“He told me that if I sleep with another guy he’ll cut off his dick and feed it to him,” I said. “And then he told me he wouldn’t make any promises about not sleeping around himself. He did say he wouldn’t bring anyone home, so I guess I’m supposed to feel good about that? Um, no.”

“Ouch,” Marie muttered. “That’s not gonna work.”


“Nope,” Maggs replied. “Although I see where he gets it. Some of these guys, they f**k anything that moves. They have their old ladies at home, ass on the side, and everyone just pretends it’s not happening.”

“Why would anyone think that’s okay?” I asked. “I don’t get it.”

“I don’t get it, either,” Marie said. “But it’s not really my business, telling other people how to live. I know what I’d do to Horse, though. He’d be praying for death by the time I finished with him.”

“He would be,” Em added grimly. “Marie’s real good with a gun.”

“Yup, I’d shoot his dick right off, one inch at a time,” she confirmed. “And trust me, he knows it.”

“Well I don’t care how other people live,” I said. “If they want to let their men sleep around, that’s their business. But I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with it. Not good enough for me, and no way I want Noah growing up thinking that’s how you treat a woman. Ruger can take his offer, stick it on a fork, and shove it up his ass. Now I need to find a job and somewhere to live, because I’m sure as hell not living with him any longer.”

Maggs nodded, reaching into her back pocket and pulling out a tiny flask.

“It’s medicinal,” she said gravely. I twisted off the lid and took a quick sniff, which led to a sneezing fit.

“What the hell is that?”

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“My own special mix,” she said, waggling her eyebrows. “Trust me, it won’t solve a thing, but you know what it will do?”


“Distract you,” she said. “You’ll be too busy trying to put out the fire in your throat. Bottoms up!”

I took a swig. Damned if she wasn’t right.

Four hours later, my throat still burned from Maggs’ special medicine. I’d decided not to leave—the girls convinced me that I shouldn’t let him win by running away.

Making sure Ruger didn’t win was extremely high on my list of priorities.

The party was surprisingly fun. Maggs and I stuck together, seeing as both of us were man-free. She wore Bolt’s property patch so guys left her alone. I wore a ring of hickies that darkened and grew nastier as the night progressed, which may or may not have served the same purpose. It would’ve been totally humiliating, except I’d already decided I didn’t give a flying f**k about any of the Reapers or their sluts.

And there were a lot of sluts floating around, including Blondie from the kitchen. She gave me a nasty little one-finger wave. More showed up every minute, multiplying like rabbits. To be fair, most of them seemed like pretty nice people, but I was heavily invested in hating them.

I kept wondering which ones Ruger had f**ked.

The old ladies—there were about ten total—were a different group entirely. I liked them a lot and was sorry I wouldn’t be getting to know them better. Maggs and Marie must’ve spread the word about my situation, because nobody asked me any nosy questions. The girls kept me so busy I hardly had time to think about my humiliation.

I did learn a few interesting things, though.

For one, Maggs shared why Bolt was in jail. It was an ugly story. Apparently he’d been convicted of raping a girl who worked at The Line. We were sitting in a couple of camp chairs over by the playground, watching over the kids, when Maggs started talking about it so matter-of-factly that I thought I hadn’t heard her right at first.

“Um …” I said, desperately searching for some kind of response. What do you say when someone tells you her man’s in jail for rape?

“He didn’t do it,” she said, shrugging. “He got set up.”

I looked away, wondering how a woman who seemed so smart could be so stupid. Who stays with a ra**st? If he’d gone to prison, odds were good he’d done the crime.

“No,” she said, taking my hand and squeezing it. “I can see what you’re thinking. It’s not like that. I was with him when it happened, hon.”

“Didn’t you tell the cops?” I asked, eyes wide.

“Of course,” she replied. “But the girl ID’d him and there was another witness who said they got into a car together. They never tested the DNA, although we’ve got a lawyer working on that. He says it’s just a matter of time before we get him out. It’s not Bolt’s DNA, but the state lab is so far behind it takes a f**king miracle to get them to lift a finger. The cops said I was lying to cover for him. Made me look like a criminal and a whore on the stand.”

“Damn,” I said. “That’s horrible, Maggs.”

“Tell me about it,” she said, her face sober. “I love him so damned much. Bolt is a wonderful man. He’s done some crazy-ass shit, but he’s not a f**king ra**st, you know? But being a biker’s old lady? To the cops, that means you’re nothing more than a club puppet. My testimony meant jack shit by the time they finished with me. He’s up for parole in a year anyway, but I want his name cleared.”

“Why haven’t they processed the DNA?”

“Good question,” she said. “New excuse every day. Fucking prosecutors.”

Huh …

I didn’t know where to put that, so I fell quiet. What I didn’t do was get up or look away, because while I’d only met Maggs recently, I believed her. She wasn’t stupid and she wasn’t weak.

Scary to think the system could be so corrupt.

“They definitely screwed Bolt,” Marie said, plopping down next to us. “But the local prosecutors aren’t all bad. I got off on self-defense last year, after things went down with my brother.”

I glanced over at her, curious, but she seemed lost in thought. That story could wait for another day, I decided. If we had another day. The girls were being supportive, but whether they’d be friends long-term was iffy. I got the impression that once you left the club, you were out … and I was out before I’d even gotten in.

We settled in to talk about other, happier things as the sky darkened. By nine, the kids were all gone and things started getting wilder. The music went up and women’s shirts started coming off, none of which fazed my new friends. Then the guys started a big bonfire and broke out a fresh keg. Couples started disappearing into the darkness. I tried not to look too closely, afraid Ruger had already found someone new to screw. He was free to do whatever the hell he wanted. Didn’t mean I needed to watch.

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