Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3 (9 page)

BOOK: Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3
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“Just remember what you said about starting unnecessary wars.”

Fuck. Tek’s right. I take a deep breath and try to calm down. First, I’ll give him a chance to explain himself. I know what it’s like to be falsely accused. “Give me a minute. Let me talk to him.”

When Tek leaves, I find the number in my contacts and hit dial.

“Well, if it isn’t the Grim Reaper,” the voice comes from the other end. “Not a good sign when you come calling.”

“You got that right, motherfucker.”

“Choose your words carefully, Hunter.”

“You want words? I’ll give you two. Dutch. Wife.”

He goes silent for a beat then asks, “What about it?”

“You tell me, Ace. Tell me how days after a confrontation with your boys, my girl gets raped. Tell me how you’re one of the few people who have access to the drug that was used in that rape.”

“Fuck.”

“That’s all you got?”

“Look, we were given a sample. When I saw what it did, I told The Pharmacist I was out. I didn’t want to be a part of that. I flushed the rest of what we had and that was that.”

“Where are your boys?”

“I swear, Hunter. This wasn’t us. Those two guys, I sent them to Cali the day after the show. They’ve been there ever since, handling some business for me.”

“Do you really expect me to believe that?” I shout, jumping out of my chair. “This is not a coincidence, Ace. I want those men.”

“I get it, okay? If it was my old lady, I’d be on the warpath, too. But I’m not gonna hand over two of my guys to you. Even if they were guilty, it would be
my
problem.”

“You think they’re innocent? You willing to bet your old lady’s life on that?”

“Leave Dana out of this,” he growls.

“They
drugged
her, tied her up, and
raped
her. If it was Dana, what would you do?”

“I’d kill the motherfucker. But it wasn’t my guys and I can prove it.”

“How?”

“Why don’t I come down there?” he says. “Show you I have nothing to hide. I’ll even help you out with the search. I heard about Briggs’ lab. I’m pretty sure that was you.”

“I don’t need your help. I want those men. Don’t make me find them on my own or it won’t be pretty.”

“I’m not looking for a war, Hunter, but if you want to start one, I’ll be ready. Let’s try to work this out. I’ll come down with just a few of my guys. We’ll meet and see where we go from there.”

“One chance.” I take a deep breath. “One meeting. I’m not satisfied, you hand them over.”

“It won’t come to that. You’ll see this wasn’t us.”

“For your sake, I hope you’re right.”

I hang up and pitch the phone to the other side of the room. It crashes into the wall and pieces of it go flying in different directions. “Fuck!” I need to hit something. Or someone. It had to be them. It
had
to be. They had motive, means, and opportunity. People have gone to prison on less information. But what if Ace is right? What if it wasn’t them and I go on a rampage? A lot of people could get hurt. Raven, my family, my brothers...I need to be smart. I’ll hear what he has to say. In the meantime, I start planning.

I head back to the bar, but Raven isn’t there. I’m not in a socializing mood, so I make my way to my room. I have a date with my punching bag. I find her there, in bed with her sketch pad.

“Are you okay?” she asks, looking up from her drawing.

“I’m fine. Why?”

“I heard a crashing sound coming from your office.”

“I’m fine. Gonna need a new burner phone, though.” I sit on the edge of the bed and peek over at her pad. “What are you drawing?”

She hands it to me and once again, her skill blows me away. It’s us. She’s on her knees, cocooned in big, black wings, only her face visible. There are tears on her cheeks. I’m behind her, wearing a Reaper’s robe. I have a scythe in hand, eyes a dark red. I know I’m not there as the one causing her tears. The determined expression on my face tells me she sees me as her protector. She’s closed in on herself, and I’m there as her guardian. Fuck me. All the anger drains from my body. Under the picture, she’s written “Rage” in a creative font. I pull her into my arms and kiss her forehead. I can’t even find the words to express what I’m feeling right now. One thing’s for sure, I’ll protect her with everything I have.

“What’s with this ‘Rage’ thing?” I ask.

She raises her shoulders in a shrug. “Didn’t you hear? It’s our couple name.”

“Yeah...but why that?”

“It’s appropriate, don’t you think?”

“How so?”

“Because.” She stares into my eyes. “It’s what we’re both feeling right now.”

And there it is. The two of us summed up in one word; linked, not just by our names but our very emotions.

“What do you think?” she asks.

Rage.

“I think it’s perfect.”

CHAPTER 10

***Raven***

 

I’m stuffed and pretty sure everyone else is, too. I don’t remember the last time I ate this much. Chopper and Nita are gods in the kitchen. Right now, everyone is gathered in the bar, having drinks while I’m sipping on sweet tea. Other than the Hunters, no one here is related by blood, yet they embrace each other as family. It’s different for me. Growing up, it was me, Lonnie, and Daddy. After Lonnie left, it was the two of us. Toni would come over sometimes, but that was about it. I’m not used to having so many people around, so many people who consider me family. Even the Hounds have a place amongst everyone today. The blonde—I found out her name is Britney—has been shooting dirty looks at me, but I’m determined not to let her spoil my night. All the others have been super nice. I wonder why they’re called Hounds. Gage is nestled next to me on the couch, so I might as well ask.

“Gage?”

“Yeah, babe?”

“Why are the girls called Hounds?”

“It’s short for Hellhounds.”

“But why?” I push for a better answer. “Hellhounds are three-headed dogs with serpent tails.”

“Someone knows their Greek mythology.” He chuckles.

“Tell me.”

“Okay, fine. It all ties in with the whole death theme. See, Cerberus, he was Hades’ guard dog.”

“Yeah. He guarded the entrance to the underworld.”

“Right. He kept the dead in and the living out. Think of the MC as the underworld. The members are the dead, and everyone outside of the club is the living.”

“So...they’re like guardians for the club? I thought they were here to suck dick.”

He laughs, his chest shaking beneath my cheek. “They do that. But they also cook, do laundry, that type of stuff. They basically take care of the guys who don’t have old ladies.”

“Okay. So, everything they do is to keep outsiders – the living – from entering the underworld where they have no business being?”

“You got it.”

Hmm...interesting.

“Does that make you Hades?” I ask.

“I guess so.”

And I guess I’m Persephone? The difference is I came willingly and he’s not the one who ‘deflowered’ me. I can’t help but see the similarities in our situations, though. As I look around the room at all the happy faces, I relax in Gage’s arms. Today’s feast might be considered my pomegranate seed. I’ve eaten Hades’ food, and this is now my home.

Allah moves into his DJ booth and people start pairing up to dance. After a few songs, he catches me watching him and waves me over. I peek up at Gage and he encourages me with a nod. When I get to him, Allah jerks his head at his laptop.

“You wanna learn?”

“What? You gonna teach me?”

“Sure.” He shrugs. “If you want to.”

I stare at him with a raised brow. I’m probably the only person who’s been this close to his equipment, and now he’s telling me he’s going to let me touch it? Wow.

“Okay,” I answer with a bit of hesitation.

“This is Virtual DJ.” He points to the screen. “These are the decks. Basically where the music plays from.”

I listen carefully to my lesson as he talks about crossfaders, beats per minute, syncing, effects, and samplers. He shows me how to play a song and then tells me to try it. I look through his files and find the perfect one then point to the microphone.

“Does this work?”

“Yeah. You wanna say somethin’?”

At my nod, he stops the music and pics up the mic.

“All right everybody, settle down and listen up.”

He hands me the mic and I take a deep breath, looking around the room. Everyone’s watching, waiting expectantly. My gaze slides to Gage, and the supportive smile on his lips gives me the courage to go on.

“It’s Thanksgiving. A day of gratitude and to celebrate family. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to connect with my mother and little sister. Not only that but...I just wanted to say I consider everyone in this room my family. You don’t know how much it means to me that you all accepted me during a time when I had no one else.”

I look to Chopper, Nita, and Ellen. They took me in, no questions asked, and I need them to know how much I appreciate them. As if she can read my mind, Nita mouths, “I know.” I nod and look around the room again.

“Everyone knows what happened to me. You’ve also seen that I haven’t been myself. I’m still not, but I’m getting there. It’s all because of your president.” I turn to face him, letting him know I’m about to talk to him and not the entire room. “Gage...you’ve been patient, understanding, kind, and supportive. I know it hasn’t been easy for you. You’re tired and angry and frustrated, but you never show it. To me, at least.” Dr. E squeezes his shoulder so I know I’m right. He’s probably the one getting the brunt of it. “There are a lot of things I have to be thankful for,” I continue. “But most of all, I’m thankful for you. I really don’t know what I would do without you. So, thank you. Thank you for being...you.”

Just like Allah showed me, I add the song to the deck, and Jessie J’s “Flashlight” begins to play. He keeps his eyes glued to me but as his expression changes, I know he’s paying attention to the words of the song. By the time it gets to the chorus, he’s out of his seat. I meet him in the middle of the room. He tugs me into his arms and right here, in front of everybody, he kisses me. It’s not sexual, but it’s not entirely platonic, either. I feel a sliver of
something
dart through my body. Again, not sexual, but I feel it.

Maybe I’m not broken after all.

***Gage***

 

After spending most of the day with Raven at her psychiatrist, Dr. Jayne, then taking her for her first physical therapy session, I bring her back to the clubhouse. She wasn’t too keen on either, but at least she’s agreed to continue. I’m glad she’s finally getting the help she needs, both physically and emotionally.

Before we walk through the doors, the roar of motorcycles comes from the gates. Ace. I take a deep breath and turn to face him as he rides up.

“Get inside,” I instruct Raven.

“Why?”

“Just go.”

“Fine. Jeez.”

Ace walks up carefully, his eyes darting around the compound. The man he brought with him is doing the same. I promised him a chance and he’ll get it. If I have to kill him, it won’t be an ambush. He’ll see that shit coming.

“Hunter.” He gives me a chin lift.

“Ace.”

“This is my VP, Frog.”

I shake their hands and motion for them to follow me. Inside, I find Raven cuddled up on the couch with Venom. He’s telling her one of his snake stories, and I smile at her disgusted expression. Normally, I’d be livid at seeing another man touch her, but lately I’ve noticed she’s had this need to be close to someone. Whenever I’m not around, she finds one of the guys. Today, though, she also has a beer bottle in her hand. I call Ron over and tell him to show Ace and Frog to my office. I take the bottle from her fingers and pull her to a corner of the room.

“I know that guy. He’s the president from the bike show.”

“Yeah. It’s him,” I confirm.

“Is this about me?” she asks with wide eyes.

“I’ll tell you about it later. Right now, I’m more concerned about that bottle you were holding.”

She rolls her eyes in annoyance. “The big, bad biker has a problem with underage drinking?”

“I have a problem with my woman self-medicating.”

“I’m not –”

“Raven, I don’t want you drinking or smoking, especially if I’m not around.”

“Why?” she persists.

“Because if you’re drunk or high, you’re not in full control.” That got her attention. She drops her gaze to the floor. “No drinking, no smoking. Got it?”

“Yeah. I got it.”

“Good. I’m gonna go talk to these guys and I’ll be back.”

She walks back to the couch and I head to my office. I find Ace and his VP seated, drinking beers.

“Comfortable?” I ask, the sarcasm evident. Ace tosses a thumb drive on my desk as I take a seat. “What’s that?”

“Proof it wasn’t my guys,” Ace answers.

Before I even touch it, I call Tek in. Once he’s all set up, a video begins to play. I watch as a black town car pulls up in front of a courthouse. A crowd of reporters converge on the vehicle, and Ace’s men step out. 

“Like I said, I sent my guys to Cali the day after the show. I’m looking to set up a Snakes charter there, so they’ve been scouting properties and prospects.”

Two men in power suits step out of the car, and Ace’s guys start clearing a path for them. Security.

“This was the day before your VP called me, so it’s the day of the attack. That’s Andreas Matteo, mafia boss based in LA. He wanted some extra security for his court appearance. Since Ram and Leather were already there, I put ‘em on the job.”

I look to Tek. He taps away on his keyboard for a few minutes then he nods, confirming the timing and authenticity of the video.

“So, it wasn’t those two. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t you or one of your guys.”

“Look, Gage.” Ace leans forward in his seat. “I’m in a good place right now. My club is doing great, I just got my woman back. I’m not looking to start trouble with
anyone
. If I did, I wouldn’t prey on an innocent, helpless woman. Not my style.”

“Besides, nothing happens in our club that we don’t know about,” Frog adds.

I may be wrong but looking into their eyes, I believe them. At least about them not knowing anything. Leaning back in my chair, I take a deep breath.
This can’t be happening. It can’t be another dead end. I can’t fail. Not again.

“You need our help, you got it,” Ace offers. “The Snakes will do everything we can.”

I don’t know how they can help but at this point, I’ll take anything I can get. Maybe fresh eyes can give me a new perspective. I jerk my head toward Frog. “He the only one you brought with you?”

“I got a few more guys hanging around.”

“Call ‘em in. I’ll have the girls get some food together.”

He nods and pulls out his phone as we head back to the bar. The place smells like cinnamon and sugar. I remember that smell. I remember the taste, too, as Raven fed me her so-called monkey bread. I find her and Chrissy in the kitchen hard at work.

“Are you making monkey bread?” I ask.

“No. Temperature’s supposed to drop tonight, so I’m making
buñuelos
and Mexican hot chocolate.”

“Oh.” I hope I don’t sound too disappointed. “There are a few other guys coming, so you might wanna make extra.”

I leave them to it and go looking for Ace. We get to talking about Briggs and the list we found on his computer. His other guys arrive and join in on the conversation. When the girls start putting out food, buffet style, I realize we’ve been talking for over two hours. I don’t know how they did it but they made fajitas, too, enough to feed everybody. Food and drinks start flowing, Hounds find guys to hang on, and Allah gets into his zone with the music. By the time E walks in, things are pretty wild.

“I take it things worked out with the Snakes?”

“Now I know why they call you ‘Einstein’.”

“You’re such a sarcastic asshole.”

Super Head brings him a plate, and he sits next to me while we eat. I fill him in on my little meeting with Ace, all while watching Raven. She’s quite the hostess, even telling Chopper to relax because it’s her turn to take care of him.

“How was her appointment?” E asks.

“Okay, I guess. She has another one in a few days.”

“How are
you
doing?”

I look up from my plate. It makes no sense to lie to E. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

“I don’t know what to do, E. Everywhere I turn, I slam into a brick wall. How is that possible? Why can’t we find him?”

“Even I don’t have that answer. Maybe you should focus on Raven for a while. Get her better.”

“Maybe.”

We finish eating in silence until Raven comes over. I put my plate down and pull her to me. She chews on her bottom lip, head down but peeking up at me.

“That’s it. You’re making my dinner from now on. As a matter of fact, all my meals.”

She gives me a bashful smile and raises her face to mine. “Chrissy helped.”

“You cooked?” E asks with raised brows. “For once, I agree with Gage. It was delicious, beautiful.”

“Thanks, Dr. E.”

She starts fiddling with the pendant on my chain then goes still, reaching for her neck.

“My necklace…have you seen it?”

“No, but it’s probably with your things. I had the guys bring everything from Lonnie’s house.”

“No, no, no…”

She dashes to the bedroom so I follow behind and find her digging through her suitcases. She moves to the chest of drawers, frantically searching. I see panic in her expression as she tries the closet next.

“It’s not here…” she cries in desperation. “It’s not here!”

“It’s okay, doll. I’ll send someone to search the house and see if maybe Renley and his boys have it.”

“No…” She sits on her heels, wringing her hands. “It’s gone.”

I kneel in front of her, taking her hands in mine. “I’ll get you a new one then.”

“I don’t want a new one!” She twists her hands out of mine and jumps to her feet, pacing the room. I sit on the edge of the bed, not knowing what to do. I watch her until she turns to me with tears in her eyes. “He took it, didn’t he?”

“You don’t know that. We’ll find it or I’ll buy you another one.”

“What happened with the Snakes?” she asks as if she didn’t hear me.

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“I thought they had some information,” I answer. “They don’t.”

As I stare into her eyes, I see the change. I see the regression. All the progress she’s made the last couple of days disintegrates. I watch her close in on herself once more, her eyes going dead. My helplessness is amplified. Not only can I not find the man who hurt her, but there’s nothing I can do to help her heal.
What’s the point? What’s my purpose in her life? She’s wrong. I’m nothing to be thankful for. I’m just…nothing.

She turns and walks out of the room, leaving me without another word. I drop my head into my hands, the urge to throw in the towel threatening to overtake me. Maybe I should let someone else take the lead. Maybe I’m too close to the situation. But how can I look her in the eyes and tell her that not only can I not find the culprit but I’m also having someone else take over? I can’t. I’m a man who keeps his promises and I intend to keep the one I made to her.

I pull myself together and set out to find her. She’s on the couch with Ron and Chrissy and they’re all sharing a joint. Our eyes meet and she takes a long drag, her stare daring me to do something. I look away and head to the bar. Britney places a beer in front of me and gives me the smile that used to start a chain of events ending with her riding my dick. I pick up the beer and turn my back to her. E joins me, then Ace and Frog. They talk amongst themselves while I return my attention to Raven. Her head is on Ron’s shoulder and she’s trailing her fingers along his cut. I can’t even be pissed. She needs comfort, and I can’t provide that for her right now.

Ron leaves the girls and they move closer to each other. I narrow my eyes as I watch them. Something’s off. It’s like they can’t keep their hands to themselves.

“What are they smoking?” I ask Ron.

“Just weed.”

“No, not ‘just weed’. Look at them.”

Chrissy’s trailing her fingers down Raven’s cheek while Raven’s doing the same to Chrissy’s leg. They’re staring at each other as if discovering a new wonder.

“If it’s one of ours, it’s probably laced with X.”

I go from zero to a hundred in half a second, getting into Frog’s face. I have to give him credit. He doesn’t even flinch. “You gave my woman X?”

“I didn’t give your woman anything but by the looks of what’s going on, you should be thanking me.” He motions in the girls’ direction.

I turn around and my dick about does a somersault in my boxers. They’re kissing. Slow, gentle kisses, tongues touching, fingers exploring. Hot as fuck. That should be me, not Chrissy. I intend to rectify it, too. Raven looks up at me, eyes glazed over, when I stand over them.

“I hate you,” she tells me.

“No, you don’t.”

“Okay. I don’t like you.”

“Right now. You’ll get over it.”
I hope
.

She takes my extended hand and I lead her back to the bedroom. We climb into bed and she straddles my hips, sliding her finger across my lips.

“You’re pretty.”

“Men aren’t pretty, baby doll.” I chuckle.

“You are…but I still hate you.” She leans forward and rubs her cheek against mine. “Your beard is prickly. It feels good.”

She starts skimming my arms with her fingers. I take a calming breath but it does nothing.

“Take off your shirt. I want to feel your skin.” She sits up and tugs on my shirt, pulling it up. I oblige, tossing it to the floor. She explores my chest, tracing my tattoos with light touches. I close my eyes, relishing in her gentle caresses. Then, I feel her skin on mine. Jesus. She’s removed her top and her naked breasts are pressed to my chest.

“Touch me, Gage,” she begs on a moan.

I keep my eyes closed because I just might lose it if I look at her. I let my fingers glide up and down her spine. She shivers, whimpering as she presses harder into me. I know it’s the drug in her system but here I am, once again, taking advantage of it. She needs to be touched, so why shouldn’t I be the one doing it? She pulls away from me, taking my hands in hers.

“Look at me.”

I open my eyes slowly, dragging in a breath at the sight of her sitting on top of me, her gorgeous breasts on display. She moves my hands to her breasts and I give them a gentle squeeze.


Touch
me.”

I roll over, putting her beneath me. She stares up at me, lips parted, breathing heavy. God, she’s beautiful. I move down her body and begin kissing my way up her legs. When I encounter the first scar, I close my eyes and press my lips to the mark. I find each one, vowing to avenge her all over again. When I get to her stomach, she sniffles. I look up and there are tears streaming down her cheeks. I lie next to her and pull her into my arms. Counting each tear as they fall on my chest, I envision myself unloading my gun into the man responsible for this. One bullet for each tear.

BOOK: Claimed: Death Dealers MC Book 3
3.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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