Authors: Angelique Voisen
Evernight Publishing ®
2016 Angelique Voisen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Editor: Stephanie Balistreri
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal.
No part of
this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written
permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are
fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
To those who wander and always find their
RIDE AND REAP
Stained hands don’t wash away easy.
Dick Maxwell found that out the hard way. These days, they don’t call him Dick
anymore. They christened him Reaper. Said it was fucking appropriate, given the
deeds he’d done. How he didn’t possess many morals or ethics to begin with.
Reaper rode his bike out to the
site. Charred ruins and dust, the old crew said, but he had to find out for
himself. The others left town hours ago, and if he were wise, he’d do the same.
The local coppers would be on his ass in a couple of minutes, but he forced
himself to make the time.
He rolled past graffiti-sprayed,
windowless apartment buildings, past the crack addicts and the feral-eyed kids
who licked their lips at the only possession belonging to Reaper worth owning—the
black and silver monster whose engine purred between his thighs.
The shotgun slung over his shoulder
might have deterred them, but he doubted it. Reaper had a ‘don’t fuck with me’
reputation, even before he’d gotten the bite and joined the ranks of the
supernatural underground community. Sweat rolled down his neck and back. Tempted
to chuck off his battered leather jacket, he knew showing the Kevlar underneath
was unwise. Reaper wasn’t an idiot.
He endured the heat, knowing
inwardly it wasn’t the sticky summer air bugging him, but what he’d find.
Reaper went off-road, past the city slums and into private territory. Same
barb-wired fence and dirt road, abandoned shipping containers and silence.
The old docks though, where the
fucking slave ring ran its operations, lay in blackened ruins.
“Well, fuck me,” Reaper muttered
under his breath. His wolf didn’t like the smell of the place. It always stank
of desperation and misery, blood and death, but this was something else.
Stomach churning, Reaper passed the
gate, sans hired muscle, and drove into the compound. No bastard opened fire or
warned him to fuck off the property. Some part of Reaper hoped there would be
some resistance, some poor sucker he could unleash his rage on. Fat chance of
that happening from the look of things.
He killed the engine, dismounted,
and stared right straight at where the fuckers had run their base of
operations. Reaper and the crew he ran with before this whole mess came
crashing down used to make simple runs for the ring. Figured the deep-pocketed
assholes ran some sort of operation involving drugs, women, or guns, not
Reaper fumbled for the box of
cigarettes in his back pocket and lit one. His hands wouldn’t stop shaking.
When the boys and he torched the place, they assumed it had been emptied out.
Johnny said it didn’t matter. Kev called it mercy, because the miserable
creatures the slavers reduced to drooling animals died the day they were
“Mercy my ass,” Reaper whispered.
He’d never seen their faces. Never
spoke to any of the victims, but he knew he would meet the faceless figures in
his dreams. They would haunt him, but Reaper deserved it. Reaper had been an
ignorant fucker, a bystander, which made everything a thousand times worst. He
saw all the Benjamins rolling in, and didn’t bother looking past the surface.
Reaper should have listened to
little brother, Sweet. Sweet had the sense to say no and find work elsewhere.
Neither of them bothered hiding the fact they were hard bastards. After the media
revealed the existence of the supernatural, things had gone downhill for their
kind. To survive, they did what they could. They stubbornly stuck by each
other’s side, because they were blood, brothers, except for this one time.
Reaper remembered Sweet’s favorite
“Don’t be a pussy. When the world
fucks with you, you fuck back harder.”
The stick fell from his fingers
when his supernatural hearing caught the sound—a little more than a whimper,
the sound a dying animal would make, but it pierced him all the same.
Croaks gave way to words. Reaper
froze. Out of some ash-covered corner, someone crawled towards him. A naked
man, or what used to be one.
remaining blue eye fixed itself on him. His lipless mouth floundered open.
Reaper understood his next words.
“Help me.” A mere whisper, but the
sound resonated clear.
A hand lashed out, not to trip him,
but curled around his ankles. The stranger repeated the words. Reaper knelt, tipped
the man’s chin and knew without the hurts and burns, he’d be a gorgeous sight
to see. He ran a hand through the remaining turfs of hair, and gently cradled
his head into his lap. The dying man didn’t screech or fight him. He relaxed
into Reaper’s hold.
“Shh,” Reaper said, like an adult
trying to comfort a child. The figure in his arms stilled, his exhalation the
only sound in the silent graveyard. “You’ve fought. You were brave, it’s
No need to examine the human
closely to know his time had run out. The poor bastard drew the short straw,
remained alive when the rest died.
The shotgun would make a mess, so
Reaper drew out the hunting knife he always kept by his side. One pleading blue
eye looked at him. Did he know what kind of toll Reaper would pay for his
little act of mercy? Reaper killed for a living, but not like this. He didn’t
touch the innocent or weak, contrary to popular belief. This man would leave
him with scars of the worse kind.
Reaper’s blade glinted under the
afternoon sun. He took calming breaths. Positioned the man, he held him as a
lover would, close enough to hear the steady breathing of his slowing heart.
“Any last words?” Reaper asked.
“Tell Kane,” the man barely managed
to rasp. Talking seemed to do him more harm than good. “I’m sorry.”
“I will,” Reaper said. Did it
matter he made a promise he couldn’t keep? The dying needed respite and he
needed to make this easier.
The stranger closed his eyes.
Reaper positioned his blade, right beneath the sternum for easy access. He
plunged, quick and painless. The stranger let out a sigh, and then ceased
breathing. Reaper placed him gently down. He wished he could make the time to
bury the man somewhere decent. Someplace under the shade of a tree maybe, but
he didn’t have that bit of luxury. Someone had to take the fall for this.
Reaper wasn’t thinking about the
local authorities. Sweet and he had become experts at dodging them over the
Did the man have a wife to go home
to? Parents or siblings who would miss his passing? Bury a dead man and expect
to make three more enemies. Confucius had his shit right. Reaper had seen it
Reaper took off his jacket. He
finished covering the body when wheels kicked dirt, but Reaper didn’t need to
turn to know it was Sweet. Despite the distance and time apart, his brother
found him, like he always did.
“I hear you’ve been doing bad
things, Dick,” Sweet drawled.
He’d always been a tease, Sweet.
Never took things seriously, but Reaper knew Sweet long enough to know that was
just the armor he wore on the outside. Deep down, Sweet was the same he.
Fallible and would crack with enough applied pressure.
Reaper stood, regarded his brother
steadily, and Sweet was the first one to look away. “It’s Reaper now.”
“That so?” Sweet glanced at the
“Live for today right? Fuck the
Sweet grinned. Despite the shining
scar cutting across his nose, Sweet reminded Reaper of the boy he grew up with,
who was too smart for his own good. “Guess what? Today marks the golden age,
Reaper frowned. “What do you mean?”
“The end of the world. They’re
calling it the Fall. Party’s fucking beginning, brother, and I sure as hell
don’t want to miss it.”
Reaper mounted his bike, and rode
after his brother. He knew Sweet hadn’t been capable of thinking far. When the
adrenaline died down and the world finished burning, he knew they’d need a
place to settle down. Somewhere Reaper could nurse his wounds. Try and forget
the past, so when it came back to haunt him, he’d be ready. Lucky for them,
Reaper knew where to go and which club would welcome them with open arms.
Wolf County and the Hellhounds MC.
Kane O’ Conner was in hotel room
downtown, servicing a client on his knees, when the call came. He ignored the
ringing menace at first, and closed his eyes to accept the numbing sensations
instead. The threadbare carpet that bit into his knees, and the firm hand
fisting his hair, holding Kane’s face into place—these were the only things
that mattered in his miserable excuse of a life.
Take one day at a time, his rehab
sponsor said. Kane selling his body to nameless clients in seedy hotels hadn’t
exactly been the new start he’d visualized, but at least he’d stayed clean for
a month now. Once this task was done, he’d have enough cash to move to a new
city, maybe a small town to really start over.
brother? I’m not a waste of space after all. A black sheep can still fucking
Kane felt guilty thinking those thoughts a second later. Kevin had
been the good kid, the golden boy, rising star in their family of losers, until
he’d been snatched off the streets. Location unknown. The local authorities
exhausted their search and resources, and called the case a lost cause. Kane
moved out of the house the moment he turned eighteen. He figured Kevin would
take care of Mom. Pissed him off she didn’t tell him about Kev’s disappearance
earlier. Fuck. Kane learned his brother had been taken from the TV in rehab.
Kane’s phone vibrated on the
dresser again. The customer fucking his mouth stopped, and pulled out his cock.
“You want to answer that?”
Sighing, Kane ran a hand through his
disheveled hair. “Sorry. Can we take two?”
The middle-aged businessman
Who the hell was calling him? All
of Kane’s friends were either behind bars, peddling crystal on the street or
plain dead. While his mother knew his number, she’d never called him once over
the past five years. The phone stopped vibrating. Kane scrolled through his
miss calls list. Seeing Kevin’s old number, he nearly dropped the phone.
His heart painfully thumped against
his chest, and it fucking hurt to breathe. Kane and Kevin had their differences
growing up, but they’d been a team once. Despite his brother being the
occasional ass, Kev wanted the best for him and Kane didn’t wish anything awful
Swallowing, Kane dialed the number.
Had to be a ghost, or more likely some asshole who stole Kevin’s phone, because
the detective in charge of Kevin’s case told Kane he better steel himself for
the worst. The caller picked up on the third ring. For a moment, Kane’s lips
remained glued shut, but he worked up the courage to speak.
“Kev, is that you? Where the hell
have you been?” He winced at the sound of hopeful longing in his voice.
“Is this Kane O’ Conner?” An
unfamiliar voice asked.
A shiver crawled down his spine,
and an uneasy feeling replaced his initial optimism. How did this stranger know
his name? “Who the fuck is this? Do you have my brother?”
“Detective Gordon Reyes, and yes,
we have your brother.”
Kane slumped against the wall for
support, hands beginning to shake when Detective Reyes explained how they found
Kevin in a calm, quit voice. After Reyes ended the call, Kane found he’d slid
to the floor, knees curled to his chest in a fetal position. Reyes didn’t make
sense. Kevin had been meant for greater things.
“Are you okay? What happened?” the
businessman asked, genuine concern in his voice.
“They found my missing brother.
He’s in a body bag. Someone messed him up pretty bad,” Kane answered in a
“Come on. Get dressed. I’ll drive
Kane let the guy drag him up,
bundle him back to his clothes and into his car.
Huh, what an unexpectedly decent bastard.
A million other things
went on in his mind. Should he call their mother, or did she already know? His
stomach churned. Kane had trouble focusing on one thing. A roaring silence
settled inside him. Numbness. Complete helplessness, which he knew would be
replaced by something else.
“Here, take this.” The guy handed
Kane a couple of bills—his usual fee, plus tips.
“But we didn’t get to finish,” Kane
“Take it and I’m sorry about your loss.”
Kane pocketed the bills and got
out. Morgues were depressing places in his opinion. When he got there, his
mother and the suit he presumed was Detective Reyes were talking. Well, Linda
O’ Conner looked like she was having some kind of breakdown. Kevin’s body
remained covered with a sheet on the table, feet peering out. A tag hung on his
left big toe. Kev’s corpse was missing a couple of toes on his right feet, and
both his soles were tinged with raw and angry skin. Burnt, Reyes said on the
“Kane O’ Conner?” Reyes asked,
At his nod, Reyes looked relieved.
Linda whirled, angry blue eyes both
brothers inherited, filled with heat. Knowing only poison would spew out of
that mouth, Kane mentally steeled himself.
“Should be you on that table, not
God. That hurt. Unable to stand the
intense hatred on her face, he looked away. Thankfully, Linda stalked out of
the room, her heels making a loud click on the concrete floor. After the
cremation, Kane never saw her again.