The Bold and the Dominant

By: Shayla Black

By:Shayla Black & Jenna Jacob & Isabella LaPearl

Chapter One

December 5, four a.m. — Liam’s lodge

“Hammer. Wake up,” a familiar voice whispered in his ear. “There’s a problem.”

Macen “Hammer” Hammerman jackknifed up, the fog of sleep dissipating. Liam O’Neill stood above him, leaning over the bed.

Why the hell was his best friend waking him up in the middle of the night?

With a frown, Hammer rose on one elbow. “What?”

Liam’s stare fell on Raine Kendall in the rumpled bed they’d all shared last night. Hammer glanced at the woman they both loved. Images of her moaning, melting, and writhing between them flashed through Hammer’s brain like a sensual strobe. Thankfully, she was still asleep, her inky lashes fanning over her rosy cheeks.

But Liam’s face tightened, the man’s tense expression giving him pause. “Tell me.”

“She’s exhausted. Let’s not wake her.” He jerked his head at the open door. “Bathroom.”

Hammer scowled. Had something happened after he’d crashed? Had Liam and Raine fought? No, he wouldn’t have slept through that. Whether she was upset or in the throes of passion, she never held back.

What if Liam had reconsidered their arrangement and refused to share her anymore? That idea whacked Macen with fury. After years of denying himself her touch, he couldn’t wait to have her again. If his Irish pal thought she still belonged exclusively to him simply because she’d once worn his collar, he’d lost his fucking mind. Hammer had rescued the scared runaway from an alley and taken care of her for six years. That damn well counted for something.

Besides, Raine needed them both. She’d only begun to lower those towering walls around her heart in the past two days, when they’d finally started working together. Sharing her might be a new arrangement, but he and Liam had been down this path before, though not with her…and not with success. Still, Raine made them better men—and partners. Hammer knew Liam had sensed the same perfection when they’d held her. Would he really want to mess with that?

Before Hammer could say a word, Liam grabbed his trousers, donned them, and stomped to the bathroom.

Hammer brushed his lips over Raine’s forehead. “I won’t let anything or anyone come between us, precious. I promise.”

Feeling a twinge of pain in his jaw where Liam had punched him the night before, Hammer stood and worked it from side to side. Their fight had been inevitable. Jealousy and resentment had brewed for the past month, ever since Liam had taken an interest in Raine. Hopefully, the brawl had finally cleared the air between them.

Sighing, Hammer yanked his pants up and joined Liam, shutting the door behind them. In the light, Macen noticed his friend’s nose was slightly swollen, but neither of them looked too worse for wear.

“I’m listening. What’s the problem?”

Liam sighed. “Gwyneth just called me.”

What did Liam’s ex-wife want? The British beauty looked like every man’s wet dream, but under the pretty exterior, she was his worst nightmare. “You keep in touch with that bitch?”

“Hell no.” Liam reared back. “You know I changed my number after the divorce. I did it so she couldn’t call me.”

“How did she find you, then?”

“No bloody idea.” But he didn’t look thrilled.

“So…she called you. Why is that a problem?”

Liam hesitated. “She’s at Shadows.”

“What?” That declaration jolted away the vestiges of sleep. He raked a hand through his mussed hair. “I thought Gwyneth lived in London. Why did she drag her skanky ass across the pond and park it in my club?”

“She said she needs to see me.” He rolled his eyes.

If his ex-wife simply wanted to shoot the shit—or even ask for more money—she wouldn’t have flown over five thousand miles to do it. Foreboding gonged through Hammer’s gut.

“Any idea why?”

“She says it’s life or death.” Liam sent him a dry stare. “She bawled it, actually.”

If Gwyneth meant her death, it wouldn’t be a huge tragedy.

Hammer crossed his arms over his chest. “And that concerns you how?”

“She wouldn’t explain, just said she needs to see me right away.”

In other words, Gwyneth was staging more theatrics. Hammer scoffed. “Surely you’re not thinking of meeting her.”

“I’d rather not, but I doubt she’ll leave of her own accord, and I can’t think you want to leave her in your club.”

“Not for five minutes. I’ll call Pike and have him kick her out.”