Knock On Wood (Riders of Tyr #6)

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Troubled Nights

Wood

I asked for one room and I felt Tamie stiffen beside me. But I can’t let her alone in a room. She still fears me so she might flee and those assholes that had her might be after us still. Tomorrow I will take her to Iris and she will finally settle.

“The room is clear,” I say to her as she is standing at the door. “And relatively clean,” I say under my breath.

If I had time, I would gladly go to a store and buy at least one bottle of bleach to bathe the freaking toilet in but I’d lose precious time. So, I do my best to ignore the fact that I am in a room I haven’t cleaned myself and I do my job.

“We stay here tonight and we leave early tomorrow,” I say to Tamie.

All she does is nod and steps in looking down. Her whole body is a rod, unbending but she hasn’t spoken a word against my decisions. I could tell she wanted to. I saw the anger in her eyes when I requested for a double bed, the fear when I got the key and beckoned her to follow me. But those things never reached those full lips of hers. She is still pretending to be a good, perfect doll.

Tamie walks in and I go for the door. I get the key and lock it, check the windows and look out for a few minutes to see if we are followed or watched. I chose the room closest to exits and easy access to our car, paid in cash and semi-threatened the man behind the glass.

I sent a message to the Riders in case I need help but I asked them to stay away. A bunch of Riders would only draw attention. My hope is that if there are people looking for us, they won’t know who freed Tamie and she will be safe on our grounds till Stig sets her up with a new identity. I guess she will be a Hunter too, like Iris.

When I am sure that for now we are not followed, I double check the locks and windows and I turn to her, ready to explain the rules for tonight. But my jaw drops!

Tamie is standing in the middle of the room, stark naked, with her hands twined before her and her head held low!

“Wh...” I can’t speak properly.

I try not to but it’s impossible for me to stop looking at her. She is so goddamn beautiful, her skin unblemished, her limbs long, full, curvy, her breasts perky and heavy, her hips round and inviting. Fuck me but I want that woman and my dick wants inside her too.

But when I see the knuckles on her hands go white by the tension she feels, I lose all excitement and I am shaken to the core. I am still the asshole that drools over the brain-washed girl. That’s how low I have stooped.

“Kitten, get dressed,” I say and grab my sleeping bag.

She doesn’t move.

“I said get dressed, Tamie!” I order.

“Am... Am I not pleasing enough?”

More than fucking enough, I growl deep in my throat. Enough to get lost in that body, in those eyes, in those arms.

“I told you. You don’t have to do this.”

Her eyes snap in mine and I take a sharp breath just to keep my wits about. For a while, she simply looks at me but then takes one step closer and I see her transform from a shy virgin to a vixen in seconds.

Tamie is trying to find which of the thousands masks she is wearing is the one to get me going. That’s how she survived so long, that’s what she was told to be doing. What she doesn’t know is that it’s her, the one eating a steak with gusto, talking freely, crying in my arms. That’s the one that can get me going.

“I want to do this, Wood,” she purrs and comes even closer.

“You don’t,” I grab the arms she extends to me. “You will get dressed, you will go to bed and you will fucking sleep. Hear me, kitten?”

Her jaw drops and her mask falls. That’s her, dammit! That’s my Tamie, the real one, the girl that survived, that still cares for her sister so deeply that she is willing to do anything to keep her safe. And she is close, so close, too close. I release her arms and take one step back.

“OK,” is all she says and she slips in a pair of sweatpants she has bought.

She puts on a t-shirt, gets unceremoniously under the covers and turns to her side looking at me. I pretend she is not there and I unroll my sleeping bag close to the door. I take out my gun, check it, place it on the floor right next to my hand and I lean back to the wall. I am keeping watch tonight and tomorrow I take Tamie back to her sister.

I have my eyes pinned at the door but I know she is not sleeping and that she is looking at me. I feel those blue-grey eyes on me and I shift uneasily on the floor.

“Sleep, kitten,” my voice comes out husky and low.

***

“Kyle! Where the fuck are you? We are hammered here!”

I run as fast as I can. I run through rubbles and debris in the boiling heat but I run. They need me. And I should have been there. They depended on me but I chose the wrong spot. I am useless.

“It’s a fucking ambush! Kyle!”

“I am coming, Dev. Hold on!” I scream in the comm.

No response. I push my feet as fast as I can and I go down the road, gun in hand, my trusted rifle burning my back. I turn around the corner and I gasp. The place is torn by bullets and has collapsed. I take a quick glance at my surroundings and when I think it’s safe, I approach.

Body parts everywhere. A hand here, a leg there, an arm with a tattoo I recognize. My team!

“Kyle,” I hear a voice and I turn.

Dev is caught under a big piece of debris. I go to him, drop my gun and I grab his arms. I pull him and he moves. I sigh in relief. He’s going to be fine.

“It’s your fault, Kyle,” Dev spits and I look down.

Only half his body is there, his entrails left a bloody path on the dirt. And his eyes are eyeing me with a death glare.

“Your fault, Kyle. All your fault. Your fault.”

I gasp and open my eyes. And I meet two blue-grey orbs, filled with tears. Tamie is on her knees on the floor between my legs and regards me with worry. I feel a sheen of sweat on my body, my heartbeat racing, tears running down my cheeks. I was back there. Back to my own personal Hell, like I am night after night.

“Wood?” Tamie’s timid voice finds me and brings me to the now.

I don’t think. I reach for her and drag her to my chest. I wrap my arms around her waist and I bury my face to her neck. I need to feel a warm, alive body right now. I need to find my breath that is caught in my chest, threatening to drown me. I need to be saved from the corpses trying to drag me down to Hell, where I belong.

“Wood?” Tamie asks again but my voice has left me.

I tighten my grip around her and after a few seconds she relaxes and I feel her fingers go through my hair. My heartbeat slows down and a sigh comes out. The images of death disperse as her warmth brings life back to my limbs. She keeps caressing my hair and I keep breathing on her neck. We stay like this I don’t know for how long.

And then I look up at her face. Her eyes are glistening with tears, her lips are trembling and she is sniffling. It’s not out of fear. I see it in her eyes. She is sad.

My kitten is sad for the pathetic, old me. She has been through so much, that tortured girl. Maybe it's her ordeals that are forcing her to cry. Maybe she worries about me. She fucking cares though she barely trusts me.

The thought alone renders me speechless. When was the last time anyone cared for me? My comrades maybe and I let those down. The Riders might care for me, though I am not really bonding with anyone there.

But Tamie? She does, she cares, she fears me but in my time of weakness, she cares. She saw more than Iris ever did and she came closer. I search her eyes and she looks at me, begging me for something and I want to give her everything. Without thinking, I pull her down to my lips and I kiss her.

She stills but I don’t stop. I mold my mouth to hers and I take her lower lip between mine. I pull her closer, shuffling her so that she straddles my thighs, close to my groin and I keep caressing her mouth with mine.

Finally, she responds and I moan at that. Her fingers tighten in my hair and her other hand goes on my shoulder to steady herself. She is timid, reserved, shy. As if she has never been kissed before.

The thought sparkles a fire in me and I lower my hands to her waist to make her grind on me slowly, enough to feel her hot core through her clothes and my jeans. I lean in to feel more of her body on mine, one hand still on her hip and the other snaked up her back and into her dark hair. I am so hard, I think I will burst in seconds if she keeps that light, bashful rhythm. I need to-

What the fuck are you doing? The rational part of my mind finally takes charge. What the fuck am I actually doing? I am kissing Iris’s sister, the girl I’ve been obsessing for so long. I am taking advantage of a girl that has been kept as a sex slave for years, that thinks that she is an object for men to play with.

I pull all stops and I push her gently away from me. I don’t even look in her eyes but I hear the sudden gasp leaving her lips. I am the worst asshole walking on Earth, I want to punch myself so hard right now.

“Go back to sleep, Tamie. It’s still early,” I hear a broken voice come out from my throat.

“Wood, please.”

“Back to sleep. We got a long drive tomorrow.”

She shuffles away from me, stands with shaky legs and goes back to bed. Ι barely hold back a scream that tries to find its way out and I want to punch the wall to get the pain I deserve but I don’t need to scare her more than I already did.

“I am sorry, Tamie,” I whisper and I find the courage to look her in the eye. “I am so sorry.”

“Don’t be, Wood,” she says and turns her back to me. "I am not."

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