Soothing His Madness (Bantorus MC #3)

By: Debra Kayn

“Oh shit. Girlfriend, things are not looking good for you,” Ginger said, motioning with her chin toward the door.

Taylor looked over her shoulder. Heat flooded her face and she suddenly wondered if trying to talk to Slade while everyone was around might not be such a hot decision.

Slade’s intense gaze locked on Taylor. Every nerve in her body tingled. She’d missed him, and she was scared that he would never come back to her.

The last several days, she’d mourned his absence. Sadness, anger, and finally despondence over the thought that he’d slipped away from everything he knew settled around her. But the rage he directed at her, she couldn’t handle.

She stood. Half-afraid she’d run across the room and throw her arms around him or do something even more stupid, like burst out bawling in relief. He walked straight for her. His jaw twitched in anger. She stopped, fearful of upsetting him more and holding him back from healing. She straightened, ignoring the self-doubts creeping in. She deserved an explanation.

He planted his boots in front of her. “Bars closed.”

His words, cold and rude, contradicted the intensity of his brown eyes on her, taking in everything. She crossed her arms. Maybe he’d get the hint she was done with him pushing her aside.

“Yeah, I know. I’m staying with the girls while the guys have their meeting.” She lifted her chin, continuing so he wouldn’t argue. “I need to talk with you. I found out everyone pretty much knows we’ve been seeing each other in secret. There’s no reason we can’t talk. I understand you’re hurting…I am too.”

Slade opened his mouth to speak, and then changed his mind. She moved in closer and put her hands on his chest. His heart raced underneath her touch and fueled her forward.

“Give me five minutes without shutting me out,” she said. “Please.”

“Not here,” he whispered.

“Okay.” She inhaled. This was good. It wasn’t a definite hell no. “My place?”

He shook his head. “Wait for me outside after the meeting. It should only take a few minutes, and then you can say whatever it is you think you need to get off your chest.”

She nodded. “Yeah, sure. I’ll be outside.”

His lips tightened over his teeth. She could no longer hold in the question that she’d been dying to ask. Not knowing was driving her crazy. “Have you heard from the boys?”

“No,” he said.

“You’ll get them in two days and see for yourself they’re fine.” She blinked extra-long and then looked up at him. “They’re your boys through and through.”

A shudder ran through his body before he stepped away. “I need to go to the meeting.”

“Okay.” She watched him walk down the hall into the meeting room in the back of the building.

She’d worked at Cactus Cove for seven years, and not once had she been inside the Bantorus meeting room at the end of the hall. Only old ladies to the members were allowed on the property during the meeting. Usually the rule never bothered her, because Slade received something fulfilling from being a member that kept him faithful to the club.

The last couple of days, everywhere she turned, signs were popping out all over the place. She wasn’t first in Slade’s life and because he’d walked away from her, she wasn’t sure where she fit in. Her parents lived in Arizona, she had no siblings, and her small circle of friends belonged to Bantorus men. Slade had become the center of her world.

Tori approached her. “Hang in there. You need to give him time to accept all the changes in his life.”

She reached out and rubbed Lilly’s cheek, receiving a slobbery grin in return. “I know. It’s just that he’s…”

“Stubborn?” Tori smiled. “They all are, honey.”

Yeah, they were and she loved that about the bikers. Taylor held out her hands. “Let me hold this sweet baby girl while you go relax.”

Tori handed her daughter over to Taylor. “I thought you’d never ask. She’s getting so big, but I don’t think I’m ready for her to start walking yet.”

“It won’t be too much longer, and she’ll be running all around the bar.” Taylor swayed in place with Lilly on her hip. “Bossing all the men around, and loving every second of it.”

Tori tilted her head. “You’re good with her.”

“I like kids.” She shrugged while making kissing noises to Lilly. “My mom stayed home while I was growing up and babysat for a couple of the neighbors who had babies. I’d hurry home from school and help her. Then when I got into high school, I worked at a daycare during the summer.”

“Hm,” Tori said.

Taylor glanced at her. “What?”

“Just thinking.” Tori raised her brows. “I guess I never noticed how the Bantorus kids are drawn to you and now that I think about it, you’re always helping fill plates, entertain them, and offering a hug when others are too busy. It’s no wonder you fell for Slade and his boys.”

“Yeah.” She hugged Lilly to her and smiled when she put her little head on Taylor’s shoulder. “Well, Kurt and Lee are easy kids to love.”