Authors: Vivian Lux
Sons of Steel Motorcycle Club
All Rights Reserved
This book contains adult themes, explicit language and sexual situations. It is intended for mature audiences.
BOOKS BY VIVIAN LUX:
Sons of Steel Motorcycle Club:
I love to hear from my readers.
Email me at
Friend me at
Like me at
Get the latest in new releases and limited time promotions by signing up for
Please respect the work of this author. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without permission. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations are also coincidental.
The publisher and author acknowledge the trademark status and trademark ownership of all trademarks and locations mentioned in this book. Trademarks and locations are not sponsored or endorsed by trademark owners.
(C) 2015 by Vivian Lux and Velvetfire Press
To B., of course.
To N. and E. Mama loves you, now please stop touching her laptop.
To A. Thanks for letting me use the coffee story. Meow.
To H.B. and especially TTT. Where would I be without you guys?
To my Vandals. Thank you for being so patient and for promoting me even during the radio silence. You guys are the best.
I was almost done. Just one more row of goofy white monstrosities, and I could punch my time card and get the hell out of here for another night. My nerves were jangling. My head was buzzing. I was exhausted.
And then the bell over the door jingled. "Oh, for fuck's sake," I said out loud.
My manager shot me a look and hurried to the front of the bridal salon. I felt like collapsing into the pile of wedding gowns in front of me. They would probably make a pretty nice bed. I could sleep here all night.
Instead I straightened up. I was five hundred dollars away from making my commission cut-off for this paycheck and of course I desperately needed the money. I pasted on a smile, wiped my hands on my slacks, and rounded the corner to go greet the starry eyed bride.
And then I stopped short when I saw Kathy Vollmer.
My stomach sank right down to my toes and I'm sure my practiced salesperson grin took on a bit of a snarl. Kathy looked at me and I saw several different emotions play across her face. The first was the frantic scrambling to place me. The second was the recognition that yes, indeed, Gabriela Ortiz was standing in front of her. And a third was the evil glee when she glanced down at my bare left hand.
"Gabi," she trilled, and the three overly made-up girls with her whipped their heads around. Yep, they had all gone to Lenape, though I could only remember two of their names. Lauren, and Hannah and Miss-Blonde-Extensions, but they all looked interchangeable anyway.
"Hi Kathy!" I sang out, rushing over to her in simulated glee. "Oh my gosh, congratulations!"
This job really made me hate myself sometimes.
"Do you work here?" Kathy asked.
Of course I work here, you stupid bitch. Why the hell else would I be in a bridal salon? I just saw you look at my hand, you know damn well I'm not here shopping for myself.
"I do!" I said instead of punching her. Then I widened my eyes and used the line I must have used a thousand times before. "Hey, that's something you're going to be saying soon!"
Kathy and her interchangeable maids started giggling wildly as I shot a glance at the clock. Closing time was in fifteen minutes. How quickly could I hustle her in and out of here?
"So what if you been up to since graduation?" Kathy asked me as I settled her into her dressing room.
"Oh, you know," I hedged.
Spinning my wheels and dodging commitment
I didn't say. "Adult stuff."
Kathy's eyes widened for a second, and I realized I had made a grievous error. The image of Gabriela Ortiz doing adult stuff was never far from the mind of any of the graduates of Lenape High. And no matter how many times I tried to dispel the rumors about my overactive sex life, I kept doing things to prove that they were all right about me.
Like sleeping with half the town out of sheer boredom in a series of unfulfilling escapades that only left me feeling worse about myself. I knew it should bother me that I was helping a high school classmate pick out her wedding dress. I knew I should be concerned that someone my age had already found love and commitment.
But all it did was make me feel annoyed.
They didn't need to judge me; I was good enough at it for all of us.
The instincts that I had honed over the past few months at this crappy job proved to be correct. The third of the dresses I slid over Kathy's head had her weeping and taking multiple selfies. I wrote down her information, smiled at her plans, asked all the right questions and hustled her away, out of my hair. Of course she wasn't going to buy today, girls like her never do. She had to go try on dresses at as many salons as she could, fulfilling all of her princess fantasies at the expense of the overworked consultants.
By the time I got her out of there, it was in half an hour after closing time and I really needed to drink. But the idea of going back to my studio apartment was too depressing. One drink at Jokers. That's all I was going to do. One drink and then I would go home. Tomorrow was my day off, I'd sleep in,
maybe sign up for one of those dating websites?
Making empty promises to myself was a specialty of mine. I knew I wasn't going to do any of this, but it felt good to think that I would.
I shoved Kathy's discards back in to the rack, not really caring if they ended up where they didn't belong. They could deal with it in the morning with fresh, coffee-sharpened eyes. I was too damn tired.
I escaped into the chilly late February air, feeling the hollow pride at completing another day of selling the dream of love and commitment to others, when I didn't even believe in it myself.
Fuck it was cold.
Of course it was cold, it was the end of February and the whole Northeast was blanketed under six inches of crusty brown snow. It was cold, and yet I was riding a motorcycle.
That seemed about right.
I should be driving south
. Heading somewhere warm, somewhere dry. Somewhere else but north on I-287. But it was like my bike was driving itself, like a goddamned homing pigeon zeroing in on its roost. I was riding without thinking, tearing up the miles between Philadelphia, and me. Between me and the humiliation I was leaving behind.
I took the off-ramp too fast, my back wheel skittering out of control and for a split second I thought it would happen all over again - I would wake up in a hospital bed with my mind wiped clean. I would be born again into a new life, with new mistakes to make, and new fuck-ups to regret, and I wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath of what I left behind.
It sounded so inviting. I almost wished it would happen.
But riding is one of those things I'm really good at. Like fighting and fucking and getting confused. I righted my bike on instinct, swinging my weight to my left side to yank myself out of the skid. I rumbled to an uneventful stop at the end of the ramp, and I turned right just like nothing had happened.
Why the hell had I come to Lenape?
I was just going to pass through, I told myself. Just look at the place, satisfy myself that there was still nothing here for me, then I would head out. Maybe fill up my tank with cheap Jersey gas, and turn tail and head down south.
Florida sounded especially nice.
Riding down the darkened main drag, I waited for the memories that I knew would never come. Being here was like purposefully giving myself the worst sense of déjà vu. Lenape was full of things I could never forget, because I could never remember them in the first place.
Forgetting everything still seemed like a really good idea, and there was only one thing for certain that would give me that pleasure.
A bar. It looked like a real piece of shit. But I stopped anyway.
The snow-threatening sky was tinged with orange, the whole sky blinking with busy aircraft zooming overhead. I heard the low groan of trucks downshifting on the highway and the noise of traffic in the distance, but here in the parking lot there wasn't a sound. It was filled with only heavy, staticky silence, the kind that can only come in winter. When everyone else is snug inside, and you have the world to yourself.
Reminds you pretty bluntly that you have nowhere to go.
There were only a few vehicles in the parking lot, a big pickup that reminded me sharply of the one I had left in Philly, a small beat up looking hatchback that was either white or silver, I couldn't tell, and a handful of other ones. I wasn't really sure I wanted to deal with this many people at once, but the cold was really setting in.
I swung my stiff good leg over the seat. As my boot crunched in the freezing gravel, pins and needles shot down my leg. The cold had seeped into my bones and I braced myself for what I knew was coming next.
My bad leg hit the ground as thick and dead as a log.
Fuck, it had locked up.
I massaged the muscle above the kneecap angrily. Riding so long in the cold without moving or stretching had robbed it of any feeling. I knew this would happen. I knew better than to go so long without a break, but I had forgotten.
I forgot everything. Always.
My fucking knee refused to bend, no matter how long I rubbed it through my jeans. I sighed, my frozen breath wreathing my face like I was a smoke-breathing dragon.
I was going to have to walk into this shit place like a fucking cripple.
For some reason that struck me as funny.
I'm in fucking Lenape for no fucking reason, and now that I want a drink, my fucking leg refuses to work.
"Fuck you then," I muttered.
I limped stiffly to the door and yanked it open.