Page 26 of The Good Bad Man

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“I promise Santino is okay,” Con tries to reassure me.

“We won’t be if you take that dress off,” Sham grumbles. The sound of the elevator doors opening pulls my attention away from them. My heart sinks when an older man in a gray suit steps off with a folder in his hand.

“That was quick,” Con says to him.

“I already had the papers.” He glances over to me. “I take it you're the bride?” I only nod my head, panic still bubbling up inside me.

“Let’s go into the office,” Sham tells the man. “Laurel, you too.”

“The dress,” I mutter, but I go, hoping they might tell me something else.

“I suppose you can sign.” The man tries to hand me a pen. His folder is now open. From what I can see, it has a marriage license in it. He holds the pen out closer to get me to take it, but I don’t.

“Laurel!” Kane shouts my name, and it booms through the house. His steps are loud. The expression on his face is the first thing I notice. I don’t register the splattered blood on him until he’s right in front of me. His hand comes up to touch my face.

“She’s okay, sir.” Con’s tone is the same one would have if a wild animal was drawing closer. His hand freezes a breath away from my jaw.

“Little bird.”

“I’m okay,” I repeat. Though I feel I should be asking him that. His hand drops, and he steps back. In the wake of his rage, I feel cold.

Kane takes the folder and the pen from the man. Placing it down on the desk, he signs it. Then he hands the pen to me. “Sign it,” he orders.

“I suppose I’m dressed for the occasion.” I take the pen and sign my name. My signature is barely done before Kane pulls the paper out from under my pen. He hands it back to the man.

“You’re now husband and wife,” he says. “I’ll take it over to be filed right now.” That’s all it is. A piece of paper. There are no vows or promises.

“You won’t touch me?” He’s so close but so far.

“Not yet,” Kane replies. That does sound like a promise.

“Not yet?” I hear the squeak of the office doors closing.

“Now you’re my wife.” He grabs my jaw, pulling me in to meet him, his mouth coming down on mine. I gasp as his mouth devours mine. The sound of fabric ripping fills the air.

“Kane.” I try to catch my breath when he finally releases my lips. I don’t know if we’ve been kissing for seconds or hours. My back presses up against a wall. Kane tugs at his belt and then his pants, lifting me higher at the same time, keeping me pinned to the wall. The head of his cock sinks into me. A grunt rips through him.

“Say it.” He’s like a beast that's been trapped in a cage being let loose. Whatever happened shook him. It also made him rush back to me. That means something.

“What?” I moan, gripping his shoulder. How did the man get me naked?

“Say you’re my wife.”

“I’m your wife.”

“Again,” he orders as he starts to thrust faster. I don’t understand his need to hear me speak the words.

“I’m your wife.” Whatever control Kane was holding on to splinters away, taking us both into oblivion.



My wife doesn’t look happy. It’s not that she’s looking sad either over our dinner—steak for me, sole for her—but…bothered as if there’s a rock in her shoe she can’t get out. Any other person, I’d ignore it. What do their life annoyances have to do with me? But Laurel is my life partner. The only end to us is if one of us dies, and even then, I’m going to stick around and haunt her. Definitely not allowing any other man near her. If that makes me a dick, so be it.

“Did something bad happen today?” Laurel asks in a soft voice, jerking me out of my fantasy of ghost Kane terrorizing Laurel’s alive partner.

“I had a discussion with Enrico Soritz about our future.” I wave the fork between her and me.

“And it ended up with blood on your face?” She scrunches her face in obvious disbelief. She’s not buying my edited version.

I hesitate and then try to offer her a fuller explanation. “He’s wanted me to marry one of his daughters for some time. I had no interest in that, and we worked it out. Sometimes disagreements are best solved the old-fashioned way. You know who I am, Laurel,” I end quietly.

She presses her lips together and then forces herself to relax.

“I know.”

We eat in uncomfortable silence which fucking sucks because not an hour ago, I was balls deep inside her. I can never sate my need for her. All I could think about was getting back to her. I’d been more pissed off about Soritz trying to take my little bird from me than trying to kill me. An overwhelming need to make my final claim on her fogged everything else in my mind. I bulldozed my way into making her my wife. Then I consummated our marriage against a wall. I should be ashamed, but my wife enjoys the way I take her. Stake my claim over her body.