Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3 (5 page)

BOOK: Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3
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CHAPTER 6

***Gage***

 

A week. Seven days, ten hours, and—I check my watch—thirty-seven minutes. She’s been home from the hospital a fucking week, and I still have nothing – no suspects, no information. Nothing. Renley still hates my guts, but he doesn’t ride my ass the way he used to. He’s actually being cooperative since he saw and spoke to Janet. They have nothing either, and they’re swamped with combing through tips they received because of Laurelyn’s reward. If no one talked to me, they’re definitely not talking to the cops.

I was able to get my hands on a copy of the police report, but it doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know. They found no DNA and no trace evidence to suggest the use of a condom. That means this wasn’t about sex. It was about hurting her. As for her blood work, my contact at the lab said he’d never seen that combination of drugs before. It’s the perfect rape cocktail – Flunitrazepam, MDMA, and Triazolam. Roofies, Ecstasy, and a fucking anesthetic. She would have been pliant and awake, unable to fight back, and wouldn’t remember a damn thing after. What guts me is that he also said she didn’t ingest enough to keep her out for too long. He thinks she came to either during the act or right after it finished. A part of me hopes she’ll remember something that will help while the other, bigger part, wants her not to.
What she doesn’t remember can’t hurt her, right?

Aunt Nita, Ellen, and Chrissy have pretty much taken her over from me. Millie comes by when she can. Toni stayed for a few days but had to go back home for school. They still talk on the phone every day, though. The only time I really get to spend with her is when I curl up next to her at night. Raven’s going to need a lot of time to heal but even then I don’t want her working, so I’ve told Millie to find another waitress.

Her mother and sister are still around. They were staying in a hotel in Atlanta, so I offered them the use of my house so they could be closer. She comes by every day, even though she turns up her nose at everyone. Raven is still cautious with her, but she and Dani are growing closer with each day. She’s pretty much stayed in bed all week healing, only just wandering outside of my room today. It’s going to be a few weeks before she can use her arm, but everyone’s been taking care of her. She hasn’t had to lift a finger.

Even the guys have been extra protective of her. She’s like the princess of the club or something. Don’t even get me started on Chopper. It’s like he’s planning World War III. I’ve been busting my ass trying to find this guy but if you hear Chopper tell it, I ain’t doing shit. We’ve already eliminated everyone on my list of suspects, so now we’re a little stuck. No one is more disappointed in me than I am in myself. I don’t need his shit, too.

And that’s exactly what I’m getting now. He’s sitting at the opposite end of the table, staring at me like I’m the biggest mistake he’s ever made. All the brothers are staring at me, waiting for me to say something. The Mexicans put us in contact with the Colombians, who gave us some information on a guy called ‘The Pharmacist’.

I turn to Tek. “Any luck?”

“All I’ve found so far is that he’s on the DEA’s radar. Henry ‘The Pharmacist’ Briggs. Apparently, he’s some kind of genius chemist. His specialty is mixing different recreational drugs. Doesn’t say anything about this particular one, though.”

“Maybe he’s expanding. Find him.”

“I’m on it, Prez.”

“What else are you doing?” Chopper growls, but I ignore him and address the rest of the table.

“No one’s talking. Maybe we need to provide a little incentive. A million dollars to anyone who can lead me to this guy.”

Laurelyn is already offering a reward through the cops, but I’m hoping people will be more willing to talk to me than them if I offer one, too.

“A million?” Venom raises his brows.

“You’re right, it’s not enough. Make it two.”

“Boss,” he says. “We want this guy, too, but don’t you think that’s a little...excessive?”

“No. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to find this fucker.”

“Okay. We have some money tucked away. I’ll see –”

“No,” I stop him. As the club’s treasurer, I see why he would be concerned. I wasn’t planning on using the MC’s money. “My woman, my money.”

Everyone stares at me, but no one dares oppose me. Not unless they want to get run over on this war path I’m on. I’ll do whatever, kill whoever I need to in order to get this done. I just need to be organized, have a clear plan. They started this, but I’m sure as hell going to finish it.

“That’s your solution?” Chopper demands. “Throw money at it and hope it works out?”

“Pop –”

“No. They messed with one of ours. We shouldn’t be sitting around this table talking about shit. We should be getting shit done. You’re the president of this club, that’s your woman, and the best you can come up with is a reward for information?”

“You’d rather I go around killing people, hoping I got the right one? I need to make sure. I need to have a solid plan.”

“I’ve sat at this table and been quiet for a long time. I did that because you made good decisions. I trusted you to do what’s best for everyone, for the club. I can’t keep quiet on this.”

“What do you want me to do?” I ask in exasperation. “What would
you
do?”

“I’d send a clear message that no one fucks with the Dealers—not the members, not their families. You bust enough heads, you’re sure to flush out a rat.”

“And where do you suggest I start, huh? We’re in a pretty good place with everyone right now. I go on a killing spree, I start wars with people who have nothing to do with this. I don’t need that on top of everything. That’s only going to take attention away from
this
. Finding Raven’s attacker is more important than an unnecessary war.”

“Fine,” he relents. “But do you know how many low-lifes you’re going to attract with that money?”

“We just have to weed out the useful stuff. The prospects can help with that.”

“Okay. We’ll do this your way.”

“Anyone else have anything to say?” I look around the table but no one speaks up, so I continue. “Good. Now, next order of business.”

Chopper is still sneering at me. He’s my father, but he’s not the president of this club anymore. I allowed him to have his say, but now he needs to step back in line. I convey that message in my stare, but I know I’m my father’s son. He stares back unwaveringly, and I can sense the tension coming from the other men at the table. I begin to think he won’t back down, but he nods in concession and leans back in his chair. Thank God. I wouldn’t have enjoyed teaching my father a lesson in obedience.

***Raven***

 

My eyes snap open and I stare into the darkness of the room. My pulse is racing and my breathing is ragged. Sweat is trickling down my face and my hands are clammy. I reach for Gage, but he’s not in bed. Sitting up, I try to calm my breathing. It’s not working.

I throw off the covers and head for the door. In the bar, I find Ron and Booker. They notice my panicked state and jump to their feet.

“You okay, Raven?” Ron asks.

“Where’s Gage?”

“He’s in the chapel.”

I eye the big double doors for a second before I head in that direction. Ron grabs me before I can reach them.

“You can’t go in there. I can’t let you go in there.”

“Why?”

“It’s not allowed. I’m sorry.”

“Let me go.”

“Raven –”

I pull my hand from his, plant it in his chest, and push him away. He falls back, grabbing at air to find something to hold onto. I don’t wait to see what happens. I take off running and burst through the doors. Everyone in the room turns to me in surprise. I survey the table before my gaze lands on Gage. Our eyes meet and he immediately leaves his chair. I run to him and he sweeps me up in his arms.

“Get the fuck out,” he growls at the men in the room.

As he sits with me on his lap, I listen to the shuffling sounds of everyone leaving. I tighten my good arm around him, nestling my face into his neck.

“What’s wrong, doll?”

“I...I had a dream.”

“What was it about?”

“I saw it.”

“I don’t understand,” he says. “Saw what?”

“I was tied to my bed.”

His body becomes rigid and he pulls me closer. I feel the tears beginning as I remember the fear I felt in the dream.

“What else did you see?”

“Not much. It was like I was in and out of consciousness. Just glimpses of the room. I...I remember being scared.”

“It’s okay. You’re okay. I’m here.”

“Do you think it’s a memory?” I ask. “Or just a bad dream?”

“It could be a memory. Your lab tests show you didn’t have much of the drugs in your system.”

“So, I could remember more then?”

“I don’t know, doll. Don’t worry about it. Let’s get you back to bed.”

“’Kay. I’m sorry I interrupted church.”

“Don’t be. You need me, you call me or come get me. I don’t care what I’m doing. Got it?”

“Got it.” He strokes my cheek, and that’s when I see the bandage on the knuckles of his right hand. “What happened to your hand?”

“New tat,” he says as he unwraps the bandage.

I take his hand and inspect it once it’s removed. Each knuckle is inked with a single, bold letter – R-A-V-E-N.

“You tattooed my name on your hand?” I ask in shock.

“When I find the fucker who hurt you, I want him to see your name every time my fist connects with his face.”

His jaw begins to twitch and I see a fire burning in his eyes. No, not fire. More like ice—icy, blue orbs of death. I swallow hard, thinking about what he’s going to do when he finds his mark.

He takes me back to his room and places me on my side of the bed. I watch him as he undresses then turns off the lamp and climbs in next to me. Preparing for our nightly ritual, I roll onto my side and he pulls me into his arms, my back to him. He doesn’t know that I know, but he doesn’t sleep well. Every night, he lies there until exhaustion wins out and sleep finally claims him.

I know because I do the same. I lie here every night, thinking about what happened, where my attacker is, and if he’s coming back for me. I think about Gage and the things he’ll have to do to find him and what he’ll do when he finally does. I think about my father. I think about Laurelyn. We’re both trying to mend fences, but I don’t think I’ll ever trust her. Then I think about Dani and start to feel better. It’s with her on my mind that I’m finally able to fall asleep. Always before Gage, though, and it makes me feel so guilty for being the cause.

“Gage?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you sorry?”

“Sorry for what, babe?”

“Me. Getting involved with me.”

“Raven,” he says quietly. “Turn around.”

I move carefully onto my back, favoring my shoulder, and lower my gaze as he flips the light back on. He positions himself on top of me, cupping my cheek.

“Look at me.”

My eyes meet his reluctantly as he strokes my cheek with his thumb.

“There are a lot of things that I’m sorry about.
You
are not one of them. You hear me?”

“You should be. Look what I’ve caused.”

“You want to know what you’ve caused? Since I met you, I’m not a miserable motherfucker anymore, moving from one woman to the next and not giving a fuck. I didn’t even realize I was miserable until you came along. You made me want more...
better
.”

His eyes wander over my face and the adoration in his gaze is almost too much for me to bear.
He can’t feel that way. He’s just saying it all to make me feel better. If this hadn’t happened, he probably would have had his fill of me by now and moved on to the next.
He’s a good man. Despite all he’s done and what he thinks of himself, there’s a lot of good in him. For him to stick by me through all this, he’s better than most men. This whole situation is just going to push him farther into the darkness that he’s always tried to protect me from – that place where he becomes Reaper, and Gage no longer exists.


You’re
more,” he continues. “
You’re
better...and you’re mine. No matter what.”

“But –”

“But nothing. The answer to your question is ‘no’. I’m not sorry, and I would do it all again. I would still make you mine. I know it’s rough now, but we’ll get through this...together. Okay?”

“Okay.”

I concede, not because I agree but because I want to end the conversation. He kisses my forehead and resumes his position next to me. The lights go out and he curls his arm around me once more. He’s wrong. I’m not more, and I’m not better.

I may have been once.

But I’m not anymore.

 

***

 

When I wake up, he’s not in bed. I hear a bit of commotion outside, figuring that’s what woke me up. It just sounds like a bunch of people talking, so I ignore it and head to the bathroom. I inspect the sling on my arm as I brush my teeth. The pain’s not so bad anymore. With the painkillers and Chrissy icing it for me every day, it feels a lot better. I still have some discomfort with my stitches, but that’s healing well, too, and the cuts on my legs have scabbed over and just itch like hell now. I take my pills then head back into the bedroom. I know either Aunt Nita or Ellen will be bringing me breakfast soon. As soon as I walk in the room, the noise outside hits me. My curiosity gets the best of me and I stand by the window to see what I can find out.

“What’s going on?” a man asks.

“Hunter’s offering a reward for information.”

“What kind of information?”

“I don’t know but for two million dollars, I’ll say whatever he wants me to.”

What the fuck? Two million dollars?
I pull on a pair of his boxers and head outside to find Gage. He’s in the bar, talking to Dr. E and Razor. Dr. E is facing me so when he sees me, he does a chin lift in my direction to alert the others. They stop talking and turn to me. Gage furrows his brows and meets me before I can get to them.

“You okay?”

“I need to talk to you,” I tell him.

He leads me back to the bedroom, sits on the bed, and pulls me down on his lap.

“What’s up, babe?”

“You tell me. What’s this I’m hearing about a reward for information?”

“Where did you hear that?”

“I heard some men talking. They said you’re offering two million dollars. Is it true?”

“Raven, don’t worry about it.”

I get up and start pacing the room. “What do you mean ‘don’t worry about it’? Other than the fact that it’s a ridiculous amount, where are you going to get that kind of money?”

“I can afford it, trust me.”

I stop pacing and stare at him in disbelief.
He can afford it?
Exactly how much money does he have if he can afford to throw away two million dollars? No, doesn’t matter. I’m not letting him do this. He’s already planning ungodly things on my behalf; I can’t have him losing all his money, too.

“Call it off. Tell them it was a mistake. You can’t do this, Gage.”

“Of course I can. I
am
doing it.”

“Gage –”

He jumps to his feet, stopping me before I can say anything else.

“Look at me, Raven.”

I stare up at him begrudgingly. I know exactly how this is going to go. He’ll tell me what’s going to happen, ask me if I got it, and then end the conversation. I don’t even know why I try sometimes.

“All you need to think about is getting better. Let me worry about everything else. Got it?”

“Yeah, yeah. I got it. I don’t like it and I’m strongly objecting, but I got it.”

“Good. Let’s find you some breakfast.”

Back in the bar, I see Laurelyn walking in, clutching tightly to Dani and her purse. I don’t blame her. Looking beyond her, I see the scores of people lining up outside. I don’t know where they came from but a million emotions come at me, hitting me like a freight train. The rape, Laurelyn, Gage planning to kill a man because of me, spending all that money. I’m so overwhelmed, I start to hyperventilate. I can’t deal.

“What’s wrong?” Gage and Laurelyn ask in unison. That’s when I notice she’s standing in front of me.

“You should leave,” I say.

“Do you want me to come back later?”

“No. You should go home.”

The hurt and disappointed expression is instantaneous. It’s for the best. I don’t know why I thought I could handle all this at once. I look down at Dani and confusion is written all over her face.

“I promise I’ll call whenever I can. I just...I can’t deal with everything right now. I need time. I’m sorry. I just can’t.”

I hurry back to Gage’s room, locking the door behind me. Leaning on the door, I slide down to the floor as the tears begin to stream down my face. How am I supposed to get through all this? No one can help me. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, it will never be enough.

I can’t get through this.

I won’t.

BOOK: Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3
7.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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