| 12 | Vows & Secret Promises ||

“People die, shit gets blown up, but there’s no code anymore, no got damn― OW!” Devlin swiped the dresser when the corsage pin stuck him in the thumb. “This is bullshit! Who needs a fucking flower on their damn―”

“Brother,” Stitch said, abandoning his lean on Devlin’s bedroom door frame. “We all look like pansies. It’s not about us, or even our poor fucking brother entering slavery. His old lady wanted this.” He gestured to his suit and tie.

“How the fuck did you get your tie like that?”

“Some heathens have class. Others, eh―” He presented a charming smile to a glaring Devlin.

“One of the bridesmaids did it for me. I think she likes me.” The man presented a crooked smile.

He growled. “I’m about to walk down this aisle in my fucking underwear ‘cause―”

“Let me help you.”

A shiver ran up Devlin’s spine when he heard the familiar, heavily accented voice that he knew to be Lacey’s.

He turned around and took in her ethereal beauty. She was gorgeous when she didn’t try, but when she did ―

Her massive waves were tamed back into a perfect French bun and secured with a pretty butterfly hair comb. She was wearing a black and white floral dress that hugged her body in every place that was a temptation for him. She had a white scarf, black earrings, a silver and black necklace, and her nails were painted white. Plane black peep-toe pumps accented her pedicured feet.

He cleared his throat more for his own sanity. “Didn’t think you’d come.”

“I said I would, and I’m a woman of my word. Here, let me.” He let her take the tie in her slender hands and work diligently while he examined her beautiful face. She was wearing makeup, which he’d never seen before. Her skin looked flawless, like normal, but had an even, liquid finish. The mascara made her already long lashes full and dark, accenting the colorful browns that made up her irises.

“You’re fucking gorgeous.” She looked up at him with a shy smile.

“Thank you. You don’t clean up too bad yourself.” She finished the tie and smoothed her hands over his dress coat before quickly pinning the flower onto his coat jacket. She made it look so easy. It made him feel like a buffoon for struggling before.

“What I said about him, your uh―” He found her eyes a deep set to his eyebrows. “I shouldn’t have said that shit about his dying for himself.” It fucked with him since he last saw her over a week ago. He was a dickhead for saying what he said. It was petty as fuck, and he knew that. She deserved better.

She graced him with a pretty smile. “Thank you for saying that.” She gasped when he slid a hand around her small waist. His chest clenched at her nearness, and her heat seeped in through their clothes. The weight of her body against his, feel of her pelvis so near. Right there is where she belonged, warm and tight up on him. She splayed her fingers on his jacket and chanced a glance up at him from under her long, dark lashes.

“Devlin. W-we should go.” Her breath was almost steady, but he caught the waiver, the weakness, and that shit made him want her more.

He took a steady breath and nodded. He frowned when he looked up and found Stitch had, somewhere in there, slipped out. He probably shouldn’t have left the two of them alone. Or to better phrase that, shouldn’t have left her alone with him.

He offered her his arm, and she looked at him with a curious, twisted brow.

“I had a mother.” He wasn’t a complete heathen all the damn time. She raised her brows, took his arm, and they headed out the room. He was playing the role of a gentleman that evening. Resisting her charms was a fleeting strength that he knew wouldn’t last out the night. Honestly, he would consider himself a noble ass knight if he lasted through the ceremony.

After a laboriously long ceremony, the reception was nearing its end. He had long ago ditched his suit jacket and replaced it with a beer. He was watching Lacey dancing with a few of the bridesmaids. She looked so happy and was having so much fun it made him think of subjecting himself to such pain again just to see her like that.

He adjusted his cock, violated by the restrictive dress pants or maybe―.

The upbeat song ended, and she bounced her way over to him with a smile on her face. “Are you usually so boring at parties?”

He nodded. “Yep.” He sipped the beer, his eyes never leaving her.

She took the beer, set it on the table behind him, and grabbed his hands in an attempt to pull him to his feet. “Dance with me, Devlin.”

“I don’t dance.” A slow country song brought several couples to the dance floor.

“You will, with me.”

He raised an eyebrow at her smirk. Who knew he’d ever want to see the Devil sparkle in the woman’s eyes. Got damn, he wanted to bend her ass over the cloth-covered table.  He pushed himself to his feet, then proceeded to follow her, like a puppy, to the dance floor. She linked her arms around his neck, and he rested his palm on her lower back, and they swayed to the beat. She rested her head on his chest. That gesture sent warmth through him and made his chest press on itself. He could see her long lashes resting on her cheeks.

Fuck, he thought.

He looked down at the top of her head again, at her pristine French bun, and close-up now saw the hair comb was a black butterfly. He stopped moving.

“What?” She looked up at him with quirked eyebrows.

“That hair comb, where’d you get it?”

She laughed.

“Cute.” She said, and laid her head back on his chest. “If you want a thank you, then fine. It’s beautiful, so are the earrings and the necklace.” She pulled away from him and glared into his eyes. “My forgiveness for you sneaking out can’t be bought, just so you don’t get any ideas.” She giggled and laid her head back on him.

He frowned. She thought he gave it to her?

“It was delivered safely, I see.” He mumbled, an uneasy feeling snaked up his spine. He didn’t understand what it meant completely, but he knew it was a warning. Duprey was fucking with him. How the hell did the man know anything about Lacey? He pulled her a little closer and looked around skeptically.

Spies? Had to be. There had to be someone feeding the wretched man information. He planted his face in her fragrant hair, suddenly feeling the strong urge to both protect and fuck her. He failed to save his father, but there was no chance in hell he’d watch some bastard dig a grave for her.

She deserved better. Better than Jacob’s sorry ass, better than this, better than...him.

“Hand-delivered.” Her voice brought him back. “Or maybe you left it when you skulked out like a criminal the other night.” She looked up at him. Her brown eyes were accusing him. He grumbled in his head.

“Either way.” She said, framing his face in her palms. “Thank you.” She pushed up on tiptoes and pressed a solid kiss to his lips. He pulled her closer to him, wanting her naked, giving body around him. She pulled away, laid her head on his chest again, and started them swaying.

He didn’t leave the gift, but he had an idea who did. In the letter, in the message, the mad man mentioned a black butterfly, and now this. The man knew about Lacey.

He cupped her face and gazed into her eyes. He didn’t want all of this to touch her. The darkness and the games. Dangerous games. The bastards had no limits; they had no code. If they would desecrate the dead, he didn’t want to imagine what they might try to do to the living.

“What’s wrong?” Her groomed eyebrows pulled together.

“I’m ready to leave.” He grumbled.

She presented a pleasant smile. “I shouldn’t drive. Maybe I can stay here with you.”

“No.”

She frowned and pulled away from him. “I’m not trying to impede on your―”

He kissed her long and deep and lingering. “Let’s go to your place. More privacy.”

“What would we need more privacy for if you’re just going to sneak out before dawn, anyway? Maybe this time, I can do the skulking.” She teased, though he knew she would keep poking him about his leaving until he stopped avoiding the topic.

“After the reception will be an after party back at the clubhouse, and you won’t get a wink of sleep.”

She smirked and leaned into him. “I wasn’t planning on sleeping much, anyway.”

He grabbed her hand and led her to the garage where all the bikes were kept. He handed her his helmet. “Get on behind me.”

She presented a knowing smile and followed his orders after securing the helmet. He started up the bike and smirked when he heard her yip behind him. Her arms wrapped around his middle and he took off out the opening gate.

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