Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pre-Order Specials and Outlaw's Dictionary

Dear Beautiful People,

Happy holidays! It's that time of year, where love, goodwill, book releases, and after Christmas specials are in the air. 

I'm officially putting my boys aside until the end of 2017 when I release the next generation of Death Dwellers. I know you've heard this before. It's the truth this time. Unfortunately, it's time for me to move on. Interest in the series has waned ::sniffle, sniffle:: I've thought of sharing parties and email campaigns, a laundry list of ways to introduce Christopher and company to more people. Paid advertising would work. For instance, to get more exposure via Facebook, I'd have to pay for the ads and my pocketbook is telling me hell to the no. News of the releases no longer automatically show up on feeds. This stopped a long time ago, but I'm feeling it keenly now as I tell my boys goodbye. Besides, I don't want to beat a dying horse and anger my fans. I have to spread my wings and try other things. This has been a hard and painful decision for me because I'm sure I could think of a couple of other stories for the Death Dwellers (or their friends...Dr. Will and Cameron from Mistrust, for instance). We all also know Christopher is always up to something. As Outlaw and his boys are retired, I wanted to honor them by making the complete series available in one awesome set. It's huge, with over a million words. If you know someone who likes MC romances and you like the Death Dwellers, please give a shout out for Christopher, John Boy, Val, Mortician, Digger, Cash, Stretch, and their lovely ladies. 

I couldn't end the series without telling the story of Mortician's mother-in-law, Roxy. In Mistrust, she finds herself being a cougar when Outlaw puts her on the case to discover the real reason that a new legal hire suddenly appeared. To Outlaw, Knox Harrington is suspect and is sending his alarm bells into overdrive. At 44, Roxy believes her chance at love has passed, so when sparks fly between her and 34-year-old Knox, she'd blindsided.

Finally, there's Outlaw's dictionary, a book where a lot of his sayings are contained in this single volume.

Thank you so much for all the love and support you've shown to me and my boys over the years. I hope you have a happy, healthy, and wonderful 2017.


Death Dwellers: The Complete Series

Release Date: January 1, 2017

$2.99 until 1/2/17

Join Christopher “Outlaw” Caldwell, the men he calls brothers, and the women they love in tales of betrayal, hate, vengeance, and enduring love.

Misled – The newly installed club president falls for the daughter of the man he killed.

Misappropriate – The past resurfaces and threatens Outlaw’s future.

Misunderstood – A ghost from the past returns to haunt the club’s vice president.

Misdeeds – John Boy must choose the woman he loves or the club he’s pledged his allegiance to.

Misbehavior – The road captain has to face his demons before he loses the only woman he’s ever loved.

Misjudged – Tragedy has struck, leaving Outlaw to pick up the pieces.

Misguided – The club enforcer must choose between the bet he made and the love of his life.

Misalliance – John Boy faces a future alone.

Misconduct – The club’s sergeant-at-arms must convince Outlaw he didn’t betray him.

A Very Christopher Christmas – Outlaw wants a quiet holiday season.

Misfit – The club’s treasurer and explosive’s technician hide their relationship with Outlaw’s sister.

Mistrust – Club “mother”, Roxy, must help the club outwit a man Outlaw believes to be a cop.

Save $10.00 when you PRE-ORDER! Purchase for $2.99 until 1/2/2017. The complete series has 1,267,396 words! That's $0.0000023591 per word at the pre-order price and $0.0000102493 per word at the regular price of $12.99, starting 1/3/2017.

Mistrust Coming January 6, 2017

$0.99 until January 7, 2017

When Roxy Doucette meets the all too handsome, Knox Harrington, sparks fly. He's the new assistant to the club's attorney. However, Christopher "Outlaw" Caldwell, the club's president, is suspicious of Knox's true reasons for being there. Something about Knox just rubs Outlaw the wrong way, therefore, he asks Roxy to get Knox into bed for some "pillow talk". At first, she's outraged at Outlaw's proposal, but accepts that he might be right and the club could be in jeopardy. She agrees to "date" Knox and the war of wills begin.
Born in wealth and privilege, Knox Harrington is a former police officer who has little regard for biker clubs. In particular the Death Dwellers, and ESPECIALLY the president. Now a private investigator, Knox is working on behalf of his uncle to bring Outlaw and the Dwellers down. The club members' nefarious deeds warrant their destruction. Knox intends to achieve that by any means possible.
When he meets the beautiful, formidable Roxy, there's instant attraction between them. However, he sees an opportunity to use her to ferret information about the club. He's over-the-top-arrogant, believing the ignorance and stupidity of Outlaw will ultimately be the club's downfall. Knox hasn't a clue that Roxy is on to him. She's also attracted to him. 
Aside from the safety of the club, Roxy's in it for the benefits. She has a new lease on life after surviving cancer. Besides Knox's low-down behavior, she's a 44-year-old, mother of four children and Knox is ten years younger than she is. However, she can't resist the challenge when Knox lets it be known that he's the sharpest tool in the shed. He sure the hell is a tool. The foolish kind and Roxy is determined to teach him a lesson or two.
Let the games begin.

Pre-order Price of $0.99. Regular price will be $3.99

Outlaw's Dictionary


Christopher had to say goodbye in his own unique way, with an illustrated book filled with his favorite sayings and in alphabetical order.

Sample Pages

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chapter 24 - Misunderstood - Unfinished Original Storyline


                A long knock pounded through Johnnie’s head and he scowled at the door of his efficiency apartment. When the banging started again, Johnnie raised his head and groaned, rubbing his month old beard.
            “Open the door, John Boy,” Mortician called.
            He started not to answer. After a month of silence from his brothers, he didn’t need any of them coming here and pouring salt into his wounds. He was alone and all because of a bitch he’d wanted to have a go at a relationship with.
            “Fuck you, motherfucker!” the man snarled. “I’m gonna shoot the fucking locks off in you don’t open this goddamn door.”
            Growling, he roared to his feet, snatched his jeans and stomped to the door, yanking it open in time to see Mortician pulling his piece and aiming it at the lock. “I wouldn’t do that, motherfucker,” Johnnie snapped, spinning on his heel, not caring if Mortician followed or not.
            The slamming of the door and the footsteps pounding behind him told Johnnie Mortician had ended up on the wrong side of the door. He headed to his nightstand, grabbed his cigarettes and lit one.
            He swept Mortician with a cold look. “What?”
            “Bailey’s pregnant.”
            Bailey? Johnnie thought for a moment and recalled the girl in question. “K-P’s daughter?” Wait. “And?”
            Mortician pulled on his dreads. “And? What the fuck you think?”
            Johnnie narrowed his eyes and sucked on his cigarette. “You’re the daddy, I take it.”
            A curt nod.
            “And K-P?”
            “Don’t know it’s me, yet. Ain’t gonna take him long to figure shit out, though.”
            “And how does this matter to me again?” Johnnie snapped around the cigarette. “I’m no longer your brother, remember? You should be going to Outlaw with this.”
            “John Boy, you made the decision with everything,” Mortician reminded him. “You chose to fuck Megan and you chose to save that other bitch’s life. Prez could’ve killed both of you. You touched his girl, brother. You lucky to still be breathing.”
            Mortician was right, but the whole situation still left a bitter taste in his mouth. He missed them all so much and he missed the closeness he and Christopher had shared. He knew, however, even if he had remained in the club, everything was forever altered. Christopher would never again trust him around Megs…Megan. She and Johnnie would never share the easy rapport they’d once had. Filled with sexual tension, yes, but still based on friendship and trust. Now, that was ruined.
            Johnnie flicked ashes into the ashtray, then sighed. “You want something to eat?”
            “Dude, you fucking heard me? I got Bailey pregnant.”
            “What do you want me to say, Mortician?” Johnnie snapped. “Christopher fucked with Megan. She ended up pregnant. Val fucked my bitch of a cousin and what happened with Zoann? She ended up having his kid. You fuck with Bailey and now she’s conceived your baby.”
            “Your point?”
            “My point is all three of these women have something sweet—“ He thought of Zoann. “My point is two of those women have a sweet innocence about them and you lost your fucking heads.”
            Mortician smirked at him. “Oh, and you didn’t, genius?”
            “Fuck off.”
            Pounding started on the door. “Mortician, you have three fucking seconds to bring you ass out here,” K-P snarled.
            Before the word was out, K-P burst in holding a shotgun and aiming it straight at Mortician’s dick. A car swerved to a halt followed by the rumble of Harley pipes.
            “Dad!” Bailey called, desperate. “Don’t shoot him. I love him!”
            Mortician choked but before he could respond another voice came.
            “K-P, please,” Megan said, right behind her, and Johnnie realized she’d driven Bailey because clearly the girl was in no shape to drive.
            “Get her the fuck outta here, Megan,” K-P ordered. “And keep your fucking nose out my fucking business. This prick knocked my girl up because of you.”
            A growl, like a bear on the move, was all the warning Christopher had arrived. He glared at Johnnie, walked to K-P and yanked the shotgun from him before butting him in the stomach with it. “That’s for talking to my wife like that, fuckhead.” The cigarette that had been hanging from his mouth during the entire exchange trembled with his words. He pointed to Mortician. “You. Dickhead. What you got to say for yourself?”
            “What can he say?” K-P sputtered, rising to his feet and doubling over. He limped to the chair and sat. “Bailey’s carrying his kid.”
            Christopher opened the chamber of the shotgun and emptied the barrel of its shells before snapping it closed again. He threw it at K-P’s feet and it clattered in the suddenly still air. He turned his gaze to Bailey. “That true?”
            She nodded then hung her head.
            “And you had the bright fuckin’ idea to blast the father of your grandbaby to fuck?”
            K-P glowered at him.
            Bailey was whispering something to Megs…Megan. Megan squeaked and shook her head. “Are you insane?” she managed, drawing everyone’s attention to them.
            Bailey’s gorgeous little face crumpled and Megs groaned.
            “What the fuck she say, baby?” Christopher asked.
            Megs huffed out a little breath. “Mortician, would you marry Bailey?”
            “Fuck no!” K-P yelled, jumping to his feet. “This ain’t the fucking life for my baby.”
            “So it’s the life for my mother?” Megan spat, glaring at the one-eyed biker. “Isn’t she marrying you?”
            Christopher scowled at Megan and Johnnie didn’t have to guess he still disliked Dinah. He knew he sure the fuck did.
            “You two,” he began, pointing to Megan and Bailey. “Back to the club.”
            “Christopher—“ Megan began.
            “Ain’t up for fuckin’ negotiatin’, Megan. I need to fuckin’ talk to my boys without fuckin’ interference from you two, fuckin’ spoiled brats.”
            In the wake of the two women’s departure, Christopher glanced at Johnnie. “I want to fuckin’ talk to you when this shit’s settled.”
            Johnnie shrugged.
            “All right, assfucks,” he said, glaring between Mortician and K-P. “Bailey’s fuckin’ twenty-one. Free to give pussy to whoever the fuck she want.”
            K-P growled. “My daughter was innocent ‘til he laid his hands on her.”
            Folding his arms, Mortician clenched his jaw and glanced straight ahead.
            “If I had a baby girl, I’d keep her in a cage,” Christopher went on. “So I understand you pissed, K-P. And, you, you stupid motherfucker, crossed the line. You shoulda never put your dick in a brother’s girl.” Christopher paused and sent Johnnie an ugly glare. “Daughter,” he gritted.
            “You think I don’t know that shit—“
            “Too fuckin’ late now, motherfucker,” Christopher snapped. “Looks like you fuckin’ shoppin’ for weddin’ rings.”
            “WHAT?” Both K-P and Mortician yelled.
            “You fuckin’ heard me, fuckhead. Weddin’s goin’ in a week.”
            “No!” Mortician snarled. “I’m not ever getting married. I’m not givin’ up all the pussy I get anytime I want from any bitch I want. Having Bailey around, pregnant with my kid, won’t fucking cut it.”
            “What you prefer, Mort?” Christopher asked quietly. “Not having Bailey around and still pregnant with your kid? Letting her have your kid and either grow up not knowing its real father—and thinking they ruined her life just by bein’ born?” He shrugged. “Then, again, another motherfucker might come along. Raise your kid in your place. Lay in her bed in your place. Give her more babies—“
            Mortician growled in pure frustration.
            “Yeah, that’s what the fuck I thought,” Christopher said with a smirk. “Go make nice with her.”
            “I should’ve fucking listened to Digger,” Mortician said sourly.
            “Yeah?” Christopher asked. “What the fuck for?”
            “He warned me to stay away from young pussy.” With that, Mortician stomped out.
            Christopher eyed K-P. “You okay with this?”
            “Not much I can do, is there?”
            “Go find your baby and give her a hug,” Christopher advised. “Tell her you love her no matter what.”
            K-P rubbed his eyes and then nodded, before walking out.
            When they were alone, Johnnie and Christopher stared at one another. “Give me a minute,” he said, then turned on his heel and left Johnnie standing there. A moment later, he reentered the house, carrying a satchel. He threw it to Johnnie, who reached out and caught it.
            When he opened it, he stared at the stack of hundred dollar bills and looked up at Christopher in confusion.
            Christopher glowered at him. “Your cut,” he explained. “From the fuckin’ gun deal.” He shrugged. “Ain’t as much as it was supposed to be, but, it’s what you’re owed.”
            Johnnie slid the money back to him. “Thank you. But keep it. I’m not…” He paused because he couldn’t finish it.
            “It’s yours, John Boy. Do what the fuck you wanna. Burn it for all I give a fuck.”
            Christopher turned on his heel and left Johnnie and the satchel. When the sound of the Harley sped away, Johnnie dumped at the contents out.
            The last thing to rain out were the patches to the MC.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chapter 23 - Misunderstood - Original Storyline



            Revenge is like hatred. At some point, both destroyed the carriers rather than the targets. Hatred poisoned thoughts and dried up hearts until nothing but a shell remained. The quest for revenge swept everyone into a vicious vortex and destroyed each life involved.
            As it happened in Kendall’s case. She’d wanted to make amends for all the years she’d spent hating herself and her life. Most of all, she wanted to make amends to her sister, posthumously, wanted Ellen to accept her once and for all. Too late, she realized, she’d sought out revenge against Megan because she’d always craved acceptance from her sister and approval from her mother.
            Now, her life was over. She’d ruined her relationship with Johnnie, the only man she’d ever had real feelings for. And, chances were high, she’d destroyed Megan’s and Outlaw’s marriage. Having no place to go, she was hiding out in the cave Johnnie had taken her to to surprise her. That seemed like a lifetime ago. Had it really only been six days?
            It surprised her no one had come searching here for her. Before her phone had died, she’d gotten some very ominous texts from Outlaw. Nothing from Johnnie, though. Not a word. He was well and truly down with her. He’d slept with his Megs and, by Kendall’s own doing, drove the two of them together.
            She wrapped the blanket tighter around her and sniffled, tears rolling down her cheeks. Not only did she fear for her life, but she couldn’t face them. For once, she was truly ashamed of herself and all the havoc she’d caused. And for what?
            She laughed through her tears, not even having the energy to feel bitter. Or hate. Not anymore. She felt nothing. For Ellen or herself or her mother. They’d all gotten what they deserved.
            Movement caught her attention and she wrapped her arms around her legs, trembling. Whatever it was, she hoped it went straight and not veer in her direction. She picked up more sound, now recognizing them as footsteps, growing closer with each breath she took. A moment later, a flashlight beamed in her face and she blinked, whoever holding the light swallowed by the darkness.
            A shiver went through her a Johnnie’s cold, implacable tone. He didn’t wait for her to respond. He reached her and dragged her to her feet, shoving her forward.
            “Please.” Her voice trembled. “I can explain.”
            “You could. If I gave a fuck about hearing what you have to say. I don’t. Now, walk.”
            A gun cocked. “Go, Kendall. Now,” he gritted. “Before I lose it and do something I’ll regret for the rest of my life.”
            Kendall bit down on her lip, but a sob escaped her. “Wh-where am I g-going?”
            “You’re smart,” he sneered. “You fucking figure it out.”
            Another sob she couldn’t hold back. He was bringing her to the clubhouse. To Outlaw. And she knew nothing she’d say would discourage him from following through with those plans.
            Unlike the hustle and bustle of the clubhouse when Kendall ran away, the place was relatively quiet. Lockdown was over and only the brothers who lived on the premises, along with the officers, were there.
            Not once had she turned and looked at Johnnie. She couldn’t bear to see the barrel of the gun staring at her. Nor could she stand to confirm his icy hatred that rolled off him in like steam rising from a hot spring. But, when she reached the board room, she looked at his face for the first time and gasped. He was a mass of healing cuts and bruises and his eyes…My God, his eyes…held not a shred of warmth. He almost looked as if he hated her.
            “Wh-what h-happened to you?” she squeaked.
            “You the smart bitch who got him with Megan,” Outlaw snarled. “You got what you wanted, bitch. Congratulations. He fucked my wife.”
            Her stomach sank and more tears rushed to her eyes, her lips trembling.
            “Too late for tears, you fuckin’ manipulatin’ cunt. Time to pay up.”
            She looked at each of their unyielding faces. Outlaw’s arm remained in a sling, but that didn’t remove the danger as he so casually laid a 9mm in front of him. Kendall felt faint and grabbed a chair to hold herself up. She blinked, swallowed the bile rising in her belly. And prayed, for the first time in a long time, she really prayed. For her life. For forgiveness. For a chance to do things over.
            She swayed and no one moved toward her. Not even Johnnie. They didn’t blink or offer her a chair…or anything. She gripped the chair tighter and squeezed her eyes shut, unable to stop her trembling.
            Then, she felt hands gripping her shoulders. Firm but not brutal. They guided her to a seat. She glanced up to see Johnnie near her, his warmth enveloping her. She gave him a tentative smile. He glowered at her.
            Outlaw cleared his throat and she automatically turned her attention to him. He stood, walked to where Ellen’s picture hung and snatched it from the wall. Val produced a bowl while Mortician held the photo. Outlaw flicked a lighter and brought the bright blue flame to the edge of the picture. As the fire consumed her sister’s image, Outlaw never took his eyes from Kendall. His anger and hatred transfixed her, leaving her unable to gaze away.
            When nothing but ashes remained, Digger doused the fire with water, then everything fell silent again. Long, tense moments passed until a knock came on the door.
            Outlaw leaned back in his chair, his eyes still locked with hers. “Enter,” he barked.
            The door opened and Kendall thought she’d choke from the additional tension rising in the room. Even before Megan walked into her line of vision, Kendall knew it was her just from Outlaw’s and everyone else’s reactions.
            He crooked his finger and she came to Outlaw, stopping at his side. She looked absolutely miserable and heartbroken. All along Kendall’s goal had been to bring this woman low. Now that she had, she felt no joy or vindication. She felt vile and unworthy.
            “Megan, I’m so sorry—“ she began.
            Outlaw was on her so fast, she barely had time to move. He grabbed her by the throat. “Don’t you ever, ever fuckin’ talk to my wife. Don’t ever look at her,” he snarled, shaking her like she was a little rag doll. He shoved her back so hard she fell to her knees. Unable to bear the humiliation, she covered her face and sobbed into her hands.
            “Shut the fuck up,” he snarled and she screamed when he picked up a chair and smashed it against a wall. “You’ve fucked with my family, my brothers, and my club. But you have some kinda fuckin’ guardian angel.” He yanked her to her feet and his eyes were blazing. He loathed her. “I wanna fuckin’ bury you, but you get to live another fuckin’ day.” Jerking her by the arm, he thrust her toward Megan. “Thank her.” Before she could, he shoved her to Johnnie, who didn’t touch her. Just allowed her another indignant fall to her knees. “And thank him. For your fuckin’ worthless, piece-of-shit life, he’s turnin’ in his patch and he’s gettin’ wrote off as my fuckin’ cousin. Ain’t nothin’ these fucks could say would change my mind. I was gonna fuckin’ strangle you with my bare hands. You made Megan think I was dead when you knew the fuck I wasn’t, You left her out there. Set her the fuck up to die or to have John Peter find her. Make no mistake. I fuckin’ detest you. I preferred him fuckin’ her to lettin’ her fuckin’ die from the cold, but, bitch, this entire thing is your fuckin’ fault. When known of these fucks could talk me outta what I intended for you, Megan suggested Johnnie turn in his patch in exchange for your worthless life. As fuckin’ pissed as I am he couldn’t keep his dick outta my wife and as much as I wanted to fuckin’ kill him, I wasn’t thinkin’ his patch for your life. But I thought it was a fuckin’ good idea. You the cunt who caused the shit, so he had to me a choice. Us or you. He fuckin’ chose you.”
            Kendall wanted to get to her feet, say something, do something, but she was afraid to move, so she stayed where she was, prostrate at Johnnie’s feet. Outlaw jerked her to her feet and returned her to her chair.
            Megan stood, pale and tense, tears running down her cheeks. “May I go now, Christopher?”
            Kendall looked at her, saw how very young and vulnerable she looked. Her blonde hair gleamed golden and her jewel-toned blue eyes held nothing but sadness.
            She and Christopher stared at one another for long moments. The other men shifted.
            Kendall kept her gaze trained on Megan, willing her to look at her. She’d allow her to speak. She was fair enough that she would listen. She cared about Johnnie enough that she’d allowed her husband to give his cousin the option of the club or Kendall’s life. He’d chosen her life but he hated her now. Kendall knew this club meant everything to him. And yet…yet, he was willing to give it up so she could live.
            After all the destruction she’d caused, he was sacrificing his family and his club for her.
            Whatever else he intended to do, Outlaw hesitated, instead holding out his hand to Johnnie. Johnnie drew in a deep breath, the pain in his eyes cutting through Kendall. He shrugged out of his cut. Outlaw snatched it from him, ripped off his patches, then threw the leather onto the ground, purposely stepping on it. With a last evil glare to Kendall, he walked to Megan, grabbed her hand, and led her out of the room.
            “We gotta escort you off the property, John Boy,” Val said quietly.
            “You have ten minutes to get your shit,” Mortician added.
            Johnnie nodded. He stared at Kendall. “See you around, gorgeous,” he said and sauntered out of the room, leaving her more alone than she ever been in her entire life.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chapter 22 - Misunderstood - Original Storyline


            The flashlight bounced off the tall trees and thick vegetation surrounding Johnnie. Every now and then, he walked beneath a break in the tree canopy and saw the dark, rainy night. He was nearly insane with worry but came this way because he’d noticed two sets of footprints going away from the club. Small ones and larger ones. His concept of time had been lost, so he might’ve been walking twenty minutes or two hours. It felt like an eternity and he pushed the idea he might’ve been going the wrong way to the back of his mind.
            Rain drops pattered on the leaves, beating down upon his head. He circled the flashlight in the area, started to turn away, when something caught his eye and he raised the flashlight higher. Megan. Soaking wet, wearing only a long white night gown, and stumbling towards him. He ran the rest of the way and didn’t even consider his actions. He just took her into his arms and hugged her, bent his head and slanted his mouth over hers, not caring if she’d protest, just wanting to feel her warmth, taste her sweetness and know she was alive and he wasn’t dreaming.
            She clung to him, kissed him back, but pulled away when Johnnie was settling into the kiss, his tongue in her mouth. She pulled away. Just as she always had and always would.
            “C-Cold,” she got out, wrapping her arms around her waist and shaking. She let out a sob. “D-dead. D-dead. D-dead,” she chanted, not making sense.
            He swept her into his arms and walked deeper into the forest instead of turning back to the club or her house as he should. But he knew of a cave, another five minutes away, because it was a necessity at times to stash things. How convenient for him.
            When he reached it, he walked in and sat Meggie on the ground. He walked in a circle, bouncing the light off the walls and frowned when he realized there was no alcohol or matches left. Blankets were there.
            “I’m c-cold, J-Johnnie,” Megan repeated, clinging to him for dear life. “H-he pr-promised.” She was shaking and trembling so terribly, he could barely make sense of her words. “H-he s-said h-he w-was c-c-coming ba-back t-to m-me.”
            “Shhh,” he soothed, realized she was talking about Christopher. He didn’t want to express his fears. He needed to get her warmed up and--
            Johnnie closed his eyes. If he’d brought her to the club, he would’ve been able to get her warmed quickly. Towels were there to dry her off. Warm water. Alcohol. A nice, soft bed she could’ve been tucked into. But he knew of another way to warm her up.
            He moved to her and flicked the light off. He’d need it once her clothes were off to see her body.
            “Megs, it’s too dark and rainy to get back to the club tonight. But I need to warm you up.”
            She sniffled. “A-a f-fire?”
            “No, sweetheart. I don’t have matches or dry tinder.” He drew in a deep breath. “We have to take our wet clothes off and lay skin-to-skin under the blankets.”
            Her teeth were chattering. “W-w c-can’t d-do th-that,” she protested around another sob. “H-haven’t y-you h-heard--?”
            “It’s the only way, Megan,” he insisted, interrupting her. “First thing in the morning, I’ll get you back to the club. We’ll have the light to guide us.”
            He was beginning to get chilled, so he drowned out her protests, slanting his mouth over her cold lips. She kept them tightly closed, but he gripped her hair and tugged until she protested. He invaded her mouth the moment she opened up, pressed his tongue against the warmth of hers. She was trembling against him but her arms were stiff at her sides, not touching him, not encouraging him.
He pulled away. “You’re cold, Megs,” he whispered, threading his fingers through her wet hair. “This is the only way I can warm you up.”
Tears rushed to her eyes.  This had to be one of the greatest sins of his life, even more so than the killing he did. This time when he bent and took her mouth, she didn’t resist him, even if he had to take her arms and wrap them around his waist. She held him loosely, didn’t protest his kisses but didn’t actively participate as he wanted. With a frustrated growl, he lifted her off her feet, feeling the warming of her lips beneath his.
They were no longer icy, thanks to his kisses. He pulled his head away, breathing hard. “We’ve got to get undressed. You’re freezing and I’m getting cold, too.”
She glared at him and his heart sank at the moment of pure loathing in her eyes. Turning away and not blaming her, he peeled his clothes off and the cold, wet discomfort went away, too. He leaned down and grabbed the hem of her gown. She clutched it just as firmly.
            “I’m tired, Megan. Exhausted. I don’t think I could make it back with you and you need to be warmed.”
            “I-I d-don’t l-like y-you,” she said miserably, but let go of her gown. She sniffled. “N-no, I despise you. I-I w-want Chr-Christopher. H-he c-can’t b-be g-gone.”
            “He isn’t gone,” he crooned, praying his words were true. He lifted the gown over her head, getting the flashlight and beaming it on Megan, his breath catching at the nest of blonde curls. Her skin, usually the hue of champagne, was alarmingly pale. He really did need to warm her up. She folded her arms over her breasts and refused to meet his gaze.
            She began to sob, near hysteria and hypothermia. The only thing he could make out was dead. That word resounded in his head, but her lips were turning an alarming shade of blue. He needed to warm her up, then somehow get her to understand, as far as he knew, Christopher wasn’t dead.
            Sighing, he got the other blankets and dropped down next to her, pulling her into his arms and wrapping his body around hers. Her skin was freezing, so he began rubbing her arms and legs, making fast circles on her belly. His hand roamed down and she stopped him. He laid next to her again and pulled her back into his arms.
            “I have to warm you up,” he murmured against her ear. “You have to calm down. Whatever else happens, I’ll always be here for you.”
            Her sobs started all over again and she clung to him, as if she’d never let him go. As if her heart had been broken into a million pieces. She was using all her energy, insisting, he realized, that Christopher was dead.
            “No, sweetheart. He isn’t. We haven’t heard anything from him—“
            She let loose a little hysterical shriek and grew colder. If he didn’t do something soon, she’d really be dead.
            Johnnie settled his hand over her curls, cupping her. He didn’t want to talk because she’d only prick his conscience and he couldn’t allow that right now. He stroked her clit and her tears burned onto his arm. Kissing her mouth and manipulating her pussy, satisfaction traveled through him when he felt her body began to get wet for him. Her extremities were still cold, like ice, but their lovemaking would warm her up.
            “H-he’s m-my everything. I-I w-want to d-die, t-too.”
            “That’s not happening. I’m not about to let you die. Christopher would kill me.”
            “H-he’s g-gone!” she screamed, pounding her fists against his chest.
            Johnnie caught her delicate wrists, stroking her palms to bring warmth into them. He stared at her, her trembling lips, her blue eyes filled with so many pain Johnnie felt bruised. A sick feeling began in his stomach.
            “K-K-Kendall,” she stuttered. “K-K-Kendall f-found m-me o-outs-s-ide and…and…My husband is dead. My Christopher is gone.”
            Johnnie closed her eyes and knew, down to his bones, exactly what had happened. Somehow, Kendall had convinced Megan Christopher had been killed and Megan had run off in grief, getting herself lost in the process. Now, it was Megan who was almost frozen to death. And he’d never convince Megan that no one knew if Christopher was alive or dead, in her current state.
            If he returned to Kendall right now, he’d kill her. For tormenting Megan. For putting him in this predicament with her. She wouldn’t listen to anything he was saying. She was clinging to him and he knew, she’d forgotten all about Kendall. Megan wouldn’t be in his arms if she wasn’t so out of her head with grief and cold, if she remembered he liked Kendall and had done everything in her power to ensure the woman was with him.
            Not giving her a chance to think too much, he rolled onto her and kneed her cold thighs open. He stroked in and out and realized she wouldn’t get much wetter. Her head wasn’t allowing her body to respond and relax.
            He put the tip of his dick and her entrance, pushing into her slightly. She let out a pitiful sob.
            “Just get it over with,” she whispered. “B-because you can warm me up now, but I’ll just g-go home and d-die.”
            Anger flashed through Johnnie and he shook her. “Christopher isn’t dead,” he snarled. “And even if he is, you have your son who needs you. Dead or alive, Christopher would expect you to survive to be a mother to his son.”
            She stared up at him, her eyes huge, her chin and lips trembling. “You’ve wanted this forever,” she charged with bitter accusation. “Do it. I don’t care about anything but the fact that I’ll never hold Christopher again.” She drew in another sob and turned her head away, all the anger draining away. “Just get it done, Johnnie.”
            Johnnie gritted his teeth. “If I bury myself in you right now, I’ll hurt you. You aren’t wet enough for me.”
            Tears slipping out her eyes, her hands fell away from his shoulders and her jaw clenched.
            “Why won’t you believe me when I tell you Christopher isn’t dead?”
            “Because I haven’t heard from him in days! No one has. He wouldn’t do this to me. He would’ve c-called. Because K-Kendall wouldn’t l-lie a-about something so heartbreaking.”
            Johnnie didn’t want to think about that red-headed bitch right now. He detested the very thought of her.
            He closed his eyes, sinking a little further into Megan, kissing her brow when she sucked in a breath. Her pussy throbbed around him and he realized something—Megan liked lovemaking. Because, despite how much she abhorred what he was doing, how deeply she was grieving, the more he pushed into her, the more she throbbed and clenched around him—and the wetter she became.
            He stared into her eyes, overflowing with grief and hurt. She’d suffered so much these past weeks. More so than she had since she’d come searching for her father. She’d lost her child and, now, she believed she’d lost her husband. He bent and took her lips in a tender kiss.
            He couldn’t quite blame Christopher for keeping Megan so close. She had an innocence that needed protecting—an innate belief in the goodness of people. She’d experienced her share of brutality, at her stepfather’s hands, at her brother’s hands, at the hands of the former VP of the club. At Kendall’s hands. And, yet, she still believed in the goodness of others, never blaming other people for everything else she’d been through. She trusted his judgment enough that she believed Kendall wasn’t a cruel and vicious bitch.
            Megan had grown quiet beneath the gentleness of his mouth. She was warmer now, her overwrought state heating her as well as he could. But he had her acquiescence, sharpened by her need for comfort—and her trust in him. He only wished she trusted him enough to believe him when he said no one knew Christopher’s fate. Then, their lovemaking would be complete and utter surrender, not the result of anguish.
            Pulling away from her mouth, he kissed his way down to her core and pushed her thighs open. The scent of her went straight to his head and he breathed in deep, tonguing her outer lips, her pussy hairs tickling his nose and lips. He took a long, leisurely lick, rewarded with her low moan. Another lick. Another moan. More of her delicious pussy juice. He covered her cunt with his mouth and sucked. She arched her back and cried out, her hips beginning to rock against his mouth.
            Determination filled him. They’d only have tonight together and he was going to have her in all the ways he’d dreamed of. He’d see to it she enjoyed it, even if she hated him for the rest of her days. Maybe, Kendall was right about one thing. Maybe, he needed to make love with Megan to be free of her.
            He rolled onto his back, keeping his mouth plastered to her. His breathing labored, he pulled away. “Suck me, Megs. While I eat your pussy, suck me.” He closed his eyes at the stiffening of her body, but he was obtaining his purpose. She’d warmed up considerably. “You know you’re curious about how my cock tastes.”
            She trembled, but remained silent, not confirming or denying his words. He slipped his arms under her belly and twisted her, positioning her body on top of his face and gently pushing at the center of her back, urging her down.
            At the first hesitant flick of her tongue over his crown, Johnnie’s hips bucked and she drew him in deeper, swallowing, swallowing, and he couldn’t even focus enough to continue eating her pussy. The feel of her mouth on him was better than his fantasy. His toes curled and he gripped her hair, pumping into her mouth, crying out at how completely she was giving him head, sucking harder when his seed began to rush from him, just working her throat, taking his cock and his cum.
            He held her in place until his senses returned to him and he sniffed her arousal. She was wet for him now, her juices dripping onto his chest. He hooked his arms around her thighs and pulled her to his mouth. She wiggled against his tongue, seeking her own release, wrapping her hand around his cock as she rode his mouth and came all over his lips.
            He pulled her away and guided her to his side, removing her hands from his hard dick.
            “I’m warm now,” she said in a quiet, distant tone that chilled his blood, as if she hadn’t just sucked him into oblivion, swallowed the entirety of his dick down her throat.
He should be grateful for what she’d given him, but he was going to die anyway. He knew, by the pain in her eyes and the lost look on her face, if Christopher was alive, she was going to tell him Johnnie had finally succeeded in seducing her. And, then, Johnnie would die.
He stretched out over her, took her lips. “Not warm enough, Megs,” he murmured. He nuzzled her neck. “Admit it, sweetheart. You’ve wanted to fuck me since we met. You’ve wanted this.” He sank into her and closed his eyes at the snug, velvety feel of her. Her little cunt clenched his dick and he shuddered, telling himself he needed to warm her completely, work up a sweat, and he began to pound into her. She gripped his shoulders, digging her nails in, and meeting him thrust for thrust, her soft cries filling his head.
“Johnnie,” she gasped, falling apart in his arms, crying his name over and over, and coming all over his cock.
His body trembled. In the back of his mind, he knew he needed to withdraw from her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He gazed into her passion-glazed eyes and began to shake. Stilling her by grasping her hips, he growled her name, his cum shooting from him and into her belly, his orgasm making her come again.
As soon as he could, he withdrew from her and pulled her into his arms. A moment later, a soft snore greeted him and he hugged her tighter.
He was a man who grasped the moments as they came. In business, he rationalized and researched. In the club, he acted, not putting up with bullshit. With Megan, he just felt, acted on emotion and desire. She mumbled in her sleep and he heard her word loud and clear. Christopher.
Megan doted on Christopher. She thought he’d been created on Mt. Olympus and merely dallied with the mortals. He couldn’t imagine what would happen if—when—he returned. Not only to him but to Christopher and Megan’s marriage.
She jerked in his arms and bolted upright.
“It’s all right. I’m here.”
Her shoulders slumped, but she nodded and bowed her head. The grief and shame rolling off her burst all his happiness. He pulled her into his arms and urged her head onto his chest. She fell silent, but her shuddering sighs let him know she hadn’t gone back to sleep.
            Johnnie’s mind whirled, one particular face rolling in and out of his head. Granted, it was a gorgeous face and was framed by a beautiful head of red hair, but the inner woman?
            He tightened his hold on Megan, so glad he’d found her in time. He pushed his fears aside that, perhaps, his cousin was—No! He wouldn’t even finish the thought. He’d focus on the here and now. The other things were too hard to deal with.
            He massaged his dick against her back.
            “Stop,” she demanded. “I’m married and I love my husband very much. He promised, Johnnie. He promised he was coming back.” Tears choked her.
            He and Kendall would have a Come to Jesus moment just as soon as his temper cooled enough that he wouldn’t kill her the moment he saw her again. His phone started ringing and he sighed when he reached it and saw Val’s name flashing across the screen. He should’ve called them when he’d found Megan, but he’d been too focused on her.
            He answered the phone. “Lockdown’s fuckin’ over, John Boy,” a voice announced and his heart sank. “We might be goin’ to your funeral, though, motherfucker, seein’ as how you somewhere spendin’ the fuckin’ night with my wife.”
            Since those words were blared and Megan was within arms-reach, she heard Christopher’s voice and went white as a sheet. She scrambled away from Johnnie and got to her knees.
Johnnie closed at eyes at the sight she presented. Her swollen mouth. The curls covering her sex still glistening from their combined juices. His semen sliding down her thighs. His scent was all over her, on her skin, in her body.
Her sobs tore him apart, more than they had earlier because her relief that her husband was alive was muted by overwhelming guilt.
“Put Megan on the phone,” Christopher ordered, ice dripping from every word.
Johnnie held out the phone to her and she grabbed it from him, her hands shaking. “Christopher!” she sobbed. “Oh my god! Christopher, where’ve you been? I thought you were dead. Kendall told me she received a call and that-that you were dead! I thought you’d been taken away from me.”
            Clenching his teeth to keep from howling in rage, Johnnie got to his feet and found his clothes as Megan explained the conversation she’d had with Kendall and how that bitch had given her water and the next thing she remembered was waking up in the middle of the woods.
She was quiet and then she sniffled. “Y-yes,” she said in a small voice. She began to sob all over again and Johnnie guessed she’d just confessed. “I’m not sure. We’re in some cave.”
            Christopher knew the cave and was riding up within fifteen minutes. He got off his bike and ran to Megan. He stared between the two of them and Megan lowered her gaze, unable to bear the weight of his fury. She looked small and defeated.
“Fuck, Megan,” Christopher growled, jerking her into his arms and squeezed her tightly. He nosed her hair, nuzzled her neck.
She stood on tiptoes and hugged him as if she never wanted to let him go.
Christopher grimaced. “I think I got broken fuckin’ ribs, Megan.”
            She pulled away and reached out her hand to touch him, then paused. “M-may I?” she whispered, hoarse and woeful.
He grabbed her hand and pressed it against him. “You’re mine, Megan. I love the fuck outta you. Ain’t nothin’ ever gonna change that. I’m fuckin’ furious, yeah, but…” His voice trailed off. “You touch me anytime, anywhere.”
“Christopher,” she said softly, gliding her fingertips over his stomach, fussing over him, and missing the promise of death in Christopher’s eyes as he glowered at Johnnie.
            “C’mon, Megan, let’s get home. I just need to hold you in my arms, baby.”
            She gave Christopher a tremulous smile, stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, then walked outside without another glance in Johnnie’s direction. He was waiting for an explosion of bullets.
            Instead, Christopher walked over to him and planted his fist in his mouth before pulling him up by the collar and punching him so hard, Johnnie nearly lost consciousness. Christopher kicked him in the ribs and then planted a mind-numbing hit in the balls.
“I feel like shit, John Boy,” he said mildly, but breathing hard and holding on to his side.
Johnnie curled into a ball, grunting in pain.
“Had to dig a fuckin’ bullet outta my arm. Fuckers took my fuckin’ phone. We took a big fuckin’ hit. Told ‘em to keep the fuckin brick if they let me live and get back to my girl.” He bent down and cried out in pain. “Fuckin’ fuckhead motherfuckers.” Drawing in deep breaths, he yanked Johnnie’s grabbed handfuls of Johnnie’s hair and yanked his head up.  “At first, when Megan admitted she fucked you, I wanted to blow your fuckin’ head off. I know why the fuck you brought her here after you found her.”
“Shut the fuck up. Even if she hadn’t told me, I woulda known. You don’t think I know my fuckin’ wife? How she looks and sounds after I fucked cry after cry outta her? How her mouth looks after my dick’s been in it?” Outlaw’s cold eyes bored into his and he knocked his fist against the side of his head. “I’m bringin’ her to our house. Puttin’ her in our bed. Gettin’ her outta earshot of me fuckin’ castratin’ you.”
Johnnie tensed.
“She’ll try and stop me and her interference to save your fuckin’ miserable life would only piss me the fuck off with her. And I don’t wanna be mad like that at her. Cuz I know Megan. I know she wouldna betrayed me on purpose.”
No, she wouldn’t have. If she hadn’t been out of her head with grief, she would never had let Johnnie touch her.
“She loves you,” he managed.
Christopher kicked him again. “You think I don’t know that, motherfucker? You think I ain’t fought to get back here because she love me? What I wanna know is why? Why you betrayed me with her? Told her words I couldn’t dream of in a million years to get in her pussy? You know what the fuck she means to me.”
If Christopher decided to shoot him right there, Johnnie would consider it a blessing. It would obliterate the anger and betrayal in his cousin’s voice. Outlaw wasn’t a man who gave his trust easily and Johnnie knew, as surely as he knew Christopher intended to kill him, that tonight had altered his feelings for Megan—and she loved him so much.
“You came in her?”
Johnnie winced.
Christopher kicked him in the back. “You motherfucker. I should fuckin’ kill you right now,” he spat. “Let me tell you this, John Peter. If you filled her with your baby, I’m gonna make her get rid of it. You hear me?” he snarled. “As a matter of fact, I’m gonna make Megan call her baby doctor and get some kinda pill.”
Christopher fell silent, then kicked Johnnie again. “You heard me?”
“Yes,” he moaned weakly.
“What did you hear?” he demanded. “What did I just say?”
Johnnie swallowed, trembling in pain, sweat popping off him. He coughed, his mouth filling with blood. He probably had a collapsed lung and Outlaw intended to leave him here to die alone and in pain. “She was freezing,” he got out. “She thought you were dead. She wouldn’t believe anything I told her. I didn’t know how else to warm her up.”
“You used that, fuckhead. You used it to get in my girl.”
If he was going to die, he might as well die with a free conscience. “Christopher, I’m sorry. I love her. I’ve done everything possible to get over her.” He spat a stream of blood and wheezed out a breath. “When I found her out her, she was almost blue. I was exhausted from searching for her. I’m sorry. I didn’t…I never meant to betray you. Whether you believe me or not, I love you like my own blood brother. Not just my cousin.” Blackness danced in front of his eyes. “I-I’m sorry. Don’t hurt Megs. She loves you. She t-told me she…I could warm her up now but she was going to go die anyway. She was just heartbroken.”
Johnnie laid his head on the ground, the explanation exhausting him. The last words he heard was Christopher’s bitter, “Fuck you, motherfucker.”
            Johnnie opened his eyes to sunlight streaming through a wall of windows. His entire body ached and he narrowed his eyes, wondering how he’d gotten to the guestroom he always used whenever he stayed at Christopher’s and Megs’s house.
            Everything came rushing back and he groaned through his shock and worry. Had Megan demanded Christopher bring him here, after all? Had she completely destroyed her marriage on his behalf?
            “You awake.”
            Johnnie raised his head and frowned at Val. “How long have I been out?”
            “A day.”
            “Who brought me here?”
            Val glared at him. “Who the fuck you think, you stupid motherfucker?”
            So Val knew what had happened? Unless Christopher had ended things between him and Megan, Johnnie didn’t think he’d want anyone to know what had taken place in that cave.
            “Where’s Megan?”
            Val punched his thigh and Johnnie yelped. “Look, asshole, I deserved what Outlaw did to me, but you fucking put your goddamn hands on me again and I’m going to put a bullet in you.”
            “Fuck you, John Boy,” Val growled. “I should punch more than your fucking thigh. Couldn’t keep your fucking cock out of Megan, could you?”
            “What do you want?” He focused his gaze on the rainy day. “If you came here to cap me, just get it goddamn over with.”
            “If I wanted you fuckin’ buried, motherfucker, I would do it myfuckinself,” Christopher announced as he sauntered into the room, his arm in a sling. Digger and Mortician followed behind him.
            “Where’s Meg—“
            “Don’t,” Christopher interrupted coldly. “If you wanna continue if you live state, don’t ever fuckin’ mention my wife again.”
            “Where’s Kendall?” he croaked.
            “That fuckin’ cunt?” Christopher asked, sitting on the edge of the bed to glare at Johnnie. “Gone, John Boy. Vanished. She wreaked all this fuckin’ havoc in my family, my club, and disafuckinppeared.”
            He looked into the unyielding faces of Val, Digger, and Mortician. For Christopher’s countenance, he simply had no description and preferred not to attempt to name all the emotions and promises of long, painful deaths in his cousin’s features.
            “You did me a fuckin’ favor, John Boy,” Christopher went out. “I finally know where I stand with Megan.”
            “Christopher, don’t do this to her.”
            “Do what to her? Go out and fuck a bitch cuz she fucked you? I thought about it and she knows it, too. She sleepin’ in our room and I’m sleepin’ at the club.” He shrugged. “She probably think I did fuck some bitch. Can’t help if her guilt is makin’ her think that.”
            “You’re an asshole,” Johnnie snarled, despite the precarious balance in which his life hung. “Hurting her because—“
            “Because she spread her pussy for you, Johnnie,” Christopher snapped. “I wanna hate that little pain in the ass motherfucker. She been a thorn in my fuckin’ side since I fuckin’ met her. She don’t let my mind fuckin’ rest. All I wanna do is strike fuckin’ back, then I wonder what the fuck Megan is gonna say and I pussy out. I couldn’t even make her take that fuckin’ mornin’ after pill her doctor gave her. She woulda done it. She was gonna do it. But I saw it. I saw her heartache. I heard her sayin’ this ain’t no innocent baby’s fault. So if you fucked your baby into her, I gotta fuckin’ raise it if I wanna keep my wife.”
            Christopher thrust his fingers through his hair. “But I wouldn’t let you fuckin’ near it. Ever.”
            A soft knock on the door interrupted them.
            “Enter,” Christopher barked.
            Stretch walked in and swallowed before meeting Christopher’s gaze. “Missus on the move,” he announced.
            Before Christopher could question him, Stretch thrust his chin in the direction of the windows and Johnnie glanced outside. Megs. She was walking in the rain, wearing shorts and a tank top, heading toward the garage. She halted as if someone had called her. A moment later, Dinah and K-P came into view.
            Johnnie watched as Dinah wiped Megan’s cheeks and Johnnie assumed it was tears before she pulled her daughter into her embrace and hugged her. K-P stood, stroking Dinah’s back. Johnnie chanced a glance in Christopher’s direction. His cousin sat, frozen, watching the scene play out, his expression inscrutable. Megs said something and K-P folded his arms, shaking his head with a definitive no. Her narrowed expression spoke volumes and, unless K-P bodily stopped her, she intended to do whatever she’d said.
            And that’s exactly what happened. K-P jerked her toward the house and dragged her out of view. Christopher’s jaw tautened but he didn’t explode with rage that someone was manhandling his wife.
            Everyone fell silent, waiting for someone to break the tension. The door burst open and K-P carried a squirming Megan to Christopher, setting her on her feet directly in front of him.
            “Outlaw, Prez, I suggest you get your head outcha ass. Next time she threaten to leave, I ain’t gonna fucking stop her.” He swept all of them with a disgusted look and stomped out of the room.
            “You leavin’?” Christopher asked without inflection.
            Her hair curled around her in damp waves, covering her nipples that must’ve been poking through her wet T-shirt. “I took the pill,” she said quietly, lowering her lashes.
            A muscle ticked in Christopher’s jaw and he glared at Johnnie, not unaffected by Megan’s misery, just too filled with pride and hurt to reach out and take her in his arms.
            She placed a hand on her belly, silent sobs racking her. Johnnie wanted to offer her words of comfort. But he knew better. He’d just make it worse for Megan.
            “I fuckin’ told you you didn’t have to fuckin’ do that,” Christopher growled.
            Megan shifted her weight. “You left it up to me,” she countered.
            “You wanna send anyfuckinthing to John Peter?”
            She sucked in a breath and looked at her feet, the shame in her eyes making Johnnie’s heart turn over. Christopher was determined to humiliate her.
            “No,” she got out.
            “Well, I need to finish talking to my brothers, so go.”
            She raised pleading eyes to him. “Christopher—“
            “Don’t, Megan.”
            She ran up to him and embraced him but he shoved her away and she stumbled back.
            “Go,” he snarled.
            Anger flared to life in her tear-filled gaze and she thumped his shoulder. “You aren’t fair,” she charged. “All you’ve ever done is push me into Johnnie’s arms. Like you wanted me to have sex with him—“
            Christopher shot to his feet and yanked her in his arms, shaking her. “Shut the fuck up. You ain’t got no right to be mad at me.”
            “No, but I am. Because two wrongs don’t make a right. I was wrong. I thought you were dead, though. I wanted to die, too. And I still want to die, knowing I hurt you. Came between you and Johnnie. It hurts so much, though, knowing you went to another woman.” She sucked in a breath. “But you have been pushing me into Johnnie’s arms since I met him.”
            Christopher released his grip on her. “I ain’t slept with no other bitch, Megan. Ain’t gonna sleep with no other bitch. Yeah, I been pushin’ you and I was wrong to do that. You like fuckin’ too much and you been crushin’ on this motherfucker since you met him. But now I know. I ain’t got no doubt in my mind how much you really love me. I never knew if you would leave me the first chance I let you outta my sight.”
            She frowned at him, her head cocked to the side as she listened to him intently.
            “I know you need your space and I wanna be able to give it to you. I wanna know you with me—“
            “And you doubt that? After all this time?” she asked.
            Johnnie’s eyes widened as he watched his cousin…blush.
            “Fuck, Megan, I got you pregnant the first time I was with you and I hadn’t known you a good month. You ain’t ever had dick before me.”
            Megan turned beet red and glared at him. “Psycho!” she raged.
            “Already agreed I am. And just like fuckin’ before, I’m tellin’ you again that I’m still your psycho.” He sighed and pulled her into his arms. Unlike before, the tension had eased. “When I asked if you and John Boy fucked, you ain’t lied to me. You told me straight-up and I could hear all your shame and shit. Ain’t sayin’ you don’t have some blame, but this motherfucker older and if his dick hadn’t gotten hard, he couldna put it in you. If you had lied to me, denied it, I woulda known. I woulda known you would sneak behind my back and fuck him. Maybe, other motherfuckers, too, and I wouldna been able to deal with that. Or forgive you. But you was honest with me, baby. You love me enough to don’t hand me a bunch a bullshit, not even to protect this pretty-faced motherfucker and I know how much you care about him. I know that musta been difficult for you, confessing, knowing you was probably condemning him to death, but you loved and respected me enough to put my feelings over that motherfucker’s life.”
            The thought didn’t comfort Johnnie and he realized Christopher reiterated that point to drive home to Johnnie Megan had willingly condemned him to death on behalf of Christopher.
            “Then I got to thinkin’,” Christopher continued. “You told me, chose me over him by telling me, but you wouldn’t wanna see him die. His death would ruin you and me more than us fuckin’ a dozen motherfuckers a piece. You told me the truth cuz you love me enough to be honest.” He slanted a glance at Johnnie and gave him a sour frown. “And trust me enough not to bury this motherfucker. So I called Val and had him get John Boy. Had a doctor waitin’ for him. Cuz you know what else, Megan? Ain’t prayed much in my life. I prayed when you went into shock. I promised to lay down my life if he saved you. When I left, I thought I had to pay up. Then I prayed again to get back to you. For me to find a way to talk them motherfuckers outta slitting my head off. I ain’t no religious man, Megan. But I remembered that parable about them two servants you told me about. He spared my life, despite all my killing I did. All my killing I’m gonna do. He got me back to you and my boy.
I couldn’t be no hypocrite and take John Boy’s life when the Big Man saved my fuckin’ ass. You a good girl and you make me think. I know you couldna lived with yourself if I fucked up this motherfucker. You know? Cut his dick off and fed it to the dogs.” He grasped her neck and brought her closer, nipping at her lip. “You belong to me.”

            “Yes,” she whispered. “I belong to you.” And no one could doubt the sincerity of her words, not when he love was shining in her eyes. “I love you so much, Christopher. And I’m so sorry for everything.”


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