MC Romance: Ride of Their Lives (BBW, Military Romance, Alpha Male) (Bad Boy Motorcycle Club Romance Book 1) (5 page)

BOOK: MC Romance: Ride of Their Lives (BBW, Military Romance, Alpha Male) (Bad Boy Motorcycle Club Romance Book 1)
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His tongue moved slowly across her flesh, making her want to press herself against him. She wanted more, but she could not find the words to tell him.

Instead, she let her body communicate her pleasure. She moved her hips against him, gasped and cried out as the streaks of pleasure raced through her.

When she thought that she could stand it no longer, he withdrew from between her legs and came to lay above her. She felt the pressure of his erection against her center and Natalie found herself begging for him to join her.

She was so close, and yet he prolonged her torture. Natalie shifted her hips against him and she felt his smile against her neck. She turned her head and joined his mouth to hers, pressing her tongue against his in a rhythm that matched her hips.

Finally, he entered her. It was all that Natalie could do not to cry out in ecstasy. Something about this moment was so perfect, and pure, that she could barely hold back the pleasure that was threatening to take over.

Together they moved, as if they were of one mind and spirit. She felt him drive against her and she knew that he was fighting the inevitable as well. With a moan of satisfaction, she gave in to the sensation and allowed the waves to crash around them.

 

Chapter 10:

In the early morning hours, Natalie found herself padding to the kitchen for a glass of water.

If she had thought that their lovemaking was an itch that could have been scratched, she had been sorely mistaken. Though they had made love numerous times during the course of the evening, interspersed with leisurely naps and even an excursion into the shower, Natalie found that her desire for Chris was far from being sated. If anything, it only grew as they found new ways to share in their mutual pleasure.

She gulped the water hungrily while leaning against the counter. The pale light of the rising sun cast leisurely shadows across the room. It was not for several minutes, therefore, that she noticed the box that lay haphazardly at the top of the garbage bin.

Normally, it would not have interested her in the slightest. However, a thin ray of light flickered through the window to reveal that the box was, in fact, filled with photographs and all sorts of memorabilia.

From the other side of the kitchen, Natalie could already see that the photos showcased two men who were smiling into the lens of the camera.

She crept toward the bin and peered inside of the box. Her worst suspicions were confirmed when she realized that the photos were a collection of memories that had passed between Chris and Tony Pomeretti.

She tried to ignore the sinking feeling in her gut. She pulled a handful of the photos from the box and began to shift through them. One after another the faces of the smiling best friends stared up at her. What had changed? Why was Chris so determined to forget his men, and his friend?

The creak of the floorboard in the hallway left her frozen in the moment.

Chris stood in the pale light of the doorway, watching her with guarded eyes.

“What are you doing?” His voice was calm. Too calm.

“I was just…” she could not bring herself to fabricate an excuse. “Chris, we need to talk about this.” Natalie held up the fan of photographs that were clasped in her hand.

In one swift motion, Chris entered the room. Before she knew what was happening she had been relieved of the images and the trash bin was being resolutely relocated to the other side of a door, which she assumed was a pantry.

“There.” He stated with a simple finality. “Taken care of.”

She understood what he meant. Out of sight. Out of mind.

“Chris, that’s not how that works.” She was at a loss for words. How could she ask him to explain without driving him away?

“I think you should go.” His voice was calm and cool. She did not like the sound of it. It was as if he was emotionally detached. He had erected his walls around the issue, and around her. She was shut out.

“Really?” she asked. There were tears in her eyes and her voice was louder than she had intended. “Is that how this works?” Her voice was demanding in a way that she never allowed around patients. This was different. Chris was not a patient. He was so much more and she found herself needing a solid answer for the reason that he was pushing her away.

When he remained silent in the darkened kitchen she continued.

“You just sleep with me and then kick me out when something personal comes up?” Her voice quivered with emotion.

“That’s not what…”

“No?” she cut him off. “Because I’m pretty sure that there is more to this,” She gestured toward the door which hid box of memorabilia, “than you are telling me.”

“It’s none of your business.” he countered.

“None of my business?” her voice sounded cold. Frozen in a way that even she did not recognize. “None of my business to know what kind of person I am letting into my life?” She knew that her words were cruel but for the first time she had been afraid that Chris might have harmed his teammates.

“You don’t trust me?” his voice was barely a whisper, as if the entire future of their relationship, of his life, rested on her answer.

“Of course I trust you.” Natalie sighed and ran her hands through her tangled hair. “I just don’t understand. Are you the person that I know, that I trust, or are you something else? Something dangerous?”

She watched as the walls around Chris deflated. He released a deep sigh and held a hand out for her to accept. With a tentative glance, she did. He led her back to the bedroom where they lay cradled in the safety and warmth of the bedcovers. Chris toyed with a lock of hair at her shoulder while she waited for him to begin.

Something about this moment seemed pivotal, and Natalie was afraid to speak. She needed to hear his story, but at the same time, she was frightened of what he might reveal.

“You have to understand…” His fingers played across her skin and it seemed as if he were lost in a far off memory, “this cannot be reported. It just… you can’t include it in your… this is off the record.”

She understood. He was telling her, Natalie. Not his therapist, not an official member of the military. This was personal and she did not have permission to share it with his superiors.

“I understand.” She promised.

Chris took a deep breath and rolled onto his back so that he was staring at the ceiling.

“I don’t know what happened,” he began. “I still don’t understand. One minute he was fine, and the next I hear a transmission over the radio that Tony has gone rogue. The next thing I know my men are being picked off one by one. I was too far away too help them. Snipers don’t work at close range. There wasn’t anything that I could do.”

Natalie felt as if her heart had stopped. What was he saying? The implications were astronomical. Tony Pomeretti had killed the men on the elite team? Why had Chris not revealed the truth from the beginning?

“By the time that I had made it on site he was standing over Murphy, his gun pointed right between Murph’s eyes. I’d never seen him like that. I barely even recognized him. I only had a moment to make a decision. I didn’t have a chance to think of another option. I just reacted.”

She could hear the agony in Chris’s voice. The guilt caused by the destruction that was the fault of his friend.

“I shot him.” Chris’s eyes closed and Natalie knew that the image would forever play across his mind. “I killed my best friend just as he turned and aimed his weapon at me. It was like he didn’t even recognize me. He was… He would have shot me too. I could see it in his eyes. It was like he wasn’t even there. And then… he was gone, and I had no idea how I would ever explain to his family what I had done, what he had done.”

It was then that the truth crashed around her. Chris was not protecting himself. He was protecting the honor of his best friend, the honor of the family that was left behind. Chris would not reveal Tony’s misdeeds for fear of the shame that would befall his widow and their children. He was willing to take the fall, and suspicion surrounding the incident in order to prevent the Pomerettis from knowing the details of Tony’s last moments. Her heart went out to him.

There was nothing to say. Nothing that she could say to ease his pain and confusion. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close. At the moment, Natalie could think of no plausible solution that would clear both Chris and Tony. As they fell asleep in each other’s arms she knew that she needed to look into the issue further. She had promised to keep the information to herself, and she would, but that did not mean that she could ignore that knowledge that he had given her. Chris was on the brink of losing his entire career. At the same time, Tony’s family needed the relief of knowing that their loved one had died a hero, rather than a homicidal villain. Chris had been right, there was no easy solution.

She fell asleep knowing that she was about to make one of the most difficult decisions of her entire life.

 

Chapter 11:

The following morning, Chris awoke to the icy chill of an empty bed. Natalie was gone. He buried his face in his pillows and groaned.

After what had begun as an excellent night, he had ruined it by opening up to her. Of course, Natalie would think that he was off of his rocker for the wild claims that he had admitted to the night before. Tony had been an award winning soldier with no history of mental breakdowns. There was no proof of his claim. No reason that explained Tony’s rampage. That was part of the reason why Chris had been so confused. He, nor the other men, had never seen the attack coming. They had never sensed the turmoil that had boiled beneath the surface of his friendly exterior.

All the same, Chris had been telling the truth.

He wandered through his house playing the previous night over in his head. He had never intended to tell Natalie what had happened, but when he had seen her standing in his kitchen holding photos of the man whom he had once called his best friend, it was as if he had killed him all over again. The guilt and confusion had crashed over him and the truth had spilled out.

She had left a note next to a pot of fresh coffee informing him that she had enjoyed the evening and would be in contact. He supposed that meant that he had not completely botched any chance between them with his moment of weakness.

He hoped that she had meant what she had said about not intending to share the information. Even though he had shared the basic details, he had no intention of participating in the therapy sessions to evaluate every tiny detail and feeling involved. No, sir.

 

He did not hear from Natalie until the next week. The days had been spent agonizing over that fateful night. Had he driven her away with his confession? Was she sharing his secret with his commanders? Had she only stayed with him that night in order to collect the information?

He had been certain that there had been more than that between them, but after she had practically vanished into thin air, he was not so sure.

Finally, she called him and asked if he could meet her at her office. He did not like the sound of the offer. It was too formal. He did not want to meet in her office. He much preferred to have her here, in his home. Still, he agreed because the need to see her was too great. He needed answers for her disappearance, for her use of the information, but mostly he found that he just wanted to know if she had any intention of continuing their relationship now that she had achieved her goal.

 

Chapter 12:

Natalie paced across the floor of her office. She had never been more nervous in her life. Chris was due to arrive any moment and she knew that this meeting would solidify their relationship one way or another.

A soft knock on the door had him entering with a guarded expression. It was all Natalie could do not to rush to him and throw her arms around his shoulders. She had been avoiding him. They both knew it. Yet, now that they were once again in the same room, she could barely contain the passions that flared inside of her.

This was why she had kept her distance. If she had seen him again she might not have been able to go through with her plans. He might have tried to talk her out of it, but she knew that she had done the right thing. The problem would be trying to get Chris to see that.

She gathered the notes from her desk and gestured for him to join her on the couch. Instead, he came to stand right in front of her. He placed his hand on her shoulders and leaned down to kiss her. Her stomach whirled and her mind lost all consciousness as she clung to his embrace. For several moments they allowed themselves a brief taste of desire, before Natalie pulled away.

She sat on the couch and attempted to calm her breathing. Chris sat beside her, their knees almost touching. Almost, but not. The small space that separated them was enough to drive Natalie wild, but she needed to focus.

She clenched the file and reminded herself why he was here.

“We need to talk,” she could hear the quiver in her voice.

“I gathered that when you called to set the appointment.”

She could hear the disappointment in his voice. Neither of them wanted to meet here, but it had been necessary. If this meeting went wrong, Natalie could not stand having the memory of him walking out on her bound to her own home, or likewise, could not imagine having to walk away from the man that she had come to love. Here, in this informal venue, they would be forced to function with a decorum that might be enough to preserve her fragile heart. Or, so she hoped.

She had no explanation to give him, so she decided to press on.

“I’ve been doing some research,” She smoothed her hands over the file of notes. The information inside was most precious to her, and she had worked hard to achieve it.

“About the case.” It was not a question and Natalie could see the trepidation in his eyes.

She nodded.

It was as if a steel wall had slammed between them. Chris had not moved, had not altered his position in any way, and yet she felt him withdraw from her.

“Well, did you get what you want?” His voice was cold, detached, and it broke her heart.

“That’s not what I meant,” she cried. “I meant what I said when I told you that I would not reveal your story without permission.”

She could tell that he did not believe her.

“Chris…” she placed her hand on his arm. He did not pull away, but he did not acknowledge it either. She was not sure which was worse. “I completed my research in a very discreet way. That’s what took me so long.”

She took a deep breath and began.

“I am here to give you a choice. Everything else will be up to you.” She waited for him to respond, but he just sat there watching her with narrowed eyes. “I am guessing that the reason that you have kept Tony’s actions a secret is to protect his memory, and his family?”

He blinked, but did not respond.

“Come on, Chris, work with me here,” she begged.

He shifted into a more comfortable position. The action broke all contact between them and Natalie was forced to place her hand back in her lap.

“Obviously,” he conceded after several moments of silence.

She nodded. That was the only motivation that made sense.

“You have two choices.” She pulled the first page from her file and set it in his lap.

She did not even want to look at the words, they were too gruesome. The paper detailed the possible legal ramifications of his refusal to testify in regard to the investigation, as well as the results if he should be falsely accused of the crime. The range spanned from dishonorable discharge all the way to a life sentence in prison. Even the best case scenario would mean the end of Chris’s career and honor.

She watched him peruse the list with silent acknowledgement. It appeared that he was already aware of the potential judgements. He looked displeased, but not surprised.

“I know.” He slipped the paper back into her file. “What else am I supposed to do? Tell his wife and children that he lost it and went on a killing spree? His son and daughters, who look up to him as their hero… his wife who sacrificed her time with him so that he could serve his country, only to find out that it ruined the man she loved? Tony needed help. I should have seen that, but this is not what his family should remember him for. I won’t allow it.”

“I know that.” Natalie nodded and placed her hand on his once more. “I spoke with Commander Barkley…”

Before she could finish her sentence, Chris was on his feet.

“You did what?” His shout echoed through the room. “You had no right to do that.”

“I know,” she repeated. “If you’ll just let me explain…”

“I think you’ve done enough.” He moved toward the door but Natalie rushed past him and stood in front of it.

“You need to let me finish.” Her voice pleaded but it fell on deaf ears.

“I don’t need to do anything. Get out of my way, Natalie.”

She pulled the last page from the file and held it out for him.

“Just read this.”

His grabbed the paper from the air, crumpling it in the process. He held the page at his side. She could see that he had no intention of reading it.

“Please, Chris. Read it.” She implored him to understand, she needed him to see that she had not meant to betray his trust. “I kept my promise. I didn’t tell anyone the truth. That is still your choice, but please, please don’t shut me out.”

He waited in silence as he stared at the door, jaw clenched, waiting for her to move. She did, and he slipped through the door without a backward glance.

Natalie sunk into the plush cushions of the couch as her heart exploded with agony. He would never forgive her for speaking with his commanding officer. He would probably never read the report that she had compiled. Either way, she doubted that she would ever see Chris Ryker again.

Natalie refused to cry. The tears would come later, when she was in the safety of her own home, but for now she simply closed her eyes and gasped as she tried to settle the pounding of her heart. She had only been trying to help. She truly thought that she could help him, but all she had seen in his eyes was betrayal. Anything that they had shared before, that they might have shared in the future, was gone. He would never trust her again.

An hour passed, maybe less. It seemed like days to Natalie as she sat at her desk staring at her case files but not really reading them.

Her secretary entered and announced her afternoon appointment. Natalie swore under her breath. She searched for her calendar to check her schedule. She had forgotten about the appointment. She was unprepared and would have to improvise through the session.

She had just smoothed her skirt and attempted to arrange the tousled hairstyle that had been wrecked by the constant running of her fingers through it since Chris had left.

When she looked up she could not have been more surprised at what she saw.

Chris stood in the doorway with a tentative grin, clutching the crumpled file.

“I’m an ass,” he said before she could speak. Not that she could find the words in the first place.

“No,” She shook her head. “I should have consulted you before going to your commanders.”

He released a short laugh. “I would have stopped you.”

“I know.”

He took a few steps into the room and held the paper between them, where it hung like a lifeline.

“Is this really possible?” She could hear the hope in his voice. Yet, at the same time, an unwillingness to believe that it was true.

She nodded. “It’s rare, and legally complicated, but yes… Your Commander Barkley thinks that it will be approved unanimously. That is, if you choose to go forward.”

The document outlined a complex legal process in which Chris could provide a closed testimony to his superiors. Not only would they be restricted from revealing his story, but they would then stand as witness to clear him of all charges outside of a trial. Only three of his commanders would have access to the full story, and Tony Pomerretti’s family would never know the full details of his downfall. The case would be locked and Chris could move on with his career.

“How did you manage this?” He seemed dumbfounded. “How can the case be closed without them skewering Tony, and digging through his life for signs that he was a loose cannon?”

“They’ll still need to investigate that, in order to study and prevent similar occurrences, but they will do so in a way that will keep his family from suspecting. Most of that interrogation will come through you. You’ll need to submit to a full debriefing.”

“I didn’t see it coming,” Chris admitted.

“That isn’t your fault.” Natalie needed him to understand that no one could have foreseen what Tony would have done. “In hindsight, could you recognize changes in his behavior?”

He shrugged. “A few, maybe.”

“Good.” She took a step toward him. It seemed as if the tension in the room had deflated. For the first time, Chris seemed willing to collaborate with the investigators.

“There is one other thing…” she was not sure how he would take the last piece of information. “Part of this process requires that you go through an extensive counseling program, to ensure that you have no repercussions from the event. Especially, if you intend on returning to active duty.”

He nodded. “I don’t like it, but that makes sense. If that’s what it takes, I will.”

She tried to swallow past the lump in her throat. “I understand if you don’t wish to continue your session with me…”

“I don’t.” His assertion cut her off before she could finish. His tone was final. He had no intention of working with her. She felt as if a vice had closed around her heart. Even after he had realized that she had found a solution, he still wanted nothing to do with her.

“I understand.” She could hear the tremor in her voice and she wished that she could control it.

“Do you?”

She nodded. She needed him to leave. The tears that she had held back earlier threatened to flow and she wanted him gone immediately.

She started to walk toward the door, to let him out, but he snaked a hand around her elbow.

“Natalie…” His voice was smooth and soothing. It made the ache even worse. “I think it would be a conflict of interest if I’m dating my therapist.”

A strangled sob crept from somewhere inside of her but it still took a moment longer for his words to sink in.

“What?” She turned to him with a look of complete confusion.

“That is, if you aren’t done with me yet.” His hand cupped the back of her neck and he pulled her gently against him. “I know that I’ve been quite a handful so far.”

Natalie pressed her forehead against his chest and allowed the tears to fall. Though, suddenly she felt overwhelmingly happy.

“I’m sorry that I spoke to your commander without permission.” Her voice was muffled against his shirt. She could feel the deep rumble of his laughter against her cheek.

“Even I can admit that I’m wrong sometimes.” His hand smoothed her hair as she wiped the tears from her face. “I’m grateful for what you did. I would have never found this solution otherwise.”

Natalie turned her face up toward his with a wide smile.

His mouth settled over hers with a gentleness that she would have never expected from him. Natalie threw her arms around his neck and allowed him to pull her closer.

“I love you Natalie Barnett,” he whispered against her lips.

“I love you too,” she confirmed.

“…now that you know that I’m not a murderer?” His teeth pulled at her lower lip and his hands splayed across the generous curves of her hips.

She laughed. “I always knew that you were innocent.”

He tilted his head and raised one eyebrow. “Did you?”

“Well…” she wrapped her arms around his waist, “I might have wondered a few times. Bikers can have a bad reputation, you know.”

His deep laughter was infectious. “I think it was the Harley that won you over.”

“That might have had something to do with it.” She winked. Natalie knew that their shared interest had opened the door to their relationship, but she knew that even without it, she and Chris were about to share in something special, something that would last a lifetime.

THE END

 

 

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BOOK: MC Romance: Ride of Their Lives (BBW, Military Romance, Alpha Male) (Bad Boy Motorcycle Club Romance Book 1)
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