This has been...one hell of a night.
I'd planned to post this tomorrow, but for those like me who are still up, maybe it'll be a good distraction. Stories have gotten me through the hardest times in my life and being able to share this with you is really special, so thank you. <3
Also, we have our winner for The Asylum T-shirt! Dani, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your shipping info and preferred size.
Happy reading and check out the bottom of the post for this months giveaway!
All the fear, the doubt, faded under the rush of knowing he didn’t have to be in control anymore. Not that he really had been at any point today, but this was different. He didn’t have a choice but to let go.
I don’t want one.
A breathless whimper escaped as Rhodey’s hand stroked down his back, those dark grey eyes holding his as Rhodey cupped his ass and lifted him against his chest. Chuckling, Rhodey held him there, brushing his lips over Danny’s in soft, teasing kisses.
“Someone’s Dom left them needy.” Rhodey clucked his tongue when Danny pressed against him, all those hard muscles, that body, so much bigger than his surrounding him, making him restless with the desire to feel everything at once. Only Rhodey’s grip tightening around his hips stilled him. “Keep that up and I’m bending you over the closest table.”
“Okay.” Danny’s face heated at the sound of Pike’s muffled laugh behind him. He groaned, pressing his face against Rhodey’s shoulder. “Umm… I mean, no thank you please, sir.”
Rhodey let out an amused sound. “That’s what I thought. Keiran, keep an eye on things. Avery went to spend some time with his sister, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant.”
“Of course, sir.” Keiran’s tone held a hint of pride, both from being trusted with the task and probably because his advice had gotten Danny exactly where he needed to be.
I love Keiran. And Wren. Reed and Pike. Everyone is awesome.
That one beer and one shot hadn’t done much other than keep panic at bay, but Danny was still feeling a bit drunk from the success and anticipation. He managed to behave himself and not rub against the Dom, but...it was tempting.
The gym door creaked as Rhodey shoved it open.
Another noise followed.
Danny’s head shot up, throat locking as Rhodey put him down, then cut across the bar. The door swung wide. Outside there was shouting. A metallic crunch. The gate jammed against the side of an SUV.
“Connor, get him out of here, I’ll hold them back!” At the other side of the gate, Shea shoved Justin from where he was climbing over the top of the SUV toward Connor, leaving Shea alone to face the gunmen behind the scattered cars on the street. He nodded to Rhodey as the man got into position to cover him.
Connor backed toward the door with Justin behind him, waving him into the bar, sparing Danny a quick glance as he began to push the door shut. “Stay where you are!”
Nodding, Danny fisted his hands by his side. He should obey. The bullets couldn’t get through the windows. He’d be safe here.
Out in the street, a gunman crept closer to Shea. His Dom’s focus was split, holding off the men targeting him from the front. Rhodey couldn’t reach him with the gate in the way.
Not giving himself a chance to second guess, Danny bolted past Connor.
Gravel gritted under his heels as he bent low, making sure he was out of the line of fire. Everything around him moved too fast. Smoke and gunpowder tainted the air, pressing against him as the wind picked up, almost like wading through molasses. He made it to the gate, grateful that Rhodey didn’t glance his way. The last thing he wanted was to distract the Dom.
Dropping to his stomach, Danny wiggled under the SUV. Kept quiet so he wouldn’t pull Shea’s focus at the wrong moment.
The gunman lifted the gun to Shea’s head. Shea spun, latching onto the man’s wrist. In the struggle, the gun hit the ground.
Danny grabbed it, rolling out from under the SUV. A glint of metal. A blade against Shea’s throat.
Lifting the gun, Danny aimed. Each breath came in steady, measured, like before he stepped out on stage, blocking out the fear of the crowd close enough to crush him. He’d held a gun once. Only once when Shea brought him to the shooting range.
Huge ear protectors, safety glasses, absolutely everything Danny needed to convince himself he wouldn’t have some kind of freak accident here. He stood close to Shea’s side, gazing up at his Dom as he took one shot after another.
“I’m getting rusty.” Shea shook his head as he pressed a button to bring the target closer. He pointed out each cluster of shots. “Used to be tighter, but I’ll get back there. You ready to try it?”
Danny shook his head. Nodded. Then groaned. “I said I wanted to do this with you, but...I like watching you more. I don’t think I could actually pull the trigger. What if it swings back and—”
Shaking his head, Shea positioned Danny so his back was to Shea’s chest. He placed the gun in his hand. Kissed the curve of his neck. “I’m right here. I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Now, focus on the target. When you’re ready, deep breath. Exhale, then pause and pull the trigger.”
The breathing part had been easy, Danny had been learning how to control his breathing for as long as he could remember. But he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger.
He did now.
A loud CRACK! His ears rang as he blinked to clear his vision. Everything was red. And hot. Small rocks dug into his thigh as he started to rise. He had to check on Shea.
What if I missed? What if I hit him?
“Give me the gun, Danny. Shh, it’s okay.” Hazel eyes rimmed with blue held his gaze. Shea’s voice was low. Soothing. He carefully slid the gun from Danny’s grip. “That’s my good, brave boy. Fuck, I should give you shit for coming out here, but that was quick thinking.”
Danny blinked, wiping his hand over his face and giving Shea a shaky smile. They should probably get out of the rain, but he couldn’t worry about that. The shooting had stopped. He touched Shea’s cheeks. Examined his neck. “You’re not supposed to let them get that close. He almost cut you.”
“Nah, he didn’t get a chance.” Shea picked Danny up, bringing him past the gate as Rhodey opened it. He gave the other Dom a nod of gratitude. “Thanks for having my back. I know this is beneath your paygrade.”
Arching a brow, Rhodey glanced over at the street where several men lay unmoving by the cars. “Cleaning this up is above yours. Send Lawson out here, I’ll take care of it with him.” He made a disgusted sound. “Fucking politics. That man’s mother should give you a raise. And a bonus per body. You wanna keep her business? Make it two-fer.” His lips quirked when Shea rolled his eyes and shook his head. Then he caught Danny’s eye. “You good, smalls? Don’t look at them. It might not feel real now, but it will when the adrenaline wears off.”
“I’m okay, sir.” Danny wrapped his arms around Shea’s neck. Nothing mattered except the fact that the man he loved was whole. That he was safe. He inhaled, touching his forehead to Shea’s. “Can we wait inside for the police? Just in case?”
Shea exchanged a look with Rhodey. “We can go inside, my little mouse.” His Dom went quiet as he carried Danny inside, sitting him on a stool at the bar and glancing over at Keiran, who was unlocking the galley where he’d apparently made Wren and Pike hide out. “Pass me a warm, damp cloth, Keir.”
Expression troubled, Keiran studied Danny for a few beats before nodding and fetching the cloth for Shea. He said a few quiet words to Wren, then came around the bar. Laced his fingers with Danny’s. “I don’t say this lightly, but if you ever rush out like that again when there’s bullets flying, I’ll put a leash on you myself.”
“I’d like that.” Danny licked his lips, tasting copper, like he’d been given the penny punishment for lying. He wasn’t lying, though. No next time at all would be better, but his leash would be amazing right now. He met Shea’s eyes. “Can I have my play collar, sir?”
Shea blew out a breath, wiping over Danny’s lips with a clean part of the cloth, folding it before Danny could see if he was wiping off dirt or...something else. “Soon, my sweet little pup. I need to check with Connor and make sure Justin’s secure.” He glanced over his shoulder. “Wren, can you go over the security footage and make sure we got them all?”
Nodding quickly, Wren pulled out his laptop, setting it on the bar, his fingers moving fast over the keys. “Reed, can you go to the dance club and get Danny’s hoodie? He’s shivering.”
Danny didn’t feel cold. He did feel a sting as Shea took a fresh cloth and wiped along his thigh. Glancing down, he took in the scrapes on his skin. Noticed one of his stiletto heels was hanging at an odd angle. Shoes seemed like a weird thing to care about now, but if he had to get up fast he’d break his neck.
See? I’m okay. My brain still works.
“Can you get my sneakers too, please?” Danny relaxed back into the stool as Reed gave him a thumbs up before sprinting off into the gym. He gave Shea a shaky smile when his Dom set the cloth aside and cupped his cheeks in his hands. “I know you could’ve handled that and I shouldn’t have gone out there. I just...reacted. Even the smallest chance of losing you…”
Inhaling roughly, Shea nodded, brushing Danny’s hair away from his brow with his fingers. “I know the feeling and I’m not upset. I still think about the day you were taken, how much I wish I could’ve been there to prevent it from happening at all.” He let out a soft laugh. “If you plan to help me out on the job, though, you’ll be doing a lot more training.”
“Deal.” Danny wouldn’t mind going back to the shooting range with Shea, but… He wrinkled his nose. “I think I want to keep my day job.”
This time, Shea’s laugh held relief. He kissed Danny’s forehead. “I think I want you to, too.”
When Reed returned with Danny’s things, Shea made Danny sit still, shaking his head with a slanted smile on his lips as he pulled Rhodey’s hoodie over his head. He took off Danny’s stilettos, putting on his sneakers and lacing them.
Watching him, Danny fidgeted with the sleeves of the hoodie. “I’m going up to get yours as soon as I can.”
“Hey, I don’t want you worrying about that. It looks good on you.” Shea glanced toward the door as Rhodey came in with Lawson. “You should keep it.”
Rhodey held Shea’s gaze for a moment, something passing between the Doms before Rhodey nodded toward Danny. “Upstairs, smalls. Lawson’s got a plan that won’t need a huge coverup, but we don’t want you involved at all.”
Lips parting, Danny stared up at the big man. “But...I’m the one who…” He swallowed. “If it wasn’t justified and I need to go to jail—”
“No.” Wren slammed the bottle of bourbon he’d been holding on the bar, making everyone except Rhodey jump. His eyes widened, like he’d stunned himself, then he lowered his gaze, speaking softly. “Anything but that. Sir, please, I can help. I’ll find a way.”
Holding up a hand, Rhodey shook his head. “There’s no need, little raven. Everyone needs to calm the fuck down. I’m less worried about the legal bullshit than I am him being connected to this whole mess. That guy, Justin, having a security detail is one thing. Danny’s clearly not part of it and we don’t want anyone paying too much attention to him.”
“That’s a good point.” Shea stroked Danny’s hair, then lifted him off the stool, setting him on his feet. “Stay upstairs. I’ll be with you as soon as I can.”
Connor spoke up from where he was standing by the gym doors with Justin. “I’ll take our man here to practice, then back home.”
“Shea was the one on schedule with him today.” Rhodey’s jaw tensed. He thanked Wren as he took his glass of bourbon, gulping down half. Then he inclined his head. “It might not seem too off for you to be switching up, though.”
“But it might.” Danny slipped his hand into Shea’s, squeezing his fingers lightly. “We’re moving here because it’s safer. I’ll be fine. You need to be able to do your job.”
Rubbing his hand over his mouth, Shea looked torn. “You’re more important than my job.”
“And I’m not going anywhere.” Danny pressed his tongue into his bottom lip. “Except upstairs so I don’t get arrested and lost in the system somewhere and never get my day in court. There’s no way I’d survive a prison riot. I’d get trampled and that would be painful.”
Shea snorted, tugging Danny close for a hug. “Yeah, let’s avoid that. I’ll go with Connor, but you have to swear you’ll text me if shit goes bad. Even if it’s ‘I think the roof’s caving in’ or ‘all the beer might be poisoned’ bad.”
“I will, sir.” Danny tipped his gaze up to meet his Dom’s eyes. “If you swear you’ll reply with more than ‘huh?’ or ‘K’.”
“How about a thumbs up?”
Huffing, Danny stole another moment, head against Shea’s chest. “I’ll call instead.”
“Much better plan.” Shea pressed his lips to Danny’s hair, walking with him to the stairwell. He let the door close behind them, hesitating as he studied Danny’s face. “Are you sure about this? You still don’t seem to have taken in what just happened. I don’t want you being alone when you do.”
Shoulders squared, Danny held Shea’s gaze. “I stopped someone from hurting the man I love. There’s nothing to take in. You’re still here and he’s not.” He tipped his head back, closing his eyes when Shea’s expression didn’t change. “This is The Asylum. I won’t be alone for long.”
“True enough.” Shea curved his hand around the back of Danny’s neck, kissing him softly before drawing back. “I love you. You’re tougher than you think you are, my sweet little mouse, but don’t go getting too tough on me.”
“That’ll never happen, sir. There’s still a thousand things that scare me to death.” Danny grinned as Shea lightly smacked his thigh, then turned and headed up the stairs before Shea changed his mind and decided he needed to stay.
The door to the new loft was still unlocked, so Danny let himself in. He padded quietly across the living room, taking in the partially demolished wall. This would be home soon. He should get used to being here. Maybe he could pass some time cleaning up the mess?
A quick search and he couldn’t find a broom, or a dustpan, or any garbage bags. He sighed, going to the bedroom, which had an old dresser with a boxspring and mattress leaning against it. The partially open window let in a light breeze and he went over to breath it in.
Hands braced on the window ledge, he looked down. A very long drop, but that wasn’t what caught his eye.
On the back of his hand was something crusted. Blood. Not his.
Pushing away from the window, Danny turned, the empty room suddenly too big. A small noise escaped his throat and he crouched down, needing to get away from the vastness of it all. Just a minute. He just needed a minute to escape.
Sliding between the dresser and the mattress, he pulled up the hood of his borrowed sweater, knees up against his chest. It was quieter here. Quiet enough to sort through his thoughts. To find a way to believe what he’d told Shea.
I don’t regret killing that man.
But he’d killed someone. A person. How was he supposed to feel? There had to be something?
His vision blurred. Such a ridiculous thing to cry about, but he couldn’t hold back the sob. He’d been so fucking scared for Shea. He was still scared for him. But he was also scared of how...how the gun had felt in his hand. How he’d been able to pull the trigger.
While being grateful he’d been able to.
That makes no fucking sense.
“I thought so.” Without warning a strong hand came around his waist, bringing him out from behind the mattress. Rhodey scooped him up against his chest, drying Danny’s tears with his thumb. “You weren’t wrong. Not in killing that fucker. Or making sure your Dom could do his job. But I’ll be damn if I’ll let you sit here alone and beat yourself up about it.”
Groaning, Danny tucked his face against Rhodey’s shoulder. “I’m not.”
A solid smack on his ass jolted him. Rhodey’s brow lifted as Danny stared up at him. “One thing you’re not going to do is lie to me. Besides.” He strode through the loft, opening and closing the door and bringing Danny down the hall to his own. “You’ve still got blood all over you and that’s going to fuck you up even more when you think about it.”
Well...I am now.
Trembling, Danny wrapped his arms around Rhodey’s neck. “Did the cops leave already? I should...maybe I should go confess. This is… Sir, I’m confused. I don’t know what the right thing to do is. And the blood… That man’s dead. He’s dead and I killed him. I didn’t see the moment the bullet hit him. Will I? Is that...is that my punishment?”
In the bathroom, Rhodey sat Danny on the counter and took a firm grip on his shoulders. “No. You might remember, you might not, but no one gets to punish you for this. Not even you. You saved a good man from a very bad one. It’s that fucking simple.”
Sniffing as his eyes teared again, Danny laughed for some strange reason. He couldn’t help it. “Sir, you have a strange way of putting things.”
“Mhm. And I’m rough and mean and I could break someone like you.” Rhodey ran his hands down Danny’s arms. “I’ll do my best not to.”
The comforting touch lessened the shivering, and Danny held still as Rhodey took off the hoodie, then his T-shirt. He touched his tongue to his bottom lip. “Your subs are strong. They don’t break. I’m...I hide. I’m terrified and—”
Rhodey’s finger against his lips quieted him. “You listen to me. Everyone hides, you’re just more honest about it and you know what you need. That’s not a bad thing. As for being terrified? Bullshit. You’ve got your own way of processing this fucked up world and who gives a fuck? I love how strong Avery is. I love Keiran’s steel core. But they’ve both got a softer side I’d fucking kill to protect because it’s precious.”
“I’m all soft.” Danny’s brow furrowed when Rhodey chuckled. “What?”
“Says the man who just shot a hired gun in the face.” Rhodey cursed under his breath when Danny pressed his eyes shut. “Keiran would’ve smacked me for that. I won’t apologize, you’ll have to get used to me.”
Despite the horrific images that wanted to flood back in, Danny managed to blow out a breath and look up at the Dom again. “I will?”
“Yes.” Rhodey tipped Danny’s chin up, expression holding a mix of amusement and something else he couldn’t quite place. “That part of you that’s vulnerable and hasn’t been touched by all the dark shit? Either I’m going to ruin it myself.” He shook his head. “Or I’m going to make sure no one else ever can. You had your challenge?”
Danny nodded, tugging his bottom lip between his teeth.
“Well…” Rhodey shrugged, undoing the top button of Danny’s jeans. “This is mine.”
If anything should have scared Danny, it was those words. This didn’t feel like part of a scene anymore. Wasn’t a sexy game.
That look between Shea and Rhodey had meant something.
Only...he still wasn’t sure what. All he knew was he’d never been less in control of anything in his entire life.
He could deal with that, so long as no one else died.
Being naked in front of Rhodey wasn’t as strange as he’d expected it to be, but he had to fight not to look away when the Dom stripped. He’d seen some big, hard bodies before, most of the fighters at The Asylum towered over him.
Rhodey was in a class of his own.
Glancing over at him as he turned on the shower, Rhodey chuckled. “I enjoy that look. I never expected it from someone quite so sweet and innocent. It makes me want to corrupt you in the worst ways.”
Gaze drifting down, Danny’s throat worked. His Doms were well hung, but Rhodey’s height wasn’t the only thing that made him larger than life. He’d felt small before, but it had never been...such a big problem before.
Why he wasn’t running, he couldn’t be sure. His mind and his body definitely weren’t on the same page. Actually, the direction his blood was flowing wouldn’t give his brain a say for very much longer.
But with that long, hard and very thick dick?
Rhodey would absolutely wreck him.
It’s not a...terrible way to go.
Yep. And his brain had decided to completely check out for the night. He bit his bottom lip, tasting blood. His this time.
Death sex. Think about death sex.
He didn’t realize he was whispering the words out loud until Rhodey spat out a laugh.
“You’re too fucking cute.” Rhodey grinned, lifting Danny up and setting him under the spray. “I do know how to be gentle, you know. Until I don’t have to be. Both my boys can still walk.”
Most days, this was true. He’d seen a time or two when both Keiran and Avery were having a rough time of it. He tipped his head back, the water sluicing through his hair as Rhodey joined him. “They can take a lot more than I can.”
“You’ll need to trust me to decide how much you can take, smalls.” Rhodey reached past him, picking up a bottle of shampoo from an inlaid shelf on the dark marble tiled wall. “And when. Now hold still.”
Closing his eyes, Danny remained completely motionless as Rhodey washed his hair, the time the Dom took massaging his scalp, then down to the back of his neck as he worked in the fresh, citrusy suds pulling a soft sigh of pleasure from his lips. Rhodey rinsed him off, then scrubbed every inch of his body with a washcloth and soap that had a hint of vanilla scent that reminded him of Keiran.
Thinking of the other sub now would be awkward, except...Keiran had been part of Danny meeting the challenge. Both his and Avery’s submission, their love for their Dom, was secure. And Danny wasn’t a threat.
He didn’t know what Rhodey wanted from him exactly—other than the obvious—but he’d enjoy whatever it was, for as long as it lasted.
All clean, Danny waited as Rhodey wrapped him in a towel. The Dom carried him into the bedroom, using the towel to dry him off completely before setting him on the bed and lying down beside him.
Arm around Danny’s shoulders, Rhodey had him rest his head on his chest. “Now sleep for a bit. If you can’t I’ll go with plan B and beat your ass. Sometimes that helps with fucked up emotions.”
Biting his bottom lip, Danny did his best not to laugh. This was the Rhodey he was more familiar with. Which was comforting in a strange way. He was starting to really like all the sides of him. “But then I wouldn’t be able to walk.”
“You wouldn’t need to. I’d make you crawl.” Rhodey brushed his fingers lightly up and down Danny’s arm. “Now shut up, I’m trying to be nice. You need all this tender shit. I haven’t even threatened to throw you out the window. I’m losing my touch.”
Snuggling up close, Danny let out a happy sigh. He still wanted more, and he knew it was coming, but for now? This was...really nice. “I don’t think you are, sir. You went out there and shot those men to protect Shea. You took care of what needed to be taken care of. Don’t you get to cuddle after?”
Rhodey sighed and bent down, kissing Danny’s temple. “You are going to be hell on my reputation, boy. Now quiet.”
“Yes, sir.” Danny closed his eyes, the solidness of the muscles he pressed against settling him.
If nothing else, Shea had given him something to hold on to when things got rough.
A sense of belonging. A secure place here he’d only touched on before. If Danny could hold on to that…
He could get through anything.
But the day wasn’t over yet.
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Bianca Sommerland is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Dartmouth Cobras series. Tibby Armstrong is the author of the acclaimed Hollywood series. Together they've created the breathtaking and brutal world of The Asylum Fight Club. A place where men live and love by their fists, and ropes are for more than just the ring.