This short story takes place after Dangerous Love but before Taken Love.
If you’ve read Taken Love, this small story references Mackenzie.
This short story contains spoilers from The Love Series. If you haven’t read Silent Love, Unexpected Love, Dangerous Love, Taken Love or The Boss’s Love, do NOT read this short.
The Right of Casey Clipper to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Published 2016
Copyright © Casey Clipper 2016
Derk circled the fine piece of metal, his latest obsession.
“No,” Mac said sternly, her arms crossed over her chest, pushing her fabulous breasts higher. Her beautiful features a mask of righteous indignation. “That’s a death machine, and you are far too careless with your life for me to agree to allow you to purchase that.”
“Babe,” he said, head tilted to the side, giving her his smoothest voice. “Can’t you see us flying down the highway, you riding behind me, boobs pressed against my back, the wind blowing through that hair. God, you’d be a goddess on the bike of my bike.”
“No.” She just wouldn’t budge.
As soon as he’d pulled into the parking lot of the Harley Davidson dealership, she’d gone rigid, shooting him death glares.
Derk straddled the bike, loving the feel of the leather seat beneath him, the steel handlebars under his palms, the potential raw power of the bike. Man, he wanted this machine.
He patted the seat. “Come on, babe. Have a seat.”
He laughed. Even her pouting like a damn two year old turned him on. “Think of all the things I could do to you to christen this bike.”
Her cheeks turned red as her eyes bounced around the room, looking for anyone who might be within ear shot. A couple of the guys behind the counter snickered, obviously hearing his comment.
“Damn it, Derk,” she snarled. “Get off that damn bike and quit purposely embarrassing me.” His Mackenzie turned on her heels and stormed out of the showroom.
Fucking hell, he loved her feistiness and he’d find a way to get her to agree to him purchasing this bike.
Mackenzie loved Derk, she truly did. But that man was hell bent on driving her bat shit crazy. A damn motorcycle? Her man danced with death every day he walked out the door. Now he wanted to lead that waltz? Asshat. To hell with that. There was no way in hell she’d agree to giving him permission to potentially kill himself. She knew her man too well. He’d test the speed limits, he’d drink and drive on the thing. Hell, he’d probably try and get Smith to race him. Hunter bought a sleek new sports car recently and Derk had practically orgasmed in his pants over the beast. This was probably Derk’s form of who has the bigger dick.
God, she sounded more like Derk and her best friend Kayla every day. Their influence over her knew no bounds.
Mackenzie busied herself in the kitchen, browning ground beef for tacos. She hadn’t spoken a word to Derk their entire ride home. But the bastard didn’t seem to care. A small smile played on his lips, as if amused by her anger. Knowing Derk, he probably was. The man loved it when she got pissed off. Masochist.
Lost in her fiery anger, Mackenzie made quick work of preparing dinner. When she’d finished, she sent Derk a text. Who knew where he’d wandered off to once he pulled the truck into the driveway and she flew out, storming into the house, pissed off. She’d only heard him chuckle behind her, which fueled her anger.
She pulled a couple bottles of beer out of the fridge and popped off the caps, taking a long swig out of hers. The cool brew sliding down her throat helped to douse some of the flames riled up inside her. She constantly worried about Derk. After working for Mr. Murphy for a period of time now, she fully understood what her boyfriend did for a living and it scared her how he put his life in jeopardy. Did she trust him? Yes. Did she know him well enough that his carefree attitude would get him hurt? Yes. Which was what frightened her the most. She didn’t want to lose Derk in any manner. Whether to one of Mr. Murphy’s “clients” or business “associates” or to a heart attack or a stupid motorcycle.
Strong arms slid around her waist from behind, interrupting her potential rebuild of her fury, sneaking under her shirt. Derk’s large palms ran over her stomach. He nuzzled her neck, pushing her hair out of his way with his chin. His lips softly and slowly caressed up her neck, sending a delicious shiver down her spine. He nipped her earlobe and his tongue delved into her ear. Her eyes rolled as her head fell back against his chest.
Her anger with him quickly fizzled. She loved the feel of Derk’s arms holding her, worshiping her. His lips on her hot skin.
“Mac,” he said. “You drive me crazy.”
She tried to tell him back atcha, but nothing came out when his hand went down into her yoga pants and he slipped his finger between her silky folds.
“Man, I love you,” he said. “You’re my girl, aren’t you?”
She nodded, unable to speak as he slid one of his long fingers into her core. She barely registered him taking the bottle out of her hand and placing it on the counter. Or him shoving her pants off her. Or the sound of the zipper of his jeans. Or him yanking her T-shirt off her, and shoving her bra down to perch her breasts higher on her chest. Derk led her over to the small dinette table for two and bent her over, shoving himself inside her. She moaned at the full invasion, relishing the feel of him becoming a part of her.
He blanketed her, the heat of his chest, now bare from ripping off his tee, warming her. His masculine scent, combined with sex, enveloped her.
Derk’s hips relentlessly and rhythmically pulsed into her, claiming her body and soul. His calloused hands wandered every inch of her bare skin, as if he needed the feel of her beneath his fingers.
He pulled her upright, his large palm going under her chin to look at him. His mouth descended in a kiss so passionate her legs went weak. Their tongues warred with each other, their obsession with one another so great, there were no words to express their emotions.
Derk pounded into her body, his right hand holding her in place, his left massaging her breasts. Her body climbed higher and higher and she knew this one would hurt. In a good way. Her explosion came unexpectedly, tearing through her. Mackenzie broke free of his mouth and screamed, her hands swinging back and clinging to his thighs, nails digging into the flesh. He would have marks.
Derk grunted with each forceful plunge and went still, his neck straining as he bellowed her name, it echoing off the stainless steel surfaces in the kitchen.
They collapsed to the ground in a heap, like two wet noodles.
“Marry me, Mac,” Derk said.
Mackenzie went perfectly still, her potential post coitus glow squashed by three nightmarish words.
Derk was a bastard. He knew it. But he also knew his Mackenzie and she feared another marriage. She wanted nothing to do with getting hitched. For all she cared, spending the rest of their lives living as is was perfectly acceptable to her. He couldn’t disagree. He had no desire to walk down an aisle and spew false words he’d break within an hour of placing a damn band on her dainty finger. Which was why he toyed with her lack of wedding bells craving.
Yep, he was an asshole.
But he wanted that bike without having a knock-down-drag-out with his woman. She needed to come to the understanding that he’d be fine. He couldn’t force feed it down her throat. She’d never believe him. Unfortunately, she had to come to that conclusion on her own. Though, this avenue forcefully pushed his agenda upon her. Once she realized what he’d done, she was gonna kick his ass. He looked forward to it.
“What?” she asked, jolting upright, her breasts bouncing, distracting him.
“Did you just ask me to marry you?” she spat. “Because we’ve discussed this. No marriage, Derk.”
He shrugged. “I changed my mind. I want everyone to know that you belong to me.”
“They already do. I can’t even go into a grocery store without you lurking behind, growling at the produce man.” She fixed her bra and snatched her pants off the floor.
“That man had melons on his mind, and they weren’t the fruit in his hands.” He’d wanted to put a bullet into the man’s head for staring at Mac’s chest, but she wouldn’t allow it. Something about not killing people and it being wrong. Whatever.
Mackenzie jumped off the floor, shimmying into her jeans. Derk watched the show, his body stirring again. He had a never ending supply of sexual longing for his girl.
“No,” she said.
Well, that wasn’t the answer he expected. And what the hell? Why wouldn’t she say yes?
He righted himself in his jeans, grabbed his T-shirt, and stood. “What the fuck, Mac? You’re telling me no?”
Shock and something like disappointment threatened to rip him apart. He tried to squash it down, but an untapped emotion wouldn’t cooperate.
“No.” She put her hands on her hips. “We’ve discussed this at length. You’re not changing your mind.”
He pegged her. “I’m allowed to fuckin’ change my goddamn mind. If I want to marry you, I’m going to ask. Which I just fuckin’ did. Now you’re turning me down? You have no valid reason except you don’t want to get hitched. Or is it something else? You plan on leavin’ me?”
His blood started to boil, getting himself unreasonably worked up. This had started off as a ploy, but Mac’s sharp denial penetrated what he thought was a solid foundation they’d built.
Her jaw went slack. “Are you serious?”
“Have you lost your mind?”
“Every fuckin’ day I’m with you.” He jammed his feet into his boots. “But apparently I’m not good enough to marry, only for a good lay.”
Derk grabbed his truck keys off the island and stormed out of the house.
He ignored her cries as he climbed into his truck and punched down the road to get the hell away from the house before he said and did something stupid. Well, something more stupid, that didn’t backfire on his ass. What a moronic plan. And why the hell did he care that Mackenzie refused his proposal? He didn’t. Not really. Sort of. Hell, what would he have done if she’d said yes? Shit. He hadn’t thought that one through, had he?
His cell phone rang and he ignored it, needing to cool off.
Now he needed to find out who would be willing to put an angry bear up for the night.
Mackenzie had never been as distraught as she’d been the last three days. Derk hadn’t returned home and he wasn’t answering her calls. He wasn’t even showing up at Mr. Murphy’s for work. She refused to confide to Mr. Murphy or even Courtney, no matter how desperately she wanted to ask if they knew where he was. She didn’t want anyone nebbing into her relationship affairs.
After work, Mackenzie didn’t want to return to an empty home for another day. Derk’s lack of vivacious presence depressed her. The stillness of the house was enough to drive her crazy. So she went to the mall.
As she walked around, not really shopping, just meandering up and down the corridors on the different levels, Derk consumed her thoughts. Why had he been so upset over her rejection? She knew him well enough that he didn’t want to actually get married. Had the question been a test?
Mackenzie found an empty bench outside of a lingerie shop and slumped down. Hot tears stung her eyes. In what she considered a short term in their relationship, they’d never fought this badly. Derk holding onto his anger had never been an issue between them. Which could only mean that she really stuck a knife into his heart.
Would it really be that awful of a task to marry him? It wasn’t exactly fair to compare a marriage to Derk to that of her first husband. Derk was far more attentive, overly so at times. He protected her like a precious gem. He gave her everything her heart desired. And he loved her. He made no bones about that. If she married Derk, it would work between them. But what about children? Would that be the next thing he demanded from her? Because she refused to budge on that topic.
Mackenzie jumped and squeaked at the deep, thick chocolate voice behind her. “Damn it, Derk.”
Her boyfriend sat down beside her. It occurred to her how odd it was to call him a boyfriend. A teenage term. Especially when they were so close. Their bond deep and passionate and all consuming. Boyfriend didn’t do them justice. Maybe husband was a better term.
“You look like hell, Mac,” Derk said, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lighting up, despite the fact the mall was non-smoking.
“Yeah, I feel like hell,” she said. “I haven’t slept in days.”
“I know the feeling.” His eyes were red rimmed. Three-day stubble aged him. His clothes were wrinkled as if he’d slept in them. He looked like she felt.
“I’m sorry,” she said and took a deep breath. “If you want to get married, I will.”
His eyes widened slightly and he choked on the puff he’d just taken. “I didn’t expect that.”
She shrugged. “If it’ll make you happy, then I’ll do it. I mean, it’s like we already are a married couple, without the ring or piece of legal paper.”
“Mac, I need to come clean,” he said.
She recognized his tone. That of a man who’d done something incredibly stupid. She glared his direction. “What did you do?”
Awe, hell, his Mackenzie was gonna have his balls on a platter. Serving them up for him to eat. He never meant to take his plan this far. But he also didn’t expect to overreact to her denial. He’d spent three days at Smith’s house, driving his best friend crazy, while pouting and drowning himself in whiskey. Was he really that bad of guy that his woman wouldn’t wear a ring he wanted to put on her finger?
Derk snagged her left hand and toyed with her ring finger. “I do want to put a ring on this finger. Even though we said we’d never get married and agreed to it. Even though we had our own private ceremony in Hawaii, just the two of us, which I take seriously to this very second, my commitment to you. But you do deserve some sort of diamond on this hand.”
She went to protest but he lifted his hand and stroked her soft cheek. God, he’d missed touching her over the past few days. He missed the feel of her body curled against his at night, waking up next to her in the morning and sliding into her body that was always primed for him. As the woman who held his heart, she deserved some sort of symbol of his loyalty and love to her besides the tattoos they both had.
“I will give you something, whatever you want, you can pick it out.” He rubbed his thumb back and forth over the top of her hand.
Thank goodness when he’d decided to follow her, she decided to go to the mall. They were in public, where she wouldn’t make a scene. Might as well rip off the band-aide.
“I didn’t mean the proposal,” he said.
She titled her head, her brows sliding together. “What? Why? I don’t understand.”
“I was hoping that if I proposed, you’d get me the bike…to distract me.”
“What the hell, Derk!” Her voice echoed all around them, causing the people to stop. So much for not making a scene.
Shit. Not good.
“You manipulative bastard.”
He grinned. “I agree.”
She smacked him hard across the face.
Fucking hell, he’d been slow and didn’t seen that coming. That shit hurt. She stood, spun on her heels and stormed out of the mall. Derk chased, flicking his cigarette on the floor.
“Mac,” he warned.
She ignored him.
“Stop!” His tone, demanding and dangerous caused her to halt immediately. He would not allow her to run away from this convo. They’d been separated long enough by three days of torturous hell.
He stalked around her, looming over her tiny frame. “Am I an asshole? Yeah, babe. I am. But you know this. You’ve known this since day one. I don’t know what your issue is with me getting that bike, besides claiming that you think it’s dangerous. But I was playing by your rules. I could very easily go out and buy the damn thing right now with a big ol’ fuck you, but I won’t do that to you because your inaccurate concern has crawled up your ass and you need to deal with it.”
“If you don’t shut up, I’m going for your balls, Derk.” Her face turned beet red and her body visibly trembled.
He took a hard step closer, his chest bumping her. “Try it.”
“Derk,” she whispered, her tone changing from rage to shaky and unsure. “Stop it.”
Guilt flooded him. She was frightened of him. He’d scared her. That was something he never wanted to occur. Ever. He would never harm his Mackenzie. She meant too much to him. She was too precious to him. She was everything to him. Without her, he was nothing.
He snatched her around the waist and hauled her body into his, wrapping her up tight against him. “I’m sorry, Mac. I’m so fuckin’ sorry.”
His girl’s body trembled from sobs she let loose as she buried her face into his chest. “I can’t do this with you, Derk. I can’t fight like this. It’s destroyed me. This isn’t us. We don’t do this. We’re not even fighting rationally. This is all so stupid.”
“You’re right, babe. You’re right.” He sighed, hating himself. Mackenzie was right. They didn’t do this stupid shit. Yeah, they may manipulate each other, but in a completely innocent manner, where neither got hurt. They would play games to decide which movie they watched or which restaurant they’d eat or which brand of beer to pick up for the weekend. But this ploy had gone too far, all over a damn bike and because he couldn’t handle her rejection.
“You told me no,” he said, his voice gruff.
She pulled back, wiping her nose on his black T-shirt. He rolled his eyes.
“But you don’t really want to get married.”
“No, I don’t, but it stung, Mac. I didn’t realize it would.” He pulled her hair back to get a look at her beautiful face.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I never would, purposely.”
“I know.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “This was my mistake, my overreaction, my horrible thought process. We’re dropping this topic right now. I’m an ass.”
“But you still love me, right?” Because Derk wouldn’t be able to handle losing her. He would lose his shit if that happened.
He cocked a brow. “Unfortunately? I’ll show you unfortunately.”
Derk leaned down and tossed her over his shoulder in a fireman’s hold. He carried her to his truck, with her yelling at him to put her down the entire way. He shoved her into the cabin of his truck and attacked her in an all out assault on her mouth, devouring her in a scorching kiss. He pulled away enough to growl, “Naked, Mac. I want you naked.”
His kinky woman didn’t protest as she quickly stripped for him.
Derk was exhausted. His sore body ached from lack of sleep over the past few days. And his boss wasn’t having his dumbass call in and say he wouldn’t be in, again. Mr. Murphy had sent Smith’s unsympathetic ass over to drag him out of bed if necessary. With the loss of shut-eye, the day had quickly taken hold by early afternoon. At times Derk thought Murphy was purposely jerking him around and making him stay by his side later than usual.
Finally, around eight in the evening, Derk pulled his truck into the driveway of his home, ready for a hot shower and collapse into bed next to his woman. Maybe if he had enough energy, he’d allow her to ride him. Yeah, that sounded like a solid plan.
Derk entered the quiet house, tossing his keys onto the entryway antique table Mac had bought a couple months ago and lumbered to the kitchen. He pulled a beer out of the fridge, popped the cap and stopped in mid drag, noticing the backyard lit up like Christmas.
What the hell was Mac doing?
He went to the backdoor to shut off the flood lights and froze.
Derk burst through the door and rushed at his girl. “Mac?”
Derk’s eyes cased the brand spanking new Harley Davidson Low Rider, all chromed out and pristine black. It was beautiful. And even more stunning, his girl wearing skin-tight leather pants with riding boots and a blank tank, her auburn hair cascading down her slim shoulders.
He snorted. “It’s not my birthday.”
She tilted her head. “Anniversary?”
He raised a brow. “We’re not married.”
“Fourth of July?”
He barked out a laugh. “Mac, what the hell is going on? Besides the fact my sexy goddess is straddling my dream machine.”
“I felt awful about our fight,” she said, fiddling with a knob on the bike. He wanted to tell her to stop pushing buttons but kept his mouth shut. For the sake of his balls staying in place. “It was so stupid. And the fact that you wanted this bike so badly and felt that in order for you to get it, you had to throw out a fake proposal doesn’t say much for my reactions, does it?”
She ran a finger across the handlebars. “I’m scared to death you’ll kill yourself on this thing.”
How much did that melt his black heart? His girl, the woman who owned his heart, feared for his life.
He spun her to face him on the bike and had a perfect view down her tank. “Babe, love this.” He picked at the edge of the sexy tank. “You need to own fifty of them.”
She rolled her eyes. “All you think about are my boobs.”
“Because they’re perfect.”
She turned that cute shade of pink he loved so much.
Derk took her right palm and placed it over his heart. “I swear to you; I won’t do anything to put my life in jeopardy on this bike.” He placed his hand over hers. “I want to come home to you in one piece every night. I don’t want you stressing out over me.”
“Impossible,” she mumbled.
“Do you stress over me, Mac?” He had no idea she was so concerned about him. She never said a word. She hadn’t expressed herself in any manner that suggested she worried.
“All the time,” she whispered.
Because of his lifestyle. Working for Derrick Murphy, she’d learned too much about the world of organized crime and the dangers that came with it.
He took her face into her hands and kissed her full, berry lips. “I don’t do the stupid shit I used to, Mackenzie. I won’t leave you alone to try and find some douchebag to replace me and take care of you. You’re mine and my responsibility. I love you too damn much to be an idiot with my life. Since the day you sauntered into my world, in that dive bar, I’ve concerned myself with nothing but making sure you’re happy, which includes making adjustments to what I’ve done in the past. Being by Mr. Murphy’s side has made certain I’m not on the street, doing grind work. And I won’t take any risks on this bike. I love you.”
Tears spilled down Mac’s cheeks as she tossed herself into his arms. “I love you.”
Derk held her tight against him, his world centered around this woman. Man, he didn’t just love her, she consumed him.
When she finally released all her pent up emotions, he lifted her chin to look into those beautiful eyes. “Let’s go for a ride, babe.”
She grinned devilishly, those eyes sparkling mischievously. “On the bike or in bed?”
He laughed. “Oh, darlin’ both. Always both.”