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My eyes widened. “And he’s coming for you.” I whispered, my heart hammering in my chest.

King nodded. “Yeah, Bear’s guy, Rage, his intel is as tight as it comes. When he says someone’s gunning for you, you shut the fuck up and listen.” He seemed to be thinking about how to phrase what he was going to say next. “This guy Eli? He’s different. Worse than Isaac if you can believe it.”

I felt my face pale as the blood rushed from it. “What are you going to do?”

King kissed me on the temple. “Same thing I did with the fake detective. Get to him before he gets to us.”

“Why the hell are you even here when your life might still be in danger?”

“I had to come tell you myself,” King said.

“But it’s too risky. You shouldn’t have come!” I tapped his chest with my closed fists.

King snarled. “You don’t seem to get this shit yet, Pup, so I’m going to make it real fucking clear. You are mine. If I had it my way, I would have already tossed you on my shoulder, carried you to my bike, and been halfway home, but it’s not safe there now. And as much as it fucking kills me, the safest place for you right now is probably right here.” King looked like he couldn’t believe what he was saying. “I won’t have you in the crosshairs of that shit. Not again.” He looked off into the distance, collecting his thoughts, calming himself down. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“It wasn’t your fault,” I said. It was my turn to force him to look at me. “I don’t blame you for any of it. I may have a shit memory, but I’m not a child. I can take care of myself. I can take responsibility for my own actions. I know that being with you comes with certain risks” I pressed a soft kiss to his jaw.

King pressed a soft kiss to the inside of my wrist. “Look, about what happened with Isaac, I know we never really talked about it after that shit went down with Preppy, but you need to know that I won’t ever let something like that ever fucking happen—”

“Stop.” I raised my hand to cut him off. “I refuse to be a victim, so don’t fucking treat me like one. I escaped with my life, but only because of you. That is how I see it, and that is how I want you to see it. I will not be pitied, Brantley King, so don’t you go pitying me and treating me like a victim, because I sure as shit don’t feel like one.”

“Where did I get this amazing strong girl from?” King asked, gazing into my eyes as if he were searching them for his answer.

“You got her from a party. She tried to whore herself out and failed miserably.”

“Ray?” a voice called out.

“Shit, that’s Nadine.” When King shot me a confused look, I clarified, “The housekeeper.”

“Fuck!” He pushed us in closer to the mangroves so we wouldn’t be seen. “I got eyes on you here. You’ll be safe, I promise.”

“Yeah, you’ve said that. Who?”

King shook his head. “Doesn’t matter, just know they’re on you.” He pressed his lips to mine and softly sucked on my bottom lip. He pulled back. “I’ll come back as soon as I can, but I don’t know how long that’s going to be. Whatever you do, don’t try to reach me. Eli looks for shit like that. Feeds on coming after the people close to his target so it’s easier to take them out. I can’t have him coming after you. I won’t have you in harm’s away again.” He kissed my forehead. “I can’t.”

“Ray, are you out here?” Nadine called out again, her voice was louder now. She was closer.

“Shit!” King hissed. “There is one more thing I need you to know.” His lips hovered just above mine. “You need to know that I don’t give a fuck if your memory returns while I’m gone, cause it doesn’t change shit for us. But from this point out there is only one thing I need you to remember.”

“What’s that?”

“This.” King gripped the back of my neck and pulled me into him, crashing his lips to mine in a kiss that had me trembling with both desire and fear.

An angry passion.

A possession.

And he was right. There was no way I would ever forget it. He pulled back reluctantly pausing to look into my eyes as we both caught our breaths. I touched my bottom lip, swollen from his kiss.

“There are so many things I still have to tell you. Things I can’t even wrap my head around,” I told him.

Things like having a son.

“We’ll figure all this shit out. I promise. No matter what it is.”

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