Rival Page 24

He grabbed my face with both hands and slid his tongue into my mouth, devouring me again. Little needles sprang up over my skin, and I shivered, heat pooling between my legs like a furnace. I grabbed his face too, kissing him back.

He took that opportunity to pull the T-shirt over my head in one fell swoop like a magician that pulls out a tablecloth from underneath a fully set table.

“Madoc, no,” I commanded pathetically, folding my arms over my chest. “I’m sore from last night.”

He pinched his eyebrows together and arched a lip. “Sore? From me? That. Is. Awesome.”

Idiot. I shouldn’t have told him that. Now he was feeling like the man.

“Well, then . . .” He sighed and pulled me down off the counter. “You’re safe. For now.”

Whatever. I blinked slow and hard. I’m in control. I’m in control. I’m in control.

Everything was moving in the wrong direction. He made me smile. He made me forget. We had to slow down.

We have to stop.

He tipped my chin up and his mouth came down on mine. I let him kiss me, not making any effort to return it, but I still couldn’t help breathing in his rich, clean scent. Damn, I loved the way he smelled.

He leaned back, smirking down at me. “It’s good to have you back, Fallon.” And then he walked out like he had everything he wanted in the palm of his hand.

Damn him.

Damn him!

I kicked the door shut behind him and whisper-yelled a bunch of words that I’d only ever heard my father’s dockworkers spew. I didn’t emerge from the bathroom for another half hour as I tried to get my head on straight again.

Things in Madoc’s life were too easy. He made it too simple to fall back into the fun. His relaxed smile, his carelessness about everything, and the way he was just . . . him!

There were problems in this world. Problems in families. Problems in my family and his. Our history was a problem. Why did he always appear as if he didn’t have a care in the world?

We’d had hot, angry sex last night after we’d insulted and upset each other. Apparently he didn’t care what had led us there, only that he got his reward.

Shit. I scratched my head and closed my eyes as I stood in front of my floor-length mirror. I needed some alone time.

Time to think.

A nice walk. A good run, maybe.

But Madoc was like a whirlwind of activity. I’d almost forgotten.

After I dressed in some short white shorts and a Hurley T-shirt, he’d told me to march my ass back into my room and change. After flipping him off and pouring myself some cereal he’d explained that we were going to the lake with his friends, and I needed to get in a swimsuit. When I told him to go screw himself, that he didn’t make decisions for me, he walked around the counter where I stood eating and stuck his hand down the back of my shorts, continuing to smile and talk to Addie with her none the wiser.

With my heart missing every other beat and sweat breaking across my forehead, I’d relented, realizing he wouldn’t stop harassing me until I said yes.

Anyway, Tate was going to be there, so I looked at that as a plus. We’d also be in public, so I could count on him not to try anything.

Or so I thought.

• • •

“Where are we?” I asked as he pulled up to a small, brick one-story house. It sat in a rundown neighborhood with overgrown lawns and ugly chain-link fencing. Although the house itself appeared to be in decent shape—the porch was tidy, and the windows were clean—the brick was dulled with age and the screen door was shoddy.

“Come on.” He ignored my question and climbed out of his GTO.

Following him, I slammed the door and walked a step behind him up the cement slab walkway.

“Madoc. Madoc!”

I jerked my head and stared wide-eyed as a boy, about seven, came running toward Madoc and slammed into his body. Madoc caught him in a hug.

A tightness gripped my chest, and I sucked in a breath.

Blond hair, blue eyes, and long legs. The boy looked just like him.

No. I shook my head. That’s ridiculous. Madoc would’ve had to be like ten years old when this kid was born.

“My mom said if I wasn’t good I couldn’t go with you, but I was good,” the kid shouted, smiling.

Madoc leaned back and eyed him with disgust. “Good?” he repeated. “Oh man, don’t say that. Being good is like what?”

Both Madoc and the kid simultaneously stuck their fingers in their mouths and mock gagged. A smile tugged the corners of my mouth, and I had to cover it with my hand.

Nope. Madoc wasn’t good with kids. I refused to believe it.

“That’s right.” He patted the kid on the back and turned to face me. “Fallon, this is my spawn.”

I cocked my head and looked at him disbelievingly, still trying to get the picture of them both sticking their fingers down their throats out of my head.

“No, not my real spawn.” He knew where my mind was going. “But he has potential, doesn’t he?”

I put my hands on my h*ps and kept a pleasant tone for the kid’s sake. “Madoc, what’s going on?”

He opened his mouth to speak, but a woman came out through the screen door carrying a small backpack.

“Madoc,” she greeted. “Hi.”

“Hi, Grace.”

Grace looked young, definitely under thirty, and she had a nice head of long brown hair pulled back in a neat ponytail. She wore scrubs, so I guessed she was a nurse . . . and probably a single parent from the look of things.

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