Taking Back His Bride

1

Brooks

’Til death do us part.

The ring twists around my finger as my thumb toys with it. It’s not fancy, just a plain gold band. Thick. Dinged-up a little from all those times wearing it when you’re not supposed to wear jewelry. Hard, heavy machine labor or winching pipeline together. Even with gloves on, you’re supposed to take your wedding ring off for that shit. Never know what might catch. Best case is, you fuck up your ring. Worst case, you lose a finger.

But I’ve never taken it off. Ever. I carried it with me, and with it, I carried her.

My heart. My everything. My one desire. My obsession.

…My wife.

Ex-wife.

The word slices through me, and my lips curl into a snarl. My eyes flash heat and fire as I turn to look out over the glittering jewel of the city beneath us. Leanna is down there somewhere. And tonight, my sole mission is to find her, and claim her.

Again.

For richer or for poorer.

The dull mechanical whirring of the luxury helicopter with my name on the side of it rattles through me as the pilot banks to the left. San Francisco grows larger as we start to descend, lights glittering out over the dark Pacific Ocean. I adjust the Rolex on my wrist before my hands smooth down the fabric of my suit—all the trappings of the new me that still don’t feel real. I twist the ring again, my jaw setting.

It’s the last part of the old me. The battered, dinged-up gold wedding band is the last piece of me from before. Blue collar me, before the birth of my new company and the wealth and power that came with it. Naïve me, who thought forever meant forever.

I don’t know which is worse, actually. The first cut that came when I was told she was leaving me. Hundreds of miles out at sea stuck on that oil rig, and I find out with a single phone call that the woman of my dreams was filing for divorce.

But then, the second cut. And the second cut may just slice deeper. That cut came two days ago, with another phone call that rocked me to my core.

…I’d been lied to.

There is no divorce, forced through by a judge in my absence. There is no ex-wife. There’s only Leanna.

My one. My only. My everything. My wife.

I’ve been gone for three years, sent away to work on her father’s oil rig. The man never liked me. Never thought I was good enough for his princess of a daughter. He may have even been right. But sending me away with the job on one of his rigs was one thing.

…Lying to me and tearing us apart a year ago is another altogether.

For a year now, I’ve burned in the fires of betrayal. I’ve forged myself anew in those flames, quitting Leanna’s father’s firm and setting out on my own to start my own resources surveying and drilling company. I’ve gone from barely having a cent to my name to having more zeroes in my bank account than I know what to do with. I’ve gone from oil-rig roughneck to boardroom suit-and-tie warrior.

…And not a single day went by without her being at the center of my mind.

Three years ago, I was forced to leave. A year ago, I thought I lost her. Two days ago, I learned the truth. And tonight, I’m back to claim what’s mine.

Tonight, wherever she is, I’ll find her. Tonight, these rough hands will hold her again, and this time, I’ll bring down heaven and hell before I let anyone take her away from me again. Tonight, I’ll taste those full, plump lips and that smooth, soft skin that I’ve been dreaming of tasting again for years.

The engine roars as the pilot holds position, lowering us down onto the helipad of the skyscraper beneath us. I can feel my pulse roaring like crude oil in my veins. My jaw clenches, and fire burns in my eyes. My skin tingles, and my hands clench, as if they know they’re going to have her in them again soon. My cock thickens, pulsing against my thigh at the anticipation of having her again.

I’m back, and I’m three times the man I was before. I don’t know if she was a part of it. I don’t know if she’s moved on or found someone else.

Frankly, I don’t give a shit.

Because tonight, even if I have to throw her over my shoulder and steal her away like a goddamn caveman, Leanna is going to be mine again.

Tonight, I’m taking back my bride, and I’ll burn this whole fucking city down to get her if I have to.