Isaac relit his cigarette because it had gone out. “Cade blames himself. Believes if he had killed Travis all those years ago instead of wounding him, the woman and her parents would still be alive.”
“But it’s not his fault.”
“I know that, and you know that. But Cade? He thinks he’s responsible for three lives when he could’ve taken just the one.” He looked regretful. “He had a real hard time after that, Indy. He took it hard. At the time, he was dating a girl named Krista and we all thought he would end up marrying her. Then all of a sudden, he broke up with her and withdrew into himself. It took him a while to get his head right again.” He sighed. “Not that I’m sure he ever did.”
My stomach heated with jealousy at the mention of an ex-girlfriend. The thought of him with someone else made me feel vulnerable because it was a reminder of how close I had come to losing Cade for good.
I leaned over and took Isaac’s cigarette from him, inhaling deeply. I hated asking, but I couldn’t help myself. “Do you think he would have married her?”
Isaac thought for a moment, squinting at me through a furrowed brow. “At the time, I did. But looking back . . .”
He shrugged. “She wasn’t you.”
We both looked up in time to see Cade drop Hawke to the floor with a powerful right hook. Bull signaled he was the winner by raising one arm above his head and the crowd cheered, except for the bikers who had put money on Hawke.
I handed Isaac his cigarette back. “Am I making a mistake, Isaac?”
“Only if you don’t mean to stick around. That kid has always had his head bent out of shape over you. He’s come close to losing his shit before, and I would fucking hate to see it happen again.”
I found Cade in his bathroom.
“You broke Hawke’s nose,” I said, leaning against the doorway.
He cocked an eyebrow at me. “You checked on Hawke?”
“He was the one lying semi-conscious on the ground,” I said, cocking an eyebrow right back. “Besides, I figured taking care of you might take a little longer.”
My innuendo wasn’t lost on him. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me to him. “I know exactly how you can take care of me.”
He kissed me hard, but I broke it off.
“Let me tend to those cuts and bruises,” I whispered, kissing his jaw. “And then I’ll let you do whatever you want to me.”
I couldn’t lie. Seeing Cade take down Hawke had turned me on. Fist to face. It had been so primal. So, after I dressed his knuckles and sutured a split through his eyebrow, we got naked and I let him do whatever the hell he wanted to me. Which involved a lot of licking, rubbing, touching, and thrusting, and me getting two toe-curling orgasms.
Afterwards, we lay breathless on his bed.
“Isaac told me about Travis Hawthorne,” I murmured against his chest.
Cade didn’t move, but I felt his breathing pause for a moment. “What about him?”
I sat up and pulled my hair over my shoulders.
“That he got out.” I bit my lower lip, not sure how Cade was going to react. “And that he killed a woman and her parents not long after.”
Sitting up against the pillows, Cade reached for a cigarette from the nightstand and busied himself lighting it. He took a deep drag and let it out with a heavy sigh. In the dim light, his broad chest looked massive.
“He said you blame yourself. That if you had killed him all those years ago, then those people would still be alive.”
He didn’t deny it. “What else did Isaac tell you?”
“That you broke up with Krista not long after.” My eyes met his. “That everyone thought you and she would get married. But then all of a sudden, you broke up with her.”
Again, my stomach knotted at the idea of him with her.
“That’s it. That’s all he said.” I couldn’t help but want him to tell me why he broke up with her.
“You want to know the real reason I broke up with Krista?”
He drew heavily on his cigarette, his blue eyes sparkling across at me. “She wasn’t you.”
“That’s not a line, Indy. It’s the truth.” He stubbed out his cigarette. “There are only two things I regret in my life. One of them was taken care of by seven police bullets on the side of the road just outside of Hazard, Tennessee. The other just walked back into my life.” He reached over and tucked my hair behind my ear, and he studied my face as he ran the back of his fingers across my cheek. “Losing you was my biggest regret. And after Travis got out and did what he did, it made me realize that I had to make right the one other thing I could change. So, I broke up with Krista and climbed on my bike.”