Austin’s Ward by Lynn Burke #MCromance #bikerbooks #RomanceBooks #NewRelease @AuthorLynnBurke @changelingpress

Austin's Ward (Devil's Outlaws MC 3)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: MC romance, Contemporary

 

As the Devil’s Outlaws Sergeant at Arms, Austin Butterbaugh has no intention of getting involved. A self-proclaimed bachelor for life, he’s endured a broken heart and refuses to suffer the same again. But the second Cadence Fraser crosses his path, with her long blonde hair and curves, she owns him.

Sleeping with a senator didn’t offer Cadence the ticket to a better life she’d hoped for. Instead, she’s on the run for her life, straight into a badass biker’s arms — as his ward, under the Outlaw’s protection. Although fire flares to life between them, and Austin satisfies her in ways she’d never known, fear has Cadence’s sights set on something more.

With the senator hell-bent on eliminating every trace of his indiscretions, bodies will fall in Austin’s determination to protect Cadence. Failure won’t be tolerated, even if saving her could mean losing her forever. Her happiness is all that matters, but can Cadence fight past her fears to see a future with Austin before it’s too late?

 

cooltext315284667875598

Get it Today at Changeling Press
button_get-it-today
or Pre-Order for May 24th at Online Retailers
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of hot romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.

COVER REVEAL – Spider (Hades Abyss MC) by Harley Wylde #bikerbooks #CoverReveal #OlderHero

One look in her haunted eyes and Spider knows he can’t walk away.

 

HW_HadesAbyss1_bryan

 

Luciana – All I’ve known is pain and suffering at the hands of men, even my father, a man who was supposed to love and protect me. I’ve survived, nothing less and nothing more. When I’m dropped off with a club of bikers, I figure it’s more of the same. I’ll do as I’m told, make sure I please them, and hope that one day I’ll find a way to escape. There is only one thing that could ever break me, and I’m scared of what will happen when the club learns of my secret. Will they return me to my father? Or will I be used to broker yet another deal? It never occurred to me the President of Hades Abyss would be my salvation, or that I would fall in love with him. I never knew men could be honorable and kind. He’s all gruff and domineering, but under that rough exterior I can see the heart of gold he tries to hide.

Spider – Casper VanHorne asked my club to take in two Colombian princesses. Well, he didn’t use the term princess, but I have no doubt they’ll be spoiled little bitches. The first time I see Luciana and her sister, I think I’ve got them pegged just right. I have too much shit to do to babysit, and I will do anything to make them run home to daddy. Until I look in Luciana’s eyes and see the fear she’s trying to hide. Something isn’t right, I know it deep in my gut. I never once thought a woman nearly forty years younger than me would ever captivate me, but Luciana holds me spellbound the more I get to know her. I didn’t want to fall in love, didn’t want a woman in my life… but sometimes the Fates know better than a mere mortal  man, and Luciana is exactly what I need.

When her father demands her return, I vow to keep her safe. Now that she’s mine, I’ll march into hell if need be in order to keep her by my side. No fucking way I’ll let the sick bastards who hurt her get their hands on her again.

WARNING: This book contains bad language, graphic sex, violence, a heroine who has been physically and sexually abused, and an alpha male who will get vengeance at any cost.

 

COMING JUNE 2019!

 

Dixie Reapers Encounters – Volume 1 by Harley Wylde #MCromance #eroticbooks #bikerbooks #kindleunlimited @changelingpress @HarleyW_Writer

 

Five short, hot tales of the Dixie Reapers MC – and the women they love.

 

HW_DixieReapersEncountersVol1_XL

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Action Adventure, Contemporary, Kindle Unlimited,
MC Romance, New Adult, Silver Fox

 

Five short, hot tales of the Dixie Reapers MC.

Claiming Ridley: I’ve been with Ridley for five years now, and she’s still the sexiest woman I know. I love showing her how much I love every curve. And tonight I’m going a step further…

Property of Venom: Ridley wears my damn stamp on her arm. But some asshole grabbing her ass doesn’t seem to care about that…

One Hot Biker: I knew I shouldn’t want Ryker. Of all the guys for me to fall for, it had to be this one? The most forbidden of them all. And I couldn’t get enough.

Delphine’s Punishment: After three years, Delphine still surprises me. The naughty woman has been keeping something from me. I’ll have her screaming and begging before the night’s over.

Just One Night: I’ve never been a saint, and I’ve always loved women. The woman at the diner is a bit young for me, but she’s just too fucking tempting. One taste, just one night then I’ll put her from my mind. Right

 

Get it at Amazon

 

cooltext315284667875598

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Harley Wylde
Excerpt from Claiming Ridley

I crept through the house, trying not to wake the girls. Any of them. My daughters, Mariah and Farrah, were both passed out in their bedroom. I moved deeper into the house and saw my woman sprawled across our bed. She’d managed to strip down to a T-shirt and panties before she’d face planted in the center of the mattress. I smiled a little as I leaned against the doorframe and admired the view. Even after having two kids, Ridley was the sexiest woman I’d ever seen. She’d claimed me five years ago, in front of my fucking club. It still made me laugh and has amused the shit out of me ever since she’d done it.

Pushing the bedroom door shut, I twisted the lock and stripped out of my clothes. I went to the closet and pulled out a few toys, and a special box I’d been hiding, before I crawled onto the bed, caging her body beneath mine. I pressed my hard cock against her panty-clad ass and rubbed against her. After our second daughter was born, Ridley had put on the brakes until she’d gotten on birth control. We both loved our daughters, but they were hell on wheels. If we had a third, I worried that Ridley might lose what little sanity she had left. I hadn’t minded so much. It gave me a good excuse to play with her delectable ass and fuck it often. And my naughty girl had loved every second of it.

I dragged my beard across the back of her neck, then nipped her shoulder. Bracing my weight on my knees, I dragged her shirt up her body and wrestled it off her. One thing I’d learned about my Ridley… she slept like the fucking dead. But I knew just how to wake her up, and it required a lack of clothing.

 

Gunner’s Flame by Lynn Burke #bikerbooks #MCromance #RomanceBooks #NewRelease @AuthorLynnBurke @changelingpress

Gunner's Flame (Devil's Outlaws MC 2)

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Contemporary, MC Romance, Men and Women in Uniform

 

Will Gunner choose his loyal Outlaw brothers or will he
choose the path that crosses them — for her?…

 

Mitch “Gunner” Flannigan rules the Devil’s Outlaws with a firm hand, one trained by his stint in the SEALs and tempered by empathy for other vets. When a curvy redhead in Army fatigues snags his attention — and puts him in the line of fire — he’s torn between wanting to bury himself between her lush thighs and helping to ease her return to American soil.

The recent death of Shelby’s mother and her cousin’s terrorizing only adds to the PTSD hindering her return to civilian life. Flames ignite when she’s thrown into Gunner’s arms, where she also finds safety with someone who understands her struggles.

Attempts on Gunner’s life threaten their future, but so do the secrets Shelby withholds from him. When those secrets come to light Gunner will have a decision to make. Will he choose to stand with his loyal Outlaw brothers or will he choose the path that crosses them — and leads him right into her arms?

Warning: Contains adult content, graphic violence, and dark emotional scenarios that may trigger some readers.

 

button_get-it-today (3)

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Lynn Burke

Shelby

The coppery scent of blood filled my nose while sweat coated my skin from the desert sun beating down overhead. Screams echoed in my ears. My heart thudded so damn hard in my chest I swore an elephant sat on me, closing off my throat. Silent tears squeezed from between my clenched eyelids as I clutched at the shirt bunched in my hands and fought to keep the nightmares from taking over my head like they had since that day my platoon had been ambushed.

A waft of subtle, musky cologne trickled through the blood-scented air, and I burrowed my face into a hard, warm chest, seeking out quietness of mind, needing him to erase the memories of war I’d barely gotten a taste of before realizing I hadn’t been cut from the same cloth as my father.

“You’re okay,” the man’s raspy voice murmured over and over again, the sensation of rocking eventually pulling me back to D.C., my ears filtering the truth of my situation to my scattered brain.

I focused on breathing, desperate to keep from losing my shit like I’d been doing on a daily basis since returning home to find my fiancé moved out and on with his life. Having my mother lying in a hospital bed with terminal cancer had been my ticket out of the Army, but besides death, it was the shittiest way to get discharged.

She’d passed three days earlier, leaving me alone to deal with grief I’d yet to allow myself. Leaving me floundering in life, having lost all sense of belonging.

I only had one family member left — my older cousin who was supposed to have met me there at the memorial, and while I’d been on time I hadn’t seen him while chatting with the man holding me.

Voices buzzed in my ears, but I kept my eyes shut against the police, EMTs, and whoever else scurried around us to see to the wounded.

Eventually, the man — Gunner — pulled back and tilted my head. I forced my eyes open, blinking in the bright sunshine. He said something about cops wanting to talk to us, but I didn’t budge from the comfort of his lap, the feel of his strong arms offering shelter I hadn’t experienced since before the death of my father when I’d been a gangly, young teenager.

Gunner felt like… home. Something I’d felt had been ripped away from me while overseas. Returning to American soil hadn’t brought that comfort. Sleeping in my childhood bed hadn’t given me the same rest I’d hoped for.

I closed my eyes again, rested my cheek on his chest, the steady thump of his heart giving me something to focus on. My fingers once more found purchase in his shirt, and I clung to him like a lifeline to sanity that kept my throat-tightening panic at bay.

Eventually, the cops got around to us, a million questions I couldn’t focus enough to answer — even after I checked my messages to find my cousin had texted me a few minutes after the shooting saying he couldn’t make it.

At least he was safe.

Still shaking with the need to pass out, I declined going to the hospital when someone suggested I go. The thought of beeps and the sickening scent of bleach and death had my stomach heaving, making me feel even worse.

“I’m fine,” I insisted for at least the tenth time, folded in on myself, arms clenched tight around my middle while fighting off visions of Mom wasting away on her hospital bed.
Outlines of three bodies stood out in stark white chalk on the ground a little ways away, dark stains of blood still not completely dried or washed away. I tore my stare off the horrid sight, seeking out comfort.

Gunner and his two friends stood with another cop a few feet away, but his dark-eyed gaze stayed on me.

I heaved a sigh, settling my nerves the slightest bit at the understanding in his eyes, the connection I felt tugging us toward one another. I’d never felt need for someone as I did for Gunner, as though my body knew it would find solace and peace in close proximity to him.

The cops had my name and number, knew where I lived, and had jotted down what story I could offer. I was free to leave, but I hesitated, still dazed and uncertain of where I should go, what I should do.

Although I hated crowds, my cousin had insisted I go to the peaceful Veteran’s March for Peace, so I’d decided to take the train south into the city, but stay on the outskirts until our agreed upon time to meet.

The silent beauty of the walking crowd had soothed me in ways I’d never again expected to feel and almost gave me the sense of comradery I’d felt for a short time while overseas. Hundreds of people, quite a few in old uniforms from all branches of the military, had made their way through the streets of D.C. to silently protest the ongoing war, the ongoing loss of innocent lives even if recruits signed up knowing the possible cost.

Gunner and his two friends were of a rougher crowd, by looks, anyway. All three wore leathers and vests declaring them members of the Devil’s Outlaws, a biker gang aptly named from the northern suburbs, but I’d never been one to judge a person by their clothing choice — especially since Gunner had seemed hell-bent on helping me transition back to civilian life.

Also by looks, he was one of the hottest men I’d ever seen. Dark hair, dark eyes, dark tanned face, neck, and tattooed arms. He squinted in the sun while staring at me, lines crinkling the corners of his eyes as though he smiled on the inside…

More from Lynn at Changeling Press…

 

Cowboy (Bad Boy Romance) by Harley Wylde #MCromance #bikerbooks #RomanceBooks #NewRelease @changelingpress @HarleyW_Writer

HW_BadBoy4_bryan

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Contemporary Romance, Western, Second Chance Romance,
MC Romance, Silver Fox, Single Parent/Pregnancy Romance

 

Jacey’s my everything, and I will do anything to keep her safe.
Even go back to the Dixie Reapers.

 

Jacey: Marrying Beck was a mistake, one I can’t get away from no matter how much time passes. I can’t leave him. It’s not just that running might cost me my life. I have no idea what he would do to the kids if I weren’t here to protect them. I can’t leave them vulnerable to a monster like him. I’ve never once strayed from Beck, even when he’s broken bones and done unspeakable things to me. My life is one never-ending horror movie. But now I have Ty… he’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a man, and I’m not sure I’m strong enough to walk away.

Ty: The beautiful, sweet mom who comes to my ranch has a haunted look in her eyes that I want to chase away, and bruises she tries damn hard to hide. Kissing her might have been a mistake, but maybe it wasn’t. I’ve wanted Jacey Lane since the day I first saw her, and knowing her husband abuses her just infuriates me. Ty the cowboy might not be able to do much of anything, but Cowboy the Dixie Reaper sure as hell can. If keeping Jacey safe means I need to go home, then so be it. My brothers will stand beside me and help me guarantee that Beck Lane never draws another breath.

WARNING: Domestic and sexual abuse are mentioned. There’s some violence. And yes, there’s sex. Lots of consensual, hot, over the top sex. If you aren’t up for a romance that deals with the darker side of life and will steam up your e-reader, then you should give this book a hard pass.

 

button_get-it-today (4)

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Harley Wylde

Jacey

His lips were warm and firm against mine. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d truly been kissed, and I’d never had a kiss as memorable as this one. The feel of Ty’s arms around me, his strength, made me want to melt against him. His tongue flicked against my bottom lip and I opened, letting him in, needing to taste him. Ty fisted his hand in my hair, not tight enough to hurt but just enough that it turned me on.

I hadn’t felt desire for anyone in a really long time, or had anyone desire me. His mouth devoured mine as he walked me backward until I pressed against the wall. I could feel the hard ridge of his cock as he pushed his hips tighter against me, and my panties grew damp. I wanted to rub against him, to beg for more. I hated to admit that I’d never had an orgasm, not even self-induced. How pathetic was that?

But I had to put a stop to it. This. Whatever it was. What we were doing wasn’t right, no matter how much I wished it could continue. I’d let things go too far, and I knew it. My only excuse was that Beck had been in rare form last night, even worse than usual. I lived with a monster, a man who made me do horrible things and wouldn’t hesitate to end my life. I was terrified of him, with good reason, and I was trapped in a nightmare. Just once, I wanted a moment of happiness. A few minutes where I was desired and treated with care. Didn’t make it any less wrong, but I could never regret this moment with Ty. I’d gladly burn in the eternal fires of hell for just this one taste of Ty, to have him hold me just once.

Pulling away, I placed a hand on his chest. His heart was thumping every bit as hard as mine. It was the first time we’d crossed the line, and it would have to be the last. My heart ached as I fought to say the words that would bring it to an end. I wanted him, more than just physically, but I knew it could never happen.

“Ty, we can’t.”

“I know, but I couldn’t resist anymore. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to kiss you?” He moved his thumb in a slow caress along my jaw. “Ever since our eyes met that first time, I knew you were special.”

“I’m married, Ty.”

He snorted and ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve met your husband. You can do better. And I honestly wouldn’t call what you have a marriage. More like a hostage situation. You and I both know you’re just too scared to leave him.”

“Be that as it may, we’ve been married for twelve years. We have two kids! It’s not like I can just walk out.” I knew it was a feeble attempt at putting things back to friendship level. Guilt ate at me. Even though I didn’t love Beck anymore, hadn’t for a long time, I was still a married woman. At least on paper. I hadn’t had a true marriage with Beck in a really long time, if ever. What Ty said was true. I was scared shitless to leave the monster I’d married. I’d tried it before and paid dearly. I wasn’t sure I’d survive the next attempt.

“That isn’t a good enough reason to stay married, Jacey. You were only eighteen when you met Beck, just out of high school. People change. I know you aren’t the same, though I have my doubts Beck was ever anything other than rotten to the core, and it’s time you moved on. You can’t tell me you’re happy with him.”

I knew the feelings I’d been developing for Ty were wrong. At least, by society’s standards they were. In my heart, I knew that the love I felt growing for Ty could never be anything but incredibly right. He was just so sweet… so good to me. Far different from the way Beck treated me. There were times I’d close my eyes and imagine what life would be like if Ty were my husband and not Beck. It was the only way I could stay sane, to take a trip to another world, even if it was only in my mind. A place where the man lying next to me loved me and treated me right. Not someone who left bruises and humiliated me. No one knew about the pictures and videos. Or I didn’t think they did. It was stupid to daydream about a life with Ty maybe, but it helped.

His jaw firmed. “I’ve seen the bruises. I know you try to hide them, but I don’t understand why. He should be in jail. Men like him don’t stop with one hit, Jacey. If he’s done it once, he’ll keep doing it.”

Ty was right and I knew it, but that didn’t change the fact that I was legally married, and I couldn’t afford a divorce anytime soon. And it wasn’t just the bruises. Beck’s depravity went way deeper. Regardless of how it looked, I stayed to protect my children. Beck had threatened to take the kids if we ever split up. I was sure he’d do it, too. To the rest of the world, he was a hero, the type of man you could count on and call in an emergency. That’s the Beck the public saw. No one knew what he was like behind closed doors. I knew a very different Beck. I knew the monster. The man who would make his wife pose naked so he could sell the pictures online, minus my face of course. Couldn’t have anyone finding out what he was up to. I’d refused once, and only once. I hadn’t been able to leave the house for nearly a week he’d beaten me so badly. After that, he’d started taking videos and selling them. I was beyond humiliated. It was one thing to do that sort of thing because you wanted to, and another to have it forced on you, and by the man who was supposed to love and cherish you.

“Please understand, Ty. There’s nothing I can do right now.”

Or ever, for that matter. If I tried to leave, he’d haul me back and beat me again. Maybe next time he’d kill me. Then my kids wouldn’t stand a chance. At least I could do my best to shield them when Beck went into one of his rages, which happened more and more frequently. And as long as he had me to pose for his little side business, then I didn’t have to worry about him using our kids. I didn’t think for one second that he loved our daughter and son. I wasn’t sure Beck was even capable of the emotion. Whatever mental issues caused his problems, they were getting worse and I worried that he’d be completely unstable soon. Not that he’d admit he had a problem, and he’d somehow lied his way through the psych evaluation for the department.

Ty sighed. “You know I love Jackson and Danica like they were my own. It eats at me knowing the three of you are with that asshole.”

I smiled. Ty was amazing with my kids, and not just because he spoiled them rotten. He had befriended them, and had even let the kids ride the stable mounts free of charge. Both of my children had fallen in love with horses, just like I had as a little girl. And I worried they were falling a little in love with Ty too, much like their mom.

“Those kids took to riding like ducks to water. They earn their keep, helping with the horses. Hell, I wouldn’t charge you for Reaper, but I know you wouldn’t accept my offer.”

I looked away, feeling a flash of insecurity. Money was a touchy subject for me. Beck gave me enough to cover the stable fees for Reaper each month, and to buy groceries. Honestly, I didn’t know why he let me keep Reaper, except it made him seem like a doting husband. If I needed clothes or shoes, I practically had to beg for them. He always seemed to have plenty of money for whatever he wanted, though. Like a new gun, a night of partying with his friends, or anything else that struck his fancy. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he bought some time with prostitutes, although I didn’t know why when he’d just take whatever he wanted from me. He didn’t know that I asked my doctor to test me regularly for STDs in case Beck gave me something. After Jackson was born, I’d also been sneaking birth control so I wouldn’t get pregnant again.

“I should be paying you for their riding lessons,” I said.

“I don’t want your money, babe. If I need more money, I’ll go back on the circuit.”

“Do you think I want to see you get hurt?” I cupped his cheek, moving in close again. His crisp, clean scent teased my nose, and I wished I could burrow into him. When his arms had been around me, it was the safest I’d felt in a long time. I’d give anything to feel that every day…

More about Harley…

 

#CoverReveal – CINDER (Devil’s Boneyard MC) by Harley Wylde #NewAdult #SilverFox #MCromance #PregnancyRomance @HarleyW_Writer @changelingpress

 

HW_DevilsBoneyard5_bryan

She’s an angel and I’m a Devil. There’s no place for us in this world,
and yet I still want her.

Meg – For ten years I suffered at the hands of a monster, bought at auction and forced to be a slave, at the whim of a Colombian drug lord who also ran underground fights. Then the Devil’s Boneyard came to rescue one of their own and I was free. I don’t know who I am anymore, or what my purpose is. I only know one thing. Cinder, the President of Devil’s Boneyard, makes me feel safe and that’s something I haven’t felt in forever. But one kiss and I’m seeing him in a new light, and I know that one kiss will never be enough.

Cinder – Meg’s a sweet girl, a little angel who tends to sing and distract me as she cleans my house. I never said she had to pay for her keep around here, but she insists. She’s easily thirty years my junior, which makes me feel like a sick fuck every time I get hard around her, especially after all she’s suffered. Then I royally fucked up and kissed her. Now that I’ve had a taste, I want more, even though I know we’re doomed. A threat to my club, and to Meg, has her under my roof 24/7 and I have no idea how I’ll keep myself from giving into temptation. Whoever leaked her information to The Inferno is going to pay in blood. Even if I haven’t claimed her, Meg is mine, and I always protect what’s mine.

WARNING: Scorching hot sex, a club President who isn’t afraid to inflict some violence on his enemies, and a woman who discovers she’s stronger than she thought. Please be advised there are mentions of physical and sexual abuse, as well as human trafficking of teens, even though nothing is described in detail.

preorder links coming soon

 

ABOUT HARLEY

HarleyWylde_March2019

 

When Harley is writing, her motto is the hotter the better. Off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place.

You can follow Harley on AmazonTwitter, or Facebook. Get New Release notifications (for US readers) by following Harley on BookBub! Want to talk more about the Dixie Reapers or other Harley books? Join the Wyldlings on Facebook!

Harley’s website: harleywlde.com

 

Irish (Devil’s Boneyard MC) by Harley Wylde #MCromance #bikers #NewAdult #interraciallove #pregnancy #singleparent @HarleyW_Writer @changelingpress

 

Five years is a long time to think about someone.
Now she’s back, and I can’t let her walk away.

 

HW_DevilsBoneyard4_bryan

Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres/Themes: Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, New Adult, Silver Fox,
Contemporary, Interracial, Single Parent/Pregnancy Romance, MC Romance

 

cooltext315315694781106

Janessa: I’ve been in love with Seamus since the day I met him, even though I’d been fourteen at the time. Now that I’m an adult, I’m ready to go claim my man. Maybe I was stupid thinking he’d wait for me, or maybe I just really wanted a fairytale ending. Seeing another woman in his arms hurt like hell, so I ran…straight into trouble.

Irish: I met a girl years ago one who had me spellbound despite her young age. I kept my distance, knowing it was so damn wrong to be attracted to her, but looking in her eyes I could tell she had an old soul. Now she’s back and all grown up, so what did I do? Something stupid. I kissed another woman. When I hear Janessa’s been attacked, it feels like someone has ripped out my heart. Whatever it takes, I’ll make it up to her, and I will get justice for her one way or another.

 

button_get-it-today (2)

 

cooltext315315717764148

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Harley Wylde

Irish

Fuck me! I hadn’t seen Janessa Rodriguez in so damn long. It still blew my mind that she’d walked into the Devils’ clubhouse. I felt like a complete and utter shit for hurting her the way I had, but it was the right thing to do. If her dad even thought I’d looked at his little girl with any kind of interest, I’d be a dead man. Even though I’d kissed the slut sitting on my lap, after Janessa had walked out, I’d dumped the woman on the floor. I was disgusted with myself.

The years had been really fucking good to her. She still had a pretty olive complexion and dark hair that looked so damn soft. She’d sprouted breasts that were more than a handful since the last time I’d seen her, and hips that screamed she was definitely all woman now. All it had taken was one look and I’d been hard as hell, and not for the woman who had been in my lap.

Janessa had been gone a few hours now, and I figured she was back home where she belonged. I closed my eyes, trying to block out the image of her standing in the doorway, all those gorgeous curves. But it was the look of anguish in her eyes that would haunt me forever. I hadn’t been a saint a day in my life. After meeting the Reaper’s daughter, I’d felt like I was in a downward spiral. She’d been just a kid, a teenager, and my reaction to her had sickened me. So I’d started screwing any woman who offered. Now I was wishing I hadn’t done that.

I’d never counted on her showing up here in Devils’ territory. It had been five years, and I knew she was a grown-ass woman now, but I’d figured her daddy would have her locked up somewhere secure. Away from men like me. Hell, he might have even asked a Reaper to marry her just to keep her safe. Did he even know she’d come here? She had to have been looking for me. I just didn’t understand why. Yeah, she’d plagued my thoughts since the day I’d met her, but surely she hadn’t been waiting for me all this time. Had she? I’d known when she turned eighteen because my VP had made sure I was aware. Maybe he’d thought she’d be the one to tame me, or had just hoped for some sort of reaction. I hadn’t made it a secret that I didn’t plan to settle down. Even knowing she was legal, I’d not had the courage to go after her, though, and had kept my distance. Now I was second-guessing that decision.

The clubhouse doors flew open and Scratch came inside. He never showed up on party nights, not since settling down with his wife and kids. The look on his face told me something was seriously wrong, and all my brothers went on alert. But he ignored every last one of them and came to me. I just couldn’t tell if he wanted to hit me, or console me.

“We need to talk,” Scratch said. “Somewhere quiet.”

“Something wrong, VP?” I didn’t think I’d screwed up lately. Well, other than hurting Janessa.

“Church. Now.”

His tone demanded I obey. I followed Scratch to the back of the clubhouse and through the double doors at the end of the hall. I took a seat and Scratch leaned against the opposite wall, staring at me with his arms folded and a fierce look in his eyes.

“Did I do something?” I asked.

“There’s been an accident.”

I sat up straighter. “Clarity? The kids?”

The VP had an awesome wife and kids, and any one of us would lay down our lives for them. But if Clarity were in trouble, I didn’t think Scratch would be standing in front of me.

He shook his head. “My family is fine. This isn’t about me, son. It’s about you.”

“I don’t understand. You know I don’t have any family here, except the Devils. What’s going on?”

Scratch rubbed at his beard, then sat down in his usual seat. “A blue truck was found along the road heading out of town. It had gone off the road and crashed into a tree. The driver isn’t in good shape, but there are signs that something else happened.”

I still didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I didn’t know anyone with a blue truck. I wished he’d just tell me what the hell was going on. The suspense was going to drive me crazy.

“The truck had a Harley Davidson sticker on the back. And Alabama plates,” he said.
My gut clenched and I gripped the table. The only person I knew who had been in this area with Alabama tags would have been Janessa.

“The Highway Patrol called Cinder, but he didn’t answer, so they tried me next. They thought maybe the driver was related to someone at the club. They found a wallet in a purse. What I want to know is what the fuck Janessa Rodriguez was doing in Devils territory unannounced, and why didn’t someone tell me she was here?”

Oh, God. It suddenly hurt to breathe.

“Janessa,” I said, my voice cracking. “Is she… will she be okay?”

“Someone beat that poor girl half to death, ripped up her clothes…”

I couldn’t help it. I leaned over and threw up.

“She wasn’t sexually assaulted,” Scratch said, “if that’s what you’re thinking. The assholes did piss on her, though. Cut her up, beat her all to hell. They’re hoping to run DNA and figure out who did this to her, but if they aren’t in the system, then it won’t do much good. In the meantime, they haven’t been able to contact her next of kin.”

My heart felt like someone was trying to rip it from my chest. I stood and pulled my keys from my pocket. “I’m going to see her,” I said.

“Son, the only reason I can think of for that little girl to be here at all was to come see you. What the fuck happened? Why was she on a road headed south and not going back home? Or an even better question, why the fuck wasn’t she with you?”

South? I didn’t know. I’d seen how devastated she was when she’d left, and it was my fault. I’d done that to her. I’d thought she’d go home, get on with her life and find some guy her dad would approve of, maybe go off to college or some shit.

“She came here,” I said. “I didn’t talk to her. I was… I was with someone. A club slut. She saw the two of us and she left.”

Scratch cursed and leaned back in his chair. “When Tex wants to remove your balls, I’m not standing in his way. That was a shitty thing to do, Irish, and you damn well know it. That girl was completely hung up on you from the moment she laid eyes on you. Hell, anytime I go see my daughter and grandkids, she still asks about you, even though you never went after her when she turned eighteen.”

I hadn’t known that. Yeah, he’d brought up Janessa from time to time, but I hadn’t known that she’d asked about me, still thought about me. I’d figured when she turned eighteen and I kept my distance that she’d move on. Scratch had only brought her up in passing after that point, almost as if he were feeling me out, but I hadn’t understood why. Until now.

“She’s at the county hospital. You know I have to call the Reapers, right?” he asked.

“Just… give me enough time to see her. Wait twenty minutes before you call. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I need to make things right with her. Is she awake?”

“No. She was unconscious when they found her, and when I got the call, she hadn’t woken yet. You need to prepare yourself. From what I hear, it’s pretty bad.”

I gave a quick nod, then stood up. I stared down at the puke on the floor but Scratch waved me off.

“I’ll have a Prospect clean that up. Go see your woman and hope you don’t have to say goodbye while you’re there,” he said. “And, Irish?”

I met his gaze.

“Despite what you think, that girl is your woman. Don’t fuck it up again.”