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Authors: Evelyn Glass

Bishop's Folly

BOOK: Bishop's Folly
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, events, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.

 

Bishop’s Folly copyright @ 2015 by Evelyn Glass. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.

 

Book 2 of the
Seven Tribesmen Motorcycle Club
trilogy

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Plastic sheets rattled beneath Bishop as he grunted and rolled over. Ambient atmosphere drifted through his senses. Bitter sterility, chortling nurses, beeping machines. Every little detail sunk into his brain until it registered.

 

Hospital.

 

Bishop jolted upright and grunted. His eyes flew open just as pain laced through his chest. A hiss of pain flew from his lips as he pressed a palm to his chest. Sharp pain sliced through him, momentarily constricting his breath. The pull at his inner elbow subconsciously informed the man that he was attached to an IV. It wasn't the injury or invasive needle that disturbed the man, though. Flashes of memory flickered by his mind's eye. The Rusty Bear, waiting for Stella, her screams, charging into a fight, blood, and bullets.

 

A chilling tingle raced up Bishop's spine. His gaze swept across the room, a headache bridging his temples. What happened to Stella? His crew? The asswipes who attacked Stella?

 

The door opened suddenly, catching the man's sight. Stella stood there, eyes slightly wide as she and Bishop exchanged stares. Relief flooded through her, seeing him up for the first time since the ordeal. However, she steeled herself and gripped the fast food bags tightly, throwing the man a small smile. “Good, you're up.”

 

Equally, Bishop felt intense comfort to see Stella upright. No bruises, no casts, no hospital bed needed. She was unharmed as far as he could tell. Fear alleviated, Bishop's guts pitched with hunger suddenly and voraciously. His gaze flickered from Stella to the food, one thought resounding in his head despite his hunger. “How are the Seven Tribesmen?”

 

She situated herself in a nearby chair. The strong scent of grilled beef and condiments tickled at Bishop's nose. His ravenous hunger almost made him miss Stella's answer, “Mr. Shupe is in critical condition, but the doctors are confident a young guy like him will pull through. The rest are fine.”

 

Newb was in bad condition. Not surprising since he took some nasty blows and quite a few bullets. Bishop's worries were slightly assuaged knowing the doctors were confident of his recovery. His thoughts swirled around the other men. What did 'fine' mean? Were they intact and free or were they slightly battered and behind bars? “They in jail?”

 

“I told the local PD you all were trying to help me. They decided to not pursue charges.” Stella edged closer, placing the two bags on a nearby table. She didn't seem able to meet his gaze. Confusion and embarrassment flitted through her head. She felt like she was giving into Bishop's desired worldview. As if she would allow the Seven Tribesmen off assault and battery charges, simply for being a gang. Part of her began to understand the allure of their protection.

 

“You've been out for about a day and a half.” Stella distracted herself by unloading the grease stained bags of their contents. With deft hands, she laid out the hamburgers and fries she had bought. Bishop's stomach churned with hunger. The woman rolled the table over to his bed, forced joviality in her voice, “Hungry?”

 

Bishop nodded, eager to fill his grumbling gut. He rolled the table closer himself and dug into the two burgers and large fries. The fatty food felt heavenly on his tongue. His stomach burbled as he chewed, as if purring in anticipation of his soon-to-be digested meal. Bishop didn't even notice Stella go without food.

 

“The doctors say your left lung was grazed by the bullet. Your recovery time is entirely dependent upon your health.” The woman airily conversed, picking at a scrape on the arm of the chair. Her mind replayed those early hours of fear after she awoke from the chloroform. Between her own physical, muzzy memories, and updates on Arthur, Stella's emotions had been wrung tight. Now, they wiggled limply through her mind. In their place, even more concerns streamed into her head.

 

With Bishop conscious, her mind seemed to stew in a billion thoughts. Her gaze tore away from the arm of the chair to his face. Even as Bishop stuffed his maw, Stella found herself admiring him. The way his strong jaw worked, the muscles twitching along his cheek, the way his Adam's apple bobbed with every swallow. Stella shook away the thoughts with irritation. The man had just survived being shot, and she was admiring his aesthetics while he ate. How shallow was she? Stella knew her thoughts weren't operating entirely on superficial reasons.

 

Bishop had seen her caught in the throes of danger and charged in. He had risked his life and – due to his own actions – risked the lives of his motorcycle club for her. Stella still grappled with the thought. Her gaze averted to her lap where her fingers twisted around each other. In an uncharacteristically soft voice, Stella murmured, “Thank you for saving me.”

 

Bishop couldn't bring himself to meet Stella's eyes. He couldn't help replaying the conversation between himself and Coyote before the brawl. A lick of heat tingled at his cheeks. He ignored his embarrassment with a shrug of his shoulders and a diversion, “So, have you found out anything about those men? They involved in your little drug bust?”

 

“I don't know,” Stella sighed. She leaned back in her chair, irritation clearly displayed on her face. A fire burned unpleasantly in her chest, making her all the more uncomfortable. She didn't bring her gaze from her fingers. Her digits fiddled desperately, tugging at the hem of her tee-shirt as she spoke, “Since I'm the victim, I'm too involved to question them, so Stan is taking care of it. But it probably has to do with the drug investigation.”

 

Bishop pondered the information as he chewed and swallowed his food. The fact Stella couldn't join in on the interrogation made sense. She'd be too conflicted or even traumatized to be in the same room as the men. However, one thing still nagged at Bishop's mind. “How'd they find out where you'd be?”

 

“Not sure, but we aren't really discreet.” Stella's face burned as their prior interactions lit through her mind. From the tense initial interrogation, to the shed, to the night he took her to her temporary home. Hell, they had messed around in her office –
with her co-workers on the other side of the wall
– hours before the attempted abduction.

 

Bishop bristled at Stella's words. His own guts pinched with sour feelings of responsibility. However, if Stella were saying what his presumptions thought she was, uneasy fire flickered in his thoughts. He wanted her to absolve him, to put out the flames of rue. “You came to the Rusty Bear of your own free will.”

 

“At your request.”

 

“You're blaming
me
for this?” Almost instantly, the heat of regret took over his thoughts. It was his fault she had been in the parking lot of the Rusty Bear. Her vulnerable state was on him. Bishop bulked at the very thoughts that originated and swarmed his brain.

 

“No, of course not.” Stella's gaze bounced up to him, her eyebrows furrowed. Did she even sound accusatory? It seemed obvious that
someone
would have noticed their prolonged moments with each other and, possibly, the intimate rendezvous. And he was the one who initiated the flirtatious and outright naughty interactions. “But you
have
been following me, and apparently people noticed.”

 

Bishop still battled between his own guilt and the assumption Stella blamed him. Fire lit into his grey eyes as he balled up the hamburger wrapper. Over the rattle of the paper, he grunted, “You didn't need to accept my invitation.”

 

Stella's blush flared, and her eyes jerked away from him. If Stella hadn't gone, Bishop wouldn't have gotten shot and his club member wouldn't be in the ICU. She was just as much to blame. If Stella had been adamant against Bishop, the dalliances would have been cut short. No flirtation would have been welcome, no invitation given, and no feelings writhing inside her chest.

 

“I need to go.” Stella shot to her feet as the hot cords of emotion pierced through her heart. Inexplicably, she began to feel tingly and warm. Not altogether unpleasant, but definitely unwelcome. It sent her mind reeling with confusion and irritability. She could feel Bishop's gaze on her, which only exacerbated her hot, sticky feelings. “Tons of work to do, even if I can't question the men who attacked me. I can't waste time here.”

 

With that, Stella ducked out the door, slamming it shut behind her.

 

Bishop was left behind, staring at the entryway. Confusion and curiosity ebbed into his brain, slightly subduing his indignant frustration. Something seemed off in Stella. He shook the musings away as a migraine cracked against his skull. Quietly, he turned back to his fries, now lukewarm, and chewed on one thoughtfully. Bishop couldn't help his thoughts rounding back on Stella, his eyes flickering to the door again.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Stella resisted the urge to rub her arms as she walked into the police department. The whole drive back from the hospital, she couldn't shake her flurrying guilt and frustrations. She suddenly felt extremely vulnerable and raw. Especially under the eyes of fellow officers of the law. The fact that someone knew about her and Bishop – even if it was based on assumptions – made a knot tighten in her throat. She started for her office, trying to refocus her mind on work.

 

“Hey, Stella!” She almost got into her office when Stan came jogging up the opposite side of the corridor. The woman stopped and shoved all her emotions away. Her partner already made comments about her and Bishop. She didn't want it exacerbated if he sensed her confusion. The man slowed to a stop a few feet in front of her, walking at a leisurely pace to close the distance. His eyes flickered over her body, his voice wrought with concern, “How're you doing?”

 

“I'm fine” Stella forced a smile to her face despite her inner turmoil.

 

Stan nodded. His eyebrows dipped into a low 'v' as he hesitated. Finally, he asked, “And Bishop?”

 

Well, there was no hiding it. Trying to remain nonchalant, Stella shrugged a shoulder. “He just woke up before I left. Did you find out anything from the guys who attacked me?”

 

“Most of them are still in the hospital, either unconscious or refusing to talk until their lawyer is present,” Stan replied, his face pinched with blatant annoyance. His gaze drifted away from Stella, as if to take in the rest of the PD. Her own eyes followed. Around the two of them, officers went about their daily duties. Papers fluttered, phones rang, and light chatter was made. To Stella, she felt as if she were in a bubble offset from the rest of the world.

 

“Do you think it's all right to trust Bishop?”

 

Stella jolted, just slightly. She blinked as her eyes drew back to Stan's face. He looked at her, his face painted with uncertainty and worry. “Why are you asking me that?”

 

“I've just been thinking,” muttered Stan, his eyebrows dipping lower. The creases in his forehead deepened as his voice dropped softly, “He invited you to the Rusty Bear, and then you just happened to get attacked.”

 

“You think Bishop set it all up?” Stella's eyes widened, her pulse quickened. The thought blindsided her prior worries, completely barreling into them and demolishing whatever thoughts crept in the shadows of her synapses. Criminals were known to pull convoluted schemes to rid themselves of blame and avert the public's gaze. However, part of Stella couldn't believe it. “Then why would he rush in to save me?”

 

“Be the hero, garner your trust, get the Seven Tribesmen off the federal radar?” Stan shifted from foot to foot as he listed the possibilities.

 

“Never thought of it like that,” murmured Stella, still caught in disbelief. Bishop wasn't conniving. Except in the shed, when he surprised her with a kiss – sexual assault, though Stella couldn't say she minded it – to give them an alibi. Or on her date with Stan, when his very approach and flirtation sent the date to the dumpster.

 

Stella pressed her lips together tightly, concern bubbling in her guts. A pain clenched at her heart, which Stella ignored fervently. If Bishop really was behind her assault, behind her attempted abduction, was he puppeteering anything else? Her thoughts flew to the redhead he brought into the department. She swallowed, both dreading the answer and needing to get the discussion off Bishop. “Has Ms. Sampson's statement hooked anything, yet?”

 

“Not yet.” Stan shook his head, unaware of Stella's inner emotions.

 

“Well, she told us they are getting the shipments in through sugar, right?” Stella scrabbled to the new lifeline. No more Bishop. Her head and her heart couldn't take it. She needed to focus on business, particularly the cocaine ring. “How about we check to see if any grocers or bakeries are expecting a delivery soon?”

 

“Sounds like a plan.” Once Stan nodded in agreement, the woman started for her office again. Before she got too far, her partner piped up yet again, “Stella?”

 

Stella paused in her office doorway. She eyed Stan with wariness. Was he going to ask about Bishop again? Her fingers clawed into the metal framework of her door, waiting in silent anticipation.

 

The man nibbled on his bottom lip as his downcast eyes shifted back and forth. He shifted his footing before bringing his gaze back up to Stella. Her chest constricted with warmth. “I'm here for you if you need anything, OK?”

 

Stella nodded, eyes falling to the floor. She dallied in the doorway for a breath. Quietly, she muttered, “Thank you, Stan.”

 

With the door securely separating them, Stella didn't see Stan's concern melt away. The man stood there for a breath, staring at the door with a look of consternation. He started down the corridor, palming his cellphone out of his pocket as he walked. Stan ducked into his own office brightly lit and filled with the comforting scent of coffee. On the other end of his cellphone, someone cut the ringing short by picking up. Stan's eyebrows lowered as he growled, “Bishop's up. What are you going to do about him?”

 

BOOK: Bishop's Folly
4.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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