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Empire of Ruin
Bonus Scene

Gage

I walk into the house in the late afternoon, after having stopped at Sin and Salvation to do a bit of work.

There’s always more work to do, and the more our business grows, the more there probably will be.

I don’t mind that, though. We’ve carved out a bigger place for ourselves in Detroit, earning the respect of our allies and the fear of our enemies, and seeing both the legal and illegal sides of our business thrive brings me a feeling of deep satisfaction. Danger will always be an unavoidable part of our lives, but now more than ever, I finally feel like I can do what matters most to me: keep the people I love safe.

Harley barks excitedly as I close the front door behind me, his nails tapping against the floor as he runs up to greet me. I bend down to scratch his ears, and he tilts his head to one side, leaning into my touch while his back leg flails a little as if it thinks its the thing doing the scratching. Letting his tongue loll out of one side of his mouth, he makes a happy little growling sound.

“Easy to please as always,” I murmur, chuckling softly. “Good dog.”

His back leg flails harder, and when I stop scratching him and stand up, he shakes out his fur and then trots away toward the kitchen.

I texted Ash before I left the club, and he told me that he and Knox were still out with Cody on their trip to the aquarium. Knox started talking about cool sharks are the other day, and Cody was instantly intrigued. He peppered Knox with a million questions until finally Ash suggested that they take him to the aquarium to show him—especially since, by that point, Knox had started making up some very dubiously accurate “facts” about sharks.

Honestly, I’m sure the two of them will enjoy the aquarium just as much as Cody will. I would’ve gone with them myself, but I wanted to get a few things done at the club before our lives are thrown into upheaval by the arrival of the newest member of our little family.

River and Priest stayed home, and the house is quiet except for the sound of the dog drinking from his bowl in the kitchen and the sound of music coming from the piano room.

I move toward the sound, recognizing the song as I get closer. It’s the one that River and Priest often play together.

It’s never been written down or anything, as far as I know, and it changes and grows and builds every time they play it. But the heart of the song, the core melody of it, stays the same.

As I step into the doorway and lean against the frame, River misses a note, her finger hitting the wrong key or something. I can’t see her face from where I’m standing, but I can picture her scrunching up her nose as she sighs. She’s sitting on Priest’s lap, the bench set away from the piano a bit to give them room, and I catch the movement of her arm as she takes her fingers off the keys and pats her stomach.

“My belly is in the way,” she groans. “It’s always in the way.”

Priest takes his hands off the keys too, running them over her very pregnant belly.

“It’s not in the way of anything,” he murmurs, nuzzling at her.

“That’s easy for you to say,” she grumbles. “You’re not the one carrying it around.”

She’s not really upset, and we all know her well enough to know that. But these last few weeks have been harder on her as she nears her due date. I think she’s a bit tired of being pregnant, although she’s done an amazing job of it.

Neither of them speaks for a few moments, but I can see Priest’s hands move downward. When River’s head tips back as she lets out a little moan a second later, I know exactly what’s happening with his deft fingers between her legs.

I cross my arms and tilt my head, enjoying the show for a little while longer before I finally speak in a low voice.

“Well, this is a nice sight to come home to.”

River looks over Priest’s shoulder at me, her blue eyes heating as she squirms a little on his lap.

“Oh good, you’re… ahh…” She trails off for a moment, biting her lip, then picks up where she left off.

“You’re back.” She arches a brow. “Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to come over here? Because I’m not getting up.”

“Hmm. I was enjoying the show, but for you?” I press away from the door frame. “I’ll go wherever you ask me to, baby girl.”

I cross the room and lean down, kissing her forehead and then her lips.

“Hi, handsome,” she murmurs, her lips chasing mine for one more kiss.

“Welcome back,” Priest adds.

River and I separate, and she tilts her head to kiss Priest as I put one hand on her belly, rubbing it as a way to greet the child growing inside and try to soothe River a bit.

She’s wearing a maternity dress that would normally come to her mid-thighs, but Priest has drawn the fabric up around her waist to allow him access to her pussy. When their kiss breaks, he turns the two of them a little where they’re seated on the piano bench, coaxing River’s legs to spread a little wider so I can get a better view as he fingers her.

Pulling the crotch of her panties to the side with one hand, he sinks his fingers deep into her pussy, and River arches as much as she can, letting her head fall back against his shoulder.

“Fuck, baby,” I breathe. “You’re gorgeous.”

It’s a beautiful fucking view, and I take it in, watching as the pretty pink folds of River’s pussy get wetter and wetter, and the way she squirms in Priest’s lap.

My cock is already hard from the sight of it, and I reach down, stroking myself a little through my pants.

I fucked River just this morning before I headed out for the day, but I’m hungry for her all over again. Seeing her pregnant is such a fucking turn on, and one that I didn’t expect. Plus, our girl has been insatiable lately—she’s been that way through most of her pregnancy, but especially lately.

Ash joked the other day that it’s a good thing she has four men who love her, because it takes all four of us to keep our little sex fiend satisfied. And he wasn’t wrong.

We’ve been taking turns giving her what she needs, either in groups or singly, and it still doesn’t seem like enough sometimes.

River arches against Priest while I watch, and it’s just such a stunning sight that I’m tempted to get out my phone and record it like we did that one time just after she found out she was pregnant. This is the kind of thing I’d be happy to watch on an endless loop, although I don’t really need a camera for that. I’ve spent so many hours memorizing River’s body that all I’d have to do is close my eyes to summon up a perfect image of her, down to every last freckle and curve.

“Look at you,” I murmur gruffly, raking my gaze up her body to meet her eyes. “You’re so fucking needy. So ready. I remember telling you we should keep you tied to the bed so we can fuck you whenever we want, and I bet you’d love that now, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes,” she moans, squirming on Priest’s lap as her legs open wider. “Fuck yes. God, I can’t get enough.”

“We’ve noticed.” Priest chuckles, sliding his fingers deeper inside her before drawing them out to circle her clit. “Maybe we should get you a nice vibrator and strap you in with it.”

“Not enough,” River gasps, shaking her head. “I need you.”

"Like this?” He starts to finger-fuck her harder, and my cock throbs at the sound that spills from River’s throat. “You’d rather have my fingers stuffed deep inside you while Gage watches your greedy pussy try to swallow them up? Yeah?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes…”

She nods fervently, biting her bottom lip as her words turn into a throaty moan.

“Are you gonna come for him?” I prompt, licking my lips as I squeeze my cock through my pants. “You gonna come for us?”

“Yes. Keep going. Just like that. Just—fuck!”

Her chest heaves, her legs shaking as the orgasm hits her. Her entire body shudders softly as the pleasure sweeps through her, and Priest doesn’t stop touching her.

“You’re so wet for us,” he whispers. “So needy.”

“Wait,” I say, my brows pulling together as my gaze drops back down to her pussy.

Priest is right. She is wet, but much wetter than usual. She doesn’t usually gush like that, although we’ve gotten her to do it a few times.

This looks different, though. It looks like—

River’s head snaps up, and her eyes widen. “Holy shit. My water just broke.”

Hearing her say the words snaps me out of my haze of lust and into what Ash calls my “control freak mode” immediately. River blinks at me with a shocked look on her face as Priest sits up a little straighter behind her. For one long second, none of us move or say anything, and then I spring into motion.

“Priest, help her get ready,” I say, nodding to him as I head for door. “The go bag is in the closet. I’ll grab it, then call Knox and Ash.”

Priest nods and helps River up, speaking to her in a low voice as he takes her upstairs to change. I dig my phone out of my pocket and press Ash’s contact first, knowing I’ll probably only have to call one of them since they’re together at the aquarium. He answers after a couple rings, and I don’t bother with any preamble or greetings.

“It’s time,” I tell him. “River’s water broke.”

“Holy shit! Okay. Let me tell Knox.”

He repeats what I just told him in a slightly muffled voice, and there’s a loud “fuck yes!” from Knox that nearly blows out my eardrums even though he’s not the one holding the phone.

“We’ll be there with Cody as soon as we can,” Ash promises.

“Alright. We’re heading to the hospital now. Meet us there.”

I hang up, then pick up the go bag and wait by the door for Priest to come down with River, tapping my foot anxiously. She’s moving slowly, but that can only be expected I guess, considering she’s going into labor.

“You ready?” I ask as they meet me in the entryway.

She huffs a laugh, arching a brow at me as she rests a hand on her swollen belly. “I feel like it would a little late to say I’m not. But yeah, I am.”

“Good.” I catch her chin between my thumb and forefinger, giving her one last kiss before we go. “You’ll do great. We’ve all got your back. We’ll be right there with you.”

I heft the go back over my shoulder, and we head out to the car and pile inside. I break more than a couple traffic laws on the way to the hospital, but I can’t bring myself to care. All I care about is making sure that River is taken care of, and that she has everything she needs as she brings this baby into the world.

The drive takes about twenty minutes, and everything that happens from the moment we reach the hospital and check in is kind of a blur. Usually, I make it a point to remain focused and in control in high pressure situations, but this isn’t the same thing as a shoot-out or taking on some rival gang members—or even taking down the most powerful secret society in Detroit.

This is River, the woman we all love, giving birth. And there’s not much we can do to help her through that besides just be there for her, like I promised we would be.

Ash and Knox show up a little while after they wheel River back into a delivery room. Cody is riding on Knox’s shoulders, looking excited and worried all at the same time.

“Is River okay?” he asks me, his eyes wide as he holds on to fistfuls of Knox’s messy dark hair.

I nod. “She’s going to be fine. She’s going to do great.”

A nurse dressed in scrubs approaches us, and I notice her gaze scan over me and my brothers quickly, as if she’s trying to figure out which one of us is the father. But rather than asking, she just gives a little shake of her head and gestures for us to follow her.

“Come with me. I’ll take you into the delivery suite.”

She leads us down a couple of corridors deeper into the hospital, then has us get scrubbed up so that we can be there with River while she does this incredible thing.

When we enter the room where River was taken, her face is flushed and her hair is matted with sweat already. All of us gather around her, taking turns being the one to stand right by her side as the others keep watch over Cody.

She fights through the contractions, and when she finally starts to push, she grips my hand so tightly that I swear I can feel my bones cracking. I just squeeze her hand right back though, offering silent support as I smooth the hair back from her temples.

When the doctor starts telling River when to push, she shoots him a look like she’s considering taking his head off, and I chuckle at that.

“You’ve got this,” I tell her. “Nothing can stop you. Nothing has ever stopped you.”

River nods and grits her teeth, determination filling her features. She bears down, pushing when the doctor tells her to and then panting for breath when she gets to rest. Her face is red, and she looks exhausted as fuck, but she doesn’t give up.

Of course she doesn’t. I’ve never seen this woman give up on anything, and I doubt she ever will.

“That’s it,” The doctor urges after what feels like a long fucking time. “One more big one.”

“Fuck,” River growls, baring her teeth at him. But she does it, pushing and pushing and pushing… and then something in the atmosphere of the room seems to shift. My breath catches, the air leaving my lungs in a rush as we all hear the first thin cries of the newborn baby.

Our newborn baby.

“It’s a girl,” the doctor declares, cradling the small, wailing creature.

It’s a girl.

She’s so fucking tiny. She looks almost impossibly small in the doctor’s gloved hands, and as the medical team cuts the cord and gets her cleaned up, all I can think is that she’s so fucking beautiful.

Cody gets to come closer once the baby is swaddled, and he beams up at his new adoptive sister, reaching out a finger to touch her little hand.

“She’s so little,” he says, never taking his gaze off her. “And loud.”

River huffs out a laugh as the baby’s cries intensify, and my heart swells with emotion, an overwhelming feeling of protective love filling me. The doctor hands the baby to River, and as she rests against River’s chest, her cries die down.

“Fuck,” Ash breathes from where he stands next to me, reaching a hand up to wipe at his eyes behind his glasses. “She looks so…”

He doesn’t even finish speaking, but he doesn’t need to. I can hear the awe and love in his voice, and those are the same emotions flooding my own chest too. Seeing the two of them together like this, mother and daughter, is fucking amazing.

This is the only girl on the planet any of us could come close to loving as much as River, and I know that we would all fucking burn the world down to keep her safe and happy.

My throat tightens as I lean over and kiss River’s forehead, stroking her hair. The others step closer as well, surrounding her bed on all sides, touching her and kissing her.

“You did so well,” Priest tells her. “You’re amazing.”

“Yeah, you are,” Knox adds, sounding proud. “That was even more impressive than the time when you…” He trails off, glancing at the doctor and then over at Cody before he hastily censors whatever he was going to say. “Uh, never mind.”

“You did it,” Ash whispers, kissing River’s temple and then the baby’s soft head. “Thank you, killer. You’re incredible.”

“Like I said,” I murmur. “You’re a fucking warrior. Our queen.”

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