Authors: Kati Wilde
Tags: #motorcycle club romance, #erotic romance, #novella
• • •
As the only female member of the Hellfire Riders, I’ve fought for everything I have. But now I’m going to lose it all…
One stupid bet made years ago is going to ruin me. I’d forgotten all about it — but the Riders’ warlord hasn’t. Now the club’s most dangerous member is determined to collect his winnings: a night in my bed.
But it’s not me that Jack Hayden wants. He’s been trying to get rid of me since I patched in. He thinks I’m weak. He thinks I’m vulnerable. The only possible reason he’s following through on this bet is to try and tear me down in front of our brothers. So I won’t let him get to me, no matter how much pleasure he gives. I’ll never crave his touch…
THE MOTORCYCLE CLUBS • THE HELLFIRE RIDERS #4
The Motorcycle Clubs Series
His Wild Desire by Ella Goode
Off Limits by Ruby Dixon
Wanting It All by Kati Wilde
Her Secret Pleasure by Ella Goode
Packing Double by Ruby Dixon
Taking It All by Kati Wilde
Their Secret Need by Ella Goode
Double Trouble by Ruby Dixon
Having It All by Kati Wilde
Their Fierce Need by Ella Goode
Betting It All by Kati Wilde
Double Down by Ruby Dixon
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“Almost there, Lily.” Gunner raises the punching mitts on level with his too-pretty face. “Left jab.”
Muscles screaming, I snap my fist at the padded target.
“Left cross and finish with a right.”
Pain rips from my elbo
w to my shoulder on the left swing. Gritting my teeth, I follow through.
My chest is heaving and my eyes are watering as I pull back my fist. The workout’s over but I bounce in place, waiting for him to say we’re done.
“You went soft on the left.” Frowning, Gunner glances at the livid streak above my elbow. “You okay?”
Aside from wanting to cry because it feels like someone knifed my arm? But I wasn’t knifed. I was shot. Only a flesh wound, though—practically nothing. And it’s healed enough that my skin isn’t tearing open or bleeding anymore, so it pisses me off that the pain still flares up. “Just fine. Want me to go again?”
“Nah. We’re good.”
Good. I tear open the Velcro straps around the wrists of my sparring gloves and grab a hand towel to wipe down my face. I’m ready to hit the showers, but if I do before I cool off I’ll just keep sweating. Gunner tosses me a bottle of water and we both look toward the ring, where Spiral and Beaver are throwing down. Though it’s only practice, they’re going at each other like it’s not—preparing for the fights coming up at the next biker rally. Most of the brothers have gathered around, watching.
Most of them. Stone Wall’s over by the weight room with Knucklehead, who’s measuring the door frame. This used to be our clubhouse, but after the Hellfire Riders moved out to the Erickson ranch and merged with the Steel Titans, it became the club’s gym-away-from-home, instead. Pretty soon, though, it won’t just be the Riders here. Stone, Gunner, Blowback, and our prez own the actual property and they’ll be opening gym membership to the public as soon as the renovations are finished.
Smart. Though not as populous as Bend, Pine Valley’s growing. A lot of young professionals are moving into town, preferring to commute the thirty miles to the bigger city rather than live in it. A gym will pull in good business.
And if I’d been born with a dick, it would have been mine.
My dad used to own this property. He founded the Hellfire Riders and served as president for decades. I grew up running around the clubhouse and helping the brothers fix their bikes, but he never let me wear a kutte under his watch. It didn’t matter that I loved to ride, loved to fight. I had tits so the best I could hope for was spreading my legs under a Rider and becoming an old lady. My dad wanted that for me.
I wanted more. So I fought for more—and I got it. But not from him.
When my dad died in a wreck five years ago, Saxon Gray was voted in as the Hellfire Riders’ new prez. I came home from Afghanistan, and Widowmaker—one of the Riders’ old timers—sponsored my bid for a kutte. The first day I showed up wearing a prospect’s patch, there was an uproar among the brothers, but the club’s Constitution says that anyone who served in the armed forces can’t be rejected without good reason.
So I got in. It wasn’t easy, but I got my colors. I owe Saxon everything for that. And I don’t hold it against him and the others for buying this property after my dad bit the grill of that semi truck. They were looking out for the club, making sure the place didn’t pass into someone else’s hands—and it was my mom who sold it to them.
On days when I’m honest, it hurts that she wouldn’t sell to me. I asked her to more than once. But she said my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to own the clubhouse.
That’s my mom. Always taking my dad’s side. Even after he’s dead.
Chugging the water, I join Widowmaker beside the ring. It’s a Tuesday night and he’s got a wife, kids, and grandkids to keep him busy, so usually he doesn’t hang out with the brothers except on weekends. But lately, he’s been coming in to help coach the guys who are fighting. He’s never fought MMA-style like they’ll be doing at the rally, but he’s been boxing for most of his life. His advice is well worth listening to.
Not just in the ring, either. He’s the one who first taught me about engines. He’s the one who showed me how to throw a punch. He’s the one who told me about the armed forces clause in the club’s Constitution and said I should take advantage of it. In some ways, he’s been more of a father to me than my dad ever was. I used to wish that Widowmaker
my dad—and considering the way my father used to share my mom with other members of the club, it could have been possible.
But there’s no mistaking where my genes came from. I’ve got my dad’s pale blond hair and gray eyes. I’ve got his height, too. My mom’s just a little thing, but I stand about a millimeter shy of six feet—and I’ve got two inches on Widowmaker, easy.
Now he bellows
“Move your fucking feet!”
and Beaver picks it up a little, but I can already see that he won’t last much longer. He’s tiring, slowing down, whereas Spiral’s got a gleam in his eyes that says he’s just getting started.
Widowmaker glances at me, then over at Gunner. “You fighting tonight?”
The other man shakes his head. “Just working the bags, then heading out to the Barracks. You coming, Zoomie?”
To the strip joint the Riders recently took from the Eighty-Eight Henchmen MC. We’ve expanded our territory; to keep it, we’ve got to keep a strong presence there. Usually I’d be up for drinks and tucking a few bucks into the dancers’ g-strings, but I can’t tonight. “I’m taking my bird up early tomorrow.”
Flying a survey crew into the Diamond Peak wilderness area. My helicopter doesn’t need a runway, so I can touch down anywhere I’ve got enough clearance. Around here, that makes me the go-to girl whenever someone needs to be in the middle of nowhere but doesn’t want to hike there.
“Damn.” Gunner heaves a dramatic sigh. “I guess it’ll just be me and this tight-mouthed motherfucker, then.”
I hadn’t realized that Blowback had come up on the other side of him. The Riders’ warlord moves like a goddamn mouse.
But Blowback could never be mistaken for a mouse. Quiet, but never timid or small. If anything scares him, I can’t imagine what it is. I’m on eye-level with a lot of members in this club and look down at some; there’s not many who make me look up, but Jack Hayden is one.
. Not stupid—not by any measure—but packed solid with muscle covered by black jeans and a long-sleeved black T-shirt, even though the air-conditioning’s off during renovations and it’s sweltering in here. Combined with short dark hair and the shadow of a beard on his jaw, he’s just dark and solid, like a black hole, and whenever he’s around my attention always gravitates toward him.
I can never simply look away. I have to take in everything first, from boots to face. I want to know how he’s standing—like a soldier at rest, feet shoulder-width apart. I need to see where his hands are—arms crossed over his massive chest, fingertips resting lightly on the opposite biceps. I have to know where he’s looking—up into the ring, his profile as unyielding as a Roman centurion’s, his gaze assessing every punch, every kick.
It doesn’t make any damn sense that it’s Jack who draws my eyes like this. Gunner’s so pretty it hurts. If he walked into any New York modeling agency, they’d sign him on the spot. Gunner’s features have been sculpted; Jack’s were shaped with an axe that hacked away everything that might have softened his appearance. Heavy slashing eyebrows darken every expression. His nose is bold, his jaw strong, his mouth firm. He’s not pretty. He’s not even handsome.
Somehow he’s still fucking gorgeous—and so fucking
. Like that axe was wielded by the God of Testosterone and the blade sharpened on a stone dick.
My spine stiffens when he glances over and his gaze catches mine. If anyone notices my reaction, they probably assume the wrong reason for it. With his flat dark eyes and I-don’t-give-a-fuck stare, Jack makes a lot of the brothers uneasy. As they should be. Every Rider is good at throwing down. And a lot of them are in friendly competition with each other—in the weight room, in the ring—so they’re always improving. Jack could wipe the floor with any of them. Spiral’s up there feeling pretty damn good about himself but Jack could have him crying for mercy in seconds.
Yet he’ll never step between the ropes. These guys fight for fun or money or pride; when Jack fights, he’s aiming to hurt. He’s aiming to break bones and see blood—and he’s taken out some of the Riders’ enemies as easily as a tank rolling over a bug.
None of that scares me. I’ve seen the damage he can do, but I’ve seen his control, too. He’s not a cocked gun waiting to go off or a bomb ready to blow; he’s the patient assassin who knows exactly how to use every lethal weapon in his possession. He’s also a Hellfire Rider, so he won’t use them against the other club members.
But a man doesn’t always need to use his fists to break someone. My back’s up because being around him is just an exercise in waiting—waiting for him to tear me down. Never directly. It’s always subtle. Yet it’s a knife in my gut every time.
And Jack Hayden’s been stabbing me for years.
It didn’t start out that way. We started out okay. At least, I thought we did.
Unlike many of the Hellfire Riders, Jack isn’t someone I’ve known all my life. He patched in while I was deployed—so I only met him after my dad died. Back then, he was the Riders’ vice president instead of the club’s warlord, but his eyes were just as flat and cold, he was just as quiet, and I didn’t need a big flashing sign to tell me that he was pretty fucked up. Damaged, like he’d seen and done things that nobody should see or do. Here’s the kicker, though: right away, I liked him. Because my dad was dead without me ever getting a chance to prove myself to him, I’d just returned from Afghanistan, and a part of me was pretty fucked up, too. So something in me connected with something I saw in him.
I was also a prospect, and I wasn’t going to screw up my chance to become a full member of the club—especially since the question of whether I should be allowed in had started a full-out war between some of the brothers. So I kept my head down and my mouth shut, spending most of my time in the clubhouse garage, helping to fix up and maintain the bikes. More often than not, Jack was there, too.
Those days, seeing him never got my back up. We worked together easily. Any other time, I’d have asked whether he wanted to play together, too. Big, dangerous, and with engine grease on his hands? Hitting that would be like hitting the jackpot. But I never asked because I was in no position to follow through. Fucking a patchholder while I was a prospect? I could have just written OLD LADY across my forehead instead.
It turns out, that’s all Jack thought I was good for, anyway.
I learned that on what would have otherwise been the best day of my life—the day the club voted to patch me in. A day that started out so rough, as I stood there and listened to a few of the brothers give their trumped up, shitty reasons I shouldn’t be allowed to join. Most of the reasons boiled down to: She’s got girl parts instead of boy parts.
Then Jack spoke up. Until that second, I thought he supported my bid for a kutte. Quietly, as is his way. But still supported me.
Doubt came out of his mouth instead. “Pussy or dick, I don’t give a fuck. What matters is if she’s strong enough to have our backs—if she can fight. I haven’t seen anything that says she can.”
That was the first knife in my gut. I hadn’t seen it coming, so his doubt stabbed right in and hurt so fucking bad. But I wasn’t a stranger to being cut down. My dad had been doing it all my life. So I did the same damn thing I’ve always done.
I showed him.
Jack only laughed when I challenged him then and there, but a few of the patchholders who were eager to get rid of me picked up the gauntlet. They laughed at first, too. They stopped laughing when I beat their asses down.
That day I left the clubhouse with two broken fingers, a kutte with a Riders’ patch on the back, and a hell of a lot more respect than I walked in with. And I left with an ache in my gut that still hasn’t gone away.
Jack’s doubts haven’t gone away, either. I can’t count how many times he’s subtly undermined me so that I have to step up and prove him wrong. Normally I wouldn’t care—some of these guys aren’t even subtle. Coming in, I knew I’d have to work twice as hard as any of the brothers to keep my place here. It’s crap but it’s the way of this world. I had to do the same thing when I enlisted. And the overt sexist shit? I can just roll my eyes and shake my head, and most of the guys will do the same. But Jack’s brand of doubt creeps in. So instead of working twice as hard, as I expected, I have to work double that. It’s frustrating and exhausting. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what he’s going for—wearing me down until I say this club isn’t worth the effort I put in.
I won’t. Not to prove him wrong, but because this club is where I belong.
It’s where Jack Hayden belongs, too. I can’t argue with that. A better warlord isn’t going to come along. So I’ll keep on dealing with this endless ache and hope that, one day, he’ll grow tired of stabbing me.
I just wish he’d stabbed me the first day. If he had, I’d never have liked him. I’d never have cared whether he doubted—so it never would have hurt.
And I wouldn’t be so damn tense now.
Spine rigid, I force my gaze away from his, back toward Spiral and Beaver. I can still feel him watching me. He’s always watching me. Looking for weaknesses, probably.
Up in the ring, Spiral’s closing out the round. Beaver doesn’t have much left in him. He’s moving around the canvas like he’s wading through tar.
“One thing’s for damn sure,” I say under my breath to Gunner. “I’m not putting money on Beaver at the rally.”
His pretty grin flashes but he doesn’t respond. By the flick of his gaze past my head, I realize someone’s coming up behind me.
“Hey, Zoomie.” Valentine slings his heavy arm around my shoulders. A real friendly gesture. I’m not friends with him. He’s one of the assholes I beat down the day I got my patch. Protesting that a cunt shouldn’t ever wear a kutte, he turned in his colors and joined the Steel Titans.