Authors: Kylie Hillman
Tags: #Family, #Fiction, #Romance, #thriller, #dark, #Contemporary, #Suspense, #Australia, #MC, #organised crime
Flicking his eyes to me, I lift my chin in answer to his unspoken question.
“I second that motion.” My voice is strong and sure as I say the words I never imagined I would be saying in my lifetime. “Beast is a traitor. We have proof that he’s been working with the Mavericks of Mayhem. We have proof that he had prior knowledge that my Old Lady and Princess were going to be targeted by them. We have proof that he was brokering a truce with the Mavericks behind the Club’s back with Princess as the bargaining chip.”
I force myself to stop talking. This is a matter for Church, not for the open bar.
Too many women and hang-a-bouts are present for me to keep speaking.
Disbelief fills the room—not as much as I would have expected—but enough to let Mad Dog and I know that we have opposition to our challenge.
Wendy, Beast’s long-time girlfriend, makes her way to the front of the crowd. She comes to a stop in front of Beast. The room falls silent as they wait to see how this is going to play out.
“Tell me this isn’t true, Patrick?” Tears fill her eyes. She shakes her head when he won’t meet her eyes. “God help you if this is true. Do you know what almost happened to Madelaine again today? If Mikhail and Lucas hadn’t found her in time, she’d be dead or in the hospital with Joel.”
Beast drops his head at her words, his chin resting on his barrel chest.
Lenny takes a step back from him, his confidence in his little brother shaken by his reaction. Beast is not the type to take this lying down, his acquiescence a strong sign of his guilt.
Wendy shakes her hand after she slaps Beast’s face for the second time.
“You make me sick. What happened to the man I love?”
Tears streaming down her face, she spins on her heel, running from the room without another word.
My dad steps forward, surprising the shit out of me. I didn’t realize he was here already. His expression is closed off as he looks between me and Beast.
His son, or his long-time brother.
The man he’s been to war with, or the man he raised.
With Dad at the forefront of my thoughts, I search the room.
Laying eyes on Mad Dog’s father Viking, I feel sick to my gut.
He’s our ex-President, was our interim when Beast left Brisbane to raise his kids after their mom died. He’s dying from fucking cancer. He has fuck all time left—he should’ve been dead twelve months ago according to his doctor.
This could be the final nail in his coffin.
Looking at Mad Dog, I see the same fucked-up thoughts all over his face.
This bunch of men raised us as a collective, taught us everything we know, and one monumental fuck up is about to bring their legacy crashing down if we can’t stop it.
Fuck me dead. It just keeps getting more complicated.
Lenny pulls his eyes from his brother, standing tall as he assumes control.
“Twenty minutes. Ring the brothers who aren’t here and tell them Church is in twenty minutes. No ifs, buts, or maybe’s. Full fucking complement needed.”
As voices fill the bar, desolation threatens to choke me.
This Club has been my life since I was old enough to prospect.
I respect my patch, honor our traditions and processes, and couldn’t love my brothers more if they’d been brothers by blood.
In my mind, and I’d always assumed my brother’s minds, we
Watching the men who I’d throw my life on the line for argue amongst themselves, I’m left wondering if this is the beginning of the end.
Will Beast’s treachery succeed in taking us down, or will we rise and face the challenge as the brotherhood we thought we were?
What a fucking night.
And it’s only just beginning.
hereby call this full meeting of the Black Shamrocks Motorcycle Club to order. We are in session.” Beast can barely be heard as he speaks.
Slamming the gavel down on the sound block, he eyeballs Mad Dog and me.
The fat, split lip he’s sporting is bleeding, and his face is a mass of rapidly darkening bruises. His swollen features render him almost unrecognizable. The only features readily identifiable as the Beast I know are his upright bearing and unblinking, forthright gaze. Apart from that he could be a stranger.
I’m of two minds.
I want Beast held accountable for what he’s done to the Club, for what he let happen to Maddi and JJ. I guess I’m still in denial that the man I’ve idolized my entire life has fallen so far from grace that he’s jeopardized his place in the Club.
Jeopardized his life.
There are two ways to leave the Shamrocks once you’ve patched in, and they both involve a body bag. The only difference is how you end up in the body bag. Natural causes like old age, or a bike accident. Or because the Club put you there.
Beast is staring down the barrel of the second option.
Clearing his throat as he pushes to his feet from his seat to the left of Beast, Mad Dog places both palms on the table and hangs his head for a long second. After a deep breath, he lifts his head and meets the eyes of every brother in the room, one by one.
Every member of the Black Shamrocks Mother Chapter is present.
A few openly challenge Mad Dog with their gaze, but the majority nod solemnly when he meets their eyes. He leaves me for last.
Facing me, he has one question in his eyes.
Should we do this?
It takes me a short moment to answer him, although it feels like an eternity passes before I incline my head in response to his unstated query.
Let’s do this.
“It’s fucking killing me, but I have to do this.” Mad Dog stands tall, his expression solemn.
He’s close to losing it, hiding his clenched fists behind his back as he continues. His voice is strong and sure, belying the tension gripping him. “I formally challenge for the position of President of the Black Shamrocks Brisbane Chapter and for the Black Shamrocks National Presidency. I call this motion on the grounds of treason committed by the current President, Beast O’Brien.”
We all knew the challenge was coming, yet curses and mutters of disbelief echo around our chapel. Obviously I wasn’t the only one still holding on to their denial, clutching it like a dying man holds his faith on his deathbed.
“I second the motion.” My voice isn’t quite as strong as Mad Dog’s, but it doesn’t quaver.
“I second it as well.” Smoke moves to stand next to Mad Dog. “I was there today. I saw it all firsthand.”
“Fucking hell, my son. Step back,” Butch urges Smoke to rethink his stand.
Smoke visibly swallows. “I’m sorry, Dad. I can’t.”
This is it.
There’s no going back now. The motion has to pass—we have a challenger, and two endorsers as required by our constitution.
Beast slams the gavel down twice, his face emotionless.
“The motion passes. Let’s do this.” He pushes back in his chair at the head of the table, his knuckles white as he grips the edge of the table. “As the challenger, Mad Dog presents first. I’ll rebut once we’ve heard what the fuck he has to say.”
For the first time, an expression flits over his blank face, his eyes filling with hate as he addresses Mad Dog. “Make it fucking good. You’ve got one chance.”
“One chance is all I need, old man.” Mad Dog’s show of disrespect in not addressing Beast by the title he still holds, for now, causes angry rumbling to flow around the room.
Dropping back into his seat, and motioning for silence, he begins presenting his case.
“Last night, Timber’s woman was snatched from her house. This morning, Lainey was forced into a car after Sal was run over to get to her. You all know this.”
Agreement echoes around the room.
“What you don’t know is that Beast knew this was gonna go down.”
“Bullshit,” Beast interjects, slamming his fist down on the table.
“Quiet. You’ll get your turn,” Butch butts in.
He’s our Road Captain, both Lenny and myself technically outranking him since Mad Dog and Beast are out of commission during this meeting. I can’t be fucked arguing the point right now, and a quick glance at Lenny tells me he feels the same. Butch can run the show, until he crosses the line.
“Let me rephrase. Beast knew that
like this was gonna go down.
. He’s been meeting with Wizard and the Mavericks behind our back for months. I don’t know exactly how long, but it’s been happening since they approached him to threaten the Club with evidence they say they have about Lainey’s dead ex and the Club getting rid of his body. They were leveraging their evidence, threatening to take it to the cops and her ex’s father. Beast agreed to an alliance between the Clubs to get it back. Instead of bringing the threat to the table, he gave the okay to a deal where my woman was
to the fucking Mavericks to create an alliance.”
Every man in the room turns to look at Beast, waiting for the explosive reaction to the accusation. When it doesn’t come, the little noise that was being made ceases completely.
Everywhere I look, I’m met with stunned expressions.
“What proof do you have of this?” Butch asks the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
“Smoke.” Mad Dog gestures Smoke to step forward. When we were waiting for everyone to arrive, the two of us discussed who’d be the best to fill everyone in with details. Mad Dog nominated Smoke once he’d arrived at the Compound from the hospital, because he’d be seen as the most impartial.
Smoke had agreed after only the slightest prodding.
Clearing his throat once he’s standing next to Mad Dog, Smoke addresses the assembled men, a red spot visible on each cheek. He hates speaking in front of groups—even if he knows them—so this is torturous for him in more ways than one.
“Today when I was out canvassing with the other Enforcers, we came across Two-Ton Tony. He ran from us, so I called Mad Dog to see whether he wanted me to chase him down.”
Everyone listens intently as Smoke outlines how he chased down Tony and brought him back to the bunker at Mad Dog’s request. The longer he speaks, the stronger his voice becomes, his confidence that he’s doing the right thing grows.
“I don’t know what Tony told Mad Dog and Timber, but I can tell you what happened when they phoned myself, Kid, and Butch.” He nods at his father as he addresses him by his road name. “They asked us to meet them without letting Beast know. We agreed, following them to the Mavericks’ safe house after Kid narrowed down the general position of it.”
Turning my gaze to Kid, who’s been quiet throughout everything, I see him looking at Beast through worried eyes. He knows that using his hacking skills behind Prez’s back could end up coming back to bite him. Hard.
“Anyway, before we made it to the house, we intercepted a car with JJ, Connor, and two other Mavericks in it.”
Smoke fills everyone in on what happened at the crash site, and what met us when we arrived at the Mavericks’ safe house. Rumbles of angry disapproval spread through the chapel as Smoke tells how Wizard and Cam were attempting to rape Maddi when we arrived, only to be replaced by murmurs of approval as he talks about Mad Dog’s reaction to seeing it.
Pausing as he reaches Cam’s confession to the deal with Beast, he turns his gaze first to Mad Dog and then to me, seeking confirmation that he should continue.
We both nod. Smoke can keep the floor for now, his status as Beast’s nephew adding impact to what’s about to unfold.
Scrubbing his hands over his face, he pats the pocket of his cut that he keeps his ever-present smokes in before pulling out the packet and placing an unlit cigarette between his lips. His thumb twitches as if he wants to light up, but he knows better. Chapel is the one place in the club where alcohol, cigarettes, and weed are not welcome.
Straight head, smart decisions
has been our motto from the start.
“Once we had the situation under control, Mad Dog started questioning Cam. He said that the Mavericks had proof about Maddi’s dead ex and that they’d made a deal with Beast. The deal was that Maddi went to the Mavericks and they’d give Beast the evidence. Wizard’s plan, according to Cam, was to fuck around with Maddi for a while and then hand her over to Cam when he was ready to step down. Cam said it was going to be soon.”
Lenny has been sitting back watching Beast’s reaction, the occasional frown breaking across his face when he heard something he didn’t like.
Now he stands, slapping his palm down on the table.
“None of this makes sense. It’s pretty fucking obvious that you cunts have been sucked in by the Mavericks’ bullshit. Why would Beast not bring this shit to the table? We could’ve dealt with the fucking Mavericks. We’re strong enough to crush them. There’s nothing to gain by bringing my niece into this shit—”
“That’s what I thought as well,” Mad Dog concedes Lenny’s point. “But it’s the fucking truth. What Smoke hasn’t mentioned is what Cam planned to do with Lainey, once fucking Wizard stepped down. This wasn’t a straight swap. This was a blood alliance. She was sent to become an Old Lady. To bring the Mavericks back into the fold. To—”