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Authors: Kathryn Kelly
As if to illustrate his view on women, he handed her a shirt and a pair of shorts. Once she’d put them on—and exalted in the fact that they were slightly big on her—he led her out of the room. When they reached the entry point to the main room, Kendall swallowed. Tonight, her salivary glands were working overtime but writhing bodies and women on their knees servicing men and…the entire situation had spiraled out of control. She glanced around the room, unable to stop herself, and saw no sign of the black-haired, green-eyed president who was a dream to look at himself. He…
“Hey, babe,” a female voice said, drawing Kendall’s attention to two naked girls. They were average sized and had absolutely no regard to her presence. “Ready to have some fun with us like we talked about last time we were here?”
He winked at them and they both giggled. “Not tonight.”
Of course not tonight. He was a biker. Women threw themselves at these men and they happily accepted.
They started moving again, then paused a moment later.
“She’s with me, Bowlie,” he said, placing his big body between her and the other biker, confusing her all the more. She had to remind herself she couldn’t look at this situation from a female mindset and misconstrue this one-night stand as the beginning to something lasting. Sex and love were two different things, which Kendall was old enough to remember without blurring the lines between the two.
“Th-thank you,” she said the moment they left the moans and groans and filthy words of the clubhouse behind and reached the outdoors. She breathed in the fresh air, not even caring it was cold and foggy.
They stared at one another when they reached her car.
“Are you sure you’re going to be all right to drive?” he asked, further drawing her to him. The moment she drove away from him, her senses would return. It had to. “We can go back to my room. Spend the night together.” He shrugged. “Talking. Drinking. Having sex. Your choice.”
Those words sounded like heaven to her. Yes, with him, he’d allowed it to be
choice. Not because he was an asshole bent on control. Spotlights glimmered around them and burned through the low fog, silhouetting his chiseled features. His tempting lips. “Kissing?”
The wind howled and cold blasted her skin. She only wore shorts and a t-shirt and it was freezing. She hugged her arms
around her waist.
“No,” he answered. “I’ll kiss your pussy. The lovely globes of your ass cheeks. I’ll lick you from your toes all the way up to your thighs. But kiss you? No. That I won’t do.”
Her nipples hardened and her pussy readied for him to put action to words. Remembering the intensity of the orgasms he’d given her, her lips parted, the cold air burning her cheeks. She wanted to kiss him, though. Why? She wasn’t sure. She licked her lips, hoping he’d bring her back inside once she pointed something out to him.
“Not even to keep me out of this weather? Keep me here and safe?”
He lifted a brow. “It’s your life, gorgeous. If you want to gamble with it by attempting to manipulate me into giving you your way, that’s your business.”
Raising her chin and chastened by his response, she thinned her lips.
“I want you safe,” he reiterated.
She bit down on her lower lip, trying to hide her shock. Not too many people concerned themselves with her safety and no one saw beneath the surface of the career woman she showed the world to her inner vulnerability.
Before she processed it all and told him she’d return inside with him, he pulled her into his arms and hugged her, kissing her temple. “Thank you, gorgeous,” he whispered, caressing her cheek. “I had a wonderful time with you.”
She nodded, not missing the dismissal in his tone. “Same here.”
Using her keyless entry, she unlocked her door. As if they’d been on a date, he opened the door and held it until she got in. She smiled at him, not knowing what else to do.
He gave her a two-fingered salute and Kendall drove away, saying a silent goodbye to that beautiful man.
Kendall stepped out of the elegant elevator and onto the 20
floor corridor where the offices of Romain, Redding, and Stanley were located, including her own. To her left the wall of windows revealed Portland’s skyline. The clear skies and pretty view should’ve buoyed her, but it didn’t.
would, not even the headiness she still got whenever she arrived at the office as a junior attorney at such a prestigious law firm.
At the time, she’d thought the day she’d been hired one of the luckiest days of her life. If she’d known then what she knew now, she would’ve run the other way. She reached her department and pulled out her keys, noticing Brooks Redding’s door opened. Opera music piped in, soothing her heartache.
Brooks greeted as he strolled into reception of the area Kendall referred to as the Pentagon. The criminal defense attorneys were here. Brooks called it the Double D—Defense Department. Right now, it would be Caroline’s salvation and she
to get Brooks out of there.
Fingers shaking, she offered a smile over her shoulder, rifling through her keys to open her office door. Another sleepless night and her mother’s grilling, the incredible sex—with the wrong man—and Logan’s and Spoon’s combined threats, made her a wreck.
“H-hi,” she murmured, unable to fake a smile, bogged down and fatigued. “I didn’t know you’d be here. Already,” she inserted when he lifted a brow at the strange sound of her voice or her strange words. Maybe, both.
His look drilled her and Kendall’s hollow giddiness increased. She squirmed at his all-knowing gaze.
“Is there…are you all right?” he asked, opting for father-figure more rather than attorney-like questioning.
Always so sure of himself, Brooks wore his designer suits, salt and pepper hair, and weathered face like a GQ model and looked in perfect place surrounded by all the polished wood, gleaming glass, and expensive furnishings.
“I’m fine,” she swore, unable to look at him and instead focusing on the Alfred Sisley painting,
Flood at Port Marly.
She attempted to estimate the depth of the water. Three feet? Five? Enough to cause damage and wreak havoc.
“Are you sure?”
Kendall shifted from foot-to-foot. “Preparing to depose, er…” What was the little idiot’s name? She rubbed her temples, searching, unable to ignore the irony of the Sisley. She’d always loved it. Now, it symbolized the swift undertow sucking her deeper and deeper into despair.
“Liton. You have to depose Mr. Liton.”
Brooks narrowed his eyes at her, disbelief in the unrelenting set of his jaw. “First, Marie. Now, you.”
She dropped the poorest pretense at normalcy she’d ever witnessed and rushed forward. “My mother called? What did you tell her?”
“All right, Kendall, enough,” he snapped in his drop-the-bullshit tone. “What’s going on and I want the goddamn truth.”
Damn it! She’d walked right into his trap. She was so on edge, though, she couldn’t think straight.
What was the truth? she wondered, frantic. Her sister’s captivity and violent rapes? Another looming failure for the second day in a row? The knowledge she’d never get anyone else involved?
“Caroline…ran away,” she said slowly. “I-I took her with me to Seattle and I can’t find her. I don’t know where she’s at.”
Brooks’s mood turned pensive, but before he had a chance to comment, a man cleared his throat. Kendall’s gaze shot to the doorway and her belly knotted. Spoon. He was older than her, too. For a while he’d spoiled her, going so far as to buy the car she now owned and loved so much. Having so much attention showered on her had gone to her head and she’d believed him. Believed
His cool blue eyes perused her body and she didn’t know where to look. Certainly not at him and his hateful smirk. She despised the knowledge that he found her so lacking. She’d offered herself in her little sister’s place. Caroline hadn’t been a virgin, but she’d had only one lover the night she turned sixteen.
Spoon shifted and a lock of faded brown hair fell over his ear, escaping his little queued ponytail.
Brooks knuckled his chin and glanced between the two of them, her jitters increasing at his look of disapproval. “Kendall—“
“Brooks,” Spoon interrupted, nodding his head. “I need to talk to you about a problem.”
The Torpedoes’ MC kept Romain, Redding, and Stanley on their payroll. Kendall met Spoon when she’d accompanied Brooks to a meeting not long after she’d gotten hired at the firm.
Nodding toward his office, Brooks’s tightened his mouth. “Of course, Benny.”
Spoon scowled at Brooks’s use of his given name. He was tall and rangy, more rugged than handsome. “In ten minutes. I need to speak to my girl right now.”
Kendall blinked, shrinking into the door, hoping it swallowed her up. Spoon already knew she’d failed.
Brooks was there, so, obviously, she hadn’t been able to sneak into his office and steal his checkbook as Spoon directed. Thanks to her dismal result at the bachelor party last night, he’d already threatened
and Logan Donovan had already followed through on some of his threats with Caroline.
At any moment, she’d have a nervous breakdown. She couldn’t handle this. She
“I have to get down to the courthouse,” Brooks said tightly. “I should be leaving in ten minutes, just as soon as I’m finished with one more phone call.”
Spoon smirked at the senior partner. “Five for five.”
Five thousand for five minutes, he meant.
Not one to cower to anyone, Brooks frowned at Spoon. “Thirty for fifteen.”
“Deal, esquire. It’s not my money, anyway,” Spoon responded, laughing outright. “Logan’s funding everything right now. Not that it’s any of your business, Redding. I figured Kendall would’ve told you.”
“This is the first time I’ve seen her in six days,” Brooks growled. “She’s been collecting witness testimony because she does have a job. A junior attorney in my firm Remember?”
Spoon didn’t answer. He rubbed his nose, altered his stance a tiny fraction to show his fire arm. The threat unspoken but promised.
“Don’t leave, Kendall,” Brooks continued through tight lips. He and his wife really looked out for her and Brooks treated her as one of his daughters. “You’re coming with me to the courthouse. We can compare the defendant’s version to the witness testimony you collected. Did they agree to return and testify on the defense’s behalf?”
“N-no. Not yet,” she answered, knowing Brooks intended to pull a Spanish Inquisition on her during the drive to the courthouse. Kendall hoped she’d be strong enough to keep her mouth shut once Spoon finished with her.
Her sexy biker rose in her head and she closed her eyes to better savor her memories of being in his arms and having him move inside of her. She doubted he’d appreciate her fear. He didn’t strike her as the type of man who’d respect a coward. The thought stiffened her spine.
Yes, more proof she’d become
Fantasizing over a man who’d already forgotten her.
She started at Spoon’s gravelly growl, the tone she’d once labeled as sexy.
Brooks stomped to his office and slammed his door closed, itching to jump on her case and lecture her about all the reasons she needed better taste in men. He
she was with Spoon, so much so he’d enlisted his daughters, his sons, a receptionist, and an intern to set her up on dates with other men.
Spoon crowded her space and jabbed her shoulder. “Get in your fucking office, Kendall,” he snarled, low.
No. No. And no. Not when he resembled a mad dog. Her blond biker might’ve put her in a sexual stupor but she still had some self-preservation and recognized a man on the verge of violence. “You can tell me whatever you have to out here.”
“Fucking coward. Your
sister can withstand what she gets. But you can’t take what’s coming to you for fucking up not once but
Kendall gripped her hands together, her fingernails digging into her palm so she wouldn’t claw Spoon’s eyes out and ruin her little sister’s chance of survival. “Neither of us have done anything to deserve what you’re doing,” she hissed.
“Coward,” he taunted again. “You deserve to feel the same pain as Sweet Caroline.”
“I don’t,” she protested on a furious whisper. Caroline didn’t deserve any of this. Tears rushed to her eyes and Kendall shuddered. Her tears would be a head rush for Spoon. Her throat hurting, she swallowed her sobs and swiped at a renegade tear. “Talk to Brooks. Take him to the cafeteria on the mezzanine and I’ll get the checks. I swear.”
“Too fucking late, Kendall. I don’t want the checks anymore. I didn’t fucking need them in the first place. I wanted to prove how fucking inept you were. Get in your office now. You’re stalling and Brooks is going to walk out his office real soon. Maybe, I should shatter Brooks’s head with a few bullets.” He hooked his thumbs in the belt loops on his jeans and rocked back on his heels. “His blood and brain will make for a helluva painting next to all these fancy Impressionist masterpieces.”
Her heart beating in a painful rhythm at the image his words conjured, Kendall managed to get her door open and flip on the lights. She gnashed her teeth together at the snick of the door closing and the rattle of the knob lock clicking into place.
She braced herself for the same type of derisive words he’d thrown at her last night. Or even a hit. She went over various responses from not retaliating to slapping the shit out of the violent asshole.
Without warning, Spoon grabbed her by the throat and slammed her to the floor. Before she processed his strike, he jumped onto her, straddling her.
As a liberated woman, an attorney, Kendall refused to allow any man, any
to get away with putting their hands on her. She clawed at Spoon’s face, opening her mouth to scream her head off. Brooks had a key to her office and he’d run to her rescue.
Ignoring her struggles, Spoon grabbed her neck again and squeezed until haziness threatened to overwhelm her. She pried at his fingers, determined to keep her eyes open even as her windpipe began closing.