Protecting His Own Part 13

His sexy, rough laugh bounced off the patio walls and rolled out into the night. Yes, maam. I will, maam. Filled with his intimidating self-confidence, his deep gravelly voice didnt sound submissive in the least. He held his hand out.

Thats better. Subbie. She haughtily took his hand.

He yanked her right into his lap.

As she curled against him, he was all hardness and heat, his scent compellingly masculine. When he gripped her hair and angled her head to take her mouth, she had no doubt which of them was in charge, no matter how many maams she might hear.

Nevertheless, her Master had listened to her, and if shed eased a bit of his senseless guilt, shed call it a win.

Arm supporting her shoulders, he cupped the back of her head, intensifying the kiss, his lips firm, his tongue insistent, a determined assault on her senses. When he growled and tipped her farther, forcing her to depend on him for support, a hum of arousal started low in her pelvis.

Lifting his head, he smiled down at her, undoubtedly knowing her brains had seeped right out of her skull and onto the concrete.

What had they been talking about anyway?

Her hip rested against a wonderfully thick erection. Under her bra, his callused, powerful hand cupped her breast. A shiver ran through her at the dark promise in his eyes. Master, she whispered.

Now, about that night of sex I missed

Chapter Eleven.

ON MONDAY EVENING, the doorbell rang. Perhaps just as well, Nolan thought. Grant was slaughtering him on Xbox to the cheers of Connor and Beth. His lil subbie was going to pay for her disloyalty. Tonight. In a myriad of carnal ways.

Nolan opened the front door, and a wrecking ball flattened his cheerful mood. Price. What are you doing here?

I have bad news for the boys. Price tugged his brown suitcoat straight. I need to see them.

What bad news? Hell. He knew. Every morning, he called the hospital to check on Drusilla. Today, the nurse had warned Drusilla wasnt doing well. He and Beth had discussed taking the kids to say farewell, but seeing their mother comatose, gray-faced, and hooked up to tubes wouldnt be good for the children. Instead, theyd tried to explain how ill she was. Drusilla?

Yes. She died a couple of hours ago. Price glanced at his watch. I dont have much time before my next appointment.

His next appointment was probably with his supper table. Nolan didnt move. Can I trust you to break it to them gently, or should Beth and I handle this?

The assholes lips thinned. Its my job.

Then do your job carefully.

By his heightened color, the social worker heard the unspoken threat.

Nolan dumped Price in the formal living room, rounded up everyone, and tucked the boys between him and Beth on the long couch.

Poor little men. He couldnt imagine a childhood without his mother. Shed cheered her kids through every sport, even while cringing at the football pileups. Admired their art projects and kept the fridge covered with drawings. Helped with their homework, although she sucked at calculus. Cooked the fish and game they caughtif they cleaned it first. Pitched baseballs so well they were never struck out. Endured and babied a true menagerie of pets, including the snakes she feared.

These boys would never have that. Sadness filled him as he slung an arm around Grants shoulders and tugged him closer.

Do you guys remember Mr. Price? Nolan asked. Hes been checking on your mother at the hospital.

The boys nodded.

Seeing Nolans grim face, Beth closed her eyes for a second, then gently pulled Connor onto her lap.

Im sorry to tell you that your mother passed away today, Price said without any build-up. Or emotion.

Sorry, my ass. Nolans temper surged until he had to grab for control. No. This wasnt the appropriate time to beat the crap out of the asshole.

Connor looked up at Beth as hed been doing more and more when confused. Whats passed? Did she go somewhere?

Oh, baby. Remember how we talked about her being ill? Face soft with compassion, she waited for his nod. Sometimes when someone is very, very, very sick, her body stops working.

The color faded from Grants cheeks. D-did Mama die?

To hell with treating him like a little man. Nolan scooped the boy onto his lap. She did. Im sorry, Grant.

Connor probably didnt know what dying meant either, but he was sensitive to the emotions in the room. His eyes filled with tears. Does that mean she cant come home?

She cant come back to us anymore, honey. Your mama has gone on to the next life and wont be back here. Not ever. Rocking him, Beth kissed the top of his head. She would never have left you if shed had a choice.

Connor burst into tears and buried his face in Beths shirt. On Nolans lap, Grant was crying silently.

Well. Price stood. I need to check their bedroom before I go.

Beth cast him a look of disbelief.

Cant hit him. Best to simply get the asshole gone. Nolan set Grant down next to Beth. When she immediately curved an arm around him, the boy leaned into her, giving her his sorrow.

She was the most comforting person he knew"the children would be all right, exactly where they were. Lets go, Price.

After Price gave the bedroom a cursory perusal"as if he gave a damn"Nolan escorted him to the front door. What happens to the children now?

Price brushed at lint on his jacket sleeve. We located their grandmother, but havent talked with her yet. With luck, shell take guardianship of Grant and Connor.

The boys would go away? How long will the home studies and background checks take?

Not long at all. The process is expedited for near kin. Most of the steps are eliminated.

Nolan stared. Have the children even met this woman?

Doesnt matter. Price shrugged. Ill be in touch. Without further discussion, he walked to his car.

Frowning, Nolan closed the front door. Dismissing the asshole from his thoughts, he concentrated on more important worries"like where the fuck had Grandma been all this time?

THAT NIGHT, WITH jagged sorrow filling her chest, Beth tucked the covers around Connor. Her poor, poor babies. Everything inside her wanted to make their hurting stop, to bring their mom back, and there was nothing she could do. How could the world be so cruel to the little innocents?

After the boys had recovered from hearing of their moms death, she and Nolan had kept them involved in quiet activities"a sunset walk beside the lake to see frogs and tadpoles and then coloring. Connor had asked if he could send his crayon drawing to his mother, and theyd had to explain Drusilla couldnt get mail. The boy still didnt understand exactly what had happened.

Grant hadnt wanted to talk. Not a surprise"he was as reserved as Nolan"but hed never been farther than a step away from her all night. But she was okay with that. If he needed to, he could stay right there by her side forever. She blinked the tears back.

Oh, Drusilla, why couldnt you have caught a break? Have managed to come back to your babies?

What would happen to the boys now? Would they go to the grandmother Price had mentioned to Nolan? Hopefully, the woman was from their fathers side, since Drusilla had been incredibly negative about her mother. A fanatic, shed called her.

And what if putting them with their grandmother didnt work? After all, they were comfortable with her and Nolan"and, oh, she loved them so much. Maybe But this wasnt the time to think about it. There you go, all snug as a bug in a rug.

Connors faint giggle was the prettiest thing shed heard all day.

Gently, she tucked Grant in. Although the boys had chosen separate beds recently, tonight, Connor had crawled in beside his brother.

Sleep tight, sweeties. She bent to give them squeezes.

Connor, smelling of soap and boy, put an arm around her neck and kissed her cheek. Night, Beff.

Grant didnt say anything, but his big brown gaze had fastened on her face, and he seemed so lost. Unable to leave him, she sat back down beside him. Do you know what lullabies are?

A frown puckered his brow, and he shook his head.

Theyre songs that"mommies"people sing to children to help them go to sleep. Sleepy time songs. She stroked his hair, still little boy soft. My M-uh, family used to sing these to me.

Beths voice was nothing to write home about. On the other hand, neither was Moms, and her lullabies had eased childish heartaches in an almost miraculous way. Please, God, let me give my boys the same solace. Rock-a-bye, baby Under her hand, Grants small body slowly relaxed.

Voice quiet, she launched into the next. Hush, little baby, dont you cry Eyelashes brushed sunburned cheeks.

Lullaby and good night Connor was sound asleep. Grants fingers were curled around her wrist.

Hush little baby, dont say a word Letting her voice trail off, she bent and kissed the sleeping, motherless children. Her heart ached at the telltale wetness on Grants cheeks. Her own were damp. Dammit, wasnt life supposed to be kinder than this?

The nightlight lit her way to the door where she found Nolan leaning against the frame. His eyes were dark, face gentle. Tucking her against his side, he guided her to the great roomand held her while she cried.

Chapter Twelve.

WHEN HE WOKE the next morning, Grant realized his left leg was wet. Ugh. Tossing the covers back, he glared at his sleeping brother. Look what you did.

Connor rubbed his eyes. Huh?

You wet the bed, you little bas- He broke off, remembering Nolans talk. Calling names wasnt right. Yet, rage burned like a fire within him. He shoved out of the bed and stomped around the room. Why didnt you get up?

Connor hunched into himself until he was a small ball on the bed. Dunno.

Grant turned away, wishing thethe brathad shouted back. Now the fury inside had nowhere to go, and it rolled around, getting bigger and meaner. There wasnt even anything on the floor to kick.

Was the anger why Mama broke stuff? Because she got all twisted up inside?


Grant froze in the center of the room, breathless like when Jermained kicked him in the belly and he hadnt thought hed ever get air again. Mama wasnt going to shout or scream or break anything. Not anymore. She was dead.

Grief filled him again and drained his mad right out, leaving him empty inside. Mama. Come back, Mama.

As he saw Connors white face and red-rimmed eyes, guilt swelled into the hollow places, making them hurt even more. Im sorry. He hadnt protected Mama, hadnt kept her from being with Jermaine or from taking drugs. And hed yelled at his little brother.

Daddy had told him to take care of Mama and Connor, and he hadnt.

Rubbing his damp eyes, he frowned at the wet bed and Connors jammies. We gotta"

At a tap on the door, Connor grabbed for the covers.

Too late.

Beth stood in the doorway. Silently, she looked at Connor and his wet pajama bottoms and at the soaked bed. And she snorted. Oops. I guess we shouldve made a trip to the bathroom before bed.

Grant stared. She wasnt mad?

Connors lower lip quivered. Im sorry, Beff.

No worries. A couple of Nolans nephews are hit and miss at night, too. She motioned to the bed. You two strip the mattress down to the plastic cover while I turn on the shower. Youd better have a quick clean-up before getting dressed.

As she walked into the bathroom, Connor stared at Grant with big eyes before tumbling out of the bed.

Together, they stripped the bed.

IN THE KITCHEN, waiting for Beth to rouse the children, Nolan left a message for his secretary that hed be in late and would leave work early, as well. If having both him and Beth around helped the kids feel more stable, hed give them that. His staff and crews were getting accustomed to his creative flexing of hours.

Beth was doing her own adjustments, working in the early morning hours before he left and on weekends when he was off. He enjoyed the time with the boys. Hell, the swimming pool had never been so lively.

Theyd been playing tag in the pool last weekend when Alyssa had shown up, and no one had wanted to quit while he had his therapy.

His smile faded. Alyssas behavior was a problem, although easy to identify. Sub frenzy happened when a submissive grew desperate to be dominated. Although more common to newbies, sub frenzy occasionally happened with submissives released from long-term service.

For whatever reason, Alyssa had focused on him as the perfect Dom to handle her needs, and she wasnt listening to reason. Hed explained how her craving to experience submission was fucking up her judgment. Hed been damn clear he was interested in P.T. for his shoulder and nothing more. She wasnt hearing shit. Next session would be the last, and if she didnt listen to him, hed get Z to chat with her.

The sound of the childrens shower broke into his thoughts, and Nolan tilted his head. Odd. The kids usually showered at night.

Chapter end

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