“I’m okay,” Dex said, staring off at nothing in particular.
Sloane tipped Dex’s head back and searched his gaze. If anyone could see past the brave front, it was Sloane. Dex was resilient, the one everyone leaned on and turned to when they needed help. He was the shoulder they cried on. The white knight ready to charge into battle.
“Let me take care of you,” Sloane pleaded softly, placing a kiss to Dex’s brow.
Dex closed his eyes and nodded. His body visibly relaxed as Sloane began to wash him. First his hair, which was getting a little long, falling roguishly over one side of his brow when he didn’t run gel through it, then his neck and shoulders. Sloane worked his way down Dex’s body, making sure to soap him up good yet very tenderly. His beautiful skin was marred by ugly bruises, scrapes, and cuts. When he reached Dex’s fingers, Sloane was especially careful. The bandages came off, and Sloane was forced to bite down on his bottom lip to keep himself from cursing. The dark splotches under his nails would take time to disappear. Once he was done soaping Dex up, he led him under the shower to rinse him off. Dex opened his eyes but didn’t look at Sloane. He was lost somewhere in his thoughts. Sloane placed a kiss to Dex’s shoulder before he quickly showered, then got them both out of the tub. He dried them off, wrapping Dex in a big fluffy towel afterward.
In the bedroom, Sloane got dressed in a pair of pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. He made sure to find Dex’s softest, most comfortable T-shirt and pajama bottoms to dress him in.
“My feet are cold.”
Dex’s voice was so quiet, Sloane wouldn’t have heard him if he hadn’t been a Therian and standing so close.
“No problem,” Sloane replied with a smile. He kissed the tip of Dex’s nose and grabbed a few pairs of socks and presented them to Dex. “Okay, we’ve got rubber duckies, cheeseburgers, happy toast, sushi, the Mona Lisa, or Superman.”
Dex pointed to one of the pairs.
“Duckies it is.”
With a smile, Sloane returned the rest of the socks to the drawer exactly where he’d found them and then slipped Dex’s rubber ducky socks onto his feet. Dex stared at his socks. He was still for so long, Sloane was worried something had happened. He reached for Dex’s shoulder when Dex shook himself and slipped off the bed.
It was music to Sloane’s ears. He followed Dex downstairs to the kitchen, keeping a close eye on him just in case. It was still surprisingly early. Barely seven in the evening. He was relieved to see Dex still had an appetite.
Sloane moved with Dex around the kitchen as they prepared themselves some sandwiches, and they ate them in the living room in front of the TV. The sense of normalcy felt good and was clearly what Dex needed right now. Maybe Sloane’s luck was changing for the better, because one of the TV stations was running a marathon of Back to the Future, one of Dex’s favorites. No matter how many times he watched it, Dex never tired of it. He loved quoting the movie yet laughed as if he were watching it for the first time. Sloane was about to return their empty plates to the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Dex flinched, and Sloane placed his hand to Dex’s shoulder.
“I’ll get it.” Shit. What now?
Sloane answered the door, stumbling back so as not to get whacked by it when it swung open. Maddock marched in, looking more pissed than Sloane had ever seen him.
“Where is he?” Maddock barked.
Sloane held his hands up in front of him in the hopes of getting Maddock to calm down.
“Sarge, now’s not a good time. Please. He’s—”
Maddock shoved Sloane hard against the wall. His fingers curled around Sloane’s T-shirt, and his gaze bore into Sloane’s, nostrils flaring. When he spoke it was a low, fierce growl.
“Boy, you will stay the hell out of my way if you know what’s good for you, or I swear on my daddy’s grave I will beat the shit out of you.”
Sloane swallowed hard. There was no doubt in his mind that if he even hinted at getting between Maddock and Dex he would be on the floor and in pain within seconds.
More to come soon! Pre-order June 8th. Release Day July 8th.
For a chance to win a signed THIRDS paperback of your choice, just leave a comment here on the blog telling me what your favorite patterned socks are. Giveaway ends Tues, May 10th, at 11:59 PM Eastern US time.