Igniting the Wild Sparks, Book 3

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Chapter 12

“Hadley, I want to be your husband… I do want to marry you.”

After we made love Saturday night, I was heartbroken. Again. Still reeling from last week’s almost proposal, I threw up in the bathroom twice. I don’t know if it was from his admission, or because I hadn’t eaten anything substantial the entire day, or because I want to propose. Why am I setting myself up for that level of rejection?

His words still echo in my thoughts. I should be more upset about it, but he actually admitted he wants to marry me. I know he’s afraid, but I hold on to this new hope that he’ll overcome it by Morgan’s wedding. Wishful skepticism.

On the sofa, I attacked him Sunday morning. It’s plain and simple. I don’t know what came over me. When he walked into the living room wearing his boxers and his glasses, that sudden urge to ride him hard struck me considerably more than Rod’s turn at bat. A part of me wanted to tease him after his jerking me around for three years. Daring him, he was putty in my hands. However, I didn’t have a condom nearby. But, like the previous night, he didn’t care, even after our big arguments about birth control.

When Val finishes passing out our shirts and hats, Finn gets with Cara, discussing whatever is on his clipboard. Most likely me, not playing since I’m riding the bench for a week. Longer if my coach has his way.

Standing with my coworkers, they all fire off questions.

“What went through your mind when you were hit?”

“Is our coach taking good care of you?”

“Were you shocked when Finn showed up?”

“Are you suing Rod?”

“Could you take off your shirt and be a walking PSA for softball safety?”

Scowling at Rod for his suggestion, I tease, “You’d better watch, Brandon. I’ll steal shortstop with my mad catching skills.” Brandon, Morgan, Val, Gloria, Sylvie, Rhonda, and Rod laugh at my blatant joke, but a hand grabs my elbow and tugs from behind.

Next to my ear, Finn’s deep voice growls, “I need to talk to you. Now.”

As he steers me away, I ask, “What?”

He walks us to the bathrooms before dropping my arm and nodding to the field. “What’s that shit about? You’re not playing shortstop. I’ve told you that. Discussion over.”

I petulantly glower at him. “Well, damn, Finn, why don’t you tie me to the bench? The dog treats you toss me aren’t sufficient.”

“Don’t start with me here because I promise you, I will win.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He spools his bottom lip under his teeth. “Keep pushing me and you’re done. I’ll take you home, and you won’t come back here.”

Growing defiant from his snotty attitude, I cross my arms and roll my eyes. “You can’t ban me from a park, Finn. I’m supporting my team, and hopefully, play again soon.”

Enough with fucking shortstop. I don’t care if you’re healed. I said you’re not playing it, so get it out of your head because you’re driving me crazy.” Sounds like our marriage argument last Thanksgiving in Annapolis.

I frown. “How nice of you. I’m glad I drive you crazy outside of our bed. Or sofa. Right? Because your dick just lost a dare to me there, coach.”

Leaning close, he menacingly says, “Keep it up with the smart mouth, and I’ll end your outfield position, too.”

“You’d kick me off the team?”

“In a heartbeat.”

“And if I won’t go?”

He complacently smiles. “Then I’ll go, but you’ll come with me.”

“You think so, do you? Maybe I won’t.”

His smug laugh is almost scary. “You want to bet?”

I shakily laugh in return. “You can’t make me quit.”

His smile immediately evaporates, along with any patience he had left. “Fucking watch me.”

“Finn, what is your problem? I’m fine!”

The muscles in his arms strain as he clenches his fists. “Until you’re not because you won’t listen to a damn thing I tell you.”

“I listen to you, but you’re taking my well-being a bit too far. Lighten up! I have a bruise. I’m not fighting for my life.”

He agitatedly brushes his lips with his fingers. “See, that’s what I mean. You don’t take what happened to you seriously. It could have killed you.”

“That’s the New River Gorge talking.”

He nods as if he realizes something. “Maybe you should pick this time.” Oh, shit.

“Pick what?”

His brown eyes flash. “Shortstop or me.”

My mouth falls open. “You’re giving me a fucking ultimatum about softball?”

He presses his lips into a line before answering, “Yeah. I am. Sound familiar? So, what’s your decision, Becks?” He can’t be serious, but with the angry expression on his face, I don’t call his bluff.

With a hard glare, wordlessly choosing him, I stomped off. Sadly, I didn’t have Finn’s car key, so I sat in the back of Rod’s truck, which got me in trouble for climbing into the bed. I can’t win. Finn sat me on the bench while he coached. I frequently caught him staring at me. To catch him in the act unnerved me. Finn wasn’t undressing me with his eyes. He was assessing my every twitch, scratch, blink, and breath, along with whom I talked to. When Rod sat next to me, telling me about his newest evidence regarding Amos, Finn moved closer to us. Even hiding behind his sunglasses and baseball cap, I saw his annoyance and suspicion, like I’m cooking up a scheme.

Soon after, I overheard Finn telling Milo and Reed to keep me out of any close-up shots. What the hell? I mean, thank you for giving me a reprieve from being on camera, Finn, but why? He irritably claimed it’s for my privacy. I thought he gave up on that when he made out with me on camera. I don’t understand how that is less intrusive than me warming a bench.

Overall, since my accident, my Sparks Wilder is acting differently. He’s not only watched me like a hawk at the field but even at home. After our argument at practice, we didn’t say much to each other. That night, I worked on Morgan’s shower and messaging Val at my laptop on the couch. From the kitchen table, where he worked from his own laptop, he watched me more. I asked what he was thinking about, and he shrugged and returned to his computer.

Then the birth control issue. I am baffled. At Easter, we argued, and he demanded I go on the Pill. So, why is he suddenly shunning using anything at all? It’s almost like he’s on a risk-all quest for better sex. Is that it? If so, he’s not bulletproof unless he’s shooting blanks.

Even though he ticked me off, issuing the shitty ultimatum, Finn stayed with me that night and into the week. Since practice wasn’t on our minds Monday morning, our argument fell to the wayside. But so did his condom use. Again.

Case in point. Monday night, I jumped him as he came in the door from work, still looking every bit the flirty sportscaster. I roughed up his hair and pushed him to the couch, surprising him, but he all-too-happily obliged me. Now when he wears that green-and-blue-striped tie on air, I’ll remember wrapping it around my wrist and using it to yank his lips to mine, having another hot fuck on the couch with him while still wearing his suit. I even had a condom ready, but he left it on the cushion next to us.

He’s held his own, though. On Tuesday, while making spaghetti, he came up behind me, putting his hands on my hips, and kissed my neck and panted in my ear. When he whispered, “I give up. I surrender. You win,” that was it. I turned off the stove, and he swept me into his arms like how he carried me from the ball field. As we passed the bathroom, I reached out and grabbed onto the doorframe, wanting him to stop so I could get my birth control, but he pried my fingers off it and kept going. I don’t understand him. Our dinner was mushy, but his deep groans as he came inside me were worth it.

His constant concern and hovering include checking my bruise every day. By Wednesday, he was still unsure about practice for me Saturday, donning his figurative coach’s hat and his newfound authoritarianism concerning anything softball-related. It was an isolated incident that won’t repeat itself. Heaven forbid I ever bring up that topic again.

What’s more, after his mom announced the divorce, Finn warned me that he’ll need me more, but it’s truer after I was hit. Even in sleep, Finn is up against me. A couple of times, his body heat has awoken me.

This new closeness led to us having more sex Wednesday night. It was my fault. He wasn’t making a move, but when he put his arm over me in bed, his muscles tensing as he caressed my hip, and the intoxicating way his scruff brushed my skin as he kissed my cheek, fueled me. When I pushed my body into his, I lit his fuse in return. He tried to fight it as his dick persistently dug into my back, so I took his hand and put it down the front of my underwear. He was easily mine after that.

The sweetest change is that since Finn has worked late most of the week, he calls before he goes on air to check on me. Thursday night on the phone, he said he’d give me a signal for I love you, Becks. I didn’t believe that since he uses a teleprompter and is on live TV, but as I watched him deliver scores, he offhandedly brushed his finger across his bottom lip. I squealed at my special shout-out from Finn Wilder. I waited for him to come home so I could gush about it, but exhausted from shower planning, I fell asleep, and he didn’t wake me.

Friday morning, Rod breezily sails into my office. “Hey, benchwarmer. How are you feeling?” He’s asked the same question every morning since the accident.

“I’m okay,” I use my patent answer, but add, “Still stiff in places.”

“Now, you have something in common with Wilder.”

“Ha ha.” Though this week, he’s not far from the truth.

After work, I go to the church with Val to decorate for Morgan’s shower. Tonya will arrive in the morning with snacks, much to Rod’s annoying merriment. He also volunteered his Twister game. He argued Twister is a universal game that speaks to fucking everyone, fucking everywhere. I’ve never seen that testimonial printed on any game box.

Having heard Morgan, Val, and I discussing the decorating plans, Rod volunteered to set up tables and chairs. Before I could thank him for his generosity, he asked if I thought Christian girls were easier than Jewish girls because he had no luck at the synagogues.

When I told Finn about Rod helping us, he also offered to help since it’s his night off. I never expected him to help with anything wedding-related.

“Okay, Val. Where do you want me to put this mammoth box of tampons?” Rod asks, holding up a large blue box.

Val spins around, clearly shocked by his question and maybe his N*SYNC T-shirt. “What?” When she sees what’s in his hand, she sighs. “Rod, dear heart, sweet pea, that’s a box of mints.”

He turns the box around and smirks at it. “Oh, yeah. I see that now. Why would tampons be here when Morticia’s Aunt Flow went AWOL months ago?” He laughs. “Don’t you need them, Hadders?”

I steal the box from him with a scowl, and I start assembling the mint favors while Val goes to the kitchen for scissors. “Not at the moment, but thanks so much for asking.”

“Do you ever make Wilder buy those things?”

“No.”

He snaps his fingers as he giggles and then smacks my arm. “His next dare! That would be a riot! Would he do it?”

“Probably. He doesn’t fail dares.” Almost.

“That would be funny to watch Wilder go into a store and down the rag aisle to shop for plugs!”

Val returns and catching Rod’s comment, sourly grimaces as she grabs a handful of mints to start her own set. I grab the scissors and cut the ribbon before tying it around the tulle, completing my first favor.

Rod says, “By the way, you never properly thanked me for driving your car home from the field. My office has a lock on the door if you know what I mean.”

Sighing, Val shakes her head, and I ask him, “What are you talking about? Ricky took my car home.”

“Um, no. Officer Hunkalicious did not have the fabulous pleasure of driving that gem.”

“Finn never told me that.”

“We were there anyway.”

His revelation floors me, and I look up from my favor in progress. “You were at the hospital? Why am I just finding this out? It’s been a week!”

He shrugs. “Yeah. Mortuary told your man we were there. He came out to the waiting room and told us you were okay, so far. She and I said we’d get your car, so he gave us his key. Oh, I still have it. Here.”

As he fishes into his pocket, I grumble, “I wish I would’ve known you guys were at the hospital.”

He hands me the key and then leans his arm on the wall next to the window while crossing an ankle over the other. “Hadders, I about killed you. I felt horrible. The entire team was there.”

Floored again.

I bite back tears of gratitude as I tie another bag of mints. “You did not about kill me. Everyone was there?”

Val nods. “Yes, babe. Finn said he’d call if there was any news. He was on top of it.”

Rod loudly whispers, “And then probably on top of you later.”

Val sighs. “Gregory.”

Laughing, he shakes his head and peers out the window again. “Wow. I absolutely cannot contain my mouth.”

“In a church!” I add, like a broken record.

“I know, but unlike your gilded stud, I’m going to hell. Hold on. I’m Jewish. Will I get kicked out of here?”

I groan. “Not for being Jewish, Rod. Just for being you.” Val elbows me and giggles.

Rod lightly shoves my shoulder. “Whatever, Hadders.” He goes to the pile of completed decorations, shuffling through them. “What’s this crap?”

Val says, “Decorations, Rod.”

“Yeah, but they look normal. I thought she’d do a steampunk, nightmare thing, or did she save that for the main event?”

Val laughs. “Rod, that’s your wedding someday.”

He says, “Yeah, right. Like I’d let my woman do that.” I look up and giggle, and knowing why I’m laughing, he says, “Yes, woman, Hadders. So shut it!”

I say to Rod, “I can’t believe you didn’t force Morgan to drive my car since you always make fun of it. You said, and I quote, A mime on fire wouldn’t pretend to drive it in exchange for a bucket of water. So, that was daring of you.”

He scowls. “Hadders, if you’re quoting me, get it right. I said, …in exchange for a hose job.”

I cock my head with a frown. “I apologize for the misquote.”

He indifferently shrugs, watching Val tie a ribbon. “I forgive you… this time.”

Bored with Val’s task, Rod goes to the window and checks out the parking lot. No cemetery to entertain him, unfortunately. “Oh, and we took your car for a joyride.”

“What?”

“Well, it was more of a killjoyride. She forced me at mace-point to drive her to Target. The hag wouldn’t let me stay in the car by myself, and of course, she made me push the buggy as she dumped the entire store into it. I told three old people that she and I were absolutely not together. I didn’t want anyone imagining us having—”

“Rod.” I stop him with a look and then ask, “So, Finn texted Morgan to help? I didn’t know he had her phone number.”

“Yep. While you were getting your CunT scan.”

Gregory!” Flustered, Val knocks over the box of mints, spilling them onto the table.

With regret evident in his voice, Rod says, “I’m sorry, Val. I forgot there was an actual lady here. Speaking of non-ladies, where is Morgasm?”

I gape at him before I hiss, “We’re in a church!” I smack his arm, and he dramatically winces while holding his bicep. “She’s working late to get caught up before her honeymoon.”

Val says, “I’ll be back. Nature calls.” Leaving the table, she pats Rod’s cheek and teasingly rolls her eyes. In return, he gives her an ungainly smile, and I grin at his awkwardness.

He then pushes off the wall and makes his way to the other side of the table. “Where’s Ophelia?”

Sighing, I narrow my eyes. “Tonya arrives tomorrow morning.”

“Thanks for the warning. I hope she uses a foghorn.” I scrunch up my face at that remark, as he picks up a favor, and frowns. “Are these mints the grand prize for coming to this shindig?”

“Well,” I say, searching for a bag in our chaos. Finding the one I need, I open it to show him. “We also have these flip-flop bottle openers since it’s a beach wedding.”

He peers into the bag. “Sweet! Score me one.”

I close the bag and return to the mints. “Rod, we only have so many.”

“I don’t deserve one for helping?”

I scoff, “You deserve something, all right.”

“And you’re giving it to me?” He noisily licks his lips in a gross display, making me laugh and hating myself that I did.

Still laughing, I try to be serious when I remind him, “We’re in a church!”

“Believe me. God knows I’m screwy.”

“As does the rest of Richmond.”

He grabs the edge of the table and suddenly rattles it. “Come on, Hadders. We could totally get this table rocking.”

Playing along, I say, “Absolutely.”

“You know you want my body.”

I glance up at him. “Yes, I’m so hot for you,” I say in a monotone.

“I knew it!” He grins and picks up the pinking shears and cuts scraps of paper. I watch him with odd interest. Rod marches to his own tone-deaf orchestra.

From behind, arms gently wrap around my stomach, and I jump. “Hey, baby,” Finn whispers in my ear. My heart races from the scare and his scent. I hug his arms tighter to me, and my stomach throbs in protest, but his touch is worth the momentary discomfort.

“Hey, sweetie.” I giggle, calling him the name I teased him with at the field. With his mouth against my ear, I feel his smile and hear his purr. His goatee scrapes me as he moves to kiss the side of my head.

Rod glances at us as he continues his peculiar cutting mission. “Ugh. People in love suck. We’re in a holy place, Wilder. Keep it clean.” Finn would say nothing worse in a church than Rod did fifteen minutes ago.

Over my shirt, Finn’s hand lightly strokes my bruise as he retorts, “Like you’re saintly.”

Rod shrugs, staring attentively at the scissors cutting through a paper cup, leaving a triangled trail on the table. He distractedly says, “I can only try.”

“Coach Wilder, you’re here!” Val waves, emerging from the hallway past the kitchen.

As he replies over my head, his deep voice reverberates. “I am. What can I do to help?”

Rod answers for Val. “Stop pawing your wench and help me with the tables.”

I play with his fingers as he warily asks, “You can’t manage a table by yourself?”

Now bored with the shears, Rod sets them down. “I don’t know. I haven’t tried. I was waiting for your manly muscles.”

“I’m glad I’m needed for my personality.”

Rod walks past us and playfully punches Finn’s arm. “When I need a whipped, over-the-hill, volunteer, softball coach’s bubbly swagger, I’ll call you.”

Finn’s fingers tense over mine. “Whipped?”

Rod rolls his eyes. “You’re creamier than a can of Reddi-wip, Wilder. You’ll do anything Hadders tells you to.”

He mutters, “It depends.” Right. That’s a big depends.

Val says, “I have a question for you, Finn. Since our first game is next Saturday on the twenty-eighth, and the wedding is Saturday after that, what do we do? The whole team will be at the beach.”

I feel his shrug against my back. “We’ll forfeit.” He knows all about forfeiting to me.

“Oh, no!” Val yelps.

Finn says, “Actually, I won’t be at the first game. I have to work. Ricky’s got it, though.”

I step out of his hold and turn to him. “Are you serious?”

Breaking eye contact, he mumbles, “Yeah. Sorry. I, uh… I can’t go to the wedding, either.”

Rod says, “Well, Hadders, it looks like you’re my date. Aw, yeah. Bring a casket because it’ll be a killer.”

Seeing my woeful expression, Finn explains, “They gave me an extra assignment out of town. Drake is on vacation that week.” I nod, and a dull pang hits my stomach, but I don’t let on that it does. He’d probably rush me to the hospital again.

Not wanting to get upset over something I knew wouldn’t happen anyway, I turn back to the table to finish my last favor. Finn winds his arms around my shoulders and kisses the top of my head. He then moves to my ear. “I’m sorry, baby.”

I shrug. “It’s fine. I understand.” No, I don’t. This sucks.

He hangs on to me for a minute, watching me assemble a favor before he sighs and takes off his windbreaker. Tossing it onto a chair, he goes to the stack of tables leaning against the wall, dragging one to the middle of the room. He asks Val how she wants them, and she waves her directions.

I testily chew on my lip, mad I’m so disappointed. How stupid was I to get my hopes up?

I help Val open tablecloth packages, while Finn and Rod set out the tables. I can’t help but stare at Finn’s barbed-wire biceps bulging underneath his black T-shirt as he pulls the metal legs out of the tables. With the thoughts entering my mind, I also remind myself I’m in a church.

Val whispers, “He is a cutie pie.”

Startled for the second time tonight, I look down at the package I’ve held for the past five minutes. “What? Who?”

“Finn. I said he’s a cutie pie, and evidently, you think so, too.” She winks at me, and I softly giggle as I watch him ruffle his magical, marbled hair, making it stick up, and for me to nearly melt into a puddle of goo in a church basement.

Smiling at Val, I say, “He is.”

“You’ve watched him put up every table, babe.”

I shake my head and finally open the package in my hands. “Oh. I was just daydreaming. Sorry.”

“I bet. Why don’t you two go home? I’ll finish up here.”

“No. I’ll help until we’re done.”

From the other side of the room, Rod yells, “How many chairs do we need?”

Grabbing a honeycomb bell decoration, I answer, “Probably forty would be enough.” They start putting out chairs. I feel guilty they’re doing all the work while I gawk at my boyfriend.

I set down the big blue bell and go to the stack of chairs in the corner. Before I pick up one, a hand grabs my wrist. “What are you doing?”

I glance up at Finn. “I’m helping to set out chairs.”

He shakes his head and grimly laughs. “I don’t think so.”

“Why? They’re not heavy. My stomach isn’t hurting.” That much.

“We’ll get them.” He nods to the table where I was working, essentially telling me to hit the road.

I try to reason, “It’s been a week.”

His brown eyes frost and he stoops, emphatically saying, “No.” Nope. Not interested in hearing me out at all.

Rod looks at the empty cart. “There aren’t enough here.”

Val says, “There are more in the next room.”

I roll my eyes. “It’s only a bruise, Finn. We’ve talked about this.”

Still close, he quietly asks, “Yeah, we did, so didn’t you hear me before? Can’t you stop arguing with me?”

“Babe, will you get me more napkins from the kitchen, please?”

Sighing and giving up on the chairs, I say, “Sure.” So, now Val’s conspiring with him. I walk away from Finn and see Val winking at my boyfriend. Traitor.

I bring the light blue napkins out and set them down on the table. Val taps my arm. “Why are you giving Finn a hard time?”

“What? I wanted to help. They’re not heavy chairs.”

“He’s looking out for you. Some husbands aren’t like that.”

Reacting petulantly to her particular word usage, I contend, “He’s not my husband.” Only my boyfriend. Nothing more. That depresses me.

“He will be.”

I nearly snort at her in disbelief. “How do you know that?”

“I told you I know these things, so don’t argue with me, either.”

While tightening my ponytail, I mockingly say, “It must be the marital glow we ooze.”

“No. Actually, your auras aren’t a perfect match.”

My mouth falls open. I hadn’t expected that kind of reply. “What?”

“Finn’s aura is green. He’s a daredevil of sorts, extremely driven, smart, and charismatic. Type A. He wants someone who appreciates his success and supports his endeavors. You, on the other hand, are a blue. You’re a dedicated, loyal person who falls deeply in love and will do anything to sustain that love. You crave an emotional, monogamous commitment from your mate that will last forever.” Doesn’t Finn?

I blink into space as I absorb that information. “You really see our auras? So, our mismatched colors mean we’re doomed?”

“Yes, I can see them, and no, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be together. It just means you’ll must work to keep your amor alive. As does everyone else, really.”

I morosely glance down at the table. “Oh.” Great news. Like enough doesn’t slog against us.

“I’ve only been studying them for a short while now with my sisters, Merida and Paloma, for fun.”

I smile. “Your kids must think you’re losing it.”

“Ali thinks it’s neat. Two-thirds of my boys think I’m crazy. I haven’t mentioned it to Nicky, but I imagine he’d side with his brothers.” She studies me, which makes me self-conscious, so I cross my arms and look to the doorway for Finn or Rod. “Your aura is mixed. I’m not sure what that means.”

I raise an eyebrow at her. “Mixed?”

“You’re blue, but there is a flare of orange. I’ve seen it before, but don’t know what it is.”

I shake my head with a rueful smile. “I’m a freak.”

She pushes my arm. “No! Orange is a hopeful color. Morgan has it, too. You’re both hoping to get married.”

“Then mine should be a shockwave, not a flare.”

We look to the other side of the room as Rod carries in two chairs, and Finn follows with four. Why’d it take them that long to bring in six chairs? Finn sets out his chairs while Rod sets out his and says, “I think that’s it. Anything else?”

Val replies, “Nope. Thank you, boys. I love you both.” She blows a kiss at them. Finn adorably smirks in response while Rod’s face turns red, and he uncomfortably scratches his head.

I walk around the table to red Rod and hug him from his side. I peek up, smiling at him. “Thank you for helping.”

His unnerved smile slides into a relaxed one, and he crushes me with an arm around my shoulders. “Anything for you, Hadley.” I glance at the floor and feel him stiffen against me before he lets go. Peering at Finn, I see him looking away from us, working his jaw with his teeth as he glares at the wall. What’s bothering him now?

Wanting to be close to him, I let go of Rod, walk over to Finn, and wind my arms around his muscular waist, hugging him and reveling in my most favorite scent. “Thank you, too, baby.”

He instantly puts his arm around me and strokes my back. “Oh, I was in the neighborhood.” I giggle, saying that to him at Chimborazo when I showed up to his promo shoot.

“Babe, really. We’re good here. Go home. We only have to worry about the food now. I’ll hang up a couple more decorations, and then I’ll head home.”

Looking over my shoulder, I ask, “Are you sure? I can stay.”

“We’ll finish the final things before the shower tomorrow.”

“Okay.” I pick up my spare car key, along with my purse from the table, and hand the key back to Finn. He shoves it into his pocket and grabs my hand. We say a quick goodbye to Val and Rod before we walk out to our cars.

When we get back to my apartment, Finn goes into my bedroom, kicks off his sneakers, and plunks down on his side of the bed, propping his head on his two pillows. I stand at my walnut-stained dresser to take out my ponytail and loosen my hair. In the mirror, I see him watching me. I ask his reflection, “Can I practice tomorrow after the party?”

I notice him taking a deep breath before responding. “I don’t know about that.”

“I’m feeling better.”

“I’ll think about it. We’ll see how it looks tomorrow. Everyone knows I moved practice later, right? I told them last week, but you see them every day.”

I nod. “I sent an email to everyone about it.” Then, as I remove my bracelet and watch, I remember what I had wanted to ask him. “I have a question.”

I peer at him in the mirror as he returns my gaze. “And what’s that?”

“Why didn’t you tell me everyone was in the hospital waiting room?”

He shrugs. “It slipped my mind.”

“And I thought Ricky and another cop brought my car home. You didn’t tell me Morgan and Rod did.”

“Oh.”

He doesn’t comment further but stares at me as I unbutton and peel off my lavender blouse so I can take a shower. Standing in my bra and skirt, his penetrating gaze from the bed is unwavering. Through the mirror, I ask, “What?”

“Nothing.” His tone suggests way more than nothing. He shifts his eyes away from me, now staring at the wall.

I pull off my black skirt and toss it into the hamper. Turning from my dresser, I walk to the end of the bed, putting my knee on the edge. He swings his head back to me, and his eyes scour my chest as I crawl up his body to straddle him. Careful to not put too much pressure on my stomach, I lie down on top of him and look into his sad, brown eyes. I worriedly ask, “What’s wrong?”

Finn puts an arm around me and with the other, gently brushes my hair with his fingers. “I don’t want to leave you.”

I tilt my head. “You don’t have to leave until later this week, right?”

“No. I have to leave Sunday after practice. I’ll be back Tuesday night, but then I have to go out of town again Wednesday morning.”

“What? Why so much?” I know I’m pouting.

He quietly says, “It’s my job, Becks.”

“But that’s a lot in one week.”

“I know. I told you I’d be out of town more for a while. It’s not looking good, and I can’t promise you, but if I get done early, I’ll go to Virginia Beach. I’ll probably miss the ceremony, but maybe I can see you in that dress. Okay?”

I smile. “I would love that.”

He smiles back. “So would I.”

“Really?”

His eyes widen at my doubt. “Yes. Really. I’ve told you that.”

“I know you did.” I glance down to his throat and whisper, “I’ll miss you when you’re gone.”

He takes his arm from my waist and clutches my arms with both hands. His gaze is imploring. “Baby, I’ll miss you, too. I’ve loved being with you this past week.”

“Me, too, Finn.”

He anxiously licks his lips as his eyes spark. “Move in with me, Becks. I can’t go back to the weekend visits now. That’s what I’m afraid will happen. I don’t want this week to end. I want to be with you, and I can’t go back to my apartment. Alone. We need to pick a place. I don’t care which one. As long as we’re together in the same bed every night that I’m home. I need you by my side. Will you be there for me, so I can be there for you?”

Assessing his plea and disparaging eyes, I nod. “How about after Morgan’s wedding, we’ll move my things to your apartment? In the meantime, we can go back to your apartment if you don’t want to stay here.” However, I can’t move until after I propose. Just in case I need a temporary haven to lick my wounds or reassess our relationship altogether.

He says, “I like the security and the privacy of my place. It keeps the crazies away. Your apartment doesn’t have shit, and I worry about you here alone. I want you to be safe, especially when I’m out of town.”

I giggle. “You afraid your Finnatics will find you here and try to see you naked?”

He rolls his eyes, and a smile lifts his lips. “Come on, Becks. They don’t have to try. I’ll gladly show them what I have.”

With a faux pout, I scoff, “Cocky much?”

He pulls on my arms until our noses touch. “And you love it.” He laughs, shaking me on top of him and jostling my bruise, but I giggle over the pain. His eyes study my face, and his smile becomes solemn. “I don’t care where I am, as long as it’s with you.”

I smile. “Okay, baby.”

He inhales and rubs his hands up and down my arms. “So, you’ll really do it? We’re going to live together?”

I lightly laugh and feel his dick hardening beneath my leg. “Aren’t we technically living together now?”

Finn’s eyes flicker over my face as he nods. “I love coming home to you and sleeping next to you. I’m not going back to living without you, Becks. I want you with me. Always.”

With his right hand, he reaches up and gently draws my head down to kiss him, lightly stroking my cheek with his fingers. Our kiss starts off slow, but then his lips demand more as does his tongue. He impatiently digs his left hand into my bra cup to trace my nipple. I hear and feel the soft growl in his throat as he squeezes his fingers into my breast. I close my eyes as the stirring, sexual ache for him accompanies a sharp twinge under my bruise. I need to ignore it because I can easily resolve my need for Finn.

As we kiss, Finn lifts his hips, so his hardening erection rubs between my legs. I realign my pelvis and grind onto it, urging him into me as much as possible with him wearing jeans. He lets go of my breast and, with both hands, grabs my ass and pushes me onto him more. I loudly gasp, causing the smoldering ache to turn into a raging burn. I slide my hands over his chest to his cheeks and into his hair, where I tug. The soft growl in his throat shifts to a thunderous roar in his chest.

I whisper onto his lips, “You’re mine, Sparks.”

He whispers over mine, “Becks, you’re mine. All mine.”

“Fuck. I want you,” I confess and not waiting for his answer, I sit up, and the throbbing deep in my pussy surges to my stomach like lightning. I force a smile and hurriedly unbuckle his belt. As I work, his gaze scorches me. I need Finn, but I’m doing what he was doing. All I seem to want from him this week is sex. It’s crazy.

Tearing open the button of his jeans, I travel my fingers to his zipper and enthusiastically work it. I scrape at the waistband of his underwear, coaxing it down, and Finn chuckles. “Whoa, baby. We have all night to make love. Slow down. I’m not going anywhere.”

I rapidly shake my head as I tug at his jeans, my entire body whirling with desire. “I want you now.

His fingers go to my bruise. “Becks, easy.”

Giving up on his jeans for a moment since he’s not cooperating, my hands go to his hips, and I rock against him. He closes his eyes and groans. To get Finn moving, I tease, “You don’t want to put your dick inside of me, Finnigan Wilder?”

His eyes fly open, and with determination, he says, “I’m telling you to slow it down.”

Lying down on him again, I clasp my hands with his and raise them above his head on the pillow. Angling my head, I whip my hair over to one side, and his eyes fall to my neck before flying back up to mine. I ask, “Don’t you want to yank my underwear to the side and give it to me like you did Sunday?” Leaning closer, I slowly lick his bottom lip and whisper, “I know you want to. You can’t even hide it.” To prove my point, I shift my hips up and down his groin, teasing him, but send myself into overdrive.

He chuckles uneasily, but his eyes are blazing. “Becks, what’s going on with you?” I have no idea. But I fucking need to come on his dick. It’s not an option.

Ignoring his question, I release his hands to sit up and try again to jerk his jeans down, but he still doesn’t help by not moving his hips. Using his own tactic from earlier this week, I plead, “Come on, baby. Surrender to me.”

He shakes his head, yet his eyes beg me to fuck him. “You’ll hurt yourself.”

“Oh, so you think you’re that cocky,” I taunt him. Only able to move his jeans down a couple of inches, I give up and tug the front of his underwear, and he willingly springs free.

Finn hisses, “Fuck.”

“You have a lot of promise, Mr. Wilder, to fuck me hard.” His forehead wrinkles in uncertainty, most likely from how crazed I am. It’s as if something drives me, and I’m the hoochie Rod calls me.

He drags his tongue over his bottom lip with a short-lived smirk. “You’ve never had a problem with what I’ve given you.”

I grip his shirt, and his hands go to my waist. “I know, and I want what’s mine, Sparks.”

“I’m all yours, Becks. Only yours.” His gaze falls to my stomach as his thumb strokes my bruise, like he’s obsessed with it. A sharp twinge of pain flashes through my side, making me bite my lip and look away.

His thumb freezes. “Are you okay?”

Without looking at the concerned expression I know is gracing his face, I hurriedly nod. “I’m fine.” Reaching to my back, I unhook my bra, slip it off and fling it onto the floor. As the pain eases, I look down at his face and smirk. “Are you okay, Sparks?” I know he’s a breast man. He drops his gaze to my chest, and his eyes widen. Oh, yeah. He’s trapped. “Do you want me yet?”

His fingers dig into my back as he stares at my boobs. “I always want you, but you need to settle down. You’re getting way too worked up.” He rips his eyes away from my chest. “I know you’re in pain, and I’ll only make it worse.”

Raising an eyebrow, I tease, “You think you’re packing that much to cause me pain?”

His jaw twitches, and he narrows his eyes, probably not liking my joke suggesting he’s small. “I’m serious, Becks.”

“I am, too. Aside from sex with you, I want it, Finn.”

He swallows hard. “Want what?”

“The reason. Why have you not worn a condom? You told me your big secret, so this…”

He stares at my bruise and relaxes his grip on me slightly, but he can’t look me in the eyes. “There’s nothing to tell. I don’t like them. That’s all.” Can’t he pretend to sound convincing?

I grab his raring dick and stroke him, but he grabs my hand, stopping me. Holding onto him, but unable to move my hand, I ask, “Do you think you’re bulletproof? One of them is bound to hit the target.”

As he stares at my tits, he says, “I know the risk. Sometimes I don’t care and just want to feel you. It’s not like I do it all the time.”

Testing Finn, I let go of him and lean over to open his nightstand drawer, pulling out a condom, and wincing as I do. When I’m upright, he snatches the package out of my hand and sits up to kiss me, grasping my neck and lowering me down with him. When his head hits the pillow, he whispers, “Maybe we shouldn’t do it tonight.”

I nearly whine, “Finn,” and kiss him. Distracted from his doubts, we kiss until I feel him growing against my pussy again. Now more desperate, I reach down to my underwear, tug the crotch to the side, move my hips until I feel his firm, hot skin, and I glide onto him. I break our kiss to moan from how good he feels.

“Fucking hell, Becks!”

The pain shoots through my right side, yet I can’t restrain myself. It’s an inherent need I must satisfy. I can’t explain it. Even with the pain, I wildly move, fucking him for my release and wanting to trigger his. Often, his orgasm incites mine.

“Damn it, stop,” he breathlessly pants. He futilely grabs my hips, trying to slow me that way. I shove at his hands, but he tightens his hold. I still don’t care. I know he wants sex just as much as I do.

I grimace at the physical pain and his rejection as I move along his shaft. “Why? Don’t you want me?” He fleetingly looks up at me but doesn’t answer. I clutch his shirt and ride him as hard as I can before he goes soft, or I collapse in pain.

“Becks, no!”

Dread fills me, yet I keep going. “Am I that repulsive to you?”

“No! Damn it! You’re not listening to me! I told you fucking no!”

I giggle, though I don’t feel it. “You are bossy.”

He snarls, “I think you are running the show at the moment.”

I send my hand up his T-shirt and swirl my fingers over his muscles. “You like me being assertive.”

He cringes at his own words before growling, “Slow it the fuck down or get off me.”

“I am trying to get off,” I quip.

Grinding his teeth, he clamps my hips tighter, slowing me. “I mean it!”

I put my hands over his on my hips, and to hurry this along, I goad, “Come on. You can do better. Stop treating me like I’m in critical condition.”

His glare darkens more. “I’m not really a willing participant.”

“You’re not trying that hard, Finnigan. You usually have me screaming your name by now.”

I bend forward to grate him with friction, and he reluctantly groans. I squeeze my eyes shut as the pain stabs at me, and I’m torn between needing an orgasm and actually getting myself off of him.

He petulantly replies, “I told you I didn’t want this. You’re in pain.”

“Wilder, I’m fine, and you can’t deny you wanted me. I dare you to fuck me like you mean it.” His eyes widen, torn between arguing and accepting my challenge. I try his trick of angling my hips, and I try to go faster, but his hands on my hips are steadfast and prevent me.

Finn glares at me before his eyes grudgingly close. As I ride him, his body wars with his mind to concede to me. Frustrated, his hands leave my hips to go into his hair, and he testily pulls, biting his lip. Without his hands on my hips, I rise up and slam back down on him. His dick swells and becomes more rigid as he nears his end, and despite the pain, I keep fucking him to reach mine.

When I think I’m doing this by myself, he unexpectedly thrusts his hips, giving in. With his hands still in his hair, he angrily engages faster as he watches us fucking. He grits his teeth until he exasperatedly roars, “Fuck!” in pleasure and fury, I think.

I smile at my minor victory over another dare Finn Wilder lost to me.

Roughly panting, his hands return to my hips, still trying to slow me down as we move against each other. He breathlessly groans, “Oh, Becks. Shit.” Oh, no. This is working against my advantage. He’s coming soon, leaving little time for me. I clutch his hips with my knees and push him in deeper, but the pain grips me instead. Desperate, I grab his right hand and put his fingers above our union.

His eyes open in astonishment, and I beseech, “I need it, Sparks. Please.” He surprisingly cooperates, rubbing me as I extort him for my own gain. We both close our eyes as I ride both his dick and fingers.

“Fuck, Hadley,” he grunts and stops moving as his body forfeits. Damn it. I feel his hot finale streaming into me with more of his moans. But he soon resumes fingering me as I drive on to him, grinding through the pleasure and pain.

“Don’t stop. Please don’t,” I beg, almost in tears. I raise my hands and lift my hair, holding it on top of my head as the strong waves finally yank me under, easing the intense hunger and temporarily enabling the pain. My moans are half pleasure and half pain. “Oh, God, Finn.” Opening my eyes, I watch him, watching us fuck, and new ripples thankfully replace the pain.

As I fall from the high, the pain returns with reinforcements. I sharply gasp and drop to the bed, curling into a ball next to Finn. The pangs lessen as I catch my breath.

He turns to face me. His eyes border indignation and alarm. “Are you okay? What the hell is going on with you?”

I raspingly stammer, “I-I just wanted you.”

“Damn it! You won’t heal! You were out of control, Becks! I told you I didn’t want to!”

Against my pillow, I mutter, “You wanted to. You were hard, Finn.”

“I can’t help it when you’re naked and on top of me! You shouldn’t have done that!”

“Why are you complaining? You got laid.” I really shouldn’t have said that. What a bitch.

He irritably swipes his hand over his mouth, but that doesn’t keep him from barking, “Yeah, because getting laid is all I fucking care about!” His eyes drift to my stomach. “Are you hurting?”

“Only a little.” A lot, but it’s not as bad as it was. Right now, I’m more appalled by my actions than I am in pain.

“Are you telling me the truth? Because you’re acting like you’re in some serious pain.”

“It’s not that bad.” I carefully get up and mumble, “I’m taking a shower.” I need to recover alone, so he doesn’t see the pain or the shame on my face.

I go to my dresser, and when I peek into the mirror, I see him adjust himself as he slowly sits up and guardedly watches me.

Fuck. He’s suspicious and a lot more forgiving than he should be. I outright used him. That wasn’t even making love. It was raw, straight-up fucking.

“I’m good. I need to shave my legs.” I can’t believe that’s what I come up with.

Shaking, I grab the clothes I need and make a hasty exit. I shut the bathroom door as the tears flow. Holding onto my tender stomach, I lean against the door and slide down to the floor.

I just had sex with Finn Wilder against his will. I hope he’ll forgive me.

What the fuck is my problem?

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