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She breathed in and out hard, fast.

“I'm fiendin' for you. That never stopped. I'm not letting you run again. No. Fucking. Way.” Big sobered, thought about why she was here, why she’d come back for the club’s help and protection. He really wasn’t going to let her go, wasn’t going to let her walk away again.

He’d been a dumbass for not fighting harder to keep her close.

Not again. Never again.

“Our lives were never meant to be, Big. Didn’t that time apart show you that you’re not the type of man to have an old lady?”

He placed his other hand by her head on the wall. “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do.” He let those words sink in and let them saturate the air around them, between them. “Time don’t mean shit, Claire, not when I realized what a big fuck-up it was letting you walk away.”

She swallowed, her pupils dilated, the heat coming from her like a blast from a furnace. “Don’t do anything crazy. I told Mayhem and the others the same. I just want to put that behind me and forget about it.”

He shook his head. “Do you not remember who I am? What happens to someone when they fuck with what’s mine?”

She didn’t respond but started breathing faster. He dipped his gaze to her tits, saw her nipples poking through the material of her shirt, and knew his woman liked this violence in him, liked the fact he didn’t hold anything back.

“What I’m going to do is find that motherfucker who thought he could lay his hands on you, beat the shit out of him, and make him realize that what he did could get him killed—still might even depending on the mood I’m in when I get there.” He smirked, but it was far from humorous. “You’re mine now, Claire, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can get back into the way things were, baby.”

“The way things were? Maybe I don’t want that, Big.” She sounded stronger now.

He smirked, stared at the way her lips were parted, lush and pink, and the way she was aroused for him. “You can keep saying shit like that, but I know you and know your body as well as my own.” He leaned in one more inch, so close now that their mouths were almost touching. “And I know you still love me.”

She was silent, and he knew he’d gotten under her skin.


“If things didn’t work out back then, what makes you think now would be different?” Claire asked, the challenge still in her voice.

Big clenched his teeth together after she spoke, looked into her eyes, and knew he’d screwed up by letting her walk away.

“Can you honestly say you want me now, Big? Can you truthfully, genuinely, say you want me as more than just pussy on demand?” She licked her lips slowly. “Can you say you want me as your old lady?” she said so softly he almost didn’t hear.

“I can say that I want you, Claire. I want you like I want to fucking breathe, like I want to—intend to—go after that slimy bastard who hit you.” He held her gaze with his own. “I can say I want you as only mine. I want you as my old lady, Claire.”

She pushed at his chest, and he let her. Big stepped back, kept his focus on her face, but allowed her the space she needed.

Yeah, he’d said it, finally admitted to her and himself out loud that he’d been the one to make her leave, that he’d been selfish and an idiot, that he was an asshole. He’d finally told her that he wanted her as his old lady.

She was looking at the ground, shaking her head. “Big.” She said his name and looked up. “I wanted that two years ago, but it wasn’t in the cards for us.” She was silent for a moment. “It’s the main reason I left, even if doing so was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

He hated that she’d left, that he hadn’t been man enough to tell her he wanted her as his old lady, that he hadn’t gone after her. He couldn’t go back and change time. All he could do was be regretful. He hadn’t fucked anyone else while they’d been together, hadn’t even wanted to.

She’d been it for him, but he had never told her he wanted more with her, had never told her he loved her or that he did want her as his old lady. That had been his major fuck-up, so she’d left and rightly so.

He clenched his hands into fists, looked at her, at the way her long, black hair was in a loose braid and hanging over her shoulder. Her eyes, so fucking blue and clear, made his chest hurt. He’d kill for this woman, fucking destroy anything or anyone that tried to hurt her, and someone had.

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