Authors: Jordan Marie
Tags: #romance, #MC, #Fiction
He’s right and I should man up. I’m not about to though, too much shit to deal with right now and Freak is at the bottom of that list.
“Tell me what I need to know,” I growl, sitting on the bed and rubbing my poor, abused balls. I’m going to make Dani kiss them better. Well, after her ass calms down. Right now I’m not letting her anywhere near them.
“It’s not good, man. Your Michael is Michael Kavanagh.”
“So?” I ask, totally clueless.
“The shipping god? Tycoon? High rolling mofo who has the U.S. exporting and importing wrapped up?”
“So, what’s his connection with Dani?” I ask, needing to know.
“No, idea. He was married to a Melinda Marinetti, sole heir to the Marinetti dynasty. Reports say that Melinda was hounded by mental breakdowns and it was a rocky marriage. She died in a house fire five years ago. Police believe it was suicide.”
“So where does Dani come in the picture?”
“No idea, unless she was this man’s mistress or something. Rumors are he has a lot of those.”
That doesn’t ring true with the story that Dani was telling me. I’m going to have to talk to her and hopefully after I calm her down, she will see this is really the best way to deal with the situation.
“Re-print that shit off. I’ll drop by and get it after I see to my woman.”
“Does Dragon know you’ve claimed her?”
“No, but he will,” Dani just needs to get it in her head first.”
“Don’t put it off too long.”
I nod, because he’s right. I should confess everything to Drag and come clean. I can’t yet though. Especially since Dani may never want to speak to me again.
“First, I need to calm down my woman,” I answer honestly.
“Good luck with that.”
“I’m going to need it,” I tell him leaving the room, and preparing for war. A war I will win, because Dani is not getting away from me.
many emotions running through me at once, I don’t know what they are. Mad, hurt, anger, and betrayal all top the list. You could take your pick really. I couldn’t go back to the club yesterday, not after learning what Zander did. I needed time away to think. Trouble is I feel like the walls are closing in on me. It might be possible that Michael doesn’t know someone is running a check on him or gathering information. Possible, but not very damned likely. Which means, Michael will be checking out the Savage Brothers MC, he’ll be checking out Dragon. He’ll find out that Dragon is marrying Nicole…and from the name Nicole everything else will click into place. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, it’s a matter of when. So I need to plan.
When the fuck did Freak start running Zander’s information requests? Was it after my big mouth gave Zander details? Or hell, even before that? How long of a head start do I have on Michael?
I spent last night in a small mom and pop motel three counties over. I knew if I stayed anywhere in London, or even in Skull’s territory that Zander would find me. I can’t handle that—not right now. I need some time. Zander is so convinced he can handle Michael, maybe he can? I don’t know. Maybe I am short changing my man. What I do know is that I have seen up close and personal what happens when Michael is unhappy. If anything happened to Zander, Nicole, Ray or Paul, I wouldn’t be able to go on. The risk is too great. I have to protect them. I need to contact Ray, because I’m going to need new papers sent to me. I’ll have to strike out on my own. There will be no safety net and I’ll be on my own this time. Nicole has a life. I’m not sure how I’ll cope not being a part of her life. I’ll miss the birth of her baby. I’ll miss so much. The thought hurts me, but I tap it down. My life has never been about getting what I want. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to forget that.
My decision made, I pick up the phone and dial.
“Hey kitten,” Ray’s voice almost makes me smile.
“Hey Ray, I umm…would it be possible for you to get me some new papers.”
My question is greeted with a moment of silence and it’s thick. He knows there would be only one reason I’m asking.
“Is this phone secure?”
“Yeah I picked up a burner.”
His sigh is loud and I can’t stop the tear that falls. It was a call both of us hoped I would never have to make.
“How’d he find out, honey?”
“Zander thought he’d get revenge on what was done to me,” I said lamely.
“Idiot,” Ray groans.
I swallow, not really liking that. “He loves me,” I defend lamely.
“He’s trying to get you killed,” Ray growls.
“He doesn’t know Michael. He thought he was protecting me.”
The silence stretches again.
“You love him.”
“I love him,” I answer honestly. “I love him more than anything in the world. Enough that I have to protect him, Ray. I can’t let Michael touch him.”
“Do you want to see if he’s right? Maybe he can handle Michael? He has fighting power behind him at least.”
I think it over. I have all the faith in the world in Zander. Even though he lied to me, after I got over my initial panic, I understood. He wants to make life better for me, he wants to protect me and take away the shadows. He wants to save me. I get it. What I have with Zander is the first real adult relationship I’ve ever had. At the same time, I don’t think Zander understands who he is dealing with.
“I may try to stay. I want to be in Nic’s wedding and I’d love to see her baby.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe she’s knocked up.”
“So sweet, Ray,” I tell him sarcastically.
“Paul says that all the time, especially when he’s got his lips wrapped around…”
“Spare me please,” I laugh. “Can you get me the papers? I need to be able to leave quickly, just in case. You still have the bank account info, right?”
“Yeah I got it, Kitten. I’ll have them made up today and overnight them to the safe address you gave me when you first moved.”
“Thanks Ray-Ray, as always I owe you more than I could ever repay you.”
“Anything for you. Take care of you and always check in. It’s our deal.”
“It’s our deal,” I tell him, hanging up.
I stare at my phone for a little bit, before I start packing up. It’s early, like really early, four a.m. to be exact, but I knew I needed to call Ray in Texas, because it would be three there and he’d just be getting in from work. I have Nic’s car. She gave it to me to use. Still, I use my old clunker for the most part. Nic’s car reminds me too much of my old life. I left it in the parking lot at the Club. I need to go back and collect it and check on Nicole and get ready for that damn fitting we have this evening.
It’s almost eight
by the time I pull into the parking lot. I stopped and had breakfast. I looked around some shops for a few items to pack in case I had to make a fast getaway. I picked up an extra burner phone to give to Nicole. I couldn’t give her my number if I left. If I did that Zander would find me easily. Also, Michael would be able to use her against me. Actually he still might, but I’m doing everything I can in my power to prevent it. The rest I will have to trust Dragon to handle. If I leave, Nicole will tell him and he can protect her. He’ll have to protect her.
I park Nic’s car and grab my oversized purse and the bags I collected shopping today and hop out. I store them in the trunk of my car. I need to have Nailer go through my vehicle and make sure it’s ready to travel. Again, Nic’s car is the more logical choice, but my old junky car is the last thing Michael would expect to find me in. Maybe it’s time to dye my hair again. Not blonde or red…never those again. Pink? Blue? Those ideas hold merit. There’s a club hanger-on Tami that comes by with those colors. Frog and Hawk joke they pick her to tag-team all the time because they want to taste the rainbow.
There’s a white envelope on my windshield when I reach my car. My first thought is that Zander left it. It even makes me kind of smile. I need to talk with him about boundaries and promises, but I don’t want to give up what we have. I hope I never have to. He is all I want.
I throw my stuff in the car, relock the doors and then grab the note. I frown. My name is written on the outside, but it’s not Zander’s writing. I open it and there’s a feeling of unease slowly filtering through my system. I am just not one for surprises. As I pull it out, my heart immediately begins to pound. My hands begin shaking.
A clipping from a period in my life that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to forget.
‘Society darling, Melinda Marinetti to marry Michael Kavanagh.’
I read the headline and my stomach churns in fear. Times up. Somehow I convinced myself I was overreacting, that Michael wouldn’t notice the inquiries Zander and Freak made. I won’t be able to stay now. The tears gather in my eyes and I do my best to hold them back. Not here—not out in the open for anyone to see. For all I know, Michael is watching even now. So, I dig deep and find the Dani that I invented, the one who captured Zander’s attention. I wad the paper up in my hands. It takes all I have not to run inside, to the safety of the club. I hold my pace slow and steady. I’m thankful I took the time to wear my pointed stilettos and designer jeans. My make-up is even done perfectly—including my bright red lipstick, and my hair sleek and pulled up high on my head in a ponytail. The click of my shoes on the worn concrete help me to count with each step and I concentrate on my breathing, until I’m out of sight.
The front room of the club is empty, so from there I half walk, half jog to Nicole and Dragon’s room. I hope Dragon is gone by now, he usually is, but I don’t have the best of luck—I think that much is clear.
“Nic! You up?” I ask in a panic, my voice probably too loud. I knock on the door with more force than necessary, but damn I need her. Just being in her presence helps.
“Come on in,” she calls out.
“Dani, please don’t give me shit about the dresses again. I gave in and let you have…”
My voice is thick with fear. I can’t stop it. I haven’t had a panic attack since I started therapy, but I can feel one now, trying to take hold of me.
“What?” She asks, and tries to say Michael’s name because she knows only one thing would put me into the state that I am.
I can’t let the name leave her lips. I push the wadded up picture at her, partly to divert her, but mostly I need it out of my hands. It feels as if it is burning me. She takes the paper and presses it against her leg to try and get the wrinkles out.
“Where did you get this?” She asks and I hate that her voice has panic in it too. Maybe I shouldn’t have shown her.
“Maybe you left it…” She spends the next few minutes trying to convince me that I just forgot I had it. What she doesn’t realize is that Ray helped me burn everything that would ever remind me of Michael. I needed it all gone. She finally stops arguing and crushes the paper up in her hand. She looks at me with tears in her eyes. We both know what this means, even if we don’t want to know.
“You do not have to leave! Right here is the safest place for you! Dragon and the boys will protect you!”
I drop down beside her on the bed. I can’t stop the tears that are falling. It feels like I’m making the hardest decision in my life… and maybe I am. We argue some more, Nic wanting me to trust the club, me listing the reasons I can’t. They’re not completely truthful. The main reason is I need to protect her and I need to protect Zander. That is my only concern. All she’s doing is making me long for something that can’t be. Finally, I shut her down with the one truth that even she can’t deny.
“Nic, Michael won’t rest until he has killed every member of the Savage Brothers and he’ll make sure it is painful,” I tell her.
“Dragon can handle him…we have to tell him,” she says, but even I can tell her arguing is weakening. “Dani, I’m getting married in two weeks!” She finally says, when all we manage to do with the other topics is go in circles.
I try to reassure her, but the two of us just end up crying. It hurts me that I have laid this on her. Nicole has always been my rock, she always manages to take some of my burdens, making my load lighter. She always does her best to help hold people she cares about together.
“We’ll figure this out…” she says finally. Sometimes there just aren’t words to help.
ragon put me
on babysitting duty, which normally I would hate. Not so now, because I get to remain close to Dani. She’s not going to make it easy though. When they all pile into the Tahoe I’m driving, she makes sure to get in back with Nicole, Carrie and Lips. Nikki piles in beside me and I find myself hoping like hell she doesn’t mention the night Freak and I shared her. It was before Dani and I ever got together and I shouldn’t feel a bit of fucking guilt over it. Yet, for some reason sitting in this car beside Nikki feels wrong. I want my woman beside me. As the girls finally get settled and buckled in, my phone vibrates with a text message. Freak. I can’t deal with him right now. He’s trying to convince me to talk with Dragon about this Michael guy and I probably should. The truth is I just don’t want too. I want to handle this. I want to be the one to take care of my woman, make it so she is safe—not just today but every day. So I ignore the message.