Authors: Torrie McLean
The Haven Series
By Torrie McLean
Ink © 2014 by Torrie McLean.
The right of Torrie McLean to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.
All characters, events and locations herein are entirely fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to real life incidents or places is purely coincidental.
Dedicated, with much love, to the Freak Circle - who dare to believe and enable others to do the same.
“So ... you hittin’ that?”
Colton Greene paused in his tracks, but only for a second. He’d been expecting it all day, so he knew exactly what – and who - the question was about. It was just surprising it had taken until now, under the cover of darkness, for the subject to come up. Even if they had been busy.
Turning to dump another load of dirt at the edge of the hole he was standing in, he leaned
his weight on his spade as he jerked his shaven head in the direction of the nearby mound of wrapped plastic. The toe of a man’s shoe protruded from one end. “I’m guessing you don’t mean him.”
His buddy laughed, one broad shoulder cocked against the trunk of a tree and a lit cigarette butt hanging from his lips. “Hey, whatever lets you get your rocks off, dude,” Sam Lewison said, watching as his brother in all but blood started up again, set on methodically widening and deepening the hole in the hard-baked ground. “So are ya?”
“She ain’t your type, man.”
“I’m telling ya, I’d let her lay some ink on me any day. And since when is
not my type?”
“Who you trying to kid?” Colton
threw his spade out of the hole before climbing out after it and reaching for the body. “
, that’s your type. Or
, that’s your type too.”
“Maybe I’m after more of a challenge,” Sam
said with a shrug, raking a hand through messy blonde hair that was still damp from his own earlier digging efforts. “Hang on, hang on – I’ll get his feet ...”
Hoisting the bundle off the ground between them, the two men struggled closer to the hole and dropped him in. Both of them were over six feet tall and well-built, used to staying in relatively good shape and no strangers to hard graft. But the dead weight of their burden was considerable. And maybe from the wrong side of forty, the work wasn’t quite as easy as it had once been.
Not that they’d admit it out loud.
Sam rotated his shoulders with a groan and Colton bent over to take a deep breath, both hands braced on his knees.
“Christ! Will’s gotta stop falling out with these fat bastards,” Sam declared. “Ain’t he got any beef with some skinny dudes? Come on, let’s get him filled in and get the fuck outta here. If we get back to the clubhouse sh
arp enough, we can find a couple of warm bodies to ...
work out the kinks
, if ya get my drift. Oh, and Colt?”
“Don't think I don't know you ain’t answered my question yet.”
Colton made a frustrated sound in the back of his throat that would have sent many a grown man running for cover
from the already intimidating biker. But the two of them went way back and knew exactly how far they could push each other, so Sam stood his ground with his eyebrows raised in expectation over knowing blue eyes.
“I ain’t screwing her,” he growled, shoving the spade into his accomplice’s hand. “Satisfied?”
“More than you, by the sound of it,” Sam shot back, with a cocky grin. But he seemed to decide to quit while he was ahead and started to shovel dirt back into the hole, whistling to himself as he worked.
Burying a body and shootin
g the breeze. Just business as usual for two of Nevada’s Fallen Brothers MC.
Pacing the bedroom floor in the darkness, Michael Corsada’s mind was racing. This had never happened to him, not
. So what if he wasn’t as young as he once was? Fifty was the new forty and not the half-way house to a mortuary slab. He was supposed to be damn near indestructible. They didn’t joke about lawyers selling their souls to the devil for no reason.
But that didn’t change the fact
that he was actually pacing the floor, while soft attempts at soothing his wounded pride fell on deaf ears. Not that there was anything wrong with his hearing. The rest of his body had yet to betray him. He was just frustrated and embarrassed enough without the sympathetic gaze and gentle reassurances of the young woman sat up in his bed, wrapped in sheets that hadn’t even had a chance to be rumpled.
“Michael ...” she sighed, pushing stray locks of her long blonde hair out of cool gray eyes. “It’s okay, honestly
“The hell it is!” he all but spat, refusing to look in her direction. “This does
fucking happen to me. It just ... it doesn’t.”
“You’re just tired,” she tried to reason, but once again he was determined to dismiss anything she had to say.
“Tired,” he scoffed, running his hands over his dark hair. He was suddenly conscious of the salt and pepper streaks at his temples and the slight paunch to his gut that definitely hadn’t been there five years ago. “I’m in bed with a gorgeous, naked woman half my age – tired shouldn’t come into it, Callie.”
Tilting her head back on her shoulders with a little groan, she slumped back against the pillows in defeat. “I’m not
half your age
, for a start,” she corrected, as if a few years either way made little difference. “And, right now, you’re not in bed with me either.”
He slumped down on the edge of the mattress, his elbows resting on his knees and his head in his hands. “I can’t believe this shit,” he mumbled, as she reached out to lay a comforting hand on his back.
“Hey, come on,” she said. “I’m tired too – maybe that’s it ...”
But Michael’s head snapped up at that. “Jesus, Callie, look at you – this definitely isn’t down to you,” he said, disbelief written across his face. “Listen, can we just ... Can we just not fucking talk about this now?”
Apparently not knowing what else she could say anyway, she simply nodded. And, waiting for him to lie down, she settled beside him – with her back to him, most likely in an attempt to avoid the awkwardness.
Way to go, asshole
, the little voice in his head muttered. Eventually, he moved closer and banded an arm around her slim waist from behind, pulling her up against his chest. “Sorry,” he whispered, his voice gruff and his lips grazing her bare shoulder.
already pretending to be asleep. Maybe it was better that way.
Shirtless and still re-buckling the belt of his jeans, Colton’s even blacker than usual gaze never left the decidedly uncomfortable police officer in front of him. Having decided to take Sam’s advice on seeking out one of the many all-too-willing girls who usually graced the Fallen Brothers clubhouse on the dusty outskirts of their tiny town, he didn’t appreciate being interrupted. Not after he’d earned that shit with a hard night’s work and certainly not by some wet-behind-the-ears new recruit who didn’t know the score, for Christ’s sake.
“The fuck’s going on?” he
said, his eyes on the cop but his rough demand aimed squarely at his waiting brothers. The MC president William Whitney was leaning on the bar with an almost amused look on his face and Sam had already emerged from his own room to stand there in his boxers, seemingly without the slightest shred of self-consciousness.
“You boys tell me,” Will said, raising his eyebrows. “Apparently Officer Jones here’s got his hands on a body.”
“Had my hands on a pretty sweet little body myself, ‘til a minute ago,” Sam smirked. “So any chance we can wrap this up? Seems rude to leave a lady waiting ...”
men have alibis for between the hours of 10pm and 1am?” the kid blurted out, making the assembled bikers exchange a look.
“That sounded damn close to a pretty serious accusation,” Colton growled. “We under arrest?”
“Th-Things would just go a lot better for you if you were seen to cooperate,” Jones said, lifting his chin in an attempt at exerting his authority – even as he fought to keep his voice from wavering. His training hadn’t exactly covered the protocol on what to do when surrounded by intimidating, not to mention half-naked, hard-asses from a one percent MC.
“What’s going on in here?”
“Ah, the cavalry,” Will said, with a dangerous smile. “Mornin’, Chief. Hope you’re calling by to rein in the Lone Ranger here. Seems there might be some kinda misunderstanding and it’s a little early for visitors.”
“Will. Colton. We keepin’ you up, Sam?” the most senior officer for their little town drawled, with a nod of greeting for each of the men. Six missed calls from the over-enthusiastic rookie had woken his wife, the dog, and resulted in him being shoved out of bed to deal with whatever the hell it was that apparently couldn’t wait until sunrise. Steve Sinclair was not in the mood for anyone’s shit. “Officer Jones? A word. Outside.”
“That ain’t the word. Now, move.”
And with that, Sinclair frog-marched his officer out of the clubhouse and into the still dark yard. He shot a loaded look in the direction of the three Fallen Brothers as he went, but at least waited until they were out of sight and earshot before shoving the young recruit none too gently in the shoulder. “What the hell are you
, coming out here at this time?”
“A man’s dead,
“And unless his name’s Lazarus, he’ll
be dead come sunrise. You got any idea the shit you’re creating for yourself coming here? Now, we’re goin’ back in there – see if we can’t smooth this thing over. And you ... You’re gonna keep your trap shut, you hear me?”
nodded, trailing his superior sulkily as they walked back into the clubhouse to be met by the same steely gazes as before. Just another night in the little corner of Nevada they called, without trace of irony, Haven.
Nearly thirty minutes late, the door of the
town’s sole legal tattoo studio opened and its owner straightened up, pointing a finger at the arrival with a sideways tilt of his head. “You shoulda been here a half-hour ago.”
“Why, what’d I miss?” came the snarky response, as Callie Delaney pushed her shades up into her
Dropping her over-sized bag by the coat rack in the corner and setting her take-away coffee on the nearest flat surface, she peeled off her leather jacket just a little stiffly. Waking in the early hours of the morning to Michael’s weight on top of her, his laboured breath hot on her neck, had done little for her mood. Her body still ached from when he’d cranked her arms above her head and pushed inside her with little by the way of foreplay.
She knew he hadn’t meant to hurt her; that he’d just been desperate to prove to her and to himself that he could keep up with her. But, after a long day at work, a thrown-together dinner and the better part of a bottle of wine in front of mindless television, all she’d wanted to do in the first place was crawl into bed. Alone. She’d had enough on her plate without spending yet another night wondering what kept pulling them together, when all they were meant to be was some kind of indulgence of his half-assed attempt at a mid-life crisis and her bid to ... Well, she hadn’t quite figured out what the hell her excuse was yet.
Speaking of excuses ...
“Don’t start on me, Sketch. I cover for you all the time,” Callie warned, as she went to check out the appointment book behind the small reception desk.
“All right, all right!
Chill the fuck out, woman.”
“What’s that shit supposed to mean?”
But before her boss could even open his mouth to answer, the chimes jangled violently as the door jerked open.
“You free?” The question that wasn’t really a question was thrown in Callie’s direction, a grim-faced Colton Greene throwing himself down on the recliner at her usual work station without waiting for an answer.