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When a hurricane sweeps through Savannah, more than the tempest flares, so do tempers –
Lainey works herself to the bone three jobs at a time, six days a week to make ends meet – all to keep a roof over her and her unemployed boyfriend’s head.
Fear is one of the brothers that likes to stay low-key. He runs his business, cooperates in the club’s business, and most importantly, minds his own business… until he doesn’t.
When Lainey is pitched down a flight of steps into the raging storm, Fear just happens to be there to catch her and takes her in. These two have a surprising amount in common, and quickly start to fall in love…
…and it all starts once upon a midday dreary.
I was somewhere on an unfamiliar-to-me side street, but I knew where I was going. I had to detour. There were tree limbs and water over the roadways already. I was working my way steadily around obstacles and I was almost there when I heard it – faint through my helmet and over the roaring wind and thrashing rain.
A feminine shout or cry somewhere off to my left, just behind me, and I turned to look.
There was a man at the top of the steps of one of the brownstones, under the cover of the front stoop, a woman in front of him, and he was shoving her out into the storm, down the steps. She fell, tripping over her own feet and went down them, ass over tea kettle, landing in a heap on the sidewalk.
I scowled. He shouted something I couldn’t distinguish over the storm and stalked back into the place they likely shared. He left her shivering and weeping, shoeless and without protection from the stinging rain, with her knees on the pavement, as she hugged herself and shouted something unintelligible at the door, shutting her resolutely outside.
All I could really tell about her was that she was slender, with long, long, deep brown hair, a sweet ass, and a generous handful of tits above where she hugged herself. That was already enough to put her firmly into the “my type” category – but… it wasn’t my business.
Still, though… I thought about my sister and knuckled under pretty quick, thinking if it were her out here, I would hope that somebody would help her.
“Hey!” I shouted, but she didn’t turn. I waited for the gust to go by and tried again, lifting my visor just enough to let my voice out to carry and putting some real force behind it. “Hey!”
She didn’t hear me, so I revved the bike, the roar joining the wind but just different enough to do the trick.
Her head whipped in my direction that time and jackpot. She was pretty. Like, really pretty.
“Get on!” I waved her in my direction twice with over exaggerated motions of my arm. She got to her feet, staggering a little at first, with stiffness and likely pain, before lightly stepping across the pavement, her body lithe where her leggings and oversized tee plastered to her skin. She looked lost and yet intrepid as she got on behind me.
She’d better watch the pipes, but there wasn’t really time to tell her. She either would or she wouldn’t and a burn would definitely ensure that she wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
She trembled against my back, shivering with the wetness as another blast of wind knocked into us. I stopped fucking around with playing it safe. I rolled us on down the street and headed for home at the big yellow mansion at 513 Whitaker. I’d had to make yet another detour and approach it from the front because of a fallen tree limb, but lucked out that the block was clear around the other side.
I turned and went down and around the back side of the place, pulling into the wide flat lot at the back of the yard, sweeping around the back of the pool enclosure, and into the open and waiting door of the garage.
I put my hands to my face, pressed my fingertips into my eyes and tried hard not to make a sound.
The clack of the shower door made me jump and I turned around, covering myself and thrusting my body back into the corner of the shower.
“Easy.” Fear held out his hands in my direction, as though he was trying to calm a skittish horse.
“What are you doing?” I demanded, my voice high and a bit shrill.
He smirked and it was this devil may care sort of a thing. I was struck by just how handsome he was and could be if it weren’t for that cruel twist to his lips as his liquid-brown eyes swept over me from head to toe.
He was nude. I kept my gaze fixed on his face, twisting and shying back, trying to hide myself from him.
“Easy,” he said, and his tone was sharp, firm, but not mean or cruel. I didn’t know… sort of commanding.
“I’m literally just trying to warm up and check on you,” he said.
“You couldn’t wait until I got out?” I asked in disbelief.
He shrugged one shoulder nonchalantly. “I didn’t want to.”
My mouth dropped open.
“Please don’t hurt me,” I said, and he smiled then shook his head.
“Nah, you got your boyfriend for that,” he said. He sank to one knee and reached out.
I made a startled strangled noise as he palmed the back of my calf gently.
“Easy, girl,” he said. “You’ve seen one pair of tits, you’ve seen ‘em all. You’re bleeding. Let me have a look at those knees.”
I stayed frozen. He looked up at me, meeting my eyes.
“Let me look,” he ordered, again, firmly, but also patiently.
We sort of hung in a suspended animation for a long moment before I finally relented and turned, putting my back into the corner, pressing my thighs together, as he grazed around the edge of the raw skin of my left knee with a light touch of his thumb.
“Pretty nasty scrape. I’ll hit it with some antiseptic when we get out,” he said, and he got back to his feet.
I looked up at him, and my mouth went dry. He towered over me and cocked his head, looking down at me.
“You might want to stop that,” he said, and I blinked stupidly.
“Stop what?” I asked.
“Looking so afraid. I’m wired different. Keep looking at me like that, and I’ll bend you over right here, right now.”
I gasped and he ignored it, his smile going wider, though.
“Now, do you want to tell me what that was all about?”
I looked up at him, and I felt the words catch in my throat.
“I don’t know you,” I breathed and he cocked his head.
“I’m trying to fix that,” he said, and his smile turned into something less feral and, dare I say… charming.
I shuddered and pressed back further into the corner of the shower, hugging myself tighter.
“Colton thinks I’m cheating,” I said finally.
“Are you?” Fear asked, arching an eyebrow. My eyes widened and my face went slack.
“No!” I cried, and his soft smile turned into a grin as he cupped my cheek and grazed a thumb gently over my skin. I closed my eyes at the touch and felt myself go a little lax.
God, how I longed to be touched like this, skated through my mind unbidden, and I bit my bottom lip and tried to focus.
“If you’re going to be in trouble for it, you might as well go all-in and be guilty of it, don’t you think?” he asked me. His voice was low and seductive, and I felt my resolve weaken before my brain caught up to things with the requisite amount of outrage.
“You can’t be serious!” I jerked back and his hand fell away.
Again, he shrugged.
“As a heart attack, actually,” he said, and he was so fucking blasé about it.
I swallowed hard and thought about it. I mean, he was gorgeous. Way out of my league anyway, and he was offering… and Colton was being such a dick…
Holy shit, are you actually considering this, Lainey? I thought to myself. My mind raced, trying to come up with something, anything, to stall for some more time to think this through.
“If I say no?” I asked, and he stepped just a little closer, the warmth radiating off his skin, as he brushed lips against my forehead. I froze, my eyes slipping shut, body stiffening, despite how much I wanted to relax under his gentle touch.
My walls crumbled more under the contact of his soft lips against my forehead as he took them away. He lowered them next to my ear and said, “You don’t want to say no. I think we both know that, but if you did, I’d stop. You’re safe here, Lainey. I’m a safe space.”
I sniffed, the stress pulling at me and smashing me back together like taffy – and I hated it so much, but…
“Kiss me?” I asked, and I looked back up at him. He drew back and that cruel twist was back to his lips, but I could tell, somehow, that it wasn’t directed at me. Maybe cruel was the wrong word for it… maybe smug was better.
“My pleasure,” he said, and his voice was pitched low, thrumming through me.
He put his mouth gently to mine and I gave in. Readily. Easily. Maybe too easily. Holy fuck, holy fuck, holy fuck!
Text Copyright © 2023 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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