Soothing His Madness (Bantorus MC #3)

By: Debra Kayn

Taylor deserved a man who could hold his family together. She gave and gave, and all he ever gave her was leftover shit he’d thrown at her the last couple of years. He treated her like a bitch, unable to ask any more of her than sex when he couldn’t stay away. He sniffed and stuck the bottle between his knees. She was too good for him.

He’d wanted to give her everything. Himself. His kids. A life together.

The last year, he’d waited and planned to make it official once he legally had his kids under his roof and Jodie out of his life.

His thoughts grew foggy and he shook his head. “Is she working tables tonight?”

Rain glanced at him. “No. I gave her tonight off.”

“Good,” he replied, relieved Rain knew he was talking about Taylor because even saying her name hurt.

He couldn’t handle seeing her yet. She’d want to know what happened, and he couldn’t deal with everything right now. She’d also try to talk him out of his need for vengeance. Women like her—too damn good for him—wouldn’t understand that sometimes you had to settle things the wrong way to make things right again. He took another swallow of whiskey. The burn barely registered.

Despite Rain taking his guns and obviously babysitting him, nobody was going to stop him from getting his kids back. He lifted the bottle; frowned to find he’d consumed half the whiskey.

At Cactus Cove, he hurried inside in an attempt to keep his buzz on. He didn’t want to sober up. Not tonight.

Torque approached him and clapped his hand down on his shoulder, and then backed away without saying a word. Slade lifted the bottle to his lips again. The hell with pity, he was going to get plastered.

Gladys caught his eye. He sauntered over to the bar and handed her the almost empty bottle. “Toss this one, and bring me tequila.”

Gladys pressed her lips together, and her soft green eyes watered. He glared, warning her off. He had no room for a mother, and Gladys had a habit of trying to keep all the Bantorus men in line as the unofficial momma of the club.

A few seconds later, he found a corner table and sat down for the night with a bottle of Jose and a shot glass. If Rain wanted to hover over him, he could damn well drive him home after he passed out.

“Hey, Slade.” Linda, one of the bitches who hung around Ronny, slid into a chair across from him at the table. “Sorry to hear about—”

He slammed his glass against the table. “Move on, bitch.”

Linda’s lipstick stained bottom lip came out in a pout and she leaned forward, undisturbed with his outburst. “I can make you feel better, baby. Let me take you back to my cabin.”

He leaned back, took in the short jean skirt, the tank straining over her double D’s, and felt nothing. Her green eyes flashed in excitement. The empty whole in his chest grew bigger. He’d had her before, many times in fact, prior to hooking up with Taylor, and sex was good. But it wasn’t Taylor fucking good. “Go sniff out someone else who can treat you right, sweetheart. I ain’t got nothing for you.”

Linda stood and ran her hand along Slade’s jaw. “Okay, baby. You know where to find me, yeah?”

He poured a shot of tequila and slapped it back, enjoying the burn. “Right.”

Linda sashayed away from the table. He watched in hypnotic comfort, as the sway of her hips grew dimmer and dimmer. Women never failed to amaze him.

Sex was their answer to all their problems. He’d spent most of his teenage and adult life solving first Jodie’s troubles and then trying to fix most of the bitches that hung around the club, ignoring where his behavior took him. Jodie, with her tight little body and bubbly personality, had played him for a fool. He’d knocked her up and made her his woman. Tried to do the best he could by his family, even making another kid with her to try to turn her into a homebody.

A lot of good that did him. She fucked around—trying to see if someone new could fix her head. He’d left with the kids and never looked back. He rubbed his thumb against the rim of the shot glass. Taylor was the only woman who came to him problem free. He drank more tequila. Hell, she’d leave with his problems if he continued to see her.

His madness infected everyone who mattered to him. His kids. Taylor. The club.

The phone in his pocket vibrated. He knocked over the opened bottle of Tequila in his scramble to reach his cell. He blinked, clearing the fog in his vision, studying the screen, hoping to see Kurt’s name pop up.

Instead, a text came from the garage. He needed to show up at work tomorrow morning. He shoved the phone back in his pocket, and then cradled his head in his hand. The alcohol numbed him enough he wasn’t breaking anything, but he could still think. Now he’d have to cut himself off for the rest of the night if he planned to make it into work early.

He had to make a living, because his kids needed the support. From experience, he knew Jodie wouldn’t spend any of Ray’s money on the kids.

Not in the mood to hang around the bar if he wasn’t able to get plowed, he stood and walked toward the door. He’d find someone outside to take him home.

He pushed through the door and came to a complete stop. A rush of adrenaline sobered him and made it impossible to tap down his emotions.