Mariana Zapata

“I hadn't told him the news yet, but in that same preternatural way he was always aware of what I was feeling or thinking, he could smell my lies a mile away. He was just giving me time to come to him.

To tell him I'd be baking his bun for the next seven and a half months.

''I'm okay."

Dex's chuckle filled my ears as he wrapped his arms around my chest from behind, his chin resting on the top of my head. "Just okay?"

He was taunting me, I knew it.
This man never did anything without a reason. And this reason had him resembling a mama bear. A really aggressive, possessive mama bear. Which said something because Dex was normally that way. I couldn't even sit around Mayhem without him or Sonny within ten feet.

I leaned my head back against his chest and laughed. "Yeah, just okay."

He made a humming noise deep in his throat. "Ritz," he drawled in that low voice that reached the darkest parts of my organs. "You're killin' me, honey."

Oh boy.

Did I want to officially break the news on the side of the road with chunks of puke possibly still on my face? Nah. So I went with the truth. "I have it all planned out in my head. I already ordered the cutest little toy motorcycle to tell you, so don't ruin it."

A loud laugh burst out of his chest, so strong it rocked my body alongside his. I friggin' loved this guy. Every single time he laughed, I swear it multiplied. At this rate, I loved him more than my own life cubed, and then cubed again.

"All right," he murmured between these low chuckles once he'd calmed down a bit. His fingers trailed over the skin of the back of my hand until he stopped at my ring finger and squeezed the slender bone. "I can be patient."

That earned him a laugh from me. Patience? Dex? Even after more than three years, that would still never be a term I'd use to describe him. And it probably never would. He'd started to lose his shit during our layover when Trip had called for instructions on how to set the alarm at the new bar.

"Dex, Ris, and Baby Locke, you done?" Sonny yelled, peeping out from over the top of the car door.

"Are you friggin' kidding me?" I yelled back. Did everyone know?

That slow, seductive smile crawled over his features. Brilliant and more affectionate than it was possible for me to handle, it sucked the breath out of me. When he palmed my cheeks and kissed each of my cheeks and nose and forehead, slowly like he was savoring the pecks and the contact, I ate it all up. Like always, and just like I always would.

And he answered the way I knew he would every single time I asked him from them on, the way that told me he would never let me down. That he was an immovable object. That he'd always be there for me to battle the demons we could see and the invisible ones we couldn't.

"Fuckin' love you, Iris," he breathed against my ear, an arm slinking around my lower back to press us together. "More than anything.”


Mariana Zapata, Under Locke
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Under Locke Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
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