Bonus Scene: Craving. a bonus Liam PoV for Ruthless Traitor
This is a secret Liam PoV bonus scene written for my girls, but since it’s the holidays and we’re celebrating it Heathen-style, we’re sharing it with you. If you haven’t read Ruthless Traitor, this bonus PoV will contain spoilers.
Taking Hellspawn to the Blue Diamond hadn’t been high on my list. Then again, Emersyn needed a break. Everyone wanted to smother her in protection. She needed it, but she didn’t have to suffocate under the weight of it. Former 19 Diamonds territory might not seem like the best place to take her with a bounty still on her head. Yet that was exactly why I took her with me
No one would be looking for her here. While I owned the place, my involvement had been obscured by shell corporations and other LLCs. I still needed to figure out what to do about her uncle. He’d put the bounty on her and rather than make her—or anyone else for matter—aware, I sat on the details.
Out of the apartment, she relaxed. Not the way she did when we went to train. There she was all focused-energy and compulsion. I swore she lived for the challenge. Not that I was remotely opposed to it. The fact she pushed back when I pushed her made me push her harder.
We made our way through the club to the booth I’d chosen on my first visit. No one was allowed to sit here unless the club was overflowing. She scooted in, but her attention was almost exclusively on the dancers. The fact I had to keep getting her attention to get her moving amused me.
She was laser-focused on the dancers and I wanted to watch her. When Cathy reached our table, I had to talk right into her ear or risk disturbing Hellspawn’s growing fascination with the performance. The girl on the stage wasn’t bad, but she lacked my partner’s lithe physique and staggering amount of control.
Cathy wanted to stay but I sent her for the drinks and food first. It wasn’t unusual for one of the dancers to come straight to me to tattle about something or other. Frankly, I hadn’t owned the place all that long. A few weeks at most, but they all had issues and they came to me to get them fixed.
Easily enough handled.
Through the next few sets, Hellspawn remained riveted on the stage. It wasn’t until she knocked my drink over onto Cathy that I realized she’d been paying as much attention to me as she had the dancers. Not going to lie, the warmth of that acknowledgement settled in my chest. It was a stupid thing to appreciate. Though the last thing I wanted to do was leave Emersyn out here, but Cathy told me about some skimming. I needed to deal with it. An iron fist in a velvet glove was only effective once you’d proven how capable of steel you were.
Cathy rolled her hips in invitation as she led the way toward the doors that would take us into the back where the business office and kitchens as well as storage were kept. Three steps into the back and she pushed right into me. The weight of her breasts on my chest, not to mention the tight grip of her hands on my shirt were a total turnoff.
I scowled down at her, but she misread it entirely and rubbed her body against me as she pressed her lips to mine.
Hands on her hips, I took care not to throw her as I peeled her off me and set her on her feet.
“Liam?” Her lower lip jutted out in what I was certain she thought was a playful pout. Unimpressed, I fixed her with a look.
“I don’t fuck the staff,” I told her bluntly. “The flirting was fine, but this crosses a line.”
Shock rippled over her face.
“Try that again and I’ll send your ass packing so fast, you won’t know what hit you. Understood?”
Anger flashed in her eyes. Enough to tell me she was more insulted than she was hurt. When she folded her arms to hide her breasts from me, I didn’t take the bait and drop my gaze. Finally, she sighed. “Can’t blame a girl for trying…”
“I sure as fuck can,” I said, taking a step toward her and her pouting fled even as she blanched. “If you’re using this place to turn tricks, it stops. You try to fuck with anyone else on the staff, you’re out. You put a hand on me again without my express invitation and you’re out.”
Swallowing hard, she nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Repeat it back to me. Word for word.”
The shock in her eyes threatened to take a turn into mutiny, but unlike my hellspawn, the waitress couldn’t hold my gaze. Suddenly, she looked everywhere but at me. We stood there for the better part of a minute before she began stuttering her way through a repeat of what I’d told her.
I nodded to her. “Now go away.”
Bypassing her and the waste of time she’d presented, I went in search of the busboy and the cook who had been helping themselves to a portion of the profits from the till and the dancers. Yeah, extortion was extortion in my book.
This was my place.
It took me ten minutes too long to pin both men, extract their stuttering confessions, and deliver a beatdown I doubted either would remember. Frankly, they got off light. I might go and find them later.
Especially if they hadn’t returned every dime they’d taken within the next forty-eight hours.
Oh, and they were fired. One of the other cooks helped me throw them out on their asses via the back.
“Remember,” I told them as they stared, bloody and bruised. “I know where you live. Do yourselves a favor, don’t make me come looking for you.”
That finished, I went to wash my hands before I went back to our table. Only instead of making it to the table, all I saw when I exited back into the bar was my hellspawn, on the main stage, working the pole.
Every breath in my body squeezed out of me in a whoosh. While she wore next to nothing, she wasn’t naked. Didn’t matter. Didn’t matter at all. She was more attractive in her dance pants and oversized t-shirts without an ounce of makeup than any other woman I’d ever met. But riding that pole, writhing and half dancing in the fucking air like it was solid ground.
I couldn’t see anything but her.
Rome had watched her videos so much and so often, I’d obviously seen the appeal. But it had nothing on seeing her in person. Nothing on watching the way her muscles rippled and moved with her.
Fighting with her had given me a real appreciation for the strength she possessed. But this—this was something else. Everything in the room just faded away. The guys whistling and inviting her to come to the edge of the stage, the waitresses weaving in and out, the other dancers at their stations.
No, the only thing I could see was Emersyn and the only thing I could feel was the wild pulse of my heartbeat slamming inside me to the rhythm of the music. I made it almost to her when she landed on the last note of the song. The ease with which she slid into the splits made my cock leap.
When she locked her gaze on mine, she gave me an almost tremulous smile. It held more pleasure than anything else she’d expressed in the last few weeks. In fact, she panted fairly hard as though she needed to catch her breath.
I totally got that. I didn’t think I’d ever get mine back. Then the music cranked again, bursting the bubble and letting all the sound rush in. She was back up on her feet and moving. More guys came up to the stage and held out money or set it out for her when she gave them no notice.
As she reached the end of the next song, she arched herself over backwards and then we were almost nose to nose. Something feral moved in those eyes. Something feral and captivating. Catch me if you can, it seemed to challenge me.
Applause burst out around us, whoops, whistles, and catcalls.
Challenge accepted, Hellspawn. I dragged her off the stage and kissed her. It was the worst idea. It was the best idea.
It was the only thing I could think of to put some claim on her in front of every fucker in this place. They could look, whistle, and clap all they wanted. They’d never get this from her. Never be this close. Never taste the dark passion on her lips or how she arched into it turning it from my possession to her demand. When I clasped her hair in my fist, I had to fight against the urge to grind into her.
My erection was stiff and throbbing. All I wanted to do was throw these fuckers out and spread her out right on that stage and fuck her until neither of us could walk.
Then we’d fuck again.
As it was, I had to force myself to let her go. She was Rome’s. Rome wanted her.
That voice in my head warned me I was going too far. He never wanted anything. But he wanted her. I would not get in the fucking way.
We were both breathing so ragged and sharp when I finally lifted my head. “Hellspawn, you’re gonna be the death of me.”
She swallowed, but the swollen lips and the hot flush to her cheeks were from the kiss even more than the dancing. It was pure torture to set her down, but I was a goddamn glutton for the agony and the punishment.
“I need to get dressed,” she said, as if reminding me that she wasn’t wearing her own clothes.
Yeah. I’d noticed. “Go,” I whispered, still not trusting my voice. “Then we’re out of here.”
For once, she didn’t have some smart ass comment or witty comeback. She just nodded and walked away. At least she didn’t look any steadier than I felt.
“Hey,” a guy behind me said and I twisted to look at him. “How much for the whore?”
How much for the—
I really didn’t process the rest of it. I slammed my fist into his face and he toppled, his glass jaw not even remotely a defense. His buddy tried to come and help, but I snapped his arm and then knocked his ass out. The music cut off for just a second and the whole room froze in a near comical tableau of shock and horror.
“Anyone else want to ask me a stupid question?”
The music cranked and everyone went back to their business. No one bent down to help the assholes on the ground. One of my bouncers came over and I nodded to them.
“Wake them up, toss them out, and ban them for life.”
“You got it.”
I’d just finished that when Emersyn came almost floating out from the backroom. Once more in her sundress, only the faint hint of sweat on her skin betrayed her earlier performance. God, she looked so fucking beautiful. Perfect. Strong. Fierce. Determined.
And I wanted her.
I couldn’t afford to want her.
“We need to go,” I told her. We couldn’t stay here anymore. Not when all I could think about was fucking her or killing the next asshole who talked about her that way. The assholes on the floor had begun to stir.
“Do I want to…”
We were almost to the door and I’d yanked it open when I spotted the car, the men, and the guns. All a split second too late to slam the door again. The first slug took me in the chest and hit like a hammer. The second was worse, even as I twisted to yank Emersyn down and under me, I pulled out my gun. Firing blind was fucking stupid.
But I’d clocked where the first guy stood and that was who I aimed to hit.