I wake up but I don’t want to open my eyes. What if last night was a dream? What if I have dreamt that Wood came back for me, that he kissed me and took me to his room? That he made love to me again and again till our weary bodies gave out? And then I feel two hands wrapped around me, a body on my back warming me, a breath against my neck.
I open my eyes and I look over my shoulder and I almost cry. Wood is sound asleep, his thick, dark eyelashes caressing his cheekbones, his lips slightly open. I still can’t get over how beautiful he is. I slowly turn to face him but I forgot that this man is a soldier with sharp reflexes. His eyes open but he has no fear or agony in them. He knows it’s me.
“Morning, kitten,” his gruff voice makes me moan audibly.
He chuckles as his eyes are slowly blinking.
“Now, that’s a noise I want to wake up to every day,” his fingers put away a strand of hair I have on my face.
“I don’t think that is going to be a problem,” I smile.
He says nothing, just looks at me, taking my whole face in as if he sees me for the first time.
“That true, kitten?” He asks frowning a bit. “You gonna be here every morning, in my arms?”
I am shaken by his question. It is more than an innocent banter. It’s a proposal, a commitment he wants me to make. A distant memory of panic comes over me. All men in my life wanted to own me, to have me as their toy, their pet. Not him. He is giving more than he asks of me.
“I wouldn’t dream of anything less.” I cup his face.
He smiles that side smile of his, that rare, true smile that makes my heart leap with joy.
“Oh, Tamie,” he whispers and cups my face too, “I am dreaming of so much more.”
He seals that promise with a kiss that has my toes curl and my body move closer to him. I am painfully aware of the strains last night put my body through but that doesn’t mean I don’t respond to him.
He rolls me under him and keeps kissing me but he slows down and ends our would-be hot session with a quick peck on my neck.
“Right now, I am dreaming of breakfast. You up for it?” He smiles.
“This time, I am helping out.”
“OK, kitten,” he gets up and grabs a pair of sweatpants from the closet. “You will be my sous chef!”
We go out and the clubhouse is still quiet. Wood takes me to the kitchen and he twitches his nose when he sees the mess. It looks as if an army tried to make a word-breaking sandwich and has failed.
“Damn Stig,” Wood swears. “That man is half pig.”
“Nah, I got this. You prepare some coffee cause if I don’t get a sip soon, I am tearing down Stig’s door and mop this floor with his face.”
I shake my head and for a while we dance around the kitchen, me making some coffee and trying to help out and he being a whirlwind that puts everything in its place. And as he does, I think I hear him murmur, half-addressing to me.
“Our house will have the largest kitchen ever.”
I pause. I knew from the little I have seen the Riders with their Valkyries, that the men in this club are not fooling around. I mean, the ones without a woman do. Tor and Stig, Vince and Jab and Tar. But the others? They claim their women and they can’t wait to tell the world.
Is he...? Is he doing the same? What is this? What am I to him? I know the way the club works, Iris told me as much. Taken by a brother without being claimed, puts a mark on your skin. A rotter, a whore. Am I a whore once more?
“I... I need to call Iris,” I suddenly need air to breathe.
“Don’t worry,” Wood wipes his hands on a towel and turns to me. “She is not here with that man of hers to chop off my head so the Valkyries must have told her you are here, with me.”
“Yeah... I just promised that I would call,” I muster a smile.
Wood’s eyes narrow when I do and I am pinned on the spot. He knows that smile, I have pulled that on him when we first met.
“Tamie?” He walks to me. “What shit goes in that head of yours?”
“Nothing,” I shrug. “Is it wrong I want to ease my sister’s mind?”
He grinds his teeth with anger.
“Very well,” he says. “And what are you telling her?”
“The truth more or less. That I got in some trouble, that you were there and brought me back here with you to be safe,” I say and widen my innocent smile.
“Hm,” he murmurs and traps my chin between his fingers. “That’s not all the truth, kitten.”
“That’s the truth she needs to know.”
His dark eyes gleam with something indescribable. It is a deep, ravenous look that should make me shiver with fear only it doesn’t. Well, it does make me shiver but not with fear.
“I beg to differ, Tamie,” he snarls. “You are now mine and everyone will know, not just you sister.”
“Yours?” I ask like an idiot.
“Mine, Tamie. Did you have something else in mind?”
“How am I yours?”
I have been a property before. Property to Daultrey, a thing exchanged for some drugs. I was cattle to Freddie, a body to be sold. How is this man thinking that I am his? His personal whore? His own rotter to dispose of when he is tired?
No! Not him. I won’t take it, I can’t even think about it. He kissed me so sweetly and made love to me so tenderly. Was it an act? Am I back to being a whore just because a man with a dark, handsome face made me come?
“How?” Wood frowns. “The only way there is, kitten. You will be my Valkyrie.”
My heart stops. His Valkyrie! Flashes of what I was so jealous of all this time come to me. Bjorn’s large arm over Ava’s shoulder, Rage’s smothering embraces, Vik’s tender touch, Ironhand’s quiet protectiveness.
I can’t speak.
“You look at me surprised, kitten. Thought I made that clear.”
“Tell me, Tamie,” his voice goes low and husky, “will you have me?”
“Will you let me be the man by your side? Forever? To protect and take care of you?”
My jaw drops.
“I need you, kitten. I need you to give me life. Tell me you will be my Valkyrie.”
All I can do is breathe and don’t fall in a heap on the floor. I look into his eyes and I see nothing but honesty.
“By Tyr, Tamie, you are killing me here,” he chuckles nervously and he rubs his neck.
“I... Yes,” I whisper so softly, I barely hear myself.
“What was that, kitten?” He takes me in his arms.
“Yes,” I say more firmly this time.
“You sure? Valkyries are for life. I am not letting you go,” he threatens and tightens his grip around me.
“I will be your Valkyrie.”
“Thank you! Thank you so much.”
His face melts into a childish grin of utter happiness as if I had given him the one thing he really needed. He picks my up in his arms and he twirls me around. I wrap my arms around his neck and I let out a happy yelp.
When he puts me down, I have a true smile on my lips and so does he. He cups my face and looks at me with that adoring look I love on him so much.
“I promise, kitten,” he says as he leans in. “When I propose, it’s going to be much more romantic than a filthy kitchen.”
I blush at the thought but I don’t think he sees it. He has taken my lips and kisses me softly, gently, passionately. And I give into that kiss that seals my whole life with the man I love. I love him. I love Wood and I love Kyle, the soldier, the Rider, the man, all of him.
“Morituri te salutant!” I hear a voice in the kitchen.
We break the kiss only to see Tor stand at the door, looking at us with a sly look.
“Fuck off, Tor,” Wood pulls me in his arms.
“I will as soon as I get some of that coffee. But that doesn’t mean Rage won’t kill you for fucking his sister-in-law.”
“Well, she is not just his sister-in-law anymore,” Wood looks down at me.
“Fuck, brother, don’t tell me you-” Tor exasperates.
“Tamie is my Valkyrie,” Wood smiles down at me.
“Yep,” Tor shakes his head, “you did! You completely ignored my advice.”
“Tor,” Wood chuckles. “You are a cunning fox, I give you that, but when it comes to human relationships, you are worthless and so are your so-called advices.”
Tor’s face darkens and the playful disposition changes. His lips tighten and his blue-green eyes are smothered with a darkness I have never noticed the few times I have seen him.
“Perhaps you are right, bror,” he says and pours some coffee before he leaves the kitchen. “Perhaps you are right.”
I shake my head and focus on Wood once more. His face is lit up like I have never seen before. He always had that light inside him but it was like a bulb in a thunderstorm. Flickering, losing strength. Now, he seems so bright, his smile so easy and open.
“Now,” he widens his smile he gives me more, “breakfast for my woman!”
I get a happy, giddy feeling inside at his words and I put on the one smile I have never practiced in my life: the stupidly happy smile!