Annoyed beyond belief, Johnnie walked into his house, warmed by the central heat and cheered by the scent of food. Not pausing once he stepped inside, the novel experience of having a woman to come home to settled into him. Even when he’d been with Iona, they hadn’t lived together.
As he drew closer to the kitchen, strains of operatic music reached his ears and he frowned. What the hell? Opera music? Who listened to that bullshit by choice?
“Turn that goddamn shit off—“ He snapped his mouth shut when he noticed Kendall, standing next to the breakfast bar, wearing a ruffled red, white, and green apron she must’ve found somewhere. And. Nothing. Else. Her big breasts fell from the sides of the bodice, which managed to cover little more than her nipples. Her hair was loose and wild, a blanket of red silk raining around her. His gaze roamed from her bare feet to her long legs, pretty knees and soft thighs to the bare ‘v’ at her apex. Her little apron didn’t cover her pussy and Johnnie licked his lips, already smelling her arousal.
She opened her pussy lips and massaged her clit, her pink flesh glistening, begging to be licked.
He sauntered to her, replaced her finger with his own, and leaned close to her ear. “I see you want a kiss from me?” He inserted two fingers into her, wrapping his arm around her waist as she moaned. Bending his head, he pushed the small covering on her breast and licked her nipple because closing his lips around the tautened peak and sucking, while keeping a steady rhythm of finger fucking her.
Only in the mood for a good, hard fuck, he turned her around and leaned her against the counter. After covering himself with a condom and spreading her legs, he thrust into her and sucked in a breath at her consuming heat.
“Take your condom off,” she begged with a moan. “I’m on the pill and I want to feel your bare dick in me.”
He held her hips in place and slammed into her. “Condom stays on,” he grunted.
Impatient, he leaned over her and bit her shoulder. “Shut up, Kendall,” he ordered. “Or I’m going to bust a nut and not concern myself with your orgasm. My dick stays covered and I intend to come.”
He brought his hand to her clit and caressed it. Her pussy walls clenched around him and he groaned, her belly heaving against his arm. Her legs began to tremble and she cried out, rotating against his dick. Still encased in her, the shivers of her orgasm vibrating through him, he moved her away from the counter.
“Bend over,” he commanded. “Touch your toes.” He slid deeper into her when she followed his instructions. “Ah, fuck, you have good pussy.” He slammed into her, not wanting gentleness or tenderness. She gasped at his hard strokes and he gripped her hips, holding her in place as he exploded with a harsh groan.
A moment later, he pulled out of her and reached for a paper napkin to discard the used the condom. Kendall had fallen to her hands and knees, breathing hard, exposing her pussy to him. Before he reached for another condom, she was wobbling to her feet and leaning weakly against the breakfast bar.
Instead of approaching her for more sex, he went to her and took her in his arms. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
She pressed her cheek against his. “No. I’m just…you completely undo me.”
He smiled at the shock in her voice. “And that’s a bad thing how?”
She pulled away to rap his shoulder and he couldn’t resist smirking at her.
“You have such an inflated ego,” she said with a huff.
“Well-earned, gorgeous,” he pointed out. “I’ve even managed to impress myself at the awe in your voice when you said I undo you.”
“I’m soooo sorry I admitted that. Consider it a moment of post orgasmic stupidity.”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “There’s nothing stupid about you, Kendall.”
She backed away from him and lowered her lashes, hiding whatever she was thinking. “L-let me get dressed and then we’ll eat.”
“You can always eat as you are. No complaints from me and it’ll make it easier for me to partake of my dessert.”
She licked her lips. “You’re incorrigible.”
“Never,” he denied and winked at her, caught up in the moment of her company. “A better word is insatiable. Only a drink of your sweet nectar can quench my hunger.”
“Oh my God!” she squealed and then giggled, making her look young and carefree. “You did not just so something so corny.”
He hooted with laughter. “Indeed, I did.” He shrugged. “Cheesy? Maybe. The truth? Definitely.”
Kendall shook her head and frowned. “I have to be careful with you,” she mused. “You’re dangerous. With your charm and handsomeness.”
“And you’re excellent for my ego, with your beauty and straight-forwardness.”
Her cheeks grew rosy and Johnnie chuckled, folding his arms. It pleased him to see this softer side of her. Their back-and-forth banter took years off her, made her brown eyes sparkle. The realization of the flirting he’d been doing with her made him go rigid with all the emotions that had been plaguing him since Megan’s attack.
The rumble of Harley pipes reached Johnnie’s ears and he tensed. Shit. Kendall had distracted him from his fucked-up day and the argument he’d had with Outlaw. Had he locked his front door? Jesus H. Christ. He yanked Kendall toward the bedroom, not having the time to answer the questions in her eyes. “Stay in here and don’t make a sound. If you hear anyone coming near this bedroom—“
“JOHN BOY!” Christopher’s furious yell barreled through the house.
He shoved her in the bedroom and closed the door as quietly as possible, running into Christopher at the halfway point in the house. Val and Stretch flanked his cousin, looking grim. Christopher looked wild.
“Megs?” Johnnie whispered. After their argument over Kendall, the only thing that could’ve dragged Christopher away from her side was if her condition had worsened.
Christopher grabbed his throat and shoved him into the wall. “Where’s that fuckin’ cunt?”
“Stop!” he choked out. “You have everything misunderstood.”
As if his cousin would listen. Johnnie pounded at Christopher’s wrists and hands, attempting to free himself but Christopher’s tight hold on his neck quickly stole Johnnie’s oxygen and his heart pounded as frantically as his pulse, his body searching for the air it needed.
“Outlaw!” Val yelled. “Outlaw, you’re killing John Boy.”
That was his intent, Johnnie knew. Somehow, Val managed to pry Christopher’s fingers away and held him back. Johnnie doubled over, coughing. He felt like killing Christopher and he had to wrestle to get his murderous instincts under control. If he struck back at his president, he’d have to kill him. If the brothers committed an infraction, punishment was handed out. Any resistance or retaliation just made it worse.
That knowledge still didn’t cool Johnnie’s temper.
“I know she’s fuckin’ here,” Christopher snarled, not caring when Johnnie straightened. “Ain’t no motherfuckin’ reason for you to come here but to hide her after I gave the order to bury that bitch.”
Johnnie wheezed in a breath. “She’s not here,” he lied, drawing in air. He realized he couldn’t strike back at the moment. He was too dazed from his near strangulation. “After all that happened, I needed—“
“You lyin’ fuckhead. Mortician told me. I know about that bitch’s twin. I know about those fuckin’ cars. I know everyfuckinthing.”
Fuck! What the hell had Mortician been thinking to admit everything to Outlaw? His temper spiked again that the brother had put Johnnie’s and Kendall’s lives in such dire jeopardy.
After he’d left Mortician to meet with the salesmen, Outlaw had called a little while later. Johnnie had had to field all sorts of questions from the man about Kendall and what he’d done to her. He suspected Johnnie was being less than truthful and then gotten into the worst argument they’d ever had.
“You fuckin’ love Megs so much?” Christopher sneered. “Prove it. Turn over that murderin’ bitch to me while we search for that other cunt.”
“You asshole,” Johnnie snapped, pushed to the edge of his limits, not thinking anything through, just reacting. “That’s not fair, trying to use my feelings for her to goad me into killing Kendall. You used the way I felt about Megan once before and wanted to kill me because she jerked me off.”
By the time Johnnie’s words caught up with his brain, he’d already said them. Tension had already whirled into the room, sweeping away everything else.
“Megan did what to you?” Unlike the roar of his voice before, Christopher’s tone had turned deathly quiet. He’d gone pale, his fists balling at his sides.
“Don’t do this, Outlaw,” Val advised, shooting daggers at Johnnie. “Things too hard right now. Both of you need to cool off.”
No one breathed as Christopher stared at Johnnie, still like a statue who’d flare to life at any moment. He narrowed his eyes at Johnnie and pointed a finger at him. “If you ever so much as look at Megan again, I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you, John Peter.”
His cousin hadn’t called him John Peter since they were young teenagers and they’d gotten into a fistfight. Only, then, they’d been allies. Now, they were enemies and Johnnie saw Christopher’s anger, but the hurt and betrayal was also unmistakable.
“You have forty-eight hours to deliver that bitch to me.” A muscle ticked in Christopher’s jaw. “If you don’t, I’ll get her myself even if I have to tear this motherfucker apart. You run with her, Mortician gets buried. That motherfucker defied me, too. Who lives and who dies is your choice, fuckhead.”
Christopher stormed out and Stretch went behind him, his shoulders slumped.
Val stared at Johnnie. “You lost your fucking mind, John Boy?” he fumed.
Covering his face with his hands, the smell of Kendall’s pussy on his fingers, he leaned against a wall. Yes. Yes, he had lost his fucking mind. He’d been immersed in anger at Christopher’s determination to get to Kendall and outrage at having the shit choked out of himself. He hadn’t stopped to consider his words, how they’d affect his relationship with his cousin. How they’d affect his cousin’s relationship with Megs. And the last thing he wanted to do was cause Megan pain. Coming between her and Christopher would certainly do that.
“Talk to me,” Val snarled.
“What do you want me to say?” he shouted, dropping his hands and glaring at Val.
Val walked up to him, the tear drop tat under his left eye wavering in and out of Johnnie’s vision as he focused on the man.
Johnnie straightened, that unreachable place, where only spilled blood appeased him, pulling at him. He struggled to stay sane, blotting out the image of reaching for the dagger stored in the silk-lined, inner pocket of his jacket, and slitting Val’s throat.
Val reached for him and Johnnie shoved him away. “Get the fuck away from me, motherfucker,” he snarled. This wasn’t him, he reminded himself. This was Iceman, the road name he’d rejected. The foul mouth was Iceman and Outlaw. Not John Boy. Not Johnnie.
“Fuck you,” Val shot back, not in the least intimidated. If worse came to worse, they’d probably kill each other. Val was as lethal as any one of them. “We brothers, fucker. We supposed to stick together. Outlaw finally pulling this shit together and now this happen with Megan and you open your fucking mouth about old shit better left unsaid? Are you so jealous he has Megan you told him that shit on purpose, asswipe?”
Was he? No, he couldn’t be. He’d do anything for either of them. But he kept his temper leashed so he wouldn’t lash out. “I want them happy—“
“Could’ve fucking fooled me. You revealing shit like that ain’t exactly a recipe for happiness. Especially with Outlaw where his wife is concerned. You lucky he didn’t blow your fucking dick off.”
“He left her with me!” Johnnie barked, using the only defense that made any sense. “He knew what would happen. Now he’s using my feelings for her to get to a woman to kill her.”
“Megan went into shock, Johnnie,” Val reminded him quietly. “Lost a lot of blood. Those hits to her stomach gave her something called Abrupt Placenta.”
“Placental Abruption,” he corrected, his heart beating fast and furious.
Val shrugged and rubbed his eyes. He looked tired and sad and Johnnie knew the worry for Megs had everyone on edge.
“The baby couldn’t be saved and she bad off. Real bad off.”
“Mortician said earlier she was awake and—“
“How the fuck you think she took the news her baby is dead? The second son she was so happy to give Prez? She was 27 weeks along. Know what that mean? It mean she have to make a decision about whether she gonna bury her little baby. Or cremate him,” he added on a swallow and Johnnie knew Val was thinking about his own son.
“She’s not doing good, John Boy. Outlaw is like a wild man. It’s tearing him up and he need all of us right now. Megan don’t need you hurting her husband. She need you looking after him.”
With one last, meaningful look, Val walked out, leaving Johnnie stunned into speechlessness.
Kendall had heard every word of the heated exchange and, despite her best efforts to the contrary, she felt somewhat vindicated on Ellen’s behalf. A life for a life. Whether Megan ended up dying or not, Ellen could rest in peace.
All the bullshit Johnnie had fed Kendall about Megan had been lies. He was in love with her and she’d jerked him off. What had he done to her in return? From experience, Kendall knew Johnnie would’ve wanted his precious Megs satisfied, too. He prided himself on his sexual skills. He’d never said it, but it was in his every action.
Kendall’s skin crawled at the thought of the flirty banter they’d shared just after he’d returned home. He’d managed to make her forget her disappointment that he’d worn a condom. He’d gotten her to do his bidding and she hadn’t given it a second thought. As he pounded into her, he was probably imagining he was inside of Megan. Of course, he would say she hadn’t come between her sister and his cousin. To him, that woman could do no wrong.
They called Ellen as whore but what kind of slut would break up a relationship and then sleep with two cousins?
The door opened and Johnnie framed it. His blond hair fell in random swatches over his head and forehead, but a combination of emotions haunted his eyes. Bruises were already forming on his strong neck where Outlaw had tried to choke him. If she hadn’t feared for her life, she would’ve done something to try to help. But he’d been enraged because Johnnie was hiding her.
She frowned, reminding herself they were less lethal than the pretended. If she really believed that, why hadn’t she run to help Johnnie?
His gaze swept over her and heat rose in Kendall’s body at the inscrutable look. Five o’clock shadow darkened his jaws and chin and she imagined how the blond stubble would feel on the most sensitive parts of her body.
“Are you hungry?” He was hoarse and tortured sounding.
She was sorry she’d dressed in a pair of his shorts and a t-shirt. She should’ve remained naked. “For you.”
His lip curled into a sneer and she understood he had no desire for her. But she would make him want her. She hadn’t lived these past thirty years, fucked as many men as she had, and not learned anything. Her body craved his, but this would be another small victory over her sister’s killer and would prove that woman didn’t have as much of a hold over everyone as Ellen always insisted.
She started for him but he turned his back on her. She gritted her teeth and she reined in the urge to stomp behind him. Instead, she modulated her walk, swaying her hips with lady-like aplomb. Pots were clanging and she guessed he was uncovering the beef stew she’d prepared.
Discovering her accuracy when she reached the kitchen, she stopped to admire his taut ass. He turned, holding two plates filled with food.
Not speaking, he headed for the small dining room, instead of eating at the breakfast bar as she’d expected. The round, cherry wood table was bare, but he didn’t seem to be in the mood to find placemats or anything else that would give their dinner some civility.
“What are you drinking?” he asked. He winced. Judging by his hoarseness, his throat must be hurting terribly.
“You wouldn’t happen to have Stoli, would you?”
If he was surprised she requested vodka, he didn’t show it. He shrugged. “I might. I’ll check.” He guided her to a chair and pulled it out for her, urging her to sit with a gentle push on her shoulder. “Relax. Eat.”
Kendall stared at the food. Her very worst nightmare and her greatest enemy. Her stomach growled at the smell. Eat, Kendall. You’re passed this.
But she wasn’t. She’d never get over this horror she had of food. She’d live with Ellen’s horrid words, calling her a fat pig and overgrown giraffe for the rest of her life.
Kendall bowed her head. Half the time, she’d hated Ellen. Her sister was cruel. All Kendall had ever wanted from her was acceptance. No one had ever accepted her for who she was. Men hadn't began to notice her until she’d shed the extra weight. She could credit one of her lovers with saving her. He’d told her she was killing herself and would drop her unless she did something about it. He’d gotten her into a program, something she’d never would’ve been able to afford. He hadn’t hung around through the months it had taken her therapy and recovery, but, for whatever reason he’d wanted to save her. Wanted to see her blossom and thrive.
She had come a long way, accepting she’d never be model-thin or particularly toned, unless she went to the gym or had plastic surgery.
“You’re not eating.”
Johnnie’s voice washed over her.
“Oh. Um, I have no utensils to eat,” she hedged, the truth.
“Hell,” he said with a humorless laugh. He slammed down a bottle of Stoli with a highball glass dangling upside down on the top, and a can of beer.
Kendall removed the glass and picked up the bottle, realizing it was nearly empty. As she finished draining the contents into her glass, Johnnie walked back in, setting paper napkins, a fork, and a knife next to her.
He grabbed his beer and sat. He stared at the food and frowned, placing his elbows on the table and shutting his eyes. He squeezed the bridge of his nose and heaved a sigh.
“I know how to cook,” Kendall offered.
Johnnie popped an eye open and Kendall’s heart rate went haywire at the intensity in his silver depths. “It smells divine.” A grin curved his mouth. “Much like your pussy.”
With one statement, he could disarm her, make her feel like some little schoolgirl. She hadn’t felt like a giggly female even when she was young enough to be one.
“Um, so what’s the matter?”
“One, food’s gotten cold.”
“Yeah. Well, I cooked it hours ago. It was probably cold when you dished it out.”
Johnnie popped open his beer and pushed his plate away. “I’m not particularly hungry.”
“Tell me about Megan.”
His nostrils flared and he narrowed his eyes at her. “Why?” He gulped his beer, his tone challenging her.
She squirmed in her seat, picked up her fork, and pushed the carrots and potatoes congealed with gravy around on her plate. Curiosity about the girl ate at her, almost gave her a split personality. She didn’t know which side was the right side. Kayla’s quest for Ellen’s death. Ellen’s sense of betrayal. Or her own need for answers. “She seems to be at the center of everything.”
His unapologetic tone irritated Kendall and she lowered her lashes so he wouldn’t see it. “Were you two ever an item?”
Liar. “Did you want to be?” she asked, instead of spitting the accusation at him.
His honesty startled her. She’d expected denial. That he answered without hesitation disarmed her.
“Did she know that?”
Nothing more. No other explanation. Didn’t she deserve one? He’d had sex with her several times already.
“Did she want to have an affair with you?”
Johnnie’s full mouth tightened and she knew she’d hit a nerve. “What the hell is this?” he snapped. “Twenty questions?”
“Of course not,” she said mildly, resentment rising up and simmering in her even if her jealousy was unjustified. “I told you I want to know about Megan.”
He pinned her with such a furious glare that Kendall’s blood ran cold and, for a moment, she believed he was a killer. He looked that mean and unforgiving.
“What do you want to ask me about her? Do you want to hear how bad off she is, courtesy of your sister?” He snarled the last word and it took all of Kendall’s resolve not to flinch. “Do you want to hear how broken-hearted she is at the loss of her son? Again, courtesy of your sister.” Anger rolled off him, chilling Kendall’s skin. “What do you want to hear about her?”
“I don’t need to stay here and take this. I can go and leave you to your precious Megan.”
Johnnie leaned back and folded his arms. “You’d do me a great goddamn favor if you left,” he said casually.
At first, Kendall didn’t think he meant it. But she looked at him, studied his eyes, and knew he wasn’t striking back. He was absolutely serious.
Still, she sniffed. “You’d let me leave after all you did to get me here? I doubt that. Your sense of honor would never allow it.”
Johnnie laughed, an ugly, hollow sound that frightened Kendall. He looked like an angel but sounded like a demon. “Go, Kendall. Please. You’ll save me the trouble of figuring out how to save your worthless life, which I have forty-eight hours to do with or without your goddamn sister. I’ve ruined the lives of everyone important to me because of you. For what? To have you grill me about Megs? To have me watch the resentment flare in your eyes?”
Kendall opened her mouth to speak, but Johnnie pounded his fist on the table, rattling everything on it and making her jump.
“Don’t you say one, fucking word. Save it,” he spat. “If you expect me to chase behind you, baby, you’ve got the wrong man. You walk my goddamn door, you’re on your own. And, believe me, Christopher will have you in his clutches so fast, you’ll wonder what the fuck happened.”
“Why did you even bother to help me if you’d just let me walk away to my death?” she cried.
He stared at her and some of the anger evaporated. “Your eyes, Kendall,” he admitted finally.
Of all the explanations she’d expected, it hadn’t been that cryptic one.
“They’re sad. Lost. Alone. I thought you struck out of grief. I understand grief.”
God, she hated him, almost as much as she hated herself. He didn’t know her to have the nerve to pity her.
“Even though you believe my life is worthless, you noticed the sadness in my eyes? How very noble of you.”
Her words got no reaction from him. No remorse. No change in expression.
“I’m the farthest thing from noble you’ll ever get, baby.” He slammed his chair back and got to his feet. “Whatever bullshit you think you can pull by challenging me, I’d think again.” He stalked to her and jerked her to her feet, his strength still shocking. He shoved her to her knees and unfastened his pants, freeing his erection. He rubbed it against her cheek. “You want to stay? Pay up. As I recall, you’re to give me your pussy in exchange for my protection.”
“If that’s the case, you’ve forgotten how pussy looks because I swear you’re trying to push your dick into my mouth.”
He glowered at her. The man who’d walked through the door earlier would’ve laughed. Where was that man? Kendall liked him much better. But she knew when she’d overplayed her hand and, tonight, with Johnnie, she had. He really wouldn’t chase her. He’d let her walk away—to whatever he thought his cousin might do to her. On behalf of Kayla. In place of Kayla. Whatever.
She caressed the crown of his cock with her cheek, spreading the sticky fluid already leaking from him on her skin. Relenting beneath the weight of his ruthless stare, she took him into her mouth, bobbing her head up and down as she worked him down her throat.
Gazing up, she saw him throw back his head, the tendons in his strong neck straining, the bruises marring his throat an abomination. His hands sank into her hair and she pulled his cock out of her mouth to drop saliva on his hot, rigid flesh, using her tongue to coat him before gulping him down her throat again.
Her clit swelled and throbbed. Kendall couldn’t wait until he bent her over the table and rammed his dick into her. The thought made her suck harder and faster. She wrapped her hands around his thick base and pumped while milking him with her mouth. His dick jerked against her tongue and the first jet of semen shot down her throat. She moaned, her nipples aching, her pussy soaked. When the salty stream eased, Kendall swallowed and freed him from her mouth.
On her knees, she stared at him through the fringes of her lashes, her heart pounding in a frantic rhythm. He didn’t say a word, just swept her with a cold gaze, and sauntered out of the room.
Leaving her stunned. And still on her knees.