Soothing His Madness (Bantorus MC #3)By: Debra Kayn
Taylor stood in front of him, studying him, soaking up every damn detail he couldn’t hide. The pity etched in her hazel eyes pissed him off, and had him wishing he could walk over and shake some sense into her.
And yet, she calmed him like nobody could. The amount of his feelings scared him. He wasn’t afraid to admit that he feared breaking her. Her quiet acceptance of the MC lifestyle, the crudeness she put up with at work and with him was not something a woman like her was used to or deserved.
Before he could put distance between them, she’d become his everything.
His heart raced, and he fought laying everything on her shoulders, because it was his job to take care of her. He was the man. He’d protect her from every nasty thing that wanted to touch her, including himself.
“Come to my house,” she whispered, clearing her throat and speaking louder. “I want to be with you.
Her softness, her devotion, her understanding hurt him. He swallowed hard, not wanting to answer her but continuing to stand, so he could be near her. He didn’t deserve her attention.
She held out her hand, and he suspected she understood that he’d throw anything she had to say back in her face. The temptation to lay his hand in hers and let her take care of him was almost too hard to control. He had to fight against going to her for comfort, because the last thing she needed was him.
He was sick, because tonight he had an unexplained desire for her to experience the same kind of hurt he was going through. His madness was out of control, and he couldn’t stop it. His life was fucked.
He shook his head. “I’m heading home.”
“How are you getting there?” she asked.
The quietness and strength in her voice caressed his soul. God, he needed her. “I’m gonna see if one of the guys will give me a lift.”
“I’ll take you.” She turned and walked into the parking lot.
He watched her go away, wanting to follow, but the last of his resolve held on tight to his word that he wouldn’t upset her life any more than he already had. She hesitated at her car, and he continued to watch her. She understood him better than his Bantorus brothers did. If he didn’t follow her, she’d drive away and never look back. It’d be the smartest thing she’d ever done.
But, she didn’t leave.
She stood there in the opened car door and looked at him from fifty feet away. Her eyes, no less penetrable from that distance, begged him to come with her. She saw through him with the patience of a saint.
He started walking. Every step bringing him comfort the way he imagined a man gut shot looks toward the light.
“Just take me home,” he said, climbing into the passenger side of her car.
He leaned his head against the window, wishing he could go back to two days ago when he lived on hope and had his boys with him. To the morning he had sex with Taylor, and promised himself he’d do right by her as soon as the court date was over. He never dreamed his world would blow up in his face.
Even in his sleep, Slade’s fists clenched and his muscles remained tense and unforgiving. Taylor walked around the front of the car, opened the passenger side door, and coaxed Slade to his feet. At first she believed he chose to ignore her when he stayed quiet on the ride home, but then it was apparent he’d drank too much and his body finally succumbed to the exhaustion.
She put his arm around her shoulders and took the brunt of his weight. Between battling him into the house and getting no sleep last night, she wanted to lie down, wrap her arms around Slade, and sleep for a week.
First, she had to get him undressed. She sat him on the bed. He frowned and tried to stand back up.
“Stop, honey. No more running.” She knelt down on the floor and worked the laces on his boots. “You need to rest.”
“Need to work,” he muttered, letting his eyes close. “Can’t stop. Kids need me.”
She swallowed the lump in her throat. The first thing that attracted her to Slade was his devotion to his kids. He’d never turn his back on them, never.
“Yeah, they do.” She peeled his socks off his feet and stood. “That’s why you need to take care of yourself.”
He let her lay him down on her bed. “Don’t deserve you.”
It was the alcohol talking. She pulled his stocking cap off and swept his hair off his face before covering him with a blanket. He was more man than she needed, always watching her back, supporting her while letting her lead her own life. She wouldn’t want to change one thing about him, except maybe his stubbornness to do everything himself.
“Sleep.” She kissed him lightly on the lips. “You’ll feel stronger in the morning.”
His hand came up and circled her wrist. “Stay with me?”
He had no idea she’d taken him back to her home. She wasn’t planning to let him stay alone at his house after Rain called her to come and talk to him at the bar. Every single person in Bantorus MC was worried. She’d do anything to keep him safe, including bringing him to her house.
Throughout their entire relationship, he’d always come here. She understood he didn’t want her around the kids yet. Tonight was different. He needed normalcy, not a reminder of what he’d lost.