Authors: Joanna Blake,Pincushion Press
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Contemporary Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Crime
Wanted By The Devil
© 2014 by Joanna Blake
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
the express written permission of the publisher
for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America
was following her. Again.
It was a perfect day. A warm, early summer day in the middle of June. The sun was shining, the birds were singing.
Kaylie picked up her pace and hurried down the hill toward North Avenue. She had just picked up her diploma and was carrying it home, along with the contents of her locker. Graduation had been a week ago but she’d had to skip it, just like she skipped a lot of things. Sometimes it seemed like all she did was work. School work, homework, house work, work work. She'd been out the last few weeks of high school due to mono but her grades had carried her through. She was an excellent student thank God so her teachers had been lenient.
. What a joke.
They called mono the kissing disease. Like anyone ever kissed her.
It wasn't like she was unattractive. Kaylie knew she was cute. Hot even. With long light brown hair and big brown eyes, and tawny golden skin she knew she had a pretty face. The kind you see in magazines even, with pouty lips and high round cheek bones. Her body was curvy too, despite walking literally everywhere due to a lack of wheels. Her large breasts had made her feel embarrassed when she’d first got them a few years ago. Big and perfectly circular over her absurdly tiny waist and long legs. Her body made her look older in a way that belied her innocence. But she was innocent. Painfully so.
Halfway through her junior year, all the boys in school had abruptly left her alone. They didn't just stop flirting with her or trying to get her to go out with them, they started avoiding her gaze, even pretending that she didn't exist.
Even Janet had said something. Before the sudden change it had been Kaylie who got all the attention from boys. Suddenly it was just the opposite, with her loud mouthed best friend having a date every weekend, not her. Janet was realllllly helpful, just saying that they must have found out about her cooties. Still, they’d both caught the shift, so Kaylie knew she wasn’t imagining it.
was around the same time she'd started noticing the bikes. Wherever she went, whatever time of day, it seemed like there was always a bike behind her. Not just a bike. A
It wasn't so crazy to see hogs around. She did live in California. And her town was the epicenter of one of the biggest clubs in the state. But still. It was weird.
She glanced over her shoulder and saw a huge old school motorcycle driving slowllllly up the street behind her. He wasn’t looking at her. In fact, he was looking everywhere but at her.
Who knew bikes could even go that slow? And why would he if he wasn’t following her.
was definitely weird.
It had all started when she was serving the counter at Mae's, the diner that everyone still called the soda shop. It had been there since the 1950’s, more or less unchanged. She'd worked there since the age of 14 when her mother had insisted she get a job if she wanted to go to college someday. It was out of their reach otherwise, but she’d promised Kaylie would be able to go, no matter what.
she worked hard, at school and elsewhere.
Kaylie had taken her mother’s advice to heart, and her mother had been true to her word, helping Kaylie save her money for school and making sure the bare necessities were met at home. But it's not like she could afford to buy all the cute outfits that some of the girls at school wore. She had learned to stick to the basics and buy one or two things a year that could go with anything. One pair of jeans, one skirt, one plain blouse, one sweater. That was it. Her wardrobe was not extensive or trendy but it worked as long as she limited the colors she bought. Pink, navy, white, denim. She didn’t look frumpy but sometimes she longed to just go to the mall and pick out whatever she wanted. Someday...
hadn't stopped guys from asking her out in droves though, not until Junior year anyway. She’d just started dating when she could, in between shifts at Maes and working extra hard to make the honor roll. True, she hadn’t had a lot of time, but there had been plenty of offers. An absurd amount really. She'd gone out with a few of the boys at school but never let any of them get past first base though. And now, nada.
’s not like she wanted to get pawed in the backseat of a camaro. But it was hard wondering what was wrong with her. Why she was the only girl in school who’d never had a boyfriend… or a prom date. Not that she could have gone to the prom with mono!
sighed. What was even the point anymore? It’s not like any of those high school boys compared to
It had taken some doing, but she'd found out the name of the guy who’d started coming in almost every time she worked a shift. The guy with the tousled blond hair and green eyes. The guy who looked rough, like he had a past, but who was always polite and left her absurdly large tips.
Everyone seemed to know who he was except her. They all gave him a respectful distance when he came into the diner and sat invariably at the counter, near the end where the waitresses took their breaks between tables.
That was how she ended up spending so much time in his vicinity. Not talking, just… nearby. She tried to ignore the feelings that he created in her, the nervous, jittery tingles, but it didn’t really work. She looked forward to seeing him, dreading it at the same time. She was a great waitress when he wasn’t in the diner. When else did she drop coffee cups?
She’d decided that if she was going to have a crush, she’d better find out who he was. He rode a bike, she knew that much. He was a little older than her too, in his early or mid twenties. He had a hard look to him but that wavy blond hair was incredibly boyish. Not to mention all those muscles...
No one had wanted to talk about him at first. The name had been hard enough, but finding out that he was the President of the local MC had taken even longer. At 25, he was the youngest President in the history of the club. Devlin was a bad boy for all intents and purposes. Most likely a criminal and definitely the leader of a bunch of criminals and soon to be criminals. Off limits to someone like her certainly.
But dear lord, he was dreamy. As if a model was dressing as a biker for a high fashion photo shoot. He was the real deal though. Dangerous. She could look at him though, right? There was no harm in that… She was subtle about it, just sneaking a peek now and then. That’s until she realized
She’d dropped another coffee cup when she’d caught his eyes on her for the first time. Her whole body had lit up like a christmas tree. He hadn’t looked away either. Just sat there, watching her clean up the mess on the floor. When she stood up a few minutes later, he was gone.
And a twenty dollar tip was on the counter.
That was around the time she started noticing the bikes. It never felt threatening. It always felt more like they were escorting her. They didn't stare or cat call. The huge guy with long curly hair nodded at her now and then. That was it. They were just… there.
She turned around and saw the same curly haired guy who was often behind her. He reminded her of a bear, or a villain from an action movie. The guy looked
. As soon as she turned the corner to her block though, he was gone. As usual. Well, not gone, but waiting politely around the corner in case she went out again. Kaylie lived on a cul de sac so it's not like she could get past him. Not unless someone hid her in the trunk of their car.
She almost laughed. The whole situation was bizarre. It's not like she could call the cops or them. 'Um, yeah officer? There's this guy-well it's not
the same guy- but anyway it seems like there's always a biker half a block behind me. No, they don't actually
Yeah, that would go over great.
She wasn't sure she even wanted to call the cops anyway. Not if the crazy thought she'd been having lately was… true. The crazy thought she hadn't even admitted to herself or the two girlfriends who had noticed the bikes. Janet and Lindsey had been freaked out by it at first but now they didn’t even mention it. Just part of the scenery to them. But Kaylie couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility.
crazy idea that just felt like it just might be true.
She was starting to believe that they were keeping an eye on her. Protecting her. For Devlin. It was a crazy thought because he’d given her no real reason to believe he even knew who she was. He'd never asked her out or said anything remotely flirtatious to her. He just placed his order and sat there quietly, eating his food, always utterly relaxed and confident. He could have owned the place the way he sat there. He could have owned the world.
the way he looked at her whenever he came into Mae's… she caught him watching her hungrily constantly now. He’d stopped hiding his purpose in being in the diner all together. Eventually she’d learned not to flinch or drop anything from the incredible heat coming off the man. He was smoldering. For her.
That much she knew was not her imagination.
Kaylie ran to her house and got dressed for work. She had a shift tonight and as usual, they needed the money. She was attending state school starting in the fall. She could commute from here but ideally she'd be able to get an apartment on her own. Never mind books and bus fare back and forth every day. It was over an hour to campus by public trans. She was not looking forward to that.
, once school started she wouldn't be able to work as many shifts. She'd miss it. Mostly because of Mae of course. But if she was honest with herself she'd also miss bumping into
I wonder if they'll follow me onto campus?
She giggled at the thought of bikers parked outside her lecture hall and slipped into her pink rayon uniform. Mae's was old school. She didn't mind though. The retro waitress uniform did look pretty cute on her.
She poured another cup of coffee for the trucker at the end of the counter. It was already past the end of her shift, nearly 11 o'clock. The whole place would be shut down already if they didn't have one last customer. Charlie, the line cook, was already shut down for the night and only waiting for her out of courtesy. The staff were all very protective of her, especially since she’d started working the late shift.
Kaylie sighed and rested her face in the palm of her hand. It had been an uneventful evening. No sign of
tonight. Mae and Sally the afternoon waitress had both left a few hours ago leaving Kaylie with no one to talk to. She’d restocked the entire diner and even read a few chapters of the new book she’d borrowed from the library. But now she was starting to long for bed.
thought about drinking some coffee herself but she knew she'd be up half the night if she did. She nursed the chocolate milkshake she'd made for herself earlier instead. Everything was already wiped down. She wanted to go home.