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Authors: Marina Black

Dealing with the Devil

BOOK: Dealing with the Devil
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Dealing with the Devil

By Marina Black

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Marina Black

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author. Except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

ISBN: 978-0-9966486-0-8

This book is dedicated to my Internet wife.

When I started writing, this story was a vague blur of ideas running around in my head. With J’s guidance, support, and saint-level patience, I am now publishing my very first original novel. I wouldn’t be here today without you, JoJo. You are my cheerleader, my sounding board, and my editor (for the low, low price of Momopoly dollars and unflattering selfies, I might add). I would also like to take this opportunity to offer a huge apology to J’s husband and kids, who might’ve forgotten what her attention feels like since I have clearly been hogging all of it. Y-I owe you a beer, buddy. You are a wonderful man!

To my other
Pantskru
ladies, you are the
bomb
. Without our wonderfully bizarre e-mail chains and obsession with primetime television shows, my life would have no meaning. I love ya’ll so very much.

I’d also like to thank my awesome family. Mom, all those notebooks you bought me have finally paid off. Dad, thanks for deferring that loan payment again. To my brother and sister, you guys are awesome. I am the person I am today because of you guys! You can take that as a compliment or not…I’m going to leave it open ended.

Finally, if you’ve made it to the end of this dedication page, I’d also like to thank you. You are a real trooper for making it through all that sappiness! I’m glad you’re still here. Without further ado, please enjoy
Dealing With the Devil
.

Love,

Marina

Chapter One

Lucy Harding leaned her full weight against the ancient linoleum countertop at Marge’s Diner. The cogs of the antique wall clock clicked with every second that passed, wearing away the little patience Lucy had left. She rubbed at the dark purple stain of exhaustion beneath her eyes and exhaled sharply. Her fingers dragged through her ebony hair in a vain attempt to smooth a bit of the frizz. What was the use? It was a steamy, sticky July morning in the middle of the Nevada desert. Not to mention, it was ass crack o’clock and most of the world was still in bed. There wasn’t anyone around to judge Lucy for looking like a ragamuffin.

This is the lot you chose in life,
Lucy reminded herself. She inhaled the crisp, buttery scent of her brand new leather vest. It was this cut that distinguished her as a prospect with the Devil’s Own Motorcycle Club. Joining the local MC was pretty much the only thing to do in the tiny, shit sack town called Errol. In the entire history of the MC, they had never accepted a female. Hell, they’d never even
prospected
one. Lucy Harding wasn’t just any female, though. She was family, legacy, and above all, she was a big fucking joke.

Last night, James “Monster” Walcott used his proxy votes to push through a majority that afforded Lucy her shot at being a real member of the Devil’s Own. Everyone knew Monster’s aim was to get back at Lucy’s brother for all the hell he raised. Danny Harding was forever acting like a jackass; it was a miracle that he had even been allowed to remain a member after all the antics he pulled. The MC turned a blind eye to Danny’s behavior because their father had once been President of the club. Hell, the Hardings could trace their lineage back three generations—longer than any other Devil in the club. If Danny could get away with murder just because of his last name, Lucy wasn’t going to let chauvinistic misogynists tell her that she couldn’t just because she had to sit down to pee. She was a Harding and that
meant
something.

“Here ya’ go, darlin’…” The waitress’s raspy voice dragged Lucy out of her thoughts. Lucy dug into her purse for a couple loose bills and tossed them down on the counter. “Keep the change, thanks.” Carefully, she stacked the trays of coffee on top of one another and held her breath all the way to the car. It took some maneuvering to set the coffee onto the floorboards of the aged Cadillac without spilling it all over. This old girl had been in the family for longer than she could remember. Lucy had learned to drive behind this steering wheel; she’d sat in the passenger seat and watched the world go by while her mother ran errands. Hell, this was the same car they brought her home from the hospital in just after she was born. Clunker or not, the sentimental value was worth the risk Lucy took every time she drove it. Besides, it wasn’t as if she could carry twelve coffees back to the clubhouse on her Harley.

The air outside was sticky and thick but the AC in the car had shit out long ago. Lucy ached to feel the wind on her face as she zoomed down the open road on her bike. Instead, she coughed at the exhaust fumes and ignored the shrieking brakes as she backed out onto the dusty road.

The Devil’s clubhouse doubled as a bar and despite the obscenely early hour, more than a dozen bikes were parked outside in a messy line. After the new prospects had been voted on last night, there had been a massive party. Sleeping bodies were strewn over every corner of the place in various states of undress. Lucy rolled her eyes at the sight of her brother snuggled between two Devil Eaters. It was a damn miracle he hadn’t ended up with half a dozen kids by now. Lucy shook her head in disgust. Whatever Danny saw in those sluts, Lucy would never understand it. She kept hoping one day he’d wake up and realize the mistakes he’d made. Until then, he’d better be careful. Lucy was not ready to be an aunt…

The sun rose higher and soft yellow light streamed through the blinds. Pretty soon the club members would wake—cranky and hung over—but there would be coffee, at least. Lucy had done her duty. When she caught sight of her reflection in the plate glass window, she swore bitterly. Battling against naturally curly hair that hadn’t been washed in two days was one fight Lucy knew she was going to lose. She needed a shower and a nap—not necessarily in that order. Since things were settled for the moment, Lucy stifled a yawn and turned to head out when she slammed face first into a very broad, muscular chest. The scent of leather, sandalwood, and musk filled her nose and Lucy knew instinctively who she’d run into.

Gabriel Archer—“Archie,” as he preferred to be called—stood half a foot taller than Lucy and easily dwarfed her not-so-diminutive five foot nine inch frame. The man was built like a pro wrestler: rippling muscles covered every inch of him. He had large, rough hands, and his cobalt eyes glinted coldly as he glared down at Lucy. His expression was alight with fire and the muscle in his jaw ticked as he gritted his teeth. Archie was the kind of guy whose physical presence terrified others and instantly commanded respect. Lucy, however, had grown up at his side and knew he was a gentle giant; she also refused to call him by his silly nickname, which always irked him.

Gabe was the first boy who pulled her pigtails on the playground; he also took on the role of the husband when they played house. Although they were once thick as thieves, Lucy couldn’t deny their dynamic had changed over the years as they grew up and apart. Still, she knew if anyone messed with her, Gabe would be right there to defend her. Until now…

Lucy’s onyx eyes traveled upward until they met his.
Oh shit
, she thought to herself. Gabe had been away for the majority of the week, visiting with other Presidents from the Devil’s sister charters. Given his state of dishevelment, he’d ridden all night to get home.

“What the hell are you wearing?” Archie thundered, “If someone sees you in that cut they’re going to think you’re a prospect…”

Lucy crossed her arms over her chest. She widened her stance, as if preparing for a fight. “I
am
a prospect, Gabriel. I won the vote last night fair and square.”

“No way in hell!” Archie roared. The boom of his voice caused several of the sleeping MC members to jump up from their positions. Beaver’s hand was already sitting on his gun, ready to fire if necessary. When the rest of them realized this was more of a domestic dispute, the clubhouse started clearing out immediately.

Archie peered down at Lucy and his heart twisted in his chest. The MC was no place for a woman—especially not one like her. He had watched Lucy grow from a tiny, buck-toothed menace into a gorgeous woman. She was fierce and loyal but there was a tenderness about her; she always put the people she loved first. If he was being perfectly honest with himself—and that was rarely the case—he cared about Lucy as more than a surrogate sister. Archie ached to be with her…but there were far too many obstacles in his path. The most obvious hindrance was a six foot five inch hothead named Daniel Harding.

Danny was rabidly protective of his sister and had gotten into countless fistfights over it. Archie decided it was better to ice Lucy out, push her away, and stop her from invading his life. The less they saw each other, the less he had to deny how much he wanted her and how deeply he already cared. “This has to be some kind of joke. Nobody in their right fucking mind would patch you unless they have a goddamn death wish!”

Lucy’s anger rose steadily, spilling outward as she squared off with him. She had no doubt that once Gabe got his hands on Monster, there would be hell to pay. Hopefully, she could soften the blow a bit beforehand. “What’s the big deal? You and Danny both prospected and got patched. Why can’t I?” Planting her hands firmly on her hips, she stared him down. “And if you say it’s because I’m a woman, so help me God, I will kick your ass all the way back to the dark ages!”

“Lucy!” Archie cried in exasperation. His demeanor darkened as he closed the distance between them. Grasping her shoulders, he stared deep into her fathomless eyes. “This is
not
the life for you. You deserve better than this!”

Ignoring the searing heat from his palms that seeped through her jacket, Lucy swallowed back the attraction that rose up in her every time he was near. “Don’t I deserve to be a part of something that’s been so vital to my family for so long? The MC is my life. Danny, my parents,
you
,” She retorted. “You know me, Gabriel! Two and a half kids in the suburbs isn’t the life for me. I
need
this.”

“You’re going to get yourself killed, damn it!” Archie cried. Lucy was going to get
him
killed. How the hell could he ever focus when all he could do was wonder if she was going to be the next casualty in the turf war they were fighting against the Black Jacks? “Lucy—“

“Save it! I got the same damn speech from Danny last night. You’re not my brother! You can’t tell me what to do!” Lucy snapped. “Go ahead and be a hypocrite. Strip me of my patch before you even give me a shot but I’ll fight you, Gabriel. I’ve been over those bylaws a thousand times and it doesn’t say a woman can’t patch!” She snapped, “You will have to take this all the way to the damn original charter if you want to keep me down!” Lucy’s anger reached fevered pitch as she stomped toward the door. Between her exhaustion and Archie’s condescension, she couldn’t stand it another minute.

Archie slammed his fist down against the table as Lucy left the clubhouse. Dragging in a ragged breath, he counted to ten…then kept on going. Anger curled in his gut and spread like wildfire through his veins. Turning, he stalked into the bar where some of the boys were still sleeping it off. “I want Monster in the War Room,
now
! If he’s not in there within the next ten minutes, you will all suffer the consequences!” Everyone left sleeping was shattered from their slumbers and scattered to the wind.

Slamming the door closed with far more force than was necessary, Archie grabbed one of the coffees that Lucy bought and took a sip. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he stared down at the Devil’s Own skull and crossbones insignia carved into the War Room table. Lucy was his personal temptress and his tormentor. This whole scenario only played out one of two ways and Lucy would end up hurt no matter what. Archie swore then and there, he’d do anything to keep her safe. He would be damned if she suffered one ounce of pain. How the fuck was he going to survive this?

BOOK: Dealing with the Devil
2.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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