Lowlander Silverback(6)

By: T. S. Joyce






Chapter Two




Kong clenched his fists and barely avoided slamming the door to the office as he blasted out into the hallway. He could kill Rhett for talking to Layla like that. Damn it all, he wished he could kill both him and Kirk. The punishment would be death, though, or he would’ve challenged both of them and ended this shit years ago.

“Where did you go?” Rhett asked from the mouth of the hallway. His blue eyes were narrowed in an accusatory glare.

Kong knocked against his shoulder as he passed him. “To apologize to the lady you just verbally maimed in front of everyone.”

“She isn’t yours to protect, Kong.”

“No shit,” Kong growled out, turning and slamming him against the wall. He pressed his forearm against Rhett’s neck and wanted to choke the life out of the prick. “I never said she was. You can’t act like that here. This isn’t the family group where you can just talk down to whoever you want. It’s a bar full of humans. You’ll expose us and worse. She isn’t your submissive, you fucking dick.” Kong released his throat and pushed off him.

“Fiona will hear about this.”

“Great. Tell her I had to smooth over your actions, yet again. I’m sure she’ll love to hear you snitch for the billionth time, Rat.”

“It’s Rhett, and I ain’t no snitch. It’s my job to make sure you keep your focus.”

“Snitching is your job, Rhett. Don’t twist it around in your head to make what you do noble.”

“You know, you should be thanking me. You could have way worse guards than me and Kirk.”

Guards. That word made him want to punch gaping holes through the sheetrock. Everyone had it wrong about the Lowlanders. Rhett and Kirk weren’t his crew. They were his handlers, controlling every move he made.

“Look, you were the one who wanted to leave Oregon,” Rhett said low. “I get it. A dominant silverback like you needs to roam until he’s called to rule the family group. But you decided to live in this shithole town, Kong. Not me and not Kirk.”

“Then leave,” Kong said through an empty smile. “What’s stopping you?”

“Duty. Fiona and the girls don’t deserve tainted seed. You signed the abstinence contract—”

“Was forced to sign it—”

“You signed it, and you’ll uphold your duty. And what are you fucking complaining about, man? Any male would give their left nut to be in your position. When Fiona calls for you, you’re going to be the highest ranking silverback in the world. In the world. Fucking King Kong.” Rhett shook his head and laughed a humorless sound. “You get to breed the females. All you’ll have to do is eat and sleep and make babies and fight. What else could you possibly want out of life?”

Layla.

Kong shook his head and left the hallway. Trying to explain his desire for a single mate to Rhett was pointless. The guard was born a diehard gorilla shifter, drinking the same shit punch the family groups fed all their young. Kong wanted more, though. He wanted to feel. He wanted it to matter when he bedded a woman. He didn’t want to bounce from bed to bed for the sheer goal of getting the females pregnant. Did he want kids? Hell yeah. He wanted a little baby so bad he stayed up nights thinking about it. He wanted a family of his own more than anything. It was natural for a mature silverback to crave that. But he didn’t want a bunch of kids he wasn’t allowed to co-parent with their mothers.

For the millionth time, he wished he’d been born a bear shifter. They were his friends. He had watched the Ashe Crew and the Gray Backs with their mates, and he wanted that badly.

At least if he’d been born a bear shifter, he could choose his mate.

But the dominant gorilla inside of him and the birthmark on his back had dictated his destiny from infancy.

What else could he possibly want from life? To have a conversation with an un-claimed woman without catching shit from his crew. To take Layla on a date instead of just watching her when his crew wasn’t looking. To kiss her, and hug her when she was crying. To help her through whatever awful thing would make a tough woman like her cry in the corner of that ratty office. To talk to her without having to be rude for the sake of Rhett and Kirk. They would hurt her the second they suspected he harbored feelings for the curvy blond human bartender that he’d been watching from a distance for the last three years.

What could he possibly want?

Layla, holding a baby he put in her.

Life didn’t work like that for a marked silverback, though.

****

In a daze, Layla stumbled back out to the bar and relieved Jake from making drinks by himself. People were pouring in, and the Beck Brothers were set to start performing any minute now. Nate, the cook, was running ragged with orders in the kitchen, and the minute Layla stepped behind the bar, she was bombarded with drink orders.

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