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Authors: Zoey Parker

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BOOK: Bounty: Fury Riders MC
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I shrugged it off. “Whatever. So where is it?”


“Along the bottom. But it’s sort of crushed in. You see what I mean?”


I did, and I was so frustrated I was ready to throw the fucking thing against a wall to break it open. There was a little spring-loaded plate at the bottom that should have slid open when I pressed it with my thumb. It wasn’t moving.


“Wonderful.” I put it on the desk. “I need to know who he stabbed.”


“Why’s it so important?”


“It just is.” I wasn’t ready to go into it with her, and besides, the less she knew, the better. She was already in enough trouble. She didn’t even know it yet. Taking her away from there wasn’t the end of her night. I thought it over. “Do you think there’s any way to get it out of there?”


She shook her head. “I really don’t know. I was planning to take it to a store to see if they could do it.”


“No way.” I shook my head. “We can’t bring anyone else into this.”


“We?” Her eyes bugged out. “Since when did this become a ‘we’ thing?”


I closed my eyes, praying for strength before I tore her blonde head off. I wasn’t used to controlling my temper. “Since you took a picture of one of my club’s enemies killing another guy. I have to know who it was.”




“You don’t need to know why!” My voice echoed throughout the room, and her mouth clamped shut. Good. She needed to be scared. She was overstepping her boundaries. It was time to remind her who was in charge. I hardened myself against her. I was being too nice and passive.


I stood, slamming my hands on the desk for effect. She jumped a little, and I felt strangely good inside. “You’re gonna get the memory card out of there. And you’re gonna get me those pictures.”


She glanced at the broken display. “I need a computer for that,” she whispered.


“I know you do. I’m not a fucking idiot. You’ll get what you need.” I turned to walk away. I needed to get out of her presence for a while, or else I was going to kill her. Or fuck her senseless. I wasn’t sure which one yet, but I didn’t think she’d be a fan either way.


“Where are you going?” she asked, and I heard her stand.


“I’m getting a breath of air, maybe a drink. Maybe I’ll play a few hands of poker.” I pointed at the chair. “I suggest you sit your ass down and get comfortable because you’re not going anywhere until I say so.”


I watched her change from a scared little girl into a vicious wildcat. Something inside me roared, loving it. “Who the hell do you think you are? You can’t tell me what to do!”


“Who do I think I am? I think I’m the man who saved your ass tonight. You’re gonna do as I say, then I might let you go home.”


“You might?” Her hands were on her hips, her jaw jutting out fiercely.


“Maybe. If I decide you’re safe going home.”


“Safe?” I saw uncertainty flicker behind her eyes, in her voice.


“You don’t get it, do you?” I started at her, almost wanting to laugh. “You’re good as dead out there right now. I made the mistake of leaving that asshole alive. If I had known he killed someone, I would have killed him.”


“You’re not serious.” She laughed nervously.


“Aren’t I? Let’s see. He’s probably conscious by now, probably came to by the time we got here. He’s back with his crew, and he’s telling them all about the blonde girl who caught him on camera when he stuck his knife in some other guy’s gut.” I walked back to her one slow step at a time. She started shaking.


“Then,” I said, “assuming the man he killed wasn’t one of his own men, he knows the other crew is gonna be coming after whoever killed their guy. And there’s evidence out there somewhere of what he did. And he let you go—with the camera. And you were with me. And he got a good look at you, and a good look at me. Somebody’s gonna be watching this place now. They’re going to keep an eye out for when you leave.”


She started shaking harder. I wanted her to. Somebody had to show her how deadly serious this was. She was treating it like a game.


“Oh, my God,” she whispered.


I nodded my head. “Yeah, oh, your God. See why it’s not a good idea to leave?”


“But…what happens with my life? My job? My parents?”


I shrugged. “I guess that’s why you’d better hurry the hell up with that thing.” I glanced at the camera. “Otherwise, you won’t be seeing any of your life for a long time. Get my message?”


She nodded her head, looking like she might cry again. I turned away and left the room before she could start. Once she did, she would know I was putting on an act for her.


Sure, she was in big trouble. I hadn’t lied about that. But she needed to keep thinking of me as a brutal guy to be afraid of. If she was afraid of me, there was less chance of her coming face-to-face with someone who was really out to hurt her. I was nothing compared to them.





I was still shaking long after Vince left the room. I allowed myself to sit back down, my head spinning.


Did he mean it? Was I in serious trouble? I didn’t doubt it, remembering the way that savage had glared down at me. He’d wanted to kill me. Vince was right—he would have gone back to his club by now. Men like him didn’t go to the hospital when they got the crap kicked out of them. They went back to their den and licked their wounds. I imagined him now, in a place like this, blabbing to everyone about me. About my camera and what I’d picked up on it. I wasn’t out of danger yet.


This was so unfair! I slammed my hand on the desk. These criminals got to run the city while people like me had to live in fear. I had never hurt anyone, and I never planned to. I didn’t run in the circles in which these men ran. I had no experience. I didn’t even know what a kutte was. I didn’t deserve any of this. I was only trying to get my life moving forward.


Now, I was in a position where it might be ending sooner than I’d planned.


I slammed my hand again, and again, the pain focusing me for a moment. Otherwise I would have gone off the deep end, spiraling out of control with my thoughts. I looked at my palm, still scraped and dirty. There was a small powder room attached to the office, and I went in to wash my hands.


I looked at myself in the mirror as I did. I could have been a totally different person. There were dark circles under my eyes. My skin was white as a sheet of paper. My eyes looked huge and bloodshot.


My life had changed forever, all because I was stupid enough to go to the city at that time of night, alone.


I thought about the cab driver who dropped me off there. Would he go back for me? What would he think when he didn’t see me anywhere? Probably that I was just some stupid kid who paid for her stupidity. Well, I was. I was paying, too.


My phone! I hadn’t thought about it. Where was my brain? I pulled it out of my back pocket, and groaned. Yeah, it had been in my pocket—when I fell on my butt. I crushed the screen when I did. It was useless. Great. Another chance to reach out for help gone.


But what good would it have done me? As much as I hated to admit it, Vince was right. This was the safest place for me, in his headquarters. He would protect me there until he got tired of me and threw me out, I guessed. I had to work fast to get the pics off the camera.


But none of it would make a difference if I didn’t have a computer to put the memory card in. I still had no computer. There was nothing in the office. I wondered how any work got done, then wondered again what sort of work would get done in the first place. What did they do, these club members? How did they live? I never even watched shows about biker gangs on TV.


He wanted me to stay put, but I was dying to get something more to drink. I left my ginger ale on the bar when he pulled me out with him. I had to admit to myself, too, that I wanted to get a look at these people. Who were they? What were they all about? I would never get a chance like this again. Oh, if only the damned camera worked! I’d get some amazing shots in here!


I turned the knob, slowly, not even expecting the door to open as I did. Knowing a caveman like him, he would have locked me in. But no, the door was unlocked. That was something.


I peered into the lounge, biting my lip. There were a few girls there now. Where had they been before? I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. The building was big, with many rooms. They could have been servicing other members for all I knew.


Did they service Vince?


The thought flashed across my mind before I had the chance to squelch it. Well, so what if they did? It was none of my business. He was nothing to me, after all.


Untrue, I thought. He was the person who saved my life. He’d put his neck on the line by doing it, too, since now his club would be under scrutiny by the Vicious Wolves. I wondered about the history there, and remembered the fight. There had to be bad blood between them.


But why did I care if Vince was getting blown by these girls? It didn’t make any difference in my life. I didn’t know him, or them, and I would see any of them once this nightmare was over. I might even move far, far away to keep as much distance between myself and them as possible.


There were three girls there, and they all swung their heads around to look at me. They were pretty, in a flashy sort of way. I felt so intensely out of place in my baggy clothes, with my red eyes and pale skin, that I wanted to die of embarrassment.


But one of them looked at me with a warm smile. “Hey, you the girl Vince found tonight?” Her voice was smoky, rich, knowing. She looked young, but her voice was that of a much older woman. One who felt jaded after everything she’d seen in her short years. She had a lot of chestnut colored hair in thick waves down her back, and heavy eye makeup.


“Yeah, that’s me.” I smiled shakily, walking to the bar and climbing onto a stool. The camera was in my shirt pouch, and I pulled it out.


“What’s that?” another one asked, climbing from her stool to move closer. This one had black hair and was wearing a shirt so low-cut, it was nearly pointless to wear anything at all. It was a struggle to pry my eyes from her breasts—they were just out there, and it was surprising to me.


“A digital camera. I, uh, got some photos tonight of things I probably shouldn’t have. And it’s broken now, and I have to find a way to open it to get the card out.”


I had an attentive audience now, all three girls crowding around to watch as I struggled with the broken camera. They were Samantha, Tyler, and Brett. And they all seemed friendly enough. Intelligent, even. I wondered how they ended up where they were.


Brett went behind the bar. “You want a drink?” she asked.


“Yes, please. Some water would be amazing.”


“After the night you had, girlfriend?” Samantha laughed her smoky laugh. “This girl needs something harder than water. Maybe Scotch and water, or gin.”


I wrinkled my nose. A drink did sound good, though. “I’ll just have a vodka,” I said, choosing the one liquor with which I was familiar. “And a water, please.”


“Maybe a knife?” Brett asked, watching me.




“A knife, to sorta jam in there.”


I considered it. “I don’t know. It’s a good idea, but I’d hate for it to slip and hit something inside the camera. Might give me a jolt. I’m really not sure. But I might end up having to go that route…or I might use it to slash my wrists.”


“Aww, why, sweetie?” Tyler put a hand on my back. “It’ll be okay. Vince will make sure you stay safe.”


“You think so? He doesn’t like me very much. He might just throw me out and let the other guys have me.”


Brett laughed, shaking her head. “Not Vince. He’s true blue.”


I must have looked skeptical, because the girls laughed. “She means it,” Samantha said, taking a seat beside me. “He’s the real deal. He pretends to be all tough—and he is, in his way.”


“Yeah, he beat the crap out of that guy tonight. The one who was after me.” I sipped my vodka. It burned a pleasant trail through my esophagus and into my stomach, and I was glad to have ordered it.


“Exactly. He could beat anybody in a fight, no problem. But when it comes to women, he’s not like the others.”


The look of surprise on my face made them laugh, and I blushed. “He’s not gay, if that’s what you think she’s saying.” Brett giggled. “He’s a nice guy. A gentleman. He treats women with respect. Not like the rest of these bums.”


I frowned. “Then…I mean, I’m sorry if this is super personal…but why are you here?”


The three of them exchanged glances and shrugged. “What else is there?” Tyler asked. “My dad was one of them, years ago. He got killed. I was practically raised in the club.”


“And my brother was in the club,” Brett said. “He died, too. But I was already too deep into it. I like this life.”


“One of my girlfriends started following them when we were in high school, and I started hanging around here with her. It just sorta got to be, like, normal life. Now I don’t think I could live in the real world, you know?” Samantha looked at me with her big brown eyes, and I felt the sincerity in her words. The real world. What did that make this world?


One of the guys in the other room stuck his head into the lounge. “Yo! I need my good luck charms in here with me!”


Samantha and Tyler giggled and slid from their stools. “We’ve been summoned,” Tyler joked, and the two girls walked into the room. I remembered Vince saying something about a poker game. Was he in there now? Did he have a good luck charm sitting on his knee? Damn it, why did I care? I turned back to the camera, more intent than ever on opening it so I could end the nightmare my night had become.


“You’re not the first person he’s brought in. From the outside, I mean,” Brett murmured.


I looked up at her. “What do you mean?”


“The first girl. Not in this situation. Like, he doesn’t cruise around, looking for girls to save.” She chuckled to herself. “But he’s brought girls in. He meets them everywhere. He’s like a magnet.”


“I guess so.” I kept my eyes on the camera. It was clear she had a crush on him, from the quiet way she spoke. Trying to sound like she didn’t care, when she clearly did.


“You’re the prettiest, though.”


I looked up at her, then. She was a little heartbroken. I smiled at her.


“Believe me, and I don’t mean this as an insult, but if I never had a reason to be here, I’d be okay. This wasn’t the way I saw my night turning out. Or my life.”


“What do you do? Like, for a living?”


“I’m a photographer.”


“Duh.” Brett giggled, slapping her palm to her forehead. “The camera. Obviously.”


I grinned. “It could just be a hobby. What about you?”


“I don’t do much of anything. I hang around here, keeping the place clean. I serve drinks. They pay well.”


“Hey, good work if you can get it, I guess.”


“I guess.” She didn’t look so sure. I wondered if she really wanted to be here, or if she believed it was the only choice she had.


“Can I ask you something?” I put down the camera, looking seriously at her. I whispered, too, in case anyone came out of the room to ask for another good luck charm.


“Of course.” She was so sweet, and so trusting. She just about broke my heart.


“What’s the bad blood between the gang at the Vicious Wolves?”


Brett’s face fell. “Oh, that bunch of assholes.”


“So it’s pretty bad, then?”


She nodded, frowning. “They got three of our guys killed a week ago.”


I gasped. “No way. What happened?”


“Drug deal gone wrong. I really don’t know the specifics. All I know is it was set up by the Wolves. They don’t even try to hide it, you know?”


“Wow. Did you guys do anything about it?” Dear God, I didn’t want to be around for some war between them. Of all the times to get mixed up in this crazy world.


“Not yet. Vince wants to wait, get a plan together. Guys were pretty torn up about. They still are. He said he doesn’t like the idea of them going out and getting themselves killed because they didn’t think about a plan first.”


I wondered how much more information she could tell me about Vince. There was a note of pride in her voice. She liked knowing what was happening in his head, and was proud to be an insider. I wondered how much time she spent with him, and in what capacity. She was a very pretty girl, if a little bit lost. I could see him going for her easily.


I told myself to stop thinking about things which made no difference to my life.

BOOK: Bounty: Fury Riders MC
10.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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