“So, we don’t have any cold, hard facts to go on?” Tatum asked. “We’re not certain that Dante is the one who’s coming for me, right?”
“No,” Hart said. “But Outkast has heard the chatter around the clubs. He’s usually in the know and I trust him, Sis. If he believes that Dante is the one coming for you, I believe him.”
“All right,” she sighed. “So, what’s next? We can’t stay holed up here forever. Ryder needs a doctor to remove his cast next week and I’m going a little stir crazy being trapped here,” she said. It stung a little that she wasn’t as thrilled as he was about being trapped in her grandmother’s cabin with him. He’d give just about anything to stay holed up with her for as long as possible and here she was saying that she was ready to go crazy in her confinement.
“So, the relationship thing isn’t going as well as planned then?” Hart taunted.
“Shut the fuck up, Hart,” Ryder growled. This time, his friend was the one laughing into the phone.
“Right,” Hart said. “I’ll be in touch as soon as I have any more information. In the meantime, I’m sending over a picture of Dante, although he might have changed his appearance with being in hiding and all. Be on guard at all times—even when you’re just going out for firewood, Sis,” Hart warned.
“Will do,” Tatum said.
“And check in with Savage tonight,” he said. “I have a date. Consider this our check-in for the day,” Hart said.
“Wait—you have a date?” Tatum asked. “With who? What’s her name?” she asked.
“Oh no,” Hart said. “If you don’t want me poking in your life, you’re not allowed to poke in mine.” Tatum started to fuss at him, asking more questions and Hart just chuckled into the cell phone. “Got to go, Sis,” he said and ended the call. Tatum growled in frustration and tossed her cell onto the sofa.
“He’s so frustrating,” she shouted. Ryder laughed and pulled her against his body.
“Yeah—I think it runs in the family, Honey,” he teased. “So, being stuck up here with me is a hardship?” he asked.
She looked him over and sighed, “No,” she breathed. “I’ve just got cabin fever,” she admitted. “Being stuck with you isn’t so bad.” She cuddled into his side. “I mean—your good in bed, not that I have anyone to compare you to or anything. And you’re pretty easy on the eyes,” she teased. Ryder grabbed a handful of her luscious ass and squeezed it, making her yelp.
“Easy on the eyes,” he repeated.
“Yep,” she agreed. “I’m sorry that I said any of that to Hart,” she said. “I’m scared and my anxiety and stress levels are through the roof. I just wish everything could go back to the way it was,” she said. Ryder wondered if she meant the way things were before him or after him. He didn’t think he would be able to live in a world without Tatum in it. He wanted her in his bed, his house, hell—his whole life. He just wondered if she felt the same way. Admitting that she had feelings for him was a great first step. He worried that as soon as this was all over, and the danger had passed, she’d be moving on from him and his life.
* * *
Tatum had foundhim a doctor to remove his cast and God, it felt good to get that thing off his leg. He still needed to take it easy but the Doc said that he was going to be fine, despite the limp he now had when he tried to walk without his crutches. He gave Ryder a cane and told him to take things slowly—fat chance of that happening. He needed to step up his game around the cabin. Watching Tatum do everything around there was getting old and he knew she was tired of everything she had to do for him. It was time he started pampering his woman—and that started today.
She came back into the cabin with an armful of wood for the fire and he took it from her and ushered her back to the bathroom. “What are you doing, Ryd?” she asked.
“Giving you a break,” he insisted. “I can handle things around here and rest my leg,” he promised.
“But—” she started to protest and Ryder gave her ass a firm smack, causing her to yelp.
“No buts, Baby,” he said. “I ran you a bath and I expect you to get naked and into that tub.” She turned and smiled at him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“Will you be joining me?” she playfully asked. God, he wanted to tell her, yes, but that would defeat the purpose of his plan—to pamper her.
“No,” he said. “If I get into that tub with you, I won’t have time to make you a nice dinner that I’ve planned. This is for you—all of it, to say thank you for taking care of me.”
“It was the least I could do since I was the one who ran you—” Ryder covered her mouth with his hand, not letting her finish her sentence. It was time that they put the past behind them.
“You’ve been beating yourself up for long enough, Honey. How about we agree that we don’t talk about the accident again. That’s what it was—an accident. You didn’t mean to run me down and I’m certainly not upset with the way things have turned out. I got you out of the deal and you are so worth the broken leg, Baby,” he teased. Tatum giggled and nodded her agreement.
“Fine,” she said. “I will not bring it up again. And Ryder, thanks for wanting to pamper me. I need a break.” She winced at her word choice and he laughed.
“I’m also going to make you a list of words to avoid,” he teased. Tatum started to undress and he wanted to stay, watch her, and hell—join her. But that would mean that they wouldn’t have dinner and he had planned a nice one, complete with takeout from town.
“I’m going to run to town and pick up dinner. I’ll lock you in the cabin and you’ll be safe,” he promised. Tatum nodded, standing in front of him completely naked. She stretched and yawned and watching her sexy curves on full display made him hard.
“Thanks, Ryder,” she whispered. Tatum turned and slipped into the tub making a little groaning noise that did nothing to help his erection. Ryder turned to leave the bathroom because if he stayed one minute longer, his plans would be out the damn window with his sanity. Giving Tatum time to herself to relax was worth dealing with the major boner he was going to have to sport through town. But after dinner, all bets were off. He needed her and not taking her wasn’t going to be a part of his plans for the night. Sooner or later, she’d be crying out his name. It was only a matter of when.