“Dex, are you and Slade here on the grounds?” Please say yes. Make this all a fun, little joke.
I’ll run out there and play with Hannah, too.
“No, we’re in one of the sheriff’s cruisers,” Dex shouted. “We’re almost home, but you need to keep an eye on Hannah. Preston was murdered, and one of the techs is Hannah’s stalker. I think it’s Lyle. Slade noticed that he had scratches all over his arms. I have similar scratches from rescuing Mr. Snuggles. Is Hannah with you now?”
Gavin’s heart felt like it was going to pound out of his chest. “No, but I think someone else might be. Hurry.”
He tossed the radio down. He didn’t have time to explain. He needed to get to Hannah.
After pulling out the key that opened the small gun cabinet, he yanked out a shotgun and quickly loaded it. He wasn’t going to fail her.
Gavin ran down the hall and out of the house.
Gavin took a deep breath. The gun in his hand felt like an old friend. He silently thanked Marnie for teaching him how to use it years ago. She’d taken him and Slade hunting every summer when they were supposed to be learning accounting and how to work a rig. They’d learned those things, all right—but so much more. Most importantly, they had learned that they were brothers and could depend on one another, no matter what. Every time their father had tried to turn them into rivals, Gavin would remember bonding with Slade during those summers, teaching him the true importance of family for the first time. When Dex had come along, he’d become another brother to depend on, even if Gavin hadn’t always shown it.
Now, he wanted his family to be one close-knit unit, sharing Hannah and her love.
As soon as he took out whoever threatened her.
He flattened his body against the brick and listened, trying to figure out the bastard’s identity.
“You have a beautiful body, Hannah. Let the robe drop so I can see more than just your breasts. I want to know if that blonde hair of yours is real. I know how whores change their appearance to entice men.”
Oh, he was going to kill that fucker. Gavin didn’t care how or why this man had gotten so screwed up. No one was going to talk to Hannah that way.
Gavin peeked around the corner. Even from the back, he recognized Lyle from his severely short hair and his clothes. Goddamn the bastard.
Hannah stood with sunlight bathing her, clutching her robe around her waist, her green eyes flared with fear. She looked so young and vulnerable. So alone. She was his to protect. He couldn’t let her down. He would rather die with her than live knowing he’d failed her.
“You’re going to have some trouble figuring that out, but I’ll tell you that I don’t bleach my hair.”
Hannah’s sweet twang flowed over him. No panic in his girl. Her steady voice was music to his ears.
Gavin was a possessive man. He could share with his brothers, but anyone else was out of the question. Yet, he found himself willing Hannah to do whatever necessary to stay alive. No matter what, he would love her. And, in time, his unwavering love—and that of his brothers—would heal her.
Gavin edged around the corner and checked everyone’s position. Hannah stood in the background. Lyle, the fucker, was roughly ten feet in front of her, with his back to Gavin.
Another person sat at the table, head down on the wrought iron.
The other tech, Scott? He wasn’t moving. Blood dripped slowly onto the stone patio. Maybe Lyle shooting Scott had been the noise Gavin had heard. If Lyle had already killed someone, then Gavin could fire at will—if he could just get Hannah out of his direct line of fire. As it was, if Gavin shot at Lyle and missed, Hannah would suffer.
With a brief nod, he caught Hannah’s gaze. Her bright green eyes widened. He willed her to do whatever she had to.
I love you, Hannah. He mouthed the words.
With a gaze that told him she understood his reassurance, Hannah dropped the robe, fully displaying her beautiful body. Then she jumped out of his line of fire.
It had the intended effect. Lyle cursed savagely and charged her, intent on attack. That left Gavin free to act.
Sucking in a calming breath, he stepped out from behind the house, aimed, and fired.
After a quick pull of the trigger, Lyle’s body jerked. Then blood began soaking his shirt at the right shoulder. Hannah screamed and ran toward Gavin. But Lyle wouldn’t let her go that easily. He lunged for her, catching her ankle in a death grip.
“You’re staying with me, whore,” he snarled.
Gavin’s heart lodged in his throat.
“Let her go and you might live,” he growled at Lyle, circling in front of the asshole and closing in.
“She’s mine. If I go down, I’ll take her with me.” Lyle raised his gun with his free hand. A ghastly smile contorted on his face. “She’s mine.”
“No, she’s not, motherfucker.” Gavin didn’t hesitate. He raised the shotgun and fired again.
Finally, Lyle’s grip loosened. Hannah broke free and ran for him. Gavin caught her in his arms just as he heard his brothers shouting from the driveway.
Hannah’s arms twisted around him. “I’m so sorry. I should have told you sooner, Gavin. I love you.”
His heart swelled as he kept the gun trained on Lyle, just in case. “Baby, I love you, too. So much.”
His brothers raced onto the patio. Dex kicked Lyle’s gun away, then bent down, fingers on the tech’s carotid. “Dead.”
Gavin thought that perhaps he should feel bad that he’d taken a life, but all he felt now was profound relief. Peace and rightness followed when his brothers surrounded them. Their arms encircled Hannah.
Their woman was safe, and his family was finally complete.
* * * *
Hours later, Hannah walked into the house, her hands still trembling. She could still see Lyle’s desperate face, feel the bite of his grip as he clutched her ankle, trying to drag her down with him. So much pain and anger had flared in his eyes just before Gavin had delivered the fatal blow. She’d never forget the rage bubbling in his expression just before he’d fallen back, dead.
Hours later, she was still shaking.
“Hannah?” Slade inquired softly as he entered the room. “I thought you’d like to know, Scott made it to Anchorage. He’s in surgery now, but the doctors said he’s going to be fine. The bullet missed his lungs. If Lyle had shot him again…”
Lyle would have killed him, like he would have killed her in the end. Like he could have killed them all.
Slade’s arms wrapped around her, pulling her into the comfort of his chest. “Baby, you can cry. Let it all out.”
She allowed Slade to wrap her in his protective embrace. “I was so scared.”
“I know. We all were. But you were magnificent, Hannah. You didn’t panic. You held your ground and bought Gavin time to bring Lyle down .”
“I swear my life flashed before me when I saw you on that security monitor.” Gavin stood in the doorway.
She sobbed, and it felt good to cry. She’d forced herself to be strong while they’d taken care of Scott and waited for an ambulance. She’d held it together at the sheriff’s office as she had given her statement. Now, she wanted the comfort of their arms around her, but only Slade seemed willing to come near her. She didn’t understand.
“Did you think I was doing something I shouldn’t?” Hannah asked. When she’d stood in front of the camera, she’d known that Gavin would only be able to see her. What had he thought she was doing?
His flush told her all she needed to know. “For a moment, I thought you were teasing me, like Nikki used to.”
Dex turned on his brother, his face going mulish and stubborn. “Asshole, she’s nothing like Nikki.”
“I know. And I figured out quickly that something was wrong.” But Gavin still hadn’t held her since that moment when she’d run into his arms. After that, he’d picked up her robe and covered her, his touch almost impersonal. He’d found her skirt and blouse, but he hadn’t offered to dress her. Nor had Dex. They were both so polite and distant.
She needed to feel alive—and loved. But Dex merely leaned back against the wall, watching her, his eyes hooded with anxiety. Gavin held back, his face concerned, but he made no move toward her.
Slade smoothed back her hair and tilted her chin up to him. “I see that you need something, baby. Tell me what.”
Hannah didn’t hesitate. “All of you. Together with me.”
She needed to lose herself in the pleasure they gave. She needed them surrounding her.
“Hannah, you’ve been through a lot.” Gavin said one thing, but his eyes said another. They were eating her up, and her sex clenched at his hungry expression. So why wasn’t he moving toward her?
“You should rest,” Dex insisted softly, but he refused to look at her. “I can sleep in one of the other bedrooms. You need your rest tonight.”
“I’ll do the same,” Gavin offered, the desire on his face dissipating. “And there’s another room for Slade. I’ll have it made up, too.”
Slade’s arms tightened around her. “I’m staying with Hannah.” He was the only one? The others didn’t want her anymore? Her first instinct was to cry, but anger rose faster.
Before she could confront them, Slade stepped in. “You’d better explain yourselves, brothers.
Or she might start throwing things again.”
“Never mind.” Hannah couldn’t believe they were done with her. But if Dex and Gavin didn’t want her, then she would take Slade and pour all her love into him. “We’ll be fine on our own. They can sleep wherever they want. But they should go now because I’m going to kiss you, Slade James. I want you.”
A long, slow smile crossed his ridiculously handsome face. “I want you, too, baby. You wanna play?”
That sounded wonderful and mind-consuming. “Please.”
“You want to play now?” Dex stared at her in disbelief.
“You heard the lady. Find your position, Hannah,” Slade murmured. “And stop topping from the bottom.”
Hannah fell to her knees. “I don’t know what that means.”
A low chuckle rumbled from Slade’s chest as he touched her head. “It means you’re trying to manipulate me to get what you want.”
Hannah shrugged. She wasn’t going to stop doing that. Slade would have to get used to that bottom topping thing.
“It makes you a bratty little sub,” Dex said, his voice taking on the low growl that made Hannah’s heart race. When he finally looked her way, his stare was hot and dark with the threat of sin.
“We agreed to give her time,” Gavin said. But he was pushing away from the wall, closer, stalking her.
“Time to what?” Hannah shivered as they closed in.
They all could have died today. She didn’t want to waste time. She just wanted to feel them.
Slade’s hand tangled in her hair. The little bite of pain made her moan. “Are we playing?” Hannah knew where he was going with this. “Yes, Sir.”
“Then obey me. Your Masters need to talk. No interrupting.” He smiled. “Listen for a bit.
You might learn something.”
Maybe…but she’d probably have trouble keeping quiet. Even so, Hannah was done questioning whether she was capable of this relationship or good enough for them. She was exactly what these three men needed.
And she needed them. She needed the deep understanding and soul connection she’d found with Slade. She craved Dex’s crazy alpha male dominance. And she wanted Gavin’s duality. He was all smooth operator on the surface, but underneath he needed her more than the other two.
“She’s been through a terrible ordeal. She’s got to be traumatized. Do you really think she needs us to spank her and tie her up now?” Gavin asked.
That was exactly what she needed, especially if they brought out that spreader thingee.
Hannah opened her mouth to tell them, but Slade’s expression made her stop.
“I think Hannah has stated what she needs. I believe playing rough with her would reassure her that we’re here for her in whatever way she needs.” Slade sounded very reasonable. He always understood her.
“Lyle made her undress. We don’t really know what else he did to her. How will we know if something we do will bring it all back?” Dex sounded tortured.
Hannah looked up at Slade, trying without words to make her needs plain.
Slade sighed. “Tell them. They won’t believe me.”
“He didn’t do anything awful to me. Gavin got to him before he’d really laid a hand on me. I took off my robe because it bought me some time. I didn’t like him looking at me, but even if he’d raped me, I would still be yours. I’d still need this. But you’re hesitating. Should I be worried that you don’t want me anymore? Maybe now that the danger is over and your protective instincts are down, you don’t find me as appealing. If that’s the case, then you should run along to your own beds.”
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