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“You’re afraid of ME? I just saw you kill a guy then rub your finger in his blood.” I pointed out.

Gus unfolded his arms from himself when he saw I was no longer holding out my offending hand and stood up, smoothing down his already smooth shirt. “Blood is clean. Blood is beautiful. Blood is life and watching that life drain out and fade away is a gift I like to give myself as often as possible. Hands are dirty. So dirty. Like motel rooms.” He rambled, gagging when he mentioned ‘motel rooms,’ turning his mouth into the crook of his elbow. He took a deep breath, fixing within himself whatever it was that I had broken by trying to shake his hand. “Did you know that most motel rooms are covered in feces and semen?” Gus asked out of nowhere. “And I’m not talking about the bed. Depending on the age of the motel and the number of available rooms and the amount of parking spaces, at one time or another every single surface had been covered by either semen or feces or both.”

“Well hello to you too, Gus,” Bear said with a laugh.

“It’s true,” Gus said, turning to Bear. “And it’s not funny. Now you owe me three.” Gus took another drag of the joint and passed it back to Bear who held it between his lips and inhaled until the red ember on the tip dripped with ash.

He spoke as he exhaled. “I know it’s not funny man. What’s also not funny is that if it wasn’t for Ti grabbing my gun and you showing up that we’d be a couple of corpses stacked on your pile right now.”

“I keep my promises,” Gus said, “You saved my life.”

“Never doubted you, brother, but you didn’t have to take off your cut for me. I would never have asked you that,” Bear said, gesturing to Gus’s cut-free attire.

“I didn’t take it off for you. I took it off for me.”

“Why?” I chimed in.

“Because I found out who the mole is.”

“What mole?” I asked.

“The one who fed intel to Isaac and then to Eli. The one who tried to have me killed twice, but still can’t seem to get the fucking job done,” Bear informed me. “But it doesn’t matter now, because Chop wants to kill me himself.”

“Three times,” Gus corrected.

“What?” Bear asked, his brows creasing with confusion.

“Three times,” Gus said. “The first time was when he let Isaac into the club when he knew what Isaac’s plans were. The second time was when he told Eli where you were. The third time was today, right now.”

Bear sat there silently and took another drag of the joint, rubbing his temples with his thumb. “Fuuuuuuccck!” he roared, standing up on top of the table.

“I don’t understand,” I said. “What does you leaving the MC and the mole have anything to do with one another…” I stopped when the realization hit.

Bear looked down at me and nodded.

“The mole is…” I started, but stopped as it all sank in.

Bear growled and finished my sentence.

“My fucking old man.”

Gus nodded. “Chop. Chop is the mole.”

*     *     *

Thia

So much for normal.

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

Bear

“So your old man was gunning for you long before you threw down your cut? Why?” King asked, lighting a joint and passing it to me. “That doesn’t make any fucking sense.”

“I know. There has got to be more to it. My old man’s a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s not fucking stupid. The problem is now that we can’t get any more intel. Gus laid down his cut. He’s out, which means I don’t have anyone left on the inside.” We were back in his tattoo studio and I’d just told him what had gone down at the park. Luckily, Gus was all too eager to handle the cleanup on his own, so we left him to it. “It’s not like it fucking matters. If he wants me dead, he wants me dead, the reason isn’t important anymore. The only real problem is that he’s willing to go through Ti to get to me.”

“But why Thia? You have other people he can get to. Me. Grace. Ray. Why choose her?”

“’Cause Chop’s a cocksucker, but he’s not fucking stupid either, he took one look at her and knew…” I paused. “He’s following code, or at least he’s making it appear to the brothers like he is, meanwhile he’s been going behind their backs, planning to have me killed for fuck knows how long now.”

“But that still doesn’t make sense. How could going through Thia to get to you…” King started but stopped when I flashed him a knowing look. He answered his own question. “Girls in the club, old ladies, even the BBB’s, they aren’t considered civilians. She’s fair game as far as he’s concerned because he thought you’d claim her.”

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