Pursuit: Blood Bandits MC

BOOK: Pursuit: Blood Bandits MC
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.

 

Pursuit copyright 2016 by Cora Black. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.

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Chapter One
 

Kara

 

 

“Table thirteen’s flagging you down, Kara.”

 

I turned my head away, hiding my disgust. Being unprofessional wouldn’t help me score a tip or keep my job.

 

I went to the table, smiling as naturally as I could.

 

“Can we have more coffee?”

 

I’d already poured the table of college kids at least five cups of coffee, but I told them I’d be right back with a fresh pot. I mumbled to myself throughout the walk to the machine.

 

“Oh my God. They’ve been here for two hours,” Darlene muttered. A lifelong waitress, Darlene had seen everything.

 

“Yeah, and I’ll be lucky if I make a dollar from them.” Nobody wanted the poor college kids who took up valuable real estate by spending hours talking, laughing, writing lame poetry or doing their homework. Meanwhile, more lucrative customers came and went while a perfectly good table sat occupied. I’d missed out on at least twenty dollars in tips in those two hours, I estimated.

 

“Next time, I’ll take them,” she promised, patting me on the shoulder before lifting a tray laden with greasy food and carrying it to another table. I did my best to be kind and considerate while pouring fresh cups for my four customers.

 

“Would any of you like something to eat?” I asked, eyeing up the long-empty french fry basket in the middle of the table. I picked it up.

 

“We’re good, thanks.” None of them looked up from their devices. They just didn’t get it, stupid entitled hipsters.

 

I turned before they could catch a glimpse of the snarl I couldn’t suppress. I’d love to see what any one of them would do if they were ever in the same situation as me.

 

The rest of my tables were quiet, just about finishing up their meals. I took the opportunity to sneak a few mouthfuls of food in the kitchen—the first time I’d eaten in hours. I’d been working a double, from three in the afternoon until five in the morning. I checked the clock as I shoveled soup into my mouth. Nearly eleven o’clock. Six hours to go.

 

“Who’s watching Em?” Charlie, the line cook, asked. He always made sure I had food to eat throughout my shifts.

 

“My mom spends the night on my couch when I’m working these crazy shifts. She picked Emma up from school this afternoon. I hate having her do it, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the cash.”

 

Charlie shook his head with a wry smile. “I don’t know how you do it.” He handed over a plate of eggs and bacon for a single customer at the counter.

 

“I don’t either.” I turned with the eggs, leaving the kitchen by one of two swinging doors. I wasn’t kidding—I had no idea how I would manage to stay awake and alert until five, then make the ten-minute drive home and stay awake until it was time to get Emma off to school. I didn’t want to sleep in between since I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wake up once it was time to do so. It was always easier for me to stay awake straight through than to try to catch a few winks, no matter how desperately I needed the rest.

 

The chime above the front door sounded and I looked up just in time to see a group of rough-looking men walk into the diner.
Oh great
, I thought.
Bikers
. They were all I needed after an already challenging night.

 

Darlene was always better than me at being nice to people like them, the ones who came in and acted like they owned the place. All they ever did was eat like slobs, curse, pinch the fannies of the waitresses and try to make passes. Still, they were generous tippers—how they made their money, I didn’t want to know.

 

Darlene handed out their menus and smiled indulgently at their shenanigans—shoving each other, laughing raucously, spreading themselves out across a long table. We made eye contact. A slight jerk of her head toward the table told me they were mine if I wanted them. I didn’t want them, but I did want the money. I could easily make forty or fifty dollars from a table of ten. Emma needed a new pair of shoes, and we were running low on groceries. I smoothed down the front of my apron and put a smile on my face before visiting the table.
Here we go
.

 

I kept smiling as I stood beside them, studying them all as quickly as I could. A very rough group. They fairly oozed ferocious energy. “Hi, guys. I’m Kara, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight.”

 

All of them looked me up and down, but I could handle that. The oldest of the group, a grizzled man who wore aviator sunglasses even indoors, grinned widely from his seat at the head of the table. “I’ll say you can take care of me tonight.” Laughter all around. I was prepared for that, too.

 

“Can I get you all started off with something to drink?” Everybody wanted coffee. Easy enough. I hurried behind the counter, setting a new pot to brew, pulling out coffee cups and saucers. I filled two pitchers with water, too, and placed water glasses on my tray. Even at a distance, I heard them muttering and joking about me.
Remember the tip. Remember the tip.
When I thought about the time I spent on my education, earning straight As all throughout high school and college, all to wait tables in a rundown diner while being catcalled and ogled…

 

I passed out the cups, the glasses, and placed a pitcher at either end of the table along with two carafes of extra coffee. After everything looked settled, I pulled out my order pad. “Do you all know what you want, or do you need a little more time?”

 

Nothing I could say would dissuade them from being slimy creeps. I told myself to be strong, that they’d find a way to put a sexual spin on anything I said. It didn’t help that the diner’s owner thought it was adorable to have his waitresses wear the old-fashioned striped dresses fashionable in diners decades earlier. The dress’s hem fell right to the middle of my thigh, and its cut showed off every curve of my body. I might as well have been naked, seeing as how the bikers took inventory of me with their eyes.

 

“I think we all know what we want, honey.” More snickers, more leering.

 

I squared my shoulders. “I meant to eat.”

 

“So did we.” More laughter.

 

My cheeks burned hotly.

 

“Quit it.” A rough voice, low and sonorous. It fairly rumbled. My eyes met the eyes of one of the men at the table. He sat to the right of the old man at the head, and he didn’t look happy. “Let her do her job, dickheads.”

 

“Oooh!” The rest of them laughed and feigned fear. I couldn’t help breathing a sigh of relief at their reaction—for a split second, I’d been afraid they’d start fighting. I could only imagine what it would be like to start a biker fight in the diner. I’d imagined myself kissing my job goodbye.

 

Not only did they not fight, but they suddenly became a lot more respectful. I wondered at the sudden change, and knew it had to do with whatever power the dark-haired, dark-eyed man had over them. He was young—younger than the man at the head of the table by at least twenty or thirty years—but he commanded respect.

 

They ordered the usual diner food, which was a relief. Things Charlie could cook in a hurry, so I could get them out of there. I didn’t know for sure what it was about them that turned me off, but I couldn’t stand the way they made me feel. Ogling was one thing—I was used to it, especially during the overnight shifts which I’d so frequently covered. Most women took such behavior in stride, especially women built like me. Small but curvy. Men took a look at my body and immediately wondered what they could do to it. So gross.

 

“Okay, let’s get it straight,” I said, reading off the orders, pointing to each man in turn. I started at the head of the table. “A double burger, medium rare, fries, no onion. A double burger with bacon, rare, fries and onion rings, absolutely no vegetables. Double order of chicken fingers and fries with brown gravy and cheese. A turkey club with extra mayo, fries with ranch dressing. Meat lover’s omelet, bacon, potatoes and rye toast. Eggs over-easy, bacon, potatoes with cheese, white toast. A bacon and mushroom burger, medium rare with burned bacon, fries with cheese sauce on the side. Pancakes with bacon and sausage. Roast beef sandwich with fries, au jus on the side.” Then I looked up, reciting the last order to the man with the sultry dark eyes. “A grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and fries with cheese, bacon and sour cream.”

 

All of them nodded appreciatively, as though impressed that I got it all correct. Meanwhile, I wondered how any of them were still alive after the amount of saturated fat in their diets. They hinted about dessert once they finished, too. Anything to improve my tip, but I couldn’t help shaking my head a little as I walked away. Between their eating habits and the cigarette packs sticking out of every leather vest, it was a wonder they had pulses.

 

None of my business, I reminded myself. Let them act like idiots and eat themselves into an early grave. It didn’t bother me any.

 

It also didn’t have an obvious physical effect on most of them, especially my knight in not-so-shining armor, who had a body that would make the statue of David green with envy. What did he do to earn a body like that? He had to work out. From his obvious toughness and the roughened knuckles, I guessed he boxed. I laughed at myself for even paying attention to his knuckles.

 

As I prepped the condiments and sauces for the various orders, I glanced back at the table. The oldest man had his back to me. On his vest was a large patch, covering most of it. Blood Bandits, it said. So that was their name. Gee. How terrifying. I chuckled softly. Little boys playing big-boy games. I knew all about little boys.

 

While I waited for Charlie to finish the food, I noticed my college kids had left. I went to bus their table, knowing I wouldn’t find a tip for the hours of time they wasted. Sure enough, there was an entire dollar there. In quarters. I smirked, remembering what it was like to be a poor college kid without the slightest clue what it meant to earn a living in the world, and snatched the change from the table.

 

Just as I did, I caught the eye of my knight. The rest of the men around the table laughed, joked, told stories. He watched me. Silently. One corner of his mouth curved into a sexy, knowing smile. Arrogant, too. I could only shrug, then clear the table with a blush coloring my cheeks. I didn’t like the way he looked at me. Like he could see inside me. I didn’t want that.

 

Darlene came over, taking the bus tray from my hands. “Here, I’ll finish what little’s left. Your order is starting to come up.” With the place virtually empty, there was little else for Charlie to do but cook the ten orders. Then she leaned in. “I saw the way that sex machine over there is staring at you.”

 

“Ugh. Don’t make me puke,” I muttered.

 

“What’s a little harmless fun?” she asked, winking. “If I were fifteen years younger, I’d climb him like a tree. You mark my words.”

 

“I bet you would.” I laughed, going to the order window to pick up the food. Yes, he was just Darlene’s type, too. She had a bad habit of falling for the wrong men. The men who cheated and lied and charmed. I had no time for that, and I certainly had no time for a man I couldn’t count on to stay out of jail. I had a little girl to think about. I had myself, too.

 

It took two trips to deliver all of the food, then another two to refill the coffee and water, and to pour out a few soft drinks. By the time I finished, my arms ached. I made sure they were all happy, then signaled to Darlene that I needed a break. My feet ached terribly, to the point where it was hard to keep a smile on my face.

 

For a twenty-five-year-old woman, I felt awfully old. I thought about what other girls my age did, how they lived. What they did for fun. I couldn’t remember the last time I had fun. It wasn’t part of my vocabulary anymore. Life was entirely about my little girl, making sure she was safe and happy and healthy. Everything else fell away the moment the doctor placed her in my arms, and became much direr in the more than three years since then. Back in the day, when she was born, I wasn’t alone yet.

 

“Hey, Kara?” Darlene’s voice broke through my reverie. I had chosen a spot toward the back of the kitchen where I could prop my feet up on a stack of crates. She stood by the swinging door, looking very unhappy. I assumed it was something with my table.

 

“Great. What do they want now?” I stood, stretching, groaning as my muscles protested.

 

“It’s not them. You have a visitor. He wouldn’t leave. I told him to leave, but he wouldn’t.”

BOOK: Pursuit: Blood Bandits MC
10.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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