Soothing His Madness (Bantorus MC #3)

By: Debra Kayn

“Always,” she whispered.

He continued holding her wrist, so she climbed over top of him and lay beside him. With her head on his chest, her leg on his thigh, she wrapped her arm around his waist. His soft snores began before she even closed her eyes.

Only then did she let herself relax. In the dim light coming in from the hallway, she yawned and snuggled closer, warming when his arm tightened around her. She loved the moment between awake and sleep when, in his unconscious state, he held her tighter as if he never wanted to let her go.

She fell asleep with hope that every day would get better, and excited to tell Slade her plan on how she would help him get his kids back.

Sometime later, she woke to find Slade thrashing on the bed. She rolled and turned the bedside lamp on. “Honey?”

Slade’s hands covered his head, clenching his hair in his fists. His forehead wrinkled in angst, and his mouth hung open gasping for air. She reached for his arm and he swung out, barely missing her shoulder.

“Slade. Wake up.” She got ahold of his arm and hugged it to her chest, keeping him from hitting out. “Honey, you’re dreaming. It’s okay. I’m right here.”

His eyes snapped open and he froze. She stroked his cheek. “That’s it. You’re here, and I’m with you.”

His harsh breathing filled the room. She leaned closer, kissing his forehead, his eyelids, and working her way down to his neck. “It’s okay.”

She placed her lips on his collarbone. His skin hot to the touch, seared right to her heart. She wanted to take away the pain.

He cleared his throat. She pulled back, not letting go of him. “Talk to me.”

“I…I need to get out of here.” He moved his legs to get up.

She held on, glancing at the clock. It was only four thirty in the morning. “You need to rest. When you wake up, I’ll take you back to your house so you can get ready for work.”

“Stop.” His mouth hardened and he looked away from her. “Back off.”

She raised her hands and moved off the bed. He grabbed his boots, shoved his feet inside them and without lacing, stood, and faced her. “I need the keys to your car.”

She hurried over to the dresser, picked her key ring up, and tossed them to him. “I’ll put my shoes on and grab a coat.”

“No.” He picked up his stocking cap off the nightstand beside the bed and pulled the hat over his hair. “I’ll have one of the men bring your car back to your place.”

She stepped toward him, but he stepped back, putting distance between them. “Wait. Why are you leaving then? I want you to stay here.”

“We’re…” He inhaled swiftly and paused. His eyelids grew heavy, shadowing his dark eyes even more, and his shoulders slumped forward. “Baby girl, this shouldn’t have happened.”

“I know.” She nodded in understanding. “I know, honey. The boys deserve to be—”

“I’m not talking about them.” He shoved the keys in his pocket. “You and me. I can’t keep doing this.”

Goosebumps broke out over her arms. She rocked back on her heels. No way would he suggest they not see each other.

“I know you’ve lost—”

“You don’t know shit.” He shook his head. “Everything that’s me was ripped away yesterday. I have nothing. That means I have nothing to give you.”

“That’s not true,” she whispered. “You’ll continue to fight for your boys, and you’ll get them back.”

He laughed harshly and the sound had her back sitting on the edge of the bed, reeling from another side of Slade she hadn’t seen. He was strong, bossy, and opinionated, but he was never condescending toward her.

“I’ll get my boys if I have to kill someone to do it. I promise you that,” he said.

“You can’t.” She rushed him and grabbed handfuls of his shirt to stop him. “What will that do, except ruin any chance of you having them? We’ll fight the right way. I-If you need more money, you can have everything I have. You can get a better attorney, another court date.”

He framed her face with his hands, forcing her to look at him until it was almost painful. “Go on with your life, cause I won’t be back.”

He pulled her head to his chest, cupping her cheek and held her. She tried to shake her head to argue. “You can’t leave me,” she said.

“Have to, baby girl,” he whispered. “It’s the only smart thing I’ve done lately.”

He stepped away from her. She grabbed his shirt, but the force of him walking away ripped the material out of her clutch.

“Slade.” She hurried after him. “Damn you, stop.”

But he kept going, through the door and straight to her car in the driveway. She held on to the railing of the porch, getting a harsh peek at reality. He was walking out of her life, and she couldn’t stop him.

“Damn you,” she yelled. “You promised never to hurt me. Six months ago, Slade, you laid your head on my lap and promised me you’d never do anything to make me cry.”

He hesitated beside the car. She heard him cuss, and then he ducked his head and sat in the car. She smacked the railing with the palm of her hand. Why was he doing this to her?