The Hellhound (Riders of Tyr #2)

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Chapter 21: Safe Spaces

Iris

Rage is so breathtaking, it hurts. I yearn to get up, walk up to him, wrap my arms around his neck and push against his body. He is barefoot in a pair of worn jeans and over it...nothing. Every time I see him he gets more attractive but as he is standing in that corner he is the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life. My eyes must have betrayed my thoughts cause he shifts nervously on his feet before ungluing himself off the wall. He takes a few steps towards the bed but hesitates. He looks away and drives his fingers through his long Mohawk.

“Is...?” he starts “Can I get you anything?”

“Sit with me.” I say without even thinking.

His face hardens and I fear he might leave the room altogether. But he doesn’t. he is battling the demons underneath, those that torment him and make him think that he will hurt him if he pulled closer. Still, I see it, the desire to be near me, the unwillingness to let me go. My whole body tightens waiting on this verdict, praying he won’t leave. And when after a few moments he walks over and sits on the bed, I sigh in relief.

His eyes shift from my eyes to my lips and that is enough to make me squirm, flooded with unbearably hot feelings that I have never felt before. I have seen men in my life but none like him. There is no one like him, so ripped and powerful yet so tortured. If I had the strength I would get up to feel his lips with mine, ending this sweet agony in me. Or igniting it.

“Shit.” he growls “Time for your meds.”

He takes a few pills from a bottle and then he moves to me. I try to get up but my muscles don’t obey me. I am still weak and I hate being weak before him. Rage looks at the door as if ready to call for someone, afraid to touch me for some reason. But then his look hardens as if the idea seemed terrible in his mind. He just stoops to me, wraps his arms around me to lift me up and I inhale sharply having him so close. His musk hits me and I gasp audibly.

“Did I hurt you?” he misinterprets my reaction.

“No. I am fine.” I utter and take the pills along with the water.

He then helps me down and makes sure the pillows keeping my back untouched are fine. I have cried so many tears in my life, tears of pain and agony all of them, but seeing Rage take care of me fills my up with a different kind of tears. To see a hardened biker, inked and muscled, puff pillows is enough to make my stomach tied to knots. But to see Rage, a troubled soul, a man plagued by his own demons put everything aside just to make sure I am comfortable makes my insides flutter like a swarm of butterflies.

“Doc said you should stay off your back for a few days.” his voice adds to my turbulence.

God, that voice! It’s like velvet on stone, hard and soft at the same time, deep and throaty. There’re goosebumps on my skin as he speaks and I don’t feel pain on my back anymore.

“OK.” is all I can say.

“Fuck, Iris.” Rage turns to me his face revealing his agony “How can you...? That motherfucker...” his voice breaks.

He gets up and turns away from me. His whole muscular back is taken up by the arrow that is the emblem of the Riders. There is their motto tattooed under it: “The Leavings of the Wolf”. The arrow moves as his muscles tense and he is breathing heavily rubbing his face with his hands.

“I am fine. Really.” I try.

“No, damn it!” he hits his head with force “He hurt you. He fucking took you and hung you and whipped you bloody.”

“Rage.” I say.

“He hurt you, Iris.” he hits his head again.

“Rage, please.” I try to get up.

“And I wasn’t there. I wasn’t fucking there.” his voice comes from somewhere inside him and carries so much pain that the tears I was holding back come trickling down.

I feel dizzy but I push myself on my elbows. I want to get up and stop him from hurting himself. My whole body is tied like a knot of hurt and shot nerves but I can’t bear seeing him like that. The bed creaks by my effort and Rage turns to me. The moment he sees me trying to get up, he sheds all anguish and rushes to my side.

“No, Iris. You need to rest.” his voice is softer as he pushes me down.

And then he goes rigid. He pulls his hands off me and he bites down his jaw.

“You don’t want to be here. It’s my room and I am... You want to leave. Everyone does. I am bad. Bad. I am a psycho.”

“Don’t!” my words come out with enough force to make him look at me “You are not a psycho. You saved me from that man. I don’t want to be anywhere but here. With you.”

At first his look is burdened with disbelief and he searches my face as if waiting for the mocking. When that doesn’t come, he looks into my eyes and I melt under his childlike blue gaze.

“I am so fucking sorry I wasn’t there.” his hot breath is on my face “I should have been there.”

“It’s not your fault.” I assure him.

“I am not leaving you out of my fucking eyes again.” he adds, his hand hovering over my face.

A cozy, fuzzy, warm feeling fills me to the brink of happiness. I don’t dare to blink for fear I will lose it and it is too precious to me. I long for him to touch me, run his fingers over my whole body. At the thought, every cell in my body wakes with fortitude, making my mouth water and hot blood running to my cheeks. All the years I was held by that man, I never thought that any happy thoughts would ever dominate my mind. I know well I should have died a thousand times over and there were times when I was lying on my bed, with bandages covering me that I thought to give up. I never understood what kept me going, keeping me alive. As Rage said those words I knew why.

“Are you hungry?” he coughs clearing his throat.

I say nothing just nod.

“I am calling Wood to make you something.” he grabs his cell.

He isn’t willing to walk over the corridor to the bar for that meant leaving me alone. I smile faintly and shut my eyes, suddenly tired and overcome by fatigue. I am safe. Rage is here and he isn’t leaving me. I am safe.

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