Authors: J. A. Hornbuckle
Checkmate With Bishop –
A Hellion MC Novel
J. A. Hornbuckle
Copyright © 2015 by J.A. Hornbuckle
Edited by: Laura Kingsley
Cover Design by: Brandi Doane McCann
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Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction and is not a reflection or representation of any person living or dead. Any similarity is of pure coincidence.
Although, if you recognize yourself in any character represented, maybe we need to talk…
EPub Edition: March 2015
“Naw man,” So Cal countered derisively. “Not fuckin’ raspberry. More like a soft, dusky kind of pink.”
Bishop accepted his renewed glass of sparkling water with lime from the bartender before turning his eyes to the dancer who was the current topic of discussion. Glancing at the bright, blonde girl, he turned his hazel eyes, which were more green than brown back to the other Hellions who bracketed his barstool. “I’d go with dusky. Check out her fucking eyebrows. That chick ain’t no natural blonde, dig?”
Chuckie turned back to his drink with a shrug of his shoulders. “Didn’t know that was a clue.”
“Fuck! Me neither.” So Cal raised two fingers to capture the bartender’s attention and pointed to his empty beer bottle. “So eyebrows reveal the truth?”
“That and the color of her lips when they’re not coated in that greasy, colored shit.” Bishop almost doubled over as a sharp pang zipped through his stomach and his whole body clenched in reaction. As it passed, he was left almost dizzy as the stabbing feeling settled into a burning ache. Trying to play down the heavy throb of pain that settled around his navel area, he set his tumbler carefully back on the bar with trembling fingers, its contents untasted. “You pussies are seriously in need of my ‘Titties 101’ class.”
His statement, offered through tight compressed lips, made the other two men laugh, relieving him of their attention. But Bishop could feel the sharp prickles of sweat that were forming around his hairline, armpits and groin as part of the aftermath of the darting agony that had become a part of his daily existence.
There was no denying the pain was getting worse.
More frequent and centralized.
He was already so fucking tired of battling it, of constantly feeling like shit and trying to hide it from everyone. Nothing seemed to fucking help anymore: not the over-the-counter meds, the weed or even the Percocet he’d scored in a sneaky solo run to Red Deer.
The toll it was taking, the battle within his body was becoming evident. Unmistakably apparent in not only his appearance but his demeanor as well. Bishop wasn’t a vain guy so the loss of weight didn’t bother him all that much. The sallow color of his skin, the dullness and thinness of his hair didn’t give him pause.
Not in the whole of it. Of the way his disease had overtaken him.
It was the way his mind worked, or rather, didn’t. It hadn’t been that long ago that he was able to have several different thoughts going at one timebe chewing on one problem while he was working on another had always been his style. Up until the pain started and had gradually consumed his life.
And he’d somehow been losing his ability to laugh. His ability to find and participate in humor had been slowly disappearing over the course of the last couple of months and he mourned it’s loss almost more than anything else.
“Hey now,” Chuckie growled admiringly on a long, slow deep breath. “Check it. Finally some new meat.”
Bishop shot his eyes to his Hellion brother to see the man turning his barstool back towards the stage. Glancing in the direction the former recruit’s eyes were trained towards, Bishop saw a pert redhead step onto one of the stages decorated with nothing more than a large, brass pole. As the strains of the next hard-driving song started, his eyes were glued to the tall redhead whose features were shadowed by the harsh spotlight above her.
Bishop was a complete and utter sucker for redheads.
Twisting his seat around in order to better check out the beauty before him, Bishop found himself mesmerized. Albeit not so much on the girl who was working the pole as if it contained guaranteed answers to her heartfelt prayers of the physical, nasty variety. But on the images her body caused his mind to toss up. The ones of his Dory, that beautiful redhead he’d married right after high school and found himself divorced from just five short years later.
A brief marriage that had left a long memory.
One that had been fucking flashing at him intermittently throughout the years, but was becoming more and more insistent over the last few months.
Ever since the pains started.
“Man, I’d love me a piece of that!” So Cal’s voice broke the trail of Bishop’s thoughts, bringing him back to the then and now. The beauty was doing her dance, climbing the brass pole with firm, fleshy thighs only to do a twirling slide down its length using only her hands and strong arms. Practiced alluring moves performed in a tiny thong and bikini top guaranteed to entice the roomful of men.
Both Hellions on either side of him shifted on their seats and Bishop saw Chuckie trying to stealthily adjust himself in his jeans. Turning his gaze back to the stage, Bishop wasn’t surprised by the lack of his body’s response. His dick had not responded to much of anything since his sickness had insinuated itself in his life: not to porn, the exotic dancers at any of the strip clubs he frequented nor even to the pretty Honeys at the HMC clubhouse.
Occasionally, he’d find himself with morning wood but even that faded away quickly.
The only thing that brought him to completion anymore were wet dreams, those goddamn nighttime reveries of him and Dory back in the day, done when he was asleep. Like some kind of fourteen year old kid with more fucking balls than good sense, he’d empty himself against the sheets only to cuss a blue streak at having to change them the next morning.
In his mind, it was just another fucking symptom of what was eating him alive from the inside out.
Just as much as having Dory constantly in his thoughts. And the regrets that plagued him about how they’d ended it so many years ago.
Without a thought and without another glance towards the stage, Bishop pulled his cellphone from his back pocket to scroll through his contacts. It hadn’t taken him all that long to find the number for her, although he had been surprised the area code was for Wyoming. As far as he remembered, Dory had no reason to be thereno friends or family that he knew of in that particular area of the country.
His thumb remained poised over the green button as he played the ‘should he or shouldn’t he’ game for the fourth fucking time that day.
Would she answer?
What would he say if she did?
Could he confide to her what he hadn’t yet even told his Hellion brothers?
Bishop’s eyes remained steadily on the screen of his phone, his surroundings forgotten. His thoughts swirled as he imagined her voice. Of how all a person had to do was listen closely when Dory spoke to figure out what she was feeling. Because Dory’s vocal sounds had always held the fucking secrets to whatever she had going on inside. Whether it was holding the edge of laughter as she teased, smoky with heat as she mewled in physical delight or iced over with cold when she was pissed, just the thought of his ex-wife’s voice still made his knees weak.
She’d often told him that he was the only one she’d ever met who’d ‘got’ her, that completely understood her when she didn’t sometimes understand herself. He’d never told her his secret, preferring to let her think it was just another connection between them.
Her goddamn melodic, sexy as hell voice that had him spellbound with just the memory of it even thirteen years later.
The idea of never hearing it again was simply motherfucking unacceptable on every level.
Pushing himself off the barstool, Bishop gave only the smallest of chin lifts to the other two men as he left the club and made his way to his bike, cellphone still in hand. Straddling the big machine, he reactivated the screen and pushed the green button next to her name, only idly noting the renewed tremble in his fingers.
It was only seconds and he could hear the phone ringing.
The sound was much, much slower than his heartbeat.
I don’t really know how much time I spent looking at the screen of my cellphone. It had to have been a while since the call had gone to voicemail and even the screen had faded to black.
But still I stared, my heart thundering unevenly in my chest.
I didn’t know the number but I’d recognized the area code straightaway.
There was only one person in Montana who would be looking for me and could’ve tracked down my number. A person from my heart’s ‘long-ago’ and one I had no desire to speak to, about…or even
I blinked and that movement finally allowed me to move, to escape my statue state and begin to close up the shop. But I did it mechanically, by roteturning off the electricity to the sign, setting the front door’s deadbolt and flipping the switches over the reception and stations. All done and accompanied by the flittering of what felt like electricity moving through my body.
Stan was calling.
Stan was calling me after thirteen years.
My feet came to a halt and I couldn’t help my eyes as they moved downward as if to view my candy-apple red heels as if to ask, ‘why’d we stop?’ But I didn’t take another step in spite of what my mind told me to do.
Stan had called.
Stan had called and left a voicemail.
I closed my eyes. It was almost too much to take in and I needed a moment to process that information.
Why had he contacted me?
And what was so important that he needed to leave a voicemail?
By allowing the questions in my head and heart to break through, I found I could move again. Stepping to the small office that I shared with Joy, my best friend and co-owner, I quickly sank into the desk chair. But my eyes didn’t take in the different piles of paper or the fancy laptop that was sitting at an angle in the farthest corner of the desk.
No. My eyes were turned inward, pulling his face up from my memory. And at the viewing, my brain produced other images of his body, the way he moved and the sound of his voice. It was the last that found me shivering.
Stan’s voice was like nothing a woman could ever imagine. Deep, gruff and sexy even if he was just reading aloud from a newspaper. The kind of noise that echoed and scratched inside you, demanding action even if it was with nothing but a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth.
To thank him for allowing you to simply hear it.
And I could, after all those years, hear it just one more time because he’d left me a goddamn voicemail.
My eyes dropped to the cellphone I still held in quaking hands and winced at the clatter it made as I dropped it to the desktop. Without thinking, I ran my fingers through my short hair, skimming my scalp while eyeing the rectangular piece of electronics as if it was the deadliest of snakes. As if it and it alone had the power to hurt me.
Maybe it did.
Because I’d disengaged myself from him years ago. Had fled Missoula and his damn motorcycle club that had destroyed our marriage, running away to Casper in order to create a new life just for myself, one that was normal and of the kind that regular people lived. One that didn’t include drugs or guns or scantily clad girls that would screw anything that moved as long as it was encased in a Hellion vest. A life where I could live by
own decisions and learn from
mistakes without receiving a truckload of shit about it.