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Filling me with him.

“Ti,” Bear groaned, breathing hard.

He had done what he’d set out to do.

He’d claimed me.

Body and soul.

Out there in the bed of that rusted truck on the side of the road, with only the smell of the rotting oranges and the warm breeze as our witnesses, in that moment there was no more hiding, no more denying the truth.

Bear was right.

I’d always been his.

*     *     *

Bear

Mine.

*     *     *

Thia

We were naked, panting and in a mound of tangled limbs. My arms rested on some sort of part Bear had bought for the motorcycle. He was face forward between my breasts.

Still inside me.

He lifted his face and looked up at me. He held up his ring, which had fallen off to the side. “I still can’t believe you kept it all these years.”

“Never took it off,” I said. Then I wished I hadn’t said it, realizing how pathetic it made me sound. “I mean…”

“You never took it off?” Bear asked, his eyes so bright blue they rivaled the color of the cloudless sky.

“No,” I answered honestly. “Told my parents that I found it, not like they really cared where I got it, they had enough other stuff to worry about. Buck is the only person who knew the truth behind it. I think that’s why he was all pissed off back there. Mad I ran to you instead of him for help.”

“And tell me something. Be honest,” Bear said. A lump was forming in my throat as he played with the ring, turning it over and over in his hand. “You really shot a guy?” he said with a laugh.

“Yeah, it was stupid but he was from Sunnlandio. He tried to buy the grove and since they had canceled the contracts it was worthless.”

“It was a fucking set up.”

“Basically. Guess I should have thought first, shot later, but I was so mad.”

“So you can shoot?” Bear asked, kissing his way around my belly button, his facial hair ticking my skin.

“Yeah. My dad taught me. Won a few competitions when I was younger. Farmer’s Daughters of America.”

“Sounds like a redneck dating site.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” I asked with a laugh.

“It’s so fucking hot that you can shoot,” Bear said, sliding out of me and down my body. My core tightened like it didn’t want to let him go. “So fucking hot,” Bear said again, this time over my clit.

His jeans buzzed and with a groan he reached over me and into the pocket. He pulled out a phone and looked at the screen. He frowned. “We gotta go.” The playfulness from a moment earlier was gone. His hard jaw set in a straight line once again. He tossed me my clothes. “Get dressed,” he ordered. “Now.”

“What’s going on? Who was on your phone?” I asked, pulling on my shirt and scooting to the end of the truck bed to shimmy on my shorts.

“More Bastards are on their way.”

“They text you that?” I asked, confused. Bear pulled on his jeans and hopped down from the truck. He lifted me off the tailgate and pushed it shut.

“No, they told Cash that,” he said, tossing me the phone he took from Cash’s body to keep tabs on the MC. I looked down at the screen.

BE THERE SOON.

We took off for Logan’s Beach in my father’s truck without going back for Bear’s bike, which he’d hidden in the back shed under an old tarp. Bear didn’t say a word. He smoked a cigarette and kept checking the rearview mirrors. He’d called King to tell him we were on the way and he was waiting for us outside the garage by the time we got back. “I’ll be back, go into the apartment and for fucks sake, listen to me and stay there,” Bear ordered, but when I looked into his eyes I saw more than an order. I saw a plea.

“Fine,” I said, a little sharper than I wanted. I went into the apartment and King and Bear left the garage, closing the door behind him.

Ray brought me some food but quickly left because the kids were up at the house all alone. I flipped channels on the old TV and scanned the pages of an old Guns and Ammo magazine from 2007.

I showered and put on one of Bear’s t-shirts, tucking myself in bed. There was no way I was going to sleep without knowing where he was. I wanted to leave, to find out where he was, but I also wanted to keep my promise.

So I stayed.

It was well after midnight when I heard the door to the bedroom creak open and shut. I couldn’t see him in the pitch blackness and I didn’t know what to say. What to ask. The mattress dipped when Bear sat on the edge of the bed. I heard him kick off his boots then the clanking of his belt buckle as he removed his jeans. A cool breeze licked my back as he lifted up the blankets but was quickly replaced by Bear’s heat as he came up behind me, surprising me when he reached out and grabbed my waist, dragging me up against his chest. He was naked. His erection twitching the second it came into contact with my bare ass. He rested his chin on the top of my head, his hand splayed out under my shirt on the skin of my lower stomach.

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