Authors: Lexie Davis
Joker had Lauren find some clothes for Scarlett and he watched while she put them on. Her body was temptation and he tried to focus on the task at hand instead of what she’d feel like once he was inside her. He wasn’t entirely sure how much to believe. She was on day four of her withdrawal so she was semi-functioning but nowhere near sober. He didn’t exactly trust her either so Torque made it a rule to keep drugs out of the clubhouse while Scarlett was there. He also made threats to anyone that gave her drugs if she asked, begged or offered dirty deeds.
“We’ve got you some food at the bar. You really need to try to eat something.”
Scarlett took a deep breath. “Probably. I don’t know though.”
Joker leaned against the closed door. “It will help you with your strength.”
She ran a hand through her tangled hair. “What strength? I’m a mess.”
For a moment, a twinge of sympathy overcame him. He felt sorry for her which was a first for him. Junkies usually would say anything they could to get the drug they wanted. Her hands shook as she dropped them to her sides. He wanted to touch her. To offer some sense of comfort that even though her life was shit now, it would get better eventually.
“Let’s eat something. When you’re through, we can talk about the note on your body.”
Joker opened the door and led her out to the main room of the clubhouse. A few people hung around, some prospects and other full patch members. Most of the guys usually entertained themselves at the motorcycle garage that shared a parking lot with the Charming Bastards, but they always had a few wayward souls seeing what they could do to get in trouble.
“Sit.” He walked around the bar to the fridge and grabbed another bottle of water for her. He wasn’t sure she could hold anything down so he got her soup. When she sat in the vacant spot at the bar, he undid the packaging and set it before her.
“How did I get here?” she asked. “And why was I naked?”
Joker grabbed silverware for her to eat the soup with. “Your friend dumped you in my parking lot. Naked.”
Scarlett glanced down at the steaming bowl before her. “Are you always this nice to naked women dumped in your parking lot?”
Joker actually smiled. “I’m generally nice to all naked women.”
Scarlett propped her head up on one hand and dipped her spoon in the soup. He watched as she ate a few bites. “Good?”
“I guess.” She ate more. “I’m not a junkie.” She didn’t quite look at him. “I know you think that, but I’m not. He gave me those drugs without my consent.”
“Yeah?” Joker wasn’t sure he believed her. “How did he do that?”
“He wanted to start a revolution.” She stirred her soup, not really eating anymore. “I’m a psychology major at the University. We had this big project on drugs and addiction. He was very passionate about getting them off the streets. Said it affected innocent people too much. I was all for it. I thought we were going to create awareness with our project and go out and combat the issue. I didn’t realize he just wanted me as a pawn to send to you as a message.”
Joker folded his arms over his chest. He wanted to believe her. His gut said that she had no reason to lie to him. Still, he knew better than anyone that junkies lied to get what they wanted. If she cooperated now, she’d probably ask for a favor later.
She rubbed her forehead. “Whatever that shit is, it’s horrible.”
She stared at him. “Highly addictive illegal street drug. Withdrawal takes a week and rehab usually takes ninety days at least.”
He watched her. “Right.”
She shook her head. “What am I going to do? I had job interviews lined up and now I can’t pass a drug test. I’m never going to graduate if my university finds out. They have an absolute no drugs policy.” Tears filled her eyes. “I’m not a junkie. I didn’t ask for this.
didn’t do this to my life.”
She was pretty good. He’d give her that. If she was acting, she almost fooled him. He pulled out his cellphone and dialed Tank.
“Get me some junk.”
“Torque said not to.”
“I know. Do it anyway.”
Tank sighed and hung up. Joker pocketed his phone and grabbed a soda for himself. Tank came in the clubhouse a few minutes later and handed him a packet of powder. Joker grabbed a spoon and pulled out a lighter.
“What the fuck man?” Tank asked.
“Pour it on.”
Tank stared at him a moment before opening the bag and dropping some of the power onto the spoon. Scarlett watched them, fascinated. Joker flicked his thumb against the lighter and held the flame underneath the spoon.
“You want it?”
Scarlett shook her head. “No thanks.”
“You sure?” Joker watched as the power liquefied. “It would take away that headache you’ve got. The itchiness. The aches.”
“I don’t want that stuff near me.” Scarlett swirled her spoon around the soup bowl, staring down at her lap.
Tank watched them, not saying a word. Joker sat the lighter aside. “Suit yourself.”
He dumped the mess in the bar sink. Taking the packet from Tank, Joker left it on the counter with his lighter. Picking up on what he was doing, Tank went to the back room and found a new needle. Joker undid it and sat it beside the lighter.
“If you want it, no judgment. Your life seems pretty shitty and everyone deserves an escape.” Joker left with Tank, heading outside. “If she’s a junkie that junk will be gone in a matter of minutes. If she’s not, then I’m going to be shocked.”
Tank rubbed a hand over his face. “If Torque finds out, I’m blaming you.”
Joker laughed and bummed a cigarette off him. “I’m always bailing your ass out of something. Can’t you take one for me?”
Joker lit the cigarette and took a drag. His first cigarette that day and it felt pretty fucking great. He wasn’t sure what Scarlett’s deal was but a little part of him didn’t want her to take the drugs. There was something about her. He couldn’t quite figure it out, but he found himself wanting to. He wanted to know all about her.
Scarlett stared at the drugs he’d left on the counter. A stench was left behind from heating the drug and it made her stomach lurch. Scarlett took another bite of her soup. She didn’t even want to look at it. Glancing around, she realized that her chaperone left her. Very well. It seemed like the perfect time to take a shower and maybe brush her teeth. She really wanted to brush her teeth.
Standing, she grabbed her water bottle and went back to the room he’d kept her in. After closing the door, she walked to the bathroom and paused a moment trying to regroup. It took some serious effort to move so much and she really didn’t move all that much. She turned on the shower and placed the towel over the stall door. After stripping off the clothing she’d been lent, she stepped into the steaming water and stood there.
Nothing felt better. She closed her eyes and let the water hit her face. Trying to remember what happened last, she came up blank. She had talked to Ollie in the library about his plan and then she woke up with some strange man, naked and in the motorcycle club Ollie hated. She wiped the water from her eyes and reached for the shampoo. Her hair was a living mess most days, but it was even worse since she hadn’t bathed. She could feel the nastiness wash off her skin and swirl down the drain. Why would Ollie do something like this to her? He knew the risks. He abused her trust.
She leaned against the wall as the warm water continued to hit her body. She didn’t know what heroin looked like before her rescuer showed her. She understood generally what it was all about, but didn’t have the first clue as to how any of that worked.
Rubbing her arm, she still felt the soreness of the bruises. Apparently, Ollie didn’t know either. Tears filled her eyes as she thought about the internship she couldn’t apply for now. There was a one week window and they had to do background checks and drug tests. Her chest ached at the thought of how much Ollie had screwed up her life. She didn’t even realize she was sobbing uncontrollably on the shower floor until the water turned off and her rescuer stepped into the shower with her.
“I didn’t do it.”
He nodded. “I know.”
She shook her head. “What am I going to do?”
He knelt in front of her and pushed her wet hair aside. “You’re going to stop crying and finish your bath. My gut is telling me that I can trust you and I’m going to go with it for now. Once you get cleaned up, we’re going to sit down and talk it out. I want to know more about your friend.”
“I had the opportunity to apply for an internship next week. Now I can’t go because I can’t pass a drug test.” Scarlett wrapped her arms around her legs. “Why did he do this to me? It’s not fair. I didn’t deserve this. I’m not a drug addict. I didn’t hang around with the wrong crowd. I’m a nerd. I enjoy the library and extra credit assignments. I didn’t do this!”
His hands smoothed along her arms. “Take a deep breath.”
Scarlett tried and her nose was stuffy from crying. She shook her head as the tears continued to fall.
“One thing at a time.” He gently lifted her so that they both stood. “Can you bathe yourself?”
She leaned against the stall wall. “Yes.”
“Finish your shower.” He stepped out of the shower and closed the door behind him. She watched him through the glass. “Shower, Scarlett.”
She turned the water on and let it hit her in the face. She was half aware that he stared at her, took in her naked body a little longer than necessary. She didn’t care. In some other circumstance, she should have been mortified that some strange man saw her naked, but she supposed he and half his friends along with Ollie and God knows who else had already seen what she had to offer. Why be modest now?
“I’ve got a toothbrush and toothpaste for you.”
She smeared the body wash over her skin and let it rinse off. She needed that more than anything. She needed the cleanliness that a shower provided. It was almost as if she couldn’t get clean enough.
When she was finished, she turned the shower off and stepped out. Her rescuer wrapped a soft towel around her and pulled her hair from it. He rubbed her arms a few times before turning to the sink.
“Everything you need is right there.”
Scarlett grabbed his wrist. “What is your name?”
He took a deep breath and blew it out. “Jack Wiley. People call me Joker around here though.”
“Joker? As in the Batman villain?”
He smiled, and God, he was gorgeous. His light blue eyes were soft and caring. He had a few days worth of growth on his chin and she liked it. His dark hair accented his tanned skin. Scarlett didn’t expect that kind of a reaction to him.
“I guess you could see it that way if you want. I got the nickname when I first patched in. I was a practical jokester.”
Scarlett let his wrist go. “Do you all have nicknames?”
“Most of us.” He moved toward the door. “I’m assuming you can handle brushing your teeth.”
Scarlett tucked the towel around her and opened the toothbrush. She never realized how great something felt until she had gone without it for a few days. After she’d finished brushing her teeth, she joined Joker in the bedroom.
He had a T-shirt and shorts laid out on the bed for her. They were obviously a man’s and probably his. There was something intimate about wearing a man’s clothes that she wasn’t sure about.
“At some point in time, am I going to be able to go home?”
He nodded. “Yeah, we just want to know what that crazy message was about. I also want to make sure that you’re safe. I don’t know this guy and I don’t trust him.”
She pulled the clothes on and sat on the bed. “Do you think that he’d do something else to me?”
“He won’t. I do know that.” Joker pursed his lips. “You feel okay?”
She dropped back against the mattress. “Peachy keen.”
She had a headache the size of Jupiter and every muscle in her body ached like she’d run a marathon with a boulder on her back. Other than that, she was great. Itchy skin and all.
“Try to rest. We’ll probably call chapel in an hour or two. After that, Torque will probably want to talk to you.”
“You’re a religious motorcycle club?” That was new to her.
Joker stared at her. “No. Chapel is when designated members meet.”
She tilted her head. “What are you? Vice president?”
She blinked a few times. “Is that a bad ass job?”
He chuckled. “I deal with the money, so yeah, it’s probably the best damn job available.”
She closed her eyes. She liked him. He was kind to her. He hit the ball out of the park in the looks department. He also had a sense of humor. Maybe she was still high, but she thought he liked her too.
Joker had never wanted to kiss someone so much in his life. Not just kiss her but fuck her with his tongue until her mouth was read and swollen. God, he could push her up against the wall and slide into that delicious cunt he tried so hard not to think about. Somewhere deep inside, he figured it was wrong. Hell, there was a lot about the situation that was wrong.
He sat in chapel with the rest of the guys that held a title. A few members were allowed if there were seats but that didn’t usually happen. Joker rubbed his tired eyes. He couldn’t remember the last time he had lain down. He watched Scarlett sleep most nights and tried his best to keep his hands off her.
“Where are we with the girl?” Torque asked lighting a cigar.
Joker held up his hands. “She gave me the name Oliver Marrow. Has some kind of beef against the club. Thinks we’re to blame for the drug problem in the city.”
“Marrow?” Torque stared at him. “As in
Joker nodded. “Yes. His son.”
“Ah, shit.” Torque rubbed his forehead. “I don’t have time for this.”
Joker pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “For what it’s worth, she’s not a junkie. Marrow took it upon himself to lure her in and use her for his own twisted game.”
“You know this for a fact?” Torque asked.
“Yes. Tank and I tested her drug resistance earlier. She didn’t touch the stuff.”
Torque narrowed his eyes. “I want to see that for myself. Where is she?”
Torque brought his cigar to his lips. “Are you having some fun on the side?”
“No.” Joker didn’t even like him suggesting it. Scarlett was barely legal. She was a walking wet dream but fucking off limits.
“Don’t mind if I do?” Torque sat his cigar in the ashtray and stood. Joker pursed his lips. He did mind. He didn’t want anyone touching Scarlett. Not anyone but him.
Torque left the room and Joker was tempted to follow him. Tank frowned at him. “You look like you could spit nails.”
“He doesn’t need to mess around with her.” Joker said it a little more defensively than he should have.
Silver chuckled. “Man, I’ve never seen Joker not willing to share. Who the fuck is this chick?”
“A redhead with nice tits,” Dooby commented.
“Shut it, Dooby.” Joker gripped the edge of the table. “Ah, fuck it.”
He pushed away and went back to his room. He opened the door and found Torque, laying out drugs on the bed in front of Scarlett. She chewed on her lower lip, eyes wide.
“What the fuck?”
Torque didn’t even bother looking at him. “It’s just coke.”
“Get away from her.”
Torque tilted his head. “Or what?”
“You don’t want to know.”
His nostrils flared. Torque stood and pocketed the coke. “I’m not convinced she’s not an addict. Her eyes lit up when I held up the coke.”
“I’ve never seen it before.” Scarlett swallowed and stood from the bed. “Coke. Heroin. Any of it.”
Torque snorted. “How did you get a shitload of heroin in your system and not know it?”
“Marrow drugged her. To prove a point to us.”
“What do you know about him?” Torque asked her.
Scarlett shrugged. “We were in a psychology class together. I didn’t know him all that well, but we were working on a class project together. He had this great idea to start this drug revolution. I thought it was a good idea to raise awareness, but I ended up here instead.”
“Awareness?” Torque glanced over at Joker. “Is she really that innocent?”
“Yes.” Joker moved past him.
“How do we know that she’s not acting. Infiltrating us to report back to him?”
“Because she’s not.” Joker glanced over at her. “She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
When Torque left, Joker turned toward Scarlett. She stared at him looking less than thrilled about the president’s intrusion.
“Is everyone going to offer me drugs while I’m here?”
Joker smiled. “No. I hope not anyway.”
“I told you I don’t want that. I have no recollection of injecting the drugs and I would really like for people to stop trying to trap me into taking them.”
He held onto the doorknob. “I’m sorry. You can go home as soon as you want. We’ll be done in a few minutes and I can take you or you can have Lauren call you a cab.”
“I’ll wait.” She glanced around. “I don’t really have much to get back to at the dorm. I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable living there.”
He frowned. “Why?”
“I can get kicked out for being on drugs. There goes my scholarship and my perfect GPA. I’ve already lost the shot at my internship.” She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “I don’t want to think about it.”
He nodded and left her. He understood the need to graduate. He’d had that drive several years back. Worked a corporate job until he realized he hated his life. Been with the Charming Bastards ever since.
“Is she already done blowing you?” Dooby asked when Joker walked in.
“Shut up.” Joker closed the door behind him. “I want her to stay here.”
Torque arched an eyebrow. “You want a girl to move in to your apartment here? With Lauren in the next room?”
“Lauren is nothing to me.”
“That’s not what she thinks.” Silver commented. “I don’t know about that. I think it’s a bad idea.”
“You’re not VP anymore.” Joker glanced between Torque and their new VP, Deuce. “Well?”
“Whatever.” Torque waved it off. “I’m surprised at how well she resists drugs. I’m sure though if she ever did it again, she’d be hooked and it’d take more effort to get her off them.”
He figured that too. Joker ran a hand over his face. What the hell had he gotten himself into?
Scarlett opened the door to the room and went to the right instead of the left. She was fairly sure that she wasn’t supposed to be snooping around, but they didn’t exactly tell her to say in the room and not leave. She walked down to the end of the hall and went inside the last room. Her eyes widened. Inside was some kind of kinky bondage room with plenty of stuff she’d seen and talked about in her sexuality class. She glanced around noticing the area for suspension. There was a St. Andrews cross in the corner and a spanking bench beside her. On one wall there were plenty of instruments that were equipped to cause pain. Just looking at it shot an unexpected thrill through her.
Were these men into bondage? Or was this some kind of torture they did to the women like Ollie had said? Ollie was pretty much an idiot, she determined. She wasn’t sure what she’d say to him if she ever saw him again. Drugging her and dropping her out of a vehicle naked was incomprehensible. He was no better than the people he despised.
“What are you doing in here?” At the sound of Joker’s voice, she jumped.
“Nothing—I …” She glanced back to the wall of paddles and canes. “Are you into this?”
Joker stared at her for what felt like an eternity. “Define ‘into.’”
“Bending your girlfriend over the spanking bench and smacking her ass with a paddle before you fuck her.”
He actually chuckled. “Yeah. I’m into that.” He walked in the room and stared at the wall. “No girlfriend though.”
“Casual affairs?” Scarlett asked. She found him fascinating. All her psychology classes were kicking into full gear while being involved in this mess that Ollie had gotten her into. She still pretty much felt like shit but her mind couldn’t have been more clear. It was an odd sensation. Something she didn’t really understand.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Joker quickly changed the subject. “What are you doing in here?”
She shrugged. “I was bored. I figured getting a tour would involve dirty deeds so I just wandered about into doors that were opened and not closed.”
“Wandering about can get you into trouble too.” Joker glanced to the side. “I’m offering you an option if you don’t want to go back to your dorm room. You can stay here, at the club, while we try to sort this mess out with your friend.”
“Stay here?” She thought about that. “With you?”
He didn’t say anything. Scarlett wondered what had happened while she’d been out of it. He sat beside the bed watching her each time she woke up. He held her hair for her when she’d been sick and he helped her work through all the other shit that went along with withdrawal.
As far as she knew, he didn’t do anything inappropriate. He and the rest of the club had seen her naked which mortified her, but nothing bad happened. She chewed on her lower lip. Was he implying something more should happen? That he wanted more with her? As soon as that thought entered her mind, she pushed it aside. Very few men wanted her for her charms in the bedroom. That area of her life was a complete disaster.
“How exactly do you propose that works, roomie?” Scarlett went to the wall and grabbed a hefty paddle. “We share a room until one of your casual dates visit. Then you kick me out to entertain myself with … people offering me drugs? Or worse, I stay in the corner while you and your friend are going at it on the bed?”
She smacked her hand with the paddle and yelped. Clutching her hand to her chest, she put the paddle back. She didn’t know about kinky parts of sexuality. There was plenty that interested her, but she had barely gotten down the regular stuff, much less kinky stuff.
Joker reached for her hand and pulled her around to face him. Instead of answering her question, he slipped his fingers under her hair and cupped her head, leaning in to kiss her. It didn’t take much effort for her lips to part for him. The simple brushing of his lips against hers made her entirely aware of him. His big body so sturdy and protective. The warmth from him gave her comfort. He tilted her head to deepen the kiss, thoroughly exploring her mouth with his tongue. God, she had never had someone kiss her like that. Not with raw sexual energy and definitely not in a way that created a desperate need for her to rub against him.
She pulled back and stared into his eyes. “I’m not into threesomes.”
He frowned. “What?”
“I’m not going to stay in the room while you and some chick are going at it on the bed.” She licked her lower lip. “My roommate did that once and it was the most awkward twenty minutes of my life. Nothing but slurpy sounds and grunts.”
“Clearly, you missed my point.” Joker stared at her with a trace of humor in his eyes. He leaned in and nibbled on her lower lip. “I’m not planning on making you watch me with some other chick.”
“Good.” She gripped his shirt and held on to him. “That’s not as fun as it sounds.”
He chuckled, still nibbling on her mouth. “You, Scarlett. You’d be the one in my bed. The one in my arms. The one making slurpy sounds while I grunt.”
She nearly swallowed her tongue. “Me?”
“Yes. You.” He kissed her and pulled back to stare into her eyes.
“Oh, no. You’ve been snorting some of that coke that your President had. Guys don’t like me. Not in that way. I’m not your type. Trust me on this.” She moved away from him trying to process everything he’d stirred up inside her.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because it’s true.” She turned toward him. “I told a guy one time that he was smaller than my vibrator. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just making an observation.”
She shook her head. Not only did he finish right after that, but he left her to fend for herself. She never spoke to him again, either, and it was someone that proclaimed to have loved her.
“I’m not what guys want. Not when you really get down to it.”
“Is that your only sexual encounter?” Joker asked, surprising her with his patience.
“No.” She rolled her eyes. Getting into her past sexual encounters was not something she wanted to do with him. “I’ve had sex. Granted, it’s been bad, I’m generally clumsy and nothing magical really happens, but I’ve done the deed.”
He smoothed his finger along her arm. “I seriously doubt that you are the problem.”
She tried to ignore the sensations he created by touching her. “Oh, so you’re going to show me a great time? Fireworks and everything?”
She met his eyes and something hot flared there. “Are you challenging me?”
Scarlett swallowed hard. She didn’t know how to answer that question. It hadn’t been her intention, but she didn’t necessarily protest it either. From all that she saw and could imagine, Joker would definitely make her appreciate the fine art of erotic pain and pleasure.
He reached between her arm and hip and pulled her to him. “I like challenges.”
He slipped his finger beneath her shirt so that he touched her skin. Scarlett breathed him in, loving his scent and the comfort he offered. “Women find men more attractive if they smell good.”
“Are you telling me I stink?” Joker asked kissing the side of her head.
“No—I …” She stopped when he started laughing. She didn’t know what to think about him. “My quirks don’t put you off.”
“Not in the slightest.” He brushed in finger along her chin. “If I was the guy that was smaller than your vibrator, you’d be banned from using the stupid thing. I wouldn’t leave you because of it, which I know that punk ass kid did.”