I follow Tamie to the car and I take her bags. To spare her the sight of partying Riders, I go round the back to the exit that leads straight to the back corridor. She surely doesn’t need to witness Riders' definition of fun on her first day here.
Tamie looks around agitated but still follows me. I stop before the enforced door I insisted on installing and put in the code on the panel. Then I open and invite her inside.
“My room is this way,” I guide her and she nods.
That utter trust she places in me is messing with my head. I want it, I relish it but it fucking scares me. I tend to let the people that trust me down. But to let her down... it would kill me.
“Welcome to my humble abode,” I am nervous.
Sure, I keep my room clean and fresh unlike the rest of my brothers but it now seems... little. Ava and Bjorn have a big house at the so-called Rider Lane and Lysa with Vik a nice one with a big garden but not as big as the open land Ironhand and Chiara have. Runner bought a house for Magda and him that he renovates with her. I haven’t been to Rage and Iris’s place ever but I hear it’s quiet and cute. And all I can offer Tamie is a goddamn room.
Tamie steps in and looks around as I turn the lights on. I have a big, tall bed with bedposts – one way to try and get a fucking sleep at night – that is perfectly made. The night stands are spotless and so is the little living room I have as I call the couch and the coffee table with my gun magazines on. There are no posters or shit on the wall but a huge TV for when insomnia hits.
“This is nice,” Tamie turns to me.
“Hm...” I cough. “The bathroom is through there. I have a closet with fresh towels, unopened soap and toothbrushes if you want to get cleaned up.”
“I would like that very much,” she nods and smiles.
She is so freaking sweet and despite it all she is innocent when she forgets herself. I want to shield her and protect her from the world. I want to take her in my arms and keep her there and tell her she doesn’t have to worry about a fucking thing cause I will hunt down and kill any motherfucker even thinking of hurting her.
“I will be at the bar,” I need to get away from her and from my stupid thoughts. “You can have a bath or shower and then sleep. No one will bother you.”
“You are leaving?”
“I thought you’d like some privacy.”
“I feel safe with you around,” she states and looks me in the eyes.
Fuck, I hear my heart break at her words. This is bad and wrong and fucked-up the way I am starting to feel about her. She is Iris’s sister! The one I claimed in front of my brothers and the one that picked someone else. I can’t be that far gone in my own fucking head and fall for Tamie.
“OK, kitten,” I hear myself say instead. “I’ll be here.”
She lets out a sigh and then goes through her things, she picks her pajamas and some fresh underwear and closes the bathroom door behind her. After a while, I hear the water running. Fucking great! I know she is naked in there and I get sweat all over my body. My treacherous cock goes stiff and the brute in me suggests we go in there and have her against the bathroom tiles.
I take out the leather I use for cleaning my guns and I place my trusted handgun on it. I concentrate on making it spotless and keep my mind off the most beautiful woman in the world currently taking a shower in my bathroom.
“Wood,” there’s a knock on my door.
I go up and open to face Tor. He is tipsy but I have seen him worst. With a glint in his eyes, one I know is up for trouble, he glances in my room behind me.
“So, where is she?”
“Taking a shower.”
“Don’t tell me you ruined her for the rest of us with that big cock of yours already,” he smirks.
I step out, close the door behind me and I push him on the wall across my room. I pin him with my most murderous look but he just widens his smile.
“Mm, does the broody soldier got a thing for her? Nice move, man. If Iris didn’t want you, you can try your luck with her big sister.”
“Shut your filthy mouth!”
“My suggestion, though?” Tor seems unfazed. “Forget about all that Valkyrie bullshit and just fuck her. Get it out of your system and move on.”
My fist rises and I am ready to pound on Tor even it would cost me my cut and maybe my life.
“Wood?” I hear her voice behind me.
Tor is still smiling as he looks over my shoulder at Tamie and I want to gauze his eyes out.
“Welcome, babe,” he slurs.
Tamie is not Iris. She knows what that glassy look of Tor’s means and she hides behind the semi-closed door. Then she looks at me pleadingly. I would take on the world to protect her and if Tor makes her feel bad, he is going down, King or not. But first, I let Tor go and I go to her, to make her feel safe.
“Go back in, Tamie. I’ll be with you in a moment.”
“OK,” she says and does as told.
I turn to Tor that looks at the closed door with interest. I swear, I will bury his sorry ass.
“Vince was not lying, man,” he narrows his eyes. “Iris’s sister is fine.”
“You will not look at her, will not talk to her, will not even say her name.”
“Hm, interesting. If I had a penny every time I was threatened by you lovebirds, I would be rich. Wait,” he smiles. “I am fucking rich!”
“Tor!” I threaten. “She has been through some serious shit and the last thing she needs is some asshole chasing her ass.”
“As long as it’s you chasing her ass.”
“I am not-”
“Right,” Tor smirks. “Well, brother, be careful. Rage didn’t murder you after Iris but if you hurt her sister, he might reconsider.”
Tor salutes me mockingly and goes back to the bar. I mess with my hair in frustration and then I enter the room where she is.
Tamie is already in the bed and she has the covers up to her chin as she sits in bed, with her legs to her chest.
“Hungry?” I ask.
“You sure? I make a mean sandwich,” I say.
“I make a mean sandwich”. The first thing I told Iris back when she came to us, a frail, scared girl that hasn’t eaten for days.
“I am fine, thank you. I have troubled you enough.”
I go to the bed and I sit on the edge. The need to crawl in with her comes back but I have some self-control. We look at each other and Tamie tilts her head to study me. I don't like her looking too close.
"You are not trouble, kitten," I say. "You can ask of me anything you want and you know that."
"Have I thanked you enough?" Tamie says with that soft smile on her lips.
"You don't have to thank me at all," I say and get up.
I go to my closet and I take a pillow and a blanket. I put them on the couch and I resume my cleaning of the gun. Tamie doesn’t move, just watches me, still coiled like a ball.
“Who was that man?”
“He is not going to hurt you.”
“But you were going to hurt him.”
“If he kept being an asshole, I would."
"No one has ever protected me before," she mutters and looks down at her twined hands.
"I will. I will always protect you, kitten. You don't have to worry anymore OK?"
"Always?" Her eyes snap to mine.
I can't fucking breathe. It's those eyes, those blue-grey eyes and that irresistible pull they have on me. I am her slave and she doesn't own me. I will fight for her, kill for her, give my life for her and all she has to give back is look at me like that.
My heart beats faster and I try not to panic. I wanted to prevent it, pretend it was nothing but it's getting more and more clear. I am falling for that girl and I am falling hard.
"Always," I answer her question. "Now, sleep."
“OK,” she shifts and I see her fall on the pillow. “Wow, this bed is soft.”
I smile to her and I see her roll her body on my bed. She looks so fucking right on it. I want to crawl into bed with her, take her in my arms and breathe her scent. I am pretty fucking sure that I’d have no night terrors with her in my arms.
“Glad you like the bed. Rest well. Big day tomorrow.”
“Big day tomorrow,” she repeats. “Good night, Wood.”
“Good night, kitten.”