Motorcycle Club Romance, Suspense, Action & Adventure
Date Published: 09/30/2022
Cotton: When I avenged my sister’s murder, I knew the consequences. I didn’t expect anything less than prison. I got it. In spades. I survived ten years of hell. I was just fifteen when I was sent away but I never regretted taking the law into my own hands. But the father of the man I killed is now a judge, and the ten years I gave the state might not be enough.
I thought I could disappear into the little Kentucky town and keep my head down and keep my nose clean. What could be so hard about that? But I'm on parole and everything is stacked against me. When the only place that will hire me happens to be a biker bar, staying out of trouble might be too much for me to manage. Then Chase steamrolls into my life and I know I have much more than my freedom to lose. This man has the power to tear out my heart.
Chase: I’ve spent the better part of my life in the shadows. Before Bones MC, my team worked for some shady people -- as assassins. I thought I was sacrificing for the greater good. Turns out I was just one more bad guy working for more bad guys. I can’t seem to atone for the sins of my past. No matter what I do, those demons still haunt me.
The second I spot Cotton, everything changes. Everything about the girl screams “battered woman,” but she’s more than that. There is death in her eyes. She’s killed, but she’s not a killer. No matter what, no matter who comes after her, I will protect her till my last breath. Because she is my only salvation. She’s my woman.
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Copyright ©2022 Marteeka Karland
“Let me go. Now.” That was another thing I’d learned in prison. You put up or shut up. Once I’d set a boundary, I had to follow through or this would never end. And this guy would get what he wanted.
He squeezed my arm harder, this time standing and pulling me against him. “You’ll get under that fuckin’ table and suck my fuckin’ dick like the good little whore you are, or I’ll carry you outa here and we’ll all have a fuckin’ go.”
His buddies laughed and clinked beer bottles like it was one big party. There was no way I could keep these guys from doing whatever they wanted unless someone came to my rescue. Which this guy had obviously planned for. It was a dark corner fairly close to the door. All he had to do was get me outside before anyone noticed. Assuming anyone cared. But I had the feeling the guys from Bones might take exception to anyone outside their territory taking an employee out of their bar. That’s the way it was in prison. Bones may not claim me as one of their own, but they would absolutely not allow another gang to disrupt their business or mess with their employees. At least, that’s what I was counting on.
The second the words were out of his mouth, my hand shot between his legs and grabbed his crotch. I squeezed his balls as hard as I could, thankful he’d grabbed my left arm and not my right. He gave a strangled cry and doubled over, letting go of my arm, trying to pry my fingers loose but unable to do more than weakly tug at my wrist. I squeezed just that little bit tighter, putting every ounce of strength I had into hanging on and tugging with a sharp jerk. The big guy fell to his knees and I let go, stepping back quickly. I gripped my heavy serving tray in both hands, bringing it back like I was readying myself to hit him with it even as I continued to back away.
I bumped into someone and a big palm landed on my shoulder. I thought I was in big trouble, but the hand pulled me back gently, and a huge guy stepped in front of me, putting himself between me and the three men at the table.
“There a problem here?”
“Yeah, there’s a fuckin’ problem! Bitch threw herself at me then tried to back out. Tried to crush my fuckin’ balls for no fuckin’ reason!”
“In my experience, women like Cotton don’t put their hands on men like you willingly.” Oh, my God! Could this night get any worse? The man who’d come to my rescue was Chase Dutton. I knew he was a member of Bones, but I tried to stay away from him as much as I could. It was no secret his brother was a police officer and the last thing I wanted was to have another set of eyes on me. I had no idea why Pops and Cain had hired me, but I didn’t want any complications in case they changed their mind.
“Why, you son of a bitch!”
The big guy lunged at Chase, but Chase simply caught him by the throat, pulling a gun and bringing it to the man’s temple in one smooth move. The second the barrel touched his head, Chase cocked it.
“No one touches the servers. Especially when they don’t want it.”
“But she --” He was cut off when Chase brought the butt of the gun down on his head once before putting the barrel back to his temple. The guy’s knees threatened to buckle, but he kept his footing. Barely.
“Don’t matter if she did. When you touched her, she changed her mind. That’s all that counts. So you and your buddies here are all gonna fuckin’ leave the bar. Now. Don’t come back.”
“You can’t throw us out!” One of his buddies had stood but made no move to get help. In fact, he had his hands up and backed up a couple steps, belying his statement.
“He can,” Pops said, coming up behind me. Again, he moved me gently out of the way, putting himself between me and the three men. “So can I. We both say to get the fuck out.”
The bar had quietened near us, but the other side seemed oblivious. I looked around to see a couple at my tables raising nearly empty glasses or bottles wanting refills. I desperately wanted to duck my head and just go on about my job, but I had no idea what was expected of me.
“You good, Cotton?” Chase asked, not looking back at me but still eyeing the men who’d yet to leave.
“Yes,” I said softly. Automatically. My arm hurt, but I wasn’t about to draw more attention to myself. “May I go back to work?”
He glanced at me then and I quickly looked away. Chase Dutton was the sexiest man I’d ever seen. And a man I had no business even looking at. He also seemed to hate me on sight. Cain and Pops both assured me they would keep my incarceration to themselves, and I didn’t want to take a chance on anyone else finding out. Which Chase likely had. Things always changed when anyone found out. People I thought were friends suddenly wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn’t really blame them, but it hurt that no one thought me important enough to find out my side of the story. I’d kind of been crushing on Chase from a distance, and to have him affirm that I wasn’t worth befriending -- even though I already knew that’s what he thought -- would hurt worse than when it had happened before. Because I was stupid to let my emotions get the better of me like this.
“What?” Chase glanced back at me, then snapped, “No you can’t go back to work! Get your ass to the office! I’ll talk to you after I’ve taken out the trash over here.”
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