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I pushed against his chest, but he moaned in to my mouth and held me tighter. I tried again and when he didn’t budge I bit down. Instantly he reeled back, holding his hand against his bloodied bottom lip. “You are ruining everything I thought I felt about you. Don’t make a mess of what I do remember about us.”

“I’m the one making a mess of this?” he laughed. “You ruined everything when you went after Nikki. You couldn’t just let her go. I told you a hundred times not to get mixed up in her mess of a life but no, you had to let her drag you down with her. You put her above your family by going after her, by getting hurt, by going away. You are the one who ruined us that night. Not me. I’m trying to save us while you’re hell bent on destroying us! So fuck you, Ray! You broke my heart when you left. You smashed it to pieces when you came back. And I don’t know who you think you are, but you aren’t the Ray I knew. And this person I see before me? I kind of fucking hate her right now,” Tanner said. He turned and stormed off into the darkness.

I opened my mouth to call after him but I didn’t know what else I could say. He was hurt and I’d done the hurting. I’d nothing but make one stupid decision after another since I’d been there. It was stupid of me to flaunt the tattoo. I’d acted out of anger. But that didn’t give him the right to treat me like I was a commodity that could be bought or traded…or married.

Although that was exactly what I was.

Chapter Nineteen

Doe

I closed the door to my room and pressed my forehead against it. Devastated doesn’t begin to cover how I felt. King was dead and I’d lost my only friend because I was stupid enough to think that I could use a marriage certificate as a tool to get what I so desperately wanted.

A family. A real family that I chose, just like I’d chosen King and Preppy.

I let out a frustrated scream and clenched my fists, banging on the door until I was all out of fight. I rubbed my lips to erase the taste of Tanner until they felt raw.

“Take your fucking clothes off,” a deep voice growled.

Awareness washed over me like static electricity.

I gasped and turned my tear stained face from the door. Hundreds of years could pass without me hearing it and I would still know exactly who the voice belonged to.

King emerged from the corner of the room, the shadow falling away from his body like a blanked slowly being tugged off. “You know I don’t like to repeat myself, but for you, I’ll do it just this once, Pup.” He stopped in front of me and peered down, his eyes burning with both lust and anger. “Take your fucking clothes off.”

“You’re alive,” I whisper as my heart hammered in my chest.

Was I imagining this?

“You’re about to find out how alive I really am.” He stalked toward me. “You and I communicate better when I’m inside you, and there is a lot I’ve got to say. So instead of the question-and-answer bullshit that will get us a fuck of a lot of nowhere, so we’re going to do this in a way I already know works.”

“I thought you were dead.” My chest heaved with fear and desire. My skin prickled, my nipples tightened.

“Were you grieving when that kid had his tongue down your fucking throat?” King reached for my hand, holding up the finger that held Tanner’s ring. “Is your grief the reason why you’re wearing this?”

I ripped my finger from his grip and placed my hands against his chest. My intention was to push him away, but as soon as I made contact I couldn’t let go.

I didn’t want to.

I fisted his shirt in my hands. The relief I had felt over him being alive was being replaced by my anger at his accusatory tone. “I thought you were dead,” I repeated.

He spoke into my hair, his breath warm against my scalp. “Oh, Pup. I’m pretty sure even death couldn’t keep me from you.”

I inhaled, taking in the scent cigarettes and wind. I’d missed the familiarity of his smell almost as much as I’d missed him. “I never thought I would see you again. I went to the MC. Bear’s dad is the one who told me you were dead.”

King shook his head slowly from side to side. “He’ll be dealt with.” He narrowed his eyes. “As will you,” he said so low and deep I felt his words to my very core.

“What?”

“Did you really think it would be that easy to get rid of me? For fuck’s sake I remember what it feels like to be inside you. You think I can just forget that? You think I haven’t been trying for weeks to convince myself that it’s just my cock who misses you? Because I’ll tell you nothing would make me happier than to be able to rid myself of this fucking hurt, right now. Right here.” King pounded on his chest with a closed fist. “I sometimes wish I could just forget it all, but I can’t. I won’t. Because I don’t want to ever want to forget you. And I welcome this pain because it reminds me that you were real.” I bit my lip so hard I could taste the copper in my mouth.

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