(c)2018, Harley Wylde & Paige Warren
The trip back to Blackwood Falls took too fucking long, and I was feeling anxious. It had been a long damn time since I’d been in a vehicle, and I’d much rather have spent the hour-long ride on my Harley. Soon enough, I’d take it out on the open road, and just let the tension melt away. The only thing sweeter than a ride on my bike was being between a woman’s thighs.
As Demon stopped outside the clubhouse, he tensed and turned to face me. I had no idea what was going to come out of his mouth, but something told me it wasn’t anything I wanted to hear.
“There’s something you need to know,” Demon said.
“Anyone die while I was gone?”
“No. It’s about Adalia.”
My breath froze in my lungs as I pictured her wide blue eyes as they’d stared at me in terror. I’d found her in an alley, her clothes torn, and some asshole raping her. I’d seen her around town, knew she was only thirteen, just a kid. Something inside me had snapped, and I’d beat the fuck out of that asshole. Beat him to death. I didn’t regret what I’d done, only wished I’d gotten there sooner. Adalia had watched as I killed that man, and she hadn’t uttered a word the entire time. Not even when I took her to the hospital to be checked out. I’d known it wouldn’t end well for me, but my first priority had been the girl. Anyone else might have gotten off with a lighter sentence, seeing as how I’d been protecting her. But a guy like me with priors? I hadn’t had a prayer. Ten years to give her the peace of mind that the asshole who had touched her was six feet under? Yeah, it was a trade I’d been willing to make. I’d made it then, and even knowing I’d get time, I’d do it again in a second.
I might be an asshole biker with a rap sheet, but there were some things that even I wouldn’t tolerate. Rape was one of them. Anyone harming a kid was another, and that dickweed had done both. As far as I was concerned, the world was a better place without him in it.
“What about her?” I asked.
She’d be twenty-three now. Probably had a steady job, a nice boyfriend. At least, I hoped that’s how her life had turned out. But the way Demon had said her name… had something happened to her while I was gone? Had some other asshole tried to hurt her, and I hadn’t been around to save her this time? My gut clenched just thinking anything bad had happened to her. She’d been such a sweetheart the few times I’d been around her, always a little on the quiet side.
“She’s here,” Demon said quietly.
My heart started pounding, and I flung open the truck door, then reached for my cut and shrugged it on. I slammed the door shut and stomped up the clubhouse steps before going inside. There were balloons and shit everywhere, and the roar of welcome as I stepped inside was near deafening. But as I scanned the crowd, it wasn’t my brothers I was taking in… No, I was looking for her. I didn’t know what she looked like anymore, only remembered her as a teenage girl. She’d been terrified the last time I’d seen her. I didn’t know why she was here, but I had to see her, to know that she was okay. I’d thought about her every fucking day that I was inside, hoping she’d been able to get past what happened to her, had gone on to live a good life. I’d thought about writing her once, just to check on her, but had decided it was best if I kept away. She didn’t need any reminders from me about what had happened to her.
My brothers hugged me, slapped me on the back, and slowly they all parted. At the back of the room stood a pixie of a woman, long blonde hair curling over her shoulders, and a body made for sinning. It was her eyes that nailed my feet to the floor. Blue. And achingly familiar. My gaze traced her features, trying to find the little girl I’d tried to save. I didn’t see even a hint of the terrified teen I’d carried out of that alley. Her features were delicate, much like the rest of her. She had curves in all the right places, and would likely be more than a handful for some men, but I’d be willing to bet she wouldn’t even reach my shoulder. Tiny. Almost like a little fairy. Slowly, Adalia walked toward me, her hips swaying with every step. Yeah, she’d grown up while I was gone, and I’d be willing to bet men fell to their knees to worship at her feet. She looked like one of those plus-sized models, but in a shorter package.
She didn’t even hesitate when she reached me, just put her arms around my neck and hugged me tight. My arms closed around her, pulling her curves against me, and I breathed in her honeysuckle scent. Closing my eyes, I just drank in the moment. She was here. She was safe. And she felt a little too damn good pressed against me. The way my jeans tightened made me want to put some distance between us. I tried like hell to keep the image of her as a thirteen-year-old girl in my mind, hoping my body would stop reacting to the woman she’d grown into, but no such luck. The breasts pressing against me were more than a handful and far too fucking tempting, as was the rest of her.
“I’m glad you’re home,” she said, her voice soft and husky.
“It’s good to see you, pretty girl. Not a day went by that I didn’t think about you.”
“I tried to come see you a few times, but they always said you weren’t allowed visitors.”
I pulled away and smiled down at her. “I had a tendency to get into trouble inside. But now I’m glad you didn’t get any farther than the gates. Prison is no place for an angel like you.”
Her cheeks flushed and she smiled a little. “Welcome home, Badger.”