Authors: Kara Hart
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 Kara Hart
ready for the ride of your life…
I told her to stay away from me, but she wouldn’t listen. Now she’s stuck with a bastard like me me forever…
I’m no good for her, and I can't catch a break. Cast out of the Courage MC, I'm on my own with no protection, just the gun in my hands. That's when I meet her. And I know I'm about to ruin her damn life.
Brimstone. Fire. Sinners. Users. This is who I share blood with. But there’s no one to trust when your whole crew has turned on you. I can't keep running from my demons. It's time to face them head on.
: I need an escape. This small town will be the death of me. I watch as he comes to claim me and I can't fight it. I wanted to make my family proud. I wanted to be their good daughter.
Not anymore. Not today. Not since I met him.
He knows who I am. He sees me from the inside. He
me. He's my salvation, my one ticket out of here. But Adam is damaged. And he has a price on his head. Now we’re forced to go on the run, fighting off the Cartel and undercover Feds.
There's a fire on the horizon. We're going to get burned.
Author’s note: Burnt is a full standalone romance novel from the Courage MC series, with its own HEA and absolutely NO
, feeling the tight rope around my body. I spit out chunks of blood and dirt onto the pavement.
Where am I?
I thought. I pushed my head back, opening my eyes as much as I could. “Adam?!” I cried out. Searing pain flooded my senses. Candles were lit in a circle around me and the flickering of the small flames sparked something fierce within me. I looked around the dimly lit room and coughed as I tried breathing in. My ribs were bruised. Last night…did that really happen?
I felt the windy breeze run through my back and the smell of engine fluids permeated the warehouse around us. I shook with chills from the cold air and forced myself to stop chattering. I clawed at the tightly knotted rope. I gasped for air. “ADAM!” There was no one.
Then, suddenly, there was the sound of sharp moaning. Then footsteps. I began clawing at the rope faster.
Shit, shit, shit! Come on, Rose, think. How did you get here?
I managed to see a blade a few feet ahead of me. I tried hopping in my chair, but I instantly fell over onto the concrete. I was almost instantly knocked unconscious, yet somehow I managed to keep going.
I kept telling myself.
If you don’t, they’ll kill you…
I looked around the musty warehouse. Paddles, shackles, rope, and all kinds of tools were scattered around a group of motorcycles. Oil was spilled on the concrete next to my chair. There was a body in the corner of the room.
He was clearly knocked unconscious. I only had moments to break free. I looked to my left and saw my backpack and some bags. They were filled with all my precious belongings. The footsteps grew closer.
The mysterious presence loomed over me.
This was it. Everything was over. I didn’t stand a chance. His body cast a dark shadow in the candlelight. His laughter echoed throughout the garage.
“I told you not to play with fire, Rose…”
Three months earlier…
him on the corner of 58
street and Broadway. I was sitting in the park alone, reading a book when all of a sudden a man in denim jeans and grungy boots cast a large shadow over me. He was wearing a large leather vest that barely covered his naked chest. I looked up to find him stroking his chin. He was unusually buff and clean looking despite the area and time of day. I have to admit, I lost track of time and realized it was nearing midnight. It was definitely time to leave.
"What're you selling?" He asked me.
"Excuse me?" I uttered back, starting to feel a bit afraid.
This area had been known to attract sex workers and drug addicts of all kind. I became nervous that he wanted more than I was willing to give him. If I was being honest, I was extremely beautiful, blessed with big, full lips, a cute face, and a nice round butt. I may have been thicker than the other girls in my school, but men still looked at me in “that way”.
I wasn’t stupid. I saw the men turn their heads to look as I walked down the street. I was different. But different was hot to a big group of people. Still, I was inexperienced at dealing with most men and very uneducated when it came to these kinds of encounters. So when he asked me again, "What are you selling?" I got up, ready to run away.
He grabbed my arm hard, leaving a red mark pressed against the outside of my flesh. I struggled to break free. I stomped my feet and tried to scream. It was no use.
"Wait." He commanded me.
I was clawing away from his grasp. I scratched at him and spit in his face. I even kicked his knees. He wouldn't let go. He didn’t even budge. He was going to have his way with me.
"No!" I screamed.
"Stop it, kid. I'm just kidding. I've never seen you here this late before. Why are you out here?" He asked me, suddenly changing the course of our conversation.
I was out of breath. My hair was a mess, strewn across my eyes. Before this little encounter, I had felt as if I had finally become an adult. Now it was obvious I was merely a frightened little girl. He didn't seem to mind, however. He just laughed and put out his hand. He brushed the hair out of my eyes and held my cheek. I blushed, still shaking like crazy. Who was this man and what did he want with me? I could barely even look him in the eye
"I was reading and lost track of the time. But I have to be going home now. My mom will kill me if I’m not home soon.” I said, still pulling away from his statuesque body.
I had grown up in a small area near Tucson, Arizona. I wasn't used to strangers talking to me in the middle of the night. It was a tiny population around these parts, so I knew everyone who walked around this area.
"Here. Let me help you." He reached down and grabbed my book that I dropped. “Hm…Crime and Punishment, huh? One of my favorites.”
“You’ve read Crime and Punishment?” I asked, trying my hardest not to look impressed.
"Everyone’s read Crime and Punishment.” He said, looking smug. “I'm Adam. Nice to meet you, Rose."
ow he knew my name
, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Nevertheless, I took his big hand and shook it. At this point, I was still a bit freaked out. But I was always a daring girl and willing to take the challenge of figuring this man out. I looked him up and down. Who was he?
He was a total alpha male from what I could gather, and I pegged him to be as tall as a basketball player.
"You're some kind of business guy?" I asked him. I still couldn’t believe it. Looking at him now, he was just some motorcycle bad boy type. There was no way he was CEO of a big company…
"Something like that." He said in a mysterious tone.
"Hm..." I didn’t know what to say to him. I stood there, under the park lights, in silence.
“Someday I’ll tell you the story of who I am. As for right now, I barely know you. I can’t give you all my secrets.” He said, winking at me.
He was actually pretty buff too. Not that I was normally attracted to muscle men types, let alone guys who were twenty years older than me, but they did stand out. Plus, he looked natural, like he got his body from working hard outside or something, not at some gym. I was so small compared to him. I looked down at my thin ankles awkwardly.
"Well, do you want a ride home, kid?" He asked me.
It irked me how nonchalant he was being. "Uh, no. How did you know my name earlier?"
“I know everything, Rose. Your name was the first thing I found out about you. I’ve been watching you for years, waiting for the right moment to talk to you…” He smiled and began laughing like a crazy man.
“And,” he began, playfully slapping my back kind of hard, “it’s on your nametag on your shirt.”
I looked down and saw my work badge.
I thought. I forgot to take the damn thing off.
“So…” He said. “…about that ride…”
, I never left this place. I never could find a way out. I was finally done with high school, yet I was still not any closer to leaving home. And despite my good grades and positive attitude, college didn't seem like a very likely choice either. I mean, I applied to a few good schools, but I didn’t think I’d ever really get in. Instead, I chose to stay and help out the family business. What a load of good that did…
I found myself telling him my life story. I wasn’t sure why, to be honest. I just felt like I knew this guy. He was approachable, good looking, and I soon realized he wasn’t very scary at all. At least not to me. Maybe he could understand my escapism.
“…That’s when I became the store clerk for my pop. Whenever I have time, I escape to this park so I can read and be free from everything. I always dreamt of escaping, but I just
could. I feel so obligated to help those around me. It’s such a burden…” I looked at him in his dark, handsome eyes. “You understand, don’t you?”
He simply nodded. “Sure do, Rose. I remember when I was your age. You gotta’ explore and figure out who you are.” He then looked at me funny. “How old are you anyway? 15?”
“Hey!” I punched his arm. “Not funny…I’m 19 and I’ll have you know, I’m very smart for my age.”
“Just messin’ with ya, kid. Come on.”
He led me to his vehicle, which was parked in the corner of the lot, directly in the shadows of the light. It was a huge Harley-style motorcycle. I felt myself grow excited. I squeezed my thick thighs together and swung my round butt up and down with exhilaration and surprise.
“A motorcycle?!” I clapped my hands with glee. “I’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle!”
“It’s no toy. This here is my wife. We’ve been together for a long time now, me and Bessie.” He ran his hand against the warm metal exterior and smiled.
“Well she’s beautiful.” I said. “Can I ride her?”
“Up you go.” He said, lifting me off the ground and gently sliding my thighs onto the bike’s seat. I moaned, quickly catching myself. I wasn’t sure why, but little things seemed to send me to weird places lately. Ever since I had turned nineteen, I felt new desires enter my body and mind all of the time. Being around this kind of a guy made it hard to act normal.
He massaged my shoulders lightly and then stepped onto the bike. “I have to tell you something, Rose. I get you.” He said to me. “I was just like you once. But I’m lost now. It’s nice we met and all, but I would stay very far away.” He stepped down hard onto his motorcycle.
“Lost?” I asked him.
“Long story. Been feelin’ like a ghost these past few days. You ever have a falling out with your crew?” He asked me.
“I don’t have a crew.” I said, matter-of-factly. He seemed, well, aimless.
“Let’s just say I’ve been left on my own for a while. Until I figure things out.”
“I’ll be your friend.” I said to him, smiling and offering out my hand.
“No thanks, kid. But I’ll let you hang with me. For one night.”
The engine roared loudly as he stepped down hard onto the pedal. I found myself screaming, “Woo!”
“Hold on tight, baby.”
We were zipping through the park, eventually making our way outside, in the direction of east. He swerved violently throughout the neighborhoods, screaming in this moonlit hour.
“Hey! This isn’t the way to my house!” I yelled.
“I know.” He said, staring straight ahead.
The whole town seemed to be asleep. There wasn’t a light on in any house within miles of us. The roar of the engine echoed throughout the quaint little neighborhoods and I suddenly felt a joyous elation.
That’s what it was alright. And I was basking in the warm feeling of it.
I held around his leather vest. My small fingers glided around the valleys of his perfect six-pack. I looked up at the stars falling around us. Tonight was the night I would get out, I decided. Tonight was the night my whole life would change, for the better and the worse. I would be like the characters in all those books I read. I’d lead an interesting and exciting life.
“Where are we going?” I yelled over the sound of his bike.
“You wanted to get out, right? Well, here’s your ticket out. One night. Take it or leave it.”
“Ugh.” I sighed.
had to be home by a certain time. Although my parents never really noticed when I wasn’t there, I still had an overwhelming sense of guilt for disobeying the rules of their home. I was good most of the time, but on a night like tonight, I had to find out more. What was this crew he was talking about? It seemed like he might actually show me, and I just
to find out.