In My Stepbrother's Hands

BOOK: In My Stepbrother's Hands
8.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

In My Stepbrother’s Grasp




Tara Lynn



































Tara Lynn


All rights reserved.




































As soon as I turned 18, I knew it was time I hightailed it out of Tarmont. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you what kept me in that stain of a town for that long. I suppose it seemed I needed to be a legal adult before making the decision to be independent. Though, if independence was the definition of growing up, then Tarmont was never-never land. There were no jobs and barely any business. Half the town seemed to hang around on their porch drinking beer or moonshine from dusk till dawn. Anyone with any sense or a lick of ambition got the hell out.

I suppose you could say my daddy had done that, though he’d exited in a coffin. When I was nine, he’d gotten caught in the crossfire of a shootout between the Grim Flyers and some other biker gang. The Flyers were our resident outlaws. If you weren’t living on welfare, you likely had something business with the Flyers one way or another. Even the police were in their pocket. Which meant that the death of my dad went unanswered.

Heck, maybe disappointment is the step to adulthood, in which case, I’d grown up nine years ago.

Mom had basically given up after that, which I couldn’t blame her for. The stuff that she did after that? Oh hell ya, I held that against her. She’d hooked up with biker after biker, some messed up Stockholm Syndrome nonsense. These were the guys who’d killed my dad, and she was letting them in her bedroom? I barely even met her eyes after that, and she didn’t try to get me to listen to her. What advice could she possibly have to offer me?

I percolated like a coffee pot for years, but it all came to a head one night a couple years ago when she came home, found me doing homework in the kitchen table and announced she’d gotten engaged.

“To who?” I asked, just to be polite.

“Marshall Winters.”

I snapped up to her. She had on a mini skirt shorter than one even I would wear, and a wrinkled black blouse top. Her hand jutted out at me, and I saw a thick clear rock sparkling off her ring finger.

“Jesus,” I said. “You’re not lying.”

“Course I’m not, silly.” She giggled, already drunk for the night. “Club president’s old lady. That’s gonna be a fine place for me to sit.”

She stood there dumbly waiting for me to congratulate her. I just pressed myself deeper into my homework, willing myself to hold my tongue. Just two more years, I knew even back then. Two more years and I’m out of this.

“Well?” she asked, slurring even that little word.

I shook my head.

She grabbed my ponytail and yanked it down. I yelped out into her worn, Botoxed face.

“Bitch, you look up when your momma’s talking,” she said.

“I don’t have a mom,” I gritted back. The pain was horrible, but I glowered at her without fear.

She let go and clipped off somewhere.

I rubbed my sore scalp and wiped away the tears. I wasn’t crying for her or for me; it was just involuntary. I didn’t see how things could get any worse with a ring on her finger.

I didn’t know much about Marshall Winters, the club president. I did, however, know his son Lucas all too well. He was a year ahead of me in school, or at least he was when he bothered to attend. The teachers passed him on through the grades, not wanting to cross his father. The only times I ever saw him were in the school parking lot, perched on one of those bikes eating burgers from outside and chatting with a couple other boys who were already prospects for the Flyers. Lucas wouldn’t have to go through that. He would dive straight in whenever he felt ready.

I studied him after mom’s announcement, to see the guy who’d be my stepbrother. I’d found him looking back at me with narrowed blue eyes in his long, rugged face. He was tall and leanly muscled like a long missile. I never looked for too long, lest he get the wrong idea. We were going be family soon, but I wouldn’t put it past a Grim Flyer to get a twisted idea.

The marriage went about as bad as I expected. The house filled up with bikers more often and I ended up staying at school or in my room to avoid them. My new father tried to talk to me, but I let the stuff go in one ear and out the other, counting down the days left. The other bikers got even less of my time.

Lucas, I saw often, but he seemed to let me be. However big our differences he, at least, understood them. I would see him in our kitchen now and then. He would freeze, looking for a moment like some predator in his leather cut - someone who didn’t want to alert his prey. But then, he would just toss me a silent nod. I would head back to my room and wait for him to clomp out loud and clear to indicate that I could take his place.

It was a decent courtesy, but not enough to change my plans to leave. Not for more than a crazy moment, at least. I would briefly debate engaging him, trying to make good with at least one bit of my messed up family. Yet, the idea of getting close to him filled me with anxiety. My body sure warmed up. In any case, I’d eject the idea from my head and look back at the calendar with the dates X-ed out.

I left the weekend after I became of age. They’d all forgotten my birthday which was just as well. Mom was out of the house, so I simply packed everything of consequence into our little beat up car. The thing was even registered under my name, what with Mom’s DUI record. It took no more than an hour to clear up. A couple neighbors gawked, but most of them understood what I was leaving.

The car was old. There were no fancy electronics on it. Once I got a couple hours out, I’d been clear of any danger. No one could report my own car missing, and the Flyers and the local police wouldn’t know where to go to find me once I got on the interstate. After an hour, I could already feel all the weight of Tarmont lifting off me.

Of course the problem with old cars is that they tend to break down at the worst possible moment.

I wasn't sure what scared me more- the sight of smoke rising from the hood of my old ride or the hot, damp and completely empty brushland surrounding it. I had managed to pull off the shoulder of a county road, though which county I could not say.

A bit far off, I could see a clearing, but that was it as far as features. No farms, no shacks, nothing human round but the road markers. If I could be grateful for one thing, at least the smoke kept the mosquitoes away. I had on capris and a tank top so there was plenty of thick patches of skin for them otherwise. Course the smoke also served as a signal for predators, which I was way more terrified of facing. Back in the old day, beasts might be scared away, but now the only animal left to fear came in the human variety.

I opened the hood of my car and peered in at the incomprehensible tubes of metal, half wishing I could climb in and just hide there. I'd spent my whole life in Tarmont, which was closer to a junk heap than a city or farmland. My dad had never taken me outdoors back when he was alive and none of mom’s boyfriends had done more than ogle me. All I saw around me was untamed miserable land, what with the searing heat and the bugs, and, oh yeah, outlaw bikers. That's what I knew about land like this.

“Leave civilization and the civilization leaves the man,” my daddy once said. Some folks hadn't yet got the news about the 21
century. Their morals came from another time and baser instincts. I knew how messed up small towns could get - I didn’t imagine things were much better with no society around at all. Some of my friends in high school had had over family from swampland like this. All too often, they had real messed up stories, especially the women. It didn’t make me feel all that comfortable now looking down at my curvy, lush body. The Grim Flyers might not be the biggest menace around.

Didn't know what had compelled me to find my own way back to the highway after leaving it for gas and food. Or not go straight back after I realized I'd gotten lost and opened the GPS on my phone. No I had to take the scenic route until I was far and away from the open road. Somewhere I thought I heard fast cars swish, but maybe that was just the wind. Or this was some old bayou and there was a gator nest or something in the brushes nearby. Would be just my luck.

A car rumbled in the distance, and I slid my shades back to see what it was. It looked to be a large van. That seemed safe enough, maybe some plumber or even a mechanic. My car still worked in fits and bursts. All I needed was a little help getting to a shop I could trust.

The van grew into view though and I saw the back tapered off. This was a pickup. I stopped waving just a bit. Pickups and country sent a red alert off in my mind.

Either way, that truck whooshed right on by. Guy stared at me as he passed, as if he couldn't quite comprehend the situation. Or worse, maybe it was just that shocking to see a girl on her own out here.

No one came either way for a long while after that, and I felt a pit in my stomach, wondering what the hell I was going to do. My phone had a signal theoretically, but the last calls I’d made had cut before they connected. Maybe it wasn't so bad to just drive with a smoking engine, go bit by bit. There was a car shop on my map just a couple miles away, and maybe it was open and filled with nice people.

Then again most of Tarmont’s shops were run by the Grim Flyers. It was probably some similar arrangement in a place like this.

Thinking such happy things, it took me a while to hear the rumble filling the air. I looked out but couldn't see anything coming either way. The sound felt too loud though, the rev of the engine too deep, a military growl. A sinking feeling hit my stomach. There was no mistaking that noise. I saw a speck roll up into view, then two more flanking it.


I swung back under the hood, even as I told myself that these might not be the Flyers. It could just be some normal folk out for a Saturday morning ride with his buddies. 99% of bikers were just guys who liked a rumble between their legs right? I could get that.

But that 1%. I knew what I was to people like them: meat.

The choppers thundered down toward me. I used the hood like a shield, willing them just to pass and leave, though part of me hoped I was just being silly and these were the heart of gold types. I think that's what kept me from fully concealing my big ass. Curiosity killed the kitty and all.

At first the three bikers rumbled past. I hung deep in the hood, feeling relieved and sad in equal parts. That is, until the bone shaking rumble started to suddenly die down. I tried to stand still in between the radiator as if they were dinosaurs who couldn't see, but the engines went out altogether, and from not too far away, a voice called out. “How ya doing there, sweetheart?”

I blew out steam of my own, and scolded myself for being so dumb. Of course they were decent. This wasn’t Tarmont anymore. I pulled out and turned.

"Actually, I could-"

The rest of the words fell off my lips.

The three men before me were dressed identical, almost in uniform - if any uniform involved shredded jeans, jack boots and leather vests, and faces covered in grime.  Their vests showed reapers with angel wings attached, smiling and raising their scythe to strike. The club name read out in yellow block font under the logo.

These weren't just 1%ers. Somehow, eighty miles away from Tarmont, I had run into the Grim Flyers

"Well, sheeit," one of them said. He was squat and built like a  bear. His brown hair hung down unkempt, some of it branched off and curved around his face to frame him with a beard and mustache. I didn’t recognize him, though perhaps that was the point of the dark motor oil blurring his face. This might not be the Tarmont chapter.

“What do we have here?” said one of the others who looked like his leaner blond twin.  “A damsel in distress?”

BOOK: In My Stepbrother's Hands
8.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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