Raw Redemption (Crossing the Line #4)

Raw Redemption (Crossing the Line #4)

Tessa Bailey

For every single reader who came along

on the Crossing the Line series ride.

Chapter One

Henrik could only get himself off in the shower.

Something about the white noise of liquid pelting the plastic curtain, the bathtub floor. The gurgle of the drain as it sucked down blood-tinged water, courtesy of that evening’s underground fight. He was removed from the world when he stood inside the shower stall that barely allowed for his height and bulk. Even now, as Henrik stroked the erection he’d been sporting since the match ended, his elbow occasionally slammed into the hollow wall. If he kept this pace up, there would be a hole in the tile by the time he finally climaxed.

Now, that would be an interesting one to explain to his landlord.

His torment could be over in seconds if he pictured the girl. The girl. The f*cking girl. Always with him, like fingertips whispering over his skin.

A flash of red hair and hazel eyes filtered through his mind and Henrik groaned, the flesh in his hand swelling to the point of agony. This time, the pleasure-pain was laced with guilt. The prevailing reason he escaped to the shower every time he needed to relieve the pressure between his legs. He had no right using the single memory he’d created in her presence to find completion. Not only did it make him a depraved human being, but it didn’t exactly speak well of his sanity.

One sentence. She’d spoken a mere ten words in that light, melodic voice and that alone—that single encounter—had been enough to make him throw his career as a Chicago police officer away. Given the option of prison time or working with a team of ex-convicts formed by his captain to stop crime from the inside, Henrik had signed his soul away to that group of six devils, of which he was now the seventh.

Ailish O’Kelly hadn’t asked him to destroy the evidence that implicated her in the crimes of her father, but he’d thought of the beautiful yet fatigued girl walking in the park. Thought of her in that conservative green dress, the way she’d taken his measure with just a hint of feminine appreciation. And he’d been unable to watch her take the fall. Mentally incapable. Physically repelled. No way could he see that girl in handcuffs.

So he’d burned anything that could put her behind bars. Hell, he’d taken sick pleasure in the task. Protecting her. Even if she’d never know it.

But what if she did know?

This was where his depravity kicked in. Henrik wasn’t a man who thrived on accolades. Shit, he’d joined the dark side with his eyes wide open, knowing the potential outcome. Losing his badge, his livelihood, everyone he called a friend. Even the respect of his family. Yeah, gratefulness was never something Henrik required, but a grateful Ailish O’Kelly? His body responded to that notion in a fast, fluid rush.

He braced his left hand on the slick wall and quickened the pace of his strokes, the choking circle of his hand traveling from heavy balls to engorged tip roughly three times per second. Hell, if jerking off were an Olympic sport, he would have taken home enough gold medals in recent months to fill every closet in his apartment.

“Jesus Christ,” Henrik gritted out, wishing he could finish without what came next. If he could orgasm just once without thinking of Ailish, maybe he could fall asleep that night without feeling like an unredeemable son of a bitch. But no, no, the weighted sack suspended between his thighs wouldn’t be coaxed into emptying without thinking of the sweet redhead.

He always pictured them in the park, the one and only place they’d ever shared oxygen. This time, she came toward him with a knowing look, her eyelids drooping low to cover half of those bright hazel orbs that defied their plain four-letter name. Eyes. No, this girl didn’t simply have eyes. She had torture devices. They held intelligence and inexperience at the same time, enough of both qualities to stun him silent. Closer. She was closer now. Running slender hands up and over her swaying hips. As always in his fantasies, she knew what he’d done. Knew he’d protected her name, her life. Knew he would never ask for anything in return.

But she wanted to give it to him anyway.

Henrik groaned as moisture pearled on the tip of his dick and was quickly washed away by the raining shower. No going back now. She’d reached him on the sidewalk at the park’s edge and the world around them had suspended its animation. Everything frozen but the two of them, even the street sounds and characteristic Chicago wind. She stopped an inch away and slipped those delicate hands up his stomach, his pecs.

“I’ve been thinking about you,” Ailish murmured.

The very idea of him appearing in her head sent a jolt of need to his loins, forcing him to tighten his fist and pump with more force. Apparently, his imaginary self was easy like that. “You have?”

The gorgeous redhead gave him a shy nod. “You protected me.” Her eyes raked up and down his body. Liking what she saw? Since this was his fantasy, Henrik was going with hell yeah. “If I needed protecting again, could you keep me safe…with your body?”

“Yes,” Henrik rasped, the sincere affirmation bouncing off the shower walls. “I’d do whatever was needed. Nothing could stop me.”

Black eyelashes swept down to hide her eyes before revealing them once more, the impact almost knocking him back a step. “Could you show me right now?”

Henrik’s bracing hand curled into a shaking fist on the shower wall as the second self in his mind stooped down and picked up Ailish. One forearm beneath her ass was all it took, her lips parting on a whimper as both feet left the ground. She clung to his shirt collar, seeming a little unsure. But ah f*ck, then she sneaked her thighs up around his hips, all slow and mischievous. Not quite snuggling his cock, but close enough that her heat reached through his fly and sucked.

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