Joker started chuckling.
Then he turned into the alley that ran behind Tyra's house and let my hand go to lift his to the garage door opener I'd given him.
He parked beside the red wreck and shut down.
We walked to the back of the house with our arms around each other.
He let me go to unlock the door (obviously, I'd also given him keys to the house).
Joker waited for me to precede him, which I did. I tossed my purse aside and didn't turn on the light since the switch was right by the door and I didn't want to make him wait even a moment to make his way in. He'd turn on the light.
Except he didn't.
I heard the door close, then with a quiet cry, I was tugged back and found myself pressed to it, face first, my hands up in front of me.
Then my skirt was yanked up and I felt Joker's chest pressed to my back.
My breath caught.
His hand slid over my bottom.
"Saw these panties on the couch. Knowin' they were on you, fucked with me all night."
Okay, maybe he'd noticed my usual underwear, but since it came in a five pack and wasn't exciting by any stretch of the imagination, like the pink, lacy, semi-thong I was currently wearing, he just hadn't said anything.
He slid his finger along the edge of the lace that ran over the top of my cheek, and he didn't stop even as it disappeared in my cleft.
I started panting.
"Dress off, Butterfly," he growled.
Immediately, the area between my legs saturated with wet as I trembled against the door.
"Here?" I asked breathlessly.
"Now," he answered.
In the minimal space provided, I pulled my dress off.
"Spread," he grunted.
I shifted my legs apart and felt heat drench my private parts.
He slid his finger down, around, and through.
My head fell back to his shoulder.
His other hand slid from my hip to my belly and up to cup my breast.
I turned my head and pressed my lips against his neck.
"Tonight, you gave good girlfriend to my friends, baby," he whispered.
"Thanks," I gasped as his fingers continued to glide between my legs.
"Now you're gonna give it to me."
"O-okay," I stammered.
He rubbed my nipple through the lacy bra with his thumb and I whimpered.
Then he pulled away.
But only for a half a second before I was turned, lifted up, thrown over his shoulder, and he prowled through the dark kitchen, the dark house, to the bedroom, where he tossed me on the bed.
He turned the light on before he commenced fucking me.
But it was proved irrevocably true through those highly pleasant proceedings that he liked nice, cute, sexy underwear.
I was going to take back the outfits I didn't wear. I loved them but one splurge was all I could handle.
But I was keeping the underwear.
All of it.
Start and Finish
THE NEXT MORNING, Joker was in Cherry's office pouring a cup of coffee and about to nab a donut when his cell went.
He put the coffee down, pulled out his phone, and looked at the display.
Tack had texted.
Slade. ASAP. No weapons.
Joker clenched his teeth and left the coffee where it was. Cherry was there but in the garage talking to someone.
Which meant he didn't have to delay getting on his bike by saying goodbye.
So he didn't.
He headed off of Chaos and onto Broadway, knowing what Tack's text meant.
Slade was the nightclub Knight Sebring owned.
Sebring had heard about Heidi.
And he was pissed.
Knight Sebring was loaded. On the surface of it, and Joker suspected some of that leaked into his skin, he was also total class.
But if you hurt a woman, he'd slit your throat, do it personally, and walk away forgetting you existed.
Contradictory to this, he had a stable of call girls.
He was not a pimp.
He was a protector.
Joker was no financial genius, but he knew Sebring made his money off that club. A lot of money. The man sold more drinks in a night than any other bar or restaurant in downtown Denver. And even if his cover charge was insane, night after night, the place was heaving.
He took a percentage off his girls, but Joker knew the men in his crew. They were skilled. They were cold. They believed in Sebring's mission. And they were not available to Sebring 24/7 for them to provide crowd control and keep drugs out of his club (something else Sebring had zero tolerance for). They were available 24/7 to protect his girls.
His team was large, and paying them and providing what he did for his girls, client vetting and a serious smackdown if a guy didn't treat one right, would be a hit. The man had to take a loss on his side business because Joker knew his percentage was dick.
Rumor had it Sebring did this because his mom had been a prostitute, and she'd been that because she'd been an addict. He'd lived that life with her from birth, and it had scarred him.
Joker got that. He'd entered the underground fight circuit because he'd taken so much physical abuse he had to let it out, and the way he did that had to be as violent as the way he took it.
As jacked as what Sebring did was, when he was a kid, he'd been unable to protect his mom. So now, he did what he had to do to work out the powerlessness that had to have carved itself into his soul.
Yeah, Joker definitely got that.
He parked outside Slade next to Tack, Hop, and Shy's bikes. He then went to the door that would have a fifty foot long velvet rope leading up to it that night. He put his hand on the handle and opened it.
Slade was where men who put shit in their hair and women who spent eight hundred dollars on shoes went to hook up. So the only times Joker had been there were times like this. When it was empty, silent, cavernous, a huge shell of opulence that was creepy by daylight.
As he walked across the massive space, he saw Tack, Hop, and Shy heading his way.
They stopped in the middle.
"Knight heard about Heidi," Joker started it.
Tack jerked up his chin. "Needless to say, this didn't make him happy."
"Do we want him in this?" Joker asked. "When it comes to shit like this, he has no off button and he doesn't mind mess."
"Considering Valenzuela's involvement and the fact Knight keeps his ear to the ground, when he heard about Heidi, he didn't go gonzo and tip Armageddon," Tack told him. "Which would be why we're here now. And why Mitch and Slim are up in Knight's office with Hank Nightingale and Valenzuela's on his way."