Home > Second Debt (Indebted #3)(16)

Second Debt (Indebted #3)(16)
Author: Pepper Winters

Her arm jerked beneath my hold, her fingers curling into a fist.

Nila sniffed. “I appreciate a place to work and equipment in which to do it, but if you think I’ll find happiness anywhere in your home, you’re mistaken.”

Cut laughed. “I would suggest you stop lying to yourself. I’ve seen you smiling. I’ve witnessed your contentedness these past few weeks.”

Nila growled low in her chest. “Yes, that was a mistake. And before I saw what I did yesterday.”

Cut pushed off from the wall, throwing back the rest of his cognac. “And what did you see yesterday?” His eyes flickered to mine, glowing with annoyance.

“Nothing to concern you about,” Nila snapped.

I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye. She could’ve told him about the graves. She could’ve told him all manner of things that I’d sworn her not to tell. If she wanted me punished, my father would ensure I would pay.

My heart thundered, waiting for her to announce my weakness. The secret of what it meant to both of us when I’d slipped inside her and felt her come around my cock.

She felt it, too.

I know it.

I sucked in a breath, holding on to the faint connection still between us—not ready to submit to our fight—to believe that whatever existed was gone.

“Jethro, are you going to permit your charge to speak to her elders so disrespectfully?”

Shit.

My forehead furrowed at the challenge, the command.

If I was anything like the son Cut had taught me to be, I would force Nila to her knees and teach her better manners. I would hurt her, scold her, and deliver her heartbreak at his feet.

But if I did that, she might reveal my darkest secret. The fact that I’d fucked her. And that it’d destroyed me.

Cut grunted, “Jet—”

Embracing the cold, I shifted my hold on Nila and grabbed her around the back of the nape. My fingers dug into the tender column of muscle, holding her firm. “Be polite, Ms. Weaver. Drop the insolence and be grateful for all that my family has given you.”

She flinched but didn’t try to break my hold. Glaring at Cut, she said, “Forgive me, Mr. Hawk. What I meant to say was thank you for welcoming me so cordially into hell. I’m so happy to live so close to the devil.”

“Why you—” Cut grabbed a handful of Nila’s long black hair, jerking her from my grip. “I’ll make you pay for—”

“Gentlemen, surely there are more interesting things to be done than tormenting the poor little Weaver Whore?” Kestrel inched closer; his ability to guard his emotions and true feelings were a gift. He glowered in my direction, warning me not to move, to obey his unspoken help.

And like so many times in our past, I listened. I forced my heartbeat to regulate and latch onto the projection of calmness he oozed.

Nila hung in Cut’s grip. Her tiptoes kept her balanced, but her face screwed up in obvious pain. Despite her agony, she didn’t look away from my father’s challenge or cry out.

Kestrel sidled up to them. “Father, we have a shipment arriving today and one of the brothers said a rival MC plans to ambush us. Save your wrath for those who deserve it. Not a guest who will be here for a long time to come.”

My heart raced. My fists locked.

I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to see my father holding my woman so possessively.

A moment ticked past. Sometimes Kestrel’s reasoning worked. Sometimes it didn’t. And if it didn’t, it only made Cut worse—making him feel manipulated and eager to prove dominance over his sons.

The room held its breath; the air hovered stagnant and poised.

Then Cut let Nila go, rubbing his hands as if he’d touched something foul. “Next time you address me, my dear, make sure it’s with respect, otherwise I won’t be so lenient.”

“That goes for me, too, Nila,” Daniel said. “Don’t forget we own your life; best to treat us like gods if you wish to survive longer.”

Striding forward, I looped a fist in Nila’s long hair, tugging her firmly but not cruelly, reminding her that as long as she obeyed me, she would be safe from other Hawks.

Don’t you see I’m bad, but I’m not the worst?

“I’ll remember,” Nila snapped, moving backward until her shoulder brushed my bicep. That small point of contact sent tendrils of heat licking through my blood.

Kes grinned, hiding the fact that he’d just controlled the situation. “So, are we going to just stand around glaring at each other or what?” He moved forward, nudging me out of the way and slinging an arm over Nila’s shoulders.

She sucked in a breath but didn’t fight his guidance as he moved her away from me. He pecked her on the cheek and whispered something into her ear.

My jaw clenched as she willingly went with him, drifting away.

I hated their bond. The bond I’d made happen by letting her believe Kite was Kes.

She hated me for what she’d seen at the cemetery. Therefore, she should hate my brother, too. He wasn’t innocent. Not by a long shot.

I took a step forward, intending to steal back what was mine. But I stopped as Kes squeezed her and laughed at something he’d said. She didn’t respond. Just like she’d shut down around me, she tolerated Kes’s touching. But the moment his hold loosened, she ducked from his arm and placed distance between them.

Her attention was divided between the men surrounding her, but mainly, it was turned inward, barely acknowledging her predicament of being in a room full of Hawks.

   
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