Ride Steady



Joker didn't even wince.

And taking that in, I knew more of it was knowing Joker was going to be an excellent father, and I knew this because he already was one. He might not share blood with my boy and Travis already had a dad.

But now he had two.

Another part of it was what he said giving me a shiver, making me want what he wanted in a way I wanted it too, right there, right then. And I loved that he wanted it. I loved that my handsome, manly man biker wanted me, just as I was, making me feel wantable.

And the last part of that it was that leaving his laundry for me, which meant leaving his clothes at my house, meant a great deal to him. He wanted that. And he showed me he did.

Finally I pulled it together.

"Is there anyone out there to watch Travis for half an hour?" I asked and it came out breathy.

"Sunday plans. All a' them. They scattered," Joker answered and it came out rough.

"Darn," I whispered.

"Later," he said and it was a promise. I could tell by the look on his face that made me shiver again.

"Okay." I was still whispering.

"Naughty," he said softly.

Another shiver. A bigger one. And my legs started shaking.

"Okay," I repeated breathily.

"Now, lunch."

I nodded.

"After I feed you, we'll come back and get my laundry."

Another nod, but this time I did it with the curious feeling of being utterly delighted at the thought of having more laundry.

He lifted his hand my way. "Come here, Butterfly."

I went there.

I took his hand.

He gripped mine tight.

Then he walked us out of his room to his truck, where he put my son in his car seat in the back.

He took us to lunch.

And later, after we went back and collected his laundry in a duffel (as well as a plastic bag), while Travis had his afternoon nap, Joker made good on his promise.

We had a quiet, necessarily muffled but spectacular laundry celebration on my couch.

And it was naughty.

Chapter Eighteen



THE NEXT EVENING, Joker sat in his truck, idling at the curb in front of a huge-ass house that screamed I'm fucking loaded.

He did this watching Carissa walk up the path to the home she once shared with her ex-jackhole, carrying her kid and his diaper bag.

He'd parked visible and he'd done it so he could watch and be seen.

Not surprisingly, the jackhole opened the door.

Also not surprisingly, even after Carissa gave her boy kisses and cuddles and handed him and the bag over, her jackhole kept her engaged in conversation.

Further not surprisingly, he saw the jackhole clock him the minute the man had opened the door.

As this went on, Joker didn't honk. He didn't get out of the truck, round it, and make his presence known more aggressively by leaning against it and watching. Or more aggressive than that, walking up to the house.

He waited.

It cost him.

But Carissa was who she was, where she was, with that jackhole, and where she was with Joker.

So as he knew she'd do, when she'd had enough, she shut it down and turned her back, walking away while the guy was still talking.

Joker looked to the steering wheel and fought back a grin .

He heard the door open and turned his head to watch her get in.

The second her door was closed and she reached for the belt, he didn't fuck around getting them on the road.

He heard the click and stopped crawling, putting on the gas as he asked, "You okay?"

"Every time, hate that." She paused and it was lower when she repeated, "Hate it."

He could see that, he didn't like it much either.

"What can I give you, Butterfly?" he asked quietly.

She didn't answer.

He glanced at her. "Want dinner?"

"Not hungry," she mumbled.

"Wanna talk?" he offered.

"Nothing to talk about," she said.

"He give you shit?" Joker asked.

"Just asked a bunch of stuff about Travis. How our week went. He's never asked before, so it isn't hard to read he doesn't really care now. It's just the game he's playing."

"He talk about paying the attorney?"

"No, though he did look like he expected me to say something. But I'm not gonna say thanks for him taking care of a debt he gave me."

Oh yeah, the guy expected her to say something. And it was a good play she didn't give him what he wanted.

"You want, next time you stay in the truck, I'll take Trav up to the door," Joker offered.

"I might want," she said quietly, and he glanced at her again to see she was looking out the side window.

"You up for tomorrow night?" he asked, looking back at the road and hoping a subject change might help.

But even as he hoped, he knew this sucked. He had her while her kid wasn't around and she was Carissa. She was his girl. It was good to the point it was awesome.

But having her when her kid was around was something else. She was Carissa, his girl, his girl with both her boys with her, and that made her so happy it wasn't good. It was spectacular.

He could tell she'd turned to face him when she asked, "Dinner with the people who made your life bearable when you were with your dad?"

"Yeah," he answered.

"Absolutely," she declared resolutely.

He glanced at her again then back to the road before he asked carefully, "Nervous?"

"No. I give good girlfriend. Aaron's folks always loved me. Until he kicked me out, that is."

He bit back laughter, not questioning the fact she gave good girlfriend since he was well acquainted with that, but he still warned, "Mrs. Heely lost her boy. He was in the military. Died servin'. Then she unofficially adopted me. I've never tested it, but thinkin' she might be protective."

"Good," she stated.

"And picky," he went on.

"She should be. You deserve the best."

He grinned at the road, muttering, "Lucky I got that."

That was when he felt her fingers curl around his thigh.

He switched hands on the steering wheel and pulled her fingers from his thigh by wrapping his around hers. Then he rested them there, giving them a squeeze.

"A week, we'll have him back," he said softly.

"A week, we will," she replied the same way.

They fell silent as he drove them home.

They remained mostly silent when they got home, reheated leftover carnitas, and ate them camped out on the couch.


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