Home > Ride Wild (Raven Riders #3)(5)

Ride Wild (Raven Riders #3)(5)
Author: Laura Kaye

The wondering made her shiver.

He slammed his door and frowned at her. “You okay?”

“I’m wet, cold, and irritated, but sure. I’m great,” she said defensively. Because she was still a little miffed at him for making her freak out—and for making her feel curious about kissing him.

Just a little curious. Hardly at all, really.

Damnit.

The corner of his mouth lifted. Not much, but the movement was there. And it made Cora stare. Because the change in his face, small and fleeting though it had been, made the corner of his eye crinkle a little, too. “Well, I think I can help with two of those,” he said, putting the truck in gear and swinging a hard U-turn.

“Wait, where are we going? The clubhouse is the other way.”

“Uh-huh,” he said, slanting her another glance. All the amusement was gone this time, though, and in its place was something intense she couldn’t name. “I’m taking you home.”

 

Slider wasn’t sure what the hell he was doing taking Cora back to his house. But after his words had chased her away, potentially endangered her, and caused her to get drenched, he couldn’t not bring her home.

She’d just looked so lost, so young, so . . . fucking pretty pressed up against his truck. Green eyes like jewels, bright blond hair turned dark from the rain, wet lips like candy he’d wanted to taste. For a split second, the urge had been so damn strong he wasn’t sure how he’d resisted.

Which was probably a reason to take her back to the Ravens’ clubhouse. To put some distance between them.

Instead, his gut demanded he take care. Of her.

Just a little quid pro quo for how good she’d been taking care of his kids these past three months. That’s all it was. Nothing more.

It took only a few minutes before he parked the truck and both of them were getting out in the rain and dashing into the house. Then they stood dripping on his living room floor, staring at each other, chests rising and falling from the sprint across the yard.

A sudden urge sucker punched Slider. To take Cora in his arms, press her against the door, and claim her with his mouth while his hands stripped her bare of the sodden clothes. And then he’d carry her to the shower and warm both of them up with the hot water before making them even hotter when he took her to his bed . . .

The idea—the sheer clarity of it in his head—nearly took him to his knees. Because if it’d been a damn long time since Slider had felt anything besides anger and emptiness, it’d been even longer since he’d felt the soul-deep lust suddenly scorching through his blood.

“So,” he said, because the unusual emotions were short-circuiting his brain.

“So . . . are you going to sleep?” she asked.

“Oh. Yeah. I should . . . do that.” He thumbed toward the staircase and tried not to imagine what it would feel like if she came with him. Christ, this was why he’d been trying to keep her at arm’s length all these months. “And then if you’re still open to it, we’ll do a grocery run.”

“Yeah, of course,” she said. “Do you mind if I throw my clothes in the dryer?”

He shook his head and took a step backward toward the staircase. Because now her words were very unhelpfully adding her nudity into his runaway thoughts. “All you’ve done for my boys,” he said, emphasizing that for his own good. She’s here for my boys. She’s here for my boys. “Consider yourself welcome to use anything in the house, Cora. Always.”

With a nod, he turned and climbed the steps, not looking back and not pausing until he was in his blinds-darkened bedroom with the door closed between his newly awakened libido and the beautiful blonde standing in his living room. And then he stripped down until he wore nothing but his ink, leaving his wet clothes in a pile on the old hardwoods, and sprawled facedown in bed.

He wasn’t aware of falling asleep. He wasn’t aware of anything, actually.

Until a commotion jolted him awake, his heart racing, his brain disoriented.

Cora was at the side of his bed, her mouth moving, her hand on his arm, her expression filled with bad news his mind wasn’t quite processing.

“—wake up, Slider,” she was saying. “School called. Ben’s on his way to the hospital. There was an accident on the playground.”

He shoved upward onto his arms. “What?”

“Ben. He’s hurt,” she said. “They’re taking him to Frederick Memorial Hospital.”

Not Ben, Slider thought, flying out of bed and tearing clothes out of his dresser. Not his innocent little alligator. “Jesus Christ,” he growled in frustration and desperation as he struggled into a pair of jeans. He turned when he finally got them up over his ass. “What else did they say, Cora? How is he hurt?”

For a moment she just stood there staring at him, mouth wide and eyes wider, like maybe he’d grown three heads while he was asleep, which was when he realized he’d just walked across the room butt-ass naked. “Um,” she finally said, blinking out of her surprise. “They, um, said he fell from the monkey bars and that he’d lost consciousness but was awake when the ambulance came. Other than that, I’m not sure how bad it is, Slider. I’m sorry.”

He shook his head and tried to focus as he jammed his feet into a pair of boots and stuffed his arms into a T-shirt. Only one thing mattered here. Ben, being okay. God, he had to be okay. “Let’s go,” he said.

“Wait. Me?” she asked, hugging herself. For the first time, the gesture made him notice that she was wearing one of his T-shirts. And, possibly, nothing else. The white cotton V-neck hung wide on her shoulders and long on her body, the hem hitting her just low enough to make it unclear whether she wore panties. Under any other circumstances, he wouldn’t have been able to think of anything else but the picture of her that way, in his clothes, in his room . . .

“Yes. Ben will want you there.” And so do I. Because he wasn’t sure what he was walking into, or how bad it was going to be. Jesus, the thought of his boy being hurt made him want to vomit. “Get dressed,” he said, manhandling her toward the stairs.

“But what about meeting Sam off the school bus?” she asked, peering up at him as they raced down. “He’s gonna be freaked out.”

She was right about that. “I’ll get one of my brothers to bring him to the hospital,” he said, hoping someone would be willing to do that for him after Slider had pretty much gone ghost on the club after Kim’s death. They all thought that was because he was wrecked with grief, when really it was because her cancer had made it so he could never reveal all the ways in which she’d given him cause to grieve. And the more he’d dwelt on her lies, the more he hadn’t known who or what he could believe in—even the club. And that had killed him even as he hadn’t been able to stop himself from pulling away from his brothers.

Nothing like betrayal to shut you down and make you unsure who or what in your life was true, was real, was worthy of your trust. Sonofabitch.

“Okay,” she said dashing toward the laundry room. “I won’t be thirty seconds.”

True to her word, Cora returned quickly, dressed again in the same clothes as before, his white T-shirt hanging out under the sweatshirt as if she hadn’t wanted to take the time to change out of it. “Ready,” she said, stuffing something into her purse.

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