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Authors: Lynda Bailey

On a Knife's Edge

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On a Knife’s Edge

 

by

 

Lynda Bailey

 

She was once
his sweet salvation…

Lynch Callan has
been a dead man walking most of his life—nothing out of the ordinary for a
member of the 5th Street biker gang. There was a brief period, though, when
she
made him believe he could be more. That he could be worthy of her, and her
love. To protect her, and keep their relationship from being discovered, he
went to prison. Except now the Streeters are in danger. But in order to save
his crew, he must first betray them. If caught, he’ll end up dead for sure.
It’ll be the mother of all balancing acts—especially with
her
in the
picture. But Lynch will do whatever is necessary to protect the people he
loves.

 

He was once
her deepest desire…

Shasta Albright
doesn’t break the rules. Not anymore. As an unruly teenager, she defied her
family at every turn…even secretly befriending, then dating,
then
falling in love with a bad boy Streeter. Finally her recklessness caught up
with her—with lasting and even dire consequences. Now she leads a pristine
existence, always staying within the lines and keeping her secrets hidden. That
is until
he
gets released from prison. Can Shasta hold her perfect world
together, or will everything get hurled into chaos?

 

With young girls
going missing, the sleepy town of Stardust, Nevada becomes an unlikely
epicenter for an illicit slave trade—with Shasta and Lynch caught in the
middle. Amidst the rising body count, they fight to keep their loved ones—and
each other—safe. A single slipup could have deadly repercussions. It’s an
untenable and treacherous position. Much like walking
On a Knife’s Edge…

 

This is a work of
fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is
entirely coincidental.

 

ON A KNIFE’S EDGE

 

COPYRIGHT © 2016
by Lynda Bailey

           

Published by
Lynda Bailey. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author.

 

Contact
Information:

[email protected]

Visit us at
www.lyndabailey.net

 

Book Design by
The Killion Group/Hot Damn Designs

 

Publishing
History

First Edition,
2016

 

DEDICATION
:

To my husband,
Pat…I couldn’t do any of this without your rock-solid support. I love you.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
:

To Suzanne – the
best CP a gal can have!

To Kim and Erin –
the best betas a gal can have!

To JJ – thanks
for all the tricks and tips about the Nevada State prison system.

To the folks at
Scotland Yard Spy Shop – thanks for your help with nanny cams and more!

 

OTHER WORKS BY
LYNDA BAILEY
:

 

Battle-Born Love

 

Battle-Tested
Love

 

Erotic
Escapades of a Married Couple

 

Naughty
Neighborhood

 

On the Corner
of Heartache and Hopeful-MIC

 

On the Corner
of Heartache and Hopeful-KIRA

 

On the Corner
of Heartache and Hopeful-GRACE

 

Shattered
Trust

 

Wildflower

 

 

Chapter One

(Prologue)

 

May, 2009

HUNKERING
BEHIND A
clump of lilac bushes, seventeen-year-old Shasta
Albright observed her brother climb from his massive, crew cab truck then tramp
up the sidewalk toward the courthouse. Once Sheriff Dell Albright crossed the
threshold, she counted to fifty to ensure her dear brother was safely
established in his basement office then pulled her sweatshirt hood over her
ponytail and moved into the open.

Head down and hands in her jacket pockets, she strolled
toward the truck, the spare key clasped tightly in her grip. She shivered as
the early morning breeze raised goose bumps on her bare legs. Under her cut-off
jean shorts and sweatshirt, she wore only her bikini. Today was Ditch Day—when
juniors and seniors ditched school for a party trip to Lake Tahoe.

She cast stealth gazes to her left and right. At six
forty-five in the morning, Main Street in the miniscule rural town of Stardust,
Nevada stood all but deserted. The only people dumb enough to be out this early
were commuters heading to Reno or Carson City. And of course her stupid,
controlling brother.

Anger seethed her blood. He had no right to take away
her
truck when she hadn’t done anything wrong. At least not this time.

“It’s for your own good,”
Dell had told her while
confiscating her keys.
“You’re not cutting class to go drinking at the lake.
It’s not safe. You’re my responsibility now.”

His responsibility? God…she hated her brother. A smug smile
touched her lips. She’d show him…

Behind the F350, she pressed the door open button and the
lights blinked along with a single horn toot. She peered around the truck bed
to make sure brother dearest didn’t come charging from the courthouse. When the
only movement remained the tree branches swaying in the slight wind, she
hustled around to the driver’s side and hoisted herself inside.

Jesus…this thing was big. Way bigger than the Ford Ranger
her dad bought for her sixteenth birthday. Though she’d ridden as a passenger
in Dell’s gargantuan truck plenty of times, sitting behind the wheel gave her
an entirely different perspective. She could hardly see over the dashboard
while her feet were nowhere near the pedals.

Fumbling for the seat control, she managed to heave the
bucket seat forward enough so the front of the hood came into view and the tip
of her right sneaker reached the gas. She jammed the key into the ignition and
turned it.

She ducked down at the thundering roar of the engine. All
she needed was to be caught in the act of taking Dell’s truck. If that
happened, she’d be grounded until like forever.

She peeked up. No one in sight. After buckling her seatbelt,
she wrenched the gearshift into reverse and gently pressed on the gas.

The behemoth vehicle lurched backwards. A startled yelp
escaped her lips. She slammed on the brakes and closed her eyes. She inhaled a
slow, deep breath. Then another one.

Calmer, she put the truck into drive and rumbled out onto
Main Street only to realize she hadn't adjusted the rearview mirrors. Oh well.
No other cars were on the street at this time of morning anyway.

A block and a half away, she felt sufficiently confident—and
more than a little cocky—to pull out her cell. She flipped it opened and hit
the speed dial for her best friend, Cassie.

“What up, bitch?” she shouted into the phone at Cassie’s
groggy hello. “Still in bed? Slacker.”

Cassie groaned. “Yeah I’m in bed cuz it’s like the middle of
the night.” She yawned loudly.

“No it’s not. It’s Ditch Day, remember?”

“I remember.” Another yawn. “I also remember neither one of
us has wheels.”

Shasta couldn’t contain her giggle. “Not anymore,
girlfriend.”

“What? Your brother gave you back your truck? When?”

“He didn’t
give
me anything. I took it.”

“How? Thought he put all the keys to your Ranger on his
ring.”

“He did, but forgot about
his
truck’s spare key.”

Silence met her statement.

“What the hell…” Cassie’s voice dropped to a whisper. “You…
stole
…Dell’s
truck?”

“How is it stealing if he’s my brother?”

“Girl…this is one baaaaaad idea. He will fucking
murder
you.”

Shasta brushed off Cassie’s concern. “Don’t be such a
killjoy. I’m on my way to your house so get ready.”

“Nah, uh. No way, sister.”

Irritation peppered Shasta’s nerves. “Oh, c’
mon
,
Cass. You can’t punk out on me.”

“Sorry, Shay…you’ve really gone off the rails this time.”

A long pause echoed in Shasta’s ear.

“Look, Shay,” Cassie said, “I know things have been rough
since your dad died, but—”

“Don’t.” Shasta infused as much fury as possible into her
voice. “Don’t talk about my dad.”

“But honey—”

Rather than continue the conversation, Shasta snapped the
phone shut. She barely resisted the urge to fling her cell at the windshield.
How
dare
Cassie bring up her dad. It’d been just seven months since he’d
shot himself in that freak hunting accident. Seven months since she’d talked to
him or seen his smile or heard his laugh. Seven months of hell….

Scrubbing an angry hand at the tears in her eyes, Shasta
stiffened her spine. She didn’t need Cassie, loser that she was. She didn’t
need
anybody
—not anymore. In less than sixty miles she’d be basking on a
sandy, warm Tahoe beach. That’s all she needed.

She turned right onto Road 314 and headed for the Grab-n-Go
just this side of the Grant County line to get beer and snacks. It was a badly
kept secret that the minimart owner, Felix, had no problem selling alcohol to
high school kids.

Ten minutes later, she maneuvered her brother’s monstrosity
of a truck into the tiny parking lot, past the two gas islands and up to the
front door. Thankfully no one else was around as she took up almost three
spaces. She killed the engine then hopped out of the cab. Retrieving her debit
card from her jean pocket, she strode inside. An auto beep announced her
arrival.

“Morning, Felix.”

The forty-something owner looked up from his newspaper.
“Shasta? Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“Not today.” She headed toward the refrigerated section.
“It’s Ditch Day.” She pulled out a twelve-pack of St. Pauli Girl, juggled it
under one arm and snatched two huge bags of tortilla chips along with a handful
of power bars on her way to the register.

Felix stood with his arms crossed, frowning. “You know I
can’t sell you beer.”

She placed her items on the counter. “Why not? You sell it
to everyone else at school.”

“Not everyone else is the sheriff’s sister.” He shook his
head. “Sorry. No can do. If I get caught again, I’m gonna lose my liquor
license and probably go to jail.”

She tapped her debit card against her opposite palm and
squinted. “I’ll make you a deal. Sell me this and I promise to tell you if I
hear anything about Dell setting up another underage sting.”

Felix twisted his lips.

“Please,” she entreated with a small side-to-side sway. The
slight movement gave her a certain innocence. Older men were suckers for that.
“C’mon, Felix…it’s
Ditch Day
. Pretty, pretty, pretty please.” She batted
her eyelashes with her finest beseeching look.

She knew the second his resolve collapsed. His face crumpled
like he smelled rotten fish. “Fine, but not the imported stuff.”

She turned, the German beer in her hands. “No problem.”

“And make it light beer—and only a six-pack.”

Rolling her eyes, she walked down the aisle as the door
beeped again, announcing another customer.

She’d just grabbed two sixers of a high-end domestic light
beer—no way was she leaving with a single six-pack—when a man opened the glass
door on her right.

Shasta immediately recognized the guy’s jacket—and him.
Lynch Callan of the 5th Streeters.

Holy shit.

Her stomach did a flip-flop. Everyone in Stardust knew about
the 5th Street “motorcycle club,” as they called themselves. Motorcycle club
sounded less disreputable, less infamous than biker gang. But they were
hoodlums. Criminals. A blight on society, or so her father used to say. Did
this guy have a gun? Was he planning to rob Felix?

Her insecurity dissolved. No way would he try anything like
that, not with
her
in the store. After all, she was the sheriff’s
sister. Sometimes that fact came in handy.

Out the corner of her eye, she watched Lynch reach for a
carton of milk. What kind of a badass bad guy drinks milk? He shut the
refrigerator door with a thump and walked behind her to the far aisle. She
closed her own door and stared at his reflection in the glass.

Disheveled dark blond hair stuck out from under his
half-helmet while a scruffy beard covered his cheeks and chin. With his
sunglasses on he looked hard and menacing. And sexy as hell…

She slowly headed back to the register, her gaze fixed on
Lynch. He now stood in front of the shelf of cereals. Milk and cereal? That
seemed so…normal for a thug. Wouldn’t cold pizza be his typical breakfast? And
where was the hard liquor, or at least the beer? Lost in thought, she placed
the beer on the counter.

“I told you
a
six-pack.” Felix’s statement whipped
her around. He situated one sixer off to the side, a stern scowl on his face.

She opened her mouth, but her protest died when a container
of two percent, a box of honey bran cereal and a package chocolate chip cookies
appeared next to her alcohol. Heat infused her body at the Streeter’s close
proximity.

“Gimme five bucks on pump three, when you get the chance.”

Lynch’s low, rolling voice percolated shivers up her arms.
He didn’t shop like a notorious gang member…and he didn’t sound like one
either.

Felix nodded while ringing up her purchases. She handed over
her debit card, trying her damnedest to act cool. She glanced over.

Still wearing his sunglasses, Lynch rubbed a hand across his
neck, his head bowed. He looked tired. Exhausted even.

Late night breaking the law?

Shasta bit her tongue to keep the snarky comment locked in
her mouth. She might be the sheriff’s sister, but she wasn’t a total imbecile.

She punched in her pin number as Felix bagged her chips and
power bags. Purchases in hand, she moved toward the entrance, putting an extra
swing in her hips in case Lynch checked out her ass.

Outside, she tossed the items onto the truck’s back seat
then clambered behind the wheel. She clicked her seatbelt, started the truck
and put it in reverse. She turned the wheel, but still hadn’t fixed the
mirrors. The horrible crunch of metal reverberated. She slammed on the brakes,
rocking the truck to an abrupt halt. Several moments of deafening quiet
surrounded her before…

“What the fuck
…my bike…

Her door swung open, and she stared at an infuriated Lynch
Callan. With arms akimbo, wide stance and his mouth bowed into a vicious frown,
she’d never seen anyone look so angry—not even her brother.

“Get out,” he commanded.

She recovered enough to scoff. “What? No freakin’ way.”

If anything, he looked more furious. He stepped onto the
truck’s running board, reached over the steering column and twisted the key
from the ignition. In one smooth move, he unfastened her belt and jumped to the
ground. “I said out.”

“And I said no.”

He wrapped his large hand around her arm and none too gently
dragged her from the cab.

She yanked away. “Let me go.”

He tightened his hold and lugged her to the ass end of the
truck.

She stumbled behind him. “Do you have any idea who I am?”

“Yup.” He didn’t even slow down. “You’re the idiot who just
backed into my bike.”

He whirled her around. Her sandal caught on his boot and the
asphalt quickly rose up. Only his grip on her arm kept it from meeting her
face. She swiped flyaway strands of hair from her eyes, ready to set him on
fire with her best scathing glare.

But his sunglasses were now tucked into his t-shirt’s
neckline. And he glowered at her with the  most enthralling blue eyes. They
were a pristine, crystal blue, like the water at Lake Tahoe. If Shasta thought
him sexy and ominous before, he positively oozed sensuality—and danger—now. Any
attempt at being scornful died.

He pointed to a giant Harley lying on its side next to his
bag from Felix’s store. “Look.”

She gave the scene a cursory glimpse and hitched her
shoulder. “Sorry.”

His eyebrows lifted as his jaw dropped. “Sorry? You’re
sorry
?”
He crossed his arms. “You’re paying any damages.”

“Damages? What damages? I barely tapped it.”

Now he scoffed. “Barely tapped it…you
toppled it over
.”
He waved his hand at the downed bike. “The left mirror’s busted and the paint’s
scraped. And that’s just what I can see. You’re paying for that and anything
else you wrecked.”

She faced him square, her fists on her hips. “How do I know
those things didn’t happen before today? You could just be trying to extort
money. That’s what people like you do, isn’t it?”

His eyes became shards of ice. “People like me?” An unspoken
warning clear in his tone.

“Uh, excuse me.”

Felix’s hesitant voice turned both their heads. “What?” they
demanded in unison.

The store owner’s gaze rifled between Shasta and Lynch. He
held up a police scanner radio. “Just heard there’s a BOLO out for the
sheriff’s truck. They say it’s been stolen.”

Air thickened in Shasta’s throat. She’d hoped to be on a
beach before Dell realized his precious ride was missing. And she never expected
him to put out an all points bulletin. Maybe Cassie had been right about this
being a bad idea.

BOOK: On a Knife's Edge
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