Authors: Lexi Archer
1: Forbidden Ride
Copyright 2014 Lexi Archer
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Individuals pictured on the cover are models and used for illustrative purposes only.
This novel is based on a previously published work rewritten with all new content.
First digital edition electronically published by Lexi Archer, January 2014
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Table of Contents
My mouth watered as my wide eyes moved up and down its long hard length, my delicate hand barely able to wrap around it as I made a fist. Damn did it look delicious. It was all I could do to keep myself from opening my mouth, leaning down, and taking the tip between my lips.
But I maintained my willpower. After all, this was something I did all day long at my job. Instead I passed it to the cute girl on the other side of the window and she leaned down instead, her lips engulfing the tip and a look of pure bliss crossing her face.
I smiled. “Do you need a napkin or anything?”
The girl came up from her enthusiastic bite of the ice cream cone and grinned sheepishly. She wiped a white trickle of ice cream from the corner of her mouth. I handed a napkin over to her and she smiled again.
“Thanks! You’re the best!”
And then she was gone. I sighed as she disappeared from the window. I had that same bikini she wore, though I thought I did it better, and seeing her like that on the boardwalk side of the Freeze Hut looking like she was about to have the best day ever just reminded me that I was about to have the most boring day ever.
I held back another sigh. Sure this gig slinging ice cream at the Freeze Hut on the beach was only part-time, I’d been working here since before I was technically legally able to work behind the counter, but there was still a part of me that wished I could have my summers completely free to hang out on the beach and be lazy. Decompress from my first year of college.
Oh well. College bills weren’t going to pay for themselves. Not that I had much of a chance of paying off college with what I made at the Freeze Hut. But still, every little bit helped.
The next customer came up to the window, a dad with a slight paunch and his wife who had several small kids and a toddler in tow. They had the harried look of parents who weren’t on a vacation. Their kids were on vacation. The parents were just trying to survive a trip to the beach.
I put on my best smile. “How can I help you?”
It’s not like working at the Freeze Hut was terrible. At least I could see the beach from my little window. Of course seeing everybody out there in their swimsuits while I was stuck in here wearing a sweater and long pants, the temperature in the Freeze Hut tended to get low enough that it was necessary to wear fall clothes even on the hottest day of summer, was almost more torture then benefit since it just served to remind me of what I was missing.
I turned away from the counter to ring up the customer and ran smack into Madison who was carrying a large sundae in her hands. Or at least she was carrying a large sundae in her hands. The instant I turned to the register the sundae went from being in her hands to being all over me. And my sweater. I bit back a curse.
Apparently Madison didn’t have any such filter though.
“Oh my God!” she said. “Watch where you’re going Kylie!”
My eyes widened and my nostrils flared. Who did she think she was talking to me like that? She was the one who was walking with ice cream in the forbidden zone between the register and the window.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” I said.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” she parroted back at me. “You need to watch where you’re going!”
“And you need to stay the hell out of the cash corridor,” I yelled right back at her.
I turned and realized that the family outside was staring at us. I went over and hastily slammed shut the window and wheeled on Madison, fuming. It wasn’t often that I lost it in front of customers like that, but she was definitely one who could push me over the edge. Madison was one of those people I always seemed to hang out with just because she was around and had some of the same friends, but there were times when I really couldn’t stand her.
Like now. I was going to have to lose the sweater. That meant a whole afternoon of freezing my ass off because the tank top I wore underneath wasn’t going to cut it.
“Clean up that mess and go make a new sundae,” I said.
“You can’t tell me what to do,” Madison snapped back.
Like magic Mr. Reynolds appeared between us. He would’ve looked comical if I didn’t know him so well. He had a wide smile on his face even though two of his workers looked like they were about to start clawing at each other. His handlebar mustache was almost ridiculous looking, but it seemed to fit on his wide jolly face. Everything about him seemed larger-than-life and happy. I didn’t think I’d ever seen him get mad in my life, and I’d been working at the Freeze Hut for the past six years every summer.
“What’s the problem here?” Mr. Reynolds asked.
“Kylie here needs to watch where the hell she’s going,” Madison said.
Mr. Reynolds’ eyebrows lowered, but his face didn’t quite reach what I’d consider a frown. He put his hands on his hips and looked back to me.
“What happened Kylie?”
“Madison was moving ice cream through the cash corridor,” I said.
Mr. Reynolds shook his head and clicked his tongue several times. “Madison, we’ve had this conversation a few times before. You need to keep ice cream out of the cash corridor so people can take orders.”
Madison turned to stare at me and she was fuming. I was proud that I resisted the urge to smile. Instead I just shrugged and went over to the cash register to finish filling that family’s order. I’d have to clean up after.
Mr. Reynolds looked like he was about to pull Madison aside and have a refresher conversation with her about workflow and staying out of the cash corridor, but before he could pull her to the back a low rumble in the distance caught all of our attention. I turned to the window and saw the family standing there looking off in the distance, their eyes wide. They hadn’t even gotten their ice cream, hell, I hadn’t even gotten them their change, but in an instant they were bustling down the boardwalk away from the Freeze Hut as quickly as they could move.
I turned to Mr. Reynolds, my eyes wide. “Should I board up the windows?”
But once again Mr. Reynolds surprised me. He laughed, his mustache shaking along with his stomach as he did so.
“Why would we want to do something like that?”
“That rumbling noise is the sound of paying customers,” Mr. Reynolds said.
His eyes flashed with the closest I’d ever seen him come into getting angry, though even that was more stern than anything else. “And as long as they’re paying customers we’ll serve them.”
“Okay Mr. Reynolds,” I said. “Whatever you say.”
I have to admit I was feeling a little nervous at the sound of that distant rumbling. Only it wasn’t so distant anymore. In fact, it was downright nearby now. I knew exactly what that rumbling meant. Everybody in our sleepy beach community knew exactly what that rumbling meant.
Sure Ocean Vista liked to present itself as a sleepy beach town. The kind of place where families could enjoy the sun, the beach, the boardwalk, and a little down time at one of our beachfront hotels. The thing they never included on any of those brochures, though, was the bikers.
Not that I could exactly blame the people tasked with suckering in tourists. The city was big on promoting themselves to families. They wanted to avoid spring breakers and other less than savory groups that liked to come to the beach for a little bit of fun. The local biker gang must’ve made that job hell. It’s not a job I wanted.
Not that it mattered. These bikers were one hundred percent home grown. No, there was no need to import our troubles from somewhere else like some of the other beach communities up and down the coast that catered to that audience. This group was based solely out of Ocean Vista, with a club somewhere outside of town and even rumors of a beach they’d taken over.
They were an annoying fact of life even if most people liked to pretend they didn’t exist.
The rumbling from the bikes grew almost deafening. The walls were shaking around me, the window rattling as they approached. I knew the drill. In a moment they’d appear riding down the boardwalk even though there definitely weren’t supposed to be any sort of motor vehicles other than maybe a scooter on that boardwalk. Not that the cops were going to do anything like issue them a citation. We only had a couple of bicycle cops who worked the beach anyways, and they were woefully unprepared for dealing with our local biker problem.
The Rough Riders. I wasn’t sure if they got that name because of a play on Easy Rider, though that might be giving them too much credit in the cleverness department, or if maybe one of their founding members was just a big Teddy Roosevelt aficionado. Wherever they got the name, it was infamous in Ocean Vista amongst the locals. And it quickly became infamous with any tourists. Anyone who came down here to vacation for more than a couple of days in a row soon learned all about them.
Like the family that beat a hasty retreat when they realized the Rough Riders were coming into town.
Then they were upon us, riding down the boardwalk creating a deafening rattle on top of the already deafening noise from their engines as their wheels ran across the boards. It was so bad that I even brought some of those industrial noise canceling earplugs usually reserved for people working heavy machinery. It was the only way to keep my ears from ringing for the rest of the night when they came rumbling through town.
I briefly considered heading to the back of the shop where I wouldn’t have to interact with any of them directly, but a quick glance at Mr. Reynolds and I realized I wouldn’t be doing that. I knew he would be disappointed even if he wouldn’t say anything if I decided to hide.
I noticed that Madison and Courtney were at the back of the hut peering around the door leading to our cramped stock room. Typical.
So I was right at the window, leaning against the counter covered in the remains of the chocolate sundae Madison spilled all over me, when some of the bikers rolled up to our window as though it was a drive-thru instead of a walk-up window.
The first guy looked just as massive as Mr. Reynolds, though he was far more threatening wearing leather even in the middle of the summer heat. He wore a pair of large sunglasses that looked like they hadn’t been updated since he bought them back in the ‘80s, and he had a massive bushy beard with streaks of gray running through. When he opened his mouth and smiled several of his teeth were missing. I tried not to think about how that might’ve happened.
“I want a vanilla cone,” he said.
“Certainly sir,” I said. “That will be $3.99.”
“I said I wanted a vanilla cone,” he said.
“And I said that will be $3.99, sir.”
He slammed his hand against the counter and it was so loud that it set the windows to rattling again. Well, it set the windows to rattling more than they already were. There were still bikers streaming by along the boardwalk, and it was so loud I could barely hear myself think, let alone here what this bearded asshole was trying to order. I glanced longingly over my shoulder to the stock room where my purse and my industrial earplugs were hidden away.
“Ice cream. Now,” he said.
“What seems to be the problem here?” Mr. Reynolds asked, appearing beside me like he always did when there was trouble.
“Your bitch here won’t give me my ice cream,” he said.
“He’s refusing to pay, sir.” I said.
“I’m sorry sir,” Mr. Reynolds said. “But we can’t serve you if you talk to my workers like that.”
I smiled. Of course Mr. Reynolds would be more concerned with this guy calling me a bitch than with the guy refusing to pay. That’s just the kind of guy he was.
The guy looked like he was about to start some trouble, and I wished I’d hidden in the back after all. It wasn’t unheard of for a local business to get ripped apart when the Rough Riders decided they didn’t like how they were being treated. This crap definitely wasn’t worth the minimum wage I was making, even if I did like Mr. Reynolds.
Now this asshole was going to start breaking windows and doing some of the other crap I’d heard about the bikers doing when they got in a bad mood. And it’s not like the police were going to be any use. They were probably hiding inside their little shack until the Rough Riders decided they’d caused enough trouble.
“What seems to be the problem here?”
That voice. Oh my God, that voice! It was like pure honey in auditory form. As it washed over me I felt a thrill running straight down my spine to between my legs. I shook my head. I definitely shouldn’t be thinking that about one of these bikers.
Then the owner of the voice stepped into view and my mouth dropped open. Definitely not what I would’ve expected from one of the bikers either. Usually I imagined older guys wearing leather jackets no matter what the weather. Stringy hair that hadn’t been taken care of in days because why bother taking care of your hair when you’re just going to wear a helmet or risk being an organ donor and having the wind whipping in your hair all the time?
Only this guy, this biker, was nothing like any of my expectations.
He towered over the older guy who was making trouble. The moment the older guy turned to get a look at this new guy his eyes widened and he took a step back. My rescuer, I wasn’t sure why I thought of him that way but that’s what came to mind when I thought of him, stepped forward. He had broad shoulders that were encased by a plain white t-shirt that molded to his body and showed off every delicious contour of his muscular body. He was covered in rippling muscles, with arms that looked like tree trunks and a broad chest that tapered down to an impossibly thin waist and massive legs underneath. He wore dark pants with a dark leather belt, and from the sound of his heavy steps he was probably wearing boots too.