“Problem?” he asked, raising a brow and looking from the phone to Horse.
Horse shook his head.
“No problem,” he said, tamping down his anger. He’d made his choice, taken a stand in front of the club. He’d play it out. But Marie was damned well going to pay him back that fifty grand one way or another. “Decided it’s time to get a new phone, that’s all.”
“What was wrong with the old one?” Ruger asked, his voice mild.
Sept. 17—Present Day
Horse looked down at Jeff, feeling detached.
The man knelt in the middle of the floor, hands cuffed behind his back, Picnic standing over him with a gun. Blood ran down his face—they’d given him a decent beating, but not serious enough to need a hospital. Just bad enough to make him really, really uncomfortable and hopefully scare the hell out of Marie.
He’d have a few permanent scars to help him remember not to f**k over the Reapers too.
“I wonder if sissy’s gonna bail you out?” Picnic asked Jeff. “You really screwed yourself this time, little man. Do you not know our motto? Fuck with us and we will f**k with you.”
“I’m sorry,” Jeff whispered, eyes wild behind his puffing eyelids. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose, you’ve got to give me another chance.”
“How many chances do you need?” Horse demanded. “It’s hard to keep a straight face, listening to you talk.”
Jeff’s phone pinged on the counter, and Ruger picked it up.
“Text from Marie,” he said. “She’s gonna be home in a few, leaving the store now.”
“Text her back,” Jeff said quickly. “Please, she doesn’t have anything to do with this. Don’t let this happen, just tell her not to come home for another hour. Don’t let this be her last memory of me.”
“Shut up,” Picnic said, sounding exasperated.
Jeff shut up.
“You guys said this was a dump, but I didn’t realize just how bad,” Ruger said, leaning back against the wall, crossing his arms in front of him as he surveyed the room. “Can’t believe you let your sister live like this, f**kwad, especially given how much money we’ve been paying you.”
“I’m a shitty brother,” Jeff mumbled. “I know that. But don’t hurt Marie, she’s a sweetheart. Right? Never hurt anyone, doesn’t deserve this.”
“Oh I’m sure she’s sweet,” Ruger replied, smirking. Horse shot him a dark look, but it didn’t shut him up. Ruger grinned at him. “You can’t seriously expect us not to f**k with you over this, Horse.”
Horse shrugged—he didn’t, actually. What a mess. Fifty grand out the door for a woman who didn’t even want him. He ran a hand through his hair. At least he’d finally get to f**k her.
For fifty grand her cunt better be lined with gold.
“She’s pulling up now,” Painter said from his station near the window. “Got an armful of groceries. Should I help her carry them in?”
The men just looked at him, Picnic shaking his head in bemusement.
“Joking, right?” asked Ruger.
“Sorry, guess I didn’t think that one through,” Painter said. Horse had his doubts about the prospect—still pretty young, and so green. Could take him years to earn his top rocker at this point. The door opened and Marie walked in.
“I’m so sorry, sis,” Jeff said, the words muffled and broken. Marie looked around the room frantically, disbelief and shock written all over her face. Horse felt his c**k harden and decided he was one sick f**k. The woman was terrified and she didn’t want him, yet she still turned him on. Of course, just about everything she did turned him on.
Everything but throwing his offer to take her as property back in his face. Fuckin’ bitch and her text messages. He might’ve paid fifty grand for her, but she claimed a million wouldn’t be enough?
She should be grateful to him for saving her brother.
Picnic looked at Marie and winked. That was creepy, even to Horse, and it surprised him that she didn’t have a heart attack on the spot. Good, he wanted her afraid.
“Little brother’s been a bad boy,” Picnic said. “He’s been stealing from us. You know anything about that?”
She shook her head, a grocery bag falling, apples rolling on the floor. One hit Horse’s foot and it took all his willpower not to kick it at Jensen’s head.
“I don’t understand,” she said, giving her brother a pleading look.
“He’s supposed to be working for us,” Picnic said. “Pretty good with that little laptop of his, sure you get that. But instead of working he’s been playing at the casino with our f**king money. Now he has the balls to tell me that he’s lost the money and can’t pay us back.”
He punctuated the last four words with jabs of his pistol’s thick, round barrel into the back of Jeff’s neck. Marie looked stunned, blinking rapidly. Horse could almost see the thoughts racing through her pretty little head.
“You got fifty grand on you?” he asked casually.
“He stole fifty thousand dollars?”
“Yup,” Horse said. “And if it doesn’t get paid back right now, his options are limited.”
“I thought you were friends,” she whispered, eyes darting between Horse, Jensen and Picnic.
“You’re a sweet kid,” Picnic replied. “But you don’t get who we are. There’s the club and everyone else, and this stupid f**ker is not part of the club. You f**k with us, we will f**k you back. Harder. Always.”
Jeff’s mouth trembled, tears welling up in his eyes. Horse’d been surprised the guy didn’t start bawling earlier, to be honest. Then Jensen pissed his pants.
“Shit,” muttered Ruger. “I f**king hate it when they piss themselves.”
He looked down at the man and shook his head.
“You don’t see your sister pissing herself, do you? What a little bitch,” he said, disgusted.
“Are you going to kill us?” Marie asked, starting to tremble. She’d lost the color in her face. Horse looked at Jensen, disgusted. What kind of ass**le put his sister through something like this—not just this, here, but living in a dump like this, working all day changing diapers for minimum wage?
“I mean, would you really kill people you shared pictures of your daughters with?” Marie asked, studying Picnic’s face. “One of them is about my age, isn’t she? Can’t we work something out? Maybe we can make payments or something.”