Authors: Sophia Hampton
“I should go,” I say although I don’t want to move from where I am; I just want to stay here with him.
He nods slowly. “Talk to your brothers, see if you can get through to them. Tell them that this isn’t a one night stand, it’s the real thing.” I feel as if my heart is about to leap out of my chest at his words.
“I will,” I say quietly, brushing my lips against his. Then I turn around and walk out of the door, only to be confronted by what looks to be the entire Stones biker gang, with Aaron at the front. Behind him I see Jake and Max in their positions, watching me walk out of Brian’s house.
“Get on Max’s bike,” Aaron says, barely looking at me.
“Aaron, let me explain,” I start, but he holds his hand up silencing me.
“I don’t want to hear it. Whatever he did to you he’s going to get it back ten times over,” he says, his voice low and harsher than I’ve ever heard it.
“But it’s not like that.” I try to make my big brother understand.
“It doesn’t matter Case, he’s disrespected the Stones. The truce is off; he and rest of The Eagles are fair game,” he says, his sights trained on something just past Brian’s house. “Now get on Max’s bike. We’ll talk later,” he tells me, and I focus on the same plume of smoke that Aaron is looking at; it’s bikers approaching and I know it’s The Eagles.
“You guys can’t have a stand-off just because we slept together!” I tell Aaron, trying to make him see how ridiculous the situation is.
“He took advantage of you. You’re 21 years old, and he’s my age; he should know better. There’s no way my little sister is going to be another notch on his bed-post. He’s going to pay,” Aaron says threateningly.
“It wasn’t like that. I care about Brian,” I say, and I’m surprised at the strength of those feelings bearing in mind we’ve known each other for less than 24 hours.
“You don’t know what you’re saying. He’s got you eating out of his hand.” Aaron dismisses me with a wave. “Now get on Max’s bike before I put you there,” he says, not unkindly, and I know he’s just trying to protect me from whatever’s going to happen when The Eagles arrive.
I bow my head, knowing that I’m not going to win this fight. Not here, not now. I do as Aaron said; I walk past Jake, who doesn’t even look at me, and I hop onto the back of Max’s bike. He barely waits for me to get settled before gunning the engine and turning back in the direction they came from, heading home.
“Max, what’s going to happen?” I ask once we’re back at the house and the engine is off.
“Nothing good,” he says grimly, looking at the ground instead of at me.
“What Aaron said, about Brian taking advantage of me, it isn’t true,” I tell him.
“I know, I can tell,” Max says, nodding at Brian’s T-shirt which I’m still wearing. “But Aaron’s been looking for a reason to get to The Eagles for a long time; you’re just the excuse they needed,” he tells me. “I have to go. They’re going to need all the help they can get.” I stop him before he turns the engine on again.
“Max, I know it was you that told them you saw me leave last night,” I say, and I see the guilt plastered all over his face. “I’m not angry with you, I just want you to do something for me. Please don’t let anything happen to Brian. Please.” I squeeze his shoulder, trying to convey my worry to him.
My twin brother looks at me for a beat and then nods slowly. “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll do what I can,” he tells me before freeing himself from my vice-like grip and turning over the engine.
I spend the rest of the day more worried than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m pacing around the house, up and down the garden, checking my cell every five minutes, but it remains quiet. I’ve messaged Brian time and time again trying to find out what’s going on and if he’s okay. Max said he’d check in with me and he hasn’t. All I can do is try to stay calm and hope that everyone I love is alright.
Night starts to fall and I stare anxiously outside, waiting for a sign from someone, from anyone. Eventually I must have fallen asleep because I’m woken by the sound of a bike and I look out the window, but in the darkness I can’t tell who it is. I fling open the door and race outside and recognize Brian. I run towards him and virtually jump on him, only to be greeted by a grunt. When I pull away I see that his face is bloody, one of his eyes is definitely going to turn black in the next few hours, and he’s bent over, clutching his ribs.
“You’re hurt,” I say, stating the obvious.
“It’s nothing, just a few bumps and bruises,” he says, but from the controlled way he’s speaking I can tell he’s in pain.
“What happened?” I ask, wanting and not wanting to know at the same time.
“There was a fight,” Brian says simply. “The Stones and The Eagles have both been looking for a reason to resurrect their old feud,” he tells me shaking his head.
“Are my brothers okay?” I ask, feeling guilty that this hadn’t been my first question.
“Last I saw they were all fine. That’s why I’m here—Max told me to come,” he says. “We don’t have long, he gave me an opening—he told me that if I care about you as much as I say I do then we should get out of here. He told me either we leave tonight or all bets are off.” Brian looks at me earnestly as the enormity of what he’s asking me to do dawns on me.
“You’re asking me to leave everything? My brothers, my life here, and to go with you?” I ask, making sure I understand.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m asking. This is the real thing, Case, and it doesn’t come along very often. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I gave up on us; we’re stronger than all of this,” he says, gesturing to his bloody face and probably broken ribs.
“I know,” I say softly. “I’ll be right back.” Before he has the chance to say anything else, I rush into the house. I pull out a pad and a pen from the kitchen cupboard and scrawl a note down.
‘I’ve gone with Brian. I’ll come back when the truce is back in place. Until then, Brian and I will have to be together somewhere else. I love you all. Cx’
I pin the note to the front door and race down the steps to Brian, jumping on the back of his bike and holding him around his waist, careful to avoid the tender areas of his body. “Where are we going?” I ask.
“It doesn’t matter,” he replies, turning slightly to plant a kiss on my forehead, “anywhere is home if we’re together,” he says as he turns the engine over and we speed away from my home and eventually from the town I grew up in.
It turns out Brian was right, where we went didn’t matter; all that mattered was that we were together. So that’s how I find myself here, in a much less poetic version of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Our story has more leather and motorcycles than the original. Brian and I know that we can’t run away from our problems for long; we know that they’re going to catch up with us eventually. I’m still waiting for Max’s message, to tell me that it’s safe to go home, that the truce is back on and that Brian and I can be together without setting off a cycle of violence and pain. But for now, it’s just us and the open road and, for now, that’s all we need.
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They stopped looking for Shane Perry fifteen years ago.
They did all they could do; filed reports, dragged the lake, and finally presumed him dead. The high school football field lit up with candlelight at his memorial, and mourners gathered to gaze at his glossy image: youthful and tall with a heart melting grin.
Bikes and bikers are all Maggie Rice has ever known.
She was riding before she could walk and switching out clutch plates by junior high. She was a quirky, fiery haired tomboy and it was her dream to ride with the 417s. Formerly her father’s crew, they all had a hand in raising her after his passing. Now that she ran her own garage, it seemed her chance had arrived at last.
When the ghost of Shane Perry rides into town, he threatens to spoil it all.
The day of her initiation into the 417s, Shane waltzed back into town as if he’d only been gone the weekend, and his first order of business was to crush her chance at happiness. No woman was going to ride in Shane Perry’s gang, not ever, and certainly not his closest childhood friend.
Maggie doesn’t believe for one second his arrival is coincidental.
Was it possible to hate and love a man at the same time? Where had Shane been all those years and why was he back? And when the Hell did he get so damned gorgeous?
Allison Russell has a special knack for getting into trouble.
An intoxicating mix of beauty and bravado, she made her living unearthing things certain people would rather remain buried: stolen goods, dirty secrets, and more than a little trouble. She lived for the thrill of the hunt, and a fat stack of cash after a job well done sure didn’t hurt.
Jake Brighton has two talents, riding and thieving.
He loved them in just that order, too. There was no better feeling than making a clean getaway with his partners in crime and fellow bikers, the Dixon Crew. He’d been riding with the Dixons since before he was shaving. They were his friends and his brothers and he’d proudly take a bullet for any one of them.
And that’s why he ain’t buying what Allison Russell is selling.
A case of mistaken identity on the job leads Allison to a startling discovery, but before she can inform her client she must escape the Dixon Crew with her life. She must persuade the handsome but distrustful Jake Brighton to come to her aid, but his loyalty to his friends may just be the only thing more powerful than the aching tension growing between them.
Jake believes in his crew, but Allison intoxicates him.
If what she says is true, he’s been living a lie. But trusting a beautiful woman is never easy, particularly one who stirs a lust in him he’s never known. Is Allison the real deal, or is she using him to satisfy her client?
Grace is the very best at what she does.
Working for the Public Defender’s Office is thankless and the pay is meager, but she’s a true believer in the justice system. The beautiful, underpaid attorney has made it her life’s mission to see to it that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ still means something.
Tobey is a self-confessed career criminal.
Enforcer, thief, con-man ... He’s done it all and proudly. Tobey never cared for authority and a life of crime agrees with him.The handsome thug carved out a comfortable life for himself pulling odd jobs for a motorcycle gang, but only when he feels like it.
There are some things Tobey won’t do for any price.
Namely murder, so it’s a shock when he’s arrested for the death of a local businessman. Tobey knows he’s been framed, but the evidence is overwhelming and the outlook is grim.
That is until the lovely public defender comes to his rescue.
But when Grace uncovers evidence to exonerate Tobey both their lives are in danger and Tobey is quickly coming to the conclusion that he can’t let any harm come to his beautiful champion, not now or ever.