Read Bounty: Fury Riders MC Online
Authors: Zoey Parker
“So I guess that’s why he beat that guy up so badly tonight,” I mused.
“Well, that, and if he saw you were in trouble, I know his knight in shining armor side came out. He has to help a damsel in distress.” She shrugged. “It’s just how he is.”
I shifted uncomfortably. “I’m grateful, believe me. I just hate to think of him getting himself—or any of you—into trouble because of me.”
“Listen,” she said, looking me square in the eye. “It’s not your fault they’re a bunch of assholes. A woman should be able to walk the street at night without apologizing for it.”
I smiled. “You’re right, dammit.” I swallowed back the rest of my vodka. “Pour me another, please.”
I sat in the game with a beer in front of me and a pretty decent hand of cards. The rest of the guys had been playing for a while and drinking as they did. They were all pretty sloshed. The odds were in my favor.
But I was playing like shit because I couldn’t get my mind off Erica.
I kept wanting to go out there and see how she was going with the camera. I wanted to be sure she wasn’t uncomfortable, but then I reminded myself I wanted her to be uncomfortable. I didn’t want her to make herself at home. Keeping her a little scared, a little off-kilter, would be the best route.
Then the door opened, and I looked up, thinking she was coming in.
“What are you so jumpy about?” Axel grinned at me from across the table. He was a massive guy, almost taking up two chairs. Sometimes I wondered how his bike managed to move while he was on it. But he was a teddy bear at heart, and the most perceptive of the others. He saw how jumpy I was, and he knew why. But he would rather screw with my head than come out and say it.
“I’m not jumpy,” I said, shooting him a dark look. “It’s been a long night.”
“Yeah, kicking a Wolf’s ass!” Bobby raised his beer in salute, and we all joined him.
The rest of them loved the story of how I knocked the Wolf unconscious. I’d told the tiniest details over and over. Yeah, I think I broke his nose. Yeah, probably a rib or two when I was kicking. No, he was breathing when I left him. I was sure he had to come to at some point. I got a few disappointed looks when I told that part—my men wanted a life for a life. I wasn’t willing to go that far yet.
“What about that little piece of ass you brought in?” Frankie asked, whistling. “She’s smokin’ hot.”
“For real, buddy. I’ll take care of that for you, if you want. Since you had such a long, hard night.”
Everyone laughed…except for me.
“I’ll take care of her, don’t worry,” I said, my voice quiet. She wasn’t like that. She wasn’t one of the girls outside in the lounge, or any of the other club groupies, for lack of a better word. She was smart and beautiful and genuine. She was classy. How long had it been since I knew a classy woman? Since Mom died.
“What’s the story with her? Like, she movin’ in or somethin’?” Frankie was trying to play it cool, like he didn’t care either way. I made a note to myself to keep him away from Erica.
“Nah. She’s here ’til she gets the pics off the camera. Then we find out what she knows and go from there. If we have to kill the bastard from tonight, we do it.”
None of the others seemed to mind, except Axel. He was looking at me very strangely.
“Nothing,” he said, looking at his cards. But a little smile played over his mouth.
“I mean it,” I said. “What?”
“It’s just that, ya know, you’re all ‘let’s not kill them, whatever.’ Then this girl comes along and you wanna start taking lives.” He wasn’t complaining. He was grinning at me. I told myself to have a talk with him later on about keeping certain things to himself.
Randy and Joe got in a bluff war, and I let myself zone out for a minute while they faced off. Axel was right, the son of a bitch. Just hours earlier, before the shit with Erica went down, I went off on Onyx when he said we needed to start building an attack plan. I reminded him I was at the head of the club, not him, and I was disappointed in the way he was changing his opinion on me. I relied on him to have my back with the other guys. I couldn’t have him flip-flopping.
I remembered Axel being there when I went off. And now here I was, threatening to kill a guy from the Wolves. For what? Because he had menaced a woman? I couldn’t pretend it was about the man he killed since I didn’t even know who he killed. Onyx was the only one of my men who I hadn’t seen since I got back. If it had been him the Wolf stabbed, Erica would have remembered him. Onyx was hard to forget. So if it wasn’t one of my own, I couldn’t threaten revenge.
Why did I want to kill him, then? Because I wanted to protect her.
Shit. When did that happen?
I remembered her on the ground, looking like a cornered animal. She was so scared. I could almost see the pulse in her throat, under the thin, pale skin. Her eyes were huge and round. She had needed my protection, and I gave it to her. What was wrong with that?
But now, why was she still here? I wasn’t stupid. I could get the photos off a memory card, if the only problem was getting the card out of the camera. It was more than that. I wanted her around. I wanted to keep her under my wing, so I could be sure she was safe. The camera was just an excuse.
That was inconvenient.
I couldn’t let her go. She’d be murdered in minutes if she left and they saw her. No chance they would let her live. I had to take care of her, because she couldn’t take care of herself. Simple as that.
So what if I kept thinking about how beautiful she was? How impossible it was not to get turned on by the way she looked when she exploded in anger? How much I wanted to rip that damned sweatshirt off her body and see what was underneath? I wanted to ride her, make her whimper and beg for me. I wanted her to scream so loud I’d have to hold a hand over her mouth to keep the police from showing up.
That was on my mind, too. It was all there, making me tired and confused and irritated and hard as a rock under the poker table.
The hand was over. Joe won by out-bluffing Randy. Randy got up and stuck his head out the door to call for his “good luck charms.” I knew who that meant. Tyler and Samantha. I’d had them both, and they were both pretty good. Not the best, but good. And they were sweet girls. I remembered some skanks running around with the club in my early days.
They came in and each took a spot on one of Randy’s knees.
I couldn’t help myself. As I dealt the next hand, I asked, “So how’s our guest doing out there?”
“She’s good,” Samantha said. “Nice girl. Working hard to get the card out, but no luck.”
“She said something about wanting to slit her wrists. I think she was joking, but you can never be too sure with shit like that,” Tyler added.
“Thanks,” I said. “I’ll remember that.” She couldn’t have meant it. She only meant she was frustrated and pissed to be here, and maybe a little scared. Maybe very scared. She needed to be.
We played a few more hands, with me losing more and more money every time. I got sick of it after a while and threw my cards down. “I give the fuck up,” I said, laughing. “This just ain’t my night.” Another member, Austin, took my place. I sat back and watched, nursing another beer.
I didn’t dare go back out there. I would start talking with her and we would start getting to know each other. That couldn’t happen. I couldn’t let it. I had to be the smart one.
I wanted her. I’d wanted women before. This was no different.
When was the first time I got laid? I thought back, going through girls in my head. I was fourteen and she was the older sister of a friend. We had all gone down to the public pool, then gone back to his house. She was there with friends of hers and went home afterward, too. We hung out in the basement, playing video games, until it was just the three of us. Me, him, and her.
I had a huge crush on her. All of us did. She was sixteen and one of the prettiest girls in the neighborhood. Plus, she was older, which made her even more mysterious and sexy to us. She kept looking at me and laughing, and touching my arm. I was so nervous and shook up by her, I must have blushed all day long.
He got up to go to the bathroom, leaving me with his sister. She didn’t say a word. She just came over to me, sat in my lap, and pulled down the top of her suit. All I had to do was look at her tits and I was hard as a rock. She pulled my dick out of my shorts, pulled her bottoms to the side, and fucked me right there.
It only took a half a minute, maybe less. She couldn’t have gotten anything out of it. By the time my buddy was back downstairs, it was like nothing happened.
Over the years, I learned a few things, like how to control myself and that there was more to sex than just fucking. Sometimes fucking was good. Just a real quick screw somewhere. There was a time and place for it. But more than that, I liked to take my time and really do it right.
I imagined doing it with Erica. How would she sound? What would she taste like? What would it feel like when I slid inside her?
When I thought about her that way, and then thought about somebody else hurting her, it made me mad enough to kill. She was mine.
No, she’s not
, I told myself.
She’s not mine. She’ll never be mine. And that’s the way it should be.
But it wasn’t how I wanted it to be.
Brett came in with a tray of beers. “Thought you boys might get thirsty,” she said with a smile. From the sounds all around me, it was appreciated.
“How is she?” I murmured when she passed by.
“Well enough,” she said. “Having a good time. Drinking a little. Hanging out with Onyx and me.”
Oh, shit. Onyx. I got up from my seat and went straight to the bar.
I hadn’t prepared her for him, or him for her. What would they think about each other? Sure enough, as soon as he saw me, Onyx’s eyes narrowed.
“Hey, man,” I said, clapping him on the back like it was nothing.
“Hey,” he said, very quiet. He was a pretty tame, calm guy for the most part, but this was too much even for him.
“I guess you two have met?” I asked, looking at the both of them.
Erica looked scared shitless. Most people reacted that way when they first met my VP and best friend. His scars did that.
“I’m gonna go deal myself in on the next hand,” he said. He got up from his stool and walked to the room where the game was goin on.
“You’ll do great,” I said. “Everybody’s bombed.”
He nodded, waving a hand over his shoulder to signal he heard me.
I turned to Erica. “I don’t think I handled that very well,” she whispered. Her eyes filled with tears.
“Why are you crying? He’s not a bad guy,” I said.
“No, but he surprised me. What happened to him?”
I sighed and sat down next to her. “He was in a fire when he was a kid. Part of his face had burns on it—that’s where the scars come from.” Half of Onyx’s face, from above the left ear to below his chin, was scarred. He shaved his head since hair didn’t grow over the scars anyway. “I’m sorry it freaked you out.”
“I was just startled, and I’m afraid I made him feel bad. It took a minute for me to get used to it.”
“It happens,” I said. “He’s used to it. He knows. But you didn’t mean to do anything to make him feel bad. Once you get used to seeing him around, you won’t even notice anymore.”
She nodded, not saying what I knew she had to be thinking. She wouldn’t be around long enough to get used to him. I hoped for her sake that she wasn’t. For mine, too. It was exhausting, trying to keep an eye on her.
But when I thought about how she started to cry when she thought she hurt Onyx’s feelings, I couldn’t be too annoyed with her. She was a good person, with a good heart. Plus, she was a little drunk, so she was feeling more sensitive than usual.
“I heard you’re having fun out here.” I nodded at the camera. “I guess that’s forgotten for now.”
“I couldn’t do shit with it,” she said, slurring a little. I tried not to laugh, but a little came out. She was cute when she got drunk. “I didn’t mean to drink so much, but it seemed like a good idea. I want another one.”
“Sure, when Brett comes back,” I said. “Maybe you should be drinking some water, too.” She was so small, I couldn’t imagine her being able to handle much more. I got the feeling she didn’t do much drinking in the first place.