Authors: Juli Valenti
Poet Butler, the first female President of the outlaw motorcycle club, Hells Redemption, has one basic rule in life: Don’t date bikers, ever.
After she’s randomly jumped during a clubhouse party, she takes off to her house in the hills to avoid her men seeing the bruises she’s sporting. The one flaw in her plan is the man who found her and demands to come with her.
Titan Warren, the President of Bishops Reign, is an arrogant prick Poet can’t stand. He’s entitled, pushy, and attractive as hell, which only pushes her to dislike him more.
Can Poet’s strength withstand bloodshed and conspiracy as the world she once knew falls apart? Or will she crumble under the pressure, and lose everything she’s ever known?
Copyright © 2015 Juli Valenti
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Editing by Kristina Circelli with Red Road Editing
Cover & Formatting by Rene Folsom with Phycel Designs
For all the women who are stronger than they know…
“I don’t give a damn what you or any other misogynist thinks. We all agreed to this deal, Titan included, and y’all damn well better keep your end of the bargain or I’ll snuff that shit quick.”
Poet was seething, straining to keep her temper reined in as she stared at the two men across from her. They were pretty typical biker kinds, with tattoos and attitudes a mile high. Most people, men and women included, would be intimidated by their narrow eyes, their large bodies, and the menace that radiated from them. Poet, however, was not one of them.
She watched as one of the men cast a sidelong glance to the other. They were messengers, chosen to meet with her instead of their Pres, and the fact the magnanimous prick couldn’t even make the ride himself pissed her off more. Instead, he sent his VP and goon. Dirk, Titan’s son, would have been good looking if he’d laid off the booze and the whores he kept in his bed daily. At six-three, with raven-dark hair and hazel eyes, she could see the appeal. Unfortunately, the life was taking its toll on the Bishop. Train, though, was in his prime, still young and disillusioned to the world he’d agreed to. Pity, too, because he was awfully pretty.
“A Bishop always keeps his word,” Dirk said through gritted teeth and Poet smiled, a large encompassing smile. The Bishops Reign Motorcycle Club always kept their word, indeed. She knew it, had banked on it.
“Good.” Glancing past them, she saw Shakespeare shaking his head and she swallowed a chuckle before turning back to face the Bishops. “I assume you brought the goods, then? We’ll be collecting now.”
The sound of a chair scraping against the hardwood floor rang throughout the room as Dirk stood, running a hand through his chin-length hair before leaning forward. “You know, bitch, you think you’re the end all be all. Gonna be a hell of an awakening when you realize you’re just pussy, and your place is on the back of a bike, not in Chapel.”
Poet didn’t move, instead letting the man stay in her face. It wasn’t the first time a biker would say that to her, and she doubted it would be the last, either. In a world where men ruled, where women were disposable or merely breeders and bed warmers, hatred toward her wasn’t uncommon. It was especially harder for the older men, the ones who’d never have allowed a woman to ride their own bike, let alone rise to such power. It was a fact of life that didn’t bother her and never had.
She’d been born and raised in the life; after her mother died, she’d lived with her father at the clubhouse when he was there, at his house in the hills when he wasn’t. None of the men had a problem with it, instead accepting Fury’s word as law – and it was. As President, he could do whatever the hell he wanted and anyone who took offense to it was dealt with quickly. It was the way of Hells Redemption.
As she grew up, Poet had little interest in leaving the club. It was all she’d known, and she’d begun asking her pop if she could tag along. He’d been resistant at first, wanting to keep her as the blonde princess he often referred to her as. But she was persistent, choosing to trade in her girly clothes for leather and boots; eventually she wore him down and he had no choice but to allow her on runs. Soon, she found herself somehow climbing the ranks, going out on more and more dangerous tasks as well as playing devil’s advocate for her father as his right hand.
The two worked well together. All the men would brainstorm and then look to her, expecting her two cents. Most of the time she’d agree, backing the club and supporting their decisions. Other times, she’d weigh both sides, giving them all possible outcomes of any choice made, and how they’d deal with those repercussions. Some of the boys took to seeking her out on their own, asking not only advice but inviting her out when they’d cruise.
More surprisingly was when Fury took two slugs to the chest over a deal gone bad, one she’d advised against. She’d been holed up in her room, desperately trying not to cry, when the men of the club voted her in to lead them. It was unprecedented, something that in the history she studied she couldn’t find another case of. Never before had a woman been named President instead of the Vice President taking over. And, at first, Poet had been worried Shakespeare would come after her. She would have put a bullet in his head if he’d tried, and everyone knew it, but he’d shocked her most of all. His had been the vote making it unanimous.
“If pussy belongs on the back of a bike, perhaps you should climb on mine,” Poet answered finally, and her VP burst out laughing from his place against the wall before he walked forward. He knew better than to interfere, to come to her rescue, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t flank her in support. It was a small thing, something that kept her from feeling weak, while giving her backup at the same time. In any case, she wouldn’t allow any of her men to meet with another club alone – the buddy system at its finest.
Dirk’s face immediately colored, changing from normal to a spectacular shade of pink, purple, then to blue as he struggled to remain neutral. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to guess what would happen if he drew down on her. Not only would he be dead before he could pull the trigger, but the Bishops would be declaring war on Redemption. No respectable club in the tri-state area would ever be stupid enough to think they could take them on and win. Hells Redemption simply had too much manpower and too many connections.
After several unmoving heartbeats, Train spoke up. “We got the shit. Let’s trade hands and be on our way.”
The man placed a hand on his brother’s arm, which was promptly shaken off, before he stood as well. Poet turned and nodded to Shakespeare, who led the two out of the heavy chapel door. Between her VP and Fallen, her Sergeant at Arms, she knew the shipment would be unloaded quickly, the money exchanged, and the Bishops escorted off her property faster than she could blink.
Standing, she allowed her fingers to idly trace the wood grains of the long chapel table. She could still see her father standing behind it, his face pinched in anger. Shaking her head, she left the room, the door slamming behind her. Now wasn’t the time to get lost in nostalgia. There was one more piece of business she had to take care of with the great Bishops.
Poet grasped her phone from the plastic bin outside the entryway, where they all dumped their electronics before meetings to avoid bugs. Swiping the screen, she scrolled through her contacts before finding the one she was looking for. Unable to hide her smirk, she waited as it rang and a gruff voice answered.
“Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” she asked in greeting, enjoying the growl that escaped him.
“Fuck you, Poet. What do you want?”
“I may be wrong, but I seem to recall a Chapel meeting scheduled today. I believe you were not only invited, but a key component in that arrangement.”
“I got held up. Sent my VP—”
“To cover your ass, I know. To be honest, I’m damn tired of dealing with Bishops today, and you’re the icing on the fucking cake. I’ll only say this once, and we all know I mean the things I say, the next time your
comes into my house and gets in my face, I will take the act as a blessing from you. You can bet your ass that won’t go over well and you know it. Don’t fuck with me, Titan. And the next time you try to screw me out of a deal, at least give me the curtesy of a reach around.”
Poet leaned against the wall. She was tired, and desperately wanted to catch some sleep in her bunk before the party. It had been a long day, and an even longer week – she’d been out before the sun rose yesterday and still hadn’t seen a shower or the blessed relief of her bed. Shit was getting old fast, and she was running out of patience.
“What the hell are you talking about? Dirk and Train were supposed to dump the shit, tell you I was sorry I couldn’t make it, and get the fuck out. You know I’d never endorse them getting—”
“I told you, I’m
of dealing with the fucking Bishops today. I don’t give a flying fuck what you ordered them to do – I’m telling you what they
Just fix it so I don’t have to put a hole in your baby boy’s face.”
“Aww, one would think your crazy ass actually has a conscious, Poet. You should probably watch that,” Titan said wryly, almost bringing a smile to her face.
Thing was, once upon a time, Titan wasn’t a complete asshole. He’d merely been a boy with a motorcycle, or so she’d been told. From the things Fury had told her, he’d chosen the life – having known nothing of it in the beginning. It hadn’t taken long for most of his redeeming qualities to be swallowed amongst the hardness, though. Shortly after patching in, he’d begun taking all the snuff runs and it had all been downhill from there.
“Fuck you, Titan.”
With that, Poet hung up. A heartbeat later her phone vibrated in her hand and she glanced down, confused. Titan texted her?
I’ll watch it for you, if you need me to Princess.
Fuck him indeed.