Swing (tidals & anchors mc book 1)

Swing

Tidals & Anchors MC

Yolanda Olson

Published by Yolanda Olson, 2015.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

SWING

First edition. December 19, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Yolanda Olson.

Written by Yolanda Olson.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Thank you

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Epilogue

Thank you

Coquette Graphics. You made the cover into  something way more than I could have ever imagined and I appreciate your hard work on it!

My beta team. You guys are awesome for putting up with my crazy mind. As always, your feedback and enthusiasm with my projects is beyond appreciated.

My readers. Here it is; what you guys asked me for. I hope you enjoy part 1 ofTidals & Anchors MC!

Swing

Tidals & Anchors MC

Prologue

This wasn’t supposed to end like this. I was a goddamn outlaw in the most feared motorcycle club in the five surrounding states and here I was fucking tied to a chair, bleeding from the head, and eyes blindfolded, wondering when it was finally going to be over.

No one had come to try and save me and no one even probably knew I was missing. I had days like this when I would disappear until I felt like being seen again and they were okay with it, because I was their best Dealer of Havoc and they knew that after some jobs, I needed space.

I’m Nero fucking Rader; I’m not supposed to be a victim.

The worst part of all of this was having the sinking feeling that it was a set up. My brothers in Tidals & Anchors Motorcycle Club, one or all of them, arranged this little coup, but I couldn’t get my assailants to tell me who. Any time they asked me a question about a club secret, I would ask them who it was that set me up. Every response was a chuckle or a laugh, never a name.

The almost as worst part of this was that I could almost swear that my assailant was only one person. Someone who had a white mask over their face so I couldn’t see them before they blindfolded me, but by the body shape; the frame, the height, I knew it was a woman.

To say the least, I was fucking humiliated that I had been taken down by a woman, but I knew it had to be something personal if she was this committed to what she was doing to me.

The brassy taste that was in my mouth was starting to overwhelm me, so I spit out some blood and sat back against the chair. I hadn’t heard her footsteps in a while, but I knew that didn’t mean she was gone. She would often lurk in the shadows, if there were any, and just watch me. I couldn’t see it, but I would feel her eyes on me.

“Come on, bitch. Get it over with,” I grunted.

A chuckle was the response. Again. Every damn time I said anything, it was some form of laughter that greeted my ears. I wondered if the point was to make me crazy before taking me out. This was well too planned out for me to even think I’d be getting out of this alive.

I took a deep breath and held myself as upright as I could when I heard her hop down off of whatever the hell it was she had been sitting on. I listened as the sound of something metal dragged along the table before it stopped, being replaced by the sound of her footsteps toward me.

In an instant, I felt the edge of the knife she was slowly starting to twist into my stomach. I grit my teeth and refused to scream out in pain. I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. That wasn’t who I was. I dealt this shit out to people that deserved it and because I was damn sure I didn’t, I wouldn’t give in. I wouldn’t cry out and I wouldn’t die.

Not here.

Not like this.

The one thing that was going to keep me alive through this was seeing the look on her face when she knew that she had failed and the looks on the faces of all of my brothers when I walked into the clubhouse again.

Heaven’s not going to be able to help them once I unleash Hell and I know just who to start with.

Three Months Ago...

One

The water at the bottom of the shower was turning a shallow cherry color. I hated washing blood off of my body, but it came with the territory. I ran my hands back through my hair, shaking out what was left of the shampoo and then whipped my head back. Nights like this weren't often, but when they came, things could get messy fast. I turned my body to face the shower head and let the hot water pour over me as I rested my hands against the wall. Even though the water was hotter than normal, I couldn't help but feel a modicum of comfort in the slight stinging pain.

After a few moments of just standing there reflecting on my night, I stood up and ran my hands back through my hair to get it out of my face, before reaching down and turning the knobs so that the water would stop. I stood there and watched the red water spin down the drain until it was almost all gone before grabbing my towel and wrapping it around my waist. I stepped out onto the fluffy bathroom mat and used one hand to wipe away the fog on the mirror.

I looked at myself and wondered why this had become so easy for me. Killing someone seemed like second nature now and it was never really hard for me to begin with for some reason. If anything, guns had gotten so boring that when the MC needed a specialized takedown, they would ask me to do it.

"Swing can do it."

"Let Swing handle it."

And I would. I'd do whatever my brothers needed me to do because that's just how it was. I pulled open the medicine cabinet and pulled out a tube of leave in conditioner. One small dab on my left palm, and I set the tube down on the sink, before rubbing my palms together and trailing it back through my hair.

I washed my hands off when I was done with that and put the tube back. I looked into the mirror again and locked eyes with myself as the fog desperately tried to hide me from myself. Again, I used my hand to clear a path on the mirror and cleared my throat as I grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste.

I liked having these quiet moments to think about things. As I put a generous amount of paste onto the bristles, I looked into the mirror again as I began to brush my teeth.

Swing may be what the guys called me, but I was born Nero Rader, first and only son of Navy hero, Leon Rader and homemaker extraordinaire, Betsy Collins. Leon’s dad started the MC; he was a Navy man too. I chose not to follow in their footsteps. I guess it’s because I was a troubled youth or whatever, but Tidals & Anchors called to me as strongly as it did to them.

Commander Harold Rader was honorably discharged from the service sometime in the fifties with some of his Navy buddies and decided that they didn’t exactly want to be forced into retirement. Tidals & Anchors was an homage to their time spent at sea which was more often than not, and at first it seemed like a good idea.

When Grandpa aged out sometime in the seventies, Dad took over and drove the club straight to hell. I was born a little less than twenty years later and spent most of my childhood growing up around the guys that were now feared outlaws. My best friend, Dallas Quinn, was the new president’s son and we clicked almost immediately.

Seeing as though my grandfather started the MC, Dad should’ve been able to hold onto the presidency, but one too many bad decisions made behind the backs of the brothers, and he was unceremoniously tossed out on his ass.

Now Dallas’ father is starting to age out of his roll and there’s going to be a vote soon as to who the new president should be. I know that the guys will most likely want to vote me in because of the lineage, but I don’t want it. I’d rather have it go to Dallas; he’s got his head on straighter than I ever had or will.

I like being the muscle that they come to when they need something really dirty done and honestly, I’m quite proud of myDealer of Havocpatch. That would mean more to me than the president one.

With a sigh, I spit the toothpaste out into the sink and turned on the water. Cupping some into my hand I brought it to my lips and swished it around my mouth a few times, before spitting out the rest.

The vote was tonight. I didn’t want to be there but it was my duty and I couldn’t exactly refuse.

I turned off the light in the bathroom as I walked out and headed into my bedroom. I already had fresh clothes laid out and as I glanced at the clock I realized that if I didn’t get a move on, I wouldn’t be able to tell Dallas that the task that needed taken care of was complete.

Pulling my towel off, I gave myself one last quick rub down with it before I tossed it back into the bathroom. I craned my neck to see where it landed before I went to my dresser and grabbed a fresh pair of boxer briefs. I pulled them on, then went back to my bed and pulled on my dark blue denim jeans, my black, ribbed long sleeved shirt, and then my vest. I went over to my nightstand and picked up a hair-tie. Luckily, I had sisters so I was always stealing theirs. I pulled my hair back and looped it a few times, securing it into place before grabbing my knit cap and putting it over my head.

One last sigh was all I had in me as I walked toward the kitchen and grabbed the keys to my Harley. I stopped by the door and pulled on my heavy boots that were sitting next to my couch.

After I laced them up, I ran a hand over my face before walking out of my house. I could already tell that tonight’s decision wasn’t going to make anyone happy.

Two

The clubhouse was located in the middle of Bend, Oregon where most of us had been born and raised. It was located across the lot from Rader-Quinn Pawnshop; the largest and most lucrative shop in town.

As I pulled into the lot I saw that everyone was already there but my usual spot was left open for me to back my bike into. I turned it off and sat on it for a moment, before I used the tip of my boot to bring out the kickstand and let it lean onto it. I was just about to the front door when Dallas walked out.

“Hey Swing,” he called out with a nod. I smiled and followed him over to a set of benches where we sat on the table tops. He held out his pack of smokes and I took one, waiting patiently for him to let me use his lighter. After he lit his smoke, he handed it to me. Bringing it to the end of my cigarette, I inhaled deeply before I handed it back to him.

“Thanks man.”

He nodded again and leaned down, his arms resting on his knees. That was something he only ever did when he was in deep thought and I knew what he was thinking about; the vote.

I glanced at the top of his light brown hair and wondered how much shit he had put in it to keep it slicked back.

“How did it go?” he finally asked, picking at his fingernails.

“It went. Not as clean as I would have liked, but that’s one problem we won’t have again,” I replied, flicking ashes onto the bench.

He nodded and sat straight up. I took another drag of my cigarette, feeling his eyes on me. I was waiting for him to say something, anything, to make this less uncomfortable and he finally did.

“Good. Thank you.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you want it?” he asked suddenly.

“Do I want what?” I asked, glancing at him.

“The chair.”

“No. Hell no. That’s the last thing I want,” I replied honestly. “What about you? Doyouwant it?”

Dallas raised his eyes to the night sky and smiled slightly. “I don’t know yet. But it’s going to come down to me or you and I just wanted to know if it was something you wanted or not.”

“That’s all yours, brother,” I confirmed with a chuckle.

We sat there silently smoking when a loud eruption of ruckus laughter from inside the clubhouse got our attention. I flicked the half smoked cigarette onto the ground and got to my feet. I scratched my beard and waited for Dallas to finish his smoke.

“Ever plan on shaving that?” he asked with a laugh.

“No shave November.”

“Swing, it’s April,” he replied.

“So it is,” I said with a grin.

Dallas flicked his cigarette and shook his head as we both started toward the clubhouse.

I went in behind him and glanced over his head to see what had caused the eruption of laughter. Dallas wasn’t short by any means, but neither was I and he came up to my shoulder. Sometimes I liked to remind him that even though he was a year older than me, that I was still bigger.

Whatever they had been laughing about, the joke seemed to be over once we walked in. I glanced over at Pardon, Dallas’ father, who was sitting at a table with the current VP, a somber look on his face.

Tidals & Anchors wasn’t a normal MC. We had age out rules and once you got there, you had to step down from the chair or leave altogether. It was my grandfather who set the rules forth and everyone had agreed to them.


Page 2

I think everyone secretly liked it, to be honest. No one ever complained about it when it was time to vote someone out of a position, but the chair was always the hardest vote, because no one ever really wanted it. But something told me that Dallas did and I wasn’t sure why.

Pardon must have felt my eyes on him because he looked up at me and waved me over.

“Not you; just him,” he said to Dallas who had fallen into step beside me.

We exchanged a glance, to which Dallas shrugged his shoulders and went into the meeting room.

“Sit down, son,” he said, pulling out the chair next to him.

I obediently sat down where he had indicated. He waved the vice president away and sighed. I watched him run a hand back through his short graying hair before he looked at me again.

“This vote isn’t going to go the way anyone wants it too. I don’t plan on stepping down; I’ve got too much shit left to do here. There will be a havoc vote andifit’s unanimous, I want it to be you that does it.”

“It won’t come down to that,” I assured him, giving his back a friendly pat. “I won’t vote that way and neither will Dallas.”

“You don’t seem to understand, Swing. If I can’t keep the chair, then I want the havoc vote to go through. And I wantyouto take care seeing it done,” he replied quietly.

I stared at him. I didn’t know how else to make him understand that we wouldn’t vote that way no matter how much he wanted it. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing that I had killed Pardon.

Wait a minute.

“Dallas is going to be the new club president. He wants it, I can tell. Only the new president can put the last one down if a havoc vote goes through,” I reminded him.

“We’ll see about that,” he said as he got to his feet and walked purposefully into the meeting room.

Three

Twenty minutes later, everyone that was supposed to be in the room, finally was. I was sitting next to Dallas, and Pardon was at the head of the table gripping the gavel tightly in his hand. He was looking around the room waiting for silence, which he knew he would get without having to ask for it. Pardon was definitely the most respected president we had so far.

“You all know why we’re here today,” he started, setting the gavel down. “I’ve got a few things to say about that before we get started with the vote.”

Dallas cleared his throat and sat back in his chair expectantly. I leaned forward and clasped my hands on the table. I don’t know why, but I had a bad feeling about what Pardon would have to say.

“I know that we’re here because I have to step down; I’ve ‘aged out.’ Well, I think that’s bullshit. I’ve never felt better or stronger about leading this charter. I think that even though the rules are there for a reason, they’re more like a byline, and this one needs to be done away with. I’m not giving up the chair.”

“Pop—”

Pardon held up a hand to quiet Dallas as he continued. “So, we all know what that means. If you’re all still hellbent on having a new president, then let me know so I can leave the room and you can have your havoc vote.”

“Aren’t you jumping the gun on that vote, Pop?” Dallas asked.

“No. That’s the only way to get me out of this chair,” he replied firmly.

“Alright, then I vote no,” Dallas said stubbornly.

“I’m with Dallas,” I agreed quietly.

“No one is going to say yes to that,” Ash, the vice president, chimed in. “If you’re going to be a stubborn old man, then we can vote on how much longer to give you, but that’s as far as it goes.”

Pardon nodded in agreement. “Just give me a year. One more year as the president of this charter and I’ll have all of my affairs in order.”

The entire table said “yes” in unison and I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. Pardon asking me to take him out wouldn’t have been easy or painless. I liked wet-work; guns were too quick for me, so when the club wanted someone to suffer, that’s where I would step in and take over.

Before Pardon had a chance to pound the gavel on the table, a loud commotion interrupted our meeting. I turned around in my chair and glanced through the blinds in the room and saw Ricki, Dallas’ mother and Pardon’s old lady, run toward the front door.

“What the hell?” Dallas asked, getting to is feet.

“Pardon!” Ricki called out.

We emptied out of the room and walked quickly toward Ricki to see what the problem was, when I noticed she was holding a small young woman in her arms. From what I could see she had long black hair, alabaster colored skin, and had cuts and bruises on her hands which were firmly gripping Ricki’s arms.

“What happened?” Pardon asked, crouching down next to Ricki.

“I don’t know. She hasn’t said anything yet,” she replied, stroking the woman’s hair. That was the thing I liked most about Ricki. She was tough as fucking nails, but she would be the first one to mother someone that needed it.

“Are you okay?” Dallas asked, crouching down on the other side of his mother. He put a hand on the girl’s shoulder causing her to recoil further into Ricki’s arms.

“Ah shit, honey. Did someone hurt you?” Ricki asked, understanding filling her voice.

I’d like to think of myself as kind of a tough guy. I walk the walk and I talk the talk, but when that woman looked up into my eyes, something about the way she held my gaze kind of scared me.

I couldn’t figure out why so I decided to shake the feeling away. I stood there while Ricki helped her off the ground and watched as Dallas and Pardon flanked her on the way to the nearest chair.

I stayed where I was and glanced out the broken down door. She had run clean through the heavy wooden structure somehow and a cool breeze was coming in. With one last glance toward them, I walked outside and looked up at the dark night sky, blanketed in stars and a bright white moon.

One thing Dad instilled in me when I was going through my rebel youth phase, was that almost any and every great man that has fallen in history has been due to a woman. He even gave examples: Samson and Delilah, David and Bathsheba, Starkweather and Fugate. He always told me that if I wasn’t careful a woman would take me down because I was destined to be a great man. Hell, if that were true, then I kind of hoped I’d find the Mallory to my Mickey; or at least my teenager self did.

But now, as a grown man in my mid twenties, I didn’t want to deal with the stress and confinements of a relationship, so I usually just screwed around with the club skanks who didn’t have an old man when I wanted to get off. It was more than enough to hold me over.

Reaching into my jeans pocket, I pull out a pack of half full cigarettes and light one. For some reason, a saying crossed my mind.(Insert here) will be the death of me.

I never did have anything to insert at the beginning of that sentence, because I was usually death. Glancing over my shoulder into the club and looking at that terrified girl that had come crashing in on one of the most important nights of the club sent a shiver through me.

For some reason, I understood that saying now. I understood why that was going through my head. If my gut feeling was right, I think what would be the death of me was sitting in an old office chair, leaning on Ricki’s shoulder.

Not if I can fucking help it. 

Four

Three weeks later, I was sitting at home when my phone rang. It was Dallas, but I decided not to answer. It was my day off so to speak, and I wanted to relax today and not deal with any club shit today if that’s why he was calling.

I never got that girl’s name or found out what happened to her, and it had been bothering me lately. Of course, the easy thing to do would be to just ask Ricki, but I wasn’t sure that I cared.

Ignoring Dallas wouldn’t land me on anybody’s good side, but after that lastthingI had to take care of, I definitely needed a little time to myself. I had lost it for some reason in the middle of my work and I was worried that it was becoming too much for me.

I did like it; that was a give in. I appreciated that they trusted me enough to do the hard jobs for them, but that last one ...

I never did find out what he did that warranted me taking him out, but Pardon had asked it to be especially brutal and I obliged. You didn’t say no to the club president and you didn’t ask questions past the information you were given.

I took a deep breath and decided not to think about it when there was a knock on the front door. With a sigh, I got to my feet and walked over and pulled it open.

“Where have you been, brother? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you,” Dallas said, raising an eyebrow.

“Decompressing,” I replied, stepping back to let him in.

“From what?”

“Shit in general. Anyway, what’s up?” I asked, leading him into the living room and sitting down on my couch.

“Pardon’s been looking for you. Says he needs to talk to you about something important,” he said, sitting down on the love seat and leaning back. “Want me to tell him that I couldn’t find you?”

“No. He’ll chop both of our balls off,” I said thoughtfully.

We were both silent so I decided to turn the television on to get some kind of noise. I hated silence; it always fucked me up on the inside. Unfortunately there was nothing good on, so I turned it off and tossed the remote control onto the space next to me.

“Can I ask you something?” Dallas asked.

“Yeah.”

“What did Pardon want to talk to you about? That night of the vote?”

“Nothing important,” I replied, rubbing the back of my neck.

“You’re lying, Swing. You always do that when you’re lying,” he pointed out with a laugh.

“It’s not important,” I insisted.

Dallas leaned forward and looked at me. I hated when he stared at me. To be honest, I hated whenanyonestared at me, but him in particular because he always thought he could break me with that look.

“Is that the only reason you came over? To tell me that Pardon is looking for me and to ask me what he talked to me about?” I asked in exasperation.

He didn’t answer right away; he was still using his mind control stare to try to get me to talk, but I refused to give in.

“Yeah, I guess so,” he finally said, leaning back against the couch again.

“I’ll come by the clubhouse later and talk to Pardon, alright?”

Dallas nodded and got to his feet.About damn time.I watched him from where I was sitting as he walked to the front door. He put his hand on the doorknob and hesitated.

“Are you sure everything is okay, Swing?” he asked.

“Just fine,” I replied with a nod.

With a slight shake of his head, Dallas left. I reached for the remote and turned the television back on, attempting to lose myself in the barrage of commercials that were on. Anything to not have to think about what kind of shit Pardon was going to give me for being unreachable as long as I had been.

After Dallas roared away on his Harley, I heard the mailman outside fussing with the mailbox. I rarely checked the mail so I knew he hated coming here. I waited until he left before I went outside to grab it. It had been the traditional two weeks I would wait before emptying my box and most of it would probably go into the garbage anyway.

I got up and peeked through the blinds, waiting til he disappeared down the street, before I went out my front door and grabbed the stack of letters and circulars that were waiting for me.

Once I was inside again, I went back to the couch and grabbed a cigarette from the pack that was sitting on the coffee table. Dropping the stack next to it, I reached for my lighter and lit it, before I started to thumb through the mail. As I suspected, most of it was garbage with the occasional bill here and there.

I was bunching all the junk mail together to take it to the trash can when I saw an envelope that caught my attention. It fell out of one of the circulars and landed on the table, the wordNEROscrawled on the front.

It was a rare thing that anyone called me by my given name and an even rarer thing to see handwriting I didn’t recognize. Balancing the cigarette between my teeth, I picked up the envelope, turned it over, and ripped it open. Inside was folded piece of paper, which I opened and looked at.

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID.

With a chuckle, I crumpled up the letter and walked toward the trash can with the rest of the junk mail. If someone was aiming to scare or threaten me, they’d have to be a little more specific. I did alotof bad things.

Five

An hour after the sun went down, I was pulling into the parking lot of the pawnshop. I called earlier and found out that’s where Pardon was going to be, so going in to the clubhouse to see the rest of the guys wasn’t going to be a necessity.

I actually appreciated that. I don’t think Pardon realized he was actually doing me a solid, by not having me go into the clubhouse and sit through an interrogation. Though I already knew he was going to put me through one himself.

After parking my bike, I walked toward the pawnshop door and pushed it open. Pardon was behind the counter sitting on a chair, and talking to Dallas.

I rolled my eyes but kept pace as I approached the counter.

“Hey man,” I said to Pardon and nodding at Dallas in acknowledgment of his presence.

“Where ya been hiding yourself?” Pardon asked, getting to his feet. He gave me a brief hug once I was behind the counter with him and Dallas clapped me on the shoulder.

“Taking some time for myself,” I replied honestly, with a shrug.

“What brought that on?” Pardon asked.

I shook my head and fixed my knit cap to sit more comfortably. “I don’t know. I didn’t tell you guys, but I lost it on that last one. I can usually hold it together and make the point I’m supposed to before I kill them, butfuck.”

“Lost it how?” Dallas asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I can’t explain it. It was just a frenzy that came out of nowhere. Anyway, that’s why I’ve been sticking to myself lately,” I explained quietly.


Page 3

Pardon and Dallas exchanged a glance and I sighed. I hated when they did that. It was almost as annoying as Dallas trying to break me with a stare.

“Anyway, you wanted to talk to me?” I asked, leaning back against the counter and supporting myself with my hands.

“Yeah. Give us a minute,” he said turning to his son, who obliged and left the pawnshop.

Pardon sat down in his chair again and I looked at him. The serious look on his face told me that this wasn’t going to be a good chat, but we were going to have it nonetheless.

“Remember that girl that came crashing in here a few weeks ago?” he asked. I nodded. “Well she’s causing some trouble for us so we took a vote. It was unanimous and we want you to handle it.”

“You can’t be serious,” I said in disbelief. “No way in hell am I doing a chick.”

“You don’t have a choice.”

“Fuck,” I said, pushing myself angrily away from the counter. I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but I really did like what I do, I just didn’t want to ever have to do it to a woman or child.

“Where am I going?” I asked, giving him an angry stare.

“Don’t you even want to know what the problem is?” Pardon asked with a chuckle.

“No. Fuck all that. I don’t even want todothis, let alone know what the problem is. So just tell me where I’m going so I can get this shit over with.”

Pardon laughed and reached over to the register. He ripped off a long piece of tape and wrote down a name, an address, and a physical description.

“I want double for this,” I said, snatching the paper from his hand.

“You’ll get it. Just be careful, brother. Don’t trust anyone.”

I stalked out of the pawnshop and went straight to my bike. I could hear Dallas calling my name, but I was so pissed at what I was just tasked to do, that I ignored him. Roaring the engine to life, I secured my helmet onto my head, before I headed out of the lot back toward home.

Six

Isat on it for about a month. Every time Pardon called to see if I had “taken care of the problem”, I would tell him I was still doing some research. In a way, it was the truth. I tailed her for a little while, checked out her routine, made notes of changes on what days. She seemed unassuming for the most part. Nothing out of the ordinary. I noticed she would be on her cell phone a lot, but other than that, she would spend most of her time alone. It made me wonder if she was in hiding. The daily routine was almosttooperfect the more I thought about it. 

After I all of that was said and done each day, I would go home and break something.

I figured the day I would be able to walk in andnotbreak anything in frustration of this bullshit task that was set in front of me, then I’d be ready to take out the mark.

Alaska. Her name is Alaska.

I rolled my eyes at my conscious correction of myself and pulled out all of the information  had gathered on her. I was sitting on my couch in the living room, where I did my best thinking, and turned the small box over.

The first thing I did was fish out the piece of receipt paper that Pardon had given me with her basics.

Alaska Winslow.

Short, thin.

Long black hair; blue eyes.

Her address.

Unanimous Havoc vote.

I had found out her work address, her schedule, her social media page, which was something I had only done once before with a mark. It was to see if there would be any family or friends that would miss them and she seemed like a bit of a loner.

That should make it easy. Hell, this should’ve been the easiest hit I had to do, but I was just so angry about it being a female, that I kept sitting on it.

Today was the first day though that I had come home and not broken anything. I reached the goal I had set for myself so I knew it was go time.

I put the receipt paper to the left and sifted through the pictures I had taken of her. I never did this much fucking research before in my life, but I also didn’t want to make this painful. Not for a woman, anyway. I wanted to get in and get out, clean and easy.

Reaching for my small flip notepad, I glanced at the time and found the page I needed. Today was Wednesday, 3:02 pm. She would be walking home in less than fifteen minutes from her usual visit to a local cemetery in town. I never went in when she was there so I didn’t know or care who she was visiting. I assumed it had to be some sort of family member, because according to her social media page, she didn’t seem to have any living relatives. None that she advertised anyway.

I put everything back in the box and took it to the closet. I popped it up onto the top shelf, before I went into my bedroom to change my clothes.

I picked out my usual outfit for this kind of thing. A white, long sleeved shirt, fitted dark blue jeans, and my heavy boots. It was almost the same thing I wore to the clubhouse on the day of the vote, but I hadn’t worn anything remotely close to this on my last hit, so I wanted to be comfortable. After I pulled my shirt over my head, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I wasn’t going to wear a cap for this; I never did. Instead, I was going to apply a small dab of pomade wax and slick my hair back; it always made me look more presentable when I worked.

Once I was done and satisfied with how I looked, I went back into the bedroom and pulled open my nightstand. Inside was my 9mm Beretta. I grabbed it and secured it in the waistband of my jeans, before I went into the living room to grab my car keys off of the table.

I went out into my driveway and climbed into my brand new black Shelby Mustang GT500, and reached into the glove compartment. After fishing around for a few moments, I found the silencer that went to my gun and set it on the passenger seat. It would serve to remind me not to leave it behind if I could see it.

With a deep breath, I turned the car on and backed out of my driveway. I was telling myself every reason in the world not to do this, and for a single, precious moment, I had almost talked myself out of it until I remembered that this was a vote. It was what I did and would have to do, regardless of the mark.

Never again. I’m not doing another woman after this,I thought as I turned the car left and headed out onto the main road. Oddly enough, Alaska didn’t live far from me. Maybe a fifteen minute drive at the most, so I was hoping she’d take her time today and be al little late.

When I finally pulled onto her street, I decided to park a few houses down. I didn’t want her to see me and get spooked. So, I leaned my seat back a little bit and crossed my hands behind my head, waiting for Alaska to come walking down the street.

Twenty minutes later, I saw her unmistakable small frame appear. I sat up and peered over the steering wheel to make sure she was alone. In a way she was; I noticed that she was holding a phone to her ear and she was laughing.

I pulled my gun free from my waistband and grabbed the silencer, screwing it on securely.This is going to be so bad. I can feel it.

I sat in my car and watched her. I wondered what inside of me would let me do this to someone like her, but I knew it had to be done. Once she started up the walkway to her home, I hopped out of my mustang and started toward her, gun gripped tightly at my side. It would be quick and painless I hoped. Then I could go back and tell Pardon that his miserable command had been taken care of.

I stopped a few houses down and went to the side of the brick home. I could still see her from where I was but she wouldn’t be able to see me. Nor would the homeowners know I was here, because it seemed like the driveway I jogged up was empty.

Alaska finished her phone call while sitting on the small stoop that led to her front door. She put the phone down next to her and pulled her long hair back into a ponytail, before getting to her feet and pulling her keys out of her shorts pocket.

Taking a deep breath, I moved away from my spot and started to walk toward her. By the time I reached her, she was just closing the door. Thinking fast, I called out her name.

“Hey, Alaska!” I said in the friendliest voice I could muster.

She stopped short and looked out curiously. I walked up the walkway and a look of recognition dawned on her face, the closer I got to her front door.

“Hey,” she replied curiously.

I approached her door and shoved it open, knocking her off of her feet in surprise.

“I’m sorry,” I said quietly, as I raised the gun, took aim, and fired.

Seven

Iwaited another day or so before I told Pardon that it was done. The look of fear and confusion in her eyes when I raised my gun had been plaguing me and I was angry.

Angry that I had done it. Angry that I hadn’t been man enough to stick to my fucking guns and not break my only rule.

I rubbed my hands over my face irritably before I reached for my phone. I was lying on my couch watching television and decided it was now or never.

I brought the screen to life and scrolled through the contacts until I got to his name and hit dial. With a heavy sigh, I put the phone to my ear and waited for him to pick up.

“Yeah?” he barked into the phone.

“It’s done, old man,” I replied.

“Where the hell you been?” he asked, angrily.

“Killing little girls because Pardon said so,” I shot back.

Pardon didn’t respond. Not right away and I could tell that my little outburst had pissed him off.

Good. Now you know how I’ve been feeling.

I expected chastising words to follow; something that would’ve put me back in my “place” when he spoke, but instead I heard the click of the line as he disconnected the call.

I reached down with the phone and let it drop on the living room carpet. Whatever. If he was pissed, he was pissed, and nothing I did or said was going to change that. I was honestly to a point with Pardon where I wanted to have the havoc vote again. I’d make damn sure it was unanimous and show him what rage really looked like.

And this all was because he made me break my rule.

It would take a long time for the fury inside of me to die down and I had to be sure to control it until it was time. Pardon’s time. Then I would swoop in like the Devil himself and give him a fucking amazing death.

Then maybe Iwouldtake the chair. I’d fucking run Tidals & Anchors the way my grandfather wanted. It wouldn’t be the shit show that Leon had turned it into. I closed my eyes and thought about all the things the club could be if I took the chair. We’d get out of the shady business of drug running that Leon had put us into. The money was good; the prisons were a great place to sell to and the income was way better than any nine to five job. The protection runs were my thing though; I didn’t want anything to do with the drugs, so if a certain politician or person of importance needed some shit to get in or out of Bend, I was the one that would always lead it.

I woke up with a start at the banging on my door. I hadn’t even realized I had fallen asleep until I opened and closed my mouth a few times, and felt the familiar dryness of slumber. I groaned and turned on my side, blinking rapidly a few times to get rid of the haze of sleep, before I pushed myself to my feet and went to the door.

Just as I put my hand on the doorknob, the incessant pounding started again.

“Alright already!” I yelled as I pulled the door open. It was Dallas and he looked worse for wear. “What the hell happened to you?”

“Pardon ispissed.What the fuck did you say to him?” he asked, walking past me into the living room.

I rolled my eyes. For a motorcycle club full ofmen,it was starting to feel like a gossipy group of high school girls.

“Dallas, if you’re here to ask me about what your old man and I talked about, it’s simple. I told him the job he needed done was taken care of. Now, if that answered all your questions, could you go? I kinda wanna go back to sleep,” I said eyeing my couch.

“Can’t. Protection run came up for tonight,” he said, dropping down onto the love seat.

I crossed my arms over my chest. It would be nice to have some more money, but if this was Pardon’s deal, I didn’t want any part of it.

“What’s the job?” I asked him.

“To get you the fuck out of Bend, ASAP.”

I raised an eyebrow at him, “What?”

“I told you; Pardon is pissed. He said he’s sick and tired of you running your mouth at him over the job you did. He wants you gone, Nero. Permanently. I talked to some of the guys I knew I could trust and we’ll get you safely out of here, brother,” he said, leaning forward and resting his forearms on his knees.

I stared at Dallas and felt the corners of my lips twitching.Pardon wants me dead?Then it happened; I threw my head back and I laughed until tears streamed out of my eyes. That was the funniest fucking thing I had ever heard in my life. For the club president to put a hit on someone whoshouldbe president, because he didn’t like the way he had been spoken to.

“It’s not funny!” Dallas snapped. “Today was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since Pardon took the chair, the two of you have been disagreeing on almost everything.” Dallas took a deep breath and ran his hands back through his hair. “Look, I get it. This isn’t what Harold wanted, but it’s what Leon turned it into and almost everything is done by vote. If you don’t agree with the shit that happened, that was when you should’ve spoken up. The bickering between the two of you is starting to wear on the club.”

“Wanna know what Pardon asked me that night that we were taking a vote on the chair?” I asked, thoughtfully. I was done with the secrets. Done with playing games, and done with playing the part of the servant to Pardon’s whims.

Dallas looked up at me curiously and nodded.

“Alright,” I said, walking over to the couch and sitting down. “He said thatifhe was voted out, that you weren’t ready for the chair. He wanted me to have it and if the vote was to toss him, then he wanted a havoc vote and he wanted me to take care of it.”

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