Submit and SurrenderBy: Chloe Cox
Adra’s skin grew hot as Ford approached. Slow. He was so slow. So deliberate. His eyes pinning her where she stood, the weight of him somehow overbearing even from a distance, making it difficult to breathe.
She felt like she was buzzing around the edges, like on the surface she was over-stimulated and on the verge of shorting out, but the core of her was…calm.
He’d made her admit it. He’d made her beg. And everything had fallen into place.
Just the way he was looking at her…
Like she was entirely his.
He saw. He smiled. Then he reached up and tore open her blouse.
Ford Colson cursed and slammed his hand against the dashboard. The Bluetooth in his truck had never worked right, and this was the only time he cared. The only thing he’d gotten from the garbled voicemail was something about Adra Davis, and how he needed to be back at Club Volare, and how it was very important.
He never got reception up in the canyons. Normally there wasn’t anything he needed to be on call for, and there wasn’t much that could get him to cut short a cross-country run—except Adra. And now that he and Adra were running Club Volare L.A. while the owner, Chance, was on a scouting trip for the next Volare location, he could add club business to that limited list.
He smoothed his hand over the dashboard, feeling kind of bad for taking it out on his truck, and took a deep breath. At least the PCH wasn’t clogged up. He’d be there in a few minutes.
It was only Adra who could get him worked up like this. But he’d be damned if he let anyone see it.
Obviously that strategy hadn’t worked as well as it should have. It wasn’t an accident that Chance had left him and Adra in charge. The details of Ford’s history with Adra weren’t exactly common knowledge, but everyone damn sure knew that there was a history, and that something had gone wrong—and it was affecting the club. Chance wanted to force them to work it out by forcing them to work together.
The two of them could barely stand to be in a room together. Not because they hated each other, though what was that saying about a fine line between love and hate? Maybe she did hate him, who knew. But it wasn’t that. It was because they wanted each other. And Ford knew Adra was someone he couldn’t have. Not the way he’d wanted her.
She’d been very clear about that. Eventually.
But he missed her. Damn it, he missed her. Even though she’d turned out to be the kind of person Ford knew he couldn’t have in his life, he missed her. He missed making her laugh, he missed her warmth, he missed her loyalty and her huge heart. He missed the way she smelled.
And now even the suggestion that something bad had happened involving her sent him speeding down the PCH like a mad man. It was like a bad dream he couldn’t wake up from. Adra wouldn’t let him. Not with the way she acted around him, like she was afraid of her own shadow, afraid of being seen, or of what Ford had seen of her. Afraid of what might have been.
It didn’t matter. He would never do that again. He’d never again be with a woman who played games like that. That had been one expensive lesson to learn, but he’d learned it well. So well that sometimes he thought he should thank his ex-wife.
Ford laughed out loud, alone in his truck, imagining Claudia’s face as he thanked her for the spectacular shit show that had been their divorce, and all the loss that had gone with it. Maybe he’d try it the next time she came to town.
Or maybe not. He was still going nearly a hundred miles an hour down the PCH, muscles twitching, wanting to find out what the hell had happened with Adra. Maybe some lessons you never really learn. He’d thought Adra was it. He’d thought…
Well, sometimes even a Dom could be wrong.
He didn’t relax until he hit Venice and knew he was only minutes from the Club Volare compound. And then when traffic slowed to a crawl on Abbot Kinney, he was about to make an illegal turn onto a side street, just to cut through and get there a few minutes faster, when he saw the reason for the sudden standstill up ahead.
A silver BMW in an accident at the traffic light up ahead, the one that had been malfunctioning on and off all week. A silver Beamer that looked a whole hell of a lot like Adra’s car. And a woman, standing on the side of the road, slim build, killer ass, brown hair, just like Adra, getting screamed at by some asshole with a comb over and a beer belly.
Ford was out of his truck and halfway down the block before he realized it wasn’t Adra.
Relief surged through him, chasing the adrenaline threatening to pound out a hole in his chest where his heart was. It wasn’t Adra.
But it was still a young woman who looked like she was about to cry from the abuse she was taking from that idiot with the comb over.
Ford didn’t like the look of it. He liked it even less when he got close enough to hear was going on.
“How did you even get a license, you dumb bitch?” the man screamed, waving a reddened hand at his slightly dented door.
Not even dented. Dinged.
“You were too busy on the phone? Chatting with your girlfriends? Doing your fucking makeup?” the man sneered. “Jesus Christ, what is wrong with you?”
The guy wasn’t even asking for her insurance information, wasn’t trying to work out a solution to what was in reality a minor problem. He just wanted to humiliate her. It was working, too. Reading the woman’s body language was like reading an open book for an experienced Dom like Ford—shoulders drawn in, back hunched, eyes down. Her whole body beaten down and trying to hide away. Whatever was making her feel like this went further than a fender bender with an abusive jackass, but the abusive jackass was definitely pushing all of her buttons.
And the jackass seemed to like it.
“Are you listening to me?” the man shouted, waving his arms around. The woman flinched.
“The light was—” she started to say.
“She speaks!” the man said. “Do you understand right of way, you idiot?”
“I do,” Ford said. He walked up to the woman’s side and took a moment to make eye contact—she looked bewildered. The man was a bully, larger than her, in her space, screaming. Spittle flying.
Ford took another step toward the man causing all this trouble, putting himself between that jackass and the young woman.
Ford pointed at him.
“You don’t speak anymore,” Ford said.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I said be quiet,” Ford growled.
The man’s lips fell open. There was sweat on his brow, his cheeks. He didn’t seem to understand what had just happened or why he’d stopped talking.
The Dom voice was useful in the most unexpected situations.
“Has he threatened you?” Ford asked the young woman. Up close she was even younger than he’d thought, possibly still in college. Which might explain why she had no idea what to do in this situation.
She was staring at him. It took her a moment to speak.
“Not in so many words,” she said. “But he seems totally crazy.”
“I won’t let him do anything to you,” Ford said. “You should know this light has been malfunctioning for weeks. But even if it hadn’t, this guy doesn’t have the right to speak to you this way. If you want me to, I can help, but I understand perfectly well if you want me to mind my own business. It’s up to you.”
“What?” she said, looking up with suddenly alert eyes. “Oh God, no, I definitely want you to help. I mean…please.”
Ford smiled. He probably shouldn’t enjoy this, but hey. He was human.
“You,” he said, turning on the now-confused jackass. The redness in the man’s face had only intensified. He looked like an angry tomato. “You will back off, and you will apologize. You will pay for any damages to this young woman’s car, and you will do it through me so that she doesn’t have to put up with any more of your harassment or abuse. Am I clear?”