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“I’ll get started,” King said, disappearing from the doorway. “Meet you out in the garage.”

Bear knelt down in front of me, hot tears dropped down the side of my face as my gaze darted from the ceiling into the angry eyes of the person who I was stupid enough to think could have somehow been my savior in all this. “This is your only warning, Darlin’. If I find out that you’re in any way working for the MC. If you’re on their payroll…” His eyes turned dark and I tried to look away again, but he grabbed me by the back of the neck and leaned in so close the tip of his nose touched mine. His breath flitted against my lips in angry bursts as he spoke between his snarl. “If this is some sort of fucked up trap, you better fucking believe that whatever my old man did to you at the club is going to feel like you skinned your fucking knee compared to what I’m going to do to you.”



King and I loaded the bread truck with the plastic tarps, different types of saws, both electric and manual, drills, and enough cleaning supplies to start our own maid service.

“You think Gus went back to the MC?” King asked.

“Yeah that’s probably exactly where he went. If he disappeared too long now they’d figure out really quickly that he was the one who took the girl. Chop has always been paranoid about rats in our midst.” I laughed. “Fucker’s probably having himself a heart attack right now trying to figure out what the fuck happened.”

“He didn’t do it quietly. Fucker said he set off a pipe bomb as a distraction to get to the girl,” King said.

“The crazy thing is that motherfucker had a pipe bomb handy. Probably has a stack of them to the ceiling in his room. He’s always been a little off his rocker. One time I was in the shower at the club and when I pulled back the curtain he was just standing there, staring. Scared the fucking shit out of me.”

“Creepy fucker,” King said.

“Yeah, but he has his uses. And he’s loyal, obviously, which is more than I can say for most people these days.” King and I each grabbed a door on the back of the truck and slammed it shut.

“What did you do for him that earned that kind of loyalty, cause that’s big shit, man.”

“I saved his life. Fucker was about to catch a bullet in the head,” I said.

“From who?”

“Me. Gus almost didn’t turn prospect because Gus almost didn’t live past his sixteenth birthday. I’d caught him peering in through a warehouse window where he’d been watching me ‘question’ one of our rivals for information. The kid was as good as dead. Except when I was about to pull the trigger to put him down, the fucker didn’t flinch. Then he asked me if it felt good to gut a man and then he criticized my choice of knife I’d used on the guy before him. I decided he was more useful as a Bastard than dead. He turned prospect the very next day.” The little fuck became the best ‘questioner’ the club ever had. I bought him an entire butcher knife set when he was patched in. He looked down at the knives and I didn’t know if he was about to cry or come.

Probably both.

“Ready. Let’s go,” King said.

“Nah, man. No need to put yourself at risk for this shit. I’m gonna get out there, neutralize the bullshit and get the fucking girl out of your house. The sooner I do that the sooner I can hit the road again.”

“Fuck off. I’m going with you.” He pointed to the door of the apartment. “You know you can stay, right? That apartment is yours. Always has been. Rebuilt it with you being there in mind. Also, I built something else. A sort of fall out building, it’s on the island.”

“Fallout building? Like a bomb shelter?” I asked. The back island was an acre of land that blended into the shoreline of the preserve on the other side of the bay. If you looked across the water from King’s property you couldn’t see that it was even an island. When King and Prep had first moved in he didn’t even know it was there until we came up on it by boat.

“Something like that. I’ll show you one of these days,” King said.

I shook my head. “Won’t be here long enough. Just me being here puts you and your family in danger. You got kids now man. Wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to them.”

Like something happened to Preppy.

That wasn’t your fault, dick slick. It was mine. I literally couldn’t dodge that bullet. See what I did there? Oh my shit I’m hilarious.

“Do you think I’m stupid? I’m not. I know the MC isn’t in the business of killing civilians,” King said, “besides, we’re wired up here like there is no tomorrow. See that?” King asked, pointing to a high corner of the garage where a small red light was blinking. “Got cameras everywhere. Everything is hooked to my phone. I also give the local sheriff a cut of the Granny Growhouse operation plus all the fucking weed they can smoke and now they look out for us. MC had a few deals go south lately so they stopped paying off the law. So you can stay here. Nobody is coming to our door. Nobody.”

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