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I cringed, remembering when Eli had done exactly that. He didn’t just come to the door. He bulldozed his own door and half of King’s garage in the process. King must have noticed my reaction. “Never AGAIN,” he amended. I hated the way he was looking at me, like he was about to ask me about how I was doing so I changed the subject.

“I thought you were planning on going civilian?” I asked, surprised to hear that King still had the Granny Growhouses operating.

“There’s only so much civilian a guy like me can go. I scaled back and I don’t bring anything to our doorstep. We keep busy though. During the day Grace has been watching the kids and up until we had Nikki, Ray had been apprenticing for me. She’s pretty fucking amazing. Can draw better than I ever could.”

“That’s why I need to leave,” I said. “You got all this shit going on that I have no business being part of.”

“Brother, we’ve had no business being part of a damn fucking thing that we’ve been doing since we were kids and that’s why you need to stay. Shit’s not the same without you. At least stay until you figure shit out and clear your head. Then if you still think being on the road is what you want you can go back to Bear’s Pussy Parade across America without ever thinking about Logan’s Beach again.”

I laughed at how well he knew me. Better than anyone.

Better than myself.

He knew me so well in fact that he already knew there was no way I was going to stay. Logan’s Beach was my home, it’s where I was born, where I grew up. But right now there was nothing for me there except problems, and I wanted nothing more than to put the distance back between me and my bike, and the constant reminders of the shit my life had become that were on every street, every sign, every shell and piece of sand of my hometown.

King ignored my refusal of his help and opened the driver’s side door. He set a radar detector on the dash, hooking it into the lighter outlet. Red numbers flashed to life and it made a sound like a metal detector hovering over a nickel in the sand. “Figured it could shorten the drive. Coyotes could be dragging her mama’s head around by her neck on main street by now. Every minute counts.”

I nodded, time was definitely not on our side. “Good call.”

“That girl in there…” King asked, tossing me a package of black tattoo gloves and rounding the truck to the passenger side. We’ve always had a ‘your ride, you drive’ rule which apparently applied to the bread truck rental. “…She tell you why there are two bodies rotting in the sun right now?”

I shook my head. “No, she won’t say much. She mutters a lot. Rocks back and forth. Lucky we got her address out of her. Seriously, you shouldn’t even be coming with me. This entire thing could be a setup. Something happens to you or you go back upstate, Ray would kill me with her bare hands.” King had done time for letting his mom, who was an evil cunt druggie bitch, die in a fire that he didn’t start. Can you believe that shit? He doesn’t do time for killing her. He serves time for not saving the dumb cunt who neglected his baby girl.

It was bullshit to me four years ago and it was still bullshit to me sitting there in that bread truck.

“When I came to you at the MC. After all the shit that went down with Eli and asked you to soldier for me to get my girl back, did you hesitate? Fuck no you didn’t. You went there GUNS-A-BLAZING like a badass MOFO!”

“Yeah, because it was Ray, but this isn’t my girl. This is just a girl. A wacky, parent-killing bitch who may or may not be sucking my old man’s cock. This isn’t a life-or-death guns-a-blazing situation,” I said, repeating the same words my old friend had just used. “This is just a problem that needs fixing.”

King laughed. “You’ve seen thousands of Beach Bastard Bitches come and go at the club.” He jerked his chin toward the room where I’d locked Thia inside. “Answer me honestly, she look like any BBB you’ve ever seen?”

“No, but that could all be part of it.” Chop couldn’t exactly send someone who had ‘cum dumpster’ written all over her so he sends an innocent looking girl with a fat lip…and even fatter tits.

Down boy.

“Do you even hear yourself right now? You got history with this girl, right? Enough to know her name?” King asked.

“Yeah, but…” I started to argue.

“But nothing. Skid’s been in the ground for years. What are the chances he told your old man that story before the cartel took him down, AND that your old man remembered it years later, and then decided he needed to go seek out that same girl, turn her into a club whore, AND then send her back to you to carry out his revenge against you for leaving the MC he practically pushed you out of?” King asked, pointing out the huge and obvious holes in my entire Thia conspiracy that up until a few seconds earlier had seemed like the most plausible explanation for Thia suddenly popping up in my life.

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