Maggs was Bolt’s old lady, and he was in prison. She looked very normal for a woman with a man in jail, and not “old” at all. I didn’t think much of this whole “old lady” business, but the Reaper girls seemed to use it with pride. Maggs had shaggy, shoulder-length blonde hair full of wild curls. She was petite and perky and had such an infectious smile you couldn’t help but smile back at her.

I really, really wanted to ask why her man was locked up, but managed to keep my mouth shut for once.


Dancer was tall and elegant, with bronzed skin and long, straight hair. Had to be part Indian, I decided. Coeur d’Alene Tribe? I didn’t want to ask, but it seemed likely, since she’d grown up here. She was married to a guy called Bam Bam, and Horse was her half brother, born right after her mother married his father when she was two years old. Em was young, probably younger than me. She had the most amazing sky-blue eyes with dark rings around the edges of her irises. She was about my height and had brown hair pulled back in a messy bun. She was Picnic’s daughter, whoever he was.

The last of the old ladies was Marie, a short girl with lots of long, brown, wavy hair and a bright, bubbly personality. She was with Horse, which I found hard to picture. He was huge—you’d think he’d break her or something. She wore an unusual engagement ring, a blue stone surrounded by sparkling diamonds. Apparently the wedding was at the end of the month. The big, intense biker I’d met in Seattle hardly seemed like the type to get hitched, but he was obviously ready to sign on the dotted line for Marie.

She made it clear I was invited to the wedding and her bachelorette party, the likes of which would put the Reaper men to shame.

Attendance was not optional.

When they’d rung the front doorbell on arrival, it was the first time I’d come back upstairs to see the ruins of the kitchen and living room. Surprisingly, Ruger had cleaned up quite a bit since that morning. The place didn’t shine like before, but the bottles were gone and he’d put the love seat back on the floor. The women came through the door in a wave, all hugs and smiles and bags of food and drink. I showed them downstairs and introduced them to Noah, who’d spent the afternoon picking wildflowers in honor of our dinner together. My grubby little boy melted them instantly, of course.

“I have a son who’s a year older than you and another who’s a year younger,” Dancer told him. “Maybe you can meet them sometime.”

“Do they have Skylanders?” Noah asked, never shy. “If they have Skylanders, we should play at your house. Otherwise they should come here, because I want to show them the pond.”

“Um, I’ll talk to your mom and get it figured out,” Dancer said.

Noah shrugged and took off outside again. He wasn’t one for wasting time on useless conversation.

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The only awkward moment was when Kimber arrived, shortly after I put Noah to bed. She marched down the stairs smiling brightly, but when they saw her, Maggs and Dancer got funny looks on their faces. Whatever they knew about her, Em and Marie clearly weren’t aware of it.

“Hi, I’m Kimber,” my friend said, setting a blender on the counter. She surveyed the room and crossed her arms, planting herself firmly. “Let’s get this over with. I used to work at The Line and I screwed Ruger and a lot of other guys. Mostly customers, but a few from the club. Anything else we need to talk about, or does that about cover it?”

“Holy crap,” Em said, eyes wide. “You make a hell of an entrance.”

“It would’ve been better if I could carry the vodka and mix with me in one trip with the blender,” Kimber replied seriously. “Now—you girls into huckleberry margaritas? I’m kind of a margarita artist, or so I’ve heard. We can hang out and have a great time and drink together if you like. Or you can take turns calling me a whore, which is a lot less fun for all of us, but still doable. Either way, I’m not leaving, so let’s process and move on.”

“You screw Bolt, Horse, or Bam Bam?” Em asked, clearly fascinated. The tension in the air suddenly grew heavy.

Kimber shook her head.

“Nope,” she said. “Don’t even know who Horse is. Met Bolt and Bam Bam a few times, but never got close to them. They’re whipped—at least that’s what I heard.”

“Like the sound of that,” Dancer murmured, a slow smile crossing her lips. “We’ll just skip the whore thing, then?”

The tension broke, and Kimber demonstrated that she was, indeed, something of a margarita artist.

Now it was nearly midnight and we’d progressed past blender drinks. Kimber had been queen of the party girls in high school, and clearly she hadn’t given up her title entirely.

“You have to understand,” she said, her voice grave as we sat in a circle around Ruger’s deck table. “I love being a mom. But I need to get out sometimes, you know? I had no idea their little bodies held so many fluids!”

Dancer started laughing so hard she almost fell out of her chair.

“Know the feeling,” she gasped. “Sometimes it starts spraying out and out and out and you’d think they’d deflate or something!”

I gave Kimber a loud high five, happy she had a kid she loved and even happier mine was mostly past the spraying phase.

“That’s why I’m not having babies anytime soon,” Em declared. “Lose your freedom and your mind, apparently. You’re pathetic, all of you.”

“Gotta have sex first to have a kid,” Marie said, waggling her eyebrows dramatically as she poked Em’s shoulder. “I keep telling you, we need to just go out and get you laid. Get it over with, punch that V-card.”

“If I get ten punches, do I get a free pizza?” Em asked her. “Seriously, I don’t know why I’m waiting at this point.”

“Well, don’t bother waiting for Painter,” Maggs said, rolling her eyes. “He’s had his full patch for three months now. He hasn’t manned up yet, it’s not gonna happen.”

Em frowned.

“It’s not like that,” she said, shaking her head. “I was into him, okay? Liked him a lot, actually. But he blew it. He cares more about not pissing off my dad than being with me.”

“To be fair, your dad has a bit of a reputation,” Dancer said, her voice dry. “He shot your last boyfriend. Thinking about that’s gotta mess with a man’s head.”

I looked at Em with new interest, trying to remember who her dad was. Oh, yeah. Her dad was Picnic. Picnic? What kind of name was that? Almost as weird as Horse …

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