Authors: Jenika Snow
She was all he could think about, that and the fact he needed to keep his three girls safe.
Fuck, this needs to work out.
Tank set down the gun he was cleaning and leaned back in the chair. He stared at the wall, thinking about the meeting with the club, that he couldn’t have waited until they had backup to go after the fucker. Going right for the asshole was what was key, but fortunately they’d gotten word again that the other charters, and even the Grizzly MC, had their back if need be. They planned on heading out first thing in the morning and he knew he needed to tell Lila and Bunny, but here he was, cleaning his weapons and avoiding his emotions. They were worried. At least he could tell they were. Lila and Bunny were strong women, always had been.
He continued to stare at the wall, pushing the good people in his life out of his mind and focused on the piece of shit motherfucker he’d be going after. There were five of the MC Patches that would be heading out handle Spike. After they got word Spike left they’d had a prospect following him, to see what the prick was up to. But the prospect had lost Spike’s tail, and because of that they couldn’t wait around. They’d go to Thorne and handle this, which is what they should have done from the beginning.
Tank just knew that once this situation was taken care of, he’d need to let Bunny know he couldn’t let her go again. She’d come back into his life, maybe not because of the best circumstances, but she was here, and he’d make sure it stayed that way. His life felt too out of control without her standing beside him, being his woman, his old lady. Although he’d always felt that way, having her with him again just cemented that fact.
He knew all of this just as surely as he knew he’d be taking Spike’s life for the shit he’d done.
Making her way forward, Bunny curled her hand into a fist, about to bring her knuckles down on the door. But a heavy sound came through the other side of the wood. Knocking on the door, she waited a second, but when no one answered she gripped the handle and turned it before pushing the door open. The first thing she saw was the bed, but when she pushed the door open a little further she saw Tank sitting at a fold-out table, his shirtless back toward her, his tattoos on display. From the angle she could see the parts of a gun on the top of the table.
Swallowing past the nervousness, she knocked on his door harder this time even though she was already in his room. He turned just his head and looked over his shoulder at her, and that’s when she saw the earbuds he sported. He pulled them free and stood instantly, turning to face her, and the front of his chest having her throat tighten and her mouth dry.
There was a moment of silence before she found the courage to speak.
“Can we talk?”
He gave one nod, and pulled the chair he’d been sitting on out for her. She glanced at the table again and saw the pieces of the gun and oil and a rag beside them.
She was the one to shut the door, because what they were going to talk about was personal. When she was sitting in the chair he grabbed a shirt and was about to put it on, but she started speaking again.
“You don’t have to put a shirt on because I’m here. I’ve seen you naked, Tank.” After those words came out of her mouth she felt her face heat.
God, I really just said that.
She cleared her throat and ran her hands over her legs again, realizing she needed to control her nerves.
“I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”
It was kind of strange seeing a man like Tank, a man that was as tall as he was muscular, with tattoos and in a biker club, not want to make her uncomfortable. He was being genuine and sincere, and even if he’d changed, had gotten bigger, scarier even, he was still full of heart.
But is he?
“Bunny?” He said her name in that deep voice of his, the one that she had imagined many times over when she’d been away.
Clearing her head she looked at him, realizing she had responded to the statement he’d said.
“You couldn’t ever make me feel uncomfortable.” And it was the truth.
She let her gaze travel over his chest. The Brothers of Menace patch tattoo was inked on one of his pectoral muscles, the patch the only color amongst all the other black tattoos on his chest and arms. A part of her that had been lost, or at least she thought it had been, grew warm at the sight of him standing before her. He was so big compared to her, and although she had never considered herself a tiny thing, compared to him she felt just like that.
I’ve always felt like that with him, and so much more.
They stared at each other for a long second, and he finally sat down beside her on the bed. She didn’t know what to say, although the words played through her head.
“What did you want to talk about?”
She breathed out slowly and looked down at the ground. She was shoeless, and her toes peeked out from the extra material of the sweatpants. “I want to talk about the past, Tank.” She lifted her head and looked him in the eye. “I want to talk about us, and explain why I ran. You deserve at least that.” She shook her head. “You deserve so much more than what I gave you.”
She could see his hands were in tight fists on his thighs, his whole body tense.
“We don’t have to talk about that now.”
She nodded. “We do, because it’s been on my mind and conscience this whole time.” She licked her lips, glanced around his room, and then focused on him again. “I just wanted to clear the air and get closure. I know you’ve probably moved on, and rightly so—”
He was up and off the bed so fast she stopped talking.
“Don’t go there, Bunny. I never stopped thinking about you, wondering if you were okay, if you were safe.” He sounded angry, and he had every right to be, but she didn’t want this conversation to go there. So, she nodded, and waited to hear if he wanted to say anything else. He sat back down and started rubbing his palms on his thighs. She looked at his chest again, felt her heart flutter, and then felt her throat tighten at the thought of all the things she wanted to say.
“I’ve missed you, Bunny.”
What he said struck right in her heart. The words were out there, hanging between them. He lifted a hand and rubbed the back of his neck. The way his bicep clenched and flexed had this potent, if misplaced, desire moving through her. Right now shouldn’t be about arousal, but about making things right and clearing the air.
“I missed you, too, and it’s been hard during this time, because I know leaving you sleeping in the bed was wrong. But I was afraid, I guess.” She whispered that last part.
“The past is the past.”
She shook her head. “I know it is, but you were the one good thing in my life, Brendan, you and Lila’s friendship. But…” She closed her eyes and thought about that night that was so fresh in her mind. “I was awake when you told me you loved me, and even though I loved you, too, so, so much, hearing you say those words brought up my father, brought up the shitty part of my life I couldn’t let go of.” She wouldn’t cry. She couldn’t. Her father was dead, gone, and she’d never have to think about him again.
“I knew saying that would bring up your father. I shouldn’t have said that until I knew you were ready to hear it.”
She wiped away a stray tear that fell down her cheek. “I was ready to hear it, Tank.” She opened her eyes and looked at him. “I was just too broken and fucked up to let it in, to have let you in. Maybe I still am.”
He was off the bed and crouched in front of her only seconds later. He took her hands in his and gave them a squeeze while looking into her eyes.
“Your father was a piece of shit, and even if he stopped hurting you after I beat his ass, the damage he did was already done.” The pain on Tank’s face was so tangible she felt it double with her own. “I should have just enjoyed the moment.”
She smiled, but it was forced, sad. “You have nothing to apologize for. I’m the one that’s screwed up.” She looked down at their conjoined hands, and moved her gaze over her partially exposed forearms under the oversized sleeves of the shirt. She could see the cigarette burns marking her flesh, remembered the pain of being pinned down while her drunken father put out his cigarettes and cigars on her skin. Closing her eyes again she hated that it still affected her, that it was still so fresh in her mind.
And it probably always will feel that way.
“He used to tell me he loved me as he burned my skin.” She didn’t know why she said the words, because Tank already knew. He knew everything about her, all the dirty, dark things she kept hidden from others. He was the only one she could stand touching her, holding her, and she knew it would always be that way.
His touch is the one I long for, have missed so much.
He was the only one she could trust herself with, could be herself with.
“Shh, we don’t have to talk about that, Bunny.”
She nodded. “We do, Tank. We really do, because I left you lying in the bed after you told me you loved me.” She was crying harder now, unable to stop herself. “It’s just,” she sucked in a breath. “It’s just, you said that you loved me, and instead of me saying it back, feeling it in the purest sense, I just saw my father over me, pinning me down, burning me with his cigar as he told me how much he loved me.”
He smoothed his hand over her face, and she squeezed her eyes tight enough lights flashed behind her closed lids. He pulled her in for a hug, and she just let him hold her, absorbed the feelings of having him close to her again. Bunny breathed heavily, feeling all that tension leave her at Tank’s touch. He’d been the only one to calm her, to make her feel like she wouldn’t lose herself.
And you left because you’re weak. You were a coward.
Bunny pulled back and tilted her head to look at him. She felt out of control right now, and but had the sensation that being with Tank was what she needed, was what would make this all better. It was kind of fucked up, she knew, but she did love Tank, and being here with him now made the past fade away, just dissolve like it hadn’t happened.
“Everything will be okay, Bunny,” he said softly and cupped one side of her face. “I know that’s why you ran, but I should have gone after you.”
She shook her head again. “It wasn’t your responsibility to go after me, and it wasn’t your fault. I was the one too weak to face the good that was right in front of me.” They stared at each other for long seconds before she found herself leaning in just a little bit closer. The fire only Tank could bring out in her rose swiftly, and she clutched at his shoulders. Bunny knew she was rushing things, but right now she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was wash away the past, the time she’d missed out on, and be with the only man she’d ever loved.
“Bunny, baby, what are you doing?” His voice was deep and husky.
“I’m being reckless, selfish, and just wanting to forget about what I’ve missed out on and be with you,” she whispered that all on a breath, looking him right in the eyes, and hoping her didn’t turn her down.
He has every right to.
Yes, he did, but she could see he cared about her still, could see he wanted her.
She saw him glance down at her mouth, and she licked her lips as if she had no control over the act. Bunny couldn’t hold her emotions in check when there was all this sexual chemistry, all these memories swamping her, coursing through her veins, her very cells. It was like a living entity between them, drowning her in sensations and needs. Her hands were shaking, her heart was pounding, and beads of sweat trailed between her breasts.
“It feels so fucking good to have you touch me, Bunny,” Tank whispered.
She had her palms flat on his chest, and ran them up and down, mesmerized by every inch of him. His skin was warm and smooth, hard and powerful.
,” he groaned out her name, his voice hoarse, his focus was on her mouth.
“We don’t have to rush into anything.”
“I know that.” She kept looking at the ink on his chest, tracing the sharp lines with her fingers. “You’re all I’ve been able to think about since that night I walked away from one of the only good things in my life.” She lifted her gaze to his face. “I’ve regretted my actions every day, Brendan.”
Not thinking anymore, just acting, Bunny forgot about everything and anything that didn’t have to do with right here and now. She rose up on her toes, braced herself against him, and placed her lips on his. The electricity that slammed into her when she had her mouth on his was so intense that she couldn’t stop the moan from leaving her.
Tank smoothed his big, rough palms up her arms, gripped her shoulders, and pulled her impossibly closer. For a few seconds, they held their position, neither really kissing the other, but their lips still pressed against each other. He was the one to pull back, and for a second she couldn’t even breathe at the sight of the raw masculinity and arousal that covered his face. Bunny didn’t know what to say, didn’t know if she should just turn and put all of this behind her, run again like the coward she was, or just tell Tank she still was in love with him.
“Tank,” she whispered his name. “I do still care about you. I do still love you—”
Before she could say anything else Tank had his hand behind her head, pulled her forward, and had his mouth close enough to hers she felt the warm pants of his breath along her lips.