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Chapter 19


Hunter watched Claire as she fussed with her hair and grabbed her tablet. She pulled up a delivery app and plugged in her address. They both agreed on a place that grilled whole chickens for tacos. He was drained after the fight with Gabe, not just physically but emotionally.

Claire put her hand on his face and he turned it, placing a kiss on the inside of her wrist.

“How was your shower?”

“Good, thank you.”

“Can I get you anything?”

“Pain reliever?”

She brought back sweet tea for him and a couple of pills. He sighed and stretched out on the couch, his long legs bumping her coffee table. His phone buzzed and he looked at it, Max was checking in.

MX: You make it to Claire’s?

7: Yeah. She made me take a shower and we ordered lunch.

MX: Gabe has a cracked rib, lost a tooth, pissin blood.

7: Hospital?

MX: Yeah, Stella thinks it’s a good idea

7: Keep me posted

He sighed and put the phone down. He had his dad’s temper and when he lost control, it could be ugly

A knock on the door sounded and he moved to get up but Claire told him to sit. It was the food and she thanked the man, giving him a generous tip. Hunter’s stomach growled and he moved to help her.

“We’re just gonna be couch potatoes and eat in here.” She brought back salsa and place settings. They ate quietly. Hunter had a huge appetite, refueling after the energy he spent. Claire cleaned up and he watched her put things away. He leaned his head back on the couch, waiting for the pain reliever to kick in. He pulled his shirt up and saw the bruises were darker.

“Hunter…you need some ice packs.” She knew all about those kinds of bruises. “Get into my bed.”

“This was not exactly how I envisioned getting into your bed.” He tried to smile but his lip threatened to split open again.

Claire snorted. “Me either, but here we are.”

“You envisioned me in your bed?” His lip split from the grin.

“I’m going to get a compress for that lip. Quit bein fresh.”

He laid on top of her pretty duvet and took a slightly painful deep breath. She came back in with several ice packs and a cold compress. She helped him pull his shirt off and she frowned when she saw the darkened patches. She quietly tended to him and wrapped the ice packs in towels. She made sure his lip stopped bleeding before she put her special lip balm on it. He had closed his eyes and enjoyed her gentle touch. He laid there quietly as she traced his tattoos. Goosebumps were raised on his skin and his toes cracked as he flexed them.

“I have some pain pills. Nothing strong but they are prescription.” She got them after she cracked a rib, with help from Toby. But she didn’t tell the doctor that.

“Let’s see how this other stuff works.”

He jumped when the timer went off.

“We will do this again in a little bit. And keep puttin that goop on your lip. It will be better in the morning.”

It started to dawn on him that she had done this before. He struggled to sit up.

“Lay down Hunter.”

“Claire…he hit you didn’t he.”

“Hunter…I can’t talk about some stuff. Now lay down...I’ll be right back.”

Her heart was pounding. It was the first time she even sort of talked about it. All the paperwork she signed for the divorce said she couldn’t talk about it or she would lose everything. She came back in with a blanket and water. The fan was on and she shut the blinds, making it cool and dark.

“Since I got ya in my bed, might as well take advantage of ya.”

Hunter’s eyes widened and he gave her a goofy lopsided grin. Suddenly his pain wasn’t that bad.

“I told you not to be fresh. We’re goin to nap.”

“A nap sounds good. I’m sorry…for this morning and showing up like this.”

“You’re here now. Let’s just have some quiet. I think you ain’t had much of that and neither have I.”

He groaned as he rolled over and pulled her into him gently. She draped the blankets around them and they snuggled into each other. Hunter knew he was in trouble and Claire knew she was going to have trouble. She could feel it. Both fell into a deep sleep, enjoying the comfort they brought each other.

Hunter’s large frame had practically rolled over on top of Claire’s small one. He woke up when he moved to pull her into him. He rubbed his face in the back of her hair and stuck his face in her neck. His lower half found a nice spot between her the bottom of her ass cheeks and her thighs. He was definitely going to need something stronger than over the counter pain reliever. He didn’t want to move but his bladder was telling him he needed to.

Claire was curled in a ball and stretched when she felt the heaviness that was on top of her move. She was fuzzy headed from sleeping so hard. She heard the toilet flush and the water go. The door swung open and a devastatingly handsome, busted man was standing in her doorway.

“I need something stronger.” He didn’t tell her about the blood he just pissed. He wasn’t surprised with the bruising he had. “But if I take it, I can’t drive.”

“Are you uncomfortable here? I can put ya in the spare. Or call Stella.”

“I’m a little too comfortable here.”

“Oh.” She blushed as she looked at him.

He checked his phone. Gabe was back at the clubhouse and settled in. Bruised kidneys, cracked rib. Lungs are okay. He told Max he was pissing blood. If he was still doing it in the morning, he would go in. He was also staying at Claire’s, with clothes on and taking a pain pill.

“Why don’t we get you something to eat and then you can take a pill. They go a little better when ya eat.”

He had questions and he went to open his mouth.

“You need to put more stuff on your lip and we need to do some ice. Please don’t Hunter…I signed paperwork, I can’t talk about it.”

“I’m sorry Claire.”

“I’m okay. But I don’t like the fussin. It’s not my business but you’re in my house, my bed and I’m gonna speak my mind.”

“I like that you’re speaking your mind. It was Gabe and I. It’s been building for a while. He said something inappropriate and I lost my temper.”

“You shouldn’t fight with your brother.”

“He shouldn’t say things about you.” He didn’t mean for that to slip out.

“Ya’ll fussin over me?”

“No…yes, sort of but it’s more than that. Him saying something about you was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

“Hunter…you can’t go beatin on people because they say something about me that ya don’t like.”

“I can when he threatens you and me.”

Claire looked at him. “I don’t even know him. I ain’t done nothing to no one.”

“I know. And that’s part of the problem, he wants to get to know you…temporarily.”

She got out of bed. “I don’t want any trouble from anyone.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Let’s get you fed. You need more ice.”

He moved stiffly and followed her into the kitchen.

“You peein blood?”

He looked at her sharply. “Yes.”

“Your kidneys took a pretty good lickin. Start pushing water.”

He took the large glass from her. “Thank you for taking care of me.”

“You’re welcome…you owe me breakfast still, I’m gonna hold ya to it.”

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