Knock On Wood (Riders of Tyr #6)

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Blushing Talks

Tamie

Yes, one can die of happiness! I am sure of it now as I am sure the sun is shining above us. I have never, never felt like that before and nothing will come close I am afraid to that complete sense of freedom. After being released from the Freddies in my life, this is the first I truly feel free.

Riding with Wood over that spectacular bridge, the wind in my hair, his strong body before me and the leather seat between my legs it compares to nothing. My cheeks are hurting by my constant smiling and my throat is itchy from the constant yelps of pleasure and joy as Wood speeds up to tease me from time to time.

My arms are still wrapped around him, my fingers gripping his t-shirt out of sheer enthusiasm and I can feel his muscles ripple underneath with each move. It’s not just the bike and the ride. It’s him. It’s the leather scent from his cut, the smell of his shampoo, the glimpse I get of his thick lips as he turns back to me from time to time.

“You OK, kitten?” He asks for the millionth time since I met him.

I melt at the way his tongue form that nickname he has for me. Nothing has changed my mind ever since I saw him barge into my prison in his tactical gear. He is by far the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes upon.

“I am perfect!” I smile.

I cannot see his eyes behind the sunglasses he is wearing but I can see his thumb going over his lips. I was trained to be a temptation to men. He doesn’t need training to be a temptation.

***

After a while, we are in San Francisco and I can't get enough of this city. He turns and reaches a busting area by the water with view of the bridge and I take the place in as I get off the bike.

People walk around, bikes, kids, couples. It’s beautiful. I was kept away for so long, I am starving to reconnect with real people, real life. To be reassured that there is still good int his world, that there is normalcy and I can have a piece of it.

“Wanna walk or eat first, Tamie?” Wood asks after he secures our helmets on his bike.

“Whatever you want,” I look up to him.

He chuckles and leans in. His finger goes under my chin and his thumb keeps it in place. He takes off his glasses and looks deep into my eyes. Oh, shit. I get tingles all over my body and all he did was just look at me. In a way, he is the scariest man I have ever met. He seems to have the power to break me for good.

“That’s a nasty habit you got there, kitten,” he purrs low.

“Do... Do I?”

“You sure do. I asked you a question, Tamie. Answer it.”

I get a weird feeling in my stomach and suddenly we are alone in the middle of all these people. I know he wants me to make a decision, to ask for what I truly want. He gives me the freedom of choice but at the same time he is not giving me a choice at relinquishing that freedom.

But looking at him, his strong body and that look on his face, I want him to have control. I want to know how it is when a man is not excreting his power on you to inflict pain. I have seen how it angers him though when I stand indecisive before him.

“Can we walk for a while?”

“We can, kitten,” he chuckles and releases me.

He rises to his full height and I gasp. He is wearing a blinding white Henley shirt under his cut and the top buttons are undone, leaving the outlines of a tattoo show on his chest. The shirt wraps so tightly over his arms that I can’t but travel my look over them more than once.

Like the last time we walked in public together, he draws attention to himself. Some glance at the rare sight of a true man amongst them, others linger on his bike, all take a look at the cut and turn their eyes away. It makes me feel eerily content that a man that others admire or fear or both is asking me to command his day.

He beckons at me to follow him and I do gladly, falling at his side ready to enjoy my day with him. And that we do as he guides me to a seaside walk. I hungrily let my eyes roam on everything. The people, the buildings, the bridge. And the open sky. How I’ve missed that all these people out here take for granted: looking at the sky, feel the sun on my skin.

“Thank you so much, Wood,” I exclaim suddenly and look at him.

I catch the look on his face. It’s a mixture of ravishing and sweet, regarding me as if I am more wondrous than the wonders around us. It’s fixated on me, disregarding all else and I blush.

That blushing around him is embarrassing and stupid. I am not some dainty virgin that blushes when a gentleman smiles at her. I was a whore. You can name it anything you want: a victim, a slave. But the fact remains. I was a whore, a pussy, a mouth, a hole to be fucked all day. I never blushed when men came and licked their lips gripping the sheets over my head while pounding in me.

And he knows that better than anyone else. He has seen where I was kept. So it’s just plain stupid to act like that around him. But when he looks at me, when he really looks at me, I blush as if I have never been touched before.

“You don’t need to thank me, Tamie. You like it here?”

Gone is the alpha male with the piercing look. His hand goes to rub his neck and he simply looks adorable. Did he have any doubt that I would love it here?

“I do very much.”

He gives me a smile and he starts telling me where we are, what we are passing by, random facts of the place. I know he took me out today probably because Iris asked him to but looking at his face relaxing, I’d like to think that he is enjoying himself too.

“So, everything cool with Iris?” He asks suddenly.

“Uh... Yes.”

“Sure?”

I go to the barrier on the sidewalk and look upon the sea. How can I explain to him how I feel? Like the odd one out. I haven’t talked to Iris about what I have been through and haven’t found the courage to ask about her. I have seen them though.

I have seen the scars on her back, hidden under that magnificent tattoo Rage made for her. I saw the lashes and the marks. I may have been spared the scars – no one wants to spoil the product – but I had as deep scars of my own.

Yet, we both pretend we haven’t seen each other because one was away on vacation. Mostly me. Iris is ready to talk, I can see it in those heavy moments when silence becomes unbearable. She has healed more or less. She has covered her scars under that powerful image, she has found friends and family, stability. And above all, she has found a man that would die for her.

I am not. I am not ready to talk about it to anyone. Let alone my sweet, little sister. And selfish as it sounds, I am not ready to hear about her ordeals. I still can’t sleep at night, I am still waiting for Daultrey or Freddie to come for me in the middle of the night and use my body as they see fit. I still see Geraldine hanging from that lamp.

“Tamie, it’s going to take time,” Wood says and I am suddenly startled. “The wounds will heal but the scars will be there. You’ll just have to live with them. But your sister, Tamie, she loves you.”

“I love her too,” I swallow my tears. “I love her so much.”

“Let her in, Tamie,” he leans to me. “I know it’s fucking hard but let her in. That girl tamed the Hellhound of the Riders. She can take more than you know.”

I chuckle. He is right. Keeping a man like Rage domesticated seems an extraordinary feat. He is not a man to live in a house like theirs, with white sheets and soft curtains. But he does and he never fails to show Iris that she is his blessing.

“I will. In time,” I admit.

Wood simply nods and looks out at the sea as well, lost in his thoughts. Dark thoughts, as dark as mine. He is asking me to let Iris in but he keeps everyone out.

“What happened?”

He turns to me and he doesn’t even pretend to not know what I am talking about. He does. He knows. A shiver of pain, as if I stabbed or shot him passes through his body.

“Bad things, kitten. Really bad things.”

“Want to compare?” I find it in me to joke. “I feel confident I’ll win this one.”

He supports his weight on one arm on the barrier and he looks at me with a smile on his lips. He slowly takes my face in as if I am a map he needs to memorize, a message he needs to decode. Then his hand comes to my face, cups it and his hard thumb caresses my cheek. He shifts and with one move he pushes me to his chest like a lonely kid does his only comfort.

I let go in his arms and I wrap mine around his waist. His heartbeat is frantic and his breathing comes in shallow waves. He rests his chin on my head and for a few precious moments, we just stand there.

“Let’s get something to eat,” he pushes me lightly away and his knuckles go over my cheek.

With a body still shaking from this contact I follow him. I would follow him to the end of the world.

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