Authors: Christine Feehan
“Tammy O’Neil? Yes, of course.”
“Think you could ask her how this woman is doing and whether they’re keeping her there or if she was sent home?”
Blythe studied his face for a moment too long. He didn’t like that she saw things she wasn’t supposed to see. At least not in him. He wanted her to think he was naturally worried about a woman who had saved his life. He told himself that was the reason he was asking a favor, but it was so far out of character, he knew she thought there was more to it. He didn’t know what to think, so he kept his expressionless mask and forced himself to look straight at her.
“Yes, of course I can do that for you. What’s her name?”
She stood up. “Give me a minute.”
“If they’ve kept her, can you get her room number?” Shit. He hated to ask that. “Should probably thank her.”
Blythe studied him again and then slowly nodded. “I agree. She’s definitely owed at least that much. I’m extremely grateful that you’re still with us.”
Savage wasn’t certain why. He had the opposite point of
view to Blythe’s every time. She never seemed to take offense, and she didn’t start yelling to make her point. He appreciated that trait in her. She’d gotten under his skin. It was the children. She genuinely loved them. The club had rescued Darby and Zoe from human traffickers. They’d had no family other than Emily. Blythe had lied her ass off, bringing forged papers with her to claim the children. Darby had backed up her claim, and Czar and Blythe eventually adopted the three girls.
The club had found Kenny in the basement of a mansion in Occidental. Needless to say, the teen had nowhere to go. No one knew what to do with him, so they’d brought him home to Blythe. She had taken him in, and the adoption was in process. They’d be signing the papers to make the boy theirs in a couple of weeks. Kenny was pretending it didn’t matter, but everyone knew he was happy.
The latest family member, a six-year-old boy named Jimmy, they’d stumbled across on the internet. There was an auction for him, and they’d ended up in Vegas to free him. He had no family, so naturally, Blythe and Czar took him in. He hadn’t been with the couple long, but Savage knew it was only a matter of time before he came around. He seemed to like the survival classes Torpedo Ink gave to the children every other week. That was Blythe, taking the children in and then allowing them to do whatever it took to find their way to sanity.
Even Savage could see that Blythe was special. Every single member of the club would give their life for her. She was that kind of woman—the kind for pedestals. He hadn’t believed a woman like her existed, although Czar had told them she was the best. Now they all knew it and guarded her like the treasure she was.
He stayed close to the door, looking the way he always did: calm, expressionless, menacing. He didn’t move a muscle, going still so that he seemed to fade into whatever background he stood in front of. Shadows were what he was most familiar and comfortable with. He didn’t feel calm inside, and that was something he wasn’t familiar with.
He didn’t like anything that he couldn’t explain. Whatever the weird reaction he had to Seychelle—and God help him if he was that big of a monster that his body reacted because she was hurt or crying—he had to see her. He shut down that way of thinking.
He knew he needed violence. The rage would begin to build in his gut first, churning there like some terrible storm he couldn’t control. It would spread through his body like a cancer, and when it finally hit his brain, he would go to San Francisco and participate in the underground fight clubs there. His brothers went with him to pull him off his opponents before he killed them. He needed violence. He needed to feel his fists hitting flesh. He needed the blood . . .
“Savage, she’s got a concussion and there’s some damage to her leg. She didn’t call anyone, nor did she put down anyone as an emergency number. She was just admitted. This is her room number.” Blythe pushed a folded piece of paper into his hand.
He closed his fist around it. “Thanks, Blythe. I appreciate it.”
“Please tell her thank you from me as well. If you think she needs anything, let me know. I don’t like to think she’s alone in the world and needs help after saving one of ours.”
He hesitated, but he wasn’t the type of man to hug or kiss. He didn’t like to be touched. Reaper, his birth brother, was the same way.
Savage stuffed the paper into his jeans pocket and gave a casual shrug. “Not certain when I’ll have the chance to follow up, but I’m going to try.”
That performance should win him a fuckin’ Oscar. Not because Blythe believed him, but because he was trying to believe it. He told himself it was the truth and he wasn’t going anywhere near Seychelle Dubois—that if he did go, it would be to thank her. Or just check on her like any decent man would. He knew he was lying to himself and Blythe.
He turned abruptly and stalked out, heading for his bike,
the only real thing in his world. His club. The bike. They were wrapped up together, and ever since Reaper had found Anya, and Savage knew he was happy, he had been slowly separating himself from his brothers. He took more and more trips alone. He spent time away from the others. He talked less and less. There wasn’t a place for a man like him in the new world Czar was creating for the club. There wasn’t a place in the world for him, period.
He wasn’t a man to pretend. His brothers were fucked up. Hell. Alena and Lana, his sisters, were fucked up. Reaper was a mess. But not one of them was a monster. They might think they were. They were dangerous, and they didn’t hesitate to kill, but they weren’t like he was.
There was no cure for a man like him. He knew because he’d looked that shit up. A person could find that information on the internet, and he’d logged over a hundred hours looking. He wasn’t the only one. Absinthe, the brainiac of their club, and his wife, Scarlet, put in even more hours referencing journals in order to try to find a way to make him different. That hadn’t happened, and he’d finally accepted the fact that he was what he was. He had a code he lived by, and he kept to it. That had to be good enough.
He took his time heading to Caspar. He even looked at the sign as he went on past. Shit. There was no hope for him whatsoever. He kept going though. Even knowing he was acting like a moron, he kept going. He drove straight to the hospital and parked his bike, sliding off to stand in front of the doors for a few minutes, pretending to himself that he was debating about whether or not to go in.
He wished he smoked so he could stand outside longer, but he hunted men, and it was easy enough to find them if they smoked. The scent carried, and sooner or later, anyone addicted to cigarettes or weed had to light up. The moment they did, he had them. Easy enough to slide up behind them and slit their throat—or arrange an accident—and he was stalling. He knew he was going in, so he just had to get it over with.
He stalked inside, putting on his most intimidating face. It wasn’t hard to do. He pretty much just had to look at anyone and they pissed their pants. He went straight up to the desk, pulled out the paper Blythe had given him and told the woman sitting at the desk the room number.
The woman was older, and it said right on her little power badge that she was a volunteer. She didn’t like him. She pursed her lips. “I can’t just let you into the hospital.”
“Actually, you can. Seychelle is my fiancée.” He was pretty damn certain, since Seychelle hadn’t given anyone’s name as an emergency contact, he was safe. “I want to see her now. Visiting hours aren’t over, so point me in the right fuckin’ direction.”
The woman, Ms. Pruit, gave him her prune face of absolute disapproval. He wanted to growl, but he’d probably give the bitch a heart attack. She told him how to get to the room, and he didn’t waste any time stalking past her to the door. She took her time hitting the button to unlock the door, but he didn’t deign to so much as turn around. He was used to the bullshit. He was tatted, bald and wearing his Torpedo Ink colors and looked what he was—a killer.
He just needed to see Seychelle look at him with that same bullshit, judgmental, dismissive look he got everywhere he went, and he could walk out of the hospital and never look back.
He pushed open the door to her room. The curtains were drawn to darken the space and she didn’t have a roommate, which he thought was good, or maybe it wasn’t. He went straight to the bed. Her gaze jumped to his face immediately.
Those fuckin’ blue eyes of hers. Long lashes. She didn’t give him the prune face. She gave him a faint smile instead.
That fuckin’ mouth of hers.
There were bruises and scrapes on her face. One cheek was swollen. The bump on her head, just above her eye, was enormous. Her arm was bandaged in places, and from what
he could see of her leg, it was as well. He couldn’t help himself: he touched one of the scrape marks near the giant goose egg. “Looks like it hurts.”
Her smile widened just a bit, and he caught the faint hint of a dimple on her left side. His heart contracted. “A little. They gave me something for it. I remember your face. You tried to help me.”
“You saved me and the kid. Thought I’d thank you, but Ms. Prune at the front desk thought your virginity had to be protected, so to get in, I told her I was your fiancé. I was going to add that it was too late for your virginity to be protected but thought she might have me arrested just for sayin’ the word.”
He figured she’d order him out. He was deliberately crude and thought the claim on her would frighten her, but she did the unexpected. She laughed. Little golden notes flickered in the air above her head and surrounded him, taking his breath. It had been a long time since he’d seen notes like that floating just from a voice. The sound played over him like some kind of song, and once again, just to piss him off and show him it wasn’t a fluke, his body responded.
He became aware of every nerve ending coming to life. His blood surged hotly and rushed through his body to pool like hot magma in his groin. His cock was scarred, and filling with life all on its own was impossible—and yet she’d managed to make it do just that. Not to mention he had learned, almost before he knew what a cock was, to control that shit. The shock was almost too much for him to comprehend.
“Thanks for the laugh. I’m not fond of hospitals.” She turned her face away from him.
He parked himself alongside her on the bed, crowding her a little. He heard the note in her voice that told him there was a reason—a sad one—that she really didn’t like hospitals.
“I could break you out of here,” he offered. “I brought my bike, so it might be rough going, ’specially with you in that gown, but it’s doable.”
She laughed a second time just like he’d hoped, and the golden notes scattered in the air around him like confetti. He fuckin’ loved that sound and ignored the strange phenomenon. He could only deal with so much. She turned her face back to him.
If he was any kind of decent man, he’d wince at the damage, but instead he touched the scrape marks gently with the pad of his finger. They were badges of courage. She’d done what no one else had. She’d risked her life to save him—to save the kid. Those raw scrapes and that hellacious egg were suffered to save him. She’d made that choice. He couldn’t help but think those lacerations, bruises and bumps said quite a lot about her.
“Are you going to tell me your name?” Seychelle asked, her blue eyes drifting over his face, touching on the scars there, on his jaw and the light growth of beard and mustache.
Was he? Hell. “Yeah, baby, I can do that. My brothers call me Savage. Probably for a reason you don’t really want to hear.”
That little dimple flashed again, and his cock jerked. His reaction to her was genuine. Real. Maybe it was because she had risked her life and wasn’t a vain, haughty, judgmental bitch, or someone who chased after him not because they knew the first thing about him or cared but because they wanted something from him. Seychelle hadn’t wanted a thing except to save him and the kid. More likely it was because of the lacerations and bruises that belonged to him.
“Savage.” She repeated the name softly. Her voice was melodic. A whisper of sound that played down his spine like the touch of fingers. Three golden notes floated into the air.
He liked the way she said his name, a little too much. He shook his head. If he had any kind of sense at all, he’d
leave. Right the hell now. Just get up and walk away. He was there to thank her, and he’d done that. He’d wanted to know she was all right, and he’d done that too. Instead of thinking with his brain, he was thinking with his dick. He looked around the bare room. “How long you in for?”
That smile came out again, tying his gut into tight little knots. The dimple was a turn-on any way he looked at it, when nothing turned him on. Her mouth? Those lips? She was lying there bruised and scraped and his body was reacting all on its own, proving he was an even bigger monster than he’d thought. But damn, it felt good. He hadn’t known he was capable of getting it up without commanding it first in his brain. His brain wasn’t even engaged. He had proof of that, because he was still sitting on her bed.
“It is kind of a prison, isn’t it?” She looked around the room as well. “Although I’ve never actually been to prison, have you?” She looked up at him.
His gaze met hers. Those damn eyes. So blue. Seeing too much. One eye was very bruised. She was going to have a hell of a shiner. It was already coming up, dark purple and swollen.
“Grew up in a prison. Been there a time or two since.” Both times he’d been there to assassinate a prisoner. Why the hell had the truth come out of his fuckin’ mouth?
He never talked. He kept his mouth shut. He didn’t like people or their reactions. He didn’t understand them, and he didn’t want to. Most of the time, he was contemplating killing them. He was disciplined and had been since he was a child, yet he couldn’t stop himself from telling her the truth because he hadn’t thought before he answered. Staring into those blue eyes, he drowned. Went under and acted like a fuckin’ pussy-whipped asshole. He had to get out of there before he ran his mouth and had to take her out. He had too many secrets to just sit there and cough them up because his dick was hard.