Page 5 of Tied (Tangled 4)

“Don’t get pissy—it’s a bachelor party. Are you trying to tell me Dee-Dee’s not gonna have a guy . . . or ten . . . shaking their junk in your face?”

Did I not mention that the girls will be coming along on our weekend adventure? They are. Delores thought it’d be fun to make it a group excursion, then split up for our separate nights of debauchery. I thought it was a fabulous suggestion—made me almost like Dee.

“That’s different and you know it,” Kate argues.

“Except it’s really not.”

“Will it bother you if Dee hired strippers?”

For years, Sister B told us there were no stupid questions. Boy, was she full of shit.

The mere thought of a half-naked guy who isn’t me grinding on Kate? It makes me want to destroy something—like a face. Go all Fight Club and break someone into mangled, bloody pieces until he’ll never resemble a human being again.

Maybe it’s caveman. Maybe it’s irrational and sexist and unfair. But that’s just how I am.

“Of course it’ll f**king bother me!”

“Dee-Dee says what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“Matthew needs to learn how to muzzle his f**king gander.”

“Like you muzzle me?”

I can be biting too. “No, sweetheart—I enjoy your mouth way too much to muzzle it. I prefer it wide-open and waiting.”

Kate gasps, and I expect her to come back at me, guns blazing. Because this is what we do. You’ve been around long enough—you know the drill. It’s foreplay, afterplay, it’s jabs and zingers. They’re just words—a way to vent our frustrations or turn each other on.

They don’t mean jack shit. Only on rare occasions is there any real anger or hurt feelings behind them. And this isn’t one of those times.

Only . . . apparently it is.

“See—this is exactly what I was afraid of. We haven’t even left yet, and you’re already being a bastard. I knew this would happen again.”

Kate turns slightly away from me, shaking her head stiffly. That’s when I see them. Tears. Welling in her eyes, ready to fall, being held back by her sheer stubbornness alone.

I’m surprised. And aching. Like I got shot in the heart with a rock-size rubber bullet.

Kate throws the sheets off and moves to get out of bed. But I’m faster—Flash Gordon can eat my dust. Before her feet hit the floor, I’m in front of her, hands up. Remorseful and apologetic.

And naked.

When you’re trying to plead your case? Being na**d doesn’t hurt.

“Kate . . . wait . . . just slow down. Back up a minute.” I grab for her wrist.

But she pulls away. “Stop touching me!”

Right—like that’s gonna happen.

But I don’t get a chance to tell her that. A dreaded sound echoes across the room and halts all action, grabbing our full attention. Because it’s coming from the baby monitor.

It’s a rustling, the sound of cotton rubbing cotton. Like snipers in the jungle, we don’t move a muscle. We don’t say a word. We wait. Until the rustling stops. And all is quiet again.

That was a warning sign—a shot across our bow. A “shut the hell up.”

We don’t have to be told twice.

What ensues next is a comical soundless argument only true parents will understand. It’s all mouthing and miming, facial expression and hand flailing. Until eventually, Kate flips me the finger.

Then I smile. And mouth, “Okay.”

I mean, if she’s ready for round two, who am I to deny her?

I tackle her. We roll around on the bed for a minute until I pin her down—sitting on her waist—trapping her hands over her head. The physical exertion defuses some of the tension, and Kate looks a little less devastated. When I’m sure she won’t try to escape, I grab the comforter and pull it over both of us, so we’re shielded in a conversation-muting cocoon.

I flop down on my side facing Kate, and in a half-whispered tone I get right to the point. “If the idea of strippers being part of the entertainment bothers you so much, why the hell did you say it was okay to have my bachelor party in Las Vegas?”

Strippers in Las Vegas are like corn in Iowa. They’re kind of what the city is known for.

Kate squirms. Then she sighs. “Because everyone was so excited about going to Las Vegas. I didn’t want to be the downer. Bachelor and bachelorette parties in Vegas are like . . . tradition, right?”

Not too long ago, sacrificing goats was a tradition too. Doesn’t make it a good idea.

“Not all traditions have to be followed. If you’re really that uncomfortable about it, I’ll tell the guys no. We’ll stick to gambling, cigars, and alcohol.”

She pauses a moment—thinking. “You would do that for me?”

I chuckle. Because by now, how can she not know? “Of course I would.”

Kate tucks her hands under her cheek. It makes her look young, vulnerable. My chest tightens with the desire to protect her. From anything—everything—that could cause her pain.

Including my own tongue.

“I don’t really care about the strippers, Drew.”

Now I’m confused. “Are you saying that because you really don’t care—or because you think that’s what I want you to say?”

I have to ask, because in my experience, women will tell you to do something and then slit your f**king throat when you actually do it. Since you were supposed to know they didn’t really want you to do it. That they don’t really mean what they say.


Tags: Emma Chase Tangled Erotic
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