Marek (Knights Corruption MC #1), page 18
“What the hell are you even doing out here, Tripp? Adelaide would kill you if she knew you were out of bed, and drunk of all things.”
“She’s not the boss of me.” He chuckled. “Although, I’d certainly let her boss me around in the bedroom, if ya know what I mean.” I didn’t know if he realized what he’d just said, but the way he was feelin’ right about then I doubted he cared either way.
A quick turn of my head and I saw it coming, but I was powerless to stop it.
Trigger’s fist flew through the air and connected with the side of Tripp’s jaw, knocking him to the left. Again, I was able to react before he hit the ground, splitting open his many stitches.
“What the fuck, Trig! You can’t go around punching him, even if he did say something about your niece. He’s still recovering, or did you forget that?” I shouted, glaring at him and daring him to argue. Thankfully, he held up his hands in surrender, but not before leering at Tripp one last time. I knew he wasn’t sorry, but at least he didn’t continue his beat-down on our nomad brother. Pulling his graying messy hair back into a neat ponytail, Trigger went about his business as if nothing happened.
A little while later, while I was nursing my second drink, I saw Jagger approach from the side and my body instantly went into fight mode. My muscles tensed, preparing to beat the shit out of him if he said the wrong thing.
When he finally stood next to me, he opened his mouth and spoke. Quickly and quietly. “Prez, uh . . . Do you think I can talk to you?” he pleaded.
“No,” I gritted, never turning my head to look at him. Thankfully, he got the hint. He walked away with his head down, brushing past a few of the wannabes who tried to talk to him.
I’d deal with him when I didn’t have to fight the urge to kill him.
The rest of the night passed by without incident, the men having a great time, overindulging in pussy and alcohol. Even Hawke, with his newly shaved head, was back to his old antics, fuckin’ around with some of the club whores. He’ll never learn.
But then again, what fun would it be around here if he ever did?
“Come on. Just come with me to the clubhouse and then we can go shopping,” Adelaide pleaded with me. She told me she was in desperate need of some retail therapy, and I had to admit I thought it would be fun. Besides, it’d been three days since Cole had been home, no doubt still pissed because I wouldn’t have sex with him. But at least he didn’t force himself on me like I feared he might do. And even though he’d been cruel, he kept to his word and didn’t hurt me. Well . . . not physically.
“I’m not sure if I’ll get in trouble or not,” I answered. Adelaide still didn’t know the whole story surrounding me being there, but she never pried. The only thing she was aware of was that I always had someone watching over me, but she’d eventually admitted it was a normal occurrence with how protective some of the men could be.
Speaking of shadows, Ryder had been the newest chosen one since Jagger had been thrown out a few nights back. I didn’t mind him hanging around, although, unless he was drinking, Ryder was a pretty quiet guy. His company was nothing like Jagger’s, and I feared it was because Cole had threatened his life if he stepped out of line, which might be something as simple as engaging me in conversation.
“How are we going to convince Ryder? He won’t let me out of his sight.”
“Then we tell him he has to go with us.” She smiled, and I knew exactly how she was going to ‘convince’ him to accompany us.
“You know it.” She laughed, tugging on my arm and pulling me toward the living room where Ryder was watching some show about Harleys.
A little while later, we were pulling into the compound, the heavy metal gates closing behind us while Adelaide found a parking space. My nerves took hold and shook me senseless. I had no idea if this one move would be the thing to send Cole over the edge. I’d believed him when he said no one would hurt me again, but was I pushing my luck by showing up unannounced? Did the man have his limits?
A single bead of sweat beaded on my brow. My hands became clammy and my breathing had stifled into short pants. I guess I was preparing myself for the worst, in case today proved to be the day I pushed the envelope one too many times.
A soft rapping made my head turn to the right. I hadn’t realized Adelaide had left the car, but there she was, knocking on my window to get my attention.
“Come on, silly.” She laughed. “You can’t sit out here. You’ll roast in the sun.” The genuine smile on her face made me extremely happy I’d met her, but her warning didn’t deter me from staying within the confines of her car.
“I’ll roll down the window,” I offered, fidgeting in my seat.
Opening the door, she reached for my hand and after a small amount of resistance, I allowed her to extract me. We walked through the courtyard of the compound, the sun blaring down on both of us and immediately heating us up to an uncomfortable level. Thankfully, we’d both been smart enough to wear light and airy sundresses. Adelaide’s was a pretty pale blue color, hitting her just above the knee. It was strapless, and since she was smaller-chested than I was, it looked perfect on her. I, on the other hand, could never wear a dress without straps—too much up top to be comfortable. The dress I chose to wear was a beautiful multi-colored pattern, one Adelaide thought would look great. And, much like hers, my dress also hit just above the knee. A simple pair of flip-flops completed the outfit, although I probably should have worn more comfortable shoes after hearing about all the stores she wanted to visit. I’d chosen to wear my hair back in a stylish ponytail. It was practical and easy, plus it was off my neck, a smart decision given the sweltering heat.
When I gazed at my reflection in the mirror, I deemed it to be a lie. A stylish, vibrant young woman stared back at me, but I was anything but. Young, yes, but the other shit was a mirage.
My heartbeat picked up its pace the closer we came to entering the clubhouse, bikes lined up outside telling me there were a decent amount of members there today. We were walking too quickly for me to take the time to scan the area for Cole’s bike, to determine if he was indeed inside those walls.
Opening the door, Adelaide reached for my hand once again and pulled me behind her, ensuring I wasn’t going to take off running and abandon her. Although, something told me she would be just fine. All of the men in this club would protect her, or they’d have to answer to that uncle of hers. I wished I had someone in my life who had looked out for my well-being just a fraction of how he did for his niece.
Maybe in a different life.
The brightness of the shining sun was cut out once we entered inside. A few of the men milled around the open space and true to form, Trigger was behind the bar serving drinks to anyone who wanted them. It was only a little after two in the afternoon, but a few of the brothers were already well on their way to becoming drunk. I wondered if they were trying to mask a darkness in their own lives.
“Addy,” her uncle called out, a genuine smile tipping the corners of his lips. “Tripp’s in the back resting off last night.” His expression faltered for a split second and I had no idea why. Until he squealed on himself. “Look, honey, Tripp’s probably in a bad way.” The look of confusion on his niece’s face made him elaborate. “He was drinking with the rest of us last night, made some comment about you bossing him around . . . and. . . .”
“And what, Uncle Trig?” She leaned in closer. “Oh, my God! What did you do?” she exclaimed.
“Oh, calm down. I only punched him.” When he saw she was starting to get upset, he tried to placate her. “I just punched him once. He’s fine, but the amount of booze he shoved down his throat is enough to have him feelin’ like shit today. You’ve been warned,” he offered before talking to someone wanting a beer.
Adelaide turned her attention on me, asking if I wanted to wait out there or come with her to check on Tripp. I smartly chose to follow her toward the back of the building, not want
Pushing open a small door toward the back, we both walked in on a naked man sprawled across a bed hardly big enough to fit the likes of his size. He looked to be at least a few inches over six feet, although lying down I couldn’t exactly be sure.
I should have averted my eyes, but I couldn’t help it; I stared at him like some kind of hussy, horny to get her next fix. The man’s body, even with all the scars, was pretty impressive. Well-defined muscles, broad shoulders and thick thighs held my fascination, but they didn’t elicit a need to touch him like when I gazed upon Cole’s body.
Oddly, I could identify with Tripp in some small way because my body was also punctured and scarred. It was an odd connection but one I would accept.
Thankfully, Adelaide stalked forward and threw a sheet over his manhood, shoving at his shoulder with her small hand to try and wake him. “Tripp,” she called out. “Get up.” When he made no move to awaken, she tapped his cheek lightly, trying to rouse him that way. Still nothing. With one knee on the side of the bed, she leaned in closer to make sure he was breathing before tapping his cheek once more.
All of a sudden, strong hands gripped her shoulders and tossed her across him, landing on the other side of the mattress. At first, I thought he was having some sort of nightmare, like I had from time to time where I was lost between reality and a haze of fright. But when I heard his laughter, I knew he was playing with her, and the sight, although scary at first, had me smiling and wishing I had those types of relationships with people.
Adelaide was quickly becoming one of those people for me, which I would forever be grateful for.
Tripp’s voice was deep and rough, no doubt the effects of high amounts of alcohol from the night before. “My guardian angel.” He laughed, kissing her cheek before releasing her.
“You’re incorrigible,” she scolded, slapping his arm before rising from the bed. “By the way, we walked in on you naked, sprawled out for anyone to see.” I thought she was trying to embarrass him, but the man had nothing to be ashamed of. Not in my opinion, at least.
“Did you like what you saw?” he asked, a cocky grin on his knowing face.
“I’ve seen better,” she teased, making my own laughter erupt into the friendly atmosphere.
Gently shoving Adelaide to the side when she’d risen to stand next to him again, his piercing green eyes came to rest on me, noticing me for the first time since he’d woken up.
“Well, well, well. Who do we have here?” he asked, that same self-assured grin spread wide on his handsome face. Unlike many of his brothers, the only signs of facial hair were from a two-day-old growth. Scratching the side of his face, he managed to call my attention to his mouth when he licked his lips. Although I had no desire to kiss anyone but my husband, I could see how women would want to latch on to that full mouth of his.
Making sure to keep himself covered with the sheet Adelaide threw over him moments before, he leaned against the bed frame and watched me, waiting for introductions.
Taking a step forward, I said, “I’m Sully.” I had no idea what else to add to that, but my friend did.
“She’s Marek’s wife,” she added.
“Holy shit!” he shouted. “I heard about the infamous woman who’d trapped and tamed the president of the Knights Corruption.” Arching a brow, he finished with, “You’re even more beautiful than they say, sweetheart.”
His compliment instantly made me uncomfortable, although I tried to hide it. I wasn’t used to people telling me I was attractive, so I immediately thought they were only saying such things to make fun of me in some way. But just like when Cole had told me so, Tripp’s assessment seemed genuine.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“You better behave yourself, Tripp,” Adelaide warned, slapping his hand when he tried to reach for her. “You mess with Sully and Marek is going to bury you himself.” I wasn’t sure if she was teasing him or if she was serious.
Something told me it was the latter.
“Oh, I’m just having some fun. Keep your panties on . . . Or don’t, it’s up to you,” he joked, looking at Adelaide with adoration. Turning his gaze back on me, he tried to comfort me, seeing the nervousness pouring off me in waves. “I’m harmless, sweetheart. Don’t mind me. I love getting a reaction out of people.” Glancing back to Adelaide, he confessed what happened the night before. “By the way, you need to tell your dear uncle to calm the hell down. Anytime anyone talks about you, he flips out.” He instinctually rubbed his jaw. “He punched me last night when I made an innocent comment.” Groaning when he touched a sore spot, he looked up at the woman at his side. “It hurts,” he admitted, playing it up more than he needed to.
Stroking his face over the affected area, she lightly tapped him when he least expected it. “Ow!” he yelled. “What the hell, Adelaide?”
“Oh, I didn’t hurt you. Stop being such a baby.” She laughed then went about inspecting his numerous healing wounds. Tripp sat up straight so she could check his back as well. When she deemed everything looked good, she warned him about pushing himself too hard, like with the night before. “You shouldn’t be drinking so much . . . and pissing my uncle off. You need to allow your body enough time to heal properly, Tripp. I mean it.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He saluted, reclining back on the bed. “Now, if you lovely ladies don’t mind, I need some more beauty rest. Plus, my head’s killing me.” His groans sounded behind us as we left his room.
I liked Tripp. He had an aura about him which instantly relaxed me. He was funny, and humor was certainly something I needed more of in my life.
Stepping into the hallway, I continued to smile from the encounter when we ran into Jagger. His hands came up and landed on my arms, steadying me before I tripped over my own two feet.
“Sully, how are you?” he asked before retracting his hands. A black eye and split lip greeted me when I fully looked at him. His blond hair was disheveled, as if he’d just rolled out of bed, and his amber eyes were bloodshot. Honestly, he looked like hell.
“What happened to you?” I made a move to touch his face, but he backed up. “Did Cole do that to you?” I asked, suddenly furious with the man I hadn’t seen in days.
Moving back another step, he looked reserved before answering. “No, it was from a fight I had two nights ago. A legit fight,” he confirmed, his eyes roaming all over me in concern. “Are you all right? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
I knew exactly what he was talking about, and I put his mind at ease immediately. “No, he didn’t hurt me.” I tried to smile but I faltered. I watched him while he stood in front of me, shifting nervously from foot to foot. He wanted to talk to me, as I did to him, but the tension in the air prohibited us from continuing.
“Well, it was nice to see you. Take care,” he said before walking past me down the hall and disappearing into a room a few doors down.
I didn’t have feelings for Jagger other than as a friend, but the fact that we were forbidden to talk to each other really hurt me. Nothing inappropriate had gone on between us the entire time he watched over me, but Cole had freaked out just the same. My husband hardly spent any time with me, yet he didn’t want anyone else to either. Of the male persuasion, at least.
Forgetting Adelaide was standing near me, her voice brought me back from my depressing thoughts. “What was that all about?” Her sincere concern for my situation was touching.
“Cole freaked out on Jagger because he thought we’d been doing something in his absence.” Reaching to touch her shoulder, I confessed, “But we weren’t, Adelaide. I swear.” What the woman standing before me thought of me had suddenly become very important. Tears swam in my eyes as I tried to hold it together.
“I believe you, honey,” she assured me, pulling me in for a quick hug. She knew I needed the comfort, and I was grateful she could read me so well. “I’m sure everything will blow over soon enough. Marek is a good man. Usually, he’s pretty laid-ba
Standing close by, I heard a woman’s voice say, “Now, let’s go find Ryder so we can get our shopping on.” Right then, I knew it was Adelaide and the hairs on the back of my neck bristled, but not because it was Trigger’s niece. No, it was because I knew exactly who she was talking to.
But how could that be? Why was she here at the clubhouse when she should’ve been back at my house with Ryder? Quickly glancing around, I spotted Ryder in the corner, already locking his lips around a bottle of beer.
Both women entered the common room, instantly drawing the attention of all the men milling around. Most gave them a quick nod in acknowledgement, while one or two of the already-drunken bastards stared a little too long. Trigger was on alert as soon as his niece re-entered the room, and I was acutely aware of every movement Sully made . . . and of everyone who gazed at her longer than necessary.
It seemed Jagger wasn’t the only one I had to worry about. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I would rather instill fear into them than let it go. “Zip!” I shouted over to one of our youngest members. “If you don’t turn your fucking eyes away, I’m gonna pluck them outta your head. Feel me?”
“Sorry, Prez.” He was halfway to passing out already and it was barely after two. But at least he had enough sense not to argue and did as he was instructed, gulping down the rest of his drink and turning his attention to whatever show was on TV.
My eyes found Sully’s and like always, something passed between us. I was no longer upset with her for refusing me. Hell, I wasn’t really angry with her for that reason to begin with. I battled between fighting the feelings she created inside me and giving in to them altogether. I’d lashed out and hurt her. Never mind that I hadn’t been home in days because I was too much of a coward to face her.
Other author's books:
- The Assignment (Massey Security Duet Book 1)The Score (Massey Security Duet Book 2)Stone (Knights Corruption MC Series Book 2)Stolen FateAddicted (Addicted Trilogy Book 1)
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