Authors: Nicole Snow
For the first time, I gazed into his eyes, drilling down deep to see if I could find anything sinister. Thank God. There was nothing there but shock, surprise, and – was I seeing it right? – concern.
I shrugged, calming as I allowed him to reach by me. I eyed the patches on his cut. One tag said VP – just like Reaper. STINGER was stitched next to it.
“Fuck me. It's empty.” He zipped up the bag and slammed the compartment shut. “Fucking forgot I gave my last jerky to Moose before the ride in...”
“That's okay,” I said, ignoring the hunger rumbling in my stomach. “I've survived worse.”
“I see that,” he said, looking me up and down. “Shit, you're gonna need something to cover those legs for the ride. Can't get on the road with you like that. Hold on.”
My ears perked up. He almost sounded reluctant when he talked about covering me up. He walked to the truck parked nearby, rummaged around in the backseat, and then returned a couple minutes later with an oversized pair of jeans.
“Put these on. They might be a little big, but they'll do. Had a feeling my brother, Moose, had something in there his daughter left behind...”
I rolled them up, trying not to blush. Something about dressing right in front of him activated my modesty more than him holding me in nothing but this crappy shirt and my panties. Having pants around my waist again made me feel more human too.
“Thanks,” I said, giving them one more pull around my waist.
“No problem. And, baby, anytime you're ready to talk about what those assholes did to you in there, you come to me. I'll bring Blaze in on it. The Prez is looking for a damned good reason to tear into these pricks. If they hurt a single fucking hair on your pretty head, just say the word. We'll come back and make sure these cocks never fuck with anybody again.”
His stare was so intense. For a second, I lost myself in his dark brown eyes, and then I began to notice the rest of his face for the first time.
The man – Stinger? Was that really his name? – was pretty handsome. Rough masculine beauty shined through, like bright stars breaking through my fog.
Medium, slightly shaggy brown hair hung down his forehead, flecked with sweat after the intense standoff inside the clubhouse. The imposing stare melted the longer I looked, and his strong jaw tightened in a smile, forming dimples on his cheeks.
He was older than me by a good ten years – maybe more – and what I could see of his body peeking through his tight clothes said he'd lived a very different life. His bare arms were hard, sculpted, ready for anything. Maybe some things I didn't want to know about.
He'd earned his wild strength somehow. I suspected it had a lot to do with the way he'd also gotten the fearsome looking ink crawling up his arms.
Several symbols on his skin jumped out at me before he moved: pitchforks, skulls, phrases written in small, crabbed writing I couldn't quite read.
The crap the Rams wore on their clothes and their skin had looked pretty ferocious too. That made it all the more surprising that the man next to me was acting like a perfect gentleman. Nothing like his devilish tattoos suggested.
“I get it. You don't need to say shit right now. Not to me, Blaze, or anybody else. Just rest, baby. You've been through the fucking grinder.” He slowly slid his hand on my shoulder and urged me to lean back. “Hey, you got a name?”
Then he sat down on the bike in front of me, reaching for my hands, gently lifting them around his waist.
“Alice,” I said.
I wondered why it was so easy to remember my name but nothing else. My mind was all twisted in knots, like I'd just gotten off a rollercoaster. Everything was like quicksand, shaken to pieces and slowly sinking.
God, could I even be sure the brutes with the Rams patches had tried to force themselves on me a couple days ago?
“No shit? You mean like the girl in the fantasy book?”
“Sure. Just as long as you take me home to wonderland on this thing.”
He laughed. It was a marvelous sound, smooth and masculine as he looked.
“I'm Stinger,” he said, tapping the patches on his breast with the name tag and VP lettering. “You remember that. That's the name you're gonna speak if you need anything, baby. Anything at all. Long as you yell, I'll come runnin', morning, noon, or night. Stick with me, and you'll be fine. Cross my fucking heart.”
He slashed a sign across his shoulders like he really meant it. For all I knew, this whole damned thing was an act. If it was, then he deserved an award for the most charming, convincing liar I'd ever met. Or at least the best one I could remember meeting.
“I won't forget,” I said. “Doesn't seem like the kinda name anybody forgets.”
“Fuck no.” A serious edge crept into his voice. “I always leave my mark on people one way or another. Friend, foe, brother...when I see somebody or something worth fighting for, I'm there, and it'll take a whole fucking army to keep me away. I'm not used to taking a damned thing lightly.”
Is he serious?
I started to wonder if my screwed up state was making me hear more drama, more promise, in his voice than what was really there.
“Lay back and hold on tight, Alice. I'll get you somewhere safe in no time. This ride's pretty damned comfortable once we get going, believe it or not.”
I listened, settling back in my seat and folding my hands around him. It was a little awkward touching a man so close, so intimately, when I barely knew him.
Stinger wasn't fazed. He probably gave girls rides like this all the time, and I felt silly taking so long to realize it.
When he didn't feel enough pressure in my hands, he reached down, and shoved them together tight, pressing them around his waist.
“You keep them together just like that. Lean into me if you have to. I'm your support.”
And he was. Seriously. I shifted up a little and took his advice, resting my head on his shoulder. His warmth and unforgettable scent instantly made things better. I didn't even flinch as the Harley rumbled to life and pulled up near the other empty bikes waiting for their riders.
I looked down. PRAIRIE DEVILS MC, MONTANA was written in a ribbon flowing across his back, surrounding a grinning devil's face flanked by pitchforks. A small red diamond patch off to the side contained the 1% symbol, outlined in blood red.
Didn't have a clue what it meant, except the Rams had it too, a pale white 1% patch stitched on their cuts.
A few minutes later, the same burly guys I'd seen before wearing Stinger's colors came walking out, heading for their bikes and the lone truck parked behind us. All the vehicles fired up and joined us. We rode out in the middle of the three bikes, with the truck in the rear.
Stinger was right about one thing: I was completely in his hands now, for better or worse. And all I could do was survive in the present while the past and future swirled like thick fog.
I pressed my hands tight to Stinger's waist, tracing his hard abs as the bikes hit the highway. Each time I shifted my hands, his belly jerked a little beneath me.
Mumbling apologies, I locked my fingers together and held them in a spot just above his waist. There was something oddly comforting about this close, human contact after I'd been away from the living and sane for so long. His warmth, his strength, the sturdy control he kept over his ride made me feel more secure than anything I could remember.
Exhaustion caught up to me and I relaxed my face on his shoulder. The strange half-dreamy state I slipped into was a hundred times more soothing than all the hours I'd slept in that rotten closet.
Just before I lost consciousness, I could've sworn I felt his hand on mine near the belt, strong and reassuring, making the same promise in his squeeze that I'd felt in his arms and seen in his face.
Stinger's the only word you need to know from now on,
his fingers said.
Doesn't matter if you can't remember where the hell you came from or your last hot meal.
As long as you remember me, you've got a fighting chance, and I'm gonna fight for you, baby. Cross my heart and hope to fucking die.
hank fuck Blaze and Tank were right by my side when I saw her. If it hadn't been for my brothers, I might've turned to stone gawking like a fucking idiot as she stumbled outta that ratty storage space, but only after my dick beat me to it first.
The girl was beautiful. Yeah, it was a strange kinda beauty with her messed up hair and dark smudge marks all over her hands and legs. But a red blooded man knows a girl who'd be a knockout with a hot shower when he sees one.
Christ, what the fuck was she doing in nothing but a striped shirt and panties? What the fuck did the Rams
I was on her before the Prez or the big guy could move another muscle. When she collapsed on my chest, I wrapped my arms tight and pulled her in.
It was like lightning, thunder, rain. A crazy typhoon surged up inside me, blasting every inch of my brain, trying to keep my muscles from twitching.
Lust died down a few degrees. Now, cradling her like this, I was fucking pissed. The MCs who treated their girls like shit always landed themselves a spot on my personal shit list. Maybe that had something to do with Beth, or maybe I just didn't like seeing dudes in my world acting like fucking worms.
Regardless, I had to hold on. I had to help her.
had to make the filthy spot in my head that controlled my dick settle down and take a breather before I lost my fucking mind. I knew it wouldn't be easy just seeing her, but feeling her? Having her pressed up against me like this, shaking those pretty pert tits on my cut every time she trembled?
I was glad the Prez let me move fast to get her outta there. Blaze was just as pissed off as ever, and he wanted me out so he could lay into the Rams without her in the way. Not to mention get Mickey's body somewhere it'd never trouble anyone again.
When I got some pants on her and put her on my bike, I'd tamed the horny demon in my skull as much as I could.
I was really concerned. More than just wondering how I'd get my dick wet. No joke.
Everything about the girl said she'd been through some serious shit. We'd have to do something about that as soon as I got her back to the clubhouse. I wasn't used to playing nurse, no, but I'd damned sure do whatever I could to make her comfortable while we waited for the nod from Blaze to tear the Rams' dicks off for what they'd done.
We made small talk on my Harley, and then she finally laid against me to rest for the long drive to Missoula. Took real energy to keep my eyes on the road during the drive.
My brain was too busy feeling her curves against me, aching to feel her laid out in the other direction, right on my lap. Alice – that's what she said her name was – felt good. Fucking right.
When we stopped to refuel, she was still snoozing. I settled her back and let my goddamned eyes roam all over places they shouldn't have, across her plush tits, up her snowy neck, devouring her raven black hair. Then they shot down, crawling over her wide hips, burning every curve of her nice long legs into my memory.
My dick started straining again like the relentless fucker he was. I squeezed the pump in my hands hard, crushing the metal handle 'til my hand went numb.
By the time we got to the clubhouse, my pulse was going mad, beating like a hammer in my pants. Normally, I would've made a straight line for the club whores. I ached so bad I would've taken Marianne and Sangria both, hauling them into bed and fucking them blind, imagining they were both half as hot as the black haired beauty riding bitch on my bike.
Too bad there was shit to do, and nobody else seemed too concerned about making sure she was settled in.
It was all up to me. My job to make sure Alice was safe, settled, fed, and warm. Reb and big bearded Moose crawled out of the truck behind me, both of them shooting me curious nods as I stepped off the bike, knelt down, and shook her.
She didn't want to budge, moaning like it hurt to come outta the deep coma she was in. Girl must've needed a lotta beauty sleep with a bod like that.
Fuck it. No way was I leaving her out in the open. Scooping her up, I carried her straight to my club room, the same spartan little hole in the wall I called home. Soon I'd be looking for a proper place in town like some of the other brothers.
Wished like hell I'd gotten an apartment sooner for this, but my little room would have to do. Right now, a door between the rest of the club and a warm bed was all she needed, and I had that much to share.
“Wake up, girl,” I whispered, laying her down on my mattress. “You need to eat.”
She brushed her hands against me and whimpered. Struggled like a sleepy kitten. Sure, she needed her shut eye – God knows the last time she'd been able to sleep easy in the Rams' clutches – but she needed food and water too.
I told her I'd be back and went to the bar. I rustled up a leftover burger from the fridge and some water. After the shit that just went down with the Rams, it wouldn't be long before Blaze called church. Least I could do was get her fed before then.
Back in the room, she was snoring. I pulled her up, careful to make sure she didn't try to scratch me when I nudged her. She still struggled every time her eyes were closed, but just seeing me seemed to calm her, make her settle down and take the food and drink, if reluctantly.
I sat down as she came up, gnawing on the sandwich in quick little bites.
“Stinger, I'm full,” she said, the burger half-eaten. “I need more sleep. So tired...”
I folded my arms. “We're on the same page. You can rest your eyes again after you finish your water.
She'd only taken a few sips outta the tall glass I gave her. Damn it, I had to get some fluids in her. I wasn't a nurse like our on call medic, Emma, but I had enough sense to know the girl had been through the wringer and was way too dry, halfway dehydrated.
“Come on, baby. Drink. Can't let you get sick on me.”
I grabbed the glass and pushed it to her lips. Frustration flashed in her pretty eyes as she looked at me, then slowly parted them.