Resurrection (The Lone Riders MC Series Book 3) (3 page)

BOOK: Resurrection (The Lone Riders MC Series Book 3)
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‘He won’t do anything, because he has secrets, Michael. And you know what those secrets are. You know what he did…’

‘And
I
kept my side of the bargain. I kept my head down, said nothing; stayed out of his way. And now this. You coming back here,
you
started this. You set those wheels in motion…
Jesus
! I should have been stronger. Should have done more to stop you… Look, you really need to talk to him, Ben.’

‘You think my father responds to talking? Sorry… if we’re talking about being deluded, I think you may have just stolen my crown there, Sheriff.’

‘Talk to him, Ben.’

Ben’s gaze took on an even steelier glare, causing Michael to take a step back.

‘I don’t have a father anymore. OK?’

‘And if that were true, then we’d all be sleeping safer in our beds. But you know it isn’t. And you’ve got to do something about that.’

‘For
your
benefit, Sheriff? Because it sure as hell ain’t gonna help
me
. And while we’re on this subject, does Coby – do any of the Lone Riders know just how close to the Dark Angels you really are? Do they have any idea of the hold my fucking father has over
you
?’

Michael took a step forward, his own expression hardening now, an anger he’d really wanted to keep down doing its best to push forward. ‘Do something about it, Ben. And do it soon. Because, if what I’m hearing is true, you really haven’t got that much time.’

Four

 

 

‘You all right?’ Kip sat down on the wall next to Coby, offering him a cigarette.

‘Your sister sees me smoking, she’ll string me up.’

‘Jesus, Coby, she got you by the frigging balls or something? This is Lexi we’re talking about.’

Coby pulled a cigarette from the packet and lit up, taking a long, deep drag. ‘She can be terrifying at times, y’know.’

‘Yeah.’ Kip smirked. ‘I’m not gonna argue with you on that one.’

‘I promised her, OK?’

‘Promised her what? That you’d renounce your manhood just to keep her happy?’

Coby looked down, smiling slightly. ‘She’s just worried about me, after everything that happened. I’m trying my best to humor her… Look, Kip…’ He raised his gaze, his expression suddenly serious. ‘I need to talk to you.’ He took another long drag. ‘Now you’re my V.P., there are things we need to get moving on. And there are things – there are things I haven’t told you. Because I needed to be – well, not sure, exactly, because I can’t be certain of anything just yet, but there are things…’ He trailed off, lowering his gaze for a beat or two before he raised his head, his eyes meeting Kip’s. ‘I think Shane’s still here. In
Paradise
. I think he’s somewhere close by, and I think someone’s harboring him. Keeping him hidden.’

Kip frowned. ‘Who told you this?’

‘Nomad Jake.’

‘And where’d
he
get his information?’

‘You know we never ask him that. Best not to. But he’s rarely wrong.’

‘Jesus…’ Kip whistled, taking off his cap and raking a hand through his dirty-blonde hair. ‘Hidden by who, exactly?’

‘That’s something we still need to find out. But there are rumors.’

‘Rumors?’

‘The Dark Angels – it’s possible they’re the ones hiding him.’

‘Shit! Coby…
Shit
! Does Michael know any of this?’

Coby shook his head, taking one last drag on his cigarette before tossing it to the ground, stamping down on it hard and heavy. ‘Best to let him think we really are leaving it to the lawmen.’

‘He fell for that crap, huh?’

‘Not sure he fell for it, exactly. But he’s not pushing me on it.’

‘Jesus Christ… what’s going down here, Cobe?’

Coby dug his hands into the pockets of his faded jeans, staring out ahead of him. ‘I’d started to hear things, rumblings… just after the fire. Things that unsettled me. Rumors of Shane having dealings with other MCs, the Dark Angels being one of them. Meetings that spanned back to his days in exile in
Las Vegas
. So when Michael told me he was more than likely the one responsible for trying to kill me…’ He trailed off, taking a long, deep breath. ‘It was no surprise. In fact, it just confirmed everything I’d been hearing. And when I started putting two and two together, it all started to make sense.’

‘I don’t understand… why would the Dark Angels start talking with Shane? I don’t get it.’

‘You know – we
all
know now that he’s a man acting irrationally, Kip. He’s fixated with your sister, and he wants to get back at me for taking something he feels should have always been his. That’s obviously been his plan from the start. To get back at me.’

‘What’s that got to do with the Dark Angels?’

‘They’ve been having a bit of a recruitment drive lately, you aware of that?’

‘I’d heard of a few things going down, a couple of rallies happening across the country. Closest one to here was
Santa Monica
, wasn’t it?’

Coby nodded. ‘Their ranks have suddenly swelled. And because of that, Hector Almeda assumes that grants him a bigger slice of the local pie.’

Kip’s expression started to take on one on realization. ‘He wants a turf war.’ It wasn’t a question.

‘Aye,’ Coby sighed, throwing his head back, a wave of tiredness washing over him. ‘That’s exactly what he wants. And now he knows we’ve acquired all that land out back, that we’re expanding our businesses – now he knows his son has become one of us, suddenly we’re the best option. We’re neighbors. He takes us down – and he has reason to now, he has a motive; an excuse – all his club has to do is spread out a little. Everything’s just fallen into place for him.’

‘Shit!’ Kip muttered under his breath. ‘You know this for sure, do you?’

‘No. Not for sure. But that’s where Ben comes in.’

Kip’s frown returned. ‘Ben?’

‘I had my reservations, just like you, about him joining us. Because I knew it could kick up shit we didn’t need. Working for us is one thing, and even that was a risk. But becoming one of us… I’d be stupid to think a man like Hector Almeda would just let that go.’

‘That’s why you suddenly changed your mind. About him being patched in.’ Again, it wasn’t a question.

‘I need him to go back to his father and tell him it was a mistake. I need him to do anything he can to appease Hector. We need him to find out what’s going on. We need him to find out if the Dark Angels really are hiding Shane, and if they are, we need to know what’s happening, what Shane’s planning to do. And when he’s planning to do it.’

‘Even if that puts him in danger? I mean, I’m no fan of the guy, but if there’s still some unfinished business between him and his dad, something to do with why he left the Dark Angels in the first place… Whatever’s going on between him and Hector, is he gonna be able to put that to the back of his mind?’

‘It’s a risk, Kip, but it’s a risk I have to take. Look, Ben’s an intelligent man. He’ll be able to deal with this. He has to. For all our sakes. Otherwise we’re looking at a war we might not be able to win, and I mean that. The Dark Angels start something on our patch, and I’m not sure we’ve got the manpower to fight them.’

‘Jesus…’

‘If Shane’s still out there, and he’s still up for taking me out… Kill the head of the snake, and the rest will come crashing down.’ He dropped his head into his hands, pushing both of them back through his hair, a deep, heavy sigh racking his entire body. ‘It’s gonna be a mess, brother. It’s gonna be one hell of a fucking mess.’

‘Why don’t we just lock down?’

‘Because that sends out a message that we have suspicions. It speeds things up, accelerates the whole crappy scenario so, no, I’m not doing that. Not yet.’

‘Does Ben know you want to use him as bait?’

‘I haven’t spoken to him yet. Wanted to run it past you first.’

Kip stood up, slowly pacing up and down, his head spinning with everything Coby had just told him. ‘This shit going down with his dad…’ He stopped pacing, turning to face Coby. ‘Shouldn’t we know what that is?’

Coby shrugged, his face growing wearier by the second. ‘Aye. We should. I’ll talk to him, and if there’s anything we can do to diffuse that situation…’

Kip lit up another cigarette, offering the packet to Coby. He declined. ‘This is serious shit, Cobe.’

Coby looked at him, his expression impassive. He didn’t need telling how serious it was. ‘We have to win this, Kip, because, if we don’t, we’re done.’

Five

 

 

‘I wish you’d talk to me.’

Mia stood in the bathroom doorway, her arms folded tight against herself, and the expression on her face made Ben’s heart ache for a normality they were still so far away from, Michael’s words ringing in his ears –
was
he putting her in danger? He already knew the answer to that.

‘There’s nothing to talk about.’ He looked down, his voice quiet.

‘You sure?’

‘Don’t push this, Mia.’

‘Push what?’

He threw his head back and sighed heavily, standing up and walking over to the window, looking out over the ordinary, suburban tree-lined road below; at people going about their daily lives – the kind of life he’d once tried to live. But even then he’d known he could never really live that way. And he
had
tried; he’d given it a go. But it wasn’t his world, it never would be. Too much crap had been ingrained into him for him to ever really go there.

‘Ben?’

He closed his eyes, taking a long, deep breath before he turned around and walked over to her, reaching out to touch her cheek, stroking it with the back of his hand. ‘I love you, Mia. You know that, don’t you?’

‘And I love you too, but I think there’s…’

He shook his head. ‘Don’t think, baby. Don’t do that.’

‘Something’s wrong, Ben. I can feel it. I can see it in your eyes…’

‘I said, don’t push this, Mia.’ His expression clouded over with a darkness that caused Mia to flinch slightly, but she made no move to back away from him. ‘There’s nothing wrong, OK?’ Ben sighed, gently pushing her back against the doorpost, sliding his hand up under her skirt, touching her warm skin. ‘Everything’s fine.’

‘And you’re lying to me.’ She was aware that her breathing was speeding up a touch now, but there wasn’t a great deal she could do about that.

‘Believe what you want, Mia, but I’m telling you one more time, don’t push this.’ His fingers moved upwards, sliding under the sides of her panties.

‘Seriously? You think fucking me will make me stop hassling you?’

‘That’s what I was aiming for,’ he murmured, his lips traveling slowly over her neck.

She laughed quietly, knowing she was doing herself no favors by letting him do this – letting him have his way. But when Ben Salter touched her, he really gave her no other choice. She loved him, she loved fucking him, simple as that. ‘I’m not that easy to shut down,’ she whispered, nudging his head up so their eyes met. ‘You get that, biker boy?’

He grabbed hold of her hand, yanking her arm up above her head, his fingers gripping hers tightly as their mouths crashed together, the kiss forceful, insistent. But Mia wasn’t playing. She really wasn’t that easy to shut down, and lifting one leg up, she kneed him swiftly in the balls.

‘Jesus fucking
Christ
!’

‘You should listen to me. I don’t usually talk crap.’

He raised his head, the corner of his mouth twisting up into a slow smile, despite the throbbing in his groin. ‘You have no idea how much that’s just turned me on.’

She couldn’t help smiling back, despite herself. ‘You’re fucking crazy.’

‘I just know what I like.’

‘And I’d just like some truth from you, Ben.’

‘Jesus, Mia,’ he groaned, finally managing to stand back up straight. ‘Do you not remember what you told me – what
you
said just a few days ago? You didn’t want to know about the past, you wanted us to move on…’

‘You’re right. Considering what’s happened to me, the past can stay where it is. But I’m talking about the here and now – what’s going on,
right
now. Something’s wrong. I know you well enough to see that, so don’t…’

‘Please, Mia, don’t push this.’

‘Then don’t lie to me.’

‘I’m not lying, baby.’

‘Oh, so you’re, what? One of those people who thinks that just as long as you don’t tell me
anything
you can get away with telling me nothing?’

‘I’m not lying to you.’

‘What’s going on, Ben?’

He moved closer, cupping her cheek, his eyes searching hers, the darkness that had been there before gone now, replaced by something that carried just a hint of coldness. ‘I’m dealing with it, Mia.’

She covered his hand with hers, trying to ignore the way her stomach had dipped; the wave of fear that had briefly washed over her.

‘Do we really have to play out all this “need to know” shit? Can’t you just tell me what’s… ?’

‘I’m dealing with it,’ he repeated, stroking her warm skin with his thumb, the ache in his groin almost forgotten now, replaced with an altogether different kind of throbbing. ‘Just let me love you, Mia. Please. That’s all I’m asking here. Let me deal with the shit, and let me love you.’

‘What’s so bad that you can’t tell me?’

‘It’s family, baby. That’s all. Just some old family shit, and I’m dealing with it.’

‘Maybe I can help…’

‘No.’ He shook his head, his mouth moving closer to hers. ‘No, Mia, I need you to stay out of this. Please.’

‘I’m scared, Ben. All of this, it’s scaring me.’

He leaned forward, his forehead resting lightly against hers. ‘There’s nothing to be scared of, Mia, I promise you that.’ Really? He could promise her that, could he? How could he promise her anything yet? ‘You gonna trust me on this one, baby?’

She looked into his eyes, so deep into them he felt as though she were seeing into his very soul. ‘I guess I’m gonna have to.’

He kissed her gently, slowly, taking his time to taste her, his tongue teasing hers as the kiss deepened, her arms falling around him. ‘We’re gonna be OK, Mia. You and me, we’re gonna be OK.’

She smiled, running her thumb lightly over his slightly open mouth. ‘Yeah. I know we are.’

Pulling her closer he held her tight, his hand in the small of her back keeping her pressed against him. They were going to be OK. He was dealing with it. He wasn’t going to let his father or anything the Dark Angels could throw at him destroy him again. But he also knew that if he was going to fight them, then he was going to have to become someone he never thought he’d ever be again. He was going to have to pull that person back from out of the box he’d put him into all those years ago – the day he’d left
Paradise
for that new life he’d been forced to take. And that, more than anything, was what scared Ben the most.

 

***

 

Sol slid the photograph across the table, kicking his chair back as he stood up. Hector threw him a look, picking up the photograph and scanning it closely.

‘Who’s the girl?’

‘Mia Rose. Came over to
California
from the
U.K.
to get away from her psycho husband.’

‘She connected to the Lone Riders?’

‘One of Charlie Hart’s – another daughter, apparently.’

Hector raised a surprised eyebrow over the rim of his reading glasses. ‘Daughter?’

‘Yeah. Seemed he kept her very much a secret, ‘til it looked like her and Kip Hart were about to get it on.’

Hector’s eyebrow remained raised. ‘It would appear Benjamin has got his boots well and truly under the Lone Riders’ meeting table. Charlie Hart’s secret daughter… So, what happened to the psycho husband, then?’

‘She killed him. Bullet right between the eyes.’

Hector’s head shot back up. ‘Charlie sure knows how to breed ‘em tough, I’ll give him that much.’

Sol leaned back against the wall, shoving his hands in his pockets, his eyes down on the ground. ‘I still think this is a bad idea.’

‘I’m not asking you to think, Sol.’ Hector laid the photograph down on the table, removing his reading glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. ‘But your reluctance to help us deal with this – I see that as a snub to everything this club stands for. Everything
you
are.’ He stood up, walking over to his son. ‘I know this is something you’ve tried to put behind you, Sol, and I understand everything you’re feeling…’

Sol’s head shot up. ‘Do you? Really? She was pregnant, Dad. She was pregnant. It wasn’t just Marianna who died...’

Hector gently squeezed Sol’s shoulder. ‘He should never have come back here.’

Sol shook off his father’s hand, stepping away from him, pacing the floor of the meeting room, his hands still in his pockets. ‘It shouldn’t have happened.’ His voice, although it had an edge to it, was quiet. ‘
You
should have made sure…’ He stopped pacing for a second, raking a hand through his long dark hair. ‘You were there…
you
were there…’ He stared at his father through slightly narrowed eyes. ‘You should’ve made sure nothing happened to her.’

‘I didn’t know she was there until it was too late, we’ve been over this, Sol. She got in the way. It was an accident, a tragic accident…’

‘I mean, I still don’t get what was going on that night. Why you were even there, in the clubhouse – why Marianna was there. Everyone was supposed to be at the bar… I know Ben had gone back to get something, but… You and Ben, you were arguing, right?’

‘I’m not going over this again…’

‘No, you are, I think you owe me that much. You wanted to dredge all this up again, so let’s do that, OK? Let’s go over the events of that night, all over again. What was going on between you and Ben, huh? Was it
you
he meant to gun down…?’

Hector grabbed his son’s arm, throwing him back against the wall, his eyes blazing with an anger he couldn’t keep hidden. ‘Your brother killed your wife; your unborn child. And
that
should be all you need to make you realize that letting him go was a mistake. You should’ve finished the job I asked you to do first time around, Sol, and then we wouldn’t have to be going through all this. Again. We’re putting it to rest this time, do you hear me? You listen to me, you work with me, and we deal with your brother once and for all. So forget the analyzing, get your fucking head back in the right place and we do this.
My
way.’ He stared deep into Sol’s eyes, refusing to let his gaze waver. ‘We do this.’

‘We do this,’ Sol whispered, his eyes as dark as his father’s. Because the memories were racing back, flooding his head, invading his brain. All he felt now was a rage he’d held back for far too long; a rage that had had time to build, to fester away inside of him while he’d tried to pretend he could forget what had happened. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t forget. And now it was time for payback.

BOOK: Resurrection (The Lone Riders MC Series Book 3)
2.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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