“Same.” Brooke also came over for a kiss goodbye. “Or if this big brute starts to get on your nerves.” She winked Jinx’s way.
Liv gave her a quick hug. “So, what, should we expect to hear from you in about ten minutes?”
“So, I guess we’ll hear from you in ten minutes,” Jinx said in a mocking tone. “Good one, Liv. Get the hell out.”
“So rude.” Instead of hugging him as the others had, Liv swatted his arm. But she was smiling. “Bye, you two.” She blew them a kiss and slipped out the door after her club sisters.
Harper drank in the sight of him standing there, watching her as well. Nothing appeared to be out of order with him. No visible blood, no new bruises, and clean knuckles. “Everything okay?”
“You first. How are you feeling?”
Rotating her neck from side to side, she grimaced. “Sore. Tired. All peopled out.”
He strode over. “Sorry, baby, I should have been faster.”
“No, that wasn’t it. I think I’m just processing.” She tilted her head up to take in all of him as he stood before the couch. “Your turn.”
“I’m good. So fucking relieved you’re here.”
That wasn’t what she meant, and he knew it. Should she push? Would he tell her what he’d been doing? Did she want to know?
“Wanna lie down? Nap? Rest? Just be horizontal for a while?”
Oh, that sounded heavenly. “Yes, please.” She started to stand, but Jinx stopped her by scooping her up as though she were a damsel in distress. “I can walk, you know.”
“I do know. But I’m gonna need to touch you a lot over the next few days to remind myself you’re okay.”
“That sounds nice.” She rested her head against his chest.
He barely seemed to notice her weight in his arms, not straining or becoming winded in the least. With so much care, he set her down on his bed. She kept her gaze on him as he kicked his boots off and stripped down to his boxer briefs.
Her lower belly clenched with need, and she grew wet. The man did it for her, even as tired and sore as she was. God, he was stunning.
She couldn’t imagine how hideous she looked at the moment—bruises, messy hair, sloppy clothes. She’d forced herself to avoid mirrors but would have to look at herself eventually.
“Get out of there,” he whispered, tapping gently on her forehead.
She blinked, having missed the moment he laid down beside her. “Sorry. I’m trying, but there’s a lot to process right now.”
“There is.” He pulled her into his arms. Warmth surrounded her, chasing away the chill of the air-conditioning. The man liked his house to mimic an icebox.
Beneath her ear, his steady heart lulled her to a peaceful calm. It was quickly becoming her favorite sound. Within seconds, she was floating on a cloud of comfort for the first time all day. But there were things they still had to say, and she didn’t want the opportunity to pass her by.
“Is he dead?”
Jinx stiffened but didn’t play dumb. “He is not.”
She sagged as relief washed over her. Carrying the burden of the man’s death on her soul would have sucked, even if she wouldn’t have blamed Jinx for it. “What did you do to him?”
He drew back enough to see her face. “Do you really want to know?”
It was a question she’d been thinking about since he left earlier, and she’d decided with little internal debate. “Yes. I want to be as much a part of this as the other ladies. I want to trust that you won’t do anything to put me at risk. I do trust you’ll protect me and won’t do anything to put me at risk or land me back in prison.”
“Fuck, never.” He kissed her, and she melted into a pile of goo. “Spec had already worked him over pretty good by the time I got there. But I was able to send my own message.” He stroked a gentle finger over the bruises on her neck.
The soft touch made her shiver. “Did, uh… did you guys let him go after?” Maybe he’d turned the air-conditioning off because the room was getting uncomfortably warm.
“Not yet.” He kissed her neck with no more pressure than a butterfly landing on her skin.
Her eyes floated closed as desire ramped up, making her needy and achy.
“But we will. Sorta. Spec told him we own him now. He does our bidding and will get us any information we need about his bosses. The club needs to cut the head off this snake.”
“Yeah.” Wait, what had he said? Something about a snake?
He kissed her lips, smiling against her mouth. “You seem much more relaxed than you were when I came in.”
“Uh… yeah.” In some ways. In others, she was antsy as hell.
“Do you need anything?”
Her eyes opened, and she found his only an inch away, dark, warm, and sparkling with delight. “I do,” she whispered. “I need you to love me.”