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Monday, 20 April 2015

It was just after nine o‟clock p.m. when JessicaWinters walked out of Twenty
Four Hour Fitness dropped her gym bag into the trunk of her ca, and droveto hertwo bedroom apartment in Iowa City.She pulled into the underground garage, grabbed her things, and headed toward the elevator, r lieved that her roommate, Kellie,was out of town. She‟d have the place to herself for a couple of days, which meant that she wouldn‟t have to listen to the sound of Kellie and
her boyfriend, Jac, going at it in the other room


all hours of the night She had to admit, listening to Kellie when she was havingthose „mind

-

blowing

orgasms‟, as she so fondly called them, wa

s hell.

Especially for someone who‟d decided not to have

sex until she met the „one‟. „The

one‟



who seemed to

be taking his damn sweet time in finding her. 



“You should get y

ourself a vibrator,” said

Kellie

after

Jessica



had confronted her about keeping

t

he noise down the previous weekend. “Maybe you

wouldn

‟t be so weird about it

.”



“If not wanting to listen to other people

having sex is being weird then I certainly don‟t want

to be whatever it is you consider normal.”



“God, you take everything so fucking

s

eriously. I‟m just giving you shit. Although,” she‟d

smirked, “you have to admit, you‟re way too uptight

about sex. You‟re twenty years old, for God‟s sake.




5





You need to get your freak on, Jessica, like the rest of

us.”



“I‟m not uptight



and I don‟t need to

„get my

freak on‟

. I

‟m just tired



from not getting any sleep,”

she‟d



shot

back



angrily

. “I mean, come on





four



in

the morning? You‟d be pissed

,



to

o,



if you had classes

at seven and were u

p all night, trying to block out the

howling in the next room

.



If yo

u could at least keep it

down. That‟s all I ask.





“Honey, you can‟t keep good sex down. If

you had it, you‟d know what I mean.”



“Whatever. At least turn up the damn music.”





“Fine.”



The truth was



that



they fought about more

than just the obnoxious grunting



and moaning

coming from Kellie‟s room. They argued about

groceries, cable and electric bills, or where things

belonged in the apartment. It certainly wasn‟t fun

going home at night, and Jessica pretty much knew

what she had to do





find herself a

new room

mate

or





move back in with her mother

, Frannie. At least

she‟d get more sleep and not have to put up with

Kellie‟s bullshit. Unfortunately, that meant she‟d also

have to move in with Slammer, her mom‟s biker

fiancé. Not only was he intimidating, but he was



the

president of the Gold Vipers, a motorcycle club



in

Jensen

, which



Jessica



wanted

absolutely

n

o part of.

Admittedly, she actually liked Slammer and



he was

not at all what she‟d expe

cted, with his easy

-

going

manner



and funny stories.

Sure, every other word was

„fuck‟ and he smoked like a chimney, but he

treated

Frannie

, his „Old Lady” as he liked to call her, like a




6





queen

and



he was even



considerate



to

Jessica. But, as

far as she was concerned, he was still in a gang and his

way of liv

ing wasn‟t the kind she wanted for her

mother. She‟d even

tried talking Frannie out of

seeing



Slammer several times, b

ut



apparently the two of

them had already fallen “hopelessly in love”, so it was

like talking to a wall. Even when Jessica mentioned

the f

act that bikers in clubs like his were always

breaking the law and ending up in prison, she‟d come

back with





“Slammer says that the Gold Vipers

aren‟t like other MC clubs. They‟re more like a band

of brothers who look out for each other and their

familie

s. Everything they are involved with is totally

legit.”



Yeah, right.



Frannie was so gullible, it was frustrating.

Jessica



c

ould only



cross her fingers

and hope

th

at

Slammer would keep her out of anything illegal. If he

did try to involve her mother in any

way, and she got

word of it, Slammer would find his ass in jail faster

than he could light his next Camel. Her mother meant

everything to her and there was no way she‟d sit back

quietly or turn the other cheek. Frannie was close to

retirement and she didn‟

t want her mother spending

any part of it in prison.  



Looking forward to a quiet night, Jessica



pushed the thoughts of her future stepdad away, and

took the elevator t

o the third floor. Humming to

herself, s

he walked down the hallway to her

apartment, un

locked the door, and

slipped



inside.



As

she was about to turn the

kitchen

light



on, someone

grabbed her from behind, his arm locking around her




7





like a steel vice

. She tried to scream but



it



was

immediately cut off by

a gloved hand clamping over



her mouth. The smell of leather and gasoline made

her gag.





Hello, darlin‟

,”



the man



growled into her. He

began groping her breasts. “Oh, these are nice

.







Sobbing

, she tried struggling, bu

t it only made

him laugh. Desperate to get away, s

he tried biting

his

hand



through the glove

.



“Bitch,” he snarled, squeezing her mouth so

hard, her jaw ached. “Figh

t me and you die.

Understand

?”



Whimpering, Jessica ignored his threat and

slammed her elbow into his stomach, remembering

the self

-

defense class she‟d taken b

efore college. The

instructor had said to fight for your life at any cost.

Scream, kick, do whatever it took to get away, or the

chances of surviving were slim to none.



The man grunted, but instead of releasing her,

he grabbed her by the throat and began

to squeeze.

“You think you have a chance against me, bitch? You

keep fighting, and I‟ll snap your neck. Don‟t you dare

fucking test me!”



“Please… can‟t… breathe…” she begged

hoarsely.



He loosened his hold slightly. “You gonna

behave?”



Her mind was whirli

ng as she tried to think of

another way of escape. The kitchen knives were too

far out of reach and he was so strong. She‟d never

make it.






8





“Answer me, bitch!” he hissed, pulling her

hair back cruelly in his fist.



“Yes!” she cried.



“Okay then,” he whispered

, pushing her

toward the bedroom. “Now, let

‟s go have us some

fun.









***



 





An hour later,

Jessica heard him leave the

apartment. Bloody and bruised, she staggered back to

the kitchen, locking the door. Then, she grabbed her

cell phone and called



nine

-

one

-

one.



“I‟ve been attacked. Raped,”



she sobbed



into

the phone

, her entire body shaking

. She



slid down to

the floor, glancing at the doorway in terror, worried

he‟d bust it down and kill her.



Please… h

elp me.



I‟m

afraid he‟ll come back.





“W

e‟re sen

ding someone right away,

” the

woman promised, trying to calm

her down. “You are

sure that the assailant has left

?”



“Yes,” she



replied

, staring down at the bruises

on her thighs where he

‟d dug



his

fingers into her

flesh. Between that and the burning pain be

tween her

legs, she wanted to die. She wanted

him



to die.



“Okay. The police should be there soon,”

reminded the operator. “I‟ll stay on the phone with

you until they arrive. Did you get a good look at the

assailant?”



“He... he wore a mask. A black one.”






9





“D

id you recognize his voice?”



“No. Nobody I know would do this!”



“Okay. Try to calm down, Ms. Winters.

Someone is coming.”



As

Jessica



waited



for help to arrive

, sh

e closed

her eyes and began crying all over again

. The woman

on the phone

tr

ied soothing her

,



but all she could

think about was the rapist‟s



gloating

brown eyes

.

She‟d never forget them or his dry, cracked lips. He‟d

made her stare up at him while he did the

unspeakable. It seemed to get him off.



“You see me?” he‟d growled several times.



Jessica h

ad seen him clearly. He was the d

evil.

He eve

n wore a patch on his vest



that proved it.










10











Chapter One







Jensen, Iowa











“You ready for this?” asked

Krystal

, turning

off the engine of her ‟76 Monte Carlo. We‟d just

pulled into the parking lot of

Griffin‟s, a strip club on

the edge of town. It was her twenty

-

first birthday and

her boyfriend, the owner‟s son, had asked us to meet

him before we hooked up with the rest of our friends

downtown.



I looked at the seedy dive, with its flashing

lights and l

ine of shiny motorcycles parked on the

side. I‟d never been inside, but everyone knew the

place was bad news. I couldn‟t even imagine the look

on my mother‟s face if she knew I was even

considering going inside. She‟d probably think I‟d

starting smoking cr

ack.



I shivered.

“Seriously? Can‟t we just meet him

out here, in the parking lot?”





“What‟s wrong?” she asked, pulling down the

visor. She fluffed out her blond hair and then reached

down to adjust her push

-

up bra, emphasizing the

curve of her boobs in th

e sparkly, black tank she‟d




11





managed to cram them into. “You nervous about

walking into a biker bar?”



“It‟s more than that and you know it.” The

place had a bad reputation





gangs, brawls, drug deals,

and prostitution. 



“Chill out, girl. Nothing is going t

o happen

inside. You‟re with me and everyone knows that

I‟m



with the owner‟s son.”



I sighed. “Okay.”



“You‟re good?”



“Yes. I‟m good.”



Krystal



smirked. “Liar. Here, take a shot of

this,” she said, pulling out a bottle of peach

-

flavored

s

chnapps from under

the seat. “It‟ll take the edge

off.”



“Schnapps?”



She uncapped the bottle and took a long pull.

“Mm… yeah. Here.” She held it out.



“Maybe we should wait until we leave the

club.”



“No,

b

abe. We need to get this party rolling.”



“Fine,” I re

plied, taking the b

ottle



from her. I

took a swig and my s

tomach



immediately felt warm

and tingly. “

Hmm…

Not bad. A little sweet but I like

it.”



“I‟m surprised you‟ve never tried it.”



“Actually, I think I did. I had one of those

drinks,



Sex On

The Beach, when we went out for

my

twenty

-

first

. I think this was in i

t.”



She took another swig. “

I love those

and

Fuzzy Navels. You‟ve got to try one. Those are

fucking excellent.”






12





I wasn‟t sure what a Fuzzy Navel was, but if it

involved the peach

-

flavored schnapps, I was definitely

in.



“Okay,” she said, capping the bottle. “Let‟s go

see what

the hell

Tank wants.”



Tank, her new boyfriend, was six

-

and

-

a

-

half

feet tall, with muscles the size of watermelons, and

belonged to some biker club called the Gold Vipers.

I‟d only met him twice and

I had to admit, he scared

the hell out of me. Not that he‟d been anything but

cordial. It was just that I could tell he was dangerous.



As in

illegally

-

scary

, dangerous.





Krystal



didn‟t seem to see it or else



she



just

didn‟t care. Considering her dad took

off many years

ago and Bonnie, her mom, had never been very

influential when it came to

anything

, I guessed it was

the latter.



“I wonder if he has something for me?” said

Krystal

, her blue eyes lighting up. “A present.”



“What, like a ring?” I teased. They‟

d only

gone out a few times, and most of their dates were

quick hook

-

ups.



“Or better yet, a new tongue ring,” she

replied. “You have any idea how good a pierced

tongue feels



between your legs?





I held up my hand. “Stop, right there. I

haven‟t had enough t

o drink to hear about Tank and

his tongue.”



She giggled. “Well, it‟s certainly not going to

be a ring for my finger. Tank told me last weekend

that he was never going to get married. That most of




13





the guys in the club have Old Ladies and kids, but

they don‟

t usually go the route of marriage.”



I frowned. “What do you mean by an „Old

Lady‟?”



“I‟m talking about the woman they go home

to at night. The ones they live with. Take care of

them. Have their kids.”



“That‟s typically called a „wife‟,” I said dryly.



“Not in the MC world,” she replied. “They

have Old Ladies and,” she then laid the whopper on

me, “they have their club whores.” Only she made it

sound like “hures

.





My jaw dropped. “Are you fucking serious?”



“As shit,” she said, smiling grimly.



“A club

wh

ore?

 

What are you saying? That

she

hangs out with them and they pay her for sex?”



“I don‟t think any of them get paid for it.

They hang out and are available to fuck, any time of

the day.”



I stared at her wide

-

eyed. “Wow. So, in o

ther

words, she‟s like a

groupie

?”



She laughed. “Guess so. Only these guys ride

bikes instead of buses.”



“Does Tank have an Old Lady?”



“No. I mean I don‟t think so.” Her jaw set

firmly. “At least, I hope to fuck not.”



“Well, what are

you



considered?” I asked.

“Did he say?”



“He cal

ls me



his girl



. Tell you one thing,

though, I‟m definitely not a club whore. The fuck if

I‟m going to spread my legs for anyone but the man

I‟m dating. Although,” she smiled wickedly, “Tank




14





has this friend named

Raptor



who is amazingly hot. I

wouldn‟t mi

nd doing him.”





Raptor

?



What kind of a name is that?





I

knew Krystal had mentioned that mos

t bikers went by

their road names

. All I could think about was the

movie

Jurassic Park



when I heard “Raptor.”



She grinned. “Raptor? It‟s some kind of bird

of prey. I



guess you don‟t want to piss him off. Tank

said that Raptor‟s temper is legendary.”



“Huh. He sounds like someone to avoid. I‟d

stay away from him then, Krystal. No matter how

cute his is.”



“Y

ou have to see this

fucking

guy. He‟s

gorgeous. Blond

e



hair

, blu

e eyes, built like a Greek

god

. He‟s unbelievably sexy. I

almost wish I would

have met Raptor

, first. I‟ve actually caught myself

drooling over him. Tank would probably pull out his

gun and shoot me in the head if I so much as looked

at

Raptor



the wrong wa

y

, though

.”



The expression on her face was serious and I

shook my head, still in disbelief. The more she told

me about Tank, the more he disgusted me. “Jesus.

You‟re really okay with all of this alpha

-

male club

shit?”



She waved her hand. “Eh, we‟re just ha

ving

fun right now. I mean, I lik

e him a lot, don‟t get me

wrong. The guy knows how to go down on a girl and

I‟m not ready to give that up just yet.”



I grunted. “I should have known.”



“It‟s true. He‟s patient, too. Will stay down

there as long as it takes.



Anyway, I know



it‟s not




15





going to last. H

e might have great fucking skills, but

Tank

‟s too bossy, even for me.”



“God, I hate bossy men.



Seriously, Krystal,

y

ou shouldn‟t put up with guys telling you how to

live.



No matter what he can do with his tongue.







Yeah, but h

e‟s

also

got this huge dick,” she

said, laughing

. “You have no idea

.” She held up her

hands to show me just how large and I had to wince.

“Swear to God, he‟s hung like a fucking horse.”



“Okay, enough,” I replied, laughing

now.



“I‟m

seriously tir

ed of hearing about your sex life.”



“You just need to get laid,

Adriana

. How long

has it been?”



I shrugged. “I don‟t know, over a year?”



Maybe two.



Maybe even three?



The truth was, I‟d only had sex a few times,

and that was mostly in high school, when I‟d



gone

steady with Jimmy Tyler. Now that I was in college, I

barely had time for sleep, let alone sex.



“We need to remedy that

,” she said, opening

the

door. “Let‟s see what Tank wants, meet the others

at the club, and find you a man. On

e you can take

back t

o the car and f

uck the shit out of



before the

night is over

.”



I looked around the parking lot, praying that

none of the guys entering this particular place would

know she was trying to get me laid. “

Krystal

,” I

whispered loudly. “Don‟t a

nnounce it here,

for God‟s

sake

.”



She giggled.

“Fine, but we‟re finding you a guy

tonight.”






16





Her eyes were sparkling from the

s

chnapps

and I could tell she was already quite buzzed. “I don‟t

need a man and this party is for

you

. In fact, I‟m not

drinking much. Maybe a coupl

e of beers. I want you

to have fun. It‟s your birthday. My birthday has come

and gone.”



“And so did your chance with that bouncer.”



I thought about the guy she was talking about.

One of the security guards at a nightclub we‟d partied

at had come on to me,

but I‟d ignored him. He‟d

obviously been a player and had probably brough

t a

new girl home every night.



“Tell you what







we‟ll work on it

after



your

party. This is your night and the only person

who



needs to have fun and get laid, is you. Now, give me

your



keys and let the games begin.”



I



handed them over. “I guess I really can‟t

argue with that.”





***





When we walked into the strip club, I

immediately felt like all eyes were on us.

I

t was exactly

how I‟d pictured it to be

, too







dark, musty, and in

need o

f new carpeting, and not just the flooring. Most

of the waitresses looked like they could collect social

security, although they were dressed like high school

girls. The ones from

their



generation.



Krystal



giggled. “These ladies know that the

eighties have



come and gone? Kind of like their

looks.”



I smirked.

“God, you‟re a bitch.”






17





“Well, I do like it doggy

-

style,” she joked. “I

cannot lie.”



I snorted.





The stage was lit up and the place was packed,

although most of the cus

tomers



looked distracted and

uncomf

ortable, which surprised me. In fact, there was

so much tension in the air that I felt like we‟d walked

into somethi

ng that was about to turn

hostile. Then I

noticed there were two groups of men eyeing each

other from opposite sides of the room. As I looke

d

closer, I also noticed they had different

patches on

their vests, or cuts,



as

Krystal



l

iked to call them. Some

said Gold Vipers on the back

, while

the others said

Devil‟s Rangers.

 



“Where‟s Tank?”

Krystal



asked the bouncer,

standing just inside of the d

oor. He was as tall as he

was wide, bald, and had a long

,



bushy red beard.



His eyes dropped to her breasts and he licked

his lips. “He‟s in the back room. I‟ll let him know

you‟re here. You must be

Krystal

?”



She nodded. “That‟s right.”



“Who‟s your friend?

” he asked, now leering at

me. I was glad I‟d worn jeans and a loose sweater,

although from the way he was looking at my chest, I

could have

just as well have

been naked.



I forced a smile. “I‟m

Adriana

.”





Adriana

, huh? You‟d best be watching

Adriana

‟s bac

k,” he said



to Krystal



with a smirk, his

eyes shifting toward the crowd of men also now

gawking at us. “Everyone‟s gonna know you‟re

Tank‟s,

Krystal

, but she‟s without protection.”



My eyebrow arched. “Protection?”






18





“A man. If I were you, I wouldn‟t go

anywhere in this place without

Krystal



here. You

won‟t like it. Or,” he laughed darkly. “Maybe you

will.”



“I‟ll stick with

Krystal

,” I mumbled, already

feeling dirty.



He pulled out a cell phone and began texting.

“Since



the Devil‟s Rangers are here, I advise that you

both go and sit down by the bar. D

on‟t talk to

anyone, except Mist

y, the bartender. I‟d escort you

myself, but there‟s a meeting in back and I‟m not

supposed to leave the front door.”



“Okay,” she answered.



I



followed

Krystal



toward the bar right as Bob

Seger began singing about Main Street, which

confirmed that we were definitely in a biker bar.

Growing up, I‟d always associated Fat Bob with

Harleys, beer, and

Tom



Cruise dancing in his

underwear.



Apparently,

I‟d be adding stripper

s with

dentures to that list

.



“Stay close,” said

Krystal

, looking back at me

over her shoulder. “Don‟t make eye

-

contact with

anyone.”



“Right.”



The music picked up and everyone‟s eyes

shifted away from us to a woman with long red hair

and enormous boobs, who‟d just stepped onto the

stage. From the look on her face, I could tell she

wasn‟t a bubbly, happy stripper. When she tried to

smile, it was more of a pucker.



As if she‟d just licked a

lime

.






19





Krystal



chuckled. “She should have used th

e

money she spen

t on her tits on some Botox

. At least

she‟d look

a little more relaxed

.”



“Uh, seriously, I don‟t think anyone will

notice anything above her collarbone.”



“I need a nurse!” hollered one of the

cus

tomers

, standing up and waving cash. “You‟re



giving me a heart

-

attack, Betty.”



Krystal



snorted. “Nurse Betty looks like she‟s

going to have one



herself,



lugging those monsters

around.”



Betty



wore a nurse‟s uniform and three

-

inch

stilettos that made her legs look like they went all the

way up to the

clouds. From the way she moved

around the stage, it was obvious she‟d been doing it

for a long time

,



but had lost interest in it a couple

decades ago.



“Men are such pigs,” said

Krystal

, as another

guy leaped onto the stage and grabbed the stripper‟s

boobs



with both hands. She began to holler and the

man‟s buddies pulled him down, roaring with

laughter. I hoped, for her sake, that the bar paid her

decent benefits.



“I hope Tank gets out here quickly,” I

muttered, as we made our way around the back to the

bar

.



“You waiting for Tank?” asked the bartender,

a pretty woman in her thirties. She



had long

black

hair

and wore a Harley tank with denim



shorts tha

t barely

covered her crotch

.



“We are. Two light beers, please,” said

Krystal

. She turned to me. “That okay?








20





“Yeah,” I replied.



Her eyes widened as she looked past me.

“Shit,” she mumbled under her breath.



I turned and noticed a group of bikers

watching us from their table. One of them was bald

and had a long scar on the side of his face. He looked

like he was



in his forties and had some kind of tattoo

under his eye. A teardrop. When our eyes met, he

smiled, raised two fingers and wagged his tongue

between them.



I quickly looked away. “Seriously, what a

gross asshole. Does he actually think he‟ll get lucky

doin

g that?”



“He gets laid all the time, whether a chick

wants to or not, I hear. In fact, those guys are Devil‟s

Rangers,” said the bartender, slid

ing our beers over.

“Believe me, though,



you don‟t want to have anything

to do with them. The only reason they‟r

e here is

because Slammer



needed to talk to Mud, their Prez

.”



“Who‟s Slammer?” I asked.



“That‟s Tank‟s dad,” said

Krystal

. “

The

president of the Golden Vipers.





“Yeah,” said Misty

. Her eyes narrowed. “Shit,

looks like you‟re going to have company. I‟d bett

er go

and get Tank before that guy

steps out of bounds

.”



When I turned around, I found myself staring

into the soulless eyes of the Devil‟s Ranger who‟d

been sticking hi

s tongue out like a dipshit

. He was

almost a foot taller than me and smelled like pot.



“Hey

,



beautiful,” he said in a raspy voice.

“You looking for some company?”






21





I wanted to tell him I‟d rather find my

company under a rock, now that we were forehead

-

to

-

chin, but he

was a little frightening up close

. “Uh,

no,” I answered, trying to appear mo

re brave th

a

n I

felt. “But, thanks.” I looked away

, hoping he would

now

go



away.



He chuckled. “

Name is Breaker. Why don‟t

you come and join us at the table?”



“Thanks, but I have a boyfriend,” I lied,

turning to face him again.  



“Good for you,” he said, smiling darkly.

“That wasn‟t the answer I was looking for, though.”



I really

didn‟t like this guy and he was now

seriously

pissing me off. “Sorry, but I guess you won‟t

like this answer either.

No

,” I said



firmly

, surprising

mysel

f. “I‟d rather stay right here and drink this beer



with my friend

.”



“You‟re kind of bitch, you know that?” he

said, his eyes hardening.





I forced myself to smile

as

sweetly



as possible

when I noticed the vein throbbing in his forehead

.



He

looked like he wa

s about ready to explode.



“Sorry.

Look, n

either of us want

s



any trouble. We just want

to be alone

, you know?





His



eyes flickered over

Krystal

. “You two

dykes? Is that it?” 



My smile fell.

I seriously hated that term and

if we were lovers, it wasn‟t his bu

siness anyway. “Not

that it‟s any of your business, but no



we are not.





“That‟s good,” he said, undressing me with

his eyes



again

. “A body like yours needs to be fucked

by a real man, not a rubber strap

-

on toy. Although,






22





he laughed, “I wouldn‟t mind watch

ing

you play with

one.”



I looked at Krystal and said, “Wow.”





Speaking of „wow‟.

You ever felt the rumble

of an engine between your legs?” he asked, leaning

closer to me.



“No,” I replied

, wondering



why I was still

answering him

.



“Let‟s go pop that cherry

then,” he answered.

“I‟ll take you for ride on my Harley that will make

your pussy drool.”



I

burst out laughing. “Oh, my God. Are you

really that classy?





“Anyone



walks into a place like this shouldn‟t

expect classy,” he said.



“That goes for stuck

-

up

bitch

es, too.”



I gritted my teeth and forced myself not to

reply. I could tell from his expression that he was

hoping I would. Daring me to. I looked toward the

entrance, hoping to get the bouncer‟s attention, but

he wasn‟t at his station.



“We‟re waiting for Ta

nk,” said

Krystal in a

shrill voice.



He ignored her. “I know Blondie is Tank‟s.

I‟ve already been warned. But, nobody mentioned

you,

s

weetness. You‟ve got no patch either. You‟re

free territory. I say we go do a little exploring.”



I laughed

, trying to make



light of everything,

even though I was seething inside.

Why couldn‟t he

just leave me alone?






23







You like that one, huh? I‟ve got something

else for you, too,” he said, grabbing his crotch. “Now,

drink the res

t

of your

beer and we‟ll hit the road

.







Do I hav

e to spell it out for you?” I said,

totally disgusted. “I‟m not interested.”



Breaker‟s nostrils flared. “I don‟t think you

understand who you‟re talking to.”



“An asshole is who I‟m talking to,” I snapped.

“Now, fuck off.”



His buddies at the table snickered. 



The man‟s hand snaked out and he grabbed

my arm roughly. “

You fucking cunt. Let‟s go. Now.”



Krystal sucked in her breath. “Oh, my God.”



I pulled my arm away from him in shock. The

guy was treating me like one of those

whores

she

had

told me about. As big and bad as he looked, nobody

treated me like a slut that was up for grabs. “

Leave

me alone,” I said through my clenched teeth.



“B

efore

I call the bouncer over here.”



He laughed



coldly

. “The bouncer? Good luck

with getti

ng help from that pig.”





Before I could respond, two other guys

stepped next to us, one being Tank.



Breaker

took a step back and crossed his arms

over his chest. “

Hey, Tank.

Looks like the meeting is

over, huh?”



“Almost. What‟s going on, Breaker?” asked

Tank

, picking at his teeth with a toothpick

.



“Just havin‟ me some fun,” said the man,

smirking. “You said we should relax and enjoy

ourselves. So, that‟s what I‟m trying to do.”






24





“Not with my girl, you‟re not,” said a deep

voice.



I turned to find myself s

ta

ring up at a pair of

icy blue



eyes and a smile that wasn‟t meant to be

friendly.



Breaker‟s eye narrowed. “

Thought Brandy

was your Old L

ady,

Raptor

.”



So this was

Raptor

?



I could se

e why Krystal found him

fascinating

.

He was certainly good

-

looking, with his



square jaw, full lips, and muscular frame. His blond

hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail,

exposing his ears, which were both pierced. For some

reason, he reminded me of a model I‟d seen recently

in a pricey cologne ad. I‟d been drawn to his eyes

,

thinking they must have been Photo

-

Shopped

because of the dazzling color. That guy had nothing

on Raptor, however. His eyes sparkled like the bluest

of tanzanite. Bluer than anything my mother had ever

sold, and she was a jeweler. They were so stunning

t

hat it was hard to look away.



“You thought wrong,





answered Raptor.



“Yeah. That ship has sailed,” said Tank,

smirking. “And… I wouldn‟t bring her up anymore.”



Raptor



slid his arm around my waist and

pulled me in tigh

tly

. “As I was saying, Breaker… this

kit

ten is mine, so I suggest that you go find your

own.”










25





Chapter Two















I had to do something with my hands before I

grabbed

Breaker



and killed the bastard, so I pulled the

chick against me and gave him a look that said „fuck

you‟. He was a complete

psycho and had we been

alone, I‟d have made sure he never touched a woman

again. Rumor had it that he‟d raped and beaten

Slammer‟s Old Lady‟s daughter. It was what tonight‟s

meeting was about. But, the Devil‟s Rangers were

denying his involvement. Things w

ere getting ugly in

the back of the club, but apparently, they were just as

ugly in the front.



“As I was saying, Breaker… this kitten is

mine, so I suggest that you go find your own.”



Breaker



looked at me like we wanted to bash

my skull in and I stared back at him, daring him to

fucking try it.





***








26











Part of me was annoyed that they were

treating me like a possession. The other part liked the

way

Raptor

‟s arm felt around my waist and the smell

of him





leather and a trace of cologne. A good

cologne. As I leaned closer to get a better whiff

,

Raptor



looked down

and our eyes met.



I laughed nervously. “Uh, new cologne,

honey?”



He stared at me for a minute a

nd then his lips

twitched, as if he was fighting a smile. He turned



away

and they continued their testosterone

-

fueled banter

,

although

,



I really wasn‟t paying much attention. I was

too intrigued with

the guy holding me

. I had to admit,

he

was



sexier than hell and I liked the way my breasts

molded against his side as he held me in place.

Either

I was ovulating or Krystal was right, i

t had been way

too long since I‟d had sex and the heat he was

generating was making me warm in all the right

plac

es. 



Breaker looked from

Raptor



and then to me,

his eyes narrowing. “If she‟s yours, I‟d suggest you

patch her before



someone snatches her up,” h

e

sneered. “Or, better yet, let me know when you‟re

done with her. She might like to know what a real

man feel

s like between her legs.”






27





I felt Raptor stiffen up, but he

kept his

composure. “Believe me,

now that she‟s had a real

man in



her honey

-

hole

, your junk would feel more

like a

sliver off of my timber

.”



Normally, I would have rolled my eyes at such

immatur

e banter, but

I had to admit, the thought of

Raptor in my honey

-

hole was interesting.



“I suggest you remember who you‟re talking

to,

Raptor

,” he said, clenching his jaw. “And show

some fucking respect.”



“You are the last person who should be

preaching abou

t respect. You mak

e



a move on my

woman and then bust

my



chops? What the fuck?”



he

replied.



“He got you there,” said Tank, stepping closer

to us. It was obvious he was now getting annoyed

with the situation and he was

definitely

a force to be

reckoned with.



The guy was built like the Incredible

Hulk. “Listen, the meeting is almost over, so I suggest

you go and enjoy the show. Delilah is up next and

she‟s not only available, but willing to party after the

performance.”



Breaker looked at me again and smiled. “

I‟ll

be seeing you again,

s

weetness.



I promise. ” Then h

e

walked away, his gang watching us carefully from

their tables, all of them

giving us the stink

-

eye

.



“Fucking worms

,” mumbled Tank, staring

back at the table. “Every last one of them.”



“I‟m so glad y

ou showed up,” said Krystal.

“That guy wouldn‟t take „no‟ for an answer. I thought

he was going to drag Adriana out of the bar there for

a second.”






28





“You and me both,” I said, shuddering at the

thought. Even looking at him now, I could tell the

thought wasn

‟t too far from his mind.



“We should probably take



both the girls



somewhere in back,” suggested Tank. “Be

fore

Breaker



finds some liquid courage at the end of that

bottle he‟s drinking. When he‟s drunk, he‟s as mean as

he is stupid.”



“He

should be taught a

fucking lesson,”

said

Raptor, still glaring at the other group of bikers

.





I agree but, we can‟t. Besides, the old man

might be giving us the thumbs up to deal with him

later,

if



you know what I mean.”



Raptor



relaxed

. “

True. Okay, let‟s go.”



“Where we

going?” I asked, finishing my beer.



“I‟ll show you,” said

Raptor

. Then, before I

could do anything about it, he picked me up, threw

me over his shoulder, and slapped my ass. Hard.



“Hey!” I

hollered



as



he carried me toward



the

back of the bar. It felt like



my butt

-

cheek

s were



on

fire. “What in the hell are you doing?

That hurt. Put

me down

!”



“Sorry,



darlin‟,

” he said, a smile in his voice.



He caressed my butt, sending warm tingles into my

pelvis. “Does this feel better?‟





Quit touching my ass and p

ut me

down,” I

hissed.



“Now.









***






29











I smiled, enjoying not only her reaction, but

the way her ass felt under my palm. It was deliciously

round and firm. I had to force myself not to keep

squeezing it. I had to admit, she was a hot little

number. I could see

why Breaker wanted her. My dick

was already half

-

cocked at the thought of fucking her

now myself.  I headed toward the back of the club, to

the break

-

room. I knew Tank wanted to fuck Krystal

before she headed out and so I‟d have a few minutes

of alone time



with the brunette. From the way she

was staring at me earlier, I could tell she was definitely

interested. I wondered if she‟d be interested in getting

on her knees and opening that sweet little mouth. The

thought of her glossy pink lips wrapped around my



cock was enough to try and test those salty waters.





***













We went through a hallway and he kicked one

of the doors open.






30





“What is yo

ur fucking problem?” I snapped

.

“Are you even listening to me?”



He dropped me into an oversized recliner



and

took a s

tep back

. “You‟re welcome.”



I glared up at him. “For what?

Treating me

like a cave

-

woman

?”



He grunted and smiled. “

Cave

-

woman

? Look,

I had to do that. To show everyone in the place that

you‟re mine, Kitten.”



Kitten?





“But,

I‟m

not



yours.”



“You know what



the fuck



I mean. You should

be thankful that I did what I did.”



“I‟ve had guys flirt with me before. I don‟t

need your help telling them to

get lost

.”



He waved his thumb toward the doorway.

“That

bastard



who was trying to get in your pants



is a

fucking



an

imal. Hell, he‟s worse than an animal. He

would have taken you somewhere later, then beaten

and raped your ass if I wouldn‟t have helped you. And

when I say rape your ass, I‟m not

just

talking

figuratively.



He would have torn it to shreds.





I stared at him



in horror. “

Krystal



or the

bartender

would have called the

cops if he‟d have

tried doing something like that

.”



“The cops wouldn‟t have done shit,” he

answered. “

In fact,



it would be all over before

Krystal



had a chance to do anything and Breaker wouldn‟t

leave any witnesses. Hell,

Krystal



is in just as much

danger as you.”



I sucked in my breath.

“Are you saying he‟d

have killed us?”






31





“It wouldn‟t be the first time. They don‟t call

him



Breaker





for nothing.



It should be pronounced

„Break Her‟.





“Oh.”





Oh

is right,” he replied

, walking over to an

old refrigerator humming in the corner of the room.

He opened it up and began rummaging through it.



“Dammit, someone‟s been drinking my beer.”



“You keep your own stock of beer in the

break room?”



“Sometimes. When I



find out who‟s been

helping themselves, I‟m going to kick their ass.”





So, back to that guy, Breaker. Has h

e served

time



before

?”



“Yeah. For assault and rape.”



I swallowed.



“So, do you w

ant a beer?” he asked, holding

out a brown bottle.





I looked at the

dragon tattoo on his forearm

and the skull ring on his finger, reminding me that

Raptor wasn‟t exactly the boy

-

next

-

door either.

“No.

We have to get going. Uh, where‟s

Krystal



and

Tank?” I asked, l

ooking toward



the doorway.

Obviously, they hadn‟t followed

us

.



He

grunted

. “I‟m sure he has her bent over

his old man‟s desk. Giving her a



private



birthday gift.”



I sighed. “Great.



I guess we‟ll be here longer

than I thought.





“Yup.”

He opened up his bottle of beer and

took a swig. “You sure you don‟t want one?” h

e

asked, licking his lips. “

It‟ll give you something to

do.”






32





I sighed. “Sure, I‟ll take one.”



He opened up the refrigerator again

,



and

pulled out another bottle.



“So, what, you‟re going to babysit me?” I

asked as he handed me the beer.



“Ye

ah, you want to



sit on my lap, little g

irl?”

he asked, winking at me. “I‟ll read you a couple of

stori

es. You ever hear the one about Moby Dick?





My eyes widened. “Is that how you pick up

girls? Seriously?”



“Who said I was trying to pick you up?” he

answered with a cocky



grin. “I was just trying to

lighten the mood. You seem a little

tense

.”



“I‟m not,” I lied.



He sat down on a beat

-

up

leather sofa



that

faced the television, which was as old as the shag

carpeting. “Relax and h

ave a seat,” he said, patting the

cushion next

to him.



“I‟m fine,” I said,

setting my purse on the

counter by the coffee machine

. I looked around the

room. There was a metal table in the corner and a

vending machine.

“So this is

the

b

reak

-

room,





I said,

trying to make conversation.





That‟s what they ca

ll it. H

ow old are you

, by

the way

?”



“Twenty

-

one.”



His eyes traveled down the length of me and

back up.

I knew he was checking me out and it made

me wonder if he approved or thought I wasn‟t curvy

enough. I‟d always felt a little self

-

conscious around

Krys

tal, who filled out her bra better than most

strippers with silicone.






33





“How old are

you

?” I asked, resisting the urge

to cross my arms over my chest.



“Twenty

-

four.”



“Oh.”



He smiled.



Have y

ou ever



been to a joint



like

this?”



“No.



Never.





“What do you think



of it?”



I smiled. “What do I think? Honestly, I can‟t

wait to leave. No offense.”



“None taken. Do y

ou have a boyfriend?”



“No

t right now.

What about you?”



“No boyfriend, either.”



I chuckled. “You know what I mean.”



“Yeah, I do,” he replied

,

still

not answe

ring

the question.



“You‟re not going to answer?”



He rubbed his lower lip with his index finger.

“Why do you want to know?”



My eyes widened. “I don‟t know. Why did you

ask me?”



“To find out if there was a dumbass in your

life that allowed you into a place

like this.”



I stared at him in surprise. “Allowed? I can go

wherever the hell that I want. Even if I had a

boyfriend, I wouldn‟t ask for his permission to go

into a strip joint or any other place, for that matter.”



He grinned. “I am woman. Hear me roar,

hu

h?”



“Damn right,” I said, smiling back. I raised

my hand and clawed the air. “Roar.”



Raptor laughed.



I like that.”






34





“You like independent women?”



“I just like what you did, there. It was sexy.

You really are a kitten.”



I blushed.



“I mean, I do like indepe

ndent women, to a

point.”



“What do you mean, to a point?” I asked.



“I like a woman who can take care of herself

when she needs to, but is willing to let a man take

care of her when he wants to.”



I kind of liked that. To a point. “So, you‟re

not as chauvini

stic as Tank?”



“Tank and I agree on some stuff. Some things

we don‟t. It‟s not like we sit around talking about shit

like that.”



I smiled. “Yeah, I‟m sure you don‟t.”



“So, w

here are you ladies going tonight?”



he

asked, changing the subject.



“C

lubbing.”



“Just you two?”



“No. There are

more of us

.”



“Girls or guys?”



“Just us girls.

We all grew up together. Went

to the same high school.”



“What about protection?”



I frowned. “What do you mean by

protection?”

Was he talking condoms?



He tilted his head, smiling.

“You got

t

a

bodyguard chaperoning you little



girls,

Kitten?”



“We don‟t need a bodyguard,” I said. “And

we‟re not

little

girls.”

Nor was I a damn cat.






35





“Figure of speech, although, you‟re pretty

small.”

He took another drink of his beer and licked

his lips, s

tudying me. “If you were mine, I wouldn‟t

let you out of the house without

some kind of

protection. Not with the Devil‟s Rangers in town.

Especially, not after what that asshole said



to you



earlier.”



“I‟m not worried,” I answered, now a little

unsure mysel

f. “It‟s not like we‟re going to the kind of

places those guys hang out.”



“Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn‟t take any

chances. Just watch your back tonight. You got a

blade hiding in that purse of yours?”



I stared at him in surprise. “A blade?”



“Obviously you d

on‟t,” he said. “You carrying

any mace?”



“No.



I don‟t even know where to get mace.





“A goddamn whistle

,



at the very least?”



I smirked. “Why, so that I can call a

Time

Out

?”



He grunted. “I‟m not trying to be funny. How

about a cell phone?”



I nodded toward m

y purse. “Yeah. Of

course.”



He stood up and walked over to it.



“What are you doing?”



He unzipped the top and began rummaging

through it. “Jesus, how much stuff can one girl carry

around in here?” he asked, waving a tampon. “Got

your friend, huh? This is

probably a good deterrent.

Try waving it

in the air if you run into

trouble.

Nobody will mess with your shit. Believe me.”






36





“Seriously?” I said quickly, snatching it from

him. “I don‟t have my period. Not that it‟s any of

your



business. That‟s for emergenci

es. Would you

please



get

out of my purse,” I said, pulling it away from him just

as he found my phone.



“I‟m going to add my name and phone

number to your

c

ontact

s



l

ist. You get into any trouble

tonight or,” he smiled wickedly, “interested in

hooking



up lat

er, call me.”



Something told me that hooking u

p with him

would be the death of me, as hunky as he was

.

I

would never have

the guts to call him or find out

what was hidden under his low

-

riding jeans



anyway

.

“I don‟t do hook

-

ups.”



He pushed some buttons on m

y phone.

“Why, you need to be wined and dined first?”



I blushed. “Maybe.”



“Fair enough.” He grinned. “How do you feel

about wine and wings at my apartment later?”



I raised my eyebrow. “Really? You wouldn‟t

even buy me a real dinner? Just an appetizer?” He

opened his mouth to say something

,



but I interrupted

him. “Please don‟t tell me that you‟re the main course

or that you have a large

tube

-

steak for me, either.





He laughed and handed me my phone. “I

don‟t need to use a line like that to get laid.”



“Good, because we both know that it would

be

extremely tacky.”



Before he could reply, a noise from one of the

nearby rooms caught our attention.

The sound began

to increase



and I quickly recognized

it as Krystal

‟s

cries of pleasure. 






37





“Looks like your frie

nd is a screamer,” said

Raptor

, turning around. He leaned back against the

counter and took another swig of beer. “Good thing

the

meeting is upstairs



in the back,

or there‟d be hell

to pay. Slammer doesn‟t like distractions. Especially

when he‟s not the on

e involved in it.”



I rubbed my forehead as the sounds grew

louder. I couldn‟t tell if hearing the other couple

getting it on was embarrassin

g, or just making Raptor

that much more appealing

. “Maybe I should just go

wait out in the car for her.”



“Maybe you

should just finish your beer and

stay inside here with me. Where you‟re safe.”



From the way he was smiling, his definit

ion of

„safe‟ contradicted

mine.










38





Chapter Three











Holy shit was my dick begging to come out

and play. I had more wood than Yellowstone

National Park. It wasn‟t just the noises in the other

room that were making me horny, either. It was

her.



Sure, she was beautiful

, with those come

-

fuck

-

me

emerald eyes a

nd



that chestnut colored hair that I

knew would feel



go

od in my fist when I was banging



her from behind.

But it wasn‟t only that. It was

something else that was starting to suck me in and I

couldn‟t put my finger on it.



“Looks like y

our friend is a screamer,

” I said,

leaning back against the counter after hearing Krystal

scream again. I

took another swig of beer. “Good

thing the meeting is downstairs or there‟d be hell to

pay. Slammer doesn‟t like distractions. Especially

when he‟s not the one involved in it.





She rubbed her

forehead as the sounds grew

louder. “Maybe I should just go wait out in the car for

her.”



I smiled wickedly.

“Maybe you should just

finish your beer and stay inside

here with me. Where

you‟re safe.”



From the look on her face, s

he



knew that she



was far from being safe

. Something told me she didn‟t




39





care, either. That she was intrigued. If she even

looked at my crotch with interest, I‟d be on her like a

dog in heat, which truthfully, was probably a bad idea

since Adriana was the kind



of girl I normally tried to

avoid. The kind that went to college, went to church,

and didn‟t fuck on the first date. The kind that needed

monogamy and commitment. I was down with that

before Brandy had fucked me over. But, she‟d taught

me a lesson. Never

trust anyone but your brothers.

Not even the woman who warms your bed at night

and sucks your dick until dawn. She‟s always looking

for someone else to replace you. Someone with a

bigger wallet or a bigger dick. Apparently, in my case,

it was a bigger wall

et since Brandy had started calling

me back, wanting to hook up since her boss wasn‟t

making her come the way I had. Still, knowing that

this chick wasn‟t like Brandy, or the rest of the

whores that usually hung around the club, made me

want to bury myself



deep inside of her that much

more. 



Look at my crotch.



Come on, Kitten.



I dare you.





***














40





“Safe, huh?





I replied



as

Krystal



howled in

pleasure.



“Have to admit, listening to those two is

getting me a little jacked up. I haven‟t had sex for a

while

and this isn‟t helping,” he said. “What about

you?”



“What

abou

t me?”



“Are you horny,

b

aby?” he joked, mimicking

Austin Powers.



I stared at him in surprise.



Of course not.





“Liar,” he said softly, smiling. “Your face is

flushed.”



“That‟s because I‟m

cree

pe

d out.”



“Sex creeps you out?”



“No,” I said a little sharply. “I just don‟t care

to hear other people having it.”



His eyes traveled over my body.

“We could

remedy that fairly easily.”



“Oh, yeah? How?”



He grinned. “Drown out

their noises



with

ours

.”



I la

ughe

d. “Wow. Seriously?





“When it comes to sex? Yeah

,”



he said.



I shook my head and smiled.

“I don‟t think

I‟ve ever met anyone

as forward as you. Do you flirt

like this with all the girls you meet?” 



“Not girls like you.”



“What do you mean, girls like me?”



He paused.

“Classier



ones.”



His complim

ent made me smile

. “So, what are

you saying? That you

usually

only flirt with unclassy




41





ones?”



I joked, feeling a little flattered but nervous,

too.



“Actually, I don‟t have to flirt with them.

They usually come



on to

me.”



“So, do you usually prefer the skanks?”



He smirked. “Those I usually prefer

on their

knees.”



I laughed. “But not the classy ones?”



“Then, I‟m usually the one on my knees.”



My face turned scarlet at that image.



He bit his lower lip and smiled



Sorry,

am I

embarrassing you?”



“You‟re making it a little… awkward.”



“Sorry.



Ever since I saw you blushing earlier, I

couldn‟t help myself. I wanted to see it again.



It‟s

damn cute

.”



There was a thud from the room next door.

Then another and another

,



until it became a steady

rhythm. 



“Looks like they‟ve graduated to the bed.

Hopefully, they‟ll be done soon,” he said as the noises

grew louder.



“Wow, they have a bed in there, huh?” I said

as

Krystal

‟s moans seeped through the wall. I knew it

was her bi

rthday,

but this



was getting ridiculous.



“Of course. Only Tank and his dad use it,

though.”



“Not you?”



“I‟ve never used it. I have higher standards

when it comes to

s

ex.”



“Bars aren‟t your thing?”



“Other men‟s beds are not my thing.”






42





“I don‟t blame you. S

o, how do you know

Tank?” I asked, trying to change the subject.



“We‟re brothers.”



I pulled my hair over my shoulder and stared

at him in surprise. “Really? I didn‟t know he had

one.”



“We‟re all brothers here,” he said, taking

another swig of beer. 



“Ah.”



“Ah?”



“I get it. You‟re

biker



brothers.”



He smirked. “You think you‟ve figured us out,

huh? I bet you‟re from the suburbs and have no idea

what it‟s like, being on your own.”



“Maybe not, but I heard that Tank is

also

from the suburbs,” I said, feeling a l

ittle defensive.



“Yeah, but it‟s different for him. He‟s lived

the MC life since he was born. Obviously, you don‟t

know what that shit entails. But if you did, you‟d

understand where I‟m coming from. Your parents

probably sheltered you your entire life, w

hich I can‟t

blame them. If I had a daughter, I‟d want to do the

same thing. Keep you safe. ”



“I‟m not sheltered,” I replied stiffly.



He smirked. “Believe me, you‟re sheltered.

You have no idea what‟s really going on out there,

Kitten. On the streets and,



hell, in your own

backyard, now. Drugs, prostitution, sex

-

trafficking,

murder.”



“I watch the news,” I said. “I know what‟s out

there. I‟ve even taken self

-

defense classes.”






43





“Self

-

defense classes?” he repeated, looking

amused. “What kind?”



“Just some basic



stuff. How to knock a knife

out of someone‟s hand. Kick him in the junk. Things

like that.”



“You think if I came at you, you‟d be able to

defend yourself against me?” asked

Raptor

, setting his

beer down.



“It‟s easier to defend myself against someone



who i

sn‟t ready for me to fight back

.”





Actually, those

scumbags will anticipate you

t

rying to defend yourself in one way or another

. Why

don‟t you show me what you‟ve learned?”



“No, that‟s okay,” I said, staring up at

him

now. He‟d moved closer

and the thought



of him

putting his arms around me

was making my heart

race

.  



“Come on. Don‟t be frightened. I‟ll be

gentle.”



“I‟d really rather not,” I said, as he moved

closer.



“I think you should,” he said. He was so

close, I could smell the beer on his breath. “If

you

girls are going out by yourselves, and drinking, you

should definitely know how to defend yourself.”



“I don‟t want to hurt you,” I said, keeping my

beer between us.



He laughed. “I don‟t think there‟s any chance

of that.”



“Don‟t be too sure,” I said, l

ooking down at

my brown leather ankle

-

boots. They had narrow heels

and I imagined if I kicked him the way my instructor




44





had shown me, it would wipe the smile right off of

his face.



Before I could stop him, he grabbed my beer

and set it on the counter. “Com

e here,” he said,

pulling me toward the middle of the room.



“I just told you I didn‟t want to do this,” I

protested.



“Humor me. Please,” he said, turning around

to face me. “I just want to see what these classes

teach and maybe even give you some more po

inters.”



“Fine,” I said with a sigh. “But, just don‟t get

mad if I hurt you.”



“I‟ll try not to,” he said, his mouth twitching.



“Okay,” I answered, trying to recall all of the

things my instructor

, Mr. Mandrill,



had taught me.

“So, um, whenever you‟re read

y.”



“What do you want me to do?”



I waved my hand. “I don‟t know. You‟re the

one who wanted to see me defend myself. I guess if

you were going to attack a woman, do what you‟d

do.”



“Me? If I was going to attack a woman, it

would be in bed and not on the str

eets,” he said,

smiling wickedly. “And I doubt she‟d fight back.”



I rolled my eyes. “Whatever, Casanova. Just

attack me. In fact, I‟ll turn and you can try to get me

from behind.”



“Now we‟re talking

,” he answered

, a smile in

his voice,

as I turned my back



on him.



“Okay. Whenever you‟re ready.”



“Okay,” he said, wra

pping his arms around

me so quickly



that I barely had time to exhale. He




45





held my wrists together in front of me. “Show me

what you got, Kitten.”



I hesitated for a second, enjoying the feel of

his



chest pressing against my back and the heat his

body was generating.

And, was it my imagination, or

was there something hard pressed against my ass?



“You smell good,” he whispered near my ear.

“I think you‟d better free yourself



before I forget why

we wer

e doing this

.”



I felt a warm shiver go through me as



I

imagined his lips on my neck and then other parts of

my body.



“Well?”





I s

tomped



on his foot with my heel and he let

me go, hollering in pain.



“Oh, my God!

” I cried as he bent over to rub

the top of

his boot. “I‟m so sorry!”



I heard a door slam and then Tank was

rushing into the room, shirtless.

“What the fuck is

going on in here?”





“Nothing. It‟s okay,” said

Raptor

, putting his

foot down. 



“What‟s wrong with your foot?” said Tank as

Krystal



entered



the room

, adjusting her clothes

.



“I did it,” I said, feeling my face turn red.



Raptor



removed his black boot and then his

sock. “

But,

I forced her into it,” he said, staring down

at his foot

, which



was already bruising up. “Damn,

girl, those heels are deadly.”



“I‟m sorry,” I repeated, still feeling horrible

.

“I did warn you, though.”



“I know you did

.”






46







You



did that?”

asked



Krystal, walking over to

get a better look

. “How?”



“I was pretending to attac

k her and she

stopped me,” said

Raptor

. “Good move, by the way.”



“Thanks,” I said, smiling



sheepishly

. “Uh, I

really am sorry.”



He put his sock back on. “It‟ll heal. I‟ve been

through much worse.”



“Can you walk?” asked Tank.



He took a couple steps.

“Of co

urse

. See. Hell,

I could probably still



kick your ass with it without

flinching

.”



Tank snorted. “Yeah, you wish. It doesn‟t

look so good to me. I‟ll go get you a stiff drink. Come

on

,



Krystal

, walk with me

, babe

.”



“Uh, okay,” she said



and looked back at me

.

“I‟ll be right back and

then

we‟ll get going.”



“Sure

,” I said. I turned back to

Raptor

, who

was attempting to put his boot back on. “Do you

think I broke anything?”



“No,” he replied, wincing.



“Maybe you should have that looked at,” I

said, staring at his



foot.





Seriously, i

t‟s okay, Kitten. Don‟t worry

about me.”



I laughed and shook my head.





“What

‟s so funny

?”



“You keep calling me Kitten.”



He winked. “What can I say, I like kittens. I

especially like it when

they curl



up around your face

to stay warm. S

omething tells me I‟d like you there,

too.”






47





“By your face?”



“On my face.”



I gasped, my face turning scarlet.



He laughed. “

Sorry, I just love to see you

blush, darlin‟.”



We stared at each other for a few seconds and

then I asked him where he was from.





I ha

ve a house a few blocks away

.”



“You live

there

alone?”





His eyes narrowed. “Why are you asking if I

live alone?”



“I‟m just curious. You don‟t have to tell me if

you don‟t want to,” I said, noticing the guarded look

in his eyes. “I was just making

conversation.”



He relaxed. “Sorry. Yeah, I live alone.

Most of

the



time. Sometimes I take in teens



who need a

temporary place to stay.”



I stared at him in surprise. I wasn‟t expecting

that. “What? You‟re kidding?”



“No. Not at all. I do

some volunteering at



one

of the

shelters in Barne

sfied.

Sometimes

, when



they

get a little over

-

run wi

th families, I volunteer my extra

bedrooms. Sometimes.





“Wow.”



“Shocked, huh

? You shouldn‟t judge people,

Kitten

. I don‟t know if I should smile at your surprise



or be offende

d.”



“I‟m sorry. It just seems out of character for a

guy in a

… motorcycle gang



like yours.”



His eyes hardened. “Most of th

e guys in our

club have families



and kids of

their own. They‟re

good people.








48





“I‟m sorry. I didn‟t mean anything by it.”



“Maybe not, b

ut you were stereotyping.





I smiled grimly. “Yeah, I guess I was.”





He sighed. “I lived on the streets most of my

life growing up. My old man was an asshole and

kicked me out of the house when I was thirteen.

That‟s when Slammer took me in. I owe him my l

ife

and I want to make a difference in someone else‟s if I

get the chance. Kids aren‟t meant to be thrown out

like garbage.”



“Why did your dad kick you out?”



He was quiet

for a few seconds and then

sighed.

“He used to beat my mom. I tried stopping

him one

night. He didn‟t like it.”



“So he kicked you out?”



He grunted.

“Yeah, after he beat the hell out

of me.”



My jaw dropped.



“That must have been

horrible.



And you were only thirteen?”



“An „old‟ thirteen, believe me

.”



“What happened to your mom?”



“She ended up



in the hospital. When she got

out, I heard she packed her bags and disappeared.”





She didn‟t try to find you

?”



“She knew where I was. I guess she just

wanted to run away from everything,” he said. “At

least that‟s what she put in the letter she left me. S

he

trusted Slammer to watch over me.”



“She knew him?”



He stared at his beer. “She used to be a club

whore.”



I sucked in

a



breath.








49





His eyes met mine. “It wasn‟t for this club

. A

different one. The one my dad belonged to

.





I wasn‟t sure what to say so I wai

ted for him

to continue.



“After she got pregnant with me, he took her

in and made her his Old Lady. I don‟t think he

wanted to, though. It‟s

probably

why he was such an

asshole to her.”



“He was an asshole to you, too, though. And

you were his son.”



He

smirked. “Guess he didn‟t want a son

,



either.”



I almost missed the look of pain in his eyes

because

it disappeared so quickly

. “So, Slammer took

you in?”



“Yep.” He smiled. “He‟s definitely the shit

and I‟d do anything for him.

Made me his Road

Captain a fe

w years ago.”



“What does that mean?”



“I‟m i

n charge of

trips,” he said. “Among

other thi

ngs

.”



I stared at the small patches on the front of

his

black leather cut

. “What does that one

-

percent

stand for?”



He looked down. “

It‟s symbolizes something

the



club

believes in.”



“And what is that?” I asked when he didn‟t

elaborate.



“Have you ever heard anyone use the term



outlaw biker



?”



“Outlaw? No.

” My eyes widened. “

Is there a

warrant out for you

r



arrest or something?”






50





“No.” He scratched his chin



and chucked

.

“A

t least, I hope not.”



“I still don‟t get what the one

-

percent stands

for and what it has to do with being an outlaw.”



It took him a while to answer.

“It means that

we‟re committed to standing behind our brothers and

living the biker lifestyle. Our law

s are

n‟t exactly

the

same ones that the other ninety

-

nine percent follow.

Because of that, we‟re often labeled as being outlaws.”



“Oh,” I replied. “You‟re basically

like

a biker



kind of



mafia?”



Before he could answer, Tank stepped back

into the room with

Krystal

.



“You ready to go?” she asked.



I nodded.



“I‟m sending Bull with you,” said Tank.

“Make sure you girls aren‟t harassed tonight.”



“We don‟t need a chaperone,” said

Krystal

. “I

already told you that.”



“This is for protection. It‟s not for babysitting

you,” he said.



“I don‟t care. I don‟t want anyone tagging

along. It will be embarrassing,” she said

, pouting

.





Tank‟s jaw clenched. “Fine. Have it your

way.”



“Don‟t be angry,” she said, standing on her

tippy

-

toes to kiss him. “Where we‟re going, there

won‟

t be any bikers. Seriously. Plus,

Adriana



knows

self

-

defense.”



“She certainly

does,” said

Raptor

, nodding

toward his foot.



“She can probably take Bull out.”






51





Tank



grunted. “I doubt that

.

Fine, babe.

You

run into any problem

s

,



though, you call me. Pronto

.”



“I will. I promise,” she said, kissing his lips.



“I‟ll walk you out to the car,” said Tank. We‟ll

go out the back, so those dirt

-

bags don‟t see you

leaving.”



“Okay,” said

Krystal

, putting her purse

around her shoulder. “Ready,

Adriana

?”



I nodded.



“You girls have fun,” said

Raptor

. “And call

me if you change your mind about having that pizza,

later, Kitten.”



Krystal



looked at me, her eyebrows raised.



“Right,” I said

, smirking

.



“Let‟s go,” said Tank, walking out the door.



She g

rabbed my arm as we fol

lowed him

.

“Kitten?” she whispered.





Apparently h

e likes cats.”



“Bullshit

. What he likes is pussy,” said Tank,

laughing in front of us.
















52







Chapter Four







We arrived at Rumors, a

club in Iowa City

about



twenty minutes later. The music was loud and

the d

ance

-

floor, which was the size of a football field,

was packed. By the time we found our friends,

Monica, Tiffany, and Amber, they were already tipsy.





Where‟ve you been?” asked Monica

, who

was a year older than us. “We were getting worried.”



“We stopped o

ff at Griffin‟s,” said

Krystal

,

sliding in next to her. “Tank had to give me his

birthday gift.”



“What was that? A frosted cock?” said

Tiffany, who was a nympho, like

Krystal. “Did you

blow out his



candle?”



“No, I waxed it pretty good, though,” she

said, g

iggling.



Tiffany laughed. “You go, girl!”



“And lucky me.

I

got to hear the whole

thing

,” I said dryly. “The walls in that dump are pretty

thin.”



“At least you were able



to spend some time

with

Raptor

,” she said. “You have to admit, he‟s hot.”



“Yeah. He‟s also

a biker, and not the kind

who‟s

into triathlons. I don‟t care how hot a guy like

that is

, he‟s trouble

.”






53





Krystal leaned forward.

“He‟s worth the

trouble, if you ask me. Speaking of which, I overheard

some stuff about the Devil‟s Rangers. R

emind me to

tell you about it.”



“L

ike I care about those freaks

,” I said,

thinking back to Breaker. The nerve of that jerk

ordering me around. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

As far as I was concerned, I was never going back to

Griffin‟s.



A waitress

stopped at our table carrying a tray

of shot glasses. “Hi. T

he guys



over there just bought

you a round of raspberry

-

flavored Kamikazes.”



We turned to look at the table she was talking

about. There were four guys smiling at us, all of them

looked like they‟

d just stepped out of GQ Magazine.



“Now that‟s what I‟m talking about,” said

Tiffany, blowing them a kiss.



Krystal



raised her shot. “Thank you!” she

hollered.



I waved my hand and so did Amber.



“Aren‟t they yummy?” said Tiffany, after we

made a toast to

Kry

stal

‟s birthday



and sucked down

the delicious concoction

. “The guys, I mean.





“They‟re cute,” I agreed, noticing one of them

staring at me. When he saw me looking, he smiled

widely, and took a drink of his beer.



“I‟ll bet they‟re frat boys,” said Tiffany.

“We

should go over and talk to them.”



“No. Let them come to us,” said Krystal.



My eyebrows rose. “Listen to you. What

about Tank?”






54





She sighed. “You know, to be honest, I‟m

kind of bored with him.”



“You didn‟t sound too bored earlier,” I said.



“I know but…



oh look, they‟re coming over,”

she answered, smiling.



I turned to find myself staring up at the guy

who‟d been eyeballing me. He certainly was cute, but

for some reason, I wasn‟t half as attracted to him as I

had been to Raptor, which was kind of weird.

N

ormally, I preferred clean

-

cut and safe. Raptor was

neither.



“Hi,” he said. “I‟m Jason and that‟s Gary,

Lucas, and Brian.”



“Thanks for the shots. They were yummy,”

said Krystal, staring at Lucas with interest. She

introduced us to them.



Lucas, who was blon

de and had dimples,

smiled. “No problem. Would you like more?” he

asked, reaching for his wallet.



“That depends





are you trying to get us

drunk?” asked Tiffany, smiling slyly.



Lucas gave her a horrified look. “No. Not at

all. I hope you don‟t think that.”



She laughed. “Chill out. I‟m just teasing you.”



He relaxed. “Would you like a soda?”



“Hell no. I‟m here to get drunk!” she shouted,

slapping her hand on the table.



He laughed. “Alrighty, then.”



I could tell by his expression that he didn‟t

know what to m

ake of Krystal but was certainly

enjoying her cleavage.






55





“Where are you girls from?” asked Jason,

staring at me intently.



“Jensen,” I said.



“All of you?” asked Brian, who was the

shortest out of the group, even shorter than me and I

was five

-

seven. He was b

uilt like a wrestler, though.

All muscle. Even his neck.



“Yes,” said Krystal. “We all went to high

school together.”



“They sure know how to grow them in

Jensen,” said Gary, who looked a little drunk. He was

tall, lanky, with big brown eyes and a boyish

smile.

“Must be the fertilizer.”



Jason patted Gary on the back. “Excuse our

friend, it‟s his birthday and we‟ve been buying him

shots. Quite a few of them.”



“It‟s my birthday, too,” said Krystal, beaming

a smile at Gary. “From the look of things, I think I



need to try catching up to you!”



“Hey, happy birthday… what wuss your name

again?” asked Gary, trying to focus.



“Krystal.”



“Krystal? What a beautiful name. I‟ll bet you

even smell like a flower.” His eyes dropped to her

chest. “Like a „Krystal Of The Val

ley‟.”



“That‟s Lily Of The Valley,” said Jason,

shaking his head.



“Oh, she knows what I mean,” he said, still

staring at her chest. “I love them valleys.”



She laughed. “Looks like you love hills, too.”



Gary burst out laughing. “That‟s right.”






56





“Okay, Romeo,

” said Brian. “Try to roll your

tongue back into your mouth before someone trips

over it on the dance floor.”



Gary ignored him. “Hey. Krystal, the Birthday

Girl. Lemme buy you a drink. Waitress!” he hollered,

swaying. “Waitress?”



“Maybe you should let us

order it,” said Jason,

squeezing his shoulder. “They‟ll cut you off if they

notice how drunk you are.”



Gary shrugged him off. “I‟m not drunk. Jus‟

feeling real good. Come on, man.”



“Settle down, Gary,” said Lucas, who‟d been

pretty quiet up until then.



“Yo

u settle down,” slurred Gary. “You‟re

embarrassing yourselves.”



Lucas grunted.



“So, where are you guys from?” asked Tiffany,

trying to divert the conversation.



“We go to school at I.U.,” said Jason.



“Iowa University?” asked Monica.



“Yep,” said Gary, standi

ng up straighter.

“We‟re frat brothers.”



“Which fraternity?” I asked. I was currently

working on my Associate‟s Degree in Accounting,

and also attended I.U. I knew how crazy some of

those guys could get.



Gary was about to answer when Brian

interrupted. “A

ren‟t you with Delta Epsilon?” he

asked Krystal. “I swear I‟ve seen you at one of their

rallies.”



“No,” she answered, smiling brightly. “I‟ve

already finished school.”






57





“She‟s a Cosmetologist,” said Monica. “We

graduated Waverly Beauty School together.”



Bri

an ran a hand over his short, spiky hair. “I

might have to come and visit you soon then. Which

salon do you work at?”



“Shear Images, over in Jensen,” she replied.

“I‟d love to do your hair.”



“I‟d love you to „do‟ my hair,” he said, his

smile flirtatious.



“Why don‟t you two just do each other?” said

Gary, smiling drunkenly.



Brian sighed. “Sorry. He‟s not usually like

this.”



“Don‟t worry,” she answered. “We all have

one of those kinds of friends, right, Tiffany?”



Tiffany, who had gotten so drunk on my

birt

hday that she‟d flashed all of the bartenders at a

different club, before puking in the bathroom, smiled

and flipped her off.



“She did get us some free shots, though,” I

said, laughing.



“Exactly,” replied Tiffany. “And I didn‟t flash

them because I was dr

unk. I flashed them because

one of you dared me.”



“Yeah, never dare Tiffany anything,” said

Monica. “Unless you‟re prepared to see it actually

happen.”



“I like brave women. So, what do we get,

since we‟ve already bought you shots?” asked Gary,

now leering



at Tiffany‟s chest. “A little peek of those

peaks?”



Tiffany looked at me and rolled her eyes.






58





I just shook my head and laughed.



“You sure know how to win over the ladies,”

said Jason dryly, taking another drink of his beer.



“Oh, I‟m just having some fun,

” he replied.

“You know that, right, Terry?”



“It‟s Tiffany,” she corrected.



“That‟s right, Tiffany. Hey, waitress!” he said,

waving his arms. “Over here!”



The server made her way over and the guys

bought us another round of drinks.



“I‟ll have a rum and Co

ke, please,” I told the

waitress and then looked at Krystal. “Then I‟m done.

I‟m driving, remember.”



“We could take a cab,” she said. “Then you

don‟t have to worry about it.”



“Or, one of us could drive you home,” said

Jason.



I shook my head. “No, it‟s okay

. I‟m not

much of a drinker, anyway.”



“Has anyone ever told you that you look like

that actress, what‟s her name…” said Gary, snapping

his fingers at me.  “Oh, yeah





Eva Longoria?”



“I tell Adriana that all the time,” said Krystal.

“But she doesn‟t believe



me.”



“You do look like her,” agreed Jason. He

smiled. “Maybe her younger, prettier sister.”



Gary laughed. “Now if that doesn‟t sound like

a line, I don‟t know what does! Eva Longoria is a

fucking babe, although so are you,” he said, leaning

toward me. “Se

riously, you have the same kind of

eyes, too. Are your parents Mexican or Latino?”



“My mother is Portuguese,” I said.






59





“Oh, that explains your exotic look,” he

replied.



“My exotic look?” I replied, raising my

eyebrows.



He nodded. “Yeah. You know





you‟ve go

t

that honey colored skin and, those green eyes of

yours… they‟re like a cat‟s. You must get asked out all

the time.”



“Not really,” I said.



“I don‟t believe that for a second,” said Jason.



“She just got hit on at Griffin‟s,” said Krystal.

“We barely made

it out of there alive.”



“You two were at Griffin‟s? The strip joint?”

said Lucas, waking up.



“Yes,” I said. “Unfortunately.”



“What were you doing there?” asked Gary.

“Stripping?”



I laughed. “No, we were







“Looking for a free lap dance,” interrupted

Kryst

al. “I heard they give them to you on your

birthday. I thought it would be fun.”



“Whoa, you chicks are into other girls?”

hollered Gary, looking like he was about to have an

orgasm right there on the spot. “Lipstick lesbians.

Holy shit that‟s hot!”



“We are



not lesbians,” I replied, amazed that

I‟d said it twice in one night.



“She‟s right. We‟re not. It was another dare,”

said Krystal, putting her arm around me. “Right,

babe?”



I smiled, knowing what she was going to do.

She loved messing around with guys. “R

ight.”






60





Krystal leaned over and kissed my lips. It was

quick, but Gary reacted like we‟d just had an hour

-

long make

-

out session. “Fuck me! Did you guys see

that? Do it again, only this time, grab each other‟s

tits.”



Tiffany laughed. “Can I get some of that?



she asked, leaning over the table.



“Of course, babe,” said Krystal, pressing her

lips against Tiffany‟s.



“Oh, mama… Can

I

get some of that?” joked

Brian.



Krystal winked. “If you buy me another shot,

I might just forget that you don‟t have tits and let

yo

u.”



Brian pulled out his wallet. “What would you

like?” he asked, grinning.



She laughed and then said, “Does anyone

have to go to the bathroom?”  



“I‟m going to call Paul,” said Amber, holding

up her cell phone. She‟d been quietly texting. “He‟s

been send

ing me messages.”



“Tell him you‟re having fun and to leave you

alone,” said Tiffany.



“Easier said than done,” said Amber,

scowling. “I‟ll be back.”



“Who‟s Paul?” asked Gary.



“Her fiancé,” I answered, watching as Amber

walked away.



“Tiffany? Monica? Adriana

? Do any of you

need to go to the bathroom?” asked Krystal again.



“Sure. I‟ll come with you,” I replied, grabbing

my purse.






61





“I‟m good,” said Tiffany.



“Me, too,” said Monica. “We‟ll save our table.

It‟s getting really crowded.”



“You need a chaperone?”

asked Gary, smiling

like a goon again.



“Nope, but good try,” said Krystal, grabbing

my arm. “We‟ll be back.”










62





Chapter Five









When we reached the bathroom, three girls

walked out and it was just the two of us.



“Did you see how riled up Gary got when he

t

hought we were lesbians?” said Krystal, laughing.



“So did Brian. He likes you, you know.”



She smiled. “Do you think so?”



“Of course.”



“Jason was staring at you. I‟m sure he likes

you.”



“I can‟t see why. I look like I‟ve been through

a tornado,” I said, gri

macing at my reflection. My hair

was all over the place and my makeup definitely

needed to be touched

-

up. I pulled out my brush and

began using it.



“Sorry. I should have told you. It‟s been like

that ever since Raptor threw you over his shoulder.

What was



that like?”



“What was what like?”



“Having that gorgeous creature carry you into

the back room. For a minute there, I thought you two

were going to go at it.”



My eyes widened. “You mean have sex?”



“Yes.”



“I don‟t even know him.”






63





“Who cares? A guy as hot as



him has got to

be fantastic in bed.”



I smiled. “Probably.”



“He gave you his number, right?” she said as

two girls walked into the bathroom and began talking

quietly in the corner about some guy.



“Yes.”



“Are you going to use it?”



“No,” I said, lowering my

voice.



She smiled. “Maybe I should use it.”



My jaw dropped. “What would Tank say?”



She shrugged. “I‟d make Raptor keep it to

himself.”



“I doubt it. They‟ve got this bond… He

started telling me about it.”



“Yeah. I know. They‟r

e „brothers‟ because of

the

club

,” she said as the two girls left the bathroom.

“The truth is that I‟m pretty sure if I hit on Raptor,

Tank wouldn‟t just break up with me. He‟d hunt me

down and beat the shit out of me.”



“Seriously?”



She smiled grimly. “He‟s got a temper.

They‟ve all

got tempers.”



“Maybe you should break up with him.”



“Like I said earlier, I‟m thinking about it.”

Krystal reached into her purse and pulled out a small

white vial of powder. “By the way, Tank scored me

some coke for my birthday. You want some?”



My eyes wid

ened in shock. “No. I didn‟t

know you did that shit.”



She shrugged. “Just a few times. Tank said

this is the really good stuff. Are you sure you don‟t




64





want to try some? It‟ll wake you up and make you

want to dance all night.” She giggled. “It even makes

yo

u horny.”



I stared at her in disbelief. Where was my

friend who used to complain about her mom smoking

pot? Now,

she



was snorting coke? “You know I‟m not

into that crap and I didn‟t think you were either. Let

me guess, Tank is also the one who introduced you to

it?”



“Yeah. So? Don‟t make a big deal out of it,”

she said, stuffing it back in her purse as someone

walked in

. She turned around and headed for the

largest stall. “Don‟t go back without me. I‟ll be done

in a minute.”



Sighing, I went into the other stall, did my

business, and then washed my hands. A few seconds

later, Krystal stepped out of her stall and quickly

w

ashed her hands. Our eyes met in the mirror and I

could see that she was already beginning to feel the

effects.



“What?” she asked, frowning.



I just shook my head.



“Don‟t be a buzz

-

kill,” she replied, pulling at a

paper towel. “Seriously.”



“Whatever. You k

now how I feel about it.

Anyway, it‟s your life.”



“You‟re right. It is. Let‟s go,” she replied,

walking out of the bathroom.



When we made it back to the table, I noticed

that Jason and Tiffany were on the dance floor, their

hands all over each other. Thin

king he‟d been

attracted to me, I felt a twinge of disappointment. I




65





brushed it off and concentrated on the drink the

waitress had brought, and listening to Gary ramble on

about how his girlfriend had left him the week before.



“Your girlfriend left you?” r

epeated Krystal,

knocking her knuckles on the table. “Why?”



“She thinks I have a drinking problem,” he

said, smiling sheepishly.



Krystal tilted her head and smiled up at him.

“Do you?” 



He shrugged. “No. Maybe. I don‟t know. I‟m

in college. I‟m supposed t

o get drunk and have fun,

right?”



“Exactly… I‟ll drink to that,” she said and

then quickly drank half of her cocktail. She set it back

on the table and shuddered. “Whoa, now that‟s what I

call a good fucking Mai Tai. Hey.” She looked at

Brian, who was stan

ding next to Lucas and talking

about football. “You want to dance?”



“Sure,” he said, smiling. He set his drink

down and then held out his arm. “Don‟t hate me if I

step on your toes.”



She stood up and slid her arm through his.

“I‟m not worried about it. Mon

ica?” she asked as a

new song started, something with a faster beat.



“No, I‟m fine right here,” she said. Monica

hated dancing.



Krystal looked at me and I shook my head.



“I‟ll dance with you guys,” said Gary, setting

his drink down as a new song started.

“I love this

one.”



“Okay, Gary. Let‟s go, boys,” said Krystal,

holding onto both of them. She looked back over her




66





shoulder as they began walking toward the dance

floor. “The rest of you are all a bunch of party

poopers!”



We waved at her.



“Have fun!” I hol

lered.



“Looks like she‟s been partying enough for all

of us,” replied Monica, twirling her straw around in

her glass.



“Oh yeah,” I answered.



“It‟s her birthday. That‟s the point, right?”

asked Lucas.



“True. Hey, where‟s Amber?” I asked, as

Lucas sat betwee

n us.



“She left,” they both said at once.



I frowned. “Why?”



Monica shrugged. “I don‟t know. Something

about Paul.”



“Oh.”



“So, it‟s just the three of us party poopers”

said Lucas, smiling as he leaned back in the chair.



“Why aren‟t you out there dancing?”

I asked.



“Two left feet,” he replied. “What about

you?”



“I don‟t know. Just not in the mood, I guess.”



He nodded toward my cocktail. “Drink up.

I‟m sure that will help.”



I smiled and picked up the glass. “Thanks for

the drinks, by the way.”



“No problem. Ja

son bought this round. You

want a shot? I‟ll get you one.”



“No. Like I was saying earlier, I need to be

careful. I‟m driving.”






67





“Are you always careful?” he asked, his dark

eyes sparkling.



I could tell Lucas was flirting with me and he

seemed like a nice gu

y. I just wasn‟t interested. “When

I need to be. Like now.”



“Fair enough. What about you?” he asked

Monica.



“I have a son. I have to be careful.”



I could tell from the look in his eyes that she

was marked off of his “To Do” list.



“So, tell us a little abo

ut yourself, Lucas,” I

said, trying not to yawn. It wasn‟t even eleven and I

was already getting bored.



“Not much to tell,” he said, looking toward

the bar. “Oh shit.”



“What‟s wrong?” I asked, turning to see what

he was staring at. There was a girl with two guys

ordering drinks at the bar.



He smirked. “Guess you could call her an ex

-

girlfriend,” he said, nodding toward them.



“The girl with the two guys?” I said.



“Yeah.



She‟s completely nuts. If she sees me,

she might freak out, which, I guess, is my cue to

leave. I‟m going to go and find Jason,” he said, getting

up. “Let him know I‟m leaving.”



“Okay. Well, it was nice meeting you,” I said,

feeling bad that his ex was so



crazy that he couldn‟t

even be in the same bar with her.



“Yeah,” agreed Monica. “Sorry we didn‟t get a

chance to talk more.”






68





“Another time, maybe,” he said, looking at

the girl again. Then his eyes met mine. He winked.

“Enjoy yourself tonight.”



“Thanks,”

I replied.



Still watching the bar, carefully, he took off

toward the dance floor, leaving me and Monica alone.



“Boy, that was weird,” said Monica. “He‟s

obviously afraid of her.”



“She must be a real head

-

case,” I replied.



“You never know. He might just be

saying

that. We don‟t know him, either. He could be a real

asshole.”



“True.”



She yawned. “I‟m getting tired. I was up with

Max early this morning.” Max was her five

-

year

-

old

son. “He wasn‟t feeling well. I hope I‟m not coming

down with anything. That‟s all



I need.”



“I hear you,” I said, taking another drink of

my cocktail. “Wow, this is strong.”



“Don‟t drink any more of it then.”



I pushed it away. “Maybe I won‟t.”



“I envy you,” she said, sighing. “Not that I

don‟t love Max, hell, you know how much I adore

t

hat little guy, but there are days when I wish I would

have been more careful.”



Monica had gotten pregnant in high school

and the boy who‟d knocked her up, hadn‟t wanted

anything to do with the baby.



“I‟m sure. Thank goodness your mom didn‟t

freak out when



you first told her about Max.”



“She‟s great. If it wasn‟t for her, I don‟t know

how I‟d have managed.”






69





“You would have found a way. You‟re a lot

more resourceful and independent than you give

yourself credit for.”



“Thanks,” she said. “Still, I wish I coul

d give

him more, you know? He deserves it.”



“He has his mother,” I said, “who loves him

and that‟s all he really needs. You‟re doing great.”



She smiled.



“Plus, look at it this way, you‟ll still be young

when Max is old enough to get into a bar. You can

buy



him his first drink, and everyone will say what a

hot MILF you are.”



She laughed. “Right.”



“He really is a great kid,” I said, thinking

about his round little cherub face. “So sweet. You‟re

lucky to have him.”



She nodded. “He is sweet. He must take after

me because his father is a douche bag.”



“Yeah he is,” I said, feeling a little dizzy. I put

my hand up to my forehead. “Is it hot in here or just

me?”



“It‟s a little hot,” she said, looking around.

“But look at how many people are crammed into this

joint.”



“It‟s packed, alright,” said Jason, who was

suddenly standing next to me. “And there isn‟t

anywhere to move on the dance floor, there are so

many bodies out there now.”



“Hey,” I said, looking behind him. “Where is

Tiffany?”






70





“She‟s dancing with Brian, Gary

, and your

friend now,” he said, sitting down next to me. “I

needed a break.”



“Lucas left,” said Monica.



He ran a hand through his dark hair. “Yeah, I

ran into him on the way back here.”



Monica yawned. “I‟m tired. I think I need

some caffeine.”



“Me, too. I

‟m feeling a little dizzy anyway.” I

stuck my fingers in into my drink and grabbed an ice

cube. “I knew I should have gone to bed earlier last

night,” I said, rubbing it on my forehead.



“Drink your rum and Coke,” he said, nodding

toward the drink. “That wi

ll help cool you off.”



“No. I‟m done,” I replied, unzipping my

purse to get to my wallet. “I think I‟m just going to go

and get a plain Coke.”



“I‟ll get it for you,” he said, jumping up.



I looked up at him. “No. It‟s okay. You

already bought the drink. I f

eel bad for wasting it.”



He waved his hand. “Are you kidding? Don‟t

worry about it. Would you like a Coke, too?” he asked

Monica.



“Yes. Please,” she said.



“Okay. I‟ll be right back,” said Jason, walking

away.



“He‟s nice,” I said, watching him move

around



the busy bar, trying to find an available

bartender.



“Yeah. He‟s cute, too.”



I nodded and closed my eyes.



“You okay?” she said.






71





I opened my eyes. “Like I said before, I‟m a

little dizzy.”



“There‟s a lot of stuff going around,” she said.

“Flu season, you



know.”



I scowled. “I hope it‟s not that. Last time I

had the flu I couldn‟t get out of bed for three days.”



“You and me both,” she said.



Jason returned a few minutes later and handed

us our sodas.



“Thanks,” I said. “I think I really need this.”



“Yeah, tha

nks,” said Monica, taking her soda.



“No problem,” he answered, sitting down

next to me.



“I‟ll be right back. I need to go to the

bathroom,” said Monica, standing up.



“Do you want me to come with you?” I

asked.



“No. I‟m fine. I‟m going to call my mom, too.

See how Max is doing.”



“Okay,” I said, as she walked away.



“So, what do you normally do for fun?” he

asked, watching me as I took another drink of the

soda.



“Not a whole lot,” I said, smiling. “With

school and all.”



“What are you going to school for?”



I to

ld him and we started talking about the

classes I was currently taking.



“What about you?” I asked.



“I‟ll tell you if you dance with me,” he said.



I took another drink of the Coke. “I don‟t

know. I‟m really not much of a dancer.”






72





“Either am I. We‟ll look g

oofy together.”



“I doubt you‟d look as goofy as me,” I said,

finishing the rest of my soda. Besides, he looked

pretty comfortable dancing with Tiffany earlier.



He stood up. “Come on, let‟s dance. You

might feel better.”



“What about Monica?” I said, looking



toward

the bathrooms.



“She‟ll figure it out.”



Before I could protest any more, he grabbed

my hand and pulled me toward the dance floor.



“There they are!” he hollered, pointing toward

Krystal and the others.



We made our way over to where they were

dancing



and Krystal squealed when she saw us.



“I can‟t believe it. You‟re dancing!” she

hollered, as the music changed and Jennifer Lopez‟s

song, “On the Floor” began to play.



“I love this one!” yelled Gary, who was

sweating and dancing next to two girls, who lo

oked

annoyed more than anything.



“Me, too!” cried Krystal.



“I need a drink,” said Brian, pulling Krystal

away from me. “You should get one, too. Cool off!”



“But I want to dance with Adriana,” she

protested.



“Fine. Let‟s have a quick drink and come back

out

, Birthday Girl!” he hollered over the music. “If

you don‟t keep drinking, you‟re going to get sober.

You don‟t want that, do you?”



She laughed. “When you put it that way...”



“Exactly.”






73





“You okay, Adriana?” asked Krystal, moving

toward me.



I nodded. “Just

a little warm.” It wasn‟t

helping that I was now on the dancefloor with dozens

of other people.



“Where‟s Monica?” she asked, leaning in to

me. 



“Bathroom,” I said, feeling lightheaded.

“Where‟s Tiffany?”



Krystal pointed and I saw that Tiffany was

dancing



with a guy that looked familiar.



“Isn‟t that one of her ex

-

boyfriends?” I asked.



“Yup. Oh,” said Krystal as Brian grabbed her

arm again and hauled her away. She laughed. “I guess

I‟ll see you soon!”



“You okay?” asked Jason, who was now

staring at my face



with concern.



Suddenly it was hard to focus and the room

began to spin. “Oh, wow. I‟m so dizzy. We should go

back, too.”



“Nonsense,” he said, grabbing me by the

waist. “I‟ll take care of you.”



“You know… I… I don‟t… feel so good,” I

said, my tongue thick.





“You mentioned that your drink was really

strong,” he said. “It must be hitting you now.”



“But, I didn‟t drink… much,” I slurred,

staring up into his eyes. “This is… weird.”



“You‟re going to be fine. I‟ll take care of you,”

he said, holding me close. 



I



clung on to him, afraid that I was going to

fall or possibly even pass out. “I... please…I need…”






74





“I know what you need,” he whispered in my

ear before everything went black.










75





Chapter Six











I woke up to find Jason helping me into the

backseat of someo

ne‟s car.



“What‟s going on?” I mumbled, trying to

focus.



“I‟m giving you a ride home,” he said, smiling

at me. “You can lie down if you want.”



I tired looking outside, but it made me dizzier.

“I don‟t remember leaving the club.”



“I walked you outside to get some fresh air.

You were barely coherent.” He said something else,

but I nodded off.



When the door slammed shut, I opened my

eyes again and watched him walk around to the

driver‟s side door. He got in and started the car.



“Whe

re‟s Krystal?” I asked, feeling sick to my

stomach. I rolled down the window to let some fresh

air in.



“She‟s fine. She wanted me to take you home.

You do want to go home, right? I mean, I can take

you back inside if you‟d prefer.”



Bile rose to the back of



my throat and I

swallowed it down. I felt horrible and still so dizzy. I

closed my eyes and curled up on the seat. “No. I just




76





want to go home,” I said, laying my head down.

“Thanks, Jason. You‟re… so… sweet to do this...”



“You‟re welcome.”





***





The next



time I woke up, I was sitting up and

Jason was in the backseat with me. One of his hands

was under my sweater, the other one was trying to get

inside of my jeans.



“Hey,” I slurred, pushing him away. “What

are you doing?”



“Shh...” he said, trying to kiss m

e. “Relax. I‟m

going to make you feel really good.”



I put my hand on his chest, stopping him.

“Don‟t.”



Ignoring me, he grabbed my hand and put it

on his bulging zipper. “Come on, baby, I‟m so hard

for you,” he said. “Feel that?”



I removed my hand and shove

d him firmly in

the chest. “What the fuck are you doing? You

asshole!”



He stiffened up. “What in the hell is

your

problem?”



“Me? You‟re acting like some kind of…

rapist!” I yelled.



His face turned white and this time he backed

far away from me. “No, I‟m



not. You were the one

who was all over me! Now you‟re freaking out? What,

are you, some kind of a psycho?”






77





“No,” I said, trying to think back. Everything

was hazy. The last thing I remembered was him

promising to bring me home. “You‟re lying.”



Jason glare

d at me. “I‟m lying? You‟re

completely nuts! I was going to drive you home and

you had your hands all over me. Said you wanted me

to come back there and fuck the shit out of you. So I

pulled over. Now, you‟re accusing

me



of rape? What is

wrong with you?”



I



touched my forehead. My head was

pounding and I was confused.



Fuck the shit out of me?

That certainly didn‟t sound like something I‟d say. But

to be honest, I really couldn‟t remember anything.

“No,” I said, frightened. “You have to be making this

up.”



He



laughed coldly. “I see how it is. You‟re just

a cock

-

tease. Coming on to me and then crying „rape‟.

Fuck this.”



Thoroughly baffled, I tried to think back, but

I couldn‟t even remember leaving the club. But, I had.

Had



I also come on to him?



“Please, just

take me home?” I asked, trying

not to cry.



“Why should I take you home? I‟m a rapist,

remember?” he said sharply.



“Look, I‟m sorry,” I said, not knowing what

to think anymore. “I just want to go home.”



He sighed. “After the way you‟ve treated me?

You think



I should just drive you home now?” He

crossed his arms over his chest. “Honestly, I feel like

I‟m the one who‟s been raped.”






78





I felt so nauseous and wondered what the hell

was wrong with me. “I said I was sorry,” I said, trying

not to throw up. “Please, ju

st drive me back to the

club, if it‟s closer. I‟ll find Krystal or Tiffany. They‟ll

take me home and you‟ll never have to see me again.”



Jason‟s face relaxed. “I can do that, if you

prefer. But,” he leaned toward me and brushed a

strand of hair away from m

y cheek, “I think you

should try being a little nicer to me.”



“Yeah. Sure,” I said, desperately trying not to

be sick. “Whatever you want. If you‟ll just drive me

back.”



“Whatever I want?”



I didn‟t say anything, I was too busy fighting

the urge to puke.



He



cupped my chin and dragged his thumb

across my lower lip. “I think you know what I want,”

he whispered.



I could hear him unzipping his jeans and my

stomach rolled. Instead of getting the blow job he

obviously wanted, I leaned over and threw up all over

h

is lap.





***





“You asshole!” I cried as Jason threw my

purse out the window and it landed in the gravel. I

picked it up and glared at him.



“Have fun walking,” he shouted before

speeding way.



Trembling, I looked around the empty

parking lot, trying to fig

ure out where I was. From




79





what I could tell, I was at some kind of rest

-

stop.

Unfortunately, it was dark and there wasn‟t anyone

around.



I opened up my purse, grabbed a couple of

tissues, and wiped my mouth. The jerk had gotten so

pissed off at me for puki

ng on him that he‟d pushed

me out of the car, totally abandoning me. Fortunately,

most of the vomit had landed on him and all I was

left with was the horrible taste in my mouth.



When I was done wiping my face, I walked

over to a garbage can and threw the t

issues away.

Then I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Krystal.

When she didn‟t answer, I left her a voicemail and

then a text. Next, I called Tiffany, but she didn‟t

answer either.



“Dammit,” I mumbled, noticing that the

battery on my phone was nearly dea

d, and it was

almost two in the morning. As I considered who to

call next, at such a crappy hour, I saw Raptor‟s

number.



Fuck it

, I thought.



He was the one who told

me to call if I had problems. This would definitely

qualify

. Sighing, I pressed the call bu

tton.










80





Chapter Seven















“Get the fuck out of here,” I ordered, shoving

Brandy away from me. I‟d found her waiting for me

on my porch after leaving Griffin‟s. She‟d been sitting

there, alone in the dark, just like always. Needing me

to get her off

before returning to her boss.



Always loving a challenge, she ignored my

anger. “Come on, baby, don‟t be like that,” she

pouted, snuggling up against me. She reached down,

below my button and began caressing my cock

through the fabric. “See, he already want

s to come

out and play.”



“You‟ve got a lot of fucking nerve,” I

muttered, letting her stroke me. The truth was I was

still hornier than a mother

-

fucker and needed to do

something about it. I didn‟t care for the whores at

Griffin‟s and with everything that

had gone on at the

club, there hadn‟t been time to go looking for a

woman who would take my mind off of Adriana‟s

tight little ass.



“I‟m sorry,” whispered Brandy, rubbing her

tits against my chest. She was dressed in a skirt that

barely covered her crotch

and a tank top that

displayed her fake breasts, the ones that I‟d reluctantly




81





paid for last summer. She‟d hated her B

-

cups, said

that they didn‟t make her feel up to par with some of

the other Old Ladies. Hell, I missed the old

Brandy

.

The one before the fake boobs and even faker smiles.

The one who‟d promised to follow me to the moon

and back.



“You‟re lucky I don‟t fucking kick your ass off

of my porch,” I replied in a husky voice. I looked

around the neighborhood and noticed the oth

er

houses were dark. Most of my neighbors were in their

twenties and thirties. Apparently, everyone was asleep

or busy fucking each other. The thought made me

even harder.



“I know. I can‟t help it, though. I need to feel

you inside of me, Raptor. I miss y

ou so much.”



Should have thought of that before you fucked me over

,

I thought. “You miss me, huh? Tell me what you

miss.”



Brandy unbuckled my jeans and reached

inside. “This,” she whispered, pulling out my cock,

which was as hard as a rock. “Oh, my God, I

miss

this so much.”



Looking up and down the street again, I

pulled her further into the shadows of my porch.

“Get on your knees,” I ordered.



Brandy didn‟t even hesitate. She got down and

began sucking me off. As I watched her head bobbing

and her lips slid

ing back and forth, I grabbed the

railing behind me and closed my eyes. Instead of the

lying bitch who was now getting me off, the one

who‟d cut me to the core with her cheating, I

imagined the kitten with the green eyes and sexy




82





smile. Adriana. Her tongue

, circling the head of my

cock, while she cupped my balls. Her hot, wet mouth,

urging me on so she could suck me dry. It didn‟t take

long before my hips were bucking and I was shooting

my load into her mouth. Adriana‟s mouth.



“That was fast,” said Brandy,

wiping her lips.



I opened my eyes and sighed. Not fast enough

as far as I was concerned. I took off my T

-

shirt and

wiped my dick off.



“Mm… I love your muscles,” she said,

running her hand over my chest.



I didn‟t say anything, I just stared at her,

unable

to believe I‟d wasted two years with someone

like her.



“My turn, right?” she whispered, giggling

nervously. “On the porch?”



I smiled coldly. “Oh, I see. You want me to

munch your box on my porch?



Brandy leaned against the railing and spread

her legs apart.



Then she raised her skirt, exposing her

hot

-

pink panties. The ones I‟d purchased for her at

Victoria‟s Secret. “Yeah. Mm… I‟m already wet just

thinking about your tongue.”



Grunting, I zipped up my jeans, bundled up

the T

-

shirt, and walked toward the front



door.



“Raptor?” she pouted.



I looked over my shoulder. “Don‟t come back

here again, Brandy.”



“What the fuck? I just gave you a fucking

blow job and you‟re going to leave me here like this? I

need to get off, too, Trevor,” she whined, calling me

by my real



name. 






83





“Get off?” I opened the door and walked

inside. Then I turned to look back at her. “Why don‟t

you

get off



my damn porch and go home.”



Her face darkened. “That‟s not funny.”



“Not trying to be,” I said. “Get out of my life

and stay the fuck out this



time.”



She crossed her arms under her chest and

smirked. “You‟re just saying that. I know you.”



She had me there. Last week I‟d been so

drunk, I‟d even broken down and fucked her. But, I‟d

had enough. “Just like I thought I knew you. You

made your bed, Br

andy. It‟s time to lay in it.”



She dropped her hands and took a step

toward me. “But, I want to lay in

your



bed,” she

pouted. “Come on, baby.”



I raised my hand. “Sorry, but I don‟t allow

whores in my bed. Not anymore. Thanks for the blow

job, by the way.

I‟ve got a twenty in my wallet if

you‟re charging for it now.”



She glared at me. “You asshole.”



“I prefer „dick‟ but you can call me whatever

you want. Just don‟t… call me baby,” I said, before

shutting the door in her face.



“Fuck you!” she hollered from t

he other side.



Smiling to myself, I went upstairs and took a

shower.





***





Thirty minutes later, I was unwrapping a

frozen pizza when my cell phone rang. Not

recognizing the number, I answered it anyway.






84





“Raptor?”



My eyes widened. “Adriana? Is that you?”





Uh, yeah. Listen, I need a ride home.” She

sighed. “You know what, I‟m sorry to bother you. I

should just call a cab.”



“No. Wait,” I said, putting the pizza back in

the freezer. “I‟ll give you a ride. It‟s not a problem.

Where are you?”



“I‟m really not sur

e. Hold on.”



“You at one of the clubs?”



“No,” she laughed humorlessly. “Actually I‟m

at some rest

-

stop. There‟s a sign over here. Hold on.”



“What do you mean you‟re at a rest

-

stop? Is

Krystal with you?”



“No.”



“Where is she?”



“I don‟t know,” she said and th

en it sounded

like she was crying. “Some guy brought me here. He

said that he was going to take me home.”



My gut clenched angrily. “What?”



“Yeah. He, um,” she sniffed, “he tried making

a move on me and I threw up on him.”



I relaxed. “You did?”



She laughed

nervously. “I don‟t even know

what really happened or why I threw up. I mean, I

hardly drank anything all night. Then I guess I passed

out. When I woke up, he had his hands all over me.”



“Where is this fucker?” I growled, wanting to

kill the bastard. It so

unded like Adriana had been

slipped some kind of a date

-

rape drug. “The guy who

did this to you?”






85





“Jason? I don‟t know. He left. Okay, I‟m at

Pinefield Rest Area. Do you know where that is?”



“No,” I said, trying to calm down. “But, I‟ll

find it. I‟m

leaving right now.”



“Thanks, Raptor,” she said softly.



“Call me Trevor,” I said, surprised at myself.



“Thanks, Trevor.”



“Watch for me. I‟ll get there as soon as

possible.”



“Okay.”














86





Chapter Eight













I hung up and went to the restroom facility to

try and clean myself up a little, but it was locked. 



“Nice,” I mumbled, slinging my purse over

my shoulder. I walked around the building to a picnic

table and sat down. Then I took out a compact mirror

and c

ringed at my reflection. My makeup was

smeared and my eyes were red

-

rimmed from crying.

Sighing, I tried to rub as much of the dark makeup

off of my face before Trevor arrived and saw how

awful I looked.



Trevor.



Althoug

h his street name



Raptor was cool, I

really liked his real name, Trevor. Plus, he seemed like

a decent enough guy. When I‟d told him about Jason,

he sounded like he wanted to throttle the guy. It

actually made me feel good. That and the fact that he

was willing to drive out here to pick me up



at such a

ridiculous hour. I just hoped it wasn‟t for sex. I wasn‟t

sure what I‟d do if he took me back to his place and

demanded I put out, to repay him. Like Jason. It was

obvious Jason had wanted me to give him a blow

-

job.

The idea started my stomach r

olling all over again.

Pushing away any more thoughts of that asshole, I




87





shoved my mirror back into my purse and zipped it

back up. Then I laid my head down on my arms.

Fortunately, the fresh air and throwing up all over

Jason had made my tummy feel better

, but I was still

so tired. So tired that I eventually nodded off again.



I woke up hearing the sound of a motorcycle

in the distance. Wiping the drool from my lips, I

grabbed my purse, hurried over to the parking lot,

and stood under a light. When I saw Tr

evor driving

toward me on his Harley, I felt such a sense of relief

that I almost started crying again.



He stopped next to me and put his kickstand

down, leaving the bike running. As he got off, I

noticed that he wore only faded blue jeans and a black

lea

ther jacket without a shirt. His long hair was loose

and windblown. In fact, he almost looked like he‟d

just gotten out of bed, but, truthfully, I‟d never seen

anyone look so good. At that moment, he was my

knight

-

in

-

shining

-

armor and my stomach was all

bu

tterflies.



“You okay, darlin‟?” he asked, studying my

face.



I tried keeping a stiff upper lip, but it was

hard. My emotions were all over the place. I was

jittery, scared of what had happened with Jason, and

yet so happy to see Trevor, that my legs felt l

ike they

were going to give out. “Yeah. I‟m better. Now that

you‟re here and can give me a lift.”



He looked around and then back at me. “He

just dumped you off here? In the middle of

nowhere?”



I nodded and then felt my lip quivering.






88





Trevor‟s eyes softened

. He opened up his

arms and stepped toward me. “It‟s okay, Adriana.

You‟re safe, now.”



“Thanks,” I squeaked, as his arms wrapped

around me. I closed my eyes, surprised at how much

comfort a stranger could offer. But, he was big and

strong and I could tell

by the look in his eyes that his

concern was genuine. It made me trust him that much

more.



After a few seconds, he released me and then

walked back over to his bike. He opened up one of

the saddlebags and pulled out another leather jacket.



“Here,” he

said, holding it out. “It‟s chilly out

here. You‟re going to need it for the ride.”



“Thanks,” I replied, grabbing the black jacket.

I put it on and zipped it up. “Is this yours?”



He smiled. “Yeah.”



“It‟s nice,” I said, running my hand over the

soft leather

. It looked expensive and new, almost like

it had never been worn before. It also didn‟t look like

something a biker would wear. It was much more…

formal.



“My grandmother bought it for me a couple

years ago for Christmas. She said I needed to have

somethin

g classier to wear when I went out on dates,”

he said and then chuckled. 



“Well, she has very good taste.”



“She does.” His smiled turned grim. “She‟s

also one of the few people I know in my family who

actually gives a shit.”



“Oh. I‟m sorry to hear that.”






89





“It‟s okay. I wasn‟t asking for sympathy. I

guess I was thinking out loud, again. I do that a lot.”



“No problem. I do that, too.”



He pushed his hair behind his ears. “So,

where do you live, darlin‟?”



I bit my lower lip, thinking about how loud

his Harley w

as. It would more than likely wake up

every one of the blue

-

hairs in the neighborhood, and

there were plenty. M

y mom would never let me hear

the end of it.

Plus, s

he didn‟t like bikers. They scared

her. Going home sudde

nly didn‟t seem like such a

great



ide

a.





To tell you the truth,

I don‟

t know if I

should go home right now

,” I said. “It‟s late and my

mom will wake up. I don‟t want to have to explain…”



He looked surprised. “You live with your

mom?”



I raised my chin

. “Yeah. I‟m in college. It‟s

easier and mo

re affordable.”



He chuckled.



You don‟t have to explain

anything to me,

Kitten.

I‟m not judging you

.



College

is expensive.





I relaxed. “You can say that again. So, um,

m

aybe you could drive me

back

to Krystal‟s?”





That‟s probably not going to work.

I just

spoke to Tank. Krystal‟s at his house.”



I sighed.



Really?





“Yep

. She got a lift back to his place

from

some girl named Tiffany. Tank said



Krystal had been

under the impression that you were getting a ride

home.



I‟m pretty sure she‟s passed out now with all of

the shit she had to drink

.”






90







It was supposed to have been me who was

going to

give her a ride



home

. But,

” I frowned, “

I got

sick and Jason was supposed to take me home.



Trevor‟s eyes hardened. “Obviously, t

hat

wasn‟t the fucker‟s only intent.”



“Apparently not. I guess I can‟t go back

Krystal‟s house then.”



“No sweat. You can stay at my place,” he said.

“In the guestroom

, of course,





he said, when I gave

him a doubtful look.





Are you sure?”



I answered, not kn

owing if

that was a good idea. But, he did say “guest” room.



“Of course I‟m sure,” he said. He got on his

bike and kicked up the kickstand. “Let‟s go.”



I walked over and stood next to him, feeling

nervous.



“Hop on,” he said, nodding toward the seat

behind

him.



“To be honest, I‟ve never been on one of

these before.”



“Don‟t worry, you‟re going to love it.”



I smiled weakly. “Okay.”



“Just get on behind me. Wait a second,” he

said, pointing to my purse. “Put this around your

neck and shoulder. Then zip up the

jacket.”



I did what he said and then slid my leg over

the seat, straddling the bike.



“Put your feet there,” he said, pointing down

to the footrests.



“Okay. How‟s your foot, by the way?”



“It‟s a little tender, but nothing to worry

about.”






91





“Good.”



“I almost



forgot, put this on,” he said,

handing me a black helmet. “Just in case.”



I slipped it on and buckled it.



He grabbed one of my hands and put it

around his waist. “Hold onto me tightly now. With

both hands. I don‟t want to lose you.”



“Yeah, well, I don‟t

want you to lose me,

either,” I replied dryly, putting both hands around

him.



“If it‟s more comfortable, you can slide your

hands under my jacket. You might get a better grip.”



“Okay,” I replied, not seeing why it would

make that much of a difference.



Whe

n my hands touched his bare skin, he

stiffened up. “Damn, you‟ve got cold hands, Kitten.”  



“Sorry,” I said, enjoying how warm his skin

was, not to mention how sexy his abs felt under my

palms. I scooted forward until we were as close as

could be and then



laid my cheek against the back of

his leather jacket.



He patted my knee. “Let‟s get you home.”














92





Chapter Nine















When Adriana‟s hands touched my waist, it

started a fire in my lower belly and made my zipper

unbearably tight. I kept my cool, however. The last

thing I needed was for her to realize that I wanted to

bang the fuck out of her myself, after she‟d almost

bee

n raped.



“Damn, you‟ve got cold hands, Kitten,” I

said, gritting my teeth as her fingers slid over my skin.



“Sorry,” she said, snuggling up against me.



Releasing my breath, I patted her leg in

reassurance. I wanted her to know that she was safe

with me. I



wasn‟t like that fuck

-

head, Jason. The one

who was going to get his ass handed to him when I

found the prick. “Let‟s get you home.”



“Okay,” she said, gripping my waist even

more tightly as we began to roll.



I pulled out of the parking lot, relishing the



fact that the roads were empty and I had a beautiful

woman on the back of my bike. The only thing that

could make it better would be the feel of her hand

sliding further south. I brushed the lewd thoughts

away and tilted my face up toward the wind, hoping



it




93





would cool me the fuck down. Here, I‟d just gotten

my dick sucked an hour ago and my mind was still in

the gutter. But, there was something so fresh and sexy

about Adriana. Something that intrigued me so much

that I was out rescuing her ass at two

-

thir

ty in the

morning. This was surprising, even for me. Especially

after my experience with Brandy. 



“You okay?” I hollered over the rumble of the

engine as we turned onto the highway and began to

pick up speed.



Laughing, she raised her thumb.



I smiled.



The

roads were clear on the trip back to my

house, but I stayed the speed limit, even taking a

longer route, just so the trip would last longer. Having

her on the back of my bike and holding onto me like

she was felt pretty fucking good.



“I want one,” said Ad

riana, when I pulled up

to my garage, fifteen minutes later.



I smiled at her over my shoulder. “A

motorcycle?”



“Yes. Oh, my God, that was

so

amazing. I

can‟t believe I‟ve never been on one of these before.”



I turned off the engine. “It‟s even more

amazing

during the day. Especially when you‟re

touring across the countryside with the sun in your

face, your back against the wind, and the stereo

cranked. It doesn‟t get much better than that.”



“It sounds like a lot of fun. Do you take many

road

-

trips?”



I ran m

y hands through my hair, wishing I

would have worn it back in a ponytail. “Not enough.”






94





“Huh.” She looked around my garage. “Wow,

is that your Chevelle?”



“Yeah. You into muscle cars?”



“I always thought they were cool. What year is

it?”



“It‟s a ‟67 S.S.”



“I

t‟s sexy,” she said, walking over to it.



“I just had it repainted,” I said, following her.



“What color was it before?”



“It was the same color. Black.”



She leaned down and looked into the window.

“It‟s beautiful. Do you take it out much?”



“Sometimes. It‟s

fall now, though, so I

probably won‟t take it out any more this year,” I

replied.



“I don‟t blame you,” she said turning around.

When she noticed how close we were, she slid

sideways and moved around me. “Thanks for letting

me stay at your place. The fresh



air felt great, but I‟m

so tired. I can‟t wait to sleep.”



“I bet. Do you have to work later?” I asked,

not even sure if she had a job. All I knew was that she

was in college.



She nodded. “Yeah. At six

-

thirty. In the

evening, thank God.”



“Where do you

work?”



“I work part

-

time at Dazzle.”



“The jewelry store?”



Adriana nodded. “My mom owns it. Normally

I don‟t work Saturday nights, but I promised I‟d help

her with inventory after the shop closes”






95





“Huh. I‟ve been there, before. Nice stuff. A

little pricey,

but nice.”



“You pay for quality,” she replied. “My

mother prides herself on buying only the best

diamonds and gems. She travels all over for them.”



“Interesting. Does she make her own jewelry,

too?”



“Yes. She‟s been teaching me now, too.”



“Really? That mus

t be interesting.”



She shrugged. “It‟s okay. I don‟t have the

same passion that she does. Or creativity. Anyway,

what about you? Where do you work?”



“You mean when I‟m not working for

Slammer?”



“Yeah.”



“I do a little carpentry on the side.”



She looked surp

rised. “Like, as in fixing up

houses and stuff?”



“Yeah,” I said, as we stepped outside the

garage and began heading toward the house. “Or

whatever else needs fixing.”



She stopped abruptly. “Um, it looks like you

have company and… they might need some fixin

g of

their own.”



I looked to see what she was staring at and my

blood began to boil. Brandy was standing on my

porch, holding a tissue and glaring at us.



“What are you doing here?” I asked sharply.



Her face fell and she began to cry.



“Fuck,” I mumbled whe

n I noticed the bruise

on her cheek.






96





“Danny hit me,” she said, raising her chin. “If

you didn‟t notice.”



I stepped onto the porch. “Yeah, well, what

the fuck do you want me to do about it?”



Adriana, who was behind me, gasped at my

indifference.



Brandy lo

oked at her. “Who the hell is this?”  



“Never mind,” I snapped. “It‟s none of your

business. Now, get in your car and go home.”



“Trevor, I

can‟t



go home,” she cried, looking

at me like I was an idiot. “He kicked me out. I need a

fucking place to stay.”



Grinding my teeth, I unlocked the front door

and turned to Adriana. “I have some shit to take care

of,” I said, trying to soften my voice. “Go inside and

make yourself at home.”



“Uh, I can call a cab,” she said, looking a little

uncomfortable.



I gave her a



reassuring smile. “No cab.

Everything is cool, okay? I‟ll be in shortly. ”



She nodded.



“Oh, and hey… if you‟d like to take a shower,

there are towels in the linen closet. Feel free to use

whatever you want.”



Brandy wrinkled her nose and smirked. “She

shou

ld. She smells like puke.”



I turned to her. “Brandy,” I warned, glaring at

her. “Shut the fuck up.”



“I‟ll be inside,” said Adriana, walking past me.

From the look on her face, she was as embarrassed as

all hell.






97





“Who the fuck is she

really,



Trevor?” said

B

randy, after Adriana shut the door.



“Like I said, it‟s none of your goddamn

business,” I said and pointed toward the street where

her car was parked. “Now, take your problems

somewhere else. They don‟t belong here.”



Her lip quivered and her eyes filled wit

h tears.

“Why are you such an asshole? Don‟t you care about

me at all?”



I stared at her in disbelief. “I stopped caring

the moment I found out you were fucking around on

me with your boss, who I assume is now your

EX



boss. You‟re lucky I didn‟t beat the fu

ck out of you

when I found out, because you‟d have had more than

a bruise on your cheek.”



She tilted her head and smiled. “Right. That‟s

not you.”



“Maybe it should be,” I threatened, never

wanting to hit a woman as much as I did at that

moment.



She saw th

rough it. “You‟re a good man,

Trevor. You‟d never hit a woman. We both know

that.”



I smiled cruelly. “Is that right? Just like I

thought I knew you?”



Brandy‟s face fell. She tried reaching for me.

“Trevor, baby, I‟m so sorry







I pushed her away. “Don‟t yo

u give me that

„I‟m sorry‟ shit and don‟t you dare fucking test me,” I

spat. “Now, if you don‟t get off of my property, I‟ll

call the police and let them do it.”






98





Her eyes widened. “

You

call



the police. That‟s

hilarious.”



“Does it look like I‟m doing stand

-

up now?” I

whispered angrily, noticing that one of my neighbors‟

porches was now lit up. 



Brandy let out a ragged sigh. “Okay, fine. But,

do you even care why he hit me?”



“Nope.”



She ignored me. “I told him I wanted to get

back with you.”



Grunting, I open

ed the door. “That‟s

priceless.”



She lurched forward, grabbing onto my

leather jacket. “Please, Trevor, forgive me,” she

begged, staring up into my eyes. “I made a mistake,

baby. I realize that. It was the biggest mistake of my

life, but I know that someh

ow… we can both get past

it.”



I removed her hands from my collar and

shoved her away. “It‟s too late, Brandy, don‟t you get

it?”



“But I made a mistake,” she sobbed. “I

should have never cheated on you. I know that. Can‟t

you just forgive me?”



I hated seein

g a woman cry, especially one I‟d

once cared so much about. But my pride was still

wounded and there was no way I‟d be able to ever

trust Brandy again. Not after the shit she‟d pulled.

“Seems to me you didn‟t learn your lesson after

balling your boss.”



She



looked confused. “What do you mean?”






99





“You cheated on me and then you cheated on

Danny,

with



me. Well, guess what? Now, neither of us

want anything to do with your lying ass,” I said,

slamming the door in her face.










100





Chapter Ten













I wasn‟t exactly sure who the blond was

standing on Trevor‟s porch but she certainly didn‟t

look thrilled to see me. And the comment about me

smelling like puke





well, it was probably true, but she

didn‟t have to point it out. Beaten or not, she was still



a bitch. 



Sighing, I turned on the light, removed my

boots, and caught my first impression of Trevor‟s

place. From what I could tell, it was a cozy, split

-

level

house that couldn‟t have been more than ten years

old. It smelled kind of nice, too. Like fre

sh cedar and

lemon. It was a nice surprise, considering I‟d expected

it to smell more like cigarettes or stale beer, since he

was a biker and obviously liked to party.



To the left of the front door, I noticed a pair

of Nike tennis shoes, a brown pair of c

owboy boots,

and a set of steel

-

toed mountain boots sitting next to

a wooden bench. I placed my own boots next to his.



Damn, he has big feet.





Smiling, I walked up the stairs, to the main

level, which was obviously a bachelor pad. There was

an oversized br

own leather sectional, which faced a

large television and  an impressive stereo and sound




101





system. There was also a large fish tank that took up

most of the other wall. Other than that, there wasn‟t

much thought put into the decor, save for a few

candles an

d a painting of an older model Harley

Davidson, which hung over a small fireplace. 



Intrigued by the aquarium, I walked over and

stared at the colorful fish, which were obviously the

saltwater kind. I leaned down and watched a group of

clown

-

fish swim thr

ough some rocks, amazed at the

sheer size of the tank. I didn‟t know a lot about fish,

but I knew that a large tank like this wasn‟t cheap and

needed a lot of maintenance. As I began examining

some of the other fish, the front door opened and

then seconds

later, slammed shut, startling me. I

straightened up and met him by the stairs. He looked

like he wanted to hurt someone.



“So, is she going to be all right?” I asked,

nodding toward the doorway.



He grunted and shook his head. “She was a

total cunt to you a

nd yet you still care about her

welfare?”



I winced at the word “cunt.” I hated it, but

for some reason, it seemed kind of fitting for her. “I

don‟t know. She just looked so desperate. Like she

really needed help.”



“Don‟t worry about her. She‟ll be fine. Sh

e

can go to her sister‟s or her mom‟s for help,” he said,

climbing the steps.



“Who is she?” I asked, having a pretty good

idea.



“She‟s… nobody.”






102







Nobody

, who visits you in the middle of the

night?” I replied.



He sighed and removed his leather jacket.

“She

used to be my Old Lady. Before she decided she

needed to be more than that.”



I stared at his bare chest and muscular arms,

wondering why in the hell she‟d given all that up.

“Her loss though, right?”



Trevor smiled. “That‟s what I keep telling

myself,” he s

aid, walking closer to me.



I grinned.



“How are you feeling? Still sick to your

stomach?”



I shrugged. “A little. I think I just need to

sleep.”



He nodded.



“So, you said I could use your shower?” I

asked, feeling nervous now that we were alone in his

house

and he was already half

-

naked.



“Oh, yeah,” he said, turning toward the

hallway. “There‟s a shower you can use right through

here. I‟ll show you.”



“Okay.”



I followed him to the bathroom and he turned

on the light.



“Everything you need should be in there





shampoo, conditioner, soap…”



“Thanks,” I said, as he reached inside the

linen closet and handed me a thick, blue towel.



He looked down at my clothes. “Oh, yeah.

You‟ll probably need something clean to wear. I‟ll be

right back,” he said, leaving me in the b

athroom. He




103





returned shortly with a pair of red boxers and a long

black Harley Davidson T

-

shirt. “I don‟t know if these

will fit,” he said, nodding toward the boxers, “but the

T

-

shirt should be comfortable enough.”



“Thanks,” I replied, taking them from him

. I

smiled shyly. “You‟ve been so nice. I don‟t even know

what to say.”



“Don‟t worry about it. I‟m just glad I could

help.”



“Me, too,” I said,

trying not to stare at his

biceps. But it was hard. Not only were they nice but

his tattoos were intriguing. “Wha

t is that on your

upper arm? The face with the empty eyes?”



He looked down at it. “I got that when I was

sixteen. It‟s supposed to represent a soulless asshole.”



“Your father?”



He chuckled. “No. Me. Back then. I was

going through some things. I had a lot o

f anger issues.

Got into a lot of fights. Did some shit I wasn‟t proud

of.”



“We all did.”



His eyes twinkled. “You like to make up

excuses for people. You need to stop doing that.”



I couldn‟t help but smile. “You think so?”



“Definitely. You‟re far too nice.





“I‟ll work on it.” 



He smirked. “You have any ink?”



“Tattoos? Me?” I laughed. “No. Not that I

don‟t want one. Maybe someday.”



“You could start out with something small.

Like a heart. Then build from there.”






104





“I was thinking a skull would be kind of cool

.

A skull with a rose.”



He grinned. “You like skulls?”



“I like flowers. I just thought the skull would

make it look not so… girly.”



“Nothing wrong with being girly,” he said.

“But, having a dark side can also be damn sexy. You

have one of those?”



“A dark s

ide?”



He gave me a slow grin. “Yeah.”



My cheeks turned pink. “Maybe. Maybe not.”



“I don‟t think you do,” he replied. “But, to tell

you the truth, it doesn‟t make you any less sexy.”



I could feel my blush deepen.



He suddenly looked like he‟d gotten his hand



caught in the cookie jar. “Sorry. I‟d better let you get

into the shower so you can get some rest.”



“Thanks. Where is the guestroom?”





It‟s right next to my bedroom,” he said

.

“Down the hall and to the left.

There should be

clean

sheets on it and the mat

tress



is decent. It‟s not as nice

as mine, though. So, if you want, I can take the guest

bed and you can have my room.”



“No. I‟m sure the bed is just fine. Thanks,

though.”



Nodding, he shoved his hands in

to his

pockets. “I

f you change your mind and have a

hard

time sleeping, you can

always

sneak into my bed. It‟s a

king and I pretty much sleep like the dead. I doubt I‟d

e

ven know you were there

.”



I laughed. “Right. I bet you say that to all your

female guests.”






105





He looked serious. “I know what you‟ve been

th

rough tonight. There‟s no way I‟d take advantage of

you, Adriana. I‟m serious.”



I smiled. “I appreciate it. I‟ll be fine though.

In the guestroom.”



He nodded.

“Okay.

Well,

I‟m going to make

a

phone call

, so when you‟re done with your shower,

feel free to c

rash. Unless you‟re hungry

, that is

.

Would you like something to eat? I was about to

make a pizza before I left to pick you up.”



My stomach was empty but food just didn‟t

sound that appetizing. “

No,

thanks.

I‟m just going to

go to bed.”



“Okay. Holler if yo

u need anything,

” he said,

leaving me alone in the bathroom

.



“Thanks,” I

replied, shutting



the door

.



I turned around and

looked at myself in the

mirror. Sure enough, there was dried puke in my hair.

Not a lot, but enough to be offensive.





He had to have

seen it.



I was too tired to

even

care. Sighing, I turned

on the water, got undressed, and slipped



into the

shower.










106





Chapter Eleven













After leaving Adriana, I walked into my

bedroom, changed into a pair of sweats, and called

Tank back.



“She okay?” he

mumbled, answering the

phone.



“Yeah. Sorry, brother. Did I wake you?”



“It‟s okay. What happened?”



I told him what I knew.



“Fucker must have slipped something into her

drink.”



“That‟s what I was thinking,” I said. “What

about Krystal? You think anything

made it into hers?”



“No. She was definitely drunk, but coherent.

Rode me like I was a goddamn bull. I swear, my balls

are sore from all that bouncing around.”



I chuckled.



“I‟m serious. The woman was insatiable

tonight.”



“Okay, enough about your horny woma

n and

your hairy balls. You‟re making me sick.”



He laughed. “So, what do you want to do

about this guy?”



“Teach him a fucking lesson.”






107





“That‟s what I thought. We‟ll start looking

tonight. Obviously, he didn‟t get laid. He‟ll be sure as

shit looking for so

meone else to molest on a Saturday

night.”



“I‟m counting on it.”



“What the fuck is it about this date

-

rape shit?

Why can‟t they just be fucking men and earn the

pussy? It‟s more fun that way anyway.”



I stretched out on my bed and stared up at the

ceiling.

“It‟s not about the sex. I heard it‟s about

controlling the victim.”



“Okay, Dr. Phil.”



“Fuck off. It‟s what I heard.”



He chuckled. “I‟m just giving you shit. I

actually heard that, too. On Oprah.”



I laughed. “You still watch that show, huh?”



“How do you t

hink Dr. Phil got started?

Oprah‟s a fucking genius. Everything she touches

turns to gold.”



“If your old man knew you were watching

Oprah,” I said, chuckling, “he‟d kick your ass.”



“Fucking tell him and I‟ll kick yours.”



“Doesn‟t Oprah condemn violence?”



“For you, I‟m sure she‟d make an exception.

Anyway, back to this fucking dirt

-

bag. You know, he

probably won‟t hit the same club.”



“Probably not. We‟ll get a description and

spread out. I‟m sure Hopper, Derby, and Jackal

wouldn‟t mind helping out. We can d

o it before the

card game tomorrow.”



“Agreed. Hell, I think we should round up

our

entire



posse and catch ourselves a rabbit. Feed him




108





to the Raptor. Unless you want to just shoot the

guy?”



The thought had entered my mind. “That‟s

letting him down too easy

.”



“True.”



“So, what‟s going on with Breaker?” I asked,

changing the subject. “Is there going to be any kind

of retribution for what happened to Jessica?”



“The Rangers are still standing behind that

lying sack of shit.”



“Fuck.”



“You can say that again. The



old man is

spitting bullets. I‟m thinking he‟s just going to say

„fuck it‟ and take him out anyway.” He lowered his

voice. “Don‟t say anything, but I guess she was a

virgin to boot.”



I groaned.



“What a way to have your cherry popped,

huh?”



“No shit,” I s

aid. “He beat the fuck out of

her, too, didn‟t he?”



“From what I hear, he knocked her around,

pretty good. The old man is so fucking pissed. He‟s

not going to let this slide.”



“I don‟t blame him. That pile of shit needs to

be taken the fuck out. Even if he



didn‟t rape Jessica,

he sure as shit is going to assault someone else,” I

said, thinking of the way he‟d been harassing Adriana

earlier.



“He did it. There‟s no doubt in my mind, or

Pop‟s.”



“So, what now?”






109





“He mentioned contacting The Judge.”



The Judge wa

s a mercenary who didn‟t belong

to any club that I knew of. He was a discreet mother

-

fucker who always got the job done, no matter what it

was. For a hefty price, though.



“He know how to get ahold of him?” I asked.



“Apparently. It‟s his godson.”



That was a



shock. “I didn‟t know that.”



“You‟re not supposed to.”



“Then I‟ll keep it to myself.”



“I know you will, brother.”



I ran a hand over my forehead. I was beat and

couldn‟t wait to sleep myself. “Are we still having

church tomorrow afternoon?”



“Yeah. Three o‟

clock.”



“Okay.”



“You like her, don‟t you.”



“Who?”



Tank laughed. “What do you mean,

who

? You

know who the fuck I mean. The chick. Adriana.”



I hesitated. “She‟s okay.”



“You going to tap that?”



“Fuck no. She was almost raped. I‟d have to

be a real asshole to

even try.”



“You are a real asshole,” he chided, a smile in

his voice.



“Fuck off.”



“I‟m just giving you shit. She‟s cute. I think

she was digging you earlier.”



“Doesn‟t matter. She‟s… different. I‟m

leaving her be.”



“Different. Like how?”






110





“She‟s… a gullible



suburban girl.”



He tried goading me again. “Your address is

in the suburbs.”



“You know what the fuck I mean.”



“I‟m seeing Krystal. They‟re friends. She lives

in the suburbs. I don‟t see the problem.”



“Come on, Tank. You know what I‟m talking

about. These

are both the kinds of girls that want

commitment, a ring, and a piece of paper. They won‟t

stand for anything less.”



“I‟m going to patch her and who knows…

maybe someday we‟ll get hitched.”



“Krystal? You really care that much for her?”

I asked, surprised.



“Yeah, I do.”



“This is fucking weird,” I said, smirking.

“We‟re on the phone and talking about relationships.

We sound like a couple of fucking chicks. I‟d better

get off before I start growing tits and talking about

shoes.”



Tank laughed. “I hear you, bro

ther. Okay.

Catch you later.”



“Sounds good.”



I hung up the phone and was plugging it into

the charger on my nightstand when I heard Adriana

open the door and step out of the bathroom. I

quickly got out of bed and met her in the hallway. Her

hair was wrappe

d in a towel and her face was slightly

pink.



“Feel better?” I asked.



She nodded. “What should I do with the

towel?” she asked, touching her head.






11

1





“I can take it. What did you do with your

clothes?”



“Oh, crap, I forgot. I left them in the

bathroom,” she sai

d, moving back inside. She bent

down and scooped them up.



“Give them to me and I‟ll wash them. That

way they‟ll be clean when you‟re ready to go later.”



“You don‟t have to go through all of that

trouble,” she said, stepping back out of the bathroom.

“Serio

usly. You‟ve already done enough.”



“Don‟t worry about it. I‟m sure you‟re not

going to want to put them back on later dirty.

Although, you do look pretty comfortable in my T

-

shirt,” I said, my eyes trailing over her chest to her

slender legs.

I should hav

e given her a white T

-

shirt

, I

thought. “So, uh, how do the boxers fit?”



She lifted the shirt, baring her stomach.

“They‟re pretty baggy,” she said, tugging at the

waistband. “But, they‟ll do.”



“You just don‟t fill them out the way I do.”



She suddenly look

ed embarrassed. Adriana

dropped the T

-

shirt. “I‟m sure.”



I cleared my throat and nodded toward the

guestroom. “You may as well try and get some sleep.

I‟m going to throw your things into the wash

machine. Did you want me to wake you at a certain

time?”



“Just when you want to kick me out.”



“That‟s the last thing I want to do,” I replied,

thinking out loud.



She laughed nervously. “Okay. Well, I guess

by ten?”






112





“Sure,” I said, holding out my arms. “I‟ll take

care of the laundry and then I‟m going to crash,

m

yself.”



“Thanks again,” she said, handing me the

clothes. She then touched my arm. “You‟ve been so

incredibly sweet to me.”



I grunted. “Just don‟t tell anyone. You‟ll ruin

my reputation for being a soulless asshole.”



“Your secret is safe with me, Raptor,”

she

replied before leaning over and kissing me on the

cheek.



Resisting the urge to drop everything and kiss

her back properly, I turned on my heel and headed

toward the laundry room. “Sleep well, Kitten.”



“Thanks. You, too,” she called back.










113





Chapter Twel

ve















Trevor had been right





the full

-

sized guest

bed wasn‟t the most comfortable. In fact, it was as

hard as a rock. I

was so exhausted that it didn‟t

matter, however. I fell asleep within two minutes of

hitting the pillow

.



When Trevor woke me a few



hours later, my

back was stiff and I had a horrible headache.



“You okay?” he asked, staring down at me,

holding a cup of coffee. He was dressed in pale blue

jeans, a white T

-

shirt, and his leather cut. His

blond

hair was down and slightly damp.



I sat up a

nd winced. “Headache.”



“I‟ve got something for that. Hold on,” he

said, disappearing out of the room.



I swung my legs over the side of the bed and

sat there, listening to him rummage around in the

bathroom. He returned with two pills and a bottle of

water.





“Advil.”



I took them from him. “Thanks.”



“No problem. Are you hungry?”






114





“Very,” I replied, feeling my stomach growl at

the mention of it.



“Good, because I‟m making us breakfast.”



I smiled. “That sounds great. Thank you.”



He nodded toward the dark oak

dresser where

I noticed that my clothes were sitting. “Your clothes

are clean. Get dressed and I‟ll meet you in the

kitchen.”



“Okay,” I said, opening up the bottle of

water. I shoved the pills into my mouth and washed

them down.



He started walking out of

the room and then

turned back.



“What?” I asked, wondering why he was

staring at me with such a funny smile.



“I was just thinking, I‟ve had a lot of women

stay overnight in this place, and I‟ve never seen

anyone look so good in the morning. Without

makeup.”



“Right,” I said, resisting the urge to look at

myself in the dresser mirror.



“No, I‟m serious. You obviously have great

genes. Your mother must be a gorgeous woman,” he

said before leaving the room.



Thinking about her, I quickly stood up. “Crap,

where‟s

my phone?” I called. 



“Your purse is in the kitchen,” he hollered

back.



I closed the door, changed my clothes, and

then glanced in the mirror. “He must be either blind

or looking to get laid,” I mumbled, staring at my

reflection. My hair was a mess from d

rying overnight




115





on the pillow, and there was still some mascara

blotches under my lashes. Sighing, I ran my fingers

through my hair, and then licked my finger to wipe

off the black crud. When I cleaned what I could, I

walked into the kitchen, where the sme

ll of bacon

made me groan in pleasure.



“It smells wonderful in here.”



“Thanks.”



“A man who can cook,” I said, watching him

flip the eggs. “Nice.”



“I can hold my own. Hope you like your eggs

over

-

easy, „cause that‟s how I made them.”



“That‟s how I like them

,” I said, sitting down

at the table.



“You want some coffee?”



“No thanks. I‟m not much of a coffee

drinker,” I answered and then held up the bottle of

water. “I‟ll just drink the rest of this.”



He grabbed two plates and set them on the

counter. “I‟ve got

orange juice.”



“The water is fine.”



He glanced over his shoulder at me. “You like

orange juice?”



“Yeah.”



“Then you‟re drinking it,” he said, filling the

plates with food. “After last night, the vitamin C will

be good for you.”



“Uh, okay.”



He brought the pl

ates over and set one in

front of me.



“Wow, this is a lot of food,” I said, staring

down at my plate. There were two eggs, a pile of hash




116





browns, along with two pieces of toast, and four

strips of bacon. “I normally have yogurt or a muffin

for breakfast.”



“Explains why you‟re so skinny.”



“I‟m healthy, though.”



He opened the refrigerator and took out a

carton of orange juice. “I‟m not saying you‟re not.

Just mentioning that you‟re skinny.”



It was weird. I wondered if he thought I was

too skinny. “Okay.”



Grinning, he poured some of the orange juice

into a glass and then set it down next to my plate.



“Why do you keep grinning?” I asked.



“Why are you so insecure?” 



“I‟m not insecure,” I said defensively.



His grin widened.



“What is so damn funny?” I asked a

gain,

seeing the amusement in his eyes. “I just, I just don‟t

get it.”



He sat across from me. “Nothing, really. I just

like fucking with you.”



“I can tell.”



Our eyes met.



“You can tell what?”



“That you like fucking with me,” I said.



He got a wicked look i

n his eyes and I

thought he was going to come back with something

crude, but then his face grew serious. Clearing his

throat, he grabbed the bottle of ketchup and began

pouring some on his hash browns. “You do realize

what happened last night, don‟t you?”



“I think so.”






117





“Tell me.”



I sighed. I‟d thought it about it before drifting

off to sleep. Nothing else made any sense other than

Jason, or one of his friends, must have slipped

something into my drink. Some kind of drug. I just

didn‟t know if I could prove

it. “I think that maybe

someone slipped drugged me.”



“That guy, Jason?”



“I‟m not totally sure. I think it was him, but it

could have been one of his friends. They bought us

shots and drinks. I don‟t know, maybe I‟m being silly.

Maybe it was something else.



Food poisoning. A

touch of the flu. I don‟t know.”





“How much did you drink?



“One shot. A couple sips of a rum and Coke.”



“That‟s it?”



“Jason bought me a soda. I drank that and

then we went out on the dance floor.”



A vein in Trevor‟s forehead began to pul

sate.

He looked pissed. “He bought you the soda. That‟s

what I wanted to hear. Do you know where to find

him?”



“Not really. I mean, we both go to the same

college, I.U., but the campus is huge. I‟ll probably

never see him again.”



“What kind of a car was he



driving?”



“I think it was a Camry. Four

-

door.”



“Color?”



I closed my eyes and thought back. “I think it

was dark blue,” I said, opening them back up.



“What about his friends? Is there anything

you can tell me about them?”






118





My eyes widened. “Why?”



“He needs

to be stopped.”



I sighed. “Yeah. I suppose I should call the

police. Maybe it‟s not too late to find out if I really

was drugged.”



“You were obviously drugged, probably with

GHB. Anyway, we‟re not calling the police,” he said,

picking up his fork.



“Why? Yo

u just said he needed to be stopped.

God, I wonder how many times he‟s done this

before?” I said, staring at my plate of food. It didn‟t

quite look so appetizing anymore. “GHB, huh? I‟ve

heard of that stuff. Just never thought it would

happen to me.”



“He‟l

l be stopped, Kitten. Believe me. But

we‟re not getting the police involved. It would be a

waste of time.”



“What exactly are you planning on doing?” I

asked, feeling anxious now. Obviously, Jason was an

asshole and should be arrested, but something told

me



that Trevor‟s plans for him were more sinister.

And violent.



“Nothing you need to know about,” he said

and then nodded at my food. “Now, eat. You‟ve got

to be hungry.”



I bit my lower lip. “You‟re going to do

something illegal, aren‟t you?”



He didn‟t answ

er. 



“Are you planning on hurting him?”



He picked up a piece of toast and dipped it

into his eggs. “First of all, why do you care? And




119





secondly, how many girls do you think he‟s already

hurt or will hurt?”



“I don‟t know but we need to let the cops

take ca

re of this.”



“There won‟t be any evidence that he did

anything. It will be a waste of time.”



“What do you mean? Maybe they can test my

blood for proof that I was drugged.”



“If it‟s GHB, the shit dissipates in your blood

pretty quickly, from what I hear. An

d even if they do

find something, how can you prove he actually did it?

Did you see him put anything into your drink?”



“No.”



“And it was a crowded bar.”



“Yeah.”



“It will be your word against his. No

evidence.”



“He might have some of the drug in his car or

his home. The police can get a search warrant.”



“You really want to waste your time filling out

a bunch of police reports and waiting for test results,

only to find out later that they don‟t have any real

evidence to arrest the asshole?”



I let out a ragged



breath. “No. I guess not. I

have to work tonight and I‟ve got classes on

Monday.”



“There you go. Let me handle it.”



“What exactly are you planning on doing?”



He didn‟t say anything.



“Trevor?”



He sighed. “We‟ll just scare the fuck out of

him. Let him know

he can‟t get away with that shit.”






120





I frowned. “That‟s really all that you‟re going

to do?”



“Yeah. Sure. Why do you care what happens

to that prick, anyway?”



“I just don‟t want to see anyone get hurt. “



“Jesus, you really are a bleeding

-

heart, aren‟t

you?”



I pictured Trevor getting arrested and it did

something to me. “I just don‟t want to see you get

thrown in jail.”



“I won‟t.”



“You could.”



“Don‟t worry about me.”



“Why would you even risk it? For me? We

barely know each other.”



He took a moment to answer. “

Let‟s just say

that I despise assholes who fucking abuse women like

that. Whether it‟s drugging them, pushing them

around, or whatever the fuck they‟re doing.” His jaw

clenched. “I told you how my dad used to beat the

fuck out of my mom. Had to watch that

shit happen

for years, until I finally had the balls to stand up to

him. It may have not turned out the way I‟d imagined

it, but it still made me feel good. Showing my old man

that I wasn‟t going to let him get away with that shit.

Not while I was around.”



“You should be proud of yourself,” I said.

“You were obviously a very brave kid.”



“I was actually scared shitless at the time. But,

I made a promise to myself that I‟d never stand back

and watch anyone get kicked around that didn‟t

deserve it. Never again

. Especially, women.”






121





“So, if you wanted to make a difference in

that respect, why didn‟t you become a cop instead of

a… gang member?”



His face grew dark. “Because this has been my

life since Slammer took me in. I‟d do anything for any

one of my brothers.

We‟re family. They‟ve got my

back and I‟ve got theirs.”



“Yeah, but, if you‟re so passionate about

stopping violence again women, becoming a cop







“Don‟t get me started on cops. Hell, the cops

couldn‟t help my mom. Even the times the neighbors

called them

and they took my old man away. He

always came back, whether it was the next day or the

next week. Sure, they‟d make up and everything

would be good for a while. But, just for a while. Then

he‟d beat the shit out of her again.”



I didn‟t know what to say. Li

ving through that

would have taken away any faith I had in the legal

system, too. Not that it was directly the cops‟ fault.

His mom had obviously allowed it to happen until she

finally took off on her own.



I remained silent and he seemed to relax.

“Listen

to me, don‟t you go worrying your pretty little

head about what‟s gonna happen to Jason. You feel

me?”



I nodded. If he wanted to confront Jason, I

wasn‟t going to stand in the way. The asshole certainly

didn‟t deserve any pity from me. “Sure… I, uh, feel

y

ou.”



“Good.” He pointed at my plate with his fork.

“Now, eat your food and if it makes you feel better,

forget that we ever had this conversation.”






122





“I think I will,” I replied, cutting into my egg.
























123





Chapter Thirteen













We didn‟t say much more

during breakfast. I

could tell he had a lot on his mind and so did I. When

we were finished, I offered to help him with the

dishes.



“I‟ll do them,” he said and then nodded to my

purse. “You need to call someone? Let them know

you‟re okay?”



“That‟s right. I



was going to call my mom,” I

said, grabbing the phone out of my purse. I walked

into the living room and dialed her number. When

she didn‟t answer, I left her message about staying

overnight at a friend‟s, and that I‟d see her later. Just

as I was hanging



up, Lily called me.



“What happened last night?” she asked.



I gave her the play

-

by

-

play and she gasped.



“Jason told me you asked him to drive me

home. Did you?”



“You could barely stand and I thought you

were wasted. I mean, yeah, the guy offered to do it

a

nd he seemed so nice.”



“Obviously it was all an act.”





“I‟m so sorry, Adriana. I had no fucking idea

that he‟d pull that kind of shit.”






124





“Yeah, well, I‟m still shocked myself.”



She sighed. “Do you even remember leaving

the club?”



“Not really. I can remember



him helping me

into the car. Then, I passed out and the next thing I

knew, he had his hands all over me.”



“Oh, my God, you must have been scared.”



“I was confused and then pissed off, more

than anything.”



“I feel like such an idiot. He almost raped

you,”

she said, her voice cracking. “I‟m so sorry. I

shouldn‟t have let him drive you home.”



“It‟s not your fault. You were pretty tipsy

yourself.”



“Yeah, I was trashed. So was Tiffany. Thank

God she made it home herself after dropping me

off.”



“What happened

with Monica?”



“She went home, right after you did.”



I sighed. “Do you think that Jason‟s friends

were involved?”



“Maybe. I don‟t know. Gary didn‟t seem the

type. I mean, he and I talked about his ex

-

girlfriend

and he started crying. I can‟t imagine him pu

lling

something like that. Unless it was all a fucking act.”



“What about Brian?” I asked, lowering my

voice.



“It‟s hard to say. I‟m pretty sure nobody put

anything into my drink. Or Tiff‟s.” She then explained

that the four of them shut down the bar and th

en

went their separate ways.






125





“Brian even asked me for my phone number,”

she said. “I think he wanted more than that last night,

and to be truthful, I probably would have if Tank

wouldn‟t have sent me a text.”



“Are you still at Tank‟s?”



“No, I‟m on my way h

ome. He dropped me

off at my car. Anyway, are you still at Raptor‟s?”



“Yes.”



She sucked in her breath. “Did you two

fuck?”



“Oh, my God, no!” I said a little sharply.

Then I lowered my voice. “It‟s not like I was in the

mood for anything like that. Not afte

r what

happened.”



“Yeah, I suppose not. Sorry.”



“It‟s okay. I mean, yeah… he‟s definitely

interesting,” I said and then turned around to find

him listening behind me. I quickly turned away. “I

have to go. I‟ll call you later.”



“Call me before nine. I‟m goi

ng back out to

the club again tonight. With Tank and Raptor. They

want to search for that guy, Jason.”



I frowned. “That‟s another thing. What if I

wasn‟t really drugged?”



“You had to have been. Looking back, there‟s

no way that you could have been that dru

nk after one

shot and a measly rum and Coke. Something was

definitely wrong.”



I sighed. “Maybe.”



“No



maybe

. You were slipped something.

Anyway, I gotta go. I just pulled into my driveway.

Talk to you later?”






126





“Yeah. I‟ll call you.”



We hung up and I turned b

ack to Trevor,

who was staring at me with a stern face.



“What?” I asked.



He crossed his arms over his chest. “You

were



drugged. I don‟t know why you‟re having a hard time

accepting it.”



I let out a ragged sigh. “I know. It‟s just so…

surreal, you know? I

t‟s like it happened to someone

else.”



“I wish it would have. Tell you one thing, it

definitely happened to the wrong girl,” he said.

“Because now, that fucker is going to pay for what he

did.”



It was unsettling to see such determination on

Trevor‟s face.

Although, we‟d just met the night

before, he was acting like Jason had attacked him

personally. Part of me was flattered that he wanted to

avenge me. Another part of me was a little

overwhelmed by everything.



“I suppose I should get back home,” I said,

no

ticing that it was getting close to noon.



“No problem. Let me grab some stuff and

we‟ll head out.”



“Okay.”



I used the bathroom while he got ready, and

then followed him back out to the garage.



“You don‟t mind taking the bike again, do

you?”



“Not at all,” I



said. It was a beautiful day. It

had to be almost sixty degrees, and the sun was

shining.






127





“You want my leather coat again?” he asked,

slipping on his jacket. 



“I‟m okay. My sweater is warm,” I answered.

“And you‟re blocking most of the wind.”



“True. Feel



free to warm your hands on me, if

you get too cold.”



“Okay.”



He looked like he was about to say something

else, but then seemed to change his mind.



“What?”



“Nothing,” he said, his lip curling up.



I smirked. “Right. With that look on your

face, I could te

ll it was something.”





Something dirty, more than likely.



He put his sunglasses on. “You think you‟ve

gotten me all figured out?”



“Hardly.”



“That‟s probably good. I have a feeling if you

did know the real me, you‟d run for the hills.”



I smiled. “Maybe. But



not before we take

another ride on your motorcycle.”



Chuckling, he got on his Harley and started it.

“Ready?”



I swung my leg over the bike and we took off.










128





Chapter Fourteen













Adriana told me where she lived and I took

the scenic route so she could

enjoy the ride and I

could enjoy her arms around me that much longer.



When we arrived at her home, I was a little

taken aback. Having found out that her mother

owned „Dazzle‟, I‟d expected, I don‟t know… a

mansion in the hills or something that hinted of

wealth. Instead, her house was small and quaint, and

nestled inside of

a quiet little neighborhood, inhabited

by retirees who apparently spent most of their days

making their yards immaculate.  



As I shut off my bike, the front door of her

house opened and a woman stepped outside. She had

a smile on her face, but the look in



her eyes was

frosty.



“Crap,” mumbled Adriana, getting off of the

bike. “I thought she‟d be at work.”



I could tell right away where Adriana got her

beauty from. The woman had the same dark hair and

green eyes that she had, although her skin was a

slightly

more olive, and she was much shorter.



“Hi, Mom,” said Adriana, as the woman

approached us






129





“So, this is the friend you mentioned in your

message?” she asked, looking at me like I was some

kind of leper.



“Uh, yes. This is Trevor. Trevor, this is my

mom, Vand

a.”



“Nice to meet you,” I said, trying to be cordial

under the circumstances. The circumstances being

that she didn‟t like me.



Vanda nodded and looked at my leather

jacket. Her face went from unfriendly to downright

hostile. “You‟re in a gang?”



“We call i

t a club,” I said, not liking the way

she said it.



Vanda looked at Adriana and said something

in what I assume was Portuguese. She answered back

quickly, and then they proceeded to argue about

something. Something, obviously being,

me

.



“Well, I think this



is my cue to leave,” I said,

dryly. “I‟ll keep in touch, Kitten.”



“Uh, okay,” she replied, looking embarrassed.



I turned to Vanda. “Glad we had this chance

to get to know each other,” I said. “Your daughter

has my number, Vanda, if you‟d like to give me

a call

sometime. We can pick up where we left off.”



Vanda‟s eyebrows raised and she almost

looked amused. But it was quickly replaced by what I

could only describe as indifference. And maybe relief.

“Goodbye,” she said, and then turned and walked

back towa

rd the house.



Adriana glared at her mother‟s back.



I sighed. “She‟s a tough win.”






130





Adriana turned to look at me. She touched my

arm. “I‟m sorry. My mother had a bad experience

with some bikers once. She‟s frightened of all of you

now.”



“I wouldn‟t call tha

t frightened,” I said,

smiling. “Hell, she seemed like she was ready kick my

ass.”



“I know; she was more angry at me than

anything else.”



“What happened?”



She sighed. “My parents‟ store was robbed

about ten years ago.”



“By some bikers?”



“Yes. We lived in F

lorida at the time.”



“What club?”



“Hell‟s Demons, I believe they were called.”



“Oh. Those fucking guys. Yeah, they‟re

assholes. The ones that I‟ve met, anyway. Did the

bastards who did it go to prison?”



“Actually, the police never caught the guys

who did i

t. They had masks on.”



“So now she doesn‟t trust anyone wearing

patches?”



“She doesn‟t trust bikers, period.”



I looked at the house and saw Adriana‟s

mother staring at us from inside of the doorway.



“I guess I can‟t blame her, but she shouldn‟t

lump all

of us in a pot like that. I‟ve never robbed

anyone in my life. None of my brothers have, either.”



“I know. Anyway, forget about her. I‟m not

going to let her opinion change my mind about you.”






131





I grinned. “And what is your mind telling you

about me?”



“That



you‟re a decent guy.”



“Decent. I don‟t know about that,” I said,

thinking back to some of the things I‟d done in my

life, especially in my teens. I may not have robbed

anyone, but I had a temper. I‟d lost it more times than

I could count. I also had the s

cars on my fists to

prove it.



“Well, you‟ve been good to me,” she said,

kissing me on the cheek again.



As she was about to pull away, I grabbed her

around the waist and pulled her to me, kissing her

fully on the lips. She stiffened up but then to my

delig

ht, began kissing me back. Relaxing, I slid my

hand around the back of her head and shoved my

tongue inside, wanting to taste every part of her.  



“We can‟t,” she said, pulling away, suddenly.



I frowned. “Says who?”





She looked over her shoulder at the ho

use.

“My mom‟s watching us.”



“So. Let her watch,” I said, trying to pull her

back to me.



“You don‟t understand. She‟s going to freak

out.”



As if on cue, the front door opened and

Vanda stuck her head out. “Adriana!” she hollered,

looking furious. “I need y

ou! Come inside.”



“I‟ll be right there!” she yelled back.



Vanda said something in her language.



Adriana rolled her eyes, but didn‟t answer

back.






132





“You want a kiss goodbye, too?” I called out.

“All you have to do is ask.”



Vanda glared at me and closed the do

or.



I smiled grimly. “Fucking

-

A. How old are

you, Kitten?” 



“I know,” she said, her face flushed. “Believe

it or not, she‟s normally not like this.”



“I want to see you again,” I said, starting up

my bike. “And from the way you were kissing me

back, you fe

el the same.”



“I don‟t think it‟s a good idea.”



“Why not?”



She nodded toward the house.





***













Trevor‟s eyes burned into mine. They were

filled with lust and anger. Before I could react, he

grabbed my wrist and pulled me back over to him,

taking my mouth, hard and fast. Then, just as quickly,

he released me. 



“You‟re a grown woman. You can do what

you want, see who you want, and fuck who you

want,” he said, his eyes burning with frustrated need.




133





“And something tells me that right now, we both

want the same thing.”



I found myself panting, he had me so worked

up. Had we been alone, there was no doubt

in my

mind that we‟d be all over each other until I made

sure that he was inside of me, putting out the fire he‟d

started. The guy definitely knew how to kiss a woman.



“Adriana!” called my mother again.



I jerked my head toward her. She was

definitely treat

ing me like a child. It made me so angry

and embarrassed that I almost jumped back on his

bike, just to spite her.



“You‟d better go and see what she wants,”

said Trevor, smirking. “Before she comes out here

with a paddle.”



“I‟m sorry,” I said, backing away

. “She isn‟t

always like this.”



“Don‟t worry about it. I‟ll call you later.”



“Okay.”



His eyes swept over me again. “Mm… I‟d

better get out of here before I kidnap you. Are you

free after work?”



“I don‟t know. I have school tomorrow.

Early.”



“So is that a „

no‟?”



Fuck it

.



Krystal was right. I needed to get laid. It was

time to find my own dark side. I smiled “Actually, it‟s

a „yes‟. But only for a little while.”



“Sweet. Call me when you‟re done working,”

he said, putting his sunglasses on. “We‟ll meet up.”





Okay.”






134





T

hen he was gone and I was left to deal with

my pissed off mother.



Sighing, I walked up to the house and opened

the door, ready for a battle. It didn‟t take long.



“What are you doing with him?” she asked,

looking disgusted.





His name is Trevor and h

e‟s a nice guy,” I

replied, closing the door behind me.



“He‟s trash, Adriana.”



“No, Mama, he‟s not. He‟s a good guy. You

don‟t even know him.”



“I know his kind and so do you. He‟s in a

gang. A gang! I saw the patches on his jacket. Those

are dangerous

guys. Not what you need to be

surrounding yourself with. I don‟t want you seeing

him again.”



I pursed my lips. “I‟m an adult. I can make up

my own mind on who I want to see.”



She stared at me angrily. “So, what you are

saying is that you

are



seeing him aga

in? Even if I beg

you not to?”



“Trevor is a great guy. You didn‟t even give

him a chance.”



“How can you do this, Adriana?” she asked

me, looking tired and defeated. “You know what

happened in Florida. What kind of people these

bikers are. They are nothing

but criminals.”



“Trevor isn‟t a criminal. These guys are

different, here. The Gold Vipers. It‟s not like it was in

Florida. They are

nothing



like the Hell‟s Demons.”



Her eyes narrowed. “Is that what he told

you?”






135





“Well, not in so many words.”



“Of course no

t. He wants you. You‟re a

beautiful girl, Adriana. Men will say whatever you

want to hear to get into your pants.”



I bit back a smile. “I realize that. I‟m not

sixteen, though. I‟m twenty

-

one.”



“Yes. See. Just a babe.”



Exasperated, I sighed. She would tell



me this

when I was thirty. That was her way.



Vanda wagged her index finger at me. “You

realize that your father is probably turning in his grave

right now, knowing that you‟re seeing this guy. How

can you do that to him?”



“Papa‟s dead,” I said. “But if he



were alive,

he‟d at least give Trevor a chance.”



“No,” she said. “Never. Your father was

almost killed because of a man like,” she wrinkled her

nose, “Trevor. I didn‟t tell you but, one of those

bikers shot your father.”



I stared at her in shock. “They di

d?”



She nodded. “Yes. He was shot in the

shoulder. They wanted my wedding ring,” she said,

staring at her left hand, which had the replacement

band. “The one that was handed down from his

mother. It was two karats. Beautiful. After stealing

almost all the

jewelry in the shop, they demanded

that, too.”



“What happened?” I asked, my voice hollow.

I hadn‟t heard that part of it. I knew they‟d gotten the

ring, but hadn‟t heard the actual story behind it.






136





She smiled sadly. “Your father, he was so

sentimental. You



remember? Always telling stories

about your grandparents and their farm.”



I nodded. My father‟s parents had traveled

from Germany when he was a young boy. They

moved to Iowa and bought a farm. This was several

years before he met my mother, which was on a



trip

to Florida, after his mother had died of cancer.

Vanda‟s family had also been immigrants. They‟d

moved from Portugal when she was a teenager to

Miami. Her father, my grandfather, had been a

wealthy jeweler, and that‟s where my mother had

found her ow

n passion for diamonds and gems.

Eventually, my parents married and they opened up

their first jewelry shop in Florida. “Yes. I remember.”



She sighed. “He was so attached to that ring.

It was an heirloom. A symbol of our marriage.

Obviously, he didn‟t want



them to have it. Told them

they couldn‟t have it. Even told them why.” Her lip

quivered. “But, those ingrates didn‟t care and I could

see right through them. I told your father that it was

okay. That they could have the ring, but he kept

arguing. Well, th

ey shot him before I could get the

ring even off of my finger. Then, they laughed when

it was over. Made fun of your father, lying there

bleeding and dying. Can you believe such evilness?”



“No,” I whispered, imaging the horror. It

made me sick to my stomac

h. 



“So, you see, those are the kind of people

you‟re dealing with. The kind that join these „gangs‟,”

she said, her face darkening.



“Why didn‟t you tell me about that?”






137





“You were only twelve and he didn‟t want you

to know. Didn‟t want you to be frightene

d.”



I sighed.



“Adriana,” she said, grabbing my hand.

“There are so many good boys out there. Don‟t waste

your time with this guy. You‟ll regret it later. You‟ll be

hurt, in one way or another.”



“Mama…”



“Just, please…” She squeezed my hand.

“Think about

it, okay? For your father‟s sake, at

least?”



I let out a ragged sigh. “Yes. I will definitely

think about it.”



She leaned forward and kissed my cheek.

“You are all I have,” she said, her eyes shining with

tears. “I don‟t want to lose you, too.”



“You won‟t,

” I said softly.



“Remember what you father used to say? You

can‟t predict your own destiny, but you‟re responsible

for choosing the path that leads you to it.”





“I know, Mama. I know.”










138





Chapter Fifteen













After I left Adriana, I took a cruise on my

bik

e to clear both of my heads, and then headed to

Griffin‟s. I met up with Tank in the parking lot; there

were shadows under his eyes and he looked like he

hadn‟t slept in a week.



“Hey, man,” I said, shoving my key into the

front of my jeans. “You‟re looking



pretty rough.”



He shrugged. “Couldn‟t sleep.”



“Even after I called you?”



He opened the door to the bar and we went

inside. “Fuck no. I heard Krystal‟s phone go off right

after we hung up, and when I read the text message

sent to her, I was too jacked up t

o sleep.”



“Message? What message?”



“Some douchebag named Gary sent her a

message. It said,  „Thanks for everything‟.”



“Oh yeah? Did you ask her about it?”



“No.”



“Why not?” I said, thinking the message could

have meant anything.



“I was too pissed off. I mea

n, what kind of

asshole sends a girl a message at four in the morning?




139





Like he can‟t get her out of his mind.” He rubbed a

hand over his face. “I needed time to think.”



“Could be nothing,” I thought, knowing that

it could also be a lot. After getting screw

ed over by

Brandy, I wasn‟t sure what to believe myself. “She

ever mention a guy named Gary?”



“No. Not at all.”



“You know you gotta ask her.”



“I know.” He sighed. “I don‟t know. I‟m

almost tempted to just say „fuck it‟ and find some new

pussy. I don‟t like



this feeling jealous kind of shit. Too

many girls willing to keep me satisfied, you know?

Without the baggage or the worries.”



“I feel you, brother. I wish I‟d have never met

Brandy. She was bad news. ”



Two of the club whores walked by us as we

sauntered

over to the bar.



“Hey, Raptor, looking good,” said Cheeks,

who I‟d banged a couple of times. “You need some

company later, let me know.”



“Will do,” I said, staring at her ass as she

walked away. I had to admit





it was as nice as fuck,

hence her nickname

, but it didn‟t compare to

Adriana‟s. Not from what I‟d seen in those tight jeans

of hers or felt under my fingertips. I imagined her

wearing a G

-

string and my dick perked up again.



“Fuck,” I muttered, adjusting myself.



“What‟s wrong?”



“Nothing.”



Tank tapp

ed his fingers on the bar

impatiently. “You know, I should just go and fuck the

shit out of the new chick,” he said, eyeing the curvy




140





blonde on stage with the big plastic tits. She was in

her thirties and not much to look at above the neck,

but even I had

to admit, she knew how to work the

poles. She‟d shown me just how well, the week

before. “Take my mind off of all the shit for a while.”



“Just don‟t be late for the meeting, or your old

man will have your balls,” I said as the bartender,

Misty, set two icy

-

cold beers in front of us.



“No shit. Last time I was late, I thought he

was going to have a fucking heart

-

attack, he was so

pissed off. Wasn‟t even my fault that I got a flat tire.”



“That‟s because it was flat the night before,

and he knew it,” I reminded



him and then winked at

Misty. “Thanks, darlin‟”



Misty tossed her jet black hair over her

shoulder and smiled. “Anytime, Raptor. Just so you

know, the kitchen is open. You boys want me to put

in an order for you?”



Tank‟s lip curled up. “I‟ll take an order

of you,

lovely lady.”



Misty laughed. “Really? And what about your

pretty little blond, Krystal?”



“What about her?” he asked, reaching over

the bar to grab a toothpick. “You thinking about a

threesome?”



She giggled. “You are so bad.”



“Baby, you have no idea

.”



Still smiling, she turned to me. “So, you

hungry or what, Raptor?”



“I‟ve already eaten,” I said, taking a swig of

beer. 






141





“To be honest, I haven‟t eaten yet,” said

Tank, wiggling his eyebrows. “And what I‟m craving

isn‟t on the menu.”



She leaned forwar

d on the bar, her tits bulging

out of her halter top. “And what is it you‟re craving?”

she asked seductively.



“Whatever you‟re serving,” he said, staring at

her chest.



Misty lowered her voice. “What if I‟m willing

to serve you both? At once.”



Tank chuckled



and looked at me. “You game?

I‟ll take the front and you can have the back.”





“No thanks. She‟s all yours.”



“You sure?” pouted Misty, grabbing my hand.

She put it on her left tit. “I‟ll let you fuck me in the

ass.”



Laughing, I removed it. “Tank, you‟ve

got

your hands full.”



He took a swig of his beer. “Does that offer

stand for me, too?” 



She winked at him. “Honey, I‟ve had you

inside of me and I know what you‟re made of. I don‟t

need any trips to the E.R.”



Slammer walked out of the back room and

scowle

d. “Put your dick back into your pants, Tank,

and meet me in my office. We need to talk. You too,

Raptor.”



Tank straightened up. “Can‟t it wait?”



“Nope. Misty, can you put an order in for a

burger and onion rings?”



“Sure thing, Slammer,” she said, hurrying



toward the kitchen.






142





He stopped next to us. “You two should stay

away from Misty,” said Slammer in a low voice.

“Girl‟s crazy. She even fucked that asshole, Breaker,

last night.”



Tank‟s eyes narrowed. “No shit? What the

fuck?”



“She told me she only did i

t to see if she

could get some information. Like she‟s some kind of

secret agent on a mission.” He pointed to his head. “I

admire her loyalty to the club, but the girl‟s not all

fucking there.”



“He could have messed her up pretty badly,”

I answered.



“She

probably wouldn‟t care. In fact, she likes

it rough,” said Tank, smiling grimly. “Asked me to

choke her once.”



Slammer grunted. “Doesn‟t surprise me.”



“Did you?” I asked, as Tank leaned against

the bar again and watched the stage.



He shook his head. “Hones

tly, I tried and

then stopped when she kept begging me to do it

harder. I just felt too weird about it. I like rough sex

as much as the next guy, but the choking thing, that‟s

fucked up.”



“She‟s one loony bitch. You want your dick

waxed, stick with Bunny,



Shy, or Cheeks. They won‟t

kill you in your sleep,” said Slammer as Misty walked

back out of the kitchen.



“The order is in. You want me to bring it

back to your office when it‟s done?”






143





Slammer looked around the bar. It was dead.

“That or send Blue back w

ith it. I know he‟s here

somewhere.”



“He took a magazine into the bathroom,” said

Misty, nodding toward the restrooms. “He‟s been in

there for a while.”



Slammer scowled. “Fuck. Okay, you bring me

the food,” he said, walking back toward his office.



“You wa

nt to meet up later?” Misty asked

Tank, as we were preparing to follow him.



“No. Gonna head out to the club after this.

We‟ve got church at three.”



“I know. Text me later tonight if you change

your mind.” She looked at me and winked. “Either of

you. I‟m ga

me for whatever you want.”



Disturbed by the fact that she‟d screwed

Breaker, I grabbed my beer and followed Tank into

Slammer‟s office.



“Close the door,” said Slammer, sitting down

behind his desk.



Tank did. “What‟s up?” 



I sat down across from Slammer

and noticed

he had a file on his desk.



Slammer lit a cigarette and waited until Tank

was in the other chair. He leaned back. “Mud still isn‟t

backing down.”



“I didn‟t think he would. Breaker‟s his

nephew,” said Tank.



“I know, but what‟s right is right.

Letting

Breaker get away with raping my future stepdaughter,

is a punch in the face. I know he did it. Mud knows

he did it. I need vindication.”






144





“So, you‟re absolutely sure it wasn‟t one of the

other Devil‟s Rangers?” asked Tank.



“Oh, fuck yeah,” said Sla

mmer, who was

looking every bit of his fifty

-

seven years. He rubbed

the gray stubble on his chin and sighed. “Jessica saw

the patches on his cut. It was theirs.”



“She remember anything else?” I asked.



“To be honest, she won‟t even talk to me. Just

to Frann

ie. But, the description she gave fits. And we

all know what a fucking whack

-

job Breaker is.”



“This was personal,” said Tank, staring at his

beer bottle. “I know it was. He must have known

who she was.”



“I agree,” said Slammer. “And I‟m not letting

that so

nofabitch get away it.”



“What are you going to do?” I asked.



“I‟ve ordered a hit on him,” he said, opening

up the folder. Inside was a picture of Breaker and a

sheet of paper with his address and other personal

information scribbled across it. “I need you

to deliver

this to our guy.”



“Why don‟t we just do it ourselves and get it

over with?” asked Tank.



“That‟s what they‟re expecting. We do this out

in the open, there will be an all

-

out war. It has to look

like something else.”



“So what?” he said, his eyes h

ardening. “We

need to send them a fucking message. All of them.”



“I agree, son. You know I do. But,” he blew

out a cloud of smoke. “I‟m getting married soon, and

I promised Frannie that I wouldn‟t land my ass in jail.




145





I don‟t want either of you going, eith

er. Not for that

bozo.”



“So, who‟s going to do it? The Judge?” I

asked.



He nodded. “I don‟t want anyone else to

know about it, though. Not even the rest of the

crew.”



“Why not let them in on it?” asked Tank.

“They‟re going to figure out you had something t

o do

with it anyway.”



“Can‟t do that.”



“Why?” I asked. Slammer never made any

decisions like this without letting the others know

about it first. Of course, he didn‟t order many hits on

people, either. This was only the second one I‟d heard

of.



“I think on

e of them is an informant.”



“A cop?” I asked.



He grunted. “No, not that. A stoolpigeon. For

Mud.”



“How did you come to that conclusion?”

asked Tank.



“Information has been leaked. Information

that neither of you even know about.”



“What the fuck does that me

an?” asked Tank,

looking pissed.



“Mud asked me how to get in touch with

Jordan Steele. He shouldn‟t even know that we‟re

connected. That I‟ve ever had any business with him.”



“Who is this Jordan Steele?” I asked. I‟d never

heard of him.






146





Slammer looked me s

traight in the eye. “Your

brother. The Judge.”









Chapter Sixteen















My mother went back to the shop to check on

business, and I took a shower. When I was finished

and blow

-

drying my hair, Tiffany called me.



“Holy crap, I just heard what happened,” she



said. “That fucking asshole.”



I walked into my bedroom and started

searching for something to wear. “I know,” I replied,

pulling out a black cashmere sweater from the

dresser. I threw it on the bed next to my new white

denim skirt, and decided they‟d look



good together.



“Did you call the police?”



“No,” I replied, rifling through my underwear

drawer. I held up a white silk thong, one that I‟d

purchased one a whim, and decided to pair it with a

black and white pushup bra.



It‟s not for Trevor

, I told myself.



In fact, I‟d decided not to meet with him later.

No matter how sexy and sweet he‟d been, I didn‟t




147





need to get involved with someone who had admitted

that he was some kind of an outlaw. Especially after

what my mother had told me. Even if it was just for

s

ex. Amazing sex.



“Why not?” she screeched. “That guy should

be locked up!”



“It‟s going to be taken care of,” I said,

remembering Trevor‟s words.



“What does that mean?”



I sighed. “I think he‟s going to be roughed

up.”



She was silent for a few seconds and t

hen

laughed. “You can‟t be serious? By who? Oh, wait…

by Tank and his biker friends?”



“Something like that.”



“I doubt that‟s going to help. It might scare

him, for a while, but only really sick fuckers do that

kind of stuff. He‟ll start up again eventually

. Seriously,

Adriana, Jason needs to be locked up before he rapes

some other poor, unsuspecting girl.”



“Easier said than done. I don‟t have any real

proof that

he



did anything,” I answered.



“You were drugged. That‟s evidence enough.”



“Yeah, well, I didn‟t



see him do it, and I‟m

sure I don‟t have any more of it in my system. I don‟t

know if you heard, but I threw up all over him before

he could even get my sweater off.”



She burst out laughing. “Oh, my God, I know

it‟s not funny but… I‟m just picturing his f

ace when

you puked all over him. That must have been

priceless.”






148





I smiled. It was scary at the time, but thinking

back, he deserved that and so much more. “He was

pretty pissed. Great timing on my part, though.”



“Obviously it couldn‟t have been any more

perfect,” she agreed.



“I just wish it would have happened before I

got in the car with him. He dropped me off in the

middle of nowhere and I had to call Tank‟s friend for

a ride.”



“Tank‟s friend?”



“Well, I tried calling you,” I replied, not ready

to tell h

er too much about Trevor yet. After the

conversation with my mother, I wasn‟t too sure about

him myself anymore.



“I know, I‟m sorry. I actually ended up going

over to Jeff‟s. I told Krystal, but she forgot.”



Jeff was a guy she sometimes hooked up with

aft

er clubbing. They used to date in high school.



“It‟s okay.”



“You know, I wonder if the other guys were

in on it,” said Tiffany, sounding angry again. “Gary

and Brian. And… what was that other guy‟s name?

Lucas?”



“Yeah, that‟s it. I don‟t know if they knew

about it.”



“Fucking assholes.”



“Have you ever seen any of them before?” I

asked, knowing she hung out at the clubs frequently.



“Not that I remember. I mean, it‟s possible, I

guess. I may have just never noticed those guys.



My phone vibrated. “I gotta go,”

I told her.

“It looks like my mom‟s trying to get ahold of me.”






149





“Okay. Call me later.”



“I will.”



I hung up and called my mother back.



“Can you come in a little earlier?” she asked.

“Gerald‟s got a migraine and we‟re swamped. I need

you to take customers.”



“I‟ll be there within the hour,” I told her.



“Thanks, Adriana.”



“No, problem.”



We hung up and I exchanged the sweater and

white skirt for a short

-

sleeved black dress, knowing

that my parents had always preferred their salespeople

to dress more formally.





As I was putting my hair up, I thought about

my father and how much I missed him. He‟d been

our rock and had spoiled me rotten growing up. The

thought of someone shooting him and then laughing

about it brought tears to my eyes.



How could anyone give suc

h little regard to a man‟s

life

?



Especially someone who was so much more

than what those robbers had been. My father had

been a kind man. A decent man. He‟d been involved

with the community and had given to charities. He‟d

even volunteered his time at the

local shelter during

the holidays to remind himself that anyone could fall

into hard times.



“It could happen to any of us,” he once said

to my mother when she‟d first complained about him

leaving us on Christmas Eve to volunteer. “One day

you have everyth

ing, the next, you lose your job and

struggle to put food on the table for your children.




150





Look at the presents under our tree, Vanda. Imagine

that there‟s nothing there.

Nothing

. Or nothing in the

refrigerator. No ham. No turkey. Not even a piece of

bologn

a. Then, imagine what it‟s like to have to look

into your child‟s face and tell them that there is no

Santa Claus because you can‟t afford to buy them a

gift, let alone a full meal.” Then she said he‟d grabbed

the credit card and went to buy as many toys a

s he

could carry to the shelter after purchasing a Santa

Claus suit. It became a tradition, and the following

year Vanda began to help him while I stayed behind

with my grandparents, not having a clue as to what

they were doing. Then, when I was old enough



to

understand, I helped wrap presents and even went

with to deliver them. It wasn‟t until we moved to

Iowa, after they‟d been robbed, that things changed

and the volunteering stopped. Dad was diagnosed

with lymphoma and his health began to deteriorate

rap

idly. Despite chemotherapy and trying other kinds

of homeopathic treatments, he had died within

eighteen months.



Remembering our last moments together, I

went into the safe under my bed and took out the

necklace my mother had given to me when I‟d

graduated



high school. The one that my father had

designed for the occasion, but hadn‟t lived to see it. It

was chunky, with white

-

gold chains, and a round

pendant that contained a large dark blue sapphire. My

birthstone. The gem itself had to be close to ten

karat

s, and worth more than my new car. 



I put the necklace on and blinked away the

tears in my eyes. I decided to wear it to work. Not




151





only in honor of my father, but as a reminder to why

I needed to stay away from Trevor, no matter how

hard it was to resist

that sexy, blond biker.










152









Chapter Seventeen















“What the fuck you just say?” I asked, staring

at him in shock.



Slammer smiled grimly. “He‟s your half

-

brother.”



“My mom had another kid?”



“Yeah. This was long before Mavis and your

old man hooked

-

up.

About six years before that time,

I believe.”



My heart was pounding in my chest.

I had a

fucking brother

? “How come I never heard about him?”



“She was probably too scared to say anything

around your father. He beat the shit out of her

enough as it was.”



“I

s that why she took off?” I asked, feeling a

lump in my throat. Did she take off to be with her

first son, while leaving me behind?



“She left to get away from your father. She

knew I‟d take care of you. I told her  I would and she

trusted me. She‟s my seco

nd cousin. Did you know

that?”






153





“Yeah, I think you mentioned that before,” I

said, staring blindly down at his desk as the shit sunk

in.



“Anyway, Mavis took off but she didn‟t even

try to collect Jordan. She knew better than that. Plus,

he was an adult by t

hen. Nineteen, I think.”



“Who‟s Jordan‟s father?” I asked, looking up

at him.



“His name is Acid and he‟s from California.

Part of the Demon Rebels. I think their chapter is

located in Sacramento, but I‟m not totally sure. Never

had any dealings with any of



them.”



“Acid,” repeated Tank. His eyes widened.

“Holy shit, I know who you‟re talking about. I saw

something about him on the news last year. I think

he‟s doing time for arson, or some other shit.”



“Oh, he‟s doing time, but it‟s not where you

think,” said



Slammer, smirking. “That fucker is dead.”



“What do you mean?” I asked, still in shock

that The Judge was my older brother.



“You can ask The Judge about it,” he replied,

nodding toward the folder. “When you give him this

and the cash. Which reminds me.” He



walked to the

safe and opened it up. “The money is in here,” he

said, holding up a large padded envelope. “Ten

thousand dollars. Make sure he gets all of that or

we‟re fucked.”



Tank whistled. “You sure you don‟t want me

to take care of Breaker? I‟ll do it



for half.”



“Sorry, but we just can‟t risk it.”



Tank frowned but didn‟t say anything.








154





“Ten thousand, huh?” I said, as he handed the

package to me. “So, does he know about me?”



“Yep.”



That knowledge kind of pissed me off. “He

knows about me. So, why don‟t

I know about him?”



“I made a promise to your mother. Hell, she

pretty much begged me not to say anything to you.

She wanted to wait until the right time to tell you

herself.”



“And when would that be?” I mumbled. “On

her deathbed? I don‟t have any contact w

ith her as it

is. Fuck, I don‟t even know



where



she is.”



“She‟s in town, actually,” he said.



I didn‟t say anything for a while. The

bitterness I felt for Mavis abandoning me still gnawed

at me at times. I didn‟t even want to hear any more

about her. “How c

ome Jordan‟s never tried getting in

touch?” I asked, changing the subject to him.



Slammer took a few seconds to answer. “Let‟s

just say that I don‟t think Acid was an easy man to

live with and now Jordan doesn‟t have much empathy

for family, and from what

I can tell, he‟s a cold

sonofabitch himself. He even refused to meet your

mother.”



“From what I‟ve heard, he‟s a loner,” said

Tank. “In fact, I heard that he hates people. All

people.”



“Maybe not. Maybe so. Whatever the case

may be, he

is



a mercenary and h

aving friends and

family would be more of a liability.”



“Yeah, I get it. So, who all knows about him?”

I asked, wondering where the leak was coming from.






155





“Up until a few weeks ago, only your mother

and I knew who The Judge really was. But, then she

showed



up here, asking me to set up a meeting

between the two of them. To be honest, I think she

wanted to have him do a job for her. Anyway, when

he said „no‟, she got drunk and whined about it to a

couple of our brothers. Later that night, they

approached me a

bout it, and I had to come clean. I

told them to keep their fucking mouths shut, though.

Obviously one of them didn‟t. Horse. Well, he told

Chopper, and Chopper told Buck, and you get the

idea… Anyway, the last I checked, everyone but you

two knew about it

.”



“Fuck,” said Tank, shaking his head. “That

got out of hand pretty quickly. And why the fuck

didn‟t you tell me? I‟m your second

-

in

-

command. Not

to mention your son.”



“I just did.”



Tank snorted. “Still, it‟s easy to see how Mud

learned about it. I doubt

there‟s a fucking

conspiracy.”



“They all gave me their solemn word that

nobody else would find out about it. Nobody. And

that they‟d keep their fucking mouths shut,” said

Slammer.



“They probably told their Old Ladies, and

that‟s how it leaked,” I said. “Y

ou know most of them

are always running their mouths about this thing or

that.”



“Exactly and that‟s why I warned them about

keeping it quiet. From what I gathered, none of the

Old Ladies know about it, either.”






156





“Still, I don‟t know,” said Tank. “They may

h

ave promised, but shit happens. People get drunk

and talk shit. Do we have a traitor in our group? I

don‟t know. More than likely, it‟s just a couple of guys

who can‟t hold their liquor. Don‟t get me wrong, I‟d

kick their ass if I found out who leaked it.”



Slammer sighed and rubbed the bridge of his

nose. “I know. It‟s why nobody else is going to learn

about the hit on Breaker. Nobody. Got it?”



“Of course,” I said.



Tank nodded. 



“When did Mavis find out about The Judge?”

I asked.



Slammer frowned. “Well, to



tell you the truth,

I fucked that up myself a couple of years ago. She was

over at the house and we were sharing a bottle of

Cuervo Gold. We started talking about you and then

Jordan and Acid. Said she didn‟t even know if Jordan

was alive, since he‟d basi

cally disappeared off of the

face of the earth. That‟s when I told her.”



“Mavis was over at

our

house?” asked Tank

.

He looked at me to see my reaction

.



“Thought she

was the one who‟d disappeared off the face of the

earth.”



“No, shit,” I said.



“I know. I

know

.”



Slammer

rocked back on

his chair. “Look, there‟s something I never told you,

but Mavis dropped by quite a bit, asking about you.”



“I didn‟t know that. Funny, she could have

just come to me directly,” I said dryly.



“She was scared and confused.” He s

ighed. “I

hate to say this but with all of the beatings your




157





mother took over the years, she‟s not the same person

I once knew. I mean, she always had a drinking

problem and hung out with some real assholes, but

now… let‟s just say that she‟s not all there

. Not

mentally.”



I gave him a disgusted look. “I wouldn‟t know

the real Mavis. She kept her distance from me, even

when I was a kid,” I muttered, thinking back to my

childhood. The fighting. The drinking. Even the

drugs. The closest thing I had to a real h

ome was

living with Slammer and Tank. I certainly wasn‟t

going to hold a grudge against him because he never

said anything. He had his reasons.



I sighed. “So, where is she living now?”



“I guess she‟s been staying with a girlfriend.”



“And she wants to hire



„The Judge‟ for a hit?”



“That‟s what I‟m guessing,” said Slammer.



“You know who?” I asked.



“Not too sure. You hear from Butch lately?”

he asked, smirking. “That would be my first guess.”



My old man, Butch, was in prison for drug

smuggling. “Nope. Just tha

t time two years ago when

he asked me for some money. Said I owed him

because he gave me life.”



Tank grunted. “What a fucking prick. You

didn‟t give him any, did you?”



I shook my head and smiled. “I gave him

what I felt he deserved. My middle finger.”



Slam

mer‟s cell phone went off. He picked it

up and looked at the screen. “It‟s Frannie. I need to

take this call.”



“So, how do I reach Jordan?” I asked.






158





“He‟ll contact you. I gave him your number.

And, for fuck‟s sake, don‟t call him Jordan. Call him

Judge. He

y, darlin‟,” he said, answering the phone. I

had to smile when I noticed his voice rise to a higher

tone.



Tank nodded toward me and we got up and

left the office.



“Remember what I said about keeping your

mouths shut!” hollered Slammer as we walked down

th

e hallway. “And don‟t miss church!”



“You want me to head out with you?” asked

Tank, as we stepped back into the bar. “Make sure

that money stays safe.”



I patted the envelope. “It‟s safe with me.

Besides, didn‟t you want a piece of Misty?” I asked,

nodding

toward the bartender, who was waiting on a

couple of regulars.



“Fuck no. You heard what the old man said.

I‟m not going near that shit. Not after Breaker

infected it.” He sighed. “In fact, I‟m going to call

Krystal. Make sure it‟s still on for tonight. You



still

want to go and hunt that fucker down, don‟t you?”



“Jason? Yeah. He needs some guidance

counseling.”



Tank grunted. “No shit.”



“I‟ll meet you at the clubhouse,” I said,

walking toward the doorway with the file. “I‟ve got a

couple of errands to run, fi

rst.”



“Okay, brother.”










159









Chapter Eighteen















When I finished putting my makeup on, I

slipped on a pair of black pumps and a lightweight

overcoat. Then I locked the house up and walked

over to the garage where my Verano was parked.

When I started the engine, I noticed I was getting low

on fuel, so on

the way to Dazzle, I stopped at a

fuel



station. I‟d just started

pumping gas



when I noticed

that a big, black truck had pulled up behind my car.

Ignoring it, I continued filling my car with gasoline.



The person in the truck got out and I heard

footsteps co

me up behind me. “Darlin‟, I thought

that was you,” said a gravelly voice.



I turned around to find myself looking up into

the cold, flat eyes of the biker who‟d been harassing

me at Griffin‟s. Breaker. I tried to remain calm.



“Sorry?” I said, pretending I

didn‟t know him.



The guy was even scarier in the daylight, the scar on

his face standing out like a warning sign. Something

told me that he‟d probably deserved it.






160





“You‟re the hot little number from Griffin‟s

last night.



You must remember me, d

arlin‟.”



My

heart was pounding as I pulled the nozzle

out of the car and shoved it back into the machine.

I‟d barely filled my tank, but I wanted to leave as

quickly as possible. Knowing that he‟d gone to prison

for rape was terrifying. Especially since he was

obvious

ly still interested in me. “Sorry. You must

have me confused with someone else,” I answered,

laughing nervously. “I get that all the time.”



He smirked. “I don‟t think so.”



Ignoring him, I pulled out my receipt and

tried getting into my car.



“You know, I‟d



never forget a face like

yours,” he said, blocking my way.



“Excuse me. You‟re in my way.”



His eyes went to my necklace. “Fuck me, is

that a real sapphire?”



I put my hand over the stone. “No. Of course

not. It‟s costume jewelry. Now, if you‟d please get o

ut

of my way, I really have to be somewhere.”



“Are you okay, honey?” asked a little old lady,

pumping gas across from me.



“Mind your own business, grandma,” said

Breaker, stepping out of my way.



The woman quickly turned away and

continued pumping.



“Nosy o

ld bitch,” he muttered and then

turned back to me. “You meeting up with Raptor?”



I ignored him.






161





He chuckled. “You look like you‟re going on a

date. He‟s not going to be happy knowing that you‟re

seeing someone on the side.”



I was about to tell him that I wasn‟t seeing

anyone, including Raptor, but caught myself. That

would have been asking for more trouble. I forced a

grin. “For your information, I‟m going to work but I

will



be seeing him later.”



He grinned slyly. “Work, huh?



Where you

work, darlin‟?”



I couldn‟t help it. I was tired of his questions.

“It‟s none of your business,” I said, slamming the

door shut. I quickly started the engine and locked all

four doors. As I backed away, I noticed that he was

laughing.



“Asshole,”



I mumbled, turning the car

around. I drove out of the parking lot and headed

down the road, still shaken. The light ahead turned

red and I slowed down to a stop. As I waited for it to

change, someone revved their engine behind me. I

looked into my rearvie

w mirror and my blood ran

cold. Breaker was behind me, in the truck, and only

inches from my bumper.  



I swore under my breath, hoping that he

wasn‟t following me and just heading north. But,

common sense told me that was not the case.



When the light fina

lly changed, I began to

drive forward, but didn‟t head toward Dazzle, which

was only a few blocks away. The last thing I needed

was for him to learn where I worked. Instead, I

continued forward, not exactly sure where I was




162





headed. Frustratingly enough, he



stayed behind me

for the next five lights.



Shit, h

e must



really



be following me

, I thought,

deciding to take a right at the next light. As I put my

blinker on and changed lanes, I noticed he did the

same. We both turned on the green arrow, and I

looked b

ack at him in my rearview mirror. I couldn‟t

see his face because the windows were tinted, but

something told me he was enjoying this.  Tightening

my hands on the wheel, I sped up and took the next

exit, this time turning left. He quickly followed.



“Dammit

,” I snapped, my heart racing. I

reached into my purse, which was sitting next to me

on the seat, and grabbed my cell phone. Trying not to

get into an accident, I quickly dialed Trevor.



“Hey, Kitten,” he answered, a smile in his

voice. “I didn‟t expect to

hear from you until later.”



“Breaker is following me,” I said quickly.



He swore. “Talk to me.”



I told him about seeing Breaker at the gas

station and how he‟d tried talking to me. “Now he‟s

on my tail.”



“I‟m going to kill that fucking asshole myself.

Swear



to God,” he growled. “Okay. Where are you?



I gave him my approximate location. “Should

I drive to the nearest police station?” I asked, still

seeing Breaker‟s truck in my mirror.



“He‟ll just drive away if you do that.”



“Isn‟t that the point?” I exclaimed

loudly.



“I want to confront the fucker. Let him know

that nobody follows my girl.”






163





I‟m not your girl,



I thought, although I had to

admit that part of me was giddy at the comment.

“Seriously, I don‟t want to be part of that. I just want

him to go away and n

ever see him again.”



“I know, but shitheads like Breaker

won‟t



go

away unless someone stands up to them. Look,” he

said, “why don‟t you head on over to Griffin‟s?

You‟re only ten minutes away. I‟m in the parking lot,

now.

I‟ll



make sure that pile of shit never bothers you

again. You feel me?”



I was feeling more frustrated than anything as

I stopped at another light. This time, however,

Breaker got into the right turning lane. “Wait a

second,” I said, looking over at his truck.

“He‟s

turning away. Thank God.”



Breaker rolled down his window and the

menacing smile on his face gave me the chills. He

blew me a kiss and then drove away, his tires

squealing as he whipped around the corner.



“Asshole,” I mumbled, sighing in relief.



“What

‟s going on?”



“He‟s gone.”



“Good. Now, meet me at Griffin‟s. I‟ll take

you to lunch.”



Yuck, like I‟d ever eat there.



“I can‟t. My mom‟s expecting me at the store.

I‟m surprised she hasn‟t called me yet, complaining.”



He was quiet for a while, obviously mu

lling

things over. “Okay. You get your ass at work and

don‟t worry your pretty little head about this jerkoff.”



“Thanks,” I said. “He scared the crap out of

me.”






164





“Don‟t let him, Kitten. In fact, he won‟t be

bothering anyone soon.”



“Oh yeah? Why?”



“I can‟t

get into it. Just, go to work and I‟ll see

you later tonight.”



I bit my lower lip. “About that…”



“I‟ve gotta go. There‟s a call coming in. I

might even meet you at Dazzle, later.” He chuckled.

“Surprise your mother.”



“But







“Later, babe,” he said and then



hung up.



Sighing, I tossed my phone onto the

passenger seat and headed to the shop, checking my

rearview mirror frequently. I couldn‟t believe the last

twenty

-

four hours, I‟d had strange encounters with

three very different guys. As far as I was concerned

,

every one of them was a threat. Even Trevor.










165







Chapter Nineteen













“This Raptor?” asked the voice on the other

end.



“Yeah.”



“You‟ve got a package for me?”



I glanced at my saddlebag. “I do.”



“Meet me at your house. In twenty minutes,”

he said and then



hung up.



He knew where I lived. I wasn‟t sure how I

felt about that. Yeah, we were brothers, but he was

still The Judge and something told me that blood

meant nothing to him, unless he was getting paid to

spill it.



Sighing, I got on my bike and tied a red



and

white bandana around my head. Then I headed home.







***














166







“Oh good. You‟re here,” said my mother, as I

stepped into the busy shop. She was showing a young

couple some diamond engagement rings. “I sent

Gerald home already. Could you help Mrs.

Jacobs

clean her jewelry?” She nodded toward the back of

the shop where and elderly woman was waiting. “Tim

and I are both just too busy at the moment.”



I looked across the room at Tim, who many

said looked like Zac Efron‟s twin brother. He was

surrounded

by three teenaged girls who appeared to

be interested in both the charm bracelets and the

young guy behind the counter.



“Sure. No problem.”



“Hi, Adriana,” said Tim as I walked by him.

He looked at me over his shoulder and gave me

dimpled smile.



“Hi, Tim.”



“You look lovely today. Hey,” he squinted.

“Is that a new necklace? It‟s gorgeous.”



“It‟s not new. By the way, you‟re looking

pretty swanky yourself. Tell whoever‟s dressing you

that they have amazing taste.”



He winked. “I certainly will.” As usual, he wa

s

dressed to the nines in a black tailored suit. His

boyfriend, Juan, worked at Macy‟s, and had excellent

taste in fashion. From what I understood, he selected




167





all of Tim‟s clothes and wouldn‟t let him step out of

the house without approving his clothing c

hoices.



I hung up my coat on the hook behind the

counter, and began helping Mrs. Jacobs. When her

jewelry was cleaned, she asked to look at some

earrings that were in the case.



“These are so lovely,” she said, trying on a set

of pearl ones. “I keep lookin

g at them every time I

visit your shop.” She sighed. “I should just get them.”



“I would. They‟re beautiful, and they‟re not

lab

-

created,” I told her. “Hence the price. You‟re

going to pay for quality and Vanda goes to great

lengths to make sure we sell the



finest pearl earrings

in Iowa.”



“Yes, I believe it. I do know that you get what

you pay for, too. I‟ve learned that over the years.”



I nodded.



“The price is reasonable. I keep waiting for

them to go down, though.”



“We had a sale last week,” I whispered,

l

eaning forward. “Twenty percent off. If you want the

earrings, I‟ll do what I can to get you that same deal. I

know the owner and I‟m pretty sure she‟ll okay it.”



She smiled. “If you can do that, I‟ll take them,

for sure.”



I winked. “Let‟s wrap them up so

you can

take them home.”



“Thank you, Adriana. I‟m going to tell your

boss that you‟re a „keeper‟.”



I laughed. “Thank you. Hopefully, she‟ll

believe you.”






168





“You two are having fun over here,” said

Vanda, walking over to us after ringing up her couple.

“I lik

e that.”



“A happy customer is a return customer,” said

Mrs. Jacobs. “And you know, I keep coming back.”



“And we are thrilled that you do,” she replied

and then looked down at the earrings. “Ah, you‟re

getting them. The ones you‟ve been eyeing for weeks.

I

just marked them down, too. Perfect timing.”



My eyes widened. “You did?”



“Yes,” she replied. “I took twenty

-

percent off

last night.”



“So, I‟m getting forty

-

percent off of the

original price?” raved Mrs. Jacobs, grinning. “My

goodness. This is really my day

!”



My mother‟s eyebrows shot up and she

looked at me.



I laughed nervously. “I promised her twenty

-

percent off the current price. Sorry, I didn‟t know

you‟d already lowered it.”



I could tell by the look in her eyes that she

wasn‟t too happy with me, but sh

e faked it for Mrs.

Jacobs. “It‟s quite all right.” She winked at the older

woman. “I guess this

is

your lucky day, isn‟t it? Well, I

don‟t know who deserves it more than you. I really do

appreciate all of the business you‟ve given me, Mrs.

Jacobs. All of

us do.”



“Call me Mary.”



“Mary. Thank you, Mary,” she replied.



The phone in the store rang and Tim

answered it.






169





“Adriana, it‟s for you,” he said, putting the

caller on hold.



“I‟m with a customer,” I said. “Can you take a

message?”



“It‟s okay. I‟ll ring her



up,” said my mother.

“Take your call.”



“Thanks,” I said. “Enjoy your earrings, Mary.

They look lovely on your ears.”



She touched her ears. “Thank you, Adriana.”



Smiling, I walked over and grabbed the

phone.



“Hello?”



The caller didn‟t say anything.



“Hello?



This is Adriana. Can I help you?”



I heard the distinct sound of a lighter being

flicked. Then someone inhaled what I could only

imagine to be a cigarette. Then they blew it out.



“Hello?”  I said, getting frustrated. “I‟m going

to hang up if you‟ve got not

hing to say to me.”



The sound of man‟s deep laughter made my

blood turn cold.



I gripped the phone tightly. “Who is this?”



The person hung up.



My hand was shaking when I placed the

phone back on the receiver. I knew who it was. I

could tell by his coarse,

evil laughter.



Breaker.



“Who was that?” asked Tim, looking

concerned.



I forced a smile. “Wrong number.”



“That‟s strange because the man actually

asked for you.”






170





“Huh,” I said, moving around the counter and

toward the front of the shop.



“Where you

going?” called my mom.



I didn‟t reply. I walked to the front door and

glanced outside, terrified of what I‟d find.



“Is there something wrong?” asked

Jim



Evans

, our security guard.



“I don‟t know,” I said, looking around the

parking lot. There were six cars, including mine, but

no menacing black truck. I relaxed a little.



Jim stood up. “You‟re worrying me, Adriana,”

he said, looking out the window himself. “Is there

something we shou

ld know?”



He was like a hawk. He noticed everything

and trusted nobody, outside of my mother and me.

He even had a hard time trusting Tim and Gerald. It

made him an excellent security guard. “No,” I replied,

turning to him. “Everything is fine. Really.”



A

t least I hoped.



Vanda approached us. “What‟s wrong?” she

whispered frantically. “Why didn‟t you answer me?”



“I‟m sorry and nothing is wrong, Mom.”



She didn‟t look like she believed me. “Who

was on the phone? Tim said you looked like you‟d

seen a ghost.”



I



managed a smile. “Oh, well that was just a

crank call. Some punk kid. Where is Mrs. Jacobs?” I

asked, looking behind her.



“Bathroom. I think she‟s used it more than

me,” said Vanda, chuckling.






171





“That‟s what happens when you get old,” said

Jim, who was push

ing fifty himself. “Leaky faucets

and rusty pipes.”



“You‟re not old,” replied Mom. “And I‟m

sure your pipes are working just fine.”



His face turned red and he smiled. “Easy for

you to say. You look like Adriana‟s sister, not

mother.”



“Flattery will get you



ten

-

percent over cost on

something for your own mother,” she replied,

grinning. “Come Mother‟s Day.”



He laughed. “I‟ll hold you to it.”



Vanda chuckled.



“I‟m going into the back for a quick cup of

coffee. Would either of you ladies like me to grab you

any

?” he asked.



“No,” I replied. “I‟m fine.”



“No, thank you, Jim,” said Vanda. “I‟ve had

enough cups myself today.”



“Let me know if you change your mind,” he

said, walking away.



Vanda watched him leave and then turned to

me. “Oh,” she said, reaching over to m

y necklace. She

lifted up the sapphire. “You wore your father‟s

necklace. It‟s been a long time since I‟ve seen it.”



I looked down. “I guess I couldn‟t stop

thinking about Dad this morning.”



Her eyes grew moist and she smiled. “He was

such a good man.”



“He was. The best.”



She looked outside again and then back to my

necklace. “I must admit, it makes me a little nervous








172





you wearing it out in the open. It‟s very expensive and

not exactly… subtle.”



“I know. I probably shouldn‟t have,” I

admitted. “It‟s ju

st… I wanted to feel close to him

today.”



“I understand,” she replied, glancing down at

her wedding band that she refused to remove, even

though he‟d been gone for the last seven years. “I

wouldn‟t dream of taking this off.”



“I‟m sure if you did, though, D

ad would be

okay with it.”



Her eyes widened. “Why would I ever take it

off?”



I shrugged. “I don‟t know… I mean, you‟re

only forty

-

seven. You might fall in love again.”



“I‟ve been in love. I don‟t need to replace

your father.”



“Don‟t you get lonely?” I aske

d.



She patted me on the shoulder and turned to

walk away. “I have you, Adriana. I‟m never lonely.”



“I know, but







“Let it rest,” she interrupted. “We‟ve been

through this conversation before. I‟m content with

my life.”



I sighed. We

had



been through it bef

ore and

she was always so stubborn. I knew if she opened her

eyes, she‟d see that Jim had a thing for her. But, that

was Vanda. She was so obstinate.



The phone rang again and I jumped. This

time, fortunately, it was for Tim.










173





Chapter Twenty















When I

arrived home, I left my bike in the

driveway, unlocked the door, and went inside. When I

reached the kitchen, a man was waiting for me at the

table. He was dressed in a long, black leather overcoat

and wore gloves.



“You Raptor?” he asked pointing his nine



millimeter at me.



“Yeah, who the fuck are you?”



He put the gun down on the table. “You‟re

smart. Figure it out.”



“Jesus Christ, how the fuck did you get in

here?” I snapped, not too happy that he‟d made

himself at home and was drinking one of my beers.



The Judge, who had dark hair and light blue

eyes, smirked. “Back door. Used the key hidden under

the pot with the dead Begonias. Did anyone ever tell

you to water your flowers?”



I frowned. “I didn‟t hide a spare key there.”



“Then you‟d better figure out wh

o did.”



Brandy.



It had to be her. It was even her flower pot.






174





“I need to change my fucking locks,” I said,

staring at him, trying to find some kind of

resemblance. From what I could see, there wasn‟t

anything other than maybe the eye color.



“That mine?”

he asked, nodding to the

package in my arm.



“Yeah.” I handed it to him. “It‟s all there.”



He opened it up and pulled out the folder

with Breaker‟s information. “I don‟t need this,” he

said, tossing it aside. Then he pulled out the bundles

of money and cou

nted them. “Looks like it‟s all here,”

he said before standing up.



“So, when are you going to do it?” 



“Do what?” he asked, walking toward the

kitchen door.



“Kill the fucker?”



He stopped abruptly and then turned around

to face me. His smile was cold. “Don

‟t know what

you‟re talking about. Murder is a crime, kid. You

should know that.”



“I‟m not your fucking „kid‟,” I said, not

appreciating his condescending bullshit. 



“Relax,

brother,”

he said, smirking again.



“Didn‟t your daddy ever teach you the importan

ce of

self

-

control?”



“My old man‟s idea of self

-

control was

waiting until seven a.m. for his first shot of whiskey,”

I said. “From what I hear, your old man wasn‟t much

better,

Jordan

.”



I thought he‟d be pissed, but instead, he

surprised me. “See, that‟s w

here you‟re wrong,” he

replied, removing one of his gloves. He lifted his right




175





hand and even I had to wince at the scars. “He

demanded self

-

control. As you can see, I learned it

early on.”



“That‟s from acid, isn‟t it?”



“Oh yeah,” he said. “Looks like „Dea

r Old

Ma‟ sure knew how to pick „em.”



I smirked. “No shit. Have you met her?”



“No,” he said, putting the glove back on.

“And I really don‟t care to.”



“I haven‟t seen her in years myself.”



“Lucky you,” he said, walking out of the

kitchen.



I followed him. “W

hat happens now?”



“I leave,” he said, turning around. There was a

look of mirth in his eyes. “Why?”



I shrugged. “I don‟t know. Did you want to

ask me anything?”



“About what?”



“We‟re brothers. Thought you‟d be curious.”



“It‟s only blood, kid,” he said,

heading down

the steps. “Don‟t get hung up on it.”



I didn‟t know what else to say. It was obvious

that he wasn‟t interested in shooting the shit, but that

didn‟t stop me from being curious. “See you around?”



He grunted. “In my occupation, you‟d better

hope



that you don‟t.”



I stared at him.



He grinned and then left.



I pulled out my cell phone. “He‟s paid,” I told

Slammer.



“He say when it‟s going to happen?”






176





“No. In fact, he acted like he didn‟t know

what the fuck I was even talking about when I asked

him the



same thing.”



“That‟s the way he is. Okay, get your ass to

the chapel. Meeting is going to start in thirty

minutes.”



“I‟ll be there.”



He hung up.



I put my phone away and went around the

house, checking the locks. Then I went outside and

found the key he‟d

replaced under the flower pot. I

stuck it in my pocket, threw the flower pot away, and

left for the clubhouse.





***







Slammer smacked the gavel and called the

meeting to order. There were nineteen of us in the

Jensen Chapter, plus three prospects hoping to



be

patched. The prospects were absent, as they weren‟t

allowed at the meetings for obvious reasons.



It was most of the same stuff, with the

treasurer going over our finances, new

correspondences, and then us voting on prospects.

When that was finished, S

lammer made a surprising

announcement.



“You all have heard by now what happened

to my Old Lady‟s daughter,” he said, staring down at

his folded hands. “And about my meeting with Mud

last night.”



“How did that go?” asked Horse.






177





“Actually, it didn‟t go very

well. But, that‟s

already old news.”



“What do you mean?” I asked, wondering

where he was going with this.



He grinned. “Well, today, we talked and I

think we‟ve cleared up our issues. We even called a

truce.”



“No shit?” said Chopper.



“That‟s right,” he repl

ied, smiling around at

everyone. I had to give him credit, he was smooth

when he wanted to be. “The shit between us is all

smoothed over. We‟re good.”



“What about Breaker?” asked Horse.



His smile faltered. “Well, as usual, my fucking

temper got the best of



me when I first found out

about the incident. But we all know that you can‟t go

pointing fingers without evidence. Truth is, we have

no proof that Breaker is the one who attacked Jessica.

Could have been a number of fuckers. Hell, she‟s not

even sure hers

elf who did it.”



“But they were wearing a cut that matched the

Devil‟s Rangers,” said Chopper, looking frustrated.

“Come one, Prez. You know one of them did it. You

fucking know they did.”



“I have to agree with Slammer,” said Buck.

“Unless we know for sure



who did it, we can‟t go

killing people without proof. Can‟t kill an innocent

man for another man‟s sins.”



“Yeah, but, he‟s the only one who‟s done time

for rape,” said Chopper.



“You know this, how?” asked Slammer.






178





Chopper grunted. “I‟m your Intelligence

O

fficer, come on. It didn‟t take me long to find this

shit out.”



“No, I suppose it wouldn‟t,” he replied.



“You sure you want to let this go?” asked

Horse.



“Like I said before, no proof. Plus, I gave

Mud my word that none of the Gold Vipers would

touch Break

er,” he replied. He looked at me and then

the others. “And I plan on keeping my word. There

will be no retaliation. No revenge, no nothing.

Understood?”





We all agreed. 










179





Chapter Twenty

-

One













Fortunately, the rest of the day was

uneventful at the

shop and there were no more calls

from that freak, Breaker. Trevor didn‟t call me back,

either. Nor did he show up at the store, which was

kind of a relief. My mom would have flipped her lid.



When six o‟clock rolled around, we locked the

doors and began do

ing inventory. Jim stuck around,

which I was grateful for, since being alone at a jewelry

store at night was disconcerting. After we checked off

each piece of jewelry, Jim carefully placed them into

the large walk

-

in safe, where they‟d stay until

morning.

By the time nine o‟clock rolled around, we‟d

finished with all one

-

hundred

-

and ninety

-

two pieces,

and I couldn‟t wait leave. Reading all the item

numbers on the tiny tags was exhausting.



“There has got to be an easier way of doing

inventory,” I told her.



“There is, but I like doing it this way.”



“But they have these scanners you can use,

now, Mom. You‟d keep much better track of each

piece.”



“It‟s far too expensive to set that up,” she said

and then smiled. “Our way is already paid for.”






180





She was so frugal



and old fashioned at times it

was aggravating. “Fine. If you like doing things the

hard way.”



“It‟s easy with your help. Now, let‟s go to

Sicily‟s,” my mother said, as we were locking up the

shop. “My treat for making you do things the hard

way. You too,

Jim.”



“Sure, if you insist,” said Jim, his eyes

twinkling. “I love Italian food.”



“Mom, I‟m sorry, I just can‟t,” I replied,

grabbing the car keys out of my purse. “I‟m meeting

up with Krystal.”



She stopped in her tracks. “Again? I thought

you celebrated

her birthday last night,” she replied,

frowning.



“I know. This is just us, though. Last night

was crazy and we didn‟t get much of a chance to

talk.”



“Didn‟t you have enough time to talk when

you spent the night at her house?”



“No. We crashed pretty quickly

,” I lied.



“I‟ll meet you at the restaurant,” said Jim,

heading toward his car. I could tell he didn‟t want any

part of the conversation.



“Goodbye,” I called.



Jim turned around and waved as he reached

his Toyota. “Have a good night, Adriana,” he replied

an

d then looked at Mom. “I‟ll see you soon?”



“Yes,” she said, smiling. “Very soon.”



He smiled back and got into his car.



She turned back to me. “You‟re not going to

meet that man on the motorcycle afterward, are you?”






181





“Mom, would you just give it up,” I said

,

frustrated. “I know what I‟m doing.”



“No, Adriana, I don‟t think you do. You‟re

only twenty

-

one and I‟m sure bad boys like that seem

sexy, but







“Bad boys? Mom, please,” I interrupted as I

began walking to my car, which was parked next to

hers. “It‟s no

t like that.”



“It sure looked like that way to me earlier,”

she said, coming up behind me. “The way you two

were attacking each other in the driveway.”



“It was just a couple of kisses,” I said, getting

into the car. “Really, you don‟t need to worry about

m

e.”



Her eyes softened. “I can‟t help it. You‟re my

daughter.”



Your

grown



daughter,” I reminded her. “Look,

take Jim out to dinner and enjoy yourself.” I lowered

my voice. “It‟s obvious the man is crazy about you.”



She looked shocked. “What? No. No, he

isn‟

t.”



I glanced back over at Jim, who was sitting in

his car, waiting for her. “Oh yes, he is. You just don‟t

see it. Quit worrying about me and think about

yourself for a change. Go on a date, have some fun.”



She looked over her shoulder at him and then

sig

hed. “A date?”



“Yes. Pretend it‟s a date.”



“I can‟t do that to your father‟s memory. I still

love him and it wouldn‟t be right.”



“Mom, you don‟t have to stop loving Dad,” I

said softly. “But don‟t deny yourself companionship




182





with someone who adores you. So

meone like Jim,

who‟s nice and is always there for you.”



She chewed on her lower lip. “You really

think he

adores

me?”



“I guess you haven‟t noticed the way he looks

at you. He definitely has a crush.”



“A crush?” Her cheeks flushed. “Really?”



“Yes, really.

Aren‟t you attracted to him?”



“I guess… I haven‟t thought about it. I mean,

he‟s nice looking.”



“Mom, seriously, you‟re too young to become

an old spinster.”



She laughed. “An old spinster?”



I smiled. “That‟s right. If you look up the

word in the

dictionary, you might find your picture

there soon, if you don‟t do something.”



Mom smirked. “You think I don‟t know what

you‟re doing?”



“What do you mean?”



“Changing the subject.”



“What I‟m doing is letting you know that you

can‟t control who is in my lif

e but you can control

who is in yours. Right now there‟s a sweet guy who is

meeting you at Sicily‟s. He likes you. A lot. Who

knows, maybe you‟ll find that you like him, too. And

not just as your security guard.”



She looked at Jim‟s car again but didn‟t sa

y

anything.



My cell phone went off.



“It‟s Krystal. I‟ve gotta go,” I said, looking

down at it.






183





“Just be careful,” Vanda replied, crossing her

arms under her chest.



“I will, and have fun,” I said, winking at her

before slamming the door shut.



She turned a

nd walked over to her car.



“Hi, Krystal,” I said, answering the phone.



“Hey, guess what?” she said. There were

voices in the background and I could tell she was

someplace crowded.



“What?” I asked, starting my engine.



“We found him.”



“Found who

? Jason

?”



“He

ll yes. I‟m in the bathroom now. At Club

Hideaway. I found out from Gary that he was heading

here tonight. Tank and Raptor are keeping an eye on

Jason. I think they‟re going to confront the prick

outside, since the place is crawling with bouncers.”



My hear

t began to race. “Oh, my God, I‟m on

my way.”



“Okay. I‟ll let you know if we leave or if

something happens.”



“I‟m twenty minutes away. I‟ll get there as

quickly as possible.”



We hung up and I pulled out of the parking

lot, wondering what they planned on do

ing to Jason

once they had him alone. Would they just kick his ass

or threaten him with a weapon?



This is crazy,



I thought.

I should have just called the

police. Someone is going to get hurt.





I turned a corner and a few seconds later and

I noticed the pe

rson behind me had their high

-

beams

on. Then I noticed that it was a truck. Breaker‟s.






184





“Oh, my God,” I gasped, moving quickly into

the right lane. I watched in horror as he followed me.

I tried zigzagging around other cars, desperate to put

some distance b

ehind us, but Breaker kept up.

Frightened, I hopped onto the freeway and raced

toward the club, not knowing what else to do. If

anything, I could lead him to Trevor. Soon, I was

going eighty miles an hour in the passing lane,

thankful that it wasn‟t rush h

our.



“Where the fuck are the cops when you need

them?” I said out loud, wishing that I‟d catch one of

their radars. But, for some crazy reason, even though

it was a Saturday night, and I was driving like a bat

out of hell, they weren‟t around. Frustrated,

I looked

into the mirror and noticed that Breaker was still hot

on my tail. “Dammit, you are such a freak!”



His laughter from earlier echoed in my head. I

was pretty sure he was having a blast, scaring the hell

out of me. I just couldn‟t understand why he was so

obsessed with someone he‟d just met.



Because he‟s fucking insane.



We drove like this, with me drivin

g like a

maniac and him following suit, until I noticed we

were finally approaching downtown Iowa City. I put

my blinker on and was about to enter the right lane to

get off at the next exit, when he quickly moved into it,

blocking me.



“Dammit,” I yelled, s

lowing down.



He also slowed down and then sped up as I

tried to maneuver my way into the lane. Of course, I

missed the exit.






185





“Fuck you, asshole,” I mumbled, thinking that

at least he‟d gotten off, and was no longer following

me. But, when I looked back int

o the rearview mirror,

I found that I was wrong. He‟d obviously jumped off

of the exit at the last minute, and was tailing me again.



Furious, I pressed my foot firmly on the gas

and flew down the freeway, determined to stay ahead

of him so I could get off

on the next exit. This time it

worked, and I was able to take the next ramp, with

him one car behind. As I turned and then headed

toward Main Street, I recalled where the local cop

shop was and decided to lead him there instead of

going to the club.



“You w

ant to follow me, asshole. Go right

ahead,” I said, staring at him in the rearview mirror.  



Just as I predicted, he continued to follow me,

but then, as I reached the police station, he turned

off, waving at me through his open window.



“Yeah, that‟s what



I thought. You fucking

coward,” I mumbled, going the opposite direction.





***


















186





Chapter Twenty

-

Two









Breaker







“Where are you at?” barked Mud.



“Just driving around,” he answered, following

the brunette. He couldn‟t wait to get his hands on her

hot little body as well as that rock around her neck.

The sapphire had to be worth thirty or forty grand.



“You need to get your ass down to the

clubhouse,



brother. Rumor has it that „The Judge‟

might be looking for your ass.”



His eyes widened. “The Judge? Where‟d you

hear that?”



“Misty. She overheard Slammer talking about

it earlier. Called and give me the heads

-

up.”



“I‟m not afraid of that asshole. I‟ll sl

ice his

nuts off if he tries taking me down. Shove them up

his ass.”



“You‟d better be. From what I hear, the guy

has never missed a delivery, and this time, you‟re the

one on order. Now, get your ass back here so we can

figure this shit out.”



Breaker sighe

d. That foxy little Adriana was

just going to have to wait. “I‟ll be there in twenty.”



“Don‟t stop off anywhere. We‟ll be watching

for you.”



Click.






187





Breaker set his phone down and got into the

right lane. As he was about to turn, he rolled his

window down a

nd waved at Adriana. He couldn‟t see

her face, but something told him that she wasn‟t

smiling. In fact, he was pretty sure he‟d scared the hell

out of her. The knowledge made his cock swell.



“Mother fucking Prez,” he mumbled, lighting

a smoke. He loved Mu

d and the rest of the crew, but

in reality, they really were a bunch of pussies. Every

last one of them. His brothers seemed to shake in

their boots whenever „The Judge‟ was mentioned.

Well, he wasn‟t afraid of the Zorro

-

wannabe

-

faggot.

The Judge was a jok

e. He wasn‟t even part of any

club. The fact was, he would love to face the asshole

and show him who the real judge was. Maybe stick a

gavel up his ass and call it a night.



Laughing to himself, Breaker turned down a

dark, dead

-

end street and parked his tru

ck in a quiet

spot. He couldn‟t help it





he needed to get off.

Chasing Adriana had wound him up and now, all he

could think about was fucking the little cunt. Pushing

the „Play‟ button on his stereo, he began listening to

the CD he‟d made. The one where h

e‟d recorded the

last bitch‟s screams. Jessica‟s. The fact that it was

Slammer‟s Old Lady‟s daughter made it that much

more exhilarating. He‟d noticed the girl when he‟d

been trailing Slammer last summer. Saw her leaving

his house. From that moment on, he‟

d followed the

sweet piece of tail everywhere, waiting for the right

opportunity. When he‟d noticed her roommate leave

with a suitcase a couple weeks back, he‟d broken in

and made himself at home. The rest was history.




188





Sweet history that he‟d recorded for

his own sick

pleasure. Sure, he knew he was a little twisted, but it

didn‟t change the fact that he enjoyed torturing

women. Making them beg for their lives.



Breaker got rid of his cigarette and unzipped

his pants. Imagining himself on top of Adriana, he

s

pit in his hand and began to jerk off.



“Yeah, baby,” he whispered, moving his hand

up and down as the girl on the CD whimpered,

begging him to stop. He closed his eyes.



“Look at me,” demanded the voice on the

CD. His voice. “You see me?”



Panting, Breaker

remembered the terror in

Jessica‟s eyes as he stared into them, and it brought

him to the edge. Just as he was about to blow his

load, he felt the cool barrel of a gun against his

temple.



Gasping, he opened his eyes and found

himself staring at a man he d

idn‟t recognize.



“You‟re one ugly cuss, you know that? I can

also see why don‟t get many dates,” said the man,

turning down the stereo. “Also, I don‟t know if

anyone has ever told you, but your taste in music is

pretty fucked up.”



“Who the hell are you?” h

e said, trying to

shove his dick back into his jeans.



He smirked. “If you have to ask, you‟re even

dumber than I thought.”



“Fuck you,” he growled.



“Why don‟t you beg? Like the girl on the CD,

you sick fuck…”



“Go to hell.”






189





“Thanks for the invite, but I‟m

not ready yet.

Tell everyone that I said hello.”



Breaker‟s face turned white. “Wait a minute.

I‟ve got money, too. I‟ll pay you double. Whatever

they offered, I‟ll pay more.”



“This one isn‟t about the money.” He lowered

the gun to Breaker‟s limp dick. “It‟

s about a girl

whose life you ruined,” he said, pulling the trigger.














190







Chapter Twenty

-

Three

















I pulled into a parking lot, which was across

the street from Club Hideaway, and parked the car.

Then I texted Krystal. She called me right away.



“Perfect timing. The shit is about to hit the

fan. Jason is heading toward the door with some girl,

and we‟re getting ready to follow him.”



“I‟ll wait out here. I don‟t want him to see

me.”



“Good idea. I‟ll call you right back,” she said,

hanging up.



I sta

yed in my car and watched the front door,

anxious and scared at the same time. A few minutes

later, I saw Jason step outside with a girl. He had his

arm around her shoulders. I noticed she was lucid and

actually seemed to be enjoying their conversation. It



made me wonder if I was wrong about everything.

Sure, he‟d been an asshole, but had he really drugged

me?






191





As they walked toward the parking lot where I

was hunched in my car, the club doors opened again.

This time, Trevor, Tank, and Krystal stepped outsid

e.



Blowing out my breath, I watched as the three

kept their distance and followed them into the

parking lot. Just as Jason approached his car, which

was a couple rows away from mine, Trevor

confronted him.





***















“Excuse me, Jason?”



He turned around and looked at me.



“I‟m sorry, do I know you?” he asked.



“No, but I think you know her,” said Tank,

nodding to Krystal.



Jason‟s face turned pale. “Ah, hey, Krystal.

What‟s going on?”



Krystal smiled coldly. “Heard you abandoned

my friend

last night. After you tried raping her, you

fucking asshole.”



The girl standing next to Jason took a step

back. “What? Jason, what is she talking about?”






192





“Nothing, Michelle. Get in the car. I‟ll handle

this.”



“But







“Get in the car,” he said firmly. “Plea

se.”



Sighing, she opened the door and slid into the

front seat.



Jason turned back to us. “What‟s this all

about?”



“You slipped something into Adriana‟s drink

last night,” I said. “What was it?”



His face darkened. “That‟s bullshit. I didn‟t do

any such thin

g. Is that what she told you?”



In three strides I had him by the throat.

“Look, you ass

-

fuck,” I spat. “That shit could have

killed her. What the fuck was it?”



He tried clawing at my fingers. “I didn‟t,” he

croaked. “Let me go.”



I reached into my jacket an

d pulled out my

revolver. I held it to his head and cocked it. “Tell me

or I‟ll blow your head off, motherfucker.”



“Oh, my God, no!” hollered Adriana, who

was running toward us. “Don‟t!”



I lowered the gun and shoved it into his nut

-

sack. “Don‟t worry, Jaso

n. I‟m not going to kill you.

Just remove the source of your problem.”



“Please,” he begged, holding up his hands. “It

wasn‟t me. Seriously. It was Lucas. He did it. For

Gary. It was his birthday.”



I glared at him. “Explain.”



“Lucas just wanted him to get

lucky. The shit

was just supposed to make her horny. That‟s all I

know.”






193





“Gary wasn‟t interested in having sex with any

of us,” said Krystal, looking horrified. “Don‟t put the

blame on him.”



“I‟m not. I mean, you‟re right. He didn‟t even

know about it.”



“B

ut you did,” I said sharply. “And you tried

raping her.”



“No,” he lied. “I swear…”



“Say goodbye to your little friends,” I said,

mimicking Al Pacino.



He began to cry. “No! Please! I‟ll do

anything.”



I heard the sound of sirens in the distance.



“Time to le

ave,” said Tank.



Swearing, I slammed my fist into Jason‟s face

and heard the distinct sound of his nose breaking.



He sank to his knees holding his nose. “I

think you broke it. Oh, my God!”



I grinned. “Good. It looks like it‟s your lucky

day, fuck

-

face,

because that‟s all I have time for. Now,

I know you‟ve heard of the Gold Vipers and now

we‟ve heard of you.”



Jason‟s eyes moved to my jacket and the

realization of who I was associated with made him

look like he was going to shit his pants.



I grabbed him

by the collar and looked down

into his face. “I ever hear of you or your friends

drugging these or any other girls, you‟re dead. You

feel me?”



He nodded quickly.






194





“I mean it. You‟ll be ten feet under and I‟ll

bury you myself if I have to. I have plenty of

s

hovels.”



“I won‟t. I swear,” he cried.



Although I still wanted to beat the fuck out of

Jason, I released him. 



“Let‟s bolt. The cops are getting close,” said

Tank.



I turned toward Adriana, but she wouldn‟t

even look at me. Sighing, I grabbed her by the el

bow

and began ushering her to the car she‟d gotten out of.

“Meet me at my house,” I said, when we stopped.



“No,” she said, pulling her arm away.  She

continued to avoid my eyes. “I can‟t.”



“I‟m coming with you, Adriana,” said Krystal,

approaching the car.



“Okay,” she answered.



“We need to talk,” I said, feeling the tension

between us. I couldn‟t understand why she was

pissed. The guy got off with a broken nose. Shit could

have been a lot worse.



She didn‟t say anything, but I could tell the

wheels in her h

ead were turning rapidly.



“Raptor,” said Tank. “I‟ll meet you back by

the bikes.”



“I‟m right behind you, brother.”



Tank held up his hand. “Call me, Krystal.”



She nodded. “Yeah. I will.”



“So, you have a gun,” blurted out Adriana,

looking angry.



“Yeah, so?”






195





“Yeah,

so

?” she said, laughing coldly. “I guess

my mother was right. You‟re not just trouble, you are

fucking dangerous.”



I tried to remain calm, but it wasn‟t easy. My

adrenaline was still on overdrive. “Not to you.”



“Famous last words.”



“Bullshit. I woul

d never hurt you,” I said,

staring at her in frustration.



“You‟ve got that right. Goodbye, Trevor,”

said Adriana, getting into her car.



I wanted to stop her, but I could see the

cherries from the cops heading down the street.

Swearing, I took off running.










196





 



Chapter Twenty

-

Four











“Wasn‟t that insane?” said Krystal, digging

around in her purse. 



“Very.”



“God, I need a cigarette.”



“I thought you were quitting.”



“I was, but after that scene, can you blame

me?”



I smiled grimly. “No. I guess not.”



“Do you



have some cash on you?” she asked,

pulling out her wallet. “All I have is a five dollar bill

and I‟ve already maxed my credit card.”



“Another reason why you should quit

smoking.”



“Don‟t be a drag,” she said, laughing.



I rolled my eyes.



“Seriously, can yo

u loan me a couple bucks

for a pack of smokes?”



“Yeah, fine.”



“Thanks.”



“Where‟s your car?”



“At their clubhouse.”



“Where is that?”



“A couple blocks away from Griffin‟s.”






197





“You want me to drop you off there, right?”



“If you could?”



“Why not? I‟ve got nothing



else going on.”



She sucked in a breath. “Is that the necklace

from your dad?” she asked, leaning toward me.



I touched it and smiled. “Yeah.”



“I can‟t believe you‟re wearing it. It‟s

beautiful.”



“Thanks. I have to admit, I was nervous

wearing the thing.”



“I would be, too. If someone found out it was

real, they‟d try and steal it.”



“Speaking of which…” I told her about

Breaker, from when I first ran into him, at the gas

station, to where he chased me after work.



She stared at me in horror. “Oh, my God, are

you serious?!”



“Yeah. It was scary. I headed toward the

police station and he must have known what I was

doing, because that‟s when he left me.”



“That prick. You should call Raptor and let

him know.”



I shook my head. “Oh, no. I don‟t want

anything



to do with him.”



“You know, he has the hots for you.”



“I don‟t care. Raptor is fucking crazy,” I said

firmly. “You saw him back there. He could have shot

Jason.”



“Why do you care? The guy is a douchebag.”



I looked at her in surprise. “Don‟t tell me

you‟re



condoning murder now?”






198





“No, of course not. But, Raptor was just

trying to scare him. Now he‟ll think twice about

drugging girls for sex.”



“After that, you‟d think so.”



We pulled into a nearby gas station. She ran

inside and bought a pack of smokes. When s

he got

back into the car, she asked me if she could light one

up.



I grunted. “Seriously? I just bought it. It still

smells new.”



“What if I open the window?”



I frowned. “You know that doesn‟t really

help.”



“Fine,” she pouted, shoving the cigarettes into

he

r purse.



I let out an exasperated sigh. “Do you want

me to pull over somewhere so you can have one?”



“No. I‟ll just wait until we get to my car,” she

said, looking out her side window. She was silent for

several minutes and I knew something was definitely

wrong.



“You mad?” I asked.



“No,” she replied, looking back at me. “I‟m

just thinking about Tank. I‟m afraid of what he‟s

going to do when I break it off with him.”



“So, you‟re really going to do it?”



She nodded.



“Good. They‟re both bad news. I‟m sure Tank

carries a gun, too.”



“He does.”



“Great. Well, if I were you, I would definitely

do it over the phone.”






199





She smirked. “I was planning on it.”



“So, where is this place?” I asked, as we

neared Griffin‟s.



She directed me past the strip joint to a

warehouse district, about two miles away. We pulled

up to a set of gates.



“Great, how do we get in there?” 



“Very easily. It‟s not locked,” she said,

opening the car door. “I‟ll be right back.”



“Okay.”



Krystal go

t out and ran up to the gate. She

unlatched it and pulled it open. I drove through it and

waited for her to get back in.



“My car is just over there,” she said, pointing

to a row of vehicles that were parked near the side of

an old warehouse.



“So, this is

where these guys usually hang out,

huh?” I said, driving slowly. “The building looks

abandoned, except for the cars.”



“Most of those belong to the club whores,”

she said, wrinkling her nose. “The guys keep their

bikes inside of the building. There‟s a gara

ge door in

back.”



“Why are the windows all boarded up?” I

asked, stopping behind her car.



“Because of the shit that goes on inside,” she

said, picking up her purse. “It‟s like a playground for

men in there. They‟ve got this wraparound bar with

hundreds of

bottles of booze.

Hundreds

. A couple of

wide screen TVs, some video and pinball machines.”

She smirked. “Hell, they even have a stripper pole.”



“Why does that not surprise me?”






200





“I know, right? Get this, some of the girls

walk around naked, like it‟s no big



deal.”



“Classy.”



“Exactly. Anyway, I‟d better go,” she leaned

over and gave me a hug. “I‟m just going to go home

and crash, I think. I‟m still a little hung over from last

night. I tried the old „Hair

-

of

-

the

-

dog‟ thing, but it‟s

not working.”



“Okay. Call



me, tomorrow.”



“I will.”



Krystal got out and walked over to her car. As

I watched her get inside, my cell phone went off.



Trevor.



I ignored his call but then he began texting

me. Sighing, I picked up my phone and called him.



“Where are you?” he asked.



“I

just dropped Krystal off to her car and now

I‟m on my way home,” I replied, backing out of the

parking lot.



“Wait there for me. I want to talk to you. I‟m

only a couple minutes away.”



“We have nothing to talk about.”



“Yes. We do.”



“Look, I‟m grateful for

what you did, picking

me up in the middle of the night and letting me stay

at your house, but it can‟t go any further than that.”



“That‟s not what I got from that kiss, earlier.”



That was before I saw you almost kill someone.



“Things have changed,” I said,



driving away

from the clubhouse. Knowing that he was almost

there, I wanted to put as much distance between him

and my car as I could.






201





“What do you mean?”



“I think you know exactly what I mean. That

thing with Jason…”



“He needed to be taught a lesson.”



“Y

ou broke his nose.”



“Yes, I did.”



“And you threatened him with a gun.”



“Of course I did. He needed to know we

meant business.”



I sighed.



“Did you expect me to ask him nicely?”



“No, but I didn‟t expect that!”



“Look, Kitten, he deserved a lot more than

what

I dished out, believe me.”



“He wasn‟t even the one who slipped me the

drug.”



“No, but he knew about it and tried to use it

to his advantage, didn‟t he?”



“Yes, but









“And then he threw you out of his car, in the

middle of nowhere, without giving a shit. Y

ou‟re

probably lucky to be alive. Are you really going to

stick up for that asshole?”



He had a point.



“No. I‟m not. I just don‟t like the way you

handled the situation.”



“I did what I had to do, to „handle it‟. And

because I scared the fuck out of him, Co

llege Boy will

think twice before trying something like that again. I

guarantee it.”



“I‟d say.”






202





“Now, if that‟s all you‟re pissed at, then I need

to see you, Kitten. Tonight. Are we good?”



“I… um…I guess so. I‟m kind of tired.

Maybe we could have lunch or

something,

tomorrow?”



“Lunch?”



“Yeah.”



He chuckled. “Hell, we can do that, too. I‟ll

see you soon.”



“But







“Meet me at my place.” He hung up.



I stared at the phone and realized this was the

second time, in twenty

-

four hours, that he‟d cut me

off when I‟d



tried to say „No‟.  He obviously didn‟t do

well with that word.



Sighing, I put my phone down and headed

toward my own house. If he wasn‟t going to listen to

my protests, he‟d sure as hell hear my actions loud

and clear.










203





Chapter Twenty

-

Five











When I arrived home, I sent Trevor a text,

telling him that I wasn‟t coming over. In the message

I also explained that I wasn‟t interested in seeing him

again, because his world frightened the hell out of me.

I also told him that if he called, I wouldn‟t a

nswer. I

pretty much demanded that he give me space and

respect my wishes. 



I hesitated before I pushed “Send.”  I

hesitated, because deep down, part of me wanted to

see that sexy smile again. Even more than that, I

wanted him to kiss me. I wanted his ton

gue, his

mouth, and what was hiding under those blue jeans. I

wanted it badly. What I didn‟t want was the drama

and all of the other stuff that came with it. Something

told me that if I did find myself in his bed, I‟d make

up excuses for that part of his l

ife. It would suddenly

be, acceptable. Well, that was now unacceptable.



Letting out a ragged breath, I pushed “Send”

and then waited several minutes for his reaction. 



Fortunately, he didn‟t call me back.



Nor did he send me a text.



Setting my phone down,



I went into my

bedroom, removed my pantyhose, and then threw

them into the dirty clothes. Afterward, I went into the




204





kitchen and began making myself a ham and cheese

sandwich. As I was searching for the mayonnaise, I

heard it. The rumble of a motorcycle r

olling down the

street.



Groaning, I closed the refrigerator and went

to the front door, knowing that none of the other

neighbors owned a Harley or any other motorcycle

for that matter. When I opened it, I found myself

looking up at Trevor‟s cocky grin.



“S

urprise.”



I scowled. “Didn‟t you get my text?”



“Of course.”



“I told you not to come over here.”



“Number one, you should know that I‟m not

keen on following orders, unless they‟re from

Slammer. Number two, you told me not to

call



you.

You never said anythin

g about stopping by.”



I sighed. “Technicalities.”



“Can I come in?”



“No,” I said, crossing my arms under my

chest. “In fact, you really need to leave. My mother is

going to be home soon.”



“So, what you‟re really trying to say is that she

doesn‟t like me?”





Ha, ha. Funny.”



“Actually, it‟s not, really.” He looked down at

my outfit and he whistled. “I didn‟t get a chance to

tell you this, but you look sexier than hell, Kitten.”



“Thanks.”



He bit his lower lip and sighed. “A dress like

that can make a man lose control. It can also put ideas

in his head. Wicked ones.”






205





I was blushing when our eyes met again.



“Come on.” He leaned against the doorframe

and whispered, “Take a ride with me.”



“I

can‟t.”



“You can. You‟re just scared.”



“It would never work between us.”



“I‟m not asking for anything to work. I‟m just

asking you to take a ride.”



I glanced at his Harley. It sounded like fun,

but I knew it was a bad idea. Between the man and

the machine,



I‟d never want to get off. Or maybe I

would and that was the real problem. “What do you

want from me, Trevor?”  



A slow, sexy smile crossed his lips. “Oh,

darling, do you really have to ask?”



Why

the fuck

did he have to be so damn sexy?





“If I get on you

r bike, I‟m pretty sure I‟ll

make some bad decisions before the night is over.”



He grinned wickedly.  “I won‟t tell if you

won‟t.”



Heat pooled between my legs. The look in his

eyes was making it so hard. “I‟m not getting on your

bike, so don‟t ask me again

.”



He sighed. “Fine. I won‟t ask you again if you

agree to something.”



“What‟s that?”



“Give me a kiss goodbye. You owe me,

anyway.”



I laughed. “Oh, is that right?”



He looked serious. “Yeah. It‟s colder than shit

out here and now I have to drive back.”



“Why



is that my problem?”






206





“Because you wouldn‟t let me call you. Had I

been able to do so, I wouldn‟t be standing out here or

about to drive back without your warm body wrapped

around me on my bike.”



“So, you think I owe you a kiss?” I replied,

smirking.



“Prob

ably two, but I‟ll settle for one.”



I smirked. “Fine. One kiss and then you‟re

leaving.”



He stepped closer to me and slid his arms

around my waist. “I swear I‟ll leave, if you still want

me to,” he whispered, staring down at my mouth.



Bad mistake

, I though

t, feeling my body already

begin to respond. Just the feel of his arms around me

was making my stomach quiver.



“I‟m sure I will,” I lied, more to myself than

him.



He smiled and then leaned forward, kissing

me gently. I closed my eyes, feeling a surge of

e

xcitement as his tongue slid into my mouth. His

mouth was hot and he tasted like spearmint and beer,

it was an oddly seductive mix. I slid my hand up to

the back of his neck and began kissing him back,

wanting more. Needing more. The man was as bad as

a dr

ug. The addicting kind.



Trevor growled in the back of his throat and

pulled away. “Take a ride with me,” he said, sliding

his hands over my ass. He pressed his hips against

mine and I could feel his hardness, teasing me.

“Please. I‟ve got to have you.”



“I… I can‟t,” I whispered, his words making

me wetter than the birdbath out front.






207





“You can,” he murmured, moving his lips to

my neck. “Fuck me, you smell good.”



“The neighbors are watching,” I whispered,

noting that the woman across the street was lookin

g

through her blinds.



“Oh, yeah? Well, this show is all mine,” he

whispered, backing me into the house. When my

shoulders hit the closet door, he pulled me back

against his chest and began kissing me again, this time

much more hungrily. Then one of his han

ds was on

my breast, the other on my ass. He started squeezing

both, while grinding his hips into mine, letting me

know what his intentions were.



I moaned, kissing him back as he raised my

dress and touched my thong. 



“Fuck, you‟re killing me,” he growled

,

slamming the door shut with the back of his boot. “I

need to be inside of you. Now.”



“What are you doing?”  I squealed, as he

picked me up.



His blue eyes burned into mine. His pupils

were large. “Where‟s your bedroom?”



“Upstairs, but we can‟t. My mother



will be

home soon.”



“This is your house, too?”



“Yes.”



“Are you an adult?”



“Yes.”



“Then let‟s go act like adults,” he said,

heading toward the stairs. Seconds later, we were in

my bedroom and he was locking the door.



“I… I don‟t think this is a good idea,

” I said.






208





He turned around and began removing his

leather jacket. “Let me do the thinking.”



I smiled nervously.



He hung his jacket on my door and glanced

around the room. It was still painted purple and I had

the same frilly bedspread covering my mattress

I‟d

had when I was a teenager.



He chuckled.



“What?” 



“The only thing missing are posters of boy

-

bands and puppies. You certainly have enough

stuffed animals and… unicorns.”



“I used to collect them,” I said, glancing at all

the figurines.



He removed his

leather cut and hung it over

the jacket. Then he pulled his T

-

shirt out of his jeans

and began taking it off. “I used to collect rocks and

crystals before my old man threw them out one day.

Then I just didn‟t bother with it anymore. Nothing

wrong with want

ing to collect things.”



“I agree,” I replied, staring at his tattooed,

muscular chest and arms. “And, I think that‟s great.

Collecting rocks and crystals.”



He walked over to me and touched my

necklace. “Speaking of,” said Trevor. “I want to see

you naked,



wearing this and nothing else,” he said, his

eyes burning into mine.



I looked down at it, my cheeks burning red.



“Fuck, you‟re beautiful. Come here.” He

grabbed the back of my head, and pulled my face to

his, kissing me hard.






209





I melted into Trevor, the very last of my

resolve, gone. I couldn‟t wait to feel his cock moving

deep inside of me. Just the thought of it made my sex

tighten up.



His kisses became more demanding as my

hand moved to the



hard



bulge



hidden in his jeans

.

As

I began stroking him,

h

is tongue plunged deep

,



filling

my mouth the

way we both wanted him to fill my sex

.







“I‟m going to explode

, I want you so fucking

bad, Kitten,” he growled into my neck as I squeezed

his cock through his jeans.

I could feel the lo

ng, hard,

length of hi

m



through the

denim and it made me

want to hump his leg like a bitch in heat.



Panting, he pulled my dress up and over my

hips, then slid his hand to the front of my thong

where he cupped my mound. “Fuck,” he whispered,

using his knuc

kles to stroke my clit through the

fabric. “I need to be inside of you. You want me to

fuck you?”



“Yes,” I moaned, digging my nails into his

arm. “Oh God, yes.”



He slid one of his fingers into me. “You‟re so

wet.”



Whimpering in pleasure I unbuttoned his

je

ans and slid my hand under his boxers, grappling his

cock. The size alone almost brought me to my knees.

I couldn‟t wait to ride him.



Gasping, he grabbed my wrist as I began

stroking him. “Hold on, there, darlin‟. I won‟t last.”



I smiled.



He kicked his je

ans and boxers down to the

floor, his cock bobbing as he pushed them aside with




210





his foot. I could almost taste the pre

-

cum dripping on

the end and it made me even more wet.





***













My dick was so hard that two more strokes

would have done me in. I made

her stop and got rid

of my jeans. Then I walked over to the bed and sat

down on the edge. “Undress for me,” I said, staring

up at her.



Her cheeks turned pink.



I grinned. “Come on, Kitten. Don‟t be shy.

Turn around.”



She did and I unzipped her dress. It fel

l to the

floor and she kicked it away. As she was about to turn

back around, I stopped her.



“Hold on. I need to look at this pretty little

ass of yours,” I said, grabbing it with both hands.



She squealed as I leaned forward and bit her

left cheek, playfull

y.



“That hurts,” she said, trying to move away.



“Let me kiss it then,” I said, bringing my

mouth back to her creamy skin. I licked where it was

pink and she began to relax.






211





“You‟ve got a sweet ass,” I said, moving a

finger down the length of her thong to h

er slit, which

was dripping wet.



She moaned.



I licked my lips. “Spread your legs more.”



Adriana, did as she was told.



I shoved my thumb into her hole as I circled

and wiggled around on her clit with my other two

fingers. Moaning, she leaned forward, holding her

knees and I couldn‟t take it anymore. I needed a taste

of that that peach. I turned her around, picked her up,

a

nd sat her on my face.



“Oh, my God,” she gasped as I slid her G

-

string to the side and began licking her pussy.



“Ah… ah…”



I stopped and looked up at her. “Is this

okay?” 



Adriana stared at me through her lashes.

“Yes,” she murmured, her face flushed. “V

ery.”



Grabbing her hips, I plunged my tongue, deep

into her hole, tickling her clit with my nose. Moaning,

she leaned forward and grabbed the headboard to

steady herself as I licked and sucked in the places that

I knew drove women crazy.



“Yes,” whimpered,

as my tongue moved

faster. “Oh, my God, Trevor…”



Noticing that she still had her bra on, I

paused, sliding my hand up to her breasts. I tugged at

it. “Take this off.”



I could feel her legs trembling as she

unclasped her bra and threw it aside.



“Beautiful,

” I whispered.






212





She had perfect breasts. Not too big. Not too

small. Plus, they were real. Unlike Brandy‟s.



Staring up at her gorgeous body, I continued

to work her clit with my tongue, while I stared up at

her breasts. Reaching up, I grabbed one, enjoying

the

softness and weight in my palm. I squeezed it and

then my hand went to the other, this time pinching

her nipple. Moaning, she leaned back and grabbed my

cock, stroking it.



Resisting the urge to let her keep pumping my

cock, I stopped her and flipped u

s over.







****













Trevor got back b

etween my legs and began

licking



my clit again. His rhythm was steady, as he

followed up wi

th his fingers inside of my sex

. He kept

a slow

,



steady



pressure, rubbing back and forth while



continually



teasing me with his

expert

tongue.



I began

to squirm, feeling my orgasm build.



“Yes,” I whimpered. “Keep doing that.”



Staring up at me with hooded eyes, he began

to put extra



pressure on my

clit, his tongue



more

demanding



and his fingers knowing exactly where I




213





needed them

.

It didn‟t take long before it all got to

me and I was crying out, my hips convulsing as I

came.



“Mm… Kitten, you‟re so sexy,” Trevor

whispered, licking me as the tremors subsided.



“I

can‟t wait to get inside of







The sound of the doorbell



shocked us both

.



“Oh

,



my God,” I said, jumping out of bed.



“Ignore it.”



My heart was pounding a mile a minute. I felt

like a teenager who was about to get caught doing

something bad. “What if it‟s my mother? She could be

locked out of the house.”



He sighed. “Doesn‟t she



have a spare key?”



“Yes, probably,” I said, peeking out my

bedroom window. What I saw parked in front of my

house made my heart actually stop.



“Can you see anything?”



I backed away from the window and headed

to my dresser. “There‟s an unmarked police car

here,”

I said, grabbing a pair of sweats and a T

-

shirt. I

looked at him. “Do you think they‟re here because of

Jason?”



“Probably,” he said, grabbing his jeans. “I‟m

sorry. I didn‟t want to get you into trouble. I guess I

fucked that this up pretty badly. I



didn‟t think he‟d

talk.”



“He almost raped me,” I said, pulling up the

sweats. “If anyone should be in trouble, it should be

him. Wait up here. I‟ll tell them that I don‟t know

you.”






214





“No, I‟ll come with you. I‟m not going to

hide.”



The doorbell rang again.



“It‟s easier this way,” I said, pulling my T

-

shirt

over my head as I walked out of my bedroom. I ran

down the steps and opened the door. There were two

cops, a male and a female.



“Can I help you?” 



“Are you Adriana Nikolas?” asked the

woman, her express

ion grim.



“Yes.”



She showed me her badge. “I‟m Detective

Tabitha Williams, and this is my partner, Jeremy

Stone. We‟d like to come in and ask you a few

questions.”



“About what?”



“Your friend, Krystal Blake.”



I stared at her in confusion. “Krystal? I don‟t

understand. Why are you here asking about her?”



“She‟s missing.”










215





Chapter Twenty

-

Six







“Missing,” I repeated, the blood rushing to

my head. “What do you mean,

missing

? I just left her

about two hours ago.”



“That‟s what we‟d like to talk to you about,

Ms.



Nikolas,” answered Detective Stone. He turned

and nodded toward Trevor‟s bike. “Whose

motorcycle is that in your driveway?”



“It‟s mine,” said Trevor, coming up behind

me. He put his arm around my shoulder. “Can you

tell us what‟s going on?”



“And you are?”



asked Detective Williams.



“He‟s a friend,” I answered quickly. “Look,

you said Krystal was missing. What exactly do you

mean by that? I just left her about an hour ago.”



“Let‟s go inside and we‟ll talk about it,”

replied Detective Williams.



“Fine,” I sai

d, moving back to let them in.



The two detectives followed us into the living

room and we all sat down.



“I spoke to Krystal‟s mother and she

mentioned that you were meeting her this evening?”

asked Detective Stone.



“Yes. I met her at Club Hideaway and the

n

shortly afterwards I gave her a ride to her car.”






216





“You dropped her off at her car?” asked the

woman. “Where was that?”



Trevor actually gave them the address but it

was obvious the detectives both knew where her car

had been parked.



“That‟s where you and

your gang hang out,

isn‟t it?” asked Detective Williams, nodding toward

Trevor‟s cut. “The Gold Vipers?”



“It‟s our clubhouse.”



“Excuse me, what did you say your name

was?” she asked, pulling out a small notepad.



“I didn‟t. It‟s Raptor,” he replied.



“Rapto

r?” She stared at him, a cool smile on

her face. “Could you give us your birth name? That

would make things so much easier.”



“Sure. It‟s Trevor Larson.”



She wrote it down. “And, what is your

relationship with Ms. Nikolas?”



“Why does it matter?” he asked, f

rowning.



“We‟re investigating a woman‟s

disappearance, Mr. Larson. We need to know as

much we can about Krystal and the people in her life,

to help in this investigation. Obviously, Ms. Nikolas

and Krystal are friends. I imagine,” she looked at my

hair, “t

hat you and Ms. Nikolas are lovers?”



Embarrassed, I touched my hair, which felt

like it was in total disarray. I could only imagine my

appearance after what had just happened upstairs.



“We‟re halfway there,” replied Trevor with a

straight face.



My cheeks t

urned scarlet.






217





Detective Williams smirked. “Well, we

apologize for interrupting your plans for the evening.

We only have a few questions for you and then you

can get back to whatever it was you were doing.”



“Right. I doubt will be doing anything after

this



news,” said Trevor, looking at me. “We need to

find her.”



“Understandable. Now, have you met Krystal

before, Mr. Larson?” she asked.



“Yes,” he said. “I‟m tight with Krystal‟s old

man. He‟s my brother.”



“Your brother, as in your

club

brother?” she

asked.



“We may not be blood related, but he‟s my

brother in every important sense. I‟d take a fucking

knife for him,” he replied.



“I‟m sure you would,” she said, her smile fake.

“And he‟d probably do the same for you, I take it?”



“I would hope so,” said Trevor, s

tudying her.

“Kind of like you two, right? You‟d take a bullet for

your partner?”



The two detectives looked at each other, but

didn‟t comment.



“Who reported Krystal missing?” I asked,

losing my patience.



“We‟ll get to that,” said Detective Stone,

clearing



his throat. “First off, Ms. Nikolas, could you

tell us what happened when you dropped her off at

her car?”



I explained how we opened the gate and went

on to tell them how I‟d watched Krystal get in and

start her car. “Then, I left.”






218





“So, you left right aw

ay?” he asked.



“Yes.” 



He brushed a piece of lint from his slacks and

then looked at me again. “Did you see anyone else in

the parking lot?” 



“No,” I said, feeling my chest tighten.



Had

someone been hiding in the parking lot?

“You said she was

missing. H

as she been

abducted

?”



“That‟s what we‟re trying to find out,” replied

Detective Williams.



I looked at Trevor. “Oh, my God,” I said,

feeling my eyes fill with tears. “She‟s my best friend. I

don‟t know what I‟d do if something happened to

her,” I said, tr

ying not to cry.



He grabbed my hand. “I‟m sure Krystal will

be fine. If they don‟t find her, we will.” He looked at

Detective Stone. “Have you spoken to Tank?”



“Her boyfriend?” he said. “Yes. He said he

doesn‟t know anything.”



“I still don‟t understand wha

t‟s going on,” I

said, sniffling. I leaned over and grabbed a tissue from

the coffee table. “When I left her, she was in her car

and ready to leave. Could she have driven to

someone‟s house? Maybe she‟s just hanging out

somewhere. In fact, I‟ll try calling



her now,” I said,

standing up.



“Her car is still at the clubhouse,” said

Detective Stone. “So is her purse and her cell phone.

The keys were in the ignition and the car was running

when we arrived at the scene.”



“But she wasn‟t there?” I asked, sitting ba

ck

down.






219





“No. The driver‟s side door was open and,”

Detective Stone looked at his partner and then back

at me, “it looks like she lost one of her shoes.”



I stared at him in horror. This was definitely

foul play. There was no doubt in my mind. “Oh God,

you

have to find her,” I said, now crying. “Please!”



Trevor put his arm around me. “She‟ll be

found, babe. I swear, we‟ll find her.”



“Hopefully one of us will find her in the next

twenty

-

four hours,” said Detective Stone. “That‟s

why we need to ask you some mo

re questions.”



“How did you hear about this?” asked Trevor.

“That she was missing? Did one of my crew call

you?”



“We‟re not sure who called in the tip,” said

Detective Williams. “All we know is that it was a

woman.”



“What did she say?” asked Trevor. “Did

the

caller see who did it?”



“She wasn‟t sure, it was pretty dark, except for

one streetlight. She said she was driving by the

clubhouse and noticed a woman getting dragged into

a van by two men, both wearing masks,” said

Detective Williams. “The caller bec

ame frightened

when one of the men noticed her vehicle, so she sped

off.”



“Did she say if they wearing cuts or jackets

with club patches?” asked Trevor.



“She didn‟t say and unfortunately, we haven‟t

been able to trace her call,” said Detective Stone.



“I

need to call Slammer or Tank. See if they

know what‟s going on,” said Trevor, more to himself.






220





“We‟ve spoken to Tank and his father. We

also spoke to everyone who was inside your

clubhouse at the time. Nobody seems to know

anything,” said the woman, lookin

g frustrated.

“Which, I guess would make sense since the windows

are boarded up and nobody can see in or out.”



“Believe me, if Tank or any of my brothers

would have seen this shit go down, the fuckers would

be caught by now,” said Trevor.



“I don‟t get it,”



I said, looking at all of them.

“Why would two men in a van kidnap her? Especially

wearing masks? It‟s like it was planned or something.”



“It almost looks that way, doesn‟t it?” replied

Detective Stone, a strange smile on his face.



“What I don‟t get is wh

y

her

,” I said, dabbing

at my tears. “They didn‟t know what time we‟d be

getting back to the clubhouse. Unless they were

following me back there.” I suddenly thought of

Breaker. “Oh, my God!”



“What is it?” asked Trevor.



“That guy who has been harassing me,



Breaker! He was following me again tonight. Maybe

he had something to do with it!”



“Who is Breaker and why do you think he was

following you?” asked the woman, sitting up

straighter.



“He‟s a sack of shit,” said Trevor, looking

angry. “Who has the hots for



Adriana. He followed

you

again

?”



I nodded.



“I‟m going to kick the shit out of him when I

see the fucker,” he growled.






221





“Now, now, Mr. Larson. Violence only leads

to more trouble. If this guy is harassing her, she needs

to get the law involved,” said Detec

tive Stone.



He stood up and began to pace. “The „law‟

won‟t protect her from a bastard like Breaker. He‟s

already been convicted of rape and I‟m not going to

wait for him to try and do it again, just so we can get

a fucking restraining order.”



“Settle dow

n, Mr. Larson. If we‟re lucky, we‟ll

link him to Ms. Blake‟s disappearance and that will be

the end of him harassing Ms. Nikolas.”



He stopped and looked at me. “It‟s going to

be the end, no matter what, Kitten. I won‟t let him

scare you again.”



I nodded.





Look, I‟m going to ignore that threat because

you haven‟t yet broken the law. But, I do want to

remind you that should you attack this person, you

could be the one going to jail,” said Stone.



“I understand,” said Trevor, sitting back

down next to me. “And

you have to understand what

kind of guy we‟re dealing with.”



“Tell us about him,” said Williams.



“His real name is Thomas Kramer,” said

Trevor. “He‟s in the Devil‟s Rangers.”



The two detectives looked at each other and

then back toward us.



“This is inter

esting news,” said Stone. “Since

a man named Thomas Kramer was found dead about

three hours ago.”



My jaw dropped. “What?”






222





“He was shot and killed in his truck. What

time did you say that he was following you?” asked

Williams.



I told her. “It was right befo

re I drove to Club

Hideaway. I was going to make him follow me to the

police station, but he turned at the last minute. I think

he must have known where I was headed and

changed his mind.”



“Do you own a gun, Ms. Nikolas?” asked

Detective Stone.



My eyes wid

ened. “What? No!”



“Of course she doesn‟t own a gun,” said

Trevor, looking pissed off.



“How about you, Mr. Larson. Do you own a

gun?” he asked him.



“Yes,” replied Trevor. “I also have a Carry

-

And

-

Conceal Permit.”



“What kind of gun do you own, Mr. Larson?”

he asked.



“A Smith & Wesson, Thirty

-

Eight Special.”



“Where is your gun at the moment?” asked

Detective Williams, putting a hand on her holster.



“As you can see, I‟m unarmed,” said Trevor,

holding out his arms. “And, I‟m not a murderer, so

you can relax.”





We‟re not accusing you of that.” She looked

at me. “I‟m sorry, but we‟re going to have to bring

you in for further questioning.”



“What do you mean?” I cried, standing up. “I

haven‟t done anything wrong.”



“There‟s been a murder and a kidnapping

tonight. You



were the last person in contact with




223





both victims, Ms. Nikolas. We need to interview you

properly.”



Frightened, I looked at Trevor. “Is this where

I say „Not without my lawyer present?‟”










224





Chapter Twenty

-

Seven













“Do you have something to hide, Ms.

Nikolas? Because when someone brings up their

lawyer, it usually means they do,” said Stone,

frowning.





“I‟ve got nothing to hide,” I said, glaring at

him. “And I don‟t appreciate you making me feel like

a

victim

.”



“A

victim

?” he repeated.



“Yes!” I c

ried. “Not only have I just found

out that my best friend was kidnapped, but I had this

monster following me around earlier, a man who

scared the hell out of me on purpose. Now, you‟re

looking at me like I‟m the guilty one around here?

That‟s a bunch of cr

ap!” 



Just then, the front door opened and my

mother walked in.



“What is going on in here?” she asked, staring

at all of us in surprise.



“Mom, Krystal‟s been kidnapped,” I said,

rushing over to her.



“Kidnapped?” she repeated, as I threw my

arms around

her. “By whom?”



“We don‟t know,” I said.






225





She patted me on the back. “Honey, I‟m so

sorry. That poor girl. Her mother must be worried

sick.”



“I haven‟t talked to her yet, but I‟m sure she

is.”



“Ma‟am, my name is Detective Stone and this

is Detective William

s. Your daughter has agreed to

come down to the precinct for an interview. You‟re

welcome to join her.”



“Of course,” she said as I released her. “But, I

don‟t understand, why does she need to do this?”



I explained what had happened, starting off

with Break

er following me this morning.



“That‟s why you were acting so strange

today,” she said, looking upset. “This man was

harassing you? The man that‟s been killed?”



I nodded. “Yes and they think I might have

had something to do with it.”



Her face turned red. “O

f course you didn‟t,”

she said angrily. She looked at the couple. “My

daughter wouldn‟t hurt anyone! This monster was

obviously shot by someone else. How dare you even

accuse her of something like this!”



“We aren‟t accusing her,” said Stone. “We just

need

to interview her properly.”



“Why can‟t you do it here?” she asked.

“Adriana isn‟t under arrest, is she?”



“No, not at all. We‟d just like to record the

interview,” he replied. “And see if your daughter

might agree to a polygraph test.”



“I can‟t believe this



is happening,” I moaned,

staring at Trevor, who was very quiet.






226





“I‟m going to call our lawyer,” said Vanda,

taking out her cell phone. “Before you start agreeing

to anything, Adriana.”



“If she‟s innocent, she doesn‟t need a lawyer,”

said Williams. She lo

oked at me and sighed. “Look,

just come down, pass the test, give us a statement,

and you‟ll be on your way. That will be cheaper and a

lot easier than bringing in a lawyer.”



I sighed. “She‟s right,” I said, looking at my

mother. “I‟m innocent. I haven‟t d

one anything

wrong. I‟ll take the test and give them a recorded

statement. If it will get them off my back.”



“Are you sure?” she asked, looking

concerned. “I can call him. You remember Stanley

Bruebaker, don‟t you? He‟s the lawyer I used when

your father p

assed away. I‟m sure he can direct me to

a lawyer that will help us with something like this.”



“No, I don‟t remember him,” I said.

“Anyway, Mom, I haven‟t done anything wrong so it

would be silly for us to fork out money when we

don‟t need to.”



“Adriana, I

‟m sure you haven‟t committed any

crimes, either,” said Williams, digging into her wallet.

“This is really just nothing more than a formality.

Here‟s my card with the address to the precinct. We‟ll

meet you there?”



I nodded.



She turned to look at Trevor. “

I‟d like you

down there, too. For further questioning.”



“I‟ll be there,” he said, moving to my side. He

put his arm around my shoulders. “Now, who‟s going




227





to be searching for Krystal while you waste your time

with us?”



“Don‟t worry, Mr. Larson, we have peo

ple

searching for her,” she replied, smiling coolly.



“Tell me, Raptor, isn‟t it? Do you think

Krystal‟s disappearance could have anything to do

with Thomas Kramer‟s execution?” asked Detective

Stone.



“Execution?” repeated Trevor. “Hmm… I

don‟t see it.”



“Y

ou don‟t think it might have been for some

kind of retaliation between the two of your…clubs?”

he asked.



Trevor‟s expression was stoic. “No. We‟re all

good.”



“Even with Mr. Kramer harassing your

girlfriend?” asked Detective Williams.



He grunted. “Breaker

deserved an ass kicking

for that. But murder? That‟s extreme, even for us.”



“Well, someone sure felt he deserved it,” she

replied, studying his face closely.



“I‟m not saying he didn‟t deserve it,” said

Trevor. “He was the scum of the earth. A guy who

enjoy

ed raping women. Now, some of those women

he assaulted can sleep better at night.”



“That was the monster who was following

you today, Adriana?” asked Vanda, her eyes wide. “A

convicted rapist?”



I nodded.



Her eyes were stormy as she turned to the

detectives

. “When you actually do find out who killed

him, call me. I want to thank him personally.”






228





“For murder?” asked Detective Williams.



“For protecting my daughter and every other

girl who caught his eye,” she replied.










229





Chapter Twenty

-

Eight













When the two

detectives left, Vanda turned to

me. “This is your fault,” she said, angrily. “If it wasn‟t

for you, none of this would have happened.”



Before I could respond, Adriana got between

us. “Mom! It‟s not his fault. He had nothing to do

with this.”



“They‟re both



in gangs,” she said, waving her

hand at my cut. “Obviously, they hung around each

other. Didn‟t I tell you if you hung around biker scum

that you‟re just looking for trouble?”



“Wait a second,” I said, now glaring back at

her. “You have no right to judge m

e or any of my

crew for that matter, and I think you owe me an

apology.”



She snorted. “An apology? Right. What are

you even doing in my house?” she said and then

looked at Adriana. “Adriana, what‟s he doing here?

Didn‟t we talk about this earlier? You prom

ised you

weren‟t going to see him again.”



Clenching my jaw, I found myself hoping for

the first time ever that a woman I was interested

would grow a set of balls.






230





“I never said that,” she replied. “And he had

nothing to do with this. I met him through

Kry

stal…”



“Who‟s been kidnapped, God forbid,” she

said, making the sign of the cross. “How does Krystal

even know any of these people?”



“She‟s seeing Tank,” replied Adriana. “Who is

in their club. The Gold Vipers.”



Her lips tightened. “And you wonder why this



happened? Didn‟t I tell you how dangerous these

people were?”



“Ma‟am, I wouldn‟t let anything happen to

your daughter. You have my word,” I tried again,

hoping she‟d give me a break for Adriana‟s sake. I

could tell how much she loved her mother and I

resp

ected that. I didn‟t like the shit spewing out of her

mouth, but I wasn‟t about to make a scene.



Her eyes burned into mine. “I don‟t care

about

your

word. It‟s the word of the people you hang

out with that I have a problem with.”



I clenched my jaw. “My

brothers respect

women. Most of them.”



“And was this guy, Breaker, one of your

brothers?”



“Fuck no. He wasn‟t part of our crew.”



“Charming vocabulary you have,” she scoffed.



“I never claimed to be a saint, Mrs. Nikolas.”



“Believe me, no one would never mis

take you

for one,” she answered.



I grunted.






231





“Look, we don‟t have time to argue about this

right now, Mom. We need to get down to the

precinct.”



“I‟m coming with you,” she replied, picking

up her purse.



Adriana raised her hand in the air. “No,

actually, I p

refer that you stayed home.”



Vanda‟s face fell. “Why?”



She let out a frustrated sigh. “Because I don‟t

need to listen to you rail me about Trevor on the ride

out there.”



Vanda looked at me, her eyes full of venom.

She turned back to Adriana and raised her

chin.

“Fine. I will drive separately.”



“You don‟t need to come,” said Adriana.



“Of course I do. Someone needs to be there

for support,” said Vanda. 



“That someone is already going.  Me,” I

replied.



“If you want to look out for my daughter,

you‟ll stay ou

t of her life,” she said firmly.



“Mom!”



“I‟m sorry, Adriana, but you know how I feel

about bikers. I‟m not going to pretend I‟m happy to

find the both of you together in my house.”



“I thought this was my house, too,” said

Adriana, now looking almost as an

gry as me.



“Of course it is. But, you are my daughter and

I am just trying to protect you.”



I sighed. “I‟m going upstairs to get my

jacket,” I said, heading for the steps.






232





“What is his jacket doing in your bedroom?”

said Vanda shrilly.



Shaking my head, I w

ent into her bedroom

and grabbed my jacket. As I was turning around,

Adriana stepped into the room.



“I‟m sorry about my mother,” she said,

walking over to the mirror. She ran her fingers

through her hair. “She can be a real pain in the ass.”



I walked up be

hind her. “Yeah, well she‟s not

afraid to speak her mind. I‟ll give that to her.”



“She doesn‟t know you, though. So, don‟t let

it get to you.”



I grabbed her around the waist and smiled at

her in the mirror. “The only thing that gets to me,

Kitten, is you.”



She smiled.



I kissed the side of her head. “What a

nightmare, huh?” I whispered.



Adriana nodded.



Letting out a frustrated sigh, I let her go.



“I wish I would have waited for her to pull

out of the parking lot,” she said, looking teary

-

eyed

again. “I feel

like it‟s my fault.”



“It‟s definitely not your fault, babe. Don‟t

even go there.” I reached inside my jacket for my

phone. “And, don‟t worry, I‟m sure Slammer and

Tank will get her back.”



She wiped a tear from under her lash. “What

do you think happened?”



I couldn‟t tell her about The Judge. She

wouldn‟t understand. But, I wasn‟t going to lie to her

either. “Personally? I think it was retaliation. I think




233





the Devil‟s Rangers believe we had something to do

with Breaker‟s murder and took her.”



“Did you?” she

whispered.



I looked her in the eye. “I can honestly say

that none of us killed him.”



She let out a sigh of relief. “Okay.”



“Are you two coming?” asked Vanda,

standing in the doorway. She was glaring at me again.



“Yes,” said Adriana, grabbing a pair of sock

s

from her dresser.



I looked down and saw Adriana‟s dress still

lying on the floor next to her bra. When I raised my

eyes, I saw that Vanda had noticed it too, and was not

happy.



I couldn‟t help but to dig into her. “Looks like

a bomb went off in here,” I



said, grinning.



Vanda‟s eyes narrowed. “I‟ll wait for you

outside,” she said, walking away from the bedroom.



I walked over to the doorway and leaned out. 

“Since you‟re not riding with Adriana, you can

certainly ride with me.” I smiled evilly. I just cou

ldn‟t

help myself. “I don‟t bite.”



She grunted. “Hah. I‟d rather walk.”



Man, she was brutal

. “You sure? Riding on the

back of a Harley might just put a smile on your face.”



“Nothing you could do for me would

ever



put

a smile on my face,” she answered, heading down the

stairs. “Unless it has to do with leaving my daughter

alone.”



I sighed.










234





Chapter Twenty

-

N

ine















When we reached the station, Trevor and I

were ushered into two separate rooms. I reiterated

everything that had happened the past two days, only

leaving out Jason and the fact that he‟d almost date

-

raped me. They recorded my statements with my

mother sitting next to me, holding my hand. When

she heard how I‟d met Breaker in Griffin‟s, she made

th

e sign of the cross and scolded me in front of the

detectives. It was embarrassing.



“I didn‟t want to go inside there either,” I told

her. “But, Krystal insisted.”



“Why did she insist?” asked Detective Stone.



“Because it was her birthday and she needed

to

talk to Tank.”





They began asking me questions about

Krystal and Tank‟s relationship.



“I don‟t know too much about it,” I said. “I

mean, they‟ve been dating but she mentioned

something tonight about breaking up with Tank.”



Stone suddenly perked up. “She di

d? What

was her reasoning?”






235





“To be honest, I think she was getting bored.

Krystal doesn‟t like to stick with one guy too long.

Plus, he‟s kind of bossy. At least, that‟s what she said.

I don‟t see him enough to know for certain.”



“You don‟t think she might



have tried to

break it off tonight and he became angry?” he asked.



“No. I mean, I guess I don‟t know. Um,

didn‟t you mention that the person who called it in

said she was taken by two men wearing masks?”



He nodded. “Yes, she did. But, we need to

check eve

ry angle. In case Tank is somehow

involved.”



“To be honest, I can‟t imagine that he is,” I

replied. I could tell from the look in Tank‟s eyes that

he really cared for her.



“You just said you didn‟t know him very

well,” reminded Stone.



“I know, but…”



“He

hangs out with a rough crowd,” said

Stone. “They certainly aren‟t choir boys.”



“Indeed,” said my mother, sniffing. “Those

bikers are all nothing but thugs.”



I rolled my eyes. “Oh, for the love of God,

Mom. You don‟t know them so give it a rest.”



“I don‟t h

ave to know them. And neither do

you.”



Arguing with her was pointless. She was so

stubborn. Sighing, I turned back to Stone. “I just

can‟t see Tank doing something like that. She said

that most of the time he was like a big teddy bear

toward her.” I left o

ut the part of how she was afraid




236





to break it off with him. I just didn‟t believe Tank was

the kind of guy who‟d kidnap or hurt her.



“Yet, she wants to break up with him?” he

said.



“Krystal gets bored. That‟s the way she is and

always has been. In high sch

ool, she used to have a

new boyfriend every month. So, wanting to break up

with him isn‟t a surprise. “



He began asking me about the Gold Vipers.



“Seriously, I don‟t know very much about

them,” I said. “I just met Trevor yesterday, through

Tank. All I know



is that they‟re a club and it‟s like one

big family.”



“What‟s your relationship with Trevor?”

asked Stone.



My mother‟s hand tightened on mine.



“We just met. I don‟t know, yet.”



“Can I give you some advice?” he said, staring

at me hard.



I shrugged.



“Stay

away from him and the rest of his gang.

We‟ve got records on almost everyone associated with

the Gold Vipers. Everything from narcotics to arson

to theft. You don‟t want to be involved with people

like that. They‟ll bring you down with them if you‟re

not c

areful.”



“What about Trevor?” asked my mother,

leaning forward. “Does he have a record?”



“No, surprisingly, he doesn‟t. That just

probably means he‟s good at keeping a low profile.

He knows how to play that game and not get caught.”






237





“Or, he‟s not playing a

ny game and he‟s just a

decent human being,” I countered, getting angry.



Stone smirked. “He comes from trash. His

father‟s in prison for drugs and his mother‟s been in

and out of jail most of her life. He‟s in a gang of

hoodlums, which is right, by the way

, Ms. Nikolas,”

he said, nodding toward my mother. “They are really

nothing but a bunch of thugs.”



“See,” she said, waving her finger at me. “I

told you.”



I sighed. “Just because they are doesn‟t mean

Trevor is.”



“Defend him all you want, but ask yourself

this





why would he want to be associated with

people who continually break the law if he‟s such a

decent guy?” asked Stone.



“I don‟t know, maybe because he has nobody

else?” I mumbled, rubbing my forehead. “You know,

I thought we were here to talk about f

inding Krystal

and Breaker?”



“We are,” he said, shuffling papers. “Which

reminds me







Another officer walked through the doorway

and motioned for Stone. “We have some

information.”



“Oh. Good.” He smiled at us and stood up.

“I‟ll be right back.”



“You heard



what that man said about this

gang,” said Vanda, after he left. “They are nothing but

trouble.”



“I know what he said, but Trevor is a good

guy.”






238





“How do you know?” she said angrily. “You

keep defending someone you don‟t know, Adriana.”



“Because sometimes,



you just do,” I replied

angrily.



“You‟ve only known him for two days.”



“Yeah, so? It‟s not like we‟re getting married.”



“You may as well after what went on in your

bedroom,” she mumbled, looking at me out of the

corner of her eye.



I sighed. “So what? I‟m



twenty

-

one years old.

I‟m not a child.”



“I know, but







“Mom, you have to learn to trust me,” I said,

grabbing her hand. “I know Trevor is part of this

gang, but he‟s much more than that. I can feel it. I can

also feel that he would never do anything to h

urt me.”



“You‟ve just met. How do you really know?”

she asked, looking weary.



“I don‟t know. It‟s something in my gut, I

guess.”



She sighed. “You‟re all I have, Adriana. If

anything happened to you, I… I don‟t know what I‟d

do.”



I squeezed her hand. “I

know, Mom. But, you

don‟t have to worry about me.”



“I will

always



worry about you,” she replied,

blinking back tears.



“I know, but learn to trust me. Okay?”



She let out ragged sigh. “I do trust you. It‟s

him I don‟t trust.”



“Try? For me?”



“I will try, but



if he hurts you, so help me…”






239





The door opened up and Stone walked in.

The look on his face was grave.



“What‟s going on?” I asked.



He sat down across from me. “I have some

troubling news.”



My heart stopped. “What is it?”



Stone put his hand over mine. “We f

ound

your friend, Krystal. She‟s been murdered.”



“What?!” I shrieked, pulling my hand away. I

covered my mouth. “She‟s been murdered?” I began

to cry. “No! This has to be a mistake!”



“Krystal‟s mother has already confirmed that

it‟s her,” he said. “I‟m so

sorry.”



“Where did they find her?” asked my mother,

who had her arm around me as I sobbed.



“She was found in the parking lot of Griffin‟s.

She was… rolled up in a blanket.”



“Oh, my God,” I cried, picturing it. “Those

bastards!”



“It gets worse. From what it



sounds like,

whoever left her there was sending a message. In

fact,” he sighed, “I probably shouldn‟t even tell you

this, but I want you to know what kind of people we

are dealing with.”



“Tell me what?” I said hoarsely, waiting for

him to continue.



“Someo

ne carved the words „Revenge Is

Sweet‟ on her stomach,” he said, his eyes hardening.



“What does that mean?” asked my mother.



“I believe this was payback for Breaker‟s

murder. Look,” he said, pinning me with his eyes.

“This could have just as easily been

you. Hell, maybe




240





it was supposed to be, since Breaker was obviously

obsessed with you.”



“What?” cried my mother. “You think they

were trying to target Adriana and got Krystal,

instead?”



“It‟s possible. There‟s obviously a war going

on between these two gan

gs and an innocent girl was

murdered.”



“That‟s it!” cried Vanda. “You are never

seeing that man again. Krystal is dead and I‟m not

losing you, Adriana. Promise me you won‟t see

Trevor again. Promise me!”



Stone handed me a box of tissues. “I‟d have

to agre

e with your mother. Especially now that there‟s

a murder investigation going on. You need to stay as

far away from this character as you can.”



The pain in my heart seemed unbearable as I

pictured Krystal‟s beautiful, smiling face. We‟d been

best friends fo

r so many years. Now she was gone,

and for what? Revenge?

Because of me?





“Fine… I promise,” I mumbled, wiping my

tears. “I won‟t go near any of them.”



“You‟re making a wise choice,” said Stone.

“You know that, don‟t you?” 



The only thing I did know was

that my best

friend was dead… and nothing else mattered.










241





Chapter Thirty



















Krystal‟s funeral was two weeks later, after the

autopsy. It was revealed that she‟d been raped and

then strangled. Unfortunately, they didn‟t have

enough evidence to arrest



anyone, so the investigation

was still open.



Trevor and Tank both attended the funeral,

even though Krystal‟s mother had tried banning

anyone associated with the Gold Vipers. She blamed

them directly for her daughter‟s murder. When the

time came, however,



she allowed them to attend, too

grief

-

stricken to care about anything else other than

the fact that she was burying her daughter.



When it was time for me to speak during the

eulogy, my eyes met Trevor‟s for a brief second. He

nodded, but I looked away, m

y heart heavy for

everything I‟d lost in the last two weeks.



“I met Krystal in the sixth grade,” I said,

reading from the piece of paper in front of me. I

knew the words by heart, but I couldn‟t look at

anyone. I knew I‟d start to cry. “I was new in school






242





and very nervous. After the teacher introduced me in

class, I went to go take a seat when a boy stuck out

his foot. I tripped, landing on my face, dropping my

books and everything else. Of course, everyone

laughed. Well, everyone but the teacher and Kryst

al, I

guess.” I smiled through my tears and went on. “She

beat him up after school that day. Actually punched

out one of his teeth, because of the way he‟d tried to

humiliate me. The funny thing was, they were going

steady.”



Some people chuckled.



“That was



Krystal, though. She had a heart

and she‟d stick up for you, no matter what.” I

sniffled. “If you were her friend, you‟d be one for life.

If you were a guy in her life, well, you didn‟t want to

piss her off or you might have ended up with

dentures.”



More

chuckles.



“Anyway,” I looked up. “Although she‟s

gone, I know she‟s looking down at us today,

wondering if her hair was done right or they used the

right color of lipstick.” I smiled sadly and looked over

at Tiffany and Claudia. “Remember when she went

thr

ough that phase of wearing blue lipstick? I still

don‟t know what that was about.”



They both nodded, smiling through their

tears.



I took a deep breath. “Anyway, Krystal, we‟re

going to miss seeing you laugh and smile, but we‟ll

always feel you in our hear

ts. Always. I love you and I

already miss you so very much,” I said, my voice




243





cracking. “I only wish I would have told you how

much when you were still alive.”



My eyes were blurred with tears and I couldn‟t

read the rest. Wiping my face with the back of my



hand, I picked up my sheet of paper and hurried away

from the podium.



“You did good, honey,” whispered my mom

as I sat down next to her. “I‟m sure Krystal thought

so, too.”



I didn‟t say anything, I was too choked up.



When the funeral was over, we all dro

ve to

the cemetery, where she was laid to rest. As I put a

rose on her coffin, I looked up to find Trevor

standing on the other side, watching me. I had to

admit, he looked incredibly handsome, especially in

the dark suit he was wearing. 



I quickly looked



away.



“I have to get back to the shop,” said Vanda,

as we walked back to the car with Jim, who‟d also

attended the funeral. They‟d already been on a couple

more dates, and were becoming very close. I could tell

by the way that she looked at him.



“I‟ll

drive you,” he said. “That way, Adriana

can go to the reception.”



“Thanks,” she said, digging into her purse.

“Here are the keys. Are you okay to drive?”



“Yes. Of course.”



She looked past me and her eyes hardened. “I

still can‟t believe those two had the a

udacity to show

up.”



I turned around to see Trevor and Tank

walking toward their motorcycles. Tank‟s expression




244





was unreadable now, but I had seen tears in his eyes

when they lowered her casket. He‟d definitely had

feelings for her.



“I can‟t believe they‟r

e riding bikes in this

weather,” said Jim. “It must be forty degrees. That‟s

got to be cold.”



I shrugged.



“He didn‟t try talking to you, did he?” she

asked as we reached the two cars, which were parked

next to each other.



“No,” I said. He‟d been respectfu

l to my

wishes, even though he hadn‟t understood them.



“So, that‟s it? You don‟t want to see me again?” he‟d

said, after I‟d given him the news.



“I

just

can‟t see you again.”



“Why?”



“Because of what happened.

Krystal is dead. DEAD

.

I can‟t get caught up i

n that kind of… world.”



“You know I‟d never put you in any kind of danger.”



“Trevor, y

our entire world is „

danger



. Whether you

want to admit it or not.”



“I‟m not ready to let you go,” he‟d said, his eyes

burning into mine. “You‟ve gotten under my skin. Yo

u‟re all I

think about.”



“You know what I‟m thinking about? My best friend.

She‟s dead







and why? Because of some senseless gang warfare

she didn‟

t

want any part of

, either. I don‟t want to be next

.



I

don‟t want to die.







You aren‟t going to die.







How can



you be certain

?”



“I won‟t let them near you

.”






245





“That‟s a gallant thought

,



but you can‟t protect me

every hour of the day.”



“They‟re going to pay for what they did and then, I

promise, you won‟t have to worry about it.”



“See, that‟s exactly what I do have

to worry about.

Retaliation. First them and then you. It‟s going to go on and

on. I just want to live my life without



having to worry about

getting kidnapped or shot, Trevor. Don‟t you understand?”



He sighed.



“Trevor, please… respect my wishes and… stay a

way

from me.”



“That‟s just it. I don‟t know if I can do that.”



“You have to try. If you‟re not even willing, then

you‟re not the man I thought you were.”



“Ouch.”



“I‟m serious.”



He‟d finally relented, even though it had been

hard for both of us. I knew I

wasn‟t in love with him,

but there was something between us. Something

fierce.



She nodded. “Good. I‟m glad.”



I sighed. “I‟ll see you tonight.”



“Be careful. Don‟t drink and drive.”



“Yes, mother,” I said, my voice hollow.



“Don‟t drink too much and drive,” c

orrected

Jim, smiling. “One glass of wine won‟t hurt.”



I winked at him and got into the car.



Mom waved at me as she slid into Jim‟s car.



Stealing another glance across the parking lot

at Trevor, I tried ignoring the pangs in my chest. I

wasn‟t a fool. I k

new that I longed to be with him,

even after everything that had happened. Feel his




246





arms around me. But, it was over and both of us had

to accept it. 



I started the engine and drove to the

reception.










247









Chapter Twenty

-

One















The reception was held at



a local bar. As I

walked toward the entrance, I ran into Detective

Stone. I‟d seen both him and Detective Williams at

the funeral, but was surprised to see him at the

reception.



“Hello, Adriana,” he said, holding the door

for me.



“Detective Stone. I didn‟

t know you were

going to be here.”



“Please, call me Jeremy.”



I smiled. “Sure.”



“I wanted to pay my respects,” he said,

walking behind me. “How have you been holding

up?”



I glanced at him over my shoulder. “It‟s been

hard.”



“I can only imagine.”



“How is the case going?” I asked as he moved

next to me.



“Slow.”






248





“Can‟t you find any DNA or fiber matches to

convict any of the Devil‟s Rangers?”



He grinned. “You‟ve been watching CSI?”



“Of course,” I said, smiling sheepishly.



“Well, they‟re still working



on it. That‟s all I

can really say,” he said as we entered the area that was

reserved for the reception. I noticed Tiffany, Monica,

and Amber were already there, ordering drinks.



“Thanks for coming,” said Krystal‟s mother,

Bonnie, who looked like she was

about ready to start

crying all over again. “Both of you.”



“Of course,” I said, hugging her.



“You, too, Detective. Have you found the

people who‟ve done this yet?”



“Please, just call me Jeremy. We‟re still

working on it. You‟ll be the first to know if we

do,

though.”



“I‟m counting on it,” she said, blowing her

nose.



“Hi, Adriana,” said Tiffany, walking over with

two glasses. “Here, I bought you a rum and Coke.

Figured you‟d need it after giving that speech. You

did great, by the way. I was bawling my eyes

out.”



“Thanks, Tiff. I missed the last part of it,” I

said, taking the drink from her. “I was too choked up

to continue.”



“How could you not be? At least you had the

balls to get up there. I‟m sure Krystal was proud of

you, though.”



“I hope so,” I said, ge

tting choked up again

myself.






249





“And, who is this?” she asked, smiling up at

Jeremy.



I was going to introduce him as Detective

Stone, when he jumped in.



“Who me? I‟m Jeremy Stone,” he said,

smiling.



“Are you two…?” she asked, pointing to both

of us.



“No,” I



said quickly, realizing what she meant.

“We‟re not dating.”



He laughed.



She smiled at Jeremy. “I wasn‟t sure. You‟re

not wearing a ring and I‟ve never seen you before. I

know that.”



Oh

,



my God, she‟s interested in him,



I thought, not

sure if I should be a

mused or horrified.



“Nope. No ring,” he said, holding up his left

hand. “Not anymore, at least.”



“Oh, were you married before?” she asked.



“Engaged. I guess you could say it fell

through.”



“Well, you know what they say





if it‟s not

meant to be, it‟s not

meant to be,” said Tiffany, taking

a drink of her Screwdriver. “You‟ll probably find

someone much better.”



It was then that I realized he was actually a

very nice looking man. I hadn‟t thought much about

it before, but I could see why Tiffany was intereste

d.

He was tall, with brown hair,  caramel colored eyes,

and a goatee. I pegged him to be in his late twenties

and he obviously kept in very good shape.



“How did you know Krystal?” she asked.






250





As he began explaining, I glanced over to the

bar and noticed th

at Trevor was standing next to it,

ordering a beer. My stomach knotted up.



What was he doing here?



“Excuse me,” I said, moving around my

friends and toward him. When I reached the bar,

Trevor turned to me, smiling.



“What are you doing here?” I said in a n

ot

-

so

-

friendly voice.



“Well, hello to you, too,” he said, the smile

falling.



I looked around. “Is Tank here, too?”



“No. He‟s taking it pretty hard. He just

wanted to be alone.”



I stared at him for a few seconds, my foot

tapping anxiously. I had to admit th

at he looked so

handsome that I wanted to jump his bones again. But,

I was more pissed than horny. “You shouldn‟t be

here, you know.”



He frowned. “Why? I knew her too, you

know. I‟m just here to pay my respects.”



“You did that at the cemetery.”



He grunted

and shook his head.



“What?‟ I asked.



“Why are you being such a bitch?” he said

angrily.



“Excuse me?” I said, shocked.



“You heard me.”



My eyes narrowed. “Maybe because you bring

that out in me.”



“Why? I haven‟t done anything to you,” he

said, taking a drink



of his beer.






251





“You‟re here, Trevor.”



“Yeah? Why is that a problem?”



I lowered my voice. “I thought you were

going to stay away?”



He laughed coldly. “Oh, I see. You think this

is about you. Well, Kitten, it‟s not. This is about

paying my respects to Krystal

, who I was friends with

too, believe it or not.”



“Really?” I snapped. “You‟re not here for

anything



else?”



“No, I‟m not. And,” he sneered, “in case you

don‟t remember,

y

ou



approached me, I didn‟t

approach you.”



I clenched my jaw. I was so angry. I wanted

to

slap the asshole grin right off of his face.



“So, feel free to unapproach me,” he said,

looking away.



Trying not to make a scene, I turned around

and walked back over to the others.



“Isn‟t that Trevor Larson?” asked Jeremy.



“Yes,” I said, taking a

drink of my cocktail.

“Yes, it is.”



“Is everything okay?” he asked, leaning closer

me.



I looked over at Trevor, who now was staring

at Jeremy, looking pissed.



“It‟s fine,” I said, looking away.



“Adriana, we‟re going across the street to

Gibby‟s later. You



want to join us?” asked Tiffany.



“I don‟t think so,” I said, staring down at my

drink.






252





“Come on,” she said. “Just for a couple of

drinks and some dancing. You know that‟s what

Krystal would have wanted. To see us together and

having fun. This will be ou

r big send

-

off, for her.”



“I don‟t know…”



“Come on, I‟ll even drive you home,” she

said. “If that‟s what you‟re worried about.”



“Right, you drive? You‟d better quit drinking

now,” I said, smirking.



“Tell you what,” said Jeremy. “I‟ll drive all

four of you

home, if you want. I don‟t work

tomorrow and I have nothing better to do.”



“You would?” squealed Tiffany. She grabbed

his arm. “Thank you

so



much.”



I sighed. “You don‟t have to do this.”



“I know. But, I want to,” he said. “Like

Tiffany said, this will be y

our tribute to Krystal. You

may as well have fun.”



I saw the way he kept glancing at Tiffany and

wondered if he was doing it for other reasons as well.



“Well, I‟m game then,” I said, still watching

Trevor from the corner of my eye. He was talking to

Kryst

al‟s mother, now, and she was smiling at him.



“I‟m going to grab a soda, does anyone need

anything?” asked Jeremy.



“No, I think we‟re all good,” said Monica,

holding up her drink.



“So, who is this Trevor Larson?” whispered

Tiffany as Jeremy walked away. “H

e‟s hot.”



“Somebody you want to stay away from,” I

said, taking another drink.






253





“Are you sure?” she said, licking her lips. “I

wouldn‟t mind inviting him over to Gibby‟s with us.

Something tells me he knows how to move those hips

like a boss.”



An image of T

revor moving his hips between

mine flashed through my brain and I felt a quiver

down below. Forcing those intimate thoughts away, I

cleared my throat. “That‟s Raptor,” I said. “He‟s part

of the Gold Vipers.”



“Raptor, the biker?” she said. “Oh, yeah.

Didn‟t



you and he…?”



“Almost,” I said, turning to her. “Why are you

asking about him when you have your eye on

Jeremy?”



She grinned. “He‟s cute, too. But, he‟s too

serious. The only kind of serious I want tonight, is a

seriously good fuck.”



“Is that all you ever



think about?” asked

Monica, shaking her head. “I mean, we‟re at a

funeral.”



“This isn‟t the funeral. It‟s the celebration of

our friend‟s life. We‟re supposed to remember her

with fondness and have fun. That‟s what she would

have wanted,” said Tiffany.



“S

he‟s right,” said Amber, who was texting on

her phone. “Although, I can‟t believe you‟re already

thinking about who you‟re going to have sex with

tonight. It‟s not even seven o‟clock.”



“I like planning ahead,” she said, taking a

drink of her cocktail.



“Loo

k at you, Amber. You‟re probably setting

up a booty call yourself right now,” said Monica.






254





“This is different. It‟s Paul. My fiancé,” she

replied. “Sex is a given.”



“Why isn‟t he here?” I asked.



She shrugged. “He‟s working. Like usual.”



“Are you still goin

g to Gibby‟s?” I asked.



She nodded and put her phone away. “Yeah,

for a little while. I‟m not going to drink much,

though.”



“What about you?” I asked Monica.



“My mom is babysitting. I‟m definitely going

out and partying my ass off tonight. Especially, if h

e‟s

driving.”



Jeremy returned with a soda.



“So, what‟s it like being a detective?” asked

Tiffany, sidling up to him again.



He began talking about his job and I listened

with one ear, while keeping my eye on Trevor, who

seemed to be in the middle of a conv

ersation with

Tiffany‟s aunt, Jenna, who was a beauty consultant for

a popular makeup company. Jenna, who Tiffany had

always referred to as a „cougar‟, was definitely

intrigued with whatever they were discussing.



“That‟s fascinating,” said Tiffany, who wa

s

also hanging on to every word Jeremy was saying.

“What made you want to get into law enforcement?”



I didn‟t hear his response because Jenna was

laughing at something Trevor had said. It started a

fire in my stomach. An angry, jealous one.



I finished my

rum and Coke. “Anyone else

need another drink?” I asked.



“Sure,” said Tiffany, holding up her glass,

which was almost empty. “You know what I like.”






255





“Yeah, me too,” said Monica. “I‟ll take a

Vodka Collins.”



I walked to the bar and ordered the drinks. As

I

waited, Jenna walked away from Trevor and up to

the bar. I had to admit, with her long blonde hair,

flawless skin, and lithe figure, she didn‟t look

anywhere near thirty

-

eight. She looked like a twenty

-

something Pamela Anderson double. 



“Hi, Adriana,” she



said, smiling at me

somberly. “How are you holding up, kiddo?”



I shrugged. “I‟m okay. What about you?”



“It‟s been tough. Really tough. Bonnie is

barely holding on. She blames herself for not being a

better mother to Krystal.”



“That‟s not what killed her,”



I said, although I

knew Bonnie hadn‟t been the best parent. Krystal had

gotten away with murder.



“No, but if she would have been a stricter

parent when she was growing up, things might have

been different.” She shook her head. “Bonnie let that

girl get aw

ay with too much.”



“Yeah, but that doesn‟t mean she wouldn‟t

have been where she was that night.”



“Maybe. Maybe not. Guess, we‟ll never

know.”



“I guess.”



She sighed and looked over at Trevor.



“You know that guy?” I asked, nodding

toward him.



She smiled.

“No, but I‟d love to, you know

what I mean?”



I certainly did.






256





“He‟s a biker,” I said.



“I know. We were talking about it. I told him

that I just bought a Harley Switchback and he was

impressed.”



“I bet. I didn‟t know you were into bikes,” I

said trying to s

tifle the green monster growing inside

of me. Deep down, I knew there was no reason for

me to be jealous. I had no claim on Trevor and she

was a very nice woman. If they got together, that was

none of my business.



“My ex

-

boyfriend got me interested.”



“What



happened to him?”



She sighed. “Found out he was married.”



“You didn‟t know?”



“Well,” she smiled. “I did. He said  they were

getting divorced, so I thought they were separated.

Come to find out, they really weren‟t either.”



The bartender set my drinks down

. “Here‟s a

tray. I doubt you can carry all four drinks by

yourself.”



“You‟re right. Thanks,” I said, handing her

the money.



“It‟s an open bar,” said the woman. “For

another hour, at least.”



“Oh, well, here‟s a tip,” I said, handing her a

couple of dollars

.



“Thanks, hon.” She turned to Jenna. “What

can I get for you?”



“I‟ll take two Michelobs. One for me and one

for that tall drink of water, over there,” she said,

turning to smile at Trevor, who I noticed was

watching us.






257





Feeling angry again, I looked away.



Jenna turned back to me and sighed. “You

must think I‟m a horrible aunt.”



“What do you mean?” I asked.



She smiled grimly. “Because my mind is in the

gutter at my niece‟s funeral.”



“People cope with things differently,” I said, a

little guilty of it myself

.



She put her arm around me. “I agree. In fact,

I‟ve always coped with grief by turning to intimacy.

The touch of another can sometimes ease the pain of

loss. It‟s also a good reminder that we‟re still alive and

that every second matters, because you neve

r know

when your time is up.”



“I guess… that makes sense to me.”



“To me it does. That‟s why I don‟t feel guilty

about setting my sights on Raptor tonight.” She

winked. “Something tells me he just might be my

salvation.”



“And you know that after just talkin

g to him

for a few minutes?”



She grinned wickedly. “To be honest, I don‟t

care what comes out of his mouth. It‟s what goes into

his mouth later that interests me. Thanks, doll,” she

said to the bartender, who set two beers down in

front of us. She handed

her a five. “That‟s for you.”



“Thanks,” said the bartender, shoving it into

her front pocket. She leaned forward. “And good luck

with that young man. I wouldn‟t mind going home

with him myself tonight.”



Jenna laughed. “You‟d better get in line,” she

answer

ed before walking back toward Trevor.






258





Sighing, I picked up the tray of drinks and

went the other way.










259





Chapter Thirty

-



Two















I watched Adriana and Jenna talking at the

bar, and had to hide my grin. Adriana looked like she

was ready to spit bullets whenever she looked at me.



“Oh, she‟s pissed,” whispered Jenna, close to

my ear when she returned with our beers.



Jenna and I went w

ay back. She‟d dated

Slammer five years ago and we‟d always gotten along.

When she‟d learned what had happened to her niece,

she‟d rushed down to Griffin‟s and I‟d told her

everything, including what had happened between me

and Adriana.



“Why?” I asked. “Be

cause I‟m still here?”



“Because, I‟m making her jealous.”



“You are?”



“Yes,” she said, snuggling up to me.



“I don‟t think that‟s a good idea.”



“Are you kidding? She‟s going to realize how

much she wants you and believe me, you‟re going to

be thanking me lat

er.”



My eyebrow arched. “Really? Because when

men get jealous, it doesn‟t usually work that way.

They get pissed and leave.”






260





“No, you don‟t,” she said. “In fact, I‟m pretty

sure if you saw a guy hitting on Adriana, you‟d want

to beat the shit out of him.”



“Look, there‟s nothing between us. Not

anymore,” I said, not believing my own words. The

truth was, I wanted her more than ever. When I‟d

seen her at the funeral, wearing another black dress

and the same sapphire necklace, it had reminded me

of that night

in her bedroom. Then I‟d pictured her

straddling my face while I was looking up at her

gorgeous body, and I knew I was going straight to

Hell. Especially knowing that I had to have been the

only asshole in church sporting wood. 



“I don‟t believe that for

one second and either

do you.”



I shrugged. “Believe what you want.”



Jenna frowned. “Why is the cop here? They

walked in together. Did you see that?”



“Yeah, but they didn‟t arrive here together.”



“It looks like Tiffany has her eye on him,

anyway. He‟s

cute.” She waved at Tiffany, who waved

back.



I took another swig of beer.



“So, what are you going to do?”



“Finish this and leave.”



She tilted her head. “Don‟t you want to try

and win her back?”



“I never had her to begin with. If I did, she

wouldn‟t have g

iven up so easily.”



Jenna sighed. “I‟ve met Vanda. She‟s not an

easy woman to stand up to.”



“Adriana is twenty

-

one. She‟s an adult.”






261





“She may look like an adult, but nobody has

given her the chance to act like one.”



I smirked. “I tried. Believe me, I did.”



“I‟m sure you did. But, I think you need to try

again.”



“What do you propose I do? Show up at her

house? Serenade her? I do that and I‟ll just get my ass

chewed out.”



“No. That‟s a waste of time. You need to act

tonight. While she‟s got that fire burning

in her belly.”



“How do you know she‟s got a fire burning in

her belly?”



“By the way she keeps stealing glances over

here. The girl still has it bad for you, Raptor. She

doesn‟t know whether to slap or kiss you.”



“Hmm… Well, what do you suggest I do?”



This

time Jenna was the one smiling wickedly.

“Nothing. Let me take care of it.”














262





Chapter Thirty

-

Three







Adriana







An hour later, Tiffany announced that it was

time to go across the street to Gibby‟s.



“Okay,” I said. “It‟s getting really crowded in

here

anyway.”



“It‟s going to be more crowded at Gibby‟s,”

warned Jeremy, who‟d opened his tie and now

seemed very relaxed.



“But at least we can dance,” I said, feeling

absolutely no pain. I‟d just finished my third drink

and even Trevor‟s presence wasn‟t bothe

ring me

anymore. Well, not as much. After the second drink, I

kept telling myself that if those two hooked up, then

good riddance. After my third drink, I‟d decided that

I needed to rethink my own rule of hooking up.

Possibly find a guy who might make me f

orget all

about Trevor. Someone tall, dark, and very well

-

endowed.



“I want to dance, too. Let‟s go and say

goodbye to Bonnie and go over there,” said Monica,

grabbing me and Amber by the arms. Just like me, she

was also feeling quite good.



“Thanks for comi

ng,” said Bonnie, hugging

each of us when we found her.



“Of course and, we‟re so sorry for your loss,”

said Tiffany, smiling sadly. “And ours. We‟re losing a




263





great friend. One of the best. We‟re sure going to

miss that girl.”



Bonnie‟s lips trembled. “Me, t

oo,” she

squeaked. “Me, too.”



“I‟m sorry my mother couldn‟t make it,” I

said when she hugged me. “She‟s going to call you

tomorrow.”



“She made it to the funeral. That‟s enough.

Plus, she‟s been there for me these last couple of

weeks. Bringing me food, cal

ling everyone. I don‟t

know how I can thank her enough.”



“You don‟t have to,” I told Bonnie. “She

wanted to help.”



She nodded. “Well, I appreciate it.”



“I‟m sorry for your loss, Ms. Blake,” said

Jeremy, shaking her hand.



“Just find them,” she said. “Please

. Find the

people who did this and put them away.”



“Believe me, I‟ll do my best.”



“Are you leaving?” asked Jenna, coming up

behind me?”



“We‟re going across the street,” said Monica.

“To Gibby‟s. You want to join us?”



“Let me ask my new friend,” she said, h

er

blue eyes sparkling. “Something tells me he‟ll want to

go dancing, too.”



“You mean Trevor?” I said, looking around.

“Did he leave?”



“No, he‟s using the bathroom,” she said,

smiling. “I didn‟t realize you knew his real name.”






264





“Lucky guess,” I said, forc

ing a smile. He‟d

obviously told her his real name, too. I looked at

Tiffany. “Let‟s go. I‟m getting really warm in here.”



“Okay,” she said, waving to Jenna and

Bonnie. “Have a good night.”



“You too,” said Bonnie. “Drive safely.”



“Jeremy is driving all of

us home,” Tiffany

said, sliding her arm through his. “Aren‟t you?”



Jeremy smiled. “Yep. That I am. I don‟t know

what I‟m getting myself into, but it‟s too late to back

out now, right?”



“You‟re damn right,” said Tiffany, snuggling

up to him. “You‟re going t

o have fun, though. We‟ll

make sure of it. Right, ladies?”



“You bet,” said Monica. “Ready, Adriana?”



I saw Trevor walk out of the bathroom and

head toward us, or rather, Jenna. I quickly turned

around and started for the exit. “I‟m more than ready.

In fact

, I‟ll meet you over there.”










265





Thirty

-

Four













Gibby‟s was jam

-

packed when we walked in.

Apparently, it was Ladies Night, and all shots were

half

-

off.



“Let‟s dance and

then



drink,” said Tiffany,

pulling me and Jeremy toward the large dance floor,

while Monica and Amber used the bathroom. He‟d

left his jacket and tie in the car and now looked more

like a regular guy just out to have fun. “Do you like

Hip Hop music, Jeremy?” s

he cried, over the loud

music.



“Not really,” he hollered back. “But, I‟m

willing to try.”



“What kind of music do you like?” I asked.



“Rock

-

n

-

Roll. Jazz. Country. Anything but…

Hip Hop.”



“That‟s too bad,” said Tiffany, rolling her hips

with the music. “Beca

use I

love



Hip Hop. It makes me

so… frisky.”



His eyes widened and then he laughed.

“Maybe I haven‟t given Hip Hop enough of a

chance.”



She moved closer to him, until they were

chin

-

to

-

forehead. “Relax and move your hips,” she




266





said, putting her hands on his



waist. “I‟ll help you

learn how to like it.”



“I‟m sure you will,” he said, putting his hands

around her hips.



She gave him a sexy laugh.



I suddenly felt like a third wheel. I backed

away from the dance floor and then took off toward

the bar. When I saw Tr

evor and Jenna waiting in line

for a drink, I stopped dead in my tracks.



Dammit.



They were so beautiful together. Both blond

and dazzling under the strobe lights.



Trevor had taken his hair out of the ponytail,

and his jacket and tie were gone. He reminded

me of

a sexy rock star standing there with his supermodel

girlfriend on his arm. I suddenly felt very dowdy in

my black dress. Jenna was also wearing a black dress,

but hers emphasized her breasts while mine were

drowning in fabric.



“Oh, hey,” she said, no

ticing me. She slipped

her arms through Trevor‟s and grinned. “Hope you

don‟t mind that we followed you over here?”



“That‟s okay,” I said, minding very much. I

forced a smile. “It‟s a great place to… unwind.”



“Definitely,” said Jenna. She reached up and

un

buttoned two of Trevor‟s buttons, exposing his tan

chest. “In fact, I think it‟s time for this hunk of

yumminess to unwind.” She slipped her fingers under

his dark blue shirt and looked at me. “I don‟t know

what it is but I just can‟t seem to keep my hands



off

of him.”






267





“Nobody seems to be stopping you, either,” I

said, gritting my teeth.



Just then the music slowed to a sexy beat and

Jenna sucked in her breath. “I love this song. Forget

the drinks. Come on, dance with me.”



Trevor‟s eyes met mine.



I scowled and looked away.



“Come on,” she said, pulling his arm. “Let‟s

go and have some fun.”



I didn‟t hear his reply, but I watched her drag

his ass to the dance floor without any resistance.

Then she slipped her arms around his neck and pulled

him so c

lose that I couldn‟t stand to watch them

anymore.



Seething, I made my way over to the bar and

bought myself a shot of peach schnapps.



To you, Krystal

, I thought, slamming it down.



“Would you like another one?” asked the

bartender, a heavyset guy wearing

a Stetson.



“Yes. One more,” I said, sliding the shot gas

back to him.



“What is that?” asked the guy standing next to

me.



I looked at him. He had soft brown eyes and a

boyish smile. “It‟s just peach schnapps.”



He grimaced. “Oh, not that.”



I smiled. “What‟s



wrong with it? Too girly?”



He chuckled. “No, I used to love the taste,

before I spent an entire weekend puking my guts out

after drinking a bottle. Watch out for that stuff, it‟ll

kick you in the ass later.”






268





“Thanks for the advice,” I said, as the

bartend

er slid another shot toward me. “I doubt I‟ll

drink an entire bottle, but I‟ll keep it in mind.”



“Now, tequila… that‟s what you should be

drinking. Are you driving tonight, or is your

boyfriend?” he asked.



“I‟m not driving and I don‟t have a

boyfriend.”



He



smiled and straightened up. “Well, in that

case, how about we both have a shot together? My

treat?”



I slammed the second shot of peach schnapps

and set it on the bar. “How about… we dance?” I

said, licking my lips. “Then you can buy me a shot.”



His smile

grew wider. He set his beer down

on the bar. “Watch this for me, will you, Hank?”



“Sure thing,” said the bartender.



“And put her other two shots on my tab.”



I grinned. “Well, thank you… what was your

name?”



“It‟s Dan.”



I held out my hand. “I‟m Adriana.”



“P

retty name,” he said, shaking it. “And well

deserving.”



I giggled, the peach schnapps warming my

tummy and everything else. 



“Just to warn you, I‟m not the best dancer,”

he said, following me out to the dance floor.



“It‟s okay,” I said, turning to him. “I



won‟t

judge if you won‟t.”






269





He slid his arms around my waist. “If I said

I‟ve already judged you to be the prettiest girl in this

bar, would you laugh in my face?”



I was about to do just that when I noticed

Trevor staring at me from across the dance floor.



He

was scowling.



“Not at all,” I said, noting that Jenna was

standing in front of him, grinding her ass against his

crotch. Obviously, he wasn‟t angry about that and he

certainly wasn‟t stopping her from doing it, either.

Clenching my jaw, I slid my arms

up to Dan‟s neck

and forced myself to smile. “You have gorgeous eyes.

Has anyone ever told you that?”



He grinned. “Thank you.”



I stole another glance over Dan‟s shoulder at

Trevor, and almost choked. He was storming toward

us, like an angry bull.



Dan notic

ed him as well. “Can I help you?”

he asked, letting me go.



“I‟m cutting in,” said Trevor. He grabbed my

arm.



“Stop it,” I hissed. “Go back to Jenna.”



“I don‟t

want



her,” he said, his eyes burning

into mine.



“Right. I think you only want what you can‟t

ha

ve.”



He looked like I‟d slapped him. “Fuck you.”



“No, fuck you!” I snapped, pulling my arm

away.



“You‟re drunk,” he said, his voice harsh and

angry.






270





I raised my chin. “I‟m not drunk. I‟m…

having fun. I‟m also reconsidering my rule about one

-

night stands.”



Dan‟s face lit up.



Trevor grabbed my arm again, his fingers

gripping me hard. “I‟m taking you home before you

do something stupid.”



“Excuse me… do you two know each other?”

asked Dan.



“What gave you that idea?” said Trevor with a

sneer. “Back off, genius.



She‟s mine.”



“I‟m

not



yours,” I said, pulling away again.



“Would you stop playing games, Adriana?”



“I‟m not the one playing them.”



“What‟s going on over here?” said Jeremy,

suddenly at my side.



“Nothing,” I said, backing away. “Nothing is

going on.”



“Lars

on, what the hell kind of shit are you

starting now?” snarled Jeremy, getting into his face.



“Fuck you, Stone.”



“You need to leave,” ordered Jeremy, as I

turned and headed toward the exit.



“Adriana!” hollered Trevor, over the music.










271





Thirty

-

Five













As



Adriana ran out of the bar, I attempted to

follow her when that fuck

-

nut, Stone, got in my way.



“Leave her be,” he said.



“Why don‟t you mind your own fucking

business?” I said, glaring at him.



He clenched his jaw. “She doesn‟t want to see

you anymore.”





Then she can tell me that. Not you.”



“Enough,” said Jenna, getting between us. She

turned to me. “Go find her. From the look in her

eyes, she wants really you to.”



It certainly didn‟t look that way to me. But I

knew women were complicated and I trusted Jen

na‟s

judgment.



I turned around and raced out of the bar,

ready to pummel Stone if he tried stopping me. When

I reached the parking lot, it was dark, but I could see

Adriana running across the street to the other parking

lot. Swearing, I ran after her.



“Adr

iana!‟ I hollered, as she unlocked the

door to her car.



“Leave me alone!” she yelled, getting into it.

She slammed the door shut.






272





I reached the car and began hollering at her.

“You shouldn‟t be driving! You‟ve had too much to

drink!”



She flipped me off.



“S

tone‟s going to arrest you!” I shouted at the

window. “You‟ll get a DWI!”



That brought her to her senses. She scowled

and turned off the engine.



“Come on. I‟ll drive you home,” I said loudly.



She opened the car door and got out. “No,

you won‟t,” she said,

locking it. “I‟ll get a ride from

Stone.”



“Fuck that,” I said. “He‟s not giving you a

ride home. I am.”



“The hell you are,” she said, shivering.



“Where‟s your jacket?”



She nodded to her car.



“Give me your keys,” I demanded, holding

out my hand. “I‟ll give

you a ride home.”



“No.”



Before she could respond, I grabbed them

from her. “Get in the car, or I swear to God, I‟ll pick

you up and throw you inside myself. You know I‟ll do

it.”



She groaned angrily. “Fine. You want to drive

me home? Then drive me home. I don‟t fucking

care,” she said, storming over to the passenger side of

the car.



I watched her get in and then I got in.



“Put your seatbelt on.”



She snapped it on angrily.



I starte

d the engine and we began to drive.






273





“So, you‟re not going to say anything?” I said

after a few minutes of silence.



“I‟ve got nothing to say to you,” she said,

putting her coat on.



“Why are you so pissed off?”



She didn‟t reply.



Sighing, I turned on the radi

o. “Any

requests?” I grunted. “A ballad, perhaps. You seem to

like dancing to those. Especially with dipshit

hipsters.”



She laughed coldly. “You should talk. Oh,

that‟s right. You two weren‟t dancing. You were

having dry sex.”



I snorted. “Dry sex?”



“Yes. D

ry sex.”



“What in the hell is that?”



“Dirty fucking dancing.”



“Did you see me dancing?”



“No, but I saw Jenna shoving her ass against

you, and you seemed to be enjoying it.”



“How do you know I was enjoying it?”



She rolled her eyes. “You certainly weren‟t

s

topping her.”



“I wasn‟t even paying attention to Jenna. I

had my mind on other things,” I said, taking a detour.










274





Chapter Thirty

-

Six















I‟d closed my eyes for a few minutes but

opened them when I noticed that we were driving

down a bumpy, gravel road, surrounded by trees.



“Where are we going?” I asked, sitting up

straight.



He ignored me.



“Trevor?”



The road ended near a lake and he turned

into

an empty parking lot. There was a sign that read:

“Prairie Lake Boat Launch, Private Property.”



“What are we doing here?” I asked, not

happy.



He parked the car, rolled down the windows,

and then flipped through the radio channels until he

located a so

ng he seemed to like. It was an older tune

by Nickelback, “Savin‟ Me.”



“What in the hell are you doing?” I said,

watching him get out.



He came around and opened up my door.



“Let‟s go,” he said, holding out his hand.



I glared up at him. “No. This isn‟t fun

ny.

I

want you to take me



home.



Now.








275





H

e grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the

car.



“What the hell, Trevor?” I said, as he put his

arms

tightly

around me and started dancing.



“I need you to explain something.”



“What?” I said, feeling my stomach heat up a

s

his hands slid



slowly over hips

. I knew I shouldn‟t be

letting him do it, but I couldn‟t help myself. As angry

as I was, I

knew that I

still wanted him.





“Explain what this



dry sex





is,” he whispered

against my neck, the warmth of his breath on my skin

,

almost killing me.



I swallowed.

I wasn‟t sure that it was even a

real term, it had just popped into my head.

“You

know what it is.”



He pulled my hips

against his. I could feel his

hardness pressing against my stomach

. “You

know

what I prefer? W

et

, hot



sex,” he whispered, dragging

his lips across my neck, stopping at my ear. “My cock

prefers it too,” he said, nipping my ear lobe.







I closed my eyes.



He slid one of his han

ds up to my breast and

began tracing a ring around my nipple with his

thumb

.



I curs

ed myself for wearing such a thin bra.

“What about you, Kitten? Do

n‟t you like it deep…

and



wet?”



“Yes,” I said breathlessly.



He pinched the nub through the fabric. “Y

ou

cold

, d

arlin‟? B

ecause your nipple could cut glass right

now.”







I moaned as he pinche

d it harder and then

moved to the other one.






276





“Mm… What do you know, this one‟s cold,

too,” Trevor said in a husky voice. He unbuttoned the

front

of my dress

and slid his hand into my

silk

b

ra.

“Let me help you warm up,” he said, bending his face

down. He p

ushed the material aside and took my

nipple into his mouth. He swirled his tongue around

the nub and then sucked, sending a shiver of pleasure

all the way down to my clit.



Moaning, I moved my hand to his pants and

touched his penis, desperate to feel it in

side of me. I

was so turned on

that I didn‟t care about the

consequences. I needed this man to fuck me.



“Uh, uh, uh,” he said,

stepping back. He

turned me around, p

ushed my hair to the side

,



and

began kissing my neck.



I closed my eyes again,



enjoying his lips on my

skin. He slid his hands



to my breasts and

pulled me

closer. I could feel his hard

-

on pressed up against my

butt

.







“Is this dry sex?” he growled against my neck



as he ground his hips into my ass, taunting me with

his hard cock

. “Or

, is it more like this…” He bent me

over the hood of the car and grabbed my hips,

pushing my dress up.

Then he began humping me

through his pants

, sending



a swirl of tingling,

tightening desire to my pelvis.



“Trevor,” I panted, feeling



his erection hit my

opening, driving my insane. “I can‟t take this

anymore. Take out your cock and fuck me with it.”



He stopped moving and slid his fingers into

my panties. He shoved one inside of my hole and I

moaned as he pulled it out and did it again. “You




277





really want me

to fuck you, Kitten?” he said. “You

sure that‟s what you really want?”



“Yes,” I gasped as he slid a second one in.

“Please.”



He added a second finger. “I don‟t know. Are

you wet enough?”



I was as wet as a fucking Tsunami. “You

know I am,” I said, spreadin

g my hips wider, so he

had better access.



“Mm… I think we can make you wetter,” he

murmured into my ear. He slid a finger up to my clit

and began to rub it.



“Yes,” I gasped, grinding my mound against

his hand. Panting, I reached behind and rubbed my

hand a

gainst his hard

-

on. “Take it out. I need to feel

it.”



I heard him unzip his pants and fumble with

his boxers. Then he took my hand and guided me to

his cock.



“I need this,” I whispered, wrapping my hand

around it. If felt so thick. So powerful. The thought



of it between my legs, thrusting inside of me, was

enough to blow a fuse in my head. “Can I suck it?” I

whispered, sliding my hand back and forth.



He groaned against my neck. “Did you just

say that you wanted to suck my cock?”



“Yes.”



He let out a ragged

breath. “That sounds so

fucking good, but I need it somewhere else right now.

Dry sex is over,” growled, pulling away from my

hand. Then he pressed the tip against my hole,




278





rubbing around the outside. “How bad do you want

it?”



“Fuck me, Trevor,” I said, w

iggling my sex

against him. “Please.”



He pulled my hips up for a better angle, and

plunged into me.



I gasped, feeling every inch of him. Long and

thick, he stretched me wide, and the pain… it was so

good. Especially when he pulled back and did it again.





Fuck, you‟re tight,” he said through clenched

teeth. “You‟re… not a virgin, are you?”



“No,” I said, looking at him over my

shoulder. “Don‟t stop. Keep going.”



His eyes smoldered as he pulled back and

began fucking me, this time not holding anything

back. I



closed my eyes and moaned with each glorious

thrust, feeling his head hitting an inner part of me that

made my entire G

-

spot vibrate.



Trevor grabbed the back of my hair, and

wrapped it around his hand. He pulled my head back

and squeezed my left breast. “

Fuck… you… are…

so… beautiful,” he said, between thrusts.



Holding onto the hood of the car, I moaned

as his hips slammed against my ass, causing the

automobile to rock from the force. After a while, he

slowed and leaned over me, his hand playing with my

c

lit again.



“You gonna come for me, Kitten?” he

whispered, his hips moving in a steady rhythm while

he teased my nub.



I nodded, feeling myself getting closer and

closer to the edge. Then, I was soaring over the cliff,




279





screaming as the rippling waves of ple

asure in my

pelvis shook me to the core, giving me the release

that I so desperately needed.





***













Adriana clenched up as she came and it did

me in. I thrust in and out of her a couple more times,

and then quickly pulled out, shooting my load all over

the crack of her ass, my own legs shaking from the

intensity of the orgasm.



“Damn,” I said hoarsely, s

till trying to catch

my breath. I chuckled as I looked around, glad that

boating season was over.



“Jesus, I needed that,” she answered, still lying

cheek

-

down on the hood of the car.



I zipped my pants back up, my desire for

Adriana still on overdrive. I‟d



just came like a

motherfucker, and yet I still wanted to be back inside.

Not tomorrow. Not later. But

now

. My dick was even

twitching at the thought.



Adriana shivered.



“Shit, sorry. Are you cold?” I asked, rubbing

the side of her thigh. She had her jacket



on, but it was

pulled up to her waist and her legs had goose

-

bumps.






280





She raised her head up. “I wasn‟t before, but

I‟m getting there.”



I pushed her hair away from her face. Damn,

she was beautiful and sex had never felt like this.

Ever. Not even with Brand

y. I didn‟t know why, since

we barely knew each other, but the effect that she had

on me was almost… dangerous. It made me take

chances that I shouldn‟t have. Like having

unprotected sex. I didn‟t even know if she was clean

or not.



“Let me get something t

o clean you off,” I

said, backing away from her.



She looked at me over her shoulder. “Check

the backseat. I think there‟s a box of tissues.”



“Okay,” I said, still trying to dissect what the

hell was happening to me. I thought about earlier and

how I‟d want

ed to kill the guy she‟d been dancing

with. The rage and jealousy that had been coursing

through my veins had almost driven me over the

edge. This was for a girl that I‟d promised to stay

away from. Meant to stay away from. After being

inside of her, I kne

w I‟d never be able to make that

same promise with a straight face.



“Here,” I said, cleaning off her back. “I

probably should have worn a rubber.”



“Probably,” she said, pushing her dress back

down over her hips. She turned around and raised her

hands to he

r chest.



“Let me help you,” I said, reaching for the

buttons on her dress. “I suppose you‟re pissed off

now.”



She smiled up at me. “Do I look pissed?”






281





“You look beautiful.”



“You look pretty amazing yourself,” she said,

running her fingers through my hair.



“I think next

time, however, I‟m pulling

your



hair.”



“Oh yeah?”



With a sparkle in her eye, she tugged on it,

poking the animal inside of me. The one who liked it

rough sometimes. Growling in the back of my throat,

I leaned forward and kissed her lips. Har

d.



Adriana pulled back, smiling. “My goodness,

slow down, Raptor,” she said in a breathless voice.



“Can‟t help it,” I said, grabbing the back of

her head. My zipper was already getting tight again.

“You bring it out in me.” I pulled her face to me and

kis

sed her again, this time with more tenderness. But

it was hard. I was already raring to go and she tasted

sweet. Like peaches. I wanted to devour her lips and

every other part of her.



She put her hand on my chest, gently pushing

me back. “We need to

leave.”



Sighing, I touched her forehead with mine.

“Come home with me,” I whispered.



“I can‟t.”



“Why? Because of your mother?”



“Yes. I have her car.”



“What if you didn‟t have it? Would you?”



“I… I don‟t know.”



“Listen to me,” I said, touching the side of

h

er face. “I know you‟re frightened of being with me,

but I swear to you… I‟ll never let anything happen to

you.”






2

82





“You can‟t promise something you really have

no control over,” she said, looking frustrated. “We

both know that.”



“Bullshit. I do have control

over it.”



She sighed. “Like Tank had control over what

happened to Krystal?”



“What happened to Krystal… that was fucked

up. It was horrible. We had no idea Mud would

retaliate like that. But, things are different now,” I

replied. “We‟ve run The Devil‟s Ran

gers out of

Iowa.”



“How in the world could you do that? All of

them?”



“Yup. We had proof that Mud killed Krystal

and used it to drive him out. We gave him an option





move his entire Chapter to a different state, or

spend the next twenty years in prison.”



“You had proof? Why wouldn‟t you turn it

over to the police? Mud needs to go to prison!”



“We take care of these kinds of things,

our

way.”



“So, you just drove the club away? That‟s how

he‟s going to pay for killing my best friend?”



“Believe me, when things



settle, Mud‟s going

to really pay for what he did to her. He‟s not going to

get away with it. Tank and Slammer are already

working on the details.”



“See, this is exactly why I can‟t be around you,

Trevor. You and your friends don‟t play by the rules.”



“Ye

ah we do. Our rules.”



“Even though they‟re against the law?”



“The law isn‟t always right.”






283





She sighed. “It‟s not worth arguing with you.

You‟re stubborn and already set in your ways.”



“Exactly. So don‟t argue with me,” I said with

a cocky smile. “Just acce

pt that things are how they

are and don‟t worry your pretty little head about Mud

and the Devil‟s Rangers.”



“Unbelievable.” She shook her head and

walked to the passenger door. “Let‟s get out of here.”



“Back to my house.”



“No. To your bike. I need to get h

ome,” she

said, opening the door. “And I‟m pretty sure that you

fucked me sober.”



I got into the car. “You think you can drive?”



“I‟m positive,” said Adriana.



I stared at her hard. She looked sober, but I

wasn‟t taking any chances. “Fuck that.” I started

the

engine. “Your mother would kill me if anything ever

happened to you. I‟m taking you home and I‟ll call

Tank. He can give me a ride back to my bike.”



“I‟m surprised that you care what my mother

thinks.”



“So am I,” I said, rolling up the windows. “So

am

I.”










284





Chapter Thirty

-

Seven

















Trevor drove me home and I invited him in.



“So where is your mother?” he asked as we

walked into the doorway.



I flipped on the lights and looked at the clock.

It was almost nine o‟clock. “She should be closing the

shop s

oon.”



“I‟d better get out of here then. She‟ll have a

fucking conniption if she sees me. I don‟t want to be

the cause of a woman having a heart

-

attack.”



“Actually, she won‟t be home for another

hour. They were going to grab a bite to eat before Jim

dropped



her off.”



Trevor smiled wickedly. “We have an hour?”

he said, walking toward me. “Excellent.”



I put my hand on his chest. “Wait a

second…”



He grabbed my hand and pulled it down to

the bulge in his pants. “I only need a few,” he said,

kissing my neck. “Com

e on, Kitten. I need to be

inside you again.”



“I don‟t know,” I whispered, feeling myself

already responding.






285





Trevor pushed my jacket over my shoulders

and it dropped to the floor. He picked me up and I

automatically wrapped my legs around his waist. “You



don‟t know? I think you do,” he said, walking toward

the steps, his hands gripping my ass tightly. “So, just

let it happen.”



And it did happen.



First in the bathtub, where he cleaned every

part of me, using the showerhead and his tongue.



Then in my bedro

om, where I finally got to

see how much of his cock I could fit into my mouth.



“Stop,” he said, after a few minutes.



I pulled my lips away from his penis. “What,

don‟t you like getting a blow job?” I asked, rubbing

up and down the base.



“Fuck, I love

getting a blow job,” he said,

cupping my mound. “But I love being inside of you

more.”



I climbed over him and rode his cock, rocking

back and forth as he held my hips, urging me faster.



“Fuck, you‟re so sexy,” he said cupping and

squeezing my breasts as I



stared down at him through

my hair.



Seconds later, I threw my head back, gasping

as I came for a third time, this one more intense than

the one I‟d just had in the shower.



“Damn,” he growled, flipping me onto my

back and then entering me again. “I felt t

hat, too. My

turn.”



I stared up at Trevor as he took charge,

pounding into me. At one point, he leaned down,

kissing me with a passion that I felt all the way to my




286





toes. It made me my heart flutter, almost bringing me

to tears and was enough to make me re

alize that I‟d

already fallen for him. Hard. I knew right then that I

didn‟t want to be anywhere else but with Trevor and

in his arms. Screw my mother. Screw the Gold

Vipers. Screw everything else. Trevor and I were all

that mattered.



He slowed down. “You

okay?” he asked,

touching my face.



“Only if you keep fucking me,” I said, pulling

his mouth back to mine so he wouldn‟t see the tears

in my eyes.



When it was his turn to come, I could feel

Trevor‟s cock pulsating inside of me as he stiffened

up and let go,



holding my hips so tightly that his

fingernails dug into my skin. Then, he collapsed on

top of me, both of us panting, sweaty, and spent.



“I think we should take another shower,” he

whispered, touching my damp forehead.



“I can but you can‟t. My mom‟s goin

g to be

home any minute.”



He sighed. “Have you ever thought of moving

into your own place?”



“I can‟t afford to. I‟m in college, remember?”



He stared at me for a few seconds and then

said, “Move in with me.”



My eyes widened. I laughed. “Right.”



He ran a fin

ger over my arm, giving me

goose

-

bumps. “I‟m serious.”



“You know, I







He put a finger to my lips. “Stop. Don‟t say

anything. I just wanted to throw that out there. I




287





know you‟re probably not ready for it. Hell, you‟re

not even ready for me, are you?”



I sw

allowed. “Actually,” I whispered. “I‟ve

been doing some thinking.”



“Thinking?” He grinned. “Sounds like

trouble.”



I slugged him in the arm.



“Just giving you shit, darlin‟. Now, tell me,

what exactly were you thinking?”



“We should keep seeing each other. B

ut

maybe keep it on the down low right now.”



He smirked. “The down low, huh?”



“Yeah.”



“What you mean is keep it from your

mother?”



I nodded.



He sighed. “Kitten, you shouldn‟t be lying to

her.”



“Yeah, but…”



“But, nothing. She‟s your mother and you‟re

an

adult. Tell her the truth.”



“The truth,” I repeated, now smirking myself.



“Yes,” he said, grabbing both my hands. He

turned them over and kissed my knuckles. “Tell her

you‟ve fallen for me and there‟s nothing she can do

about it.”



He already knew it, too.

I had definitely fallen

for him.



“And then I will tell her that she needs to

trust me. That I‟ll never let anything happen to her

daughter.”






288





“Easier said than done,” I said. “You‟ve met

her. You know she doesn‟t listen to you.”



“That‟s her problem then.”



I



sighed.



“What do you want from me?” he asked, his

eyes burning into mine. “I mean, really?”



“The same thing you want from me,” I said,

not really sure exactly what I was ready for. I could

pretty much guess what he wanted, however. Sex.

Lots of it.



“And w

hat is that?”



“This,” I said.



“You mean, sex?”



I nodded.



He smiled in amusement. “Is that it? You just

want me to fuck you?”



“Isn‟t that what you want?”



His face became serious. “Honestly? I want

much more than that. I want you on the back of my

bike. I w

ant you sitting next to me in the morning,

while we‟re eating breakfast. I want you picking out

sheets for our bed. I want to know what your favorite

kind of pizza is or how you like your burgers. I want

to know what kind of perfume you wear, because it

dr

ives me insane. Do I want

sex

? Fuck yes. But I also

want everything else, Kitten. That‟s what I want from

you.”



I couldn‟t help it. I smiled, my stomach full of

butterflies as I imagined waking up to him every

morning and eating breakfast. Taking showers

together. Shopping at Home Depot. Decorating our

Christmas tree together. It all sounded so romantic.






289





He smiled

back. “You have no idea how

beautiful you are when you smile. No idea.”



I was about to tell him that he wasn‟t so bad

on the eyes when I heard the front door open.



“Fuck, my mother,” I said, jumping out of his

arms.



He growled.



“Okay, um… just, stay here u

ntil she goes to

bed. I‟ll drive you back to your bike afterward,” I said,

pulling my robe on.



“Fine,” he said, looking pissed.



“You‟re mad at me,” I said, watching him get

out of bed.



“I‟m frustrated,” he said, walking toward my

bathroom where his clothes



were spread out on the

floor.



Sighing, I slipped out of my bedroom and met

my mother by the stairs.



“Hi, honey. How was the reception?‟ she

asked, yawning.



“It was… very sad.”



“I‟m sure. I called Bonnie and left her a

message. The poor woman,” she said

with a somber

expression. “I just can‟t imagine what today was like.

Seeing your daughter buried like that.”



“I know,” I said, suddenly feeling guilty about

the last couple of hours. My best friend was in the

ground and I‟d been acting like a sex addict wh

o‟d

finally gotten her fix.



Although,

Krystal



probably



would have been proud…



A loud thud from inside of my bedroom

startled us both.






290





“What‟s that noise?” she asked, pushing past

me to my door.



Fuck!



I followed her in, ready for an argument.



“Keep this

window closed,” she said, moving

to my bedroom window. “It‟s cold outside. You‟ll get

sick.”



I looked around, shocked that Trevor wasn‟t

inside. Then I realized that he‟d climbed out the

window, which I‟d done quite a few times myself as a

teenager. He was



quite a bit heavier than me,

however, and it made me wonder if the trellis was

broken.



Mom closed the window and locked it. Then

she turned to smile at me. “Guess what?”



“What?” I asked, moving next to her. I looked

outside, but didn‟t see any sign of him

.



“Jim asked me if I wanted to go away with

him for a weekend in January.”



I turned around, surprised. “Are you?”



“I think so,” she said, her cheeks flushed. “He

owns a cabin up north, and wants to take me

snowmobiling and ice

-

fishing.”



“You should go. It

will be good for you.”



“I‟m definitely going to consider it,” she

replied, walking toward the door. “He‟s such a nice

man. So thoughtful and polite.”



“He seems very nice from what I can tell.”



Her eyes sparkled. “You know, he has a

nephew who‟s single. A d

entist.”



I groaned. “Don‟t even think about trying to

set me up.”






291





“Maybe we‟ll invite him over for

Thanksgiving.”



“Mom…”



She grinned. “You should give him a chance,

Adriana.”



“Like you gave Trevor?”



Her smile vanished. “That was different, and

you know it.





“Trevor‟s a nice guy, Mom. He really is.”



“I don‟t care how nice he is,” she replied. “He

hangs out with bad people. You and I both know it.

Look at what happened to Krystal.”



“That wasn‟t Trevor‟s fault.”



She sighed wearily. “Are you really going to

rehash all of this? I thought you were through with

him anyway.”



“Maybe I am. Maybe I‟m not.”



Her lips pursed. “I knew when I saw him at

the funeral there would be trouble. I just knew it.”



I rubbed my forehead. “There wasn‟t any

trouble.”



“Right. That‟s w

hy you‟re bringing him up?”



“Seriously, Mom, I‟m tired of you treating me

like a child,” I said, resisting the urge to stomp my

foot.



“Then start thinking and acting like a level

-

headed adult.”



“You know, I think I know what my problem

is,” I said, more to



myself.



“That you‟re too trustworthy with men?” she

replied. “Or that you think you can change them?




292





Because you can‟t. Especially someone like him.

Someone who doesn‟t want to change.”



I glared at her. “No. My problem is that I let

you



run my life.”



Her

eyes widened. “That‟s not fair.”



“Not fair? Mom, I‟m twenty

-

one years old.

You insist on doing my laundry, cooking my meals,

even picking out my makeup. You‟ve not only spoiled

the hell out of me, but you‟ve made me feel like I owe

you.”



“What do you mean

, I make you feel like you

owe me?”



“I just…” I stammered. “I just feel like I‟m

living your life and not my own sometimes. You

wanted me to work at the shop, so I did. You‟re the

one who talked me into my college classes, you‟re the

one who picked out my

car. You even make my salon

appointments when you think I need a haircut. It‟s

just so frustrating.”



“Well, I‟m sorry,” she said, her eyes filling

with tears. “You‟re my daughter and all I have left.

Maybe I coddle you a little too much, but that‟s what

mo

thers do. I just want what‟s best for you.”



“Mom, you‟re not just coddling me, you‟re

smothering me.”



“You‟re exaggerating.”



“Am I? Hell, maybe Trevor is bad for me or

maybe he‟s the best thing that ever happened. But, I

won‟t know the truth if I continue



letting you make

all my decisions. You have to stop and I have to quit

allowing it to happen.”






293





She raised her hands in the air. “Fine, you

want to risk your life by hanging out with a hoodlum

like Trevor? Do it, but don‟t come crying to me when

he breaks

your heart, or ends up in jail.”



“Mom, you have to try and trust my judgment

a little better,” I said, softening my voice. “I‟m not

out to risk my life. I‟m not going to be joining their

club. I just want to get to know Trevor better, and if I

find out tha

t he‟s really no good for me, at least it‟s

my decision not to see him. Not yours.”



She wiped a couple tears from under her eyes.

“If anything ever happened to you, I don‟t know what

I‟d do,” she said. “Please, if you‟re going to see him,

be careful, Adria

na.”



I took her hands in mine. “Mom, I swear to

you, I‟ll jump ship the moment anything gets

dangerous or weird. Okay? I promise.”



“You‟d better.”



I sighed and gave her a hug.



“Don‟t you really want to work at the shop?”

she asked.



I pulled away. “I don‟t



know. I mean, I guess

it‟s fine for now and I do appreciate that you‟re letting

me work there. But, once I graduate from college, I‟ll

probably move on.”



“I understand that. But, remember, when I

die, the company is going to be yours. You need to

know how



to run it. It‟s our legacy, Adriana.”



I groaned. “Fine, but quit talking about dying.

That shouldn‟t happen for a very long time, Mom.”



“One can only hope, but we both know that

you can‟t predict the future,” she said.






294





“But, we choose the path that leads

us to it,” I

finished for her. “Yes, I know.”



She sighed wearily. “Well, I‟m going to take a

shower and then make some tea. Would you like a

cup? It‟s decaffeinated.”



“No. I‟m going to take a shower and get ready

for bed, too. But, thank you.”



“I love you,



Adriana. I‟ve only always wanted

what‟s best for you. You know that, right?”



“I know and I love you, too, Mom. More than

anything.”



She smiled sadly and left my room.










295





Chapter Thirty

-

Eight















After I almost broke my fucking neck

climbing out of

Adriana‟s window, I called Tank.



“Can you pick me up, brother?” I asked,

walking away from her place. As I passed by several

houses, I could see people watching me through their

curtains. Snooping.



Old Geezers.



“Where the fuck you at?” he asked. I could

h

ear music in the background and a girl giggling.



“Just left Adriana‟s place. I need a ride to my

bike.”



“Where is it?”



I told him.



He sighed. “Yeah, give me an address and I‟ll

shoot over there in twenty minutes.”



“Why twenty?”



“Because I was in the middle



of almost

getting my dick waxed when you called,” he snapped.



“Then you probably only need three

minutes,” I joked.






296





He chuckled. “You ain‟t kidding. This chick is

double

-

jointed, man. She can twist her body and

munch her own box if she wanted to.”



I

laughed. Apparently he was now dealing

with Krystal‟s death much better than he was earlier.

“Where‟d you meet her?”



“She‟s friends with one of the strippers. I

should take a picture of her and send it to you. Doll,

can you wrap your ankles over your neck

again?”



“No pictures. Just, hurry up. I need to get my

bike.”



“Fine. I‟ll see if I can get her to give me a

quick blow, since I‟ve got to come and pick your ass

up.”



“Sorry.”



“Bros before Hoes,” he whispered and then

let out a ragged breath. “Double jointe

d, though,

man. You owe me.”



“Get her number.”



“Fucking right I will.”



I noticed there was a coffee shop up the

street. I told him about it.



“Yeah, I think I know where that is.”



“It‟s closed but I‟ll be waiting for you on the

bench outside. Call me if you



get lost.”



“I doubt anyone can get lost in Jensen,” he

replied.



After we hung up, I sent Adriana a text,

letting her know where I was. She called me back.



“Guess what?‟ she said, a smile in her voice.



“What?”



“I told my mother about us.”






297





I grunted. “Reall

y. How‟d she take it?”



“She‟s not exactly thrilled, but… she‟s not

going to interfere.”



“Good. I didn‟t like sneaking out of your

bedroom like that. Not only did I bend your trellis,

but I felt like a punk ass kid slipping away in the

night.”



“You bent the



trellis?”



“Yeah, I can fix it though. No worries.”



“Where are you?”



“I‟m heading toward that coffee shop, Bella‟s

Brews. Tank is picking me up.”



“That‟s nice of him.”



“He‟s a real sweetheart, all right,” I said,

grinning. “We‟re BFFs you know.”



She giggle

d.”



“What are you doing tomorrow?”



“I have classes.”



“What about after?”



“To be honest, I‟m usually really busy during

the week with homework and school.”



“What about dinner? Or lunch? You have

time for that?”



She was silent for a couple seconds. “I‟ll

make

time.”



“Good. I‟ll pick you up and bring you back to

my place when you‟re free.”



“To eat?”



“Oh, I‟ll be eating pie. You can do whatever

you want,” I said, imaging her riding my face again.



She breathed in sharply. “You‟re so bad.”



“You like it when I

‟m bad. Admit it.”






298





She giggled. “I‟ll call you tomorrow. Between

classes. Okay?”



“I‟m counting on it.”



“Goodnight.”



“Goodnight, Kitten.”










299





Chapter Th

irty

-

Nine













Tank picked me up in his dad‟s black

Suburban.



“So, how was the reception?” he asked, as we



drove back toward it.



“Good.”



“You work things out with Adriana?”



I grinned. “Yes I did. A few times.”



He chuckled. “Can I smell your finger? I

didn‟t get any tonight. Least you can let me do.”



I held up my middle finger.



Tank laughed.



“Didn‟t you get

your BJ?”



His smile fell. “No. She took off. I‟m

supposed to call her tomorrow.”



“You going to?”



“She‟s a fucking contortionist. Of course I‟m

going to call her.”



I laughed.



“So, you going to make Adriana your Old

Lady now, or what?”



“As far as I‟m concern

ed, she is my Old

Lady.”



“You need to make it official.”






300





“I will. Just need to ease her into it.”



“Ease her into it? You must really dig this

chick,” he said, pulling out a pack of cigarettes. “You

mind?”



I was probably one of the only guys in the

club tha

t didn‟t smoke. “No,” I said, cracking a

window.



“Fuck, I still can‟t believe those fuckheads

killed her, man,” he said, lighting his cigarette.



“What‟s the deal on that? We coming down

hard on them, or what?”



“Hell, yeah. We have to be careful though.

Th

e Old Man still isn‟t sure who the informant is.”



“I have no fucking clue either.”



He was silent for a few minutes. “So, this is

how it‟s going to be





we‟re going to lay low for a

couple of months, and then when the time comes,

blow their fucking club up.



Take everyone in that

Chapter out. That way the word on the streets will be

that nobody fucks with us or our women. Nobody.”



Taking them all out seemed extreme to me,

but I wasn‟t the one making those decisions. “You

know where they set up their new camp?





“Yeah. They‟re north. Up in Minnesota.

Hayward, I think. It‟s only four hours away.”



“Huh.”



He grinned darkly. “It‟s going to be beautiful,

brother. Beautiful. I‟m going to take Mud out

myself.”



“The Mother Chapter is going to want to

retaliate,” I said,



knowing that the rest of the Devil‟s

Rangers wouldn‟t stand for it.






301





“We‟ll worry about that when the time

comes,” he said. “Besides, Pop says he‟s already

talked to Bastard.”



Bastard was the original founder of the Gold

Vipers. An old vet who still led th

e Mother Chapter in

Sacramento. 



“What he say?”



“We wouldn‟t be going forward if he wasn‟t

backing us.”



“Shit‟s going to get ugly.”



“Far as I‟m concerned, it can‟t get any uglier

than it already is,” said Tank, clenching his teeth.

“Not after what they

did to Krystal.”



I held out my fist.



He smacked it with his.










302





Chapter Forty















For the next three weeks, Trevor and I spent

as much time together as we could. When we weren‟t

making love, we were taking walks, renting movies, or

he was teaching me how to cook.



“I have to say, this is a good fucking omelet,”

he said one morning after



I‟d stayed overnight. I‟d

made him something called a “Denver Omelet.” I‟d

found the recipe online. “Your cooking skills have

greatly improved.”



“I have a good teacher,” I said, smiling as I

poured him another glass of orange juice. His

compliment made me



giddy, though. I actually

enjoyed cooking and wanted to please him. It was a

trait I knew had come from my mother. Making her

man happy.



He set his fork down on his empty plate and

pulled me onto his lap. “This is great, isn‟t it?” he

whispered, moving my



hair to the side. “I mean, it

feels like were married sometimes. I like it.”



I grinned. “You do?”



He kissed my lips. “Don‟t you?”






303





“I guess so. I mean, I know sometimes

married couples don‟t have sex very often,” I teased.



“That‟s never going to be us,” he



said. “In

fact,” he gulped down his orange juice and then

pushed everything off of the kitchen table and onto

the linoleum, startling the hell out of me.



“Trevor!”



“Don‟t worry. I‟ll take care of it.”



“Good.” Although nothing broke, there was

still a mess

.



“What are you doing?” I asked as he stood up

and walked over to the refrigerator. He grabbed a

bottle of maple syrup and walked back over.



“I need dessert,” he said, grabbing the front

of the white muscle shirt I was wearing. The one he‟d

loaned me.



“De

ssert?”



He ripped the cotton away from my chest and

tossed it aside. With one hand on my right breast, he

reached down for my panties.



“Don‟t you dare rip them; they‟re my best

pair.”



Trevor grabbed me around the waist, picked

me up, and set me down on the



table. Then he pulled

my underwear down and placed them by his nose.

“Mm… they smell nice, too.”



My face turned red.



Chuckling, he pushed me down on the table

and wrapped my legs over his shoulders. His face

became serious. “I‟m going to make you come so

hard, darlin‟.” There was a hungry fierceness in his

eyes that made me instantly wet. “Then I‟m going to




304





fuck the shit out of you until you‟re screaming my

name and I‟m coming all over your beautiful body.

Afterward, we‟re going to go and buy you some new

panties. The crotchless kind, so I can

take



you

anywhere and everywhere. You feel me?”



My throat became so dry that I had to

swallow. “Yes. I feel you, Trevor.”



He grabbed the bottle of syrup and held it

over my crotch. My eyes widened as I realized what

h

e was about to do.



“Are you really



” I asked as he squeezed the

bottle. I squealed as the cold syrup hit my labia and

dribbled down. I shivered. “It‟s… cold.”



He set the bottle down and grabbed my hips.

“This is where I warm it up.”



When Trevor‟s lips to

uched my sex and he

began licking, I gasped in delight.



“Mm… that‟s yummy,” he whispered, flicking

his tongue up, down, and around my clit.



Moaning, I grabbed his head, wrapping my

fingers in his hair as he sucked and devoured the

maple syrup. Then he ad

ded his fingers, pressing

deep, finding that spot while his tongue worked that

magic on my nub. He kept a steady rhythm as the

pressure began to build and the need to release

became more and more intense. Soon, I was

squirming and pushing against his face,



pulling at his

hair, and squeezing my nipples all at the same time,

until he added just enough pressure to make me

scream out an orgasm that rocked me to the core.



“That‟s my girl,” he said huskily.






305





“Oh, my God, Trevor,” I said, trying to catch

my breat

h.



He stood up and shoved his jeans to the floor.

“I‟m not finished with you,” he said, pulling me off

the table. Grabbing my by the hips, he turned me

around and bent me over his dinette. Then he was

ramming into me, his hands on my breasts, both of us

gr

unting like wild animals.



“I love this,” he growled into my ear as he

leaned over me, pounding away at my pussy. “I love

you. Fuck, I love you.”





“I love you, too,” I replied, my eyes filling

with tears.



Gasping, he thrust into me two more times,

and then



stiffened up as he came, holding me so

tightly that I could barely breathe.



“Trevor, too tight,” I whispered hoarsely.



He chuckled and released me. “Sorry,” he

said, pulling out.



“It‟s okay.”



He turned me around and looked into my

eyes. “You are on the

pill, right?”



“Yes,” I replied. “I told you that last week.”



“Good, but I just want you to know that if

anything ever happened, I‟d take care of you and the

baby. You know that.”



I nodded.



He relaxed. “So, did you mean it?” he asked,

smiling again. “Do yo

u really love me?”



“Yes,” I said, grinning up at him. “I love you,

Trevor.”






306





He pulled a strand of my hair. “I love you,

too. I wasn‟t just saying it.”



“I didn‟t think you were.”



“I want you to be my Old Lady,” he said

suddenly.



I stiffened up. I knew how

much this meant

to bikers. I just wasn‟t sure if I liked the idea of being

just his „Old Lady‟. “Explain exactly what that

means.”



“You‟re my woman. Nobody else will mess

with you. You‟re going to wear my patch, Kitten.”



“So, in the biker world, you wear a



patch. Not

a… ring.”



He grinned. “I‟ll get you a ring, too, babe.”



“As in...”



“An engagement ring,” he said. “I want you to

marry me.”



My eyes widened in shock. “Marriage?”



“Eventually. Isn‟t that what you want?”



“I…” I smiled. “Yes. Of course.” I felt so



much love for him in that moment that I didn‟t think

I‟d want anything less.



He kissed my knuckles. “Well, then. That‟s

that. We patch you, first, and then once you‟re

finished with school, we get hitched.”



“Okay.”



“When do you want to tell your mother?”



I sighed. She was going to flip her lid. “Do we

have to? Maybe we could tell her on our fifth

anniversary?”






307





He chuckled. “I hear you, darlin‟, but she

needs to know. She‟s going to be a grandmother

someday. I want kids, you know. Lots of them.”



“Okay,” I r

eplied, excited that he wanted kids.

Something told me he was going to be a wonderful

father. “We‟ll tell her.

After



you get me a ring.”



“She‟s going to know when we buy the ring,”

he said. “Obviously.”



“Oh yeah,” I said, laughing nervously.



“You know we c

an‟t go anywhere else to buy

you a ring. She already dislikes me. If I went to

another jeweler, she‟ll really fucking hate me.”



“True,” I said, my stomach already in a

multitude of knots as I thought about telling her.



“It‟s going to be all right,” he said

, staring into

my eyes. “I‟ll take care of you. You know that, right?”



“I know.”



“Good,” he said, kissing me again. “Now,

why don‟t you go and take a shower. I‟ll clean up and

then we‟ll go and talk to Slammer about our plans.”



“Okay,” I said.



I left the k

itchen, feeling nervous about the

whole thing. Although I loved him, I was still scared

about what it meant. Now, I‟d have to wear a patch,

not to mention a ring. I‟d promised my mother that

I‟d keep the biker world separate from what he and I

had together

. But now, I knew it couldn‟t be. It was

all or nothing.



As I took my shower, I began to relax. I‟d met

some of his friends who were in the Gold Vipers the

last couple of weeks, and they seemed nice. Their Old

Ladies had also been very cool. They weren‟t a

t all




308





what I‟d pictured them to be and were definitely not

pushovers. In fact, they seemed very independent and

well respected.



I can do this

, I thought, drying myself off with

the towel.

I will do this.



After I got dressed, I walked out of the

bathroom

and that‟s when I heard him arguing with

someone.



“It‟s not mine,” said Trevor in a firm voice.



“It is yours, Trevor. He‟s sterile and you‟re the

only other person I‟ve been with.”



My heart stopped.



It was Brandy.



“You‟re lying,” he said loudly.



She began



to cry. “No, I‟m not. Listen to me,

we can do this. Didn‟t you always say that you wanted

a son, Trevor? Now we can have one. We can start

over.”



“I don‟t want to start over with you, Brandy.

We‟re done.”



I turned the corner and both of them looked

at me.



“She‟s pregnant?” I asked, my voice hollow.



“Yes, I am,” she said haughtily.



He gave her a venomous look. “So she says, I

doubt it‟s mine.”



“But, it could be?” I asked.



“It‟s yours, Trevor! We were together six

weeks ago. I‟m six weeks pregnant!”



I‟d kno

wn him for five.



I grabbed my purse and walked toward the

stairs.






309





“Wait a second, where are you going?” he

asked, coming up behind me.



I turned around. Deep down in my gut, I

knew the baby was his. I just knew it. “Obviously you

two need to work things ou

t,” I said, my eyes filling

with tears.



“Bullshit,” he said. “She can leave. Not you.”



“Trevor, I‟m carrying your child. We‟ve

known each other for two years. You‟re going to kick

me out of here for

her

?” snapped Brandy.



He turned around and pointed his fi

nger at

her. “Shut the fuck up, Brandy. You can‟t just walk

back into my life, say you‟re pregnant, and think that

everything is going to go the way you want it. Even if

it‟s my fucking kid.”



I let out a ragged sigh and headed downstairs

for the door.



He f

lew down them and grabbed my arm.

“Wait. Don‟t you leave me, Adriana.”



“Could this baby be yours?‟



He sighed loudly. “I don‟t know. There‟s a

chance, I guess. It happened before I met you. It was

a mistake, obviously.” He pulled me into his arms. “I

hope

to fuck that you believe it.”



I nodded.



“I‟ll make her leave,” he whispered into my

hair.



I pulled away. “No. I‟ll leave. You two have a

lot to talk about.”



He rubbed the back of his neck and laughed

angrily. “This is such fucking bullshit.”



“I know. Call

me.”






310





Trevor‟s face was filled with anguish as he

pulled me into his arms and kissed me deeply. “I love

you,” he said, releasing me.



“I love you, too,” I answered, turning away

quickly to avoid his eyes.



“I‟ll call you.”



All I could do was nod, I was so ch

oked up.



After I left the house, I cried.



Now that she was pregnant, I knew our

relationship was doomed. I was so upset, that I

stopped and grabbed a bag of fast

-

food, not even sure

what I‟d ordered. I brought it back home and scarfed

it all down. Ten min

utes later, I threw it all up and

cried some more.





***





Trevor didn‟t call me until the next day. He

apologized and said that Brandy was going to go in

for DNA testing in the next couple of months, to

make sure the baby was really his.



“So, where is she

now?” I asked.



He was quiet.



“Did she leave?”



He sighed. “I let her move in.”



My heart stopped. “What?”



“She doesn‟t have anywhere to go, but listen

to me. I hate that fucking bitch. She‟s only here

because if she

is



carrying my child, I want to protect

hi

m.”



He was already calling the baby, „him‟.






311





“I understand,” I said, the tears spilling from

my eyes. He wasn‟t breaking up with me but it sure

felt the same. My heart was being crushed and neither

of us were really even responsible.



“Are you crying?”



“No,”



I lied.



“I love you, Adriana. No matter what

happens, I still want to marry you. Even if this baby is

mine, this thing won‟t affect „us‟. You feel me?”



“Yes,” I lied again. Somehow I knew that if

the baby was his, it was over for us. Really over. 






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