“Stop beatin’ it like it owes you money, and get out of the shower. You’ve been in there for thirty minutes. I’m going to be late!”
Noble Grayson exhaled a low curse and gripped his throbbing erection tighter. Closing his eyes, he stroked faster. Blocking out his brother, he filled his mind with visions of Trudy Hanover. The pretty blonde had moved to town a week ago and currently held the number one spot in Noble’s spank bank. Though he’d plundered her hot pussy two nights ago, he was eager to fuck her again. Trudy wasn’t exactly skilled in the bedroom, but her surgically enhanced DDDs and willingness to try all kinds of kinky things made up for it. The memory of squeezing his dick into her tight little asshole had his balls churning and muscles straining.
Noble fisted faster as his orgasm crested.
“And make sure you wash off the walls this time, you sick fuck!” Nate snarled, pounding on the bathroom door once again.
Noble’s climax stalled.
Biting back a snarl, he worked his cock with punishing strokes and focused on how he’d scraped his tongue over Trudy’s hard nipples…the way her glossy red lips parted as she screamed out her orgasm while clamping down around his cock.
The rising roar in his ears drowned out the steady thrum of the water pelting his body. As he hammered his cock with a vengeance, his balls drew tight, and his legs quivered. Noble bit his lips together and issued a muffled grunt as thick ropes of come surged into the spray of water.
“For the love of… Squirt your sauce and get out already,” Nate barked, fiercely banging on the door like a sledgehammer.
“Use the other bathroom, dick-breath,” Noble rasped out.
“Dad’s in there, dropping a deuce.”
“Keep your tampon in. I’ll be out in a minute.”
A shiver slid up Noble’s spine. “Christ, can’t a guy cop a damn nut in peace around here?” he grumbled, squeezing out the last of his self-indulgence.
He couldn’t fault Nate for spazzing out like a hooker who’d missed her period. Noble would be flipping his shit if he were bringing a girl home to meet the family. Thankfully, he was far smarter than his pussy-whipped twin. Noble had no intention of ever getting that involved with any girl. But then Gina Scott—owner of the Hangover, Haven’s only bar—wasn’t a girl, she was a woman…a woman twelve years Nate’s senior.
Noble turned off the water and grabbed a bath towel. As he dried the water from his body, he wondered what would shock their mom more tonight: discovering that Nate—the self-proclaimed virgin of the family—had given his cherry to Gina when they started bumping fuzzies six months ago, or finding out she possessed a four-letter-word vocabulary so colorful a sailor would blush.
He grinned, wondering if their mom would threaten to wash Gina’s mouth out with soap like she still did with him and his five brothers. No doubt about it, dinner tonight was going to be damn interesting.
While Noble wanted to be sympathetic to Nate’s plight, he couldn’t. It was too entertaining watching the stupid bastard working himself up with worry and freaking the fuck out. Of course, there was no need for so much angst. His family, especially his mom, Nola, and dad, Norman, would welcome Gina with open arms. Not out of pity over her recent brush with death, four days ago, but because Nate loved her enough to risk his own life to save her.
Gina’s abduction had sent an unsettling pall through the normally quiet town of Haven, and even more so within the Grayson clan. It was a shock to discover town bully Victor LaCroix wasn’t just a bastard but a cold-blooded murderer. The crazy prick had been nursing a grudge against Gina after she’d kicked his sorry ass out of her bar. His anger had festered for six long months. In the wee hours of the night a few days ago, he’d snuck into the bar and attacked Gina. Victor had then knocked her out with chloroform, hauled her to his filthy trailer on the outskirts of town, and tied her to what Nate had described as a vile, come-and-sweat-stained mattress. Victor had planned to torture Gina, eventually kill her, and bury her in a grave next to the wife he’d claimed left him years ago. The asshat was batshit crazy beyond all reasonable doubt.
Nate had elicited help from Emmett Hill—World War II veteran and Haven’s official Bigfoot hunter. After the two men had subdued LaCroix, Nate freed Gina and comforted her while Emmett held Victor at gunpoint until Sheriff Jasper Straub arrived.
Older brother Sawyer had mentioned something about Nate getting in several solid punches of Grayson payback, but Noble hadn’t wormed the details out of his twin yet.
LaCroix, the warped fuck-nut, was now sitting in the county jail awaiting trial. The prick was lucky he was behind bars and not in a vault at the morgue.
Shoving his anger aside, Noble cinched the towel around his waist and gathered up his clothes before opening the bathroom door.
Nate stood in the portal, pinning him with a seething glare.
“I remembered to hose off the walls, but you might want to rinse the soap.”
Nate rolled his eyes in disgust. “Get out, you sick fuck.”
“Since you’re running late and all, I’ll be happy to drive into town and pick Gina up for you.”
“You stay the fuck away from her! I wouldn’t be running late if you hadn’t raced into the bathroom ahead of me, dick-face.”
“You have the same face I do, bro.” Damn, it was almost too easy to rattle Nate’s cage tonight. “I was only trying to help.”
“Shove your help, come-stain,” Nate snarled, pushing past him and slamming the door in his face.
A chuckle rolled off Noble’s lips as he strolled down to his bedroom.
Forty minutes later, the entire Grayson clan—mom, dad, six brothers, two sisters-in-law, and the guest of honor, Gina—sat at the dinner table. The poor woman was sporting a hell of a black eye. A rainbow of colors mottled her cheekbone and blended across one whole side of her face.
Anxiety, thick and palpable, was pinging off Nate as Gina nervously relayed the horrific details of her kidnapping.
“I still can’t wrap my head around that level of evil. And none of us had a clue it was living right under our noses,” Nola tsked. “Victor was never a friendly man, but a murderer? It boggles the mind.”
Gina nodded as she took a sip of water. As she placed the glass down on the table, she gave a furtive tug on her sleeves to cover the angry red rope burns and thick scabs that marred her wrists.
“He’s definitely a sick and twisted soul, but I still think Haven is a wonderful town. Everyone has been so kind. They’ve been bringing me food or simply stopping in to check and see if I need anything. Even Reverend Thompson stopped in yesterday to tell me his whole congregation was praying for me. It’s a bit overwhelming, really. I never had a clue so many people actually cared.”
She flashed a demure smile Nate’s way. He responded with an encouraging wink.
“And I’ve monopolized the conversation long enough. Tell me about the ranch,” Gina coaxed. “Everyone sings praises about Camp Melody and the amazing work you do for those poor children.”
Norman’s face glowed with pride and his chest expanded as he set his fork down and drew in a deep breath.
Noble slid a sidelong glance at Gina. He had to hand it to her. She’d seamlessly shifted the focus off herself and her ordeal.
It was a relief that the stabbing shards of anxiety, courtesy of Nate, and the throbbing pulses of concern, also courtesy of his twin, thrumming beneath Noble’s skin had lessened. Like most twins, he and his brother were emotionally hardwired to one another. What one felt, they both felt.
The distress plaguing his brother would likely be around for a while. Yesterday, Nate had left Gina briefly and returned to the ranch to pick up some clean clothes. The minute he’d pulled into the driveway, Noble nearly doubled over beneath the weight of his brother’s worry. He’d followed Nate into the house and plopped down on his brother’s bed while he packed.
Noble had sent him a pointed stare, and in his mind, he’d simply stated, You’re not leaving until you tell me what’s bothering you.
Fuck. I should have expected this, Nate had replied without vocalizing a single syllable. “Sorry, man.” Nate had exhaled heavily, then walked to the door and closed it.
“What’s wrong?” Noble’s voice had been teeming with concern.
“It’s Gina. She’s barely eating, hardly sleeping, and her mood swings…” He’d let out a long, low whistle. “They’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before. One minute she’s clinging to me, all weepy and shit; the next she’s screaming at me to leave her alone and not touch her. I-I think she’s losing her damn mind. I’ve invited her to join us for dinner tomorrow night. I’m hoping that if I surround her with my love, and the love of our family, it might coax the old, feisty, sassy-as-hell Gina out of hiding.”
“I think you need to get her some help. That’s classic PTSD and you know it.”
“I do.” Nate had nodded. “I’m planning to broach that conversation with her soon.”
“It’s a labor of love,” his dad began now, drawing Noble from his thoughts. “I started the camp in honor of my sister, Melody. She was born with a rare blood and bone disorder. Unfortunately, she died of a lung infection when she was seventeen…”
Noble could recite this story by rote, but then so could his brothers. They’d grown up working alongside a staff of nurses, counselors, and cooks to provide sick and terminally ill children a week-long vacation from hospitals, tests, and fixating on their uncertain futures. Even his sisters-in-law, April and Brea, were now on the payroll.
He’d never held down any other job, nor did he want to. Noble reaped an enormous amount of satisfaction from the guests’ giggles and smiles. Of course, heartache and sorrow were part of the package as well. Some never had the chance to return to camp again…at least not in body. But he and his family made sure their spirits continued to thrive and light the hearts of those left behind.
While their oldest brother, Ned, and his wife, April, touted the joy they gained working with the kids, second-oldest brother, Sawyer, and his new bride, Brea—still in honeymoon mode—exchanged heated stares. Even Nate had stopped freaking out long enough to toss his two cents into the conversation.
Younger brother Nash didn’t say a word, of course. The dumb shit still hadn’t managed to pull his head out of his ass or dust off the funk he’d been wallowing in, making everyone around him miserable. Noble wanted to smack some sense into the stubborn mule for breaking up months ago with his high-school sweetheart, Megan. But stubbornness was the dominant strand that held all the Grayson brothers’ DNA together.
Norris, the youngest of the bunch, was quiet as well. After shoveling down his dinner, he asked to be excused. Evidently, killing insurgents on his gaming console held more appeal than hanging out with the family.
“Who’s tending the bar for you, tonight, Gina?” Ned asked.
A prickly discomfort crawled across her face before she dropped her lashes. “Gretchen Kingman.”
That bombshell had Noble rearing back as if he’d been sucker-punched. His eyes grew wide as he scoffed. “You left one of the linoleum sisters in charge of your bar? Make sure you disinfect the place when you get back. God only knows what—”
“Noble Franklin Grayson!” his mother chided harshly.
“What? Everybody knows what kinky bedroom games Gretchen, Sylvia, and Annette play.” Noble slid a knowing smirk at Sawyer, who’d suddenly taken profound interest in the crumbs left on his dessert plate.
Before Brea had come into his life, Sawyer regularly got his freak on with the wild and willing trio. Gretchen, Sylvia, and Annette held the dubious title of the linoleum sisters because they were so easy to lay.
“Gretchen is the only person I know who has any experience bartending.”
“From the gossip around town, she’s experienced in a whole lot of things,” Ned said with a chuckle.
“Yes, well…tending bar is one of them. She used to work at a big club in Dallas while earning her dental hygienist’s degree.” Gina scowled. Worry was written all over her face. “Maybe I should head back to the bar in case she’s having any trouble.”
“Remember to bleach that sucker good. God only knows what…or rather who she’s been doing on it,” Noble cautioned, flashing Gina a crooked grin.
She opened her mouth, probably to volley some colorful four-letter word his way but quickly snapped her jaws shut. After she politely thanked the family for a “lovely dinner,” Nate led her out the front door.
Instantly, an awkward silence enveloped the room. Norman absently tapped his thumb on the table, staring off, deep in thought. His mom, lost in her own ponderings, absently traced her fingertips through the condensation on the side of her iced tea glass.
Nash, wearing a usual mask of disdain, raised his eyes to the ceiling as if seeking divine intervention. Or maybe Mr. Angst was simply waiting for a bolt of lightning to come crashing through the roof. It was hard to tell.
Sawyer and Ned exchanged some odd kind of communication, consisting of quirked-up lips and arched brows, with their respective spouses.
All the while the tension grew increasingly thick.
The prickly undercurrent had Noble wondering if his assessment of the family accepting Gina had been way off base.
Whatever was going on, he found it deeply disturbing.
Finally, his dad leaned back in his chair, stretched his arms high over his head before lowering them, and locked his fingers behind his neck. “Gina seems like a…nice girl. Clearly, Nate is smitten with—”
“Oh, Norman. Just…hush.” Nola’s voice held an unusually sharp edge. She skimmed a glance over the table, scooted back in her chair, and stood. “You all go to the family room and relax. I’ll clean up these dishes.”
As she reached for a plate, Sawyer placed his hand over hers. “You don’t approve of Gina…? You think she’s too old for Nate, don’t you?”
She blinked at him as if her son had suddenly turned clairvoyant. Quickly banking her surprise, Nola shrugged. “Who am I to judge?”
“You never do. That’s why I’m asking.” Sawyer sent her a concerned stare.
“Clearly, he feels responsible for what happened to her, though I’m not entirely sure why. And since she has no family, he’s taken on the onus of helping her. It just seems…I don’t know…sudden.”
“Sudden?” Nash scoffed. “He’s been banging Gina’s brains out for the past six months, Ma.”
Sawyer pinned Nash with a seething glare.
Noble, who was sitting beside the big-mouthed idiot, simply smacked him upside the head. “Way to go, ace.”
“What?” Nash gaped. “I thought it was common knowledge among the family.”
“I certainly didn’t know,” Nola bit out tersely.
“Settle down, Momma,” Norman softly soothed. “He’s a grown man. We don’t know how he feels about her. It could be nothing more than him sowing some wild oats.”
Nola jerked her hand from Sawyer and raised an open palm, flashing Norman the international don’t say another word sign.
Noble cleared his throat before he nipped this whole judgmental clusterfuck in the bud. “It’s more than sowing wild oats, and we all know it. Yes, Gina is older. So what? Age is just a number. And yes, she owns a bar. That doesn’t make her trash. You’re forgetting the only important part in all this. She makes Nate happy. That’s got to count for something.”
“It does, and I want him to be happy. It’s just that…I’m worried,” Nola confessed.
“Everything,” she said with a sigh. “You all might be grown men, but to me, you’ll always be my babies. I’ll never stop worrying about any of you.”
Her voice cracked, adding a whole new layer of tension to the room.
“I understand that. But you’re going to need to use a chainsaw to cut the apron strings, Ma. In case you didn’t notice…they’re in love.”
“In love?” Nola gasped as if he’d up and slapped her.
Noble had said far too much. He hadn’t meant to share Nate’s personal feelings with the whole family. It was time to steer this conversation in a new direction…lighten up the mood, and then find a way to leave the room. “I’m impressed. Gina didn’t drop a single f-bomb all night. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.”
Sawyer shot him a seething glare. Obviously his brother’s sense of humor was locked away in Brea’s purse…along with his balls. But then marriage always changed a man.
“You have no idea what love is,” Sawyer spat. “You’re too scared to find out. That’s why you spend your life hopping from one bed to the next.”
“Scared?” Noble scoffed. “I’m not scared. I’m smart. And who the hell are you to lecture me? You weren’t a damn choirboy before Brea took pity on your sorry ass and married you. The whole town knows you used to spend nearly every weekend getting freaky with the linol—”
“Don’t you have someplace to go?” Sawyer interrupted, shooting daggers at him.
“As a matter of fact I do.” Noble dragged his cell phone from the back pocket of his jeans and started scrolling through his endless list of female contacts. “I wonder which damsel I need to rescue from hours of dreaded horniness tonight.”
Nola scowled as she gathered up the dirty dishes. “You knock up one of those damsels, and my shotgun’s gonna be aimed at your crotch while you watch her walk down the aisle in a pretty white dress. I won’t tolerate any son of mine giving me illegitimate grandchildren.”
Noble scoffed. “Oh, yeah? What are you going to do if I knock ’em all up at the same time?”
“Take a switch to your ass for being horny and careless.”
Noble grinned and stood before easing in beside his mom. He wrapped an arm around her waist and planted a kiss on the top of her head. “Relax, Ma. I’m not an idiot. I never rescue the damsels without wrapping my anaconda in latex.”
“Jesus, bro,” Sawyer groaned. “We just fuckin’ ate.”
Nola spun on her heel and slapped one hand on her hip. “You know better than to curse like that in my house.”
“Sorry,” Sawyer mumbled. Closing his eyes, he pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Sorry-lookin’,” Noble and his brothers replied in unison.
Every since grade school, if one had to apologize for something, the others collectively poked back with the insult; sorry-lookin.
Completely unamused, as always, Nola shook her head and leveled an unhappy stare at Noble.
“Relax, Ma. And keep your shotgun locked up. I’m never getting married.”
“I’ll put it up when you start keeping your junk in your pants. One of these days you’re going to mess up and be forced to say I do to someone you don’t even love.”
“That’ll never fucking happen.”
Nola snatched up a wooden spoon and swatted him on the butt, reminding him to watch his language.
Noble grinned and wiggled his ass. “Oooh, harder, Mommy. Spank me harder.”
The whole room erupted in laughter.
“Where did you come from, you sick freak?” Ned asked, still laughing.
“Same place you did.” Noble smirked. “From between my momma’s—”
“Hush!” Nola barked. “Get out of here, you perverted little heathen.”
“Whoa, wait,” Norman called out, still chuckling. “Before you go out and impregnate half the town, what day are you leaving for Vegas? I need to set up the schedule for next week.”
“Thursday,” Noble replied. “I fly out of Dallas at one o’clock.”
“Got it.” Norman nodded.
“I still can’t believe little Harvey Hays is getting married.” Nola shook her head.
“I can’t believe any woman would want that weasely son of a—”
“Neville Sawyer Grayson, I’m not going to tell you again to watch your mouth,” Nola warned, raising the spoon.
“What? It’s the truth. You remember what he was like growing up, don’t you? Harvey Hays was an obnoxious little bitch,” Sawyer grumbled.
Noble bristled. “Hey! He and I were friends back in the day.”
“You were his only friend back in the day. How long’s it been since you’ve seen him, talked to him? Six? Seven years? Did you ever stop and wonder why the Soy House Coffee King of Seattle invited you to be best man at his wedding?”
“Because Noble’s still his only friend,” Ned said with a snort.
“Kiss my ass!” Being forced to defend his old pal pissed Noble off. “You two don’t know a damn—”
“Easy, boys,” Norman interrupted in the same conciliatory tone he’d used to diffuse their arguments since they were kids. “Obviously, Harvey still feels a strong bond of friendship with Noble and wanted him to be his best man.”
Feeling vindicated, Noble flashed Sawyer a triumphant grin. “Thanks, Dad.”
“What do you know about the girl he’s marrying?” Norman asked.
“Not much. I know her name is Celina and that she owns the crystal and herb store next door to Harvey’s coffee shop.”
“Crystals? You mean like rocks and shit?” Ned scoffed.
“I don’t know. I guess.” Noble shrugged. “Harvey said she sells metaphysical stuff…whatever that means. I know she grew up in Texas, and like Harvey, she moved out to Seattle after high school. That’s where they met.”
“Sounds like kismet. But if Celina’s roots are here, why on earth are they tying the knot in Las Vegas?” Nola wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like the idea of you going to a place called Sin City.”
“I’m a big boy, Ma. I’ll be extra careful. I promise.”
“Right!” Sawyer scoffed. “You’ll be like a kid in a candy store.”
Damn straight! If the bachelor party Harvey planned turned out to be true—party bus, open bar, and strippers—this trip was going to be off the chain. Before he could reply, his cell phone pinged. Noble glanced at the screen and smiled.
Trudy: I’m naked and lonely.
His pulse doubled.
After he quickly tapped out a reply that he was on his way, Noble hurried to the sliding glass door. “I’d love to stay and chat, but the fair maidens of Haven need me to work my magic on them. See y’all in the morning.”
“Just keep your wand covered, Mr. Wizard,” his mom called out.
Laughing, Noble closed the door, raced across the wooden deck, and jogged to his truck. He fired up the engine while placing a call to his lonely, naked damsel. After engaging the speakerphone option, he laid the device on his thigh and turned onto the gravel drive.
Trudy answered in a low, sultry purr that had his blood pumping and his cock stiffening. “I’m on my way, sweet cheeks. Start warming yourself up. I want you nice and ready when I get there.”
“What do you want me to do, lover boy?”
“Spread your legs…spread them nice and wide,” he instructed as the truck bounced along the uneven ground.
“They already are.”
“Wide enough that I can wedge my shoulders between them and dive tongue-first into your dripping cunt?”
Trudy let out a mournful groan. “Uh-huh.”
“Good. Slide your fingers down there and play with your clit. Don’t come before I get there. Understood?”
“Oh, my hands are cold.”
“Not for long. Once you touch your hot pussy, they’ll warm right up. I’ll have you even hotter soon.”
His cock leapt, eager and ready. When the truck tires grabbed hold of the blacktop at the end of the drive, Noble adjusted his dick off the teeth of his gnawing zipper and turned toward town.
“Rub it hard, baby. Get it all nice and swollen for me.”
“Mmm,” she moaned. “It’s slippery and achy.”
“I’ll make it all better real soon. Keep playing with it, but don’t come. I wanna be there to feel and watch you explode.” The pressure inside his jeans made the mile-and-a-half trek to Haven painful as hell.
Her little whimper of understanding slammed from the base of his balls all the way to the tip of his weeping shaft.
Noble sucked in a deep breath. “Dip your fingers inside your pussy for me.”
“Noble…hurry,” she mewled.
“I am. Believe me, I am.” He pressed on the gas pedal, hoping Jasper wasn’t running any speed traps tonight. “You wet?”
“Dripping,” she moaned.
Saliva pooled in Noble’s mouth. “Fuck!”
“Just anxious to get to you.”
“How close are you, stud muffin?”
He was close, all right…close to shooting a load of choad-nectar in his fucking jeans. Dialing back his demand, he thought about his trip to Vegas instead of pounding Trudy’s hungry pussy. When Noble reached Haven, he sped through the side streets and slammed on the brakes in her driveway.
“Your front door better be unlocked,” he barked impatiently.
“It’s as wide open as my legs, lover boy,” she panted. “Hurry, Noble. I-I’m ready to c-come.”
“No! Take your hands off your pussy…now!”
She exhaled a long-suffering moan that made him grin.
“I’m going to be inside your house and inside you in less than a minute.”
Noble ended the call, killed the engine, and yanked open the glove box. After grabbing a stack of condoms, he bolted from the truck and raced into the house. He kicked the door closed behind him before hauling ass down the hall to Trudy’s bedroom.
He found the nymph breathless and splayed out naked on her bed. Her face was wrinkled in desperation as she writhed on the mattress. A greedy smile tugged his lips as he watched her pluck her berry-hard nipples straining toward the ceiling fan.
Out of patience, Noble strode to the dresser and pulled down a couple of silk scarves before he tore his clothes off. In two long strides, he ate up the distance to the bed and skimmed a stare up and down her squirming body. “You waited for me, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but it was hard,” Trudy whimpered as she longingly stared at his erection.
Noble wrapped a fist around his cock and stroked up and down as he climbed onto the mattress by her head. Trudy licked her lips as a glistening bead of pre-come slid from the crest and over his knuckles. “Harder than this?”
He slapped the wet tip to her mouth and she immediately parted her lips and swallowed him down her throat. The woman could suck the red off a barn, but he didn’t want oral, he wanted pussy.
When he pulled his cock away, Trudy whined pathetically. He simply smirked and wrapped the scarves around her wrists and tied them to the decorative wooden spools on the headboard.
He was a laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of guy until it came to sex. Then he was a complete control freak. Trudy had embraced his kinky side the last time he’d tied her to the bed. In fact, she’d nearly lost her damn mind. After teasing her with his fingers and mouth, he’d shoved his fat dick inside her. She’d nearly squeezed his cock off. He couldn’t wait to feel her narrow tunnel clamping around him again.
If he didn’t get inside her soon, he was going to roar. But Noble hadn’t earned his esteemed reputation with the ladies by rushing the deed, and he wasn’t going to risk tarnishing it now.
Prowling onto the bed, between Trudy’s legs, he dipped his head and dragged his tongue over her center. In no time, he’d coaxed her to two powerful orgasms and his cock was screaming for relief. Noble quickly sheathed himself, hoisted Trudy’s legs over his shoulders, and slammed balls deep into her pussy. With a low growl, he began pumping in and out of her hot walls as sweat dripped off his brow.
“That’s it, stud. Fuck me hard, like a wild bull,” Trudy cried out.
Noble picked up the pace and pounded her pussy until the familiar swell of release rolled up his body. “Come with me,” he grunted.
Trudy tossed back her head and let out a scream that nearly perforated his eardrums as she clamped around him. Noble pushed through her contracting tissue, grunted, and filled the condom. Again, it wasn’t the best sex he’d ever had, but it definitely took the edge off.
Long minutes later, after their breathing evened out, he slid from inside her. Before disposing of the condom, he untied her wrists. On his way back to the bed, Noble longingly glanced at his jeans and T-shirt heaped on the floor. He enjoyed fucking, but the postcoital snuggling most women expected frightened him. While he never made promises to any of his bed-bunnies, he always feared one of them might confuse their good times as something more. He was definitely not in the market for a girlfriend or, god forbid, a wife. He didn’t do relationships…ever.
Clenching his jaw, he forced himself to join Trudy in the bed.
To his relief, she rolled over and snagged her cigarettes off the nightstand as if he wasn’t there.
“Thanks for the screaming good time again, lover boy.” She lit up and then exhaled a thick fog of smoke. “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to bang your brains out for a while.”
“You leaving town or something?”
“Or something,” she repeated with a humorless snort. “No. My fiancé, Calvin, arrives in the morning and is moving in with me. He’s taking over Dr. Hubbard’s dental practice.”
Fiancé? What the fuck?
The air in his lungs froze.
She had to be kidding, right?
Noble slept around. Okay, he slept around a lot, but never with another man’s woman. He could forgive Trudy for using him but not for manipulating him to break the one cardinal rule he held sacred: Never poach another man’s girl. Anger careened through him faster than the orgasm he’d just achieved.
“Did you purposely forget to mention the fact that you were engaged, or did it simply slip your mind?”
His incredulous tone made her bristle. She sent him a scowl. “Don’t go getting all butt hurt or sanctimonious on me. It’s no big deal.” She took another drag off her smoke and shrugged. “At least not to me.”
“I already gathered that.”
“Wow. I didn’t take you for someone with a conscience.”
Her insult stung. “And why’s that?”
“Well, all the girls in town talk about how good you are in bed. I figured a big, bad-assed man-whore like you wouldn’t give a shit who he’s fucking.”
In two seconds flat she’d made him feel like a piece of gum being scraped off the sole of her shoe. He didn’t like it.
“If I’m wrong”—she was—“then…sorry. You didn’t know, so there’s nothing to feel guilty about.”
But he did, because in Noble’s book, ignorance didn’t equal innocence. He clenched his jaw tighter and mentally counted to ten, working to contain his anger. It wasn’t working.
He pinned her with a glare. “Let me get this straight. You moved to town, kept your engagement quiet, and sought me out to play with until Calvin showed up?”
Inside, Noble was ready to blow a fucking gasket, but somehow he’d managed to keep his voice low and controlled.
Trudy shrugged. “What Calvin doesn’t know won’t hurt him. I mean…it’s not my fault the man has a dick the size of a toddler or shoots off in like five seconds. I just wanted to spend some time with a stud who had a big cock and stamina before I have to live a life of sexual frustration.”
Shock pinged through him like a speeding bullet. “If he’s such a shitty lover, why are you marrying the man?”
“Because Calvin fits into my long-term plans, all right? Don’t judge me,” she snapped defensively.
Plans? Noble didn’t want to know what plans the morally corrupt bitch had up her sleeve.
“Trust me, lover boy, if Calvin’s pathetic pencil was as big and talented as your massive hose, I wouldn’t let anyone else near my pussy.” Trudy’s voice took on that familiar slow, seductive timbre that had snagged Noble’s attention the first time they’d met outside the post office. She dragged her hot pink acrylic fingernails through the dark spattering of hair on his chest while batting her fake eyelashes at him. “The wedding isn’t for a couple of months because Calvin is going to be busy setting up his practice. If we’re careful, you and I could hook up once a week and keep having fun, without him ever finding out.”
Her proposition made Noble’s stomach twist.
“Are you for fucking real?” he barked, brushing her hand off him. “Haven is a small town. No one keeps a secret here. No way could we carry on an affair under Calvin’s nose.” Not that he’d even want to. “We might as well strip naked and fuck in the middle of Main Street. Gossip is its own goddamn food pyramid around here. You should already be worried. Your neighbors have seen my truck parked in your driveway twice now. It won’t be long before Calvin hears that I’ve been sticking my dick in his woman.”
“What? You mean…someone might tell him?” Trudy blanched.
“There’s no might about it.”
“B-but they don’t know you were here for sex. I mean…you could have come by to…I don’t know…fix my sink.”
“Sure,” Noble said with a humorless laugh. “And Calvin’s going hear all about how the big, bad-assed man-whore of Haven was here laying pipe.”
“Oh, god. The neighbors won’t put it like that, will they?”
The last thread of Noble’s patience snapped. Anger seared his veins. After launching off the bed, he jerked his clothes on. “Maybe not, but since the whole town knows my reputation, you might want to start trying to save yours. Oh, and you won’t ever be banging my beast again. Don’t call me. Don’t text me. Hell, if you see me on the street, don’t even bother talking to me. Got it? Or I’ll tell Calvin what a cheating, skank-assed bitch you are myself.”
Shock and outrage flashed like lightning across her face as Trudy sat up. “You son of a bitch. Are you threatening me?”
An evil smile stretched across his mouth. “No, darlin’, that there was a promise. I don’t threaten women, nor do I lie to them, either. My momma raised me better…which is far more than I can say about yours. Good luck with your marriage, ’cause you are definitely going to need it.”
Shaking his head in disbelief, Noble turned and stormed out of her room. As he hurried down the hall, Trudy let out a high-pitched scream, followed by a string of obscenities. Noble slammed the door behind him, hurried to his truck, and peeled out of her driveway in a cloud of smoke and burning rubber.
Cursing under his breath, Noble headed to the Hangover. He needed a drink—several in fact—to burn away the caustic guilt scorching his veins.
“Engaged! Son of a bitch,” he snarled. “People wonder why I won’t find a good girl and settle down? Because of women like Trudy…the deceitful slut…that’s why.”
Still seething, he pulled to a jarring halt in front of the bar. After killing the engine, he climbed out, pocketed his keys, and jogged inside.