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Protecting His Own Part 18

A WHILE LATER, back downstairs, Nolan set Beth on a barstool and leaned against the bar beside her. Shed taken a quick shower upstairs, and Nolan bent to kiss her neck and savor the clean, moist scent of her skin. Eyes heavy-lidded but free of shadows, she practically glowed with satiation.

Itd been a rough then fucking satisfying night. They both deserved a drink.

Near the end of the bar, Raoul was setting beers on a barmaids tray. He nodded at Nolan to say hed seen them.

Hey Nolan. Dressed in his brown leathers, Cullen strolled over. Why dont you bring the boys over next weekend? Hector would love them"and theyd get a kick out the jungle-gym.

No shit. Cullens Airedale loved kids. Yeah, your mess of equipment"swings, poles, platforms, bars right on the sandy ocean beach"would send em into a play frenzy.

In fact, itd be fun to build something similar at home. Connor and Grant would have a blast designing their own playground-gym after seeing Cullens. He caught Beths nod of agreement. Next weekend sounds good.

Cullen smiled at Beth. Andrea will call you, assuming she survives tonight. With a grin, the big Dom headed back toward the scene areas, lifting a hand to the Drago cousins as they approached.

Nolan nodded at them. Drago and Drago, good to see you.

I heard about Mrs. McCormicks death, Max said. How are Grant and Connor doing?

Nolan almost smiled. Amazing how two little boys could turn a hard-ass into marshmallow goo. Hurting, but okay. Were trying to keep them busy. In fact, maybe you should swing by and help me teach them martial arts.

An exasperated groan came from Beth.

Itd be a pleasure. Eyes lit with laughter"and without looking at Beth"Max added, If you want to instruct them in sword-fighting, Ive still got some blades. Sharp edges, but short enough for your boys.

What? Beth jumped to her feet. Absolutely not. Nolan, you"

Max roared with laughter. Kidding.

Beth set her hands on her hips. You-youre evil. Im going to make your yard the prissiest, formal landscape in the world. All in shades of white and pale blue.

Christ, woman. Thats just mean.

Behind Max, Alastair gave a slow smile. I think it sounds fine.

You would, you fucking limey. Still chuckling, Max motioned toward where the unattached submissives were sitting. Cmon. Lets find a subbie to torture.

As the cousins moved away, Nolan chuckled. Some submissive was going to have an exciting night. He gripped Beth around the waist and returned her to the barstool. No blades, sugar. But you know the munchkins need to get over their fear of cops.

Cant they play Candyland with him instead? She heaved an irritated sigh. You guys and your fascination with fighting is truly disgusting.

It satisfies our sadistic natures on the days we cant beat on our women. Good thing for me, I have you. He squeezed her tender ass and grinned at the gratifying squeak.

A grating laugh came from behind him, and he glanced over his shoulder to see Sam Davies taking the empty space. Lean, gray-haired, and one of the Shadowlands Masters, the rancher was in his usual black jeans and black work shirt. How you doin, King?

Been a good night. A damn good night.

Moving with the stiffness of a well-beaten masochist, Sams submissive joined him. Somewhere in her forties, Linda was curvy, redheaded, fair skinnedand was using a big cotton handkerchief to clean up the eye makeup streaking her freckled face.

Sams lips quirked. Dont know why you wear that stuff, missy. It sure doesnt last.

Linda narrowed her brown eyes. It streaks because every time I wear it, you deliberately set out to make me cry. You wait; Im going to find some industrial strength waterproof.

You do that. Chuckling, Sam nodded at Beth.

She smiled at him and moved her legs under the bar to give Nolan more room. Her hiss of pain as the movement abused her tender ass made the sadist snort in amusement.

Sams glance at Nolan held approval"probably because Beth also had the radiance of a well fucked, well satisfied submissive.

The same glow Linda had.

As Nolan exchanged a smile with Sam, he saw Alyssa approaching on his right. She stepped between him and Sam and flattened her hand on his chest.

Behind him, Beth let out an annoyed growl. He didnt blame her. Submissives didnt touch any Dom without permission.

Annoyed as fuck, he brushed Alyssas hand away. Go away, sub. Im not available or interested.

I dont believe you, Master, she said in a breathy voice. Her gaze was fixed on him. Totally on him. Sub frenzy, dammit. Desperate to be dominated"and fixated on him. Damn well obsessed.

Yeah, she wouldnt believe anything he said at this point.

BETH STARED AT the beautiful, curvy brunette who was still lusting after Sireven after being told he wasnt interested. Seriously?

She saw Nolans dilemma. If Alyssa had been a male, hed have swatted the guy out of his life like a buzzing mosquito. He wouldnt put up with being pushed, yet his Texas code didnt allow swatting women"not if it wasnt consensual.

Nolan was a hero; guess it was time for her to get with the program. Super Submissive to the rescue. A fetwear cape was going on her shopping list. Beth stepped around Nolan, planting herself between him and the villainess.

Heroes always gave the villains a warning first, right? But Beths annoyance prevented her from keeping her voice quiet. Alyssa, I asked you to do physical therapy for my Master. Since his shoulders healed, your job is done. Leave him be, please.

Alyssa set her hands on her hips and tossed her head. This is between me and Master Nolan. You shouldnt interrupt. You shouldnt even be speaking without permission. Obviously, he doesnt care enough to train you properly.

The weak insult didnt even hurt. Her Master had gone overboard to show how much he loved her"both her body and her personality. If war was going to be conducted with insults, she could now hold her own.

You shouldnt be touching without permission. Beths huff of exasperation was loud. If you knew him at all, youd know he doesnt say anything he doesnt mean. What part of Im not interested did you miss? Honestly, Alyssa, trailing after a Dom who doesnt want you is simply pathetic.

Alyssa stepped back as if shed been punched.

A second later, to Beths disbelief, the damn woman tried again to get to Nolan.

Not. Going. To. Happen. Beth blocked her and, thoroughly fed-up, drove the heel of her hand into Alyssas upper sternum, knocking her back a step. The next move should have been shattering her kneecap, but fracturing bones might be over the top. Listen, dumbass. Try for him again, and Ill mess you up"yank out your hair, bust your nose, and smash your lips in.

You-you Feeling evil, Beth stared at the womans breasts. And since you have those cow-sized tits sticking out like an invitation, Ill flatten them on my way past.

Mouth open in shock, Alyssa looked around, obviously in hopes of support.

Instead, she collected frowns from everyone within hearing.

Beside Sam, Linda wore the disapproving frown perfected by mothers of teenagers. Why in the world would you hit on a Master whos not only happy with his submissive, but married to her? What is wrong with you?

But, I Alyssa took another step back before her pleading gaze returned to Nolan.

He simply turned away to face the bar. Raoul, how about drinks for me and my Beth?

When Alyssa still didnt move, Beth leaned forward, her voice menacing. Go. Away.

The woman did. She retreated two steps and finally turned and hurried toward the door.

Sams barked laugh blended with Nolans chuckle.

Beth glared at them both. Did you think that we were funny?

Not Alyssa"her behavior is just sad. Nolan drew Beth so close her back was against his chest. But you were fucking hilarious. Thanks for the defense, sugar.

Sorely tempted to shove an elbow into his gut, Beth snuggled against him insteadand discovered he was erect. Seriously? Men. Totally from a different species. Maybe even a different genus. Maybe even a different planet.

Nolan, here you go. Raoul handed over a Corona and set a drink for Beth on the bar top. You earned this, gatita.

Just what she needed. She picked up her drink and took a sip. Single malt whiskey. Her favorite"it was like getting a war prize. Thank you, Master Raoul.

He smiled at her before telling Nolan, You have a most effective guard subbie, my friend.

Quite effective indeed.

At the grim voice, Beth went rigid. Oh no, no, no. Surely he hadnt heard the argument. Her voice came out hoarse. Master Z.

His unreadable silvery gaze ran over her. Youre back to fighting weight, I see.

Fighting weight. Oh, God, he must have heard everything. Im sorry.

Zs lips twitched. No youre not. But, if you start a fight in the Shadowlands, you will be.

Her instinctive retreat pressed her harder against Nolan"and his erection.

Like I told you, Z, Alyssa needs help, Nolan said. His arm around Beths waist kept her in place.

Master Z glanced at the path the submissive had taken. So I see. I doubt she comprehends how irrationally shes behaving. After I talk with her, Ill arrange for some Doms to take her under command and ease her need to be dominated. Shell be fine.

Thanks. Shes a good woman when shes herself.

As Z headed in the direction Alyssa had gone, Nolan picked up his Corona while keeping Beth anchored against him. Leaning a hip against the barstool, he looked down at her. You know, that day when Alastair made a house call, I had a couple of uncomfortable thoughts about you and him. I understand how much Alyssa bothered you.

At his easy tone, Beths shoulders relaxed. If hed been displeased with her threatening Alyssa, it would have been difficult to take. Then his words registered. Me and Alastair? You were worried? Seriously?

Okay, she would never want her Master to feel worried or unsure about anything, but maybe there was a tiny bit of delight there. Just a little.

He shook his head in reproof at her uptilted lips. Seriously. Listen, sugar. He frowned, obviously trying to find the right words. Yeah, I enjoyed Alyssa back when. But now Ive got no interest in touching anyone else. None.

Oh. Her breath came out in a soft sigh.

You taught me the difference between empty fucking and making love. He gave her a slow kiss. Im not interested in going back.

To keep from dissolving into tears, she knocked back a good gulp of the whiskey.

He only grinned. Gotta say, though, I was kinda hoping for a girl fight.

Men.

Chapter Sixteen.

PERCHED ON A stool at the kitchen island, Grant finished his super-biscuit-egg-sausage thing that Bethd made. Mmm. His stomach felt happy.

On the other side, Beth smiled at him.

Already finished eating, Nolanman was sipping his coffee. If youre done there, tiger, want to help me build a chair?

Get to play with hammers and nails again? Thats a no-brainer. Sure. Yesterday, he had helped replace the broken window, pulling out the strips thatd kept the busted glass in place, handing Nolanman tools, holding the glass for him. Seeing the new pretty window had feltgood. It was fixed, and hed helped make it that way.

Nolan pointed his cup at Connor. You want to build, too?

Although Grant had already eaten two sausage things, Connor was still on his first. Mouth full, he shook his head no, frowned, and nodded yes.

I hired Connor to help me weed the south garden, Beth told Nolan. But he can work with me for a while and then join you. Hes a fantastic assistant, so I know youll find him useful.

Connors eyes got big, as if he was thrilled but thought she was lying. Only Beth didnt lie.

It was weird"nice, but weird"to have grownups saying nice stuff about them. Nolanman said he got a kick out of having his own work crew at home. He pointed out mistakes, but hed tell Grant and Connor whenever they did good, too. And he never said they were stupid or brats or in the way.

Grant picked up his milk and took a sip. Last night, the cop"Dan"and Kari had said nice things, too. Theyd told Nolanman that Connor and Grant had been good kids and could come and play with Zane anytime.

Remembering Zane, Grant smiled and finished off his milk. The kid wasnt even two years old but talked almost as good as Connor did and was always asking, Whats that? He ran pretty fast but with wide legs because he still wore a diaper so it looked funny. He and Connord had fun with Zane and the big dog named Prince.

Now, Connor wanted to ask Beth for a dog, but Grant told him no. Grownups didnt like kids who asked for stuff. Or money.

But they had money now without asking. When he and Connor had helped Beth clean the house, shed given them each a dollar. The next day, Grant helped rake the yard after a storm, and Nolanman said he was a good worker and gave him another dollar.

Hed earned money like a grownup. And he was a good worker. The funny feeling in his chest came back, all warm andhappy.

After the dishes were done, Grant and Nolan walked to the workshop. Near the lake, Connor and Beth were weeding a flower garden, and Beth was laughing at something Connor said.

She had a pretty laugh. It made him want to smile when he heard her.

Chapter end

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