tangible proof of Patrick's influence over him. Although I'm part Donovan, because while Patrick robbed you of my brothers, I stole his essence just before I was delivered unto my human father, I’m foremost Savage and your fay child, my duty is all the more to you as my mother. Please don't hate me mom. My actions were always to ensure your happiness, even the issue with Liz earlier today and this evening, when she visited you, were in various ways instigated by me. This all started after you refused to see dad and me. I wasn't set to stop until you were my mother again and his wife. I allowed myself to be hurt and compounded the issue by taking that medication so you'd come back to us. I never needed the therapist or you to heal me, then or today, because I'm fully capable of doing so myself. I had to have you and my brothers back with me and dad, where you belong.”