“To take over from The Family,” Donnie said.
“I thought you guys were supposed to be dangerous? Feared?” Raine looked at each of them without even flinching. Luiz admired her spirit. He only wished it hadn’t come at the loss of another person she held dear.
When she had told Xander that she loved him, he’d been struck by jealousy, and he hated that. His friend had been dying, and even though he looked at peace, Luiz had hated himself. Xander was a good man, a troubled man, and now he was gone, not knowing how much Luiz loved him and respected him.
“We are,” Donnie said.
“Clearly not that well for some distant relative to have a go,” Raine said. “You take out all threats.”
“How much do you know about us?” Donnie asked.
“Everything. Xander told me everything. He figured my life was fucked up enough that I had a right to know what I was getting myself into.” She grabbed the ID, and he saw the hatred in her eyes. “When you find these people, I want to be there.”
“No,” he, Tonio, Jake, and Donnie said in unison.
“Why not?” Raine asked.
“You’re a woman. We can’t allow that.”
“You’re being sexist now?” Zara asked, looking at Tonio.
“We don’t want her getting hurt,” Tonio said.
“I’m fine. I can handle myself.”
“Your face is bruised, and you were struggling,” Luiz said. “You could have easily been killed. I told you to go with Christie. To run, to get out.”
“I made sure she was safe, but by the time I got there, someone was already trying to get in, Luiz. It wasn’t a good plan.”
Luiz turned to his friends. “I’m sorry that I’ve kept this part of my life secret. I need some time to talk to Raine.”
“We want to meet her, Luiz,” Donnie said. “You didn’t have to keep her from us.”
“Raine is right. We could have protected them all here. Xander would have had backup.”
“See, even your friends agree with me.”
Luiz hated that they were all right. He’d fucked up, and miscalculated. All he’d wanted to do was protect them, and instead, he’d gotten his friend killed.
After seeing his friends out, he entered the kitchen to find Raine breaking into his stash of whiskey.
“Do you think that is wise to do?”
“I’m covered in blood. My face hurts. I’ve been attacked, almost killed, and I just had a friend die in my arms. Yeah, this is the most sensible and wise thing I’ve done all week.” She poured herself out a shot, and downed it in one gulp. “Are you ashamed of us?”
“What? Where the fuck did that come from?” he asked.
“I’m just curious. Your friends seem nice. Understanding and they like me. I was wondering if you were ashamed of your past. Of me and Christie, or of all of us.” She put the glass down on the counter, and turned toward him. “Well?”
“I’m not ashamed of you.”
“Then what the fuck is it, Luiz?”
“Right now, I really don’t care if Christie hears me. We’ve been through hell tonight. I’m covered in another man’s blood, and that of Xander. Nothing about tonight is all right. Don’t you get that?”
“What can I say to make this all right?”
“Nothing. That’s the thing. There is nothing for you to say, or do that is going to make this okay,” she said.
“I’m not ashamed of you.”
“Really? Because right now I’m starting to think that you are. You had a kid when you were a teenager, Luiz.”
“I’m not ashamed of Christie, okay? I’m ashamed of myself.”
Seconds passed, and she folded her arms. “Now you’re going to have to explain that shit,” she said.
“I fucked up. I’m no good for you. Don’t you see that? From the moment I was born I had blood on my hands. I’m not good for you, for Christie, or for Xander.”
“Is it? Look at me, Raine. I can kill a man, and I don’t care.”
“I just killed a man!”
“Yeah, and you’re shaking. You look fucking crazy, Raine. You’re not like me.” He reached out, grabbing her arms. “You’re good. I’m not.”
She shoved him hard.
Luiz took the pain, wanting her to lash out at him. He would ruin her if given the chance. The more she hit him, the more he embraced it.
“You killed him!”
“I did. I did this, Raine, and I can’t let you get away from me.” He grabbed the back of her head, holding her still as he slammed his lips down on hers.
She tasted heavenly. He felt like a drowning man, and she was his fountain of water.
One second Luiz was kissing her, and the next, he was carrying her through his bedroom toward the en-suite bathroom. Raine slammed her fists against his back, wanting him to put her down.
It was all just too much.
Xander was gone.
Her best friend, her second father, was completely gone, and she didn’t know how to handle that. Then Luiz was kissing her, and she wanted those kisses more than anything. She craved the feel of his lips against hers.
“Let me go!”
“No, never.” He put her down after he’d shut the bathroom door, and she fell, landing in a heap at his feet.
“You can argue with me, bitch, moan, and even use your claws on me, but I will take care of you.”
“Fuck you!” In her heartache, Raine struggled to gain any control over her language. She was hurting, and it was all because of Luiz.
“One day, you will.”
For a few seconds she didn’t know what he meant, and when he looked her body up and down, she glared. “You’re not going to touch me.”
“Oh yes I am. You’ll let me as well, so don’t even for a second pretend that it’s not something you want.”
“I don’t want you near me.”
“Right now I accept that. You and I, this was meant to be, and now I know what Xander was talking about the past couple of years.”
She frowned. “What?”