“Maggs said he needed to check me out for the waitress job,” I told him quickly. “She said it wasn’t personal, not a big deal at all.”
Ruger’s eyes darkened.
“When a man asks to see a woman’s tits, it’s always personal,” he said slowly and clearly. “And yours belong to me. No f**kin’ way I’m letting you work at The Line. And keep your damned shirt on. Christ, it’s like I’m talkin’ to myself half the time.”
“No worries,” I said, not bothering to argue. Pointless. “I’ve had enough of this club, I’m leaving. Em and I plan to watch movies and eat ice cream.”
Ruger stilled, then reached out and brushed my hair behind my ear, his touch gentle. I felt myself relax a little. Maybe he wasn’t as angry as I’d thought. Then his fingers slid deeper into my hair and his eyes hardened.
His hand tightened painfully as he jerked my mouth into his. His tongue stabbed deep into my mouth, possessive and dominant. His other hand caught my arm, jerking my body forward into his as he twisted it up and behind me. One knee shoved between my legs, and he slanted his head, taking everything he wanted and more.
My body loved it, the faithless bitch.
The fight had left him sweaty all over, sending out pheromones so strong it’s a wonder I could still stand upright. I wanted to wrap my arms around him but he held me too tight, controlling every move.
I was starting to sense a pattern with Mr. Don’t-Come-Until-I-Tell-You.
Finally he pulled away, both of us gasping for breath. He still held me tight, completely incapable of movement even if I’d wanted to get away, which I didn’t. My brain had checked out a while back. His hips ground into me, c**k more than ready to finish things off.
“You belong to me,” he said, voice harsh.
“Ruger—” I started, but a sudden, loud, feminine scream tore through the air.
Ruger dropped me and spun around, covering me with his body as he scoped out the situation. The screaming continued, and then I heard a roar of masculine rage. In the dim firelight I saw a man tear across the courtyard, with about ten more guys chasing him. He hit the far wall, jumped high and caught the top with his hands, pulling himself over.
“Holy shit,” I muttered.
“Stay out of the way,” Ruger said, turning to me. His eyes were deadly serious, and for once I had every intention of doing exactly what he said. “I’ll send one of the girls over, then you get the f**k outta here. Walk to your cars together. Got me?”
“Shouldn’t we call the cops?” I asked as the screaming died down. Now I heard crying and angry shouting. “Someone’s hurt. What the hell is going on?”
“No idea what happened,” Ruger replied. “We’ll get help, no worries. But don’t call the cops. We handle things ourselves, within the club. Do what I say for once and wait for me to send someone over. Then go home and stay there. I can’t deal with this and worry about you, too.”
I nodded and he kissed me hard, then ran off toward the Armory gate. In the distance I heard bikes roar to life and then a gunshot. I slid down the wall and sat, knees drawn up tight against my chest, and did my best to obey Ruger perfectly.
Maggs came over ten minutes later. Her face was grim and she had streaks of blood on her arm. I stood and threw my arms around her, clutching her tight.
“What happened?” I whispered.
“Fucking Toke,” she muttered. “There’s some sort of club shit going down. They voted on it today, supposed to be a done deal, but Toke—he’s out of Portland—had a few too many beers and decided there should be a recount. He started fighting with Deke and pulled a goddamned knife, waving it around like a jackass.”
“Who was screaming?” I asked. I pulled away and looked down at her arm. “You’re all bloody. Who got hurt?”
Her eyes hardened.
“Em,” she said. “Cocksucker caught Em with his knife.”
Shock hit me and I felt myself sway.
“Did anyone call an ambulance?” I asked, glancing around the courtyard. Beyond the fire I saw someone sitting on the ground, surrounded by women.
“She’s fine, thank God,” Maggs said, her voice harsh and angry. “It’s not a bad cut at all. We’ve got a guy who’ll give her a few stitches, keep the whole thing off the radar.”
“What about that gunshot?”
“Pic wasn’t too happy about his baby girl getting cut,” she said, which I figured was a bit of an understatement. “Had to be him. Toke took off, right over the wall, and I’ll bet he’s setting a new land-speed record right now. If he’s smart, he won’t stop ’til he hits Mexico. Em’s a special girl, everyone loves her. Not to mention pulling on his own president. This is more than a fight—it’s club business. Toke just stepped in a giant, steaming pile of shit.”
“Let’s go,” Maggs said. “They want all the girls cleared out. Marie and Dancer’ll stick with Em, but the rest of us are no longer welcome. We need to stay out of the way. Hell, at this rate we’ll be posting bail … Be sure to sleep with your phone tonight.”
“You serious?” I asked, eyes wide.
“If Pic catches Toke, shit’ll get ugly,” she said. “But don’t worry—our boys are smart. They’ll keep the situation under control.”
“And the bail thing? That was a joke, right?”
“Just keep your phone close, okay?”
My hands shook so hard I had trouble getting the keys into the ignition. Maggs offered to follow me home but I wanted to go by myself. I had a lot to think about and I didn’t feel like company. Clearly, Ruger and I had different definitions of what normal, appropriate behavior looked like.
For one, I felt that long-term relationships should be monogamous. He felt they should be monogamous for me and open for him. Another issue? My parties usually wound down when people ran out of food and got tired.
His occasionally ended with stabbings and high-speed chases.
And last, but certainly not least, I tended to think sex should be private. He liked rubbing his sperm on my stomach in front of his friends after branding me with hickies.
I needed to move out.
Immediately. No more messing around.
The more I thought about what had happened, the angrier I got. Em could’ve been killed. I might already have a f**king STD, seeing as I screwed the King of the Man-whores—condom-free—in a damned shed, because I’m classy like that. Oh, and what’s-his-name might’ve raped me in the darkness, just because I’d had the nerve to take out the trash when it needed emptying.