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Warlords MC: Book 6 – Traven : Chapter 7

Traven just held Winter in his arms. She was still shaking but it wasn’t as bad as it had been when he first sat down with her. When he heard Will start snoring, Traven smiled slightly. He turned his head to again, look at the woman in his arms. Well, puzzle solved. All of her defiance and wrath was to hide her fear. He had to admit she’d done a good job in hiding it. She also cared very deeply for her bother.

It had been accurate to say they kept each other alive. He knew what this was like. It was all that had kept him alive for years. Trying to protect his twin sisters. Attempting to save the only family, he had left. All that hunting for men like the one that killed his father. All of it was to protect and push away the fear.

Unable to resist, he brushed his lips against her forehead.

Her skin was warm and her natural scent surrounded them both. He took a deep breath and breathed her in. She scented of citrus and sunshine. He looked down into her face and could see some signs that her life was messed up.

She had an unusual scar near her temple and as he studied it, it began to take on the shape of a man’s ring. He couldn’t make out what form was imprinted on her skin but he knew what kind of power it took to make that kind of mark.

Then he noted the dark shadows under her eyes and the tiny wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. Those wrinkles told him she’d been worried for too a long time. He frowned as he inspected the rest of her face. She had another scar at the corner of her mouth where it looked like her skin had been torn open. Then he saw a small cut long healed over on her neck. He began to growl as he realized someone had hurt her over and over again.

He never would have guessed such damage on her person, as she seemed fully well prepared to fight against an attack. Perhaps that was why she did know how to defend herself and it explained her attitude toward him and his men. Distrust of the male population in general, probably.

He tightened his hold on her and whispered in her ear, “I’ll keep you safe little girl. Whoever did this to you won’t ever touch you again.”

“Shhh,” she whispered back. “I’m trying to sleep here.”

Traven blinked and stared down at her as he realized that she had relaxed in his arms.

Winter then released a sigh as she snuggled down closer to him as if this was all natural and she hadn’t been screaming a few minutes ago. Then she noticed her brother snoring and she chuckled. “What is Will doing in here?”

Traven looked down at the top of her head and whispered, “You were having a nightmare, screaming, and we couldn’t get to you.”

She went silent for a few minutes.

Traven thought she might have fallen asleep again.

Her voice was quiet as she explained, “I was remembering the day my mom died. That’s a memory that’s been trying to get through a door in my consciousness for some time now and it finally broke through tonight.”

Traven frowned. “I didn’t know you saw that, you said she died in a home invasion crime.”

She laid there with her head on his chest. “No one knew I saw it that day, but I did. I came in the back door from school and I heard them arguing in the living room. They were screaming at each other.”

“Who were they?” Traven wanted to know.

“Matty, Brady and mom.” she whispered.

“Your brothers were there?” he asked with dread in his voice. He was praying this wasn’t going to go where he thought it would.

She nodded. “They wanted money and she wouldn’t give it to them. They beat her and she still told them no, that’s when Matty must have grabbed her throat. He didn’t let her go until she was no longer fighting him. When he released her, he let her crumble to the floor. They shouted their rage then wrecked the room and walked out.”

Silence grew as Traven weighed in his mind what she just admitted.

“I had to hide as Brady heard me in the kitchen. He came looking for me and I was afraid he would find me but then Matty called to him saying they had to get out of there before they were discovered.” She paused and said, “After they were gone, I went into the living room to check on my mom and that’s when I started screaming. I just couldn’t stop.” She turned her face into his chest and sniffled. “I didn’t see the neighbors break in or the police when they got there. I didn’t know anything until I woke up sitting on my dad’s lap. I think the doctors said I’d gone into shock and would probably not remember finding my mom, but that wasn’t the reason I couldn’t remember that day. I couldn’t remember that day because I saw my own brothers murder my mom.”

Traven shook his head and tightened his lips. What kind of sons murdered their own mother?

Suddenly, Winter pushed up off his chest and tried to sit up.

For some reason, he didn’t like that she was getting up. He stared at her for a moment before he asked, “What are you doing?”

“I think I can sleep now, maybe I should let you go back to your own bed.”

“And where are you going to sleep?” he asked. “In case you didn’t notice, Will and his dog are sleeping in your bed.”

She snorted. “Oh, I noticed. And in case you may be deaf or something, you will note that he snores terribly. I can go to his room and catch a nap.”

“Or you could come with me, back to my room,” he offered softly. He even felt startled by his own suggestion.

With a small gasp, she snapped her head around to glare at him.

Traven loved seeing the fire back in her green eyes as he held up his hands. “Just to sleep, I promise. But you have to keep your hands to yourself. No touching the goods,” he teased.

Winter just glared at him.

He realized it was a bold offer and he fully expected a slap in the face for it, from this particular girl. He prepared himself to feel the sting.

Cocking her head at him, she asked hesitantly, “Wouldn’t you be inconvenienced? Like having another person in your bed and all?”

“No, I have a large bed.”

She chuckled and sat back a bit to look him over. “Yeah, I imagine so. Just look at you.”

He ignored her comment as he assumed she would start with the tall and spooky shit again. “Come on, we both need some sleep.” He got to his feet with her in his arms and walked through the adjoining door. He laid her down on one side of the bed and walked around to get in himself on the other side.

Leaving her wrapped up in her own blanket, he hauled her close to him. He turned his head, brushed his lips on her forehead, and whispered, “Sleep now. Its going to be a short night as it is.”

She snuggled into her blanket and laid her head on his chest. The sound of his heartbeat echoing in her ear put her to sleep.

Traven felt restless though, as he laid there in the dark and stared at the ceiling. He thought about what she’d told him earlier.

He knew they needed to dig into this group, the Black Thorn. He would have to get Heathen to try and connect the Thorn group with Widowmaker and his little group of cutthroats. He always thought the group named after weapons were connected to a much larger group but so far, they hadn’t found anything. Maybe with Winter and Will’s help, they could connect the dots finally.

He knew these groups relied on staying hidden for a reason and like he told Luna and her man Deuce, everything was nothing more than layers, always layers, you get through the first layer, and there are always more underneath. Hidden until they were exposed.

At least, they had a name now, to start with. The Black Thorn. He couldn’t help but wonder what else they would find, now that they knew where to start looking.

He closed his eyes and leaned his head on top of hers. Sleep found him quickly and they both slept through the rising of the sun a few hours later.


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