Lucky cat.

I really, really wanted to see the rest of it.


“You said some shit the other night that we gotta deal with. Um, Sophie? I have a face, you know,” he added, and my eyes jerked up from his stomach. I felt myself flush and he stayed silent, watching me with hooded eyes. He raised a hand and rubbed the back of his neck, biceps and triceps flexing nicely, then scratched at his stomach. The muscles between my legs took note, pulsing their approval.

“What do we have to deal with?” I asked, feeling my cheeks flush again.

“No friends with benefits for you,” he told me without a trace of humor. “No f**king around, no kissing, or even fluttering your goddamned eyelashes at any guy in the club. That’s the only way you’ll be at the party. Or any club event.”

I raised my brows at him and shook my head. No matter how uncomfortable this conversation might be, I needed to set some boundaries.

“That’s stupid. I’m single. If I meet someone I like, it’s my decision whether I flirt with them or kiss them or whatever. And you’re one to talk—you just threw a naked chick out the door without even a thank-you for the road. Hypocrite much?”

“My house, my rules,” he replied. “You go to that party, nothing happens. You’re the Virgin f**kin’ Mary, got me? Otherwise you stay home.”

I thought about this, then straightened, placing my hands flat on the counter. Until that moment, I’d been on the fence about the party. I wanted to give the club a shot, but I’d been nervous about jumping in headfirst. Now? Now I’d show up at that damned Armory if it killed me. I’d flirt all over the place, too.

Fuck him and his whore.

I glared at him. He glared back. Neither of us blinked.

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There’s a lot Ruger and I refused to talk about, and God knew he could hide his thoughts from me. Now I couldn’t even begin to follow his logic—he’d made it clear nothing would happen between us, so why the jealous boyfriend act?

“Why does it matter?” I asked finally. “Are your friends so dangerous that I’m not safe? Because you’ve spent a lot of time giving me shit for assuming they’re dangerous criminals instead of giving them a shot. So it’s either that or because you’re jealous. That it? You don’t want me but nobody else gets me, either? Would it be easier if you peed on me so they know I’m taken?”

“It’d be easier if you’d shut the f**k up,” he said, eyes darkening.

“That’s what you want from me? Silence?” I demanded, feeling my temper rise. “Call me stupid, but it seemed like you wanted a hell of a lot more the other night. You can’t have it both ways, ass**le. Either there’s something between us or I’m a free agent.”

Ruger pushed away from the counter, holding my gaze as he stalked across the kitchen.

“Oh, I can have it both ways,” he said. “You shouldn’t make assumptions about what I’m capable of, Soph. I’ll be nice and give you a heads-up what’s happening here. I want to f**k you.”

He rounded the kitchen island, prowling like the big cat tattooed on his hip. The kitchen felt smaller and smaller. I was all too aware of his bare chest, black ink rippling as he moved, and just how tightly controlled he kept his strength. Perhaps direct confrontation had been a mistake …

“That’s the thing about guys like me,” he continued, his voice low and smooth, eyes boring right through mine. “We don’t do what we’re supposed to. We take what we want. And me? I want all kinds of things. First I want to tie you up in my bed with my belt. Then I want to cut off your clothes and f**k you in every hole you have. I also want to come on you and rub it into your skin and lick your pu**y until you scream at me to stop because if you come one more time you’ll die. Then I want to do it again. I want to own you, Sophie.”

He stopped beside my stool, so close the heat of his body engulfed me. I couldn’t even turn my head to look at him, frozen like a rabbit, his words turning over and over in my head. His scent surrounded me. I tried to breathe as he leaned in close, one arm braced on the counter, whispering in my ear.

“I want to own every part of you,” he continued, his breath hot against my skin. “I want to throw you face-first across this counter, rip off those shorts, and f**k you hard and fast until my goddamned c**k stops hurting and my balls don’t feel like they’re gonna explode. Because they’ve felt that way for a helluva long time, Soph, and I’m startin’ to think it’s not gonna go away unless I do something about it.”

It took everything I had not to squeak in panic. Every part of my body tingled and I clenched my legs together tightly, putting pressure on my clit with every pulse of desire. Oh, that felt good. Not good enough, though, I needed more. My cheeks flushed and my breath came quick. I considered reaching down and shoving my hand into those half-fastened pants. Maybe discover for myself if Kimber had been telling the truth about his c**k …

Ruger hadn’t even touched me.

He still wasn’t touching me. I bit back a moan.

“But that’s probably not a real good idea,” he added, his voice cooling as he pulled back. “We both know it. Not what Noah needs and a f**kin’ tar pit for you and me, too. But your idea about hooking up with one of my brothers? That keeps runnin’ through my head, Soph, and then I start thinking about shootin’ people. I don’t want to have to shoot anyone tomorrow, get me? Shitty way to end a party. Not to mention the prez might get frustrated, one of the local brothers loses it in public with the whole f**kin’ club here for a meet.”

Holy crap.

I nodded, chest tightening.

“So, all things considered, you might think about doing exactly what I say at that f**kin’ party,” he said, and while he phrased it like a suggestion, it was a straight-up order. “I get that you don’t want someone like me in your bed, not as a keeper. Don’t want things to get weirder than they are between us, either. But if you’re gonna screw a biker, Soph, I’m the only one you get. I won’t stand by and let you f**k one of my brothers.”

“I can’t believe you just said all that,” I whispered. “That’s wrong on so many levels. I don’t even know where to start.”

He considered me, eyes hard, voice cold.

“I don’t care if it’s wrong,” he said. “That’s the way it is. My house, my world, my rules. Tell me you understand and I’ll let you go to the party.”

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