Home > Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(6)

Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(6)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Stressed, Rose shook her head. “It still costs money, Talon.”

“Have you told anyone in the Pride how you can’t get your house fixed up?” he asked softly, hands relaxing against his jeans. His eyes were so direct and earnest on hers.

“No.”

“I figured. You’re tough, Rose, but you aren’t alone.”

Felt a little like she would be when he left, but she wasn’t going to utter that little gem out loud.

“I got money just sitting in the bank getting moldy,” he said through a grin. “No material possessions means I saved my earnings. If it bothers you, pay me back in time. But know that I’m not asking you to.”

“Why are you doing this?” she asked.

Talon leaned toward her and tugged her hand until she stepped into the bathroom. He tugged and tugged until he eased her into his lap. “Because, Rose,” he murmured against her hair, “you deserve to feel safe. You deserve to have something good happen to you. That’s how the balance of the world works. You do good, and good comes back to you. There’s gonna be bad patches in a life. What happened in this room was a bad patch. But woman, you can’t have a rainbow without rain, right?”

Okay.

Okay, Rose.

Go ahead and fall a little harder.

He’s catching you.

She slid her arms around his neck and nuzzled her cheek against his shoulder. How could affection feel this good? She hugged the boys and Emerald. She hugged Grim and his crew. But this was different. This was slipping into a warm, safe room where nothing could touch her, nothing could hurt her. She did have a lot of history, a lot of cracks in her story, but Talon was good at pointing to them and then wordlessly accepting them or fixing them without her even asking. He wasn’t just a fixer of houses. He was a fixer of broken pieces.

“I will be sad when you leave,” she admitted softly.

“You’ll miss me?”

With a sigh, she nodded. “Something like that.”

A deep chuckle reverberated through his body and drew a giggle from her. A giggle. Like a school girl again. She’d always believed in magic. She’d seen too much in this life not to. Talon made her believe in it even more. Magic was shaving years off of a person and, right now, sitting in a strong man’s lap, growing a crush, she felt decades lift from her shoulders.

“All right,” she said decidedly.

“All right, what?”

“Let’s fix up the house together. And have fun while you’re here. I’ll pay you back a little at a time. Each month, you send me a postcard, and I’ll send you a check. And that way I don’t lose you all at once. I’ll poke pins in a map for each place you send me a postcard so I can track where you travel. We can be pen pals.”

“Pen pals, huh? I like it.” He lifted her chin and searched her eyes. “You didn’t answer me earlier. I won’t ask again after this, but I need to know for certain. Are. You. Okay?”

Rose smiled then stretched up and pressed her lips against his. It would have to be answer enough for now.

She wasn’t okay yet. Not completely.

But as he slipped his hand behind her neck and moved his mouth against hers, the world melted away, and she knew one thing for certain.

She would be.

Chapter Four

Like the bathroom, Rose needed to face everything that was done to her property. As she stood inside her greenhouse, amid all the shattered glass and her precious plants that had been hacked to pieces, her heart ached. This had been the place she’d found sanctuary when the loneliness made her feel empty. This greenhouse had been her sanctuary, and the Old Tarian Pride had shattered it just to hurt her. Most of the dead plants were dried floral carcasses on the ground or brown splintered twigs sticking out of toppled pots. This place wasn’t her sanctuary anymore. It was a cemetery for old happy moments instead.

Talon had spent the morning hauling the splintered wood of the destroyed porch to a burn pile in the side yard. It was freezing out, and she could hear his boots in the snow as he approached the greenhouse. She turned, not even trying to hide the hurt on her face through the open doorway. He strode straight for her through the snow with only old work gloves on, a black T-shirt, his silver hair mussed, and a worried look in his dark eyes.

Voice hoarse and thick, she said, “Nothing survived them.”

“The Old Tarian Pride?” he asked, bumping his clenched fist on the splintered door frame. “That’s not true, Rose. You survived and I survived. Emerald, Grim, Ronin, Kannon—”

“Okay, okay,” she muttered with a sigh. He wasn’t one to let her dwell.

Talon chuckled and patted her backside as he walked by.

Rose made a little squeak and clenched her butt cheeks in shock. “Did you just spank me?”

“Woman,” he murmured, turning around and walking backward a few steps as he arched one dark eyebrow. “When I spank you, you’ll know it.”

Hells bells. Spanking was for young, wild people. Not classy queens. Right? But as she watched Talon kneel down to right a trio of potted plants, the masculine curve of his butt pressing against his jeans, his triceps flexing with each movement, and his tattoos stark against his skin…she was a little curious.

“Hypothetically speaking, would a spanking hurt?” Oh, her cheeks were on fire! She didn’t talk to men like this.

“It would sting, but it would feel so good you wouldn’t mind.”

“Oh,” she said, wringing her hands. “So it wouldn’t be punishment.”

He threw her the naughtiest look she’d ever seen on a man’s face. “Pleasure only.”

“Hmmm,” she squeaked out. “Interesting.”

From where he knelt below her, his eyes sparked an intense gold. A hungry look washed over his face. “Leave a little pink handprint on that cute ass of yours. Remind you for a little while what I did to you. You’re gonna want to look in the mirror at it so you can think dirty things. Think of how it felt when I was buried between your legs—”

When her phone rang in her hand, she startled so hard she dropped it. The dadburned thing clattered across the dirt floor and landed by Talon. With a wink that just about brought her to her knees, he handed her the phone.

Braindead, she answered the call without even checking the caller ID.

“Hey,” Grim said. “Where you been, lady? I tried calling the landline, but you didn’t pick up. Even called up at Ronin’s, but they said you left your snowmobile there last night and they haven’t seen you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m here. At…home.”

Talon slid his hand up the inside of her leg and asked where she wanted the pots stacked.

“Who’s that?” Grim snarled.

“Wh-what?” Rose asked, trying to keep her mind on track. Talon’s fingertips making their way to her inner thigh and his devilish smile were terribly distracting.

“I asked who’s there with you? I heard a man’s voice.”

“Oh! It’s Emerald’s Dad. Talon. Lawson. He’s helping me—”

“I’ll be right there.”

The phone clicked and went dead. Rose frowned at the screen just to make sure but, yep, Grim had most assuredly hung up on her. Little protective toot. He’d always been like that. He wouldn’t really show up, though. That meant taking a flight and leaving his Crew, and he’d only just gotten back home after the Tarian War.

Silly grandson.

Rose texted him quickly just to make sure he wasn’t online, looking at flights. I’m fine, boy. At home having a nice time with a nice man. I’ll call you later. Tell Ash hello for me. I miss you all very much.

Crisis averted, she set the phone on the edge of a table and smiled down at Talon who was still exploring her with his touch. She ran her hands through his hair, nails against his scalp, and couldn’t, for the life of her, tell if he was growling or purring. The sound he made sure got her blood pumping, though.

Her legs trembled as he wrapped her inner thigh in his strong hand, and when he leaned forward and set his teeth gently to the sensitive spot right over her knee, she gasped. She was wearing leggings and could feel every point of his teeth. With a soft moan, she leaned forward and gripped his hair for balance. He adjusted to his knees and slid his hands to the backs of her legs, laid his teeth on her a little higher, a little harder.

Rose swayed into him and rolled her head back. Everything had been heavy for so long, but right now, he was cutting the weight from her with every nip. He’d started a fire in her, and he was tending it as he clamped his teeth higher, right at the apex between her legs.

The world didn’t exist anymore. Nothing did except for Talon.

Go ahead and fall.

He ran his hands up the sides of her legs, then under her sweater and gripped her waist. She hadn’t been touched like this in so long, but did her age mean she didn’t deserve to feel adored? To feel coveted? To feel beautiful? She didn’t think so.

Talon was purring against her skin, and her breaths came in quick pants as his fingertips trailed warmth up her back to her bra. He unsnapped it in one easy movement, then dragged his palms under the material across her ribs until he cupped her breasts.

“Talon,” she whispered helplessly. She rested her hands on his broad shoulders for balance and leaned into his touch. The feel of skin on skin held such power. She didn’t understand why. Perhaps it was because it had been so long since she’d felt cared for like this, or maybe it was just Talon and whatever charisma he and his lion possessed. Sweet addiction. That’s what this was. She would do awful things to never have this end. To fuse his hands to her, to cement this feeling to her soul. The one of belonging to someone. Of being possessed by them.

Of not being alone.

For once…not being alone.

He pushed her sweater up and kissed her stomach. And God, his beard felt divine against her skin. She was totally lost already. He dragged his fingers down her sides as he kissed her stomach, just a hint of tongue against her skin. Down, down, his hands went until his fingers hooked in the elastic of her leggings and dragged the material right down with him. It was so smooth, there was no time for her to balk or overthink or let her insecurities have her head. Three downward trailing kisses, and his mouth was on her sex.

   
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