I don’t know how much time passes, but the loud sound of motorcycle pipes pulls me out of my haze. I’m unsure how many guys are coming, but judging from the sound, it’s way more than the couple Wes spoke of before.
“Be right back,” he mutters, heading out the door and coming back a few minutes later with Z.
My heart skips a beat when my eyes land on him. And for some reason, all I want to do is run into his arms to let him protect me, to keep the monsters at bay. I don’t even have it in me to scold myself for such weak thoughts.
“Fuck no,” Z growls as soon as he sees me, and it makes me a little self-conscious, wondering just how bad I look right now.
I lift my hand to my hair, feeling to see what it must look like. Yep, just as I thought. Hot mess express. His jaw starts ticking, and his arms, which were at his sides, lift to cross over his chest like he’s trying to control himself. I wish I had the courage to tell him not to. I wish he’d rush over to me, pick me up, and cradle me to that wide, muscular chest, those hulking arms enfolding me and never letting me go.
“Are you going to be okay talking in front of them?” July asks me, and I nod, taking her hand in mine to keep from doing something stupid like beg Z to hold me.
“I went out with Eric to get some food,” I start, and a growl fills the room.
July’s head flies up to look at Z with a glare. “Can you control yourself?” she snaps, and he lifts his chin. The compulsion to go to him is even stronger, wanting to assure him that Eric is just a friend and he has nothing to worry about. But that’s just silly. Z and I are nothing to each other. Why should I feel like I need to assure him about another man?
“So you went out with Eric, and then what happened?” July prompts.
“Um.” I shake my head and pull my eyes from Z to look at her, trying to focus on telling them what happened instead of the man across the room that seems to take up all the air in the whole house. “He dropped me home and when I got inside my apartment, I was shoved into the door and someone grabbed me around the throat. They told me I needed to give you a warning.”
“What?” July whispers, squeezing my hand tighter as fear fills her every feature.
“They said if we don’t stop sticking our noses where they don’t belong, we will find out what happens to nosey little girls.” I gulp, and watch her look at Wes, whose gaze travels from Z’s to hers.
“What did they look like?” Z questions, and his deep voice coats my chest in both calmness and excitement, making me jittery.
“All I saw was a tattoo of a spider on his forehead. Really, I was too scared to pay much attention,” I reply, and more tears fill my eyes.
“It’s going to be okay,” July tries to assure me, and both of us look toward the front door as Z leaves, slamming the door behind him and making me jump. I immediately feel his absence, and my body slumps into the couch as if he took every bit of my energy with him.
“Baby,” Wes calls. “Go get her cleaned up. I’m heading out with the boys. Harlen and Everret will be outside.”
“Okay,” she agrees, and I’m vaguely aware of it as he bends over and kisses her before he’s gone too.
I try to shake myself out of the fog I’m in, resorting to my first and foremost defense mechanism—humor.
“So I’m guessing I don’t need a new calendar?” I ask her, referring to the one Wes wrote all over at work, marking July busy for lunch every single day for the foreseeable future. At the time, she was pissed, but now, she can’t even try to hide the smile lighting her eyes. “What a difference a few days makes.” I laugh.
“You’re hilarious.” She rolls her eyes. “Now, let’s get you cleaned up before Z comes back,” she says, and my teasing grin immediately turns into a wide-eyed look of panic.
“You know I can’t deal with scary hot,” I whisper, and my vision goes cloudy.
“So you’ve said.” She takes my hand and leads me toward her bedroom, where she helps me get cleaned up.
We’ve spent the last couple hours finding out everything we can about the person with the spider tattoo who broke into Kayan’s apartment and put their hands on her. When I left July’s house, I was ready to find the fucker and rip his head from his fucking spine. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out much, and we ended up talking with July’s cousin Jax.