My muscles pulled tighter, bracing myself in the building chaos I couldn’t remember ever experiencing before.
At least, not before this past year.
His deep voice called to me, but I barely heard it under the onslaught of waves. I was too focused on trying to single out the culprit of it all.
It wasn’t Voyeur. It wasn’t missing the Twelve Naughty Nights event. I wasn’t even sure if it had to do with Kent leaving again. If I really thought about it—if I really forced myself to be honest—it was the fact that I’d start my stupid period any day now, and I.
I’d hoped facing it would make the other emotions fade away—leaving me with just one, but I was wrong. As soon as I saw the disappointment, it shifted to anger, bleeding away to sadness, slipping from my grasp, getting lost in the storm all over again, leaving me exactly where I started.
I wanted to slam my fists on the table and scream. I wanted to demand he stay with me. I wanted to demand he take me to Voyeur. I wanted to demand he kept me by his side until I didn’t hate my goddamn uterus so much.
Emotions piled on top of others that bubbled up from a place I’d been shoving them since I quit taking my birth control. Emotions I’d never had to deal with in my overly simple life. Emotions I had no clue how to handle.
They almost swallowed me whole.
I hated them. I hated that they were so damn big. I hated that they pulled at my muscles, urging me to react. Part of me wanted to give in, to lash out and let someone else pick up the pieces. But it would be too big—too messy—to pick up all the pieces in the small amount of time I had with my husband.
So, instead, I took a deep breath and shoved them back with the promise I’d deal with them later.
It was just that later always seemed better than me opening my pandora’s box of emotions and unleashing the Kraken and admitting all my fears and inability to control them to the man I wanted to be the best for.
“Okay,” I said with a nod and stood to gather the plates.
I’d barely made it two steps before his hand shackled around my wrist. I looked to my always smiling husband to find his eyes almost as black as night under pinched brows. “Don’t you fucking dare, Olivia Kent.”
“Don’t what?” she asked barely above a whisper.
My beautiful wife watched me with storms lingering behind her normally brilliant blue eyes, dulling them to a shade of gray I hated seeing—a shade I saw more frequently these past few months. I knew she struggled with something, but she hadn’t brought it up.
Part of me wanted to tie her to the bed and spank her until she begged to tell me. The rational part knew how deep Olivia’s pride went and had enough confidence in our marriage to know she would come to me when she was ready. But I’d be lying if I tried to deny that the longer I saw the clouds darken her gaze without her confiding in me, the more my worry grew.
So, I bit back the demand don’t you fucking dare hide from me anymore and settled for something a little safer. “Don’t you dare walk away from me.”
“I’m just cleaning up dinner.”
I glared at her blatant lie.
“Kent, I get it, okay?” she finally said. “I’m just in a pissy mood and don’t want to sit here and pout about it. So, I’m being productive instead.”
It was a half-truth, and my mind tried to work overtime to fill in the gaps about what had her in so many pissy moods, but I shut them down. Instead, focusing on what I did know and what I could fix.
Without letting go of her wrist, I stood from my chair, crowding her petite body under my height. Not that it made her cower. No. My wife stood tall with her chin high in the air, her blonde hair shining like a beacon under my shadow.
“The thing is, Olivia,” I said softly, taking the plates from her to put back on the table. “I like you pissy.” Her eyes narrowed and continued to hold mine even as I took step after step, backing her up until she bumped into the kitchen island. “Want to know why?”
“Not really,” she answered, barely getting the words out past a thick swallow.
I breathed a laugh, taunting her with my slow smile. “Because while you see your immaturity as a weakness, I see it as a reason to feel your bare ass under my palm.” The dark clouds cleared, and her eyes blazed back to life like an electrical fire. “I love when you’re a little brat, so I have the opportunity to watch your soft skin flush hot, burning red in the shape of my palm.”