Authors: Max Henry
Tags: #Romantic Suspense
Table of Contents
Copyright © 2016 Max Henry
Published by Max Henry
All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Max Henry is in no way affiliated with any brands, songs, musicians, or artists mentioned in this book.
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this eBook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy.
Thank you for respecting the author’s work.
Published: February 2016, by Max Henry
ALSO BY MAX
FALLEN ACES MC SERIES
BUTCHER BOYS SERIES
OTHERWORLD DESIRES (Paranormal)
I am not what happened to me,
I am what I choose to become.
- Carl Gustav Jung
How fast does a heart beat before it becomes a heart attack? I wish I knew—then I’d know if I should be prepared to drop the bike in a hurry or not.
I left her treading water in the shark tank, biding her time before the inevitable happened.
I should have pushed the issue—fought harder. I should have taken Elena with me when she asked, damn the fucking consequences.
Debris flicks out from under my tire as I skid around another corner, but where am I headed? I don’t even know where the fuck this guy lives . . . where
live. What if I’m too late?
. I should have done this weeks ago. I should have moved Elena first and
worried about convincing the officers I was doing the right thing.
Is my loyalty to the club worth a life?
lives? There was a time when I would have said yes. Now? I’m not so sure.
The vibrations from the engine rumble through my legs as I let the revs slow me down. My gut twists, my chest heavy with the gravity of the situation as my heart thunders at an incredible tempo against my ribcage.
What do I do?
How can I fix this? I don’t want to stop; there’s an incessant need in me to keep on riding until I get
to be able to do
. But common sense screams the obvious at me:
You don’t know where you’re going or what you’ll do when you get there.
I need a plan. Moreover, I need my head to calm the fuck down and give me a damn chance to think this through rationally.
Breathing is a task as I pull over at a grassy area on the side of the road and idle the bike across to the tree line. I haven’t felt a panic this deep-seated since Garret went missing. I haven’t felt this useless since then either. I’m messing with people whose reach is way beyond mine. If I was to get Elena out today, where could she go? Where could we hide that Carlos wouldn’t find her?
Too many loose threads.
I heave a sigh to clear my fuzzy head and kick the stand out. From memory, I’ve got two bullets lodged somewhere in my side and shoulder. Strangely enough, the pain isn’t so severe any more. Blood has stuck the cotton of my T-shirt to my skin, and each twist of my arm pulls the fabric taut over the wound site. I roll my shoulders in a few slow arcs, easing the shirt free. The burn returns, spreading with relentless enthusiasm along my entire right side.
Why am I so tired?
I drop down into the grass, sitting with my elbows hooked over my knees, and fish out my phone from the breast pocket of my shirt. The way I’m feeling, I’m going to need help to get this done. The sunlight glares off the screen as I scroll through to Hooch’s number. Tucking the device against my stomach, I hunch over and shield my eyes as I squint at the display.
Yep, got it.
I thumb the dial icon and bring the phone to my ear.
The connection rings and rings and finally clicks over to Hooch’s voicemail. My hand itches to hurl the phone toward the road, but with a great deal of self-control I manage to set it down on the grass between my legs instead.
Gonna need it again later.
I punch the bike’s fuel tank to relieve the tension instead. The metal is unrelenting, and my knuckles throb.
That shit’s gonna bruise.
I should head back to the clubhouse like Judas said and get myself sorted out. Gloria’s probably there by now, threading her curved needle in preparation. I can always count on her to dig the stray rounds out of me and stitch me up in record time. Putting myself first isn’t such a crazed idea; what use am I going to be to Elena if I can’t muster the strength to fight properly? My heart drives me to try anyway, to show that Carlos fucker I won’t stand by and let him hurt her, but my head screams at me to see reason in this madness.
I’m sweating buckets and my heart is racing.
I’m no real use to
I should plan her escape out and make sure I’m not going to fuck things up by rushing at the situation like a wounded bull at a gate. But damn, he has her. Carlos has Elena, and if this is what he had in store for
, then . . . it doesn’t bear thinking about what he’s potentially doing to her.
Heart versus head—who’s going to win?
I’m supposed to be her savior. I’m supposed to show the woman how fucking much I love her by taking her out of this bullshit she’s caught up in and giving her the life she deserves, making her my queen. Yet here I fucking am after four hours of semi-delirious riding, sitting an hour out from Kansas City without a fucking clue in the world as to where I should start looking.
Some fucking hero, huh?
I stare at the green branches around me for what seems an age, mulling over the pros and cons of different tactics to get Elena out. Do we go in guns blazing? Or opt for a covert approach? Do I try to get the backing of the brothers when the club has enough of its own shit to deal with? Or do I go this alone?
My phone vibrates between my legs, snapping me out of my growing frustration.
Why can’t I see the answer?
“Where the fuck are you?”
“Hey, Hooch.” My head swims and I drop onto my back, throwing my free arm over my eyes to block the insanely bright sun.
“Don’t ‘hey Hooch’ me, you asshole. Everybody else rolled in an hour ago. Where the hell have you gone?”
“South.” I tip my head back and let the light breeze that’s kicked up lick over my throat and cool my skin. “I need you to do me a favor.”
“Fuck favors. Apex is ready to skin you. You best be gettin’ your ass here, brother.”
“Can’t.” Drawing in a breath, I run a hand over my beard. “I need your help sortin’ something out, something I should have done months ago.”
“Were we on the same job today?” he asks sarcastically. “Tell me you were there and I wasn’t imagining it. Nothin’ you got goin’ on could be more important than this.”
“Maybe not to you,” I reason, “but I sure as fuck know I couldn’t live with myself if I left this any longer.”
So tired . . .
The wounds are really doing a number on me.
The line goes quiet, only the distant hum of conversation audible while Hooch gives me the silent treatment.
I almost nod off.
“There’s a rumor that today has somethin’ to do with you,” he finally says. “That true?”
I struggle to concentrate on his words; the blood I slowly lose messes with my focus. “Possibly. Don’t know.” I shouldn’t have stopped; relaxing has only given my body an opportunity to shut down.
I don’t need this right now.
“Care to explain what’s going on then?” Hooch’s tone is cold, sharp, and nothing less than I’d expect. “We lost good men today, so before I do you a favor, I want to know I’m not helpin’ out a rat here.”
“Fuck you.” The heel of my hand slams into the dirt beside me. “You think I’d be the rat?”
“Rumors aren’t good, brother. They say you’re muddyin’ the waters.”
“Tell me, man. What benefit do I stand to get out of helpin’ Carlos? Or the Blood Eagles for that matter?”
He grunts. “I don’t know for sure, but everyone is riled the fuck up right now. We’ve got men here who’ve fuckin’ strapped up and ridden over, ready to roll out the minute they heard of the fuckin’ mess today.” He sighs. “I sure as fuck ain’t ever seen the place like this, and I’ve been runnin’ under these assholes’ feet since I was a wee fuckin’ squirt. This is serious, King.”
“I know.” I press my eyes shut; images of Elena, and Twig slumped over his tank, melt together.
“You with me?”
“I lost you for a bit there. You good?”
“Bit light-headed, to be honest.”
“May have some stray metal lodged in me.”
Hooch’s tone shifts from angry to concerned. “You need help gettin’ home?”
Do I? I lie in the sun, relishing the warm rays as I mull it over. I made it this far—could I make it back? “Not sure.”
“While you decide, tell me the truth about what’s goin’ on. Lay the rumors to rest and tell me what’s really fuckin’ happening with you.”
I need to spill if I want his help, but I can’t discuss it over an open line. Yet getting him to where I am wastes time—time neither Elena or I have right now. I shut my eyes and grit my teeth, suppressing the urge to yell, to growl, and to smash up everything around me to release the tension. I just want to ride, to get to her, to know she’s okay . . .
I’m fucking fed up and furious, and if things don’t go my way soon, people will find out what happens when the good ones break.