Ryan stared down at Laura while she slept. In his hand, he held two cups of steaming hot, black coffee. He knew Chloe would be awake soon, and he wanted to be prepared. He had been awake for over an hour already.
He had done a quick run around the immediate vicinity as much for reconnaissance as exercise. Sure, Jaycee had negotiated a deal with Tyler to drop the material witness warrant against Laura in exchange for those files, but that was only half their problem.
In fact, the decision for Jaycee to approach the US Attorney’s office left a trail that could lead straight back to them. Especially since they had no idea, who was working for… Hell, they did not even know for sure that Diego Garcia was behind this whole mess. That was conjecture based on hearsay evidence and ‘magic gut.’
Ryan sat the cups down on the table next to the bed. He took a seat on the edge of it as he ran his hands through his still-wet hair. He looked back and forth between his girls, his family. Nine months ago, he would have never imagined that. Family. After growing up the privileged town bastard, he had practically foresworn the idea.
But he had one now. And it was his job to keep them safe. But safe from whom? And how?
He felt the warmth and gentle squeeze of her soft hand over his. “Is that coffee I smell, counselor?”
He picked up a cup and passed it to Laura when she finished arranging the pillows and got herself situated, ready to feed their daughter, once Chloe awoke. She took it with a smile, “If there is coffee, it can’t be that bad.”
She blew across the surface, and all Ryan could think about were those lips wrapped around his cock. He cursed himself. She had just given birth to his child four days ago. What kind of misogynistic pervert did that make him? But this woman had captured his mind, and he feared his heart, from the moment he had opened that file. She was never more beautiful to him than now. Her hair mussed with sleep, her eyes still a bit groggy, and the front of her gown wet?
“Laura, I think you might be…” He stuttered over the words as she brought the cup of decaffeinated coffee to her mouth.
Her eyes widened, and she set the cup back on the nightstand with a gasp as she noticed where his eyes had strayed, “Fuck! I’m leaking.”
“But isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t that mean your milk has come in? That we won’t need to bottlefeed Chloe?”
“Yes, yes, and yes. But right now, it fucking hurts. It feels like someone is stabbing my tits with a hundred little needles.” She winced, “Wake her up and hand her to me, please.”
He nodded as he walked to the other side of the bed and lifted their still-sleeping daughter from the Moses basket. He passed Chloe to Laura, who, rather than struggling to free one breast at a time from a soaking nightgown, had tossed the thing on the floor. Only the blanket covered her lower body as she brought the baby to her breast.
Unfortunately, Chloe was blissfully asleep. Laura thumped on their daughter’s feet, but that met only with a few angry cries. She finally managed to get the baby attached to her nipple correctly, but after less than half a dozen sucks, Chloe drifted back to sleep.
Tears were coursing down Laura’s cheeks, but he was not certain whether that was from frustration or the pain she described as needles. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Take her,” Laura pushed the baby towards him between giant sobs.
He quickly settled their daughter back in the wicker basket and turned around to her sobbing mother. He gathered Laura in his arms and held her until the tears seemed to give way to hiccups. Slowly he drew back just enough to stare down into her red and swollen face, “What do we do now? What about one of those breast pump thingies?”
Laura seemed a bit shocked at just how much reading he had managed to do, but without a job and the two of them still sleeping half the day away, there was only so much reconnaissance he could do.
“I forgot to pack one in the bug out bags.”
“Shit, I can text Rex and see if they have bought one yet?”
She chuckled, and it made his heart soar, “That isn’t the kind of thing you borrow, Ryan.”
“So, we’ll get Jaycee another one. We have what six or seven weeks before their baby is due. That’s plenty of time.”
“I know, but your cousin and Jaycee have been so amazing to us. I just don’t want to disturb them this early in the morning. I know she must be exhausted from that journey. And dealing with Tyler…for us. Well, me.”
He brushed the tears away from her cheeks with his thumbs, “Nope, counselor, you had it right the first time – us. But what are we going to do? I would feel funny just rummaging through their stuff looking for one.”
He made the mistake of looking down. Laura’s breasts were huge. Those perky B-cups that he had enjoyed so much that one night in London had swollen with pregnancy to Cs and possibly Ds, but those… Damn, they were double-Ds, at least. And those blue veins that had formed a road map across them were even more prominent this morning. His cock hardened painfully at the site, and he hated himself for his insensitivity.
“Is there anything we can do?”
Laura nodded as she drew the blanket up to cover them, but she quickly dropped it again as the milk started to leak through it, too. “Yeah, let me just get a warm shower. Hopefully, that will relieve some of the pain and pressure. I just don’t want them to get too engorged. That will make it harder for Chloe to feed. And if the milk doesn’t…” Her cheeks flamed even redder.
“What? What is it?”
“If too much milk backs up, I could get a plugged duct or even get sick. That can be just as bad as my milk not coming in at all.”
“Damn, I’ll go into town. They’ll have one at Wally-world, right?”
“You know that it is too risky. We can’t be seen. And you going into town to buy a breast pump is just asking for trouble, especially if…”
“Especially if Garcia’s men were alerted when Jaycee went to Houston? Damn it, what do we do then?”
Laura stood under the hot spray of water as it jetted over her face, neck, and swollen breasts. The shower was helping at least a bit. She had realized last night that her milk had come in when she felt those ‘pins and needles,’ as Lupe described it, of the let-down reflex. Chloe had struggled a bit to swallow her new bounty but had fallen asleep contentedly after twenty minutes or so. Her newly full tummy was probably why her daughter was sleeping longer this morning.
But that did not help this situation. She had read all about engorgement. She had even purchased two different types of breast pumps. An electrical one and a smaller manual one for travel. She was kicking herself now that she had forgotten to pack either of them. She closed her eyes as more of those cursed tears began to flow. What was she going to do?
“Are you okay? Is it helping?”
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she had not even heard the door open and close. As she turned towards Ryan, she was struck by how the cloud of steam wrapped about his broad shoulder. He still wore only a pair of those skin-tight boxer briefs that left nothing to the imagination.
Down, girl. She had been cursed for months with the hornies. Once the morning sickness and tiredness had passed at the end of her first trimester, she had battled this new malady of pregnancy. It turned out that increased libido was as common as its opposite. But she would have thought that particular affliction would have abated. What woman in her right mind got turned on less than a week after giving birth?
Her, it seemed. Or maybe it was just his presence back in their lives. Until that night in London, she had never considered herself that much of a sexual person. It was like food or shelter, something to be taken care of with the minimal of fuss.
Damn it, why now?
She observed Ryan more closely. She could see his cock thicken and harden beneath the dark knit material of his shorts. And while she knew that she was physically not up to the things in her dirty mind, her hormone-laden brain did not seem to agree. Then she noticed where his eyes were glued.
Looking down, she cursed, but the words had not even left her mouth before that stabbing began again. The flow increased from a drop or two to a slight trickle. But it still was not nearly enough to release the intense pressure and pain.
“Fuck!” It was his deep voice that drew her eyes back to his face. He was running his hands through his hair again, his face beet red as he whisper-growled, “I should go.”
“No, don’t.” The words were out of her mouth before she could think. Her blush was as deep as his, though perhaps her deeper olive coloring made it less noticeable, or she hoped so anyway. “Is Chloe still asleep?”
He nodded as he continued to stare at her tits, which caused them to tighten even more painfully. “Damn it, that hurts.”
“Fuck it. I’ll have Jack go into town and…”
“Buy a breast pump? You know that isn’t any better. We have gotten him deep enough into my shit as it is, Ryan.”
“Then finish the shower, and let’s wake up the baby…”
She shook her head, “It isn’t that simple now.”
“What do you mean? You need Chloe to feed, right? Then everything will go back to normal.”
Her breasts felt like boulders attached to her chest. Even though she knew this was perfectly natural and was even prepared for it, that did not help in this situation. “My breasts are too full right now.”
“But isn’t that a good thing?”
Laura was unsure whether she wanted to laugh or cry at the lost boy look on his handsome face. Ryan Ranger took this whole protector thing to a new level. And while the feminist in her protested that it was an archaic throwback to the Neanderthals, she could not deny that some part of her loved the gentle giant that always placed her needs and Chloe’s above his own.
But that was not helping in this situation. Yes, she had been stupid not to remember to pack one of the breast pumps. But hell, she had just given birth less than twenty-four hours before, and she was running for their fucking lives. She would have to give herself a break this time.
That did not solve this problem either. He could not risk going into town; neither could they send Jack. Grandfather was a possibility. But wouldn’t even that seem weird and raise questions? Breast pumps were not generally the type of baby gifts that old men gave their grandchildren. Besides, at this point, things were getting critical. A three-hour or more roundtrip into town was a long time as uncomfortable as she was now.
“Laura, what do you want me to do?” When she looked up, Ryan was closer, just on the other side of the glass shower door. Her heart hitched at the genuinely pained expression as if he could not stand helplessly by.
“Relieve the pressure,” again those words bypassed her brain.
He frowned, “How do I do that?”
She looked down, noticing that for the first time in over three months, she could see the tips of her toes. But that did not help her to get out of this uncomfortable situation. “Never mind, just check on Chloe, please. I’ll be there in a couple more minutes.”
Maybe once he left, she could try the manual expression again. Perhaps the warmth of the shower would help. If she could just manage to express enough so that it was not painfully full, it would make it easier for Chloe to feed and do the rest.
She felt those fingers firmly beneath her chin, lifting her face until she got lost in those remarkable baby-blues. She knew that genetically it was unlikely their daughter would inherit blue eyes, but she could hope.
“I’ll do anything to help, Laura. I can’t stand seeing you in pain like this. At least when Chloe was born, I was too busy delivering her. I didn’t feel useless and helpless…” She felt the conviction in each word he spoke. “Just tell me what to do, please.”
Laura was not sure what prompted her to say it aloud. Perhaps it was that frustrated and powerless look in his eyes, “Suck my tits.”
But the quick intake of breath had her doubting herself and on the edge of tears as she turned her head to the wall.
Ryan felt like his head would explode. The only question was – which one. “Fuck.”
The feminine chuckle from beneath the spray lightened the load in his heart and mind, at least a little bit. But her words did nothing to assuage the need racing through his blood, “Trust me, I wish we could. Probably more than you do.”
He ran his fingers through his hair as he tried to figure this one out. “I don’t think that is possible, sweetheart.”
His gut tightened with self-loathing when she turned back towards him. He could see the tears running down her cheeks. Laura even felt it necessary to cover her tits with her arms and place her hands over the place that was as close to heaven as he would ever come.
“No one tells you that pregnancy hormones make you horny as hell. I’ve killed three rabbits.”
“This conversation is killing me, counselor.” He watched as a thin line of whiteish liquid trickled from beneath her arm. “Were you serious?”
“It’s just…” Her skin turned redder from her cheeks to those tits that were the center of this debate. And Ryan knew that had less to do with the water temperature and more to do with this topic.
“The only thing is…” He laughed. It seemed this subject was just as uncomfortable for both of them. Maybe it wouldn’t be if they had been together longer. But hell, this was the mother of his child. The woman that had captured his mind and heart from the pages of an agency file. Hell, they had managed to pee in front of each other. Was this any different?
“Okay, so how does this work?” He blushed this time as their eyes met, “I mean, I know… Or I think I…”
Laura’s laughter rolled over him like a gentle caress, “Oh, trust me, you know, counselor.”
He joined her in laughter that surged from his gut like a dam bursting, taking the tension and unease with it. “That’s good to know. And in a bit more than five weeks, I fully intend to remind you of that fact, sweetheart. But this isn’t exactly the same, is it?”
“I mean, Chloe will wake up in a bit. I want there to be enough for her,” And he was back to that uncomfortable territory.
“Tell you what, counselor, how about you strip and get in the shower. If you’re serious about helping out, that is.”
Ryan looked down at his boxer briefs that were already stretched taut over his erection. “Just remember what I said that first night in the shower, okay? There’s not much I can do to stop how my body reacts to you.”
“And that’s a problem, how? Yes, my girlie bits might be out of commission for a bit longer. But would it help you to know that my brain isn’t? That I want you, too.”
Those words only fanned the flames to the point that he no longer cared if they consumed him. He shucked the briefs and stepped into the shower with her. The water was warm but definitely not hot enough to account for the rosy tint to her olive skin.
“So, counselor, how do we do this? I mean, as I said, I don’t want to…”
“On your knees, counselor.”
Fuck, why did those words make the traitor twitch with need? But Ryan did not hesitate to drop them before her. It felt surprisingly natural.
“Okay, the objective is to release enough of the pressure that the damned things don’t feel like boulders, so Chloe will be able to latch on properly. You don’t have to swallow if it freaks you out too much. It’s okay if you need to spit it out,” she stammered.
“Don’t think that’s happening, darlin.’ Any more than you spit yesterday morning.” His hands reached out to cup her breasts. Laura was right. They were hard as rocks, not at all the sweet apples they had been that night so long ago. But no less tempting.
“Let me know if I hurt you. If I do it wrong.” Ryan looked up at Laura for reassurance as he lowered his head and captured her tight nipple between his lips. The sweetness almost exploded on his tongue. He understood then what she meant as even he had trouble swallowing the richness fast enough. No way that their daughter could have.
But he was not prepared for the loud moan that rumbled beneath his hands. He could feel it from the top of his head to the soles of his feet, but in one particular part of his anatomy especially. He might need to find a couple of moments alone after this.
Her fingers laced through his hair as she drew him closer. Forced him against her bursting flesh, “That feels so fucking good.”
Something in the way Laura said it made him think that it was more than just the fact that he could feel a slight softening in the breast that he suckled. But her next words shattered what was left of his brain and willpower.
His mouth dropped open in shock, but the milk that he had unleashed continued to spurt into his open mouth as she stared down into his eyes, “Rub your cock.”
“Fuck, woman,” he sputtered through the haze of surprise and milk that continued to drench his face.
“Afraid that will have to wait a while, counselor. But I don’t intend for you to. I told you to stroke your dick. And I meant it…”
Since it was an order that he longed to obey, Ryan figured they could discuss the matter later. His hand wrapped around his shaft as he leaned back in to suckle more.
“No, the other one.” Laura lifted her other breast and presented it to him.
Now he was the one who was groaning and whimpering as her sweetness filled his mouth, heart, and soul. Only his mind raged in conflict as he suckled and stroked. The pleasure was intense, but then again, everything was with this woman. His woman.
It did not take him long before ropes of thick semen spurted on to her calf and flowed down her leg to pool in the tub before being washed down the drain.
Her fingers in his hair tightened almost painfully as she jerked his head up. Ryan held on to her nipple and continued to swallow more of the richness, but it was not easy.
“Did I tell you that you could come, counselor?”
His cock twitched in his hand, and he moaned around the engorged nipple as her dark eyes never left his. “Next time you will not come until I give you permission, is that understood?”
He nodded his head against her flesh, but Laura was not satisfied. She took a single step back, and her nipple slipped from his mouth. “Do you understand me, Ryan?”
“Yes, ma’am,” was all he could manage to blubber as she turned off the water.
“Okay, that should do. For now.” She reached for the towel that she had hung nearby and wrapped it about her.
He wasn’t sure what to do, or hell, even what had just happened. But he knew one thing, his cock liked it. The damned thing was hard again, even though he would have sworn he just drained his balls of a lifetime’s of cum. He looked around for another towel but did not see one.
His next thought fled his addled brain when he felt those soft hands wrap around his flesh. “Good. Then since he seems more than ready, what say we practice. Back in our room, counselor. I want to suck your cock the way you sucked my tits. But this time, you can’t come until I say so. Now, put your shorts back on and follow me.”
At the moment, he would have followed her to the ends of the earth. Hell, he would anyway. But damn, this side of her did something to him. Something he was not ready to explore too closely, not yet. He had better things to do, like concentrating on not coming too quickly. He had a feeling that might require all his efforts if that look in Laura’s eyes was any indication.
Jack watched the sunrise over the rocky hills. He had been here far longer than he intended. Of course, he knew that George Strongbear had everything well under control, probably better than he could. After all, the man and council elders had run the whole damned thing for weeks while he finished out his enlistment. It was more that they needed a set of eyes and ears in Sebida to keep a watch on Kerr.
Besides, his time was ticking away to find his bride. He brought the cup of steaming black coffee to his lips. It was no longer even about his grandfather’s will and maintaining control of the casino. Hell, between the economy, this new virus, and Kerr’s harassment, the damned thing was losing money. Maybe it was time to let it go. It was a relic of another era. Certainly not a part of his heritage that he took great pride in.
“I know my son, but Joseph thought he was doing the right thing.”
Jack shook his head. He should have known. His great uncle always seemed to know when he was troubled. “I know. I listened to that speech often enough. Only right to use the white man’s greed against him. But it never was like that. Most of the people that come to the casino are hardworking, barely getting by. They buy into a fantasy and a few brief moments of escape. More often than not, with money, they can’t afford to lose. How is that upholding our proud Native American heritage, Grandfather?”
The old man nodded as he brought his cup of coffee to his lips. Ray Greywolf stared off, too, as another day of uncertainty began. “I am not the best person to ask, Jack. My brother and I had that same conversation many times. We never did agree. All I can say is that he believed that what he did was for the good of our people.”
“Maybe. Perhaps it was – four decades ago. But that was before I was even born. I know that my mother… I remember how much she resented…” Jack seldom spoke about the woman who had given birth to him.
That was all she was to him. She had certainly not been any kind of mother, so eaten up with anger and hatred towards the man who would raise him that her life was wasted in the bottom of a whiskey bottle or whatever drugs she could get her hands on.
That was another part of his dilemma. Jack hated dealing with drunks. Especially drunk women. It always brought back those feelings of inadequacy and helplessness.
“Your mother never stood a chance, my son. A sapling cannot grow strong and straight when the winds of hatred buffet it. We were always grateful that you were so young…”
“When she died?” The laughter ate like acid at the back of Jack’s throat. “Maybe it is all for the best. Perhaps I’m just not cut out for…”
“Love? Oh, my son, we are all created to love. The problem is hatred is its dark twin. It can be so alluring, so easy to succumb to its wiles. But we all have that choice to make, Jack. Do we hang on to love, or do we give in to the call of hate?”
“We face that choice every day. Sometimes in big ways that we recognize, but more often than not, it is in little choices that we make without thinking. Don’t give in to the hate, my son.”
Jack’s throat tightened even more, his vision blurred, and his hands shook as he sat the cup on the porch railing in front of him. “Maybe we’re cursed? Have you considered that, old man? Perhaps this family, or at least my side of it, isn’t meant for marriage, love, and happiness? Hell, the only ‘love’ I ever saw destroyed one of the greatest men I knew. I believe it even killed him in the end.”
“I should get going. The drive back won’t be as long, but it will still take a couple of hours. Will you tell Laura and Ryan I said goodbye?”
“Don’t you want to stay for breakfast? Tell them yourself, Jack?”
Jack choked on envy and jealousy that ran so deep it bordered on the hatred about which this man spoke. The last thing he wanted or needed right now was to watch helplessly from the outside, looking in on the love and happiness that Rex and Ryan had found. Then again, he had always been the one lagging behind. The one that never measured up. The average kid surrounded by heroes.
He passed the cup to the old man as he shook his head, “No.”
“Your day will come.”
He wanted to scream, rant, and rail. When? When would anything good ever happen to the unwanted little boy of the unwanted woman? She had never even known which of her Johns fathered him. No, those things just were not meant for the likes of him. No matter how much he wanted them.
He turned his back and walked towards the van before his great uncle could see the tears that he did not even bother to hold back. Sure, the old man knew he was crying. Hell, Raymond Greywolf probably knew all his secrets, and he had some doozies, but knowing them and seeing them were two different things.
No, he would go back to Sebida. He would keep an eye out on Kerr. Hell, maybe he should give the man what he wanted? It would certainly provide them with an insider’s view. But once this was over… Once his cousin’s family and Laura’s were safe, perhaps he should re-enlist? Maybe he’d get lucky, and bullet or bomb would end it all? Hell, maybe Kerr would do the honors first?
Because as smart as the old fucker was, he got this one wrong. Love was not for everyone. Sometimes, for some people, it was a dream that was never meant to be. He would be the last of a long line of them. But he would be the last.