“Bam says Horse is crazy for you,” Dancer said. That caught my attention in a big way. “Never seen him this way. You may not get this, but my brother doesn’t exactly have trouble finding women. He doesn’t need to drive across the state to get laid, Marie. And this collateral bullshit? The club doesn’t work that way, this is a special situation. He’s never brought anyone home before. Never.”
“Really?” I asked, still uncertain.
“Never,” she replied. “It’s a rule of his, actually. ‘No bitches in the house.’ Drives me crazy, he’s such a dumbass, sexist pig about it. Been that way since high school.”
“Wow is right,” chimed in Em, a tall, slender girl with a shy smile. “I never thought Horse would hook up with someone. We’re excited to have you here. I’m Picnic’s daughter.”
“I saw your pictures!” I said, placing her now. I could see Picnic’s features in her face, although softened and feminine. “He showed them to me once when they came to visit. He’s really proud of you.”
“Thanks,” she replied, blushing. “It’s good to have you here. Dancer’s right, the club is like a family and sometimes it feels like we’ve got a lot more brothers than sisters. We’re excited to get to know you.”
“No kidding!” chimed in Cookie, a bouncy, petite girl who had bright red curls, green eyes and lots of freckles. “I’m Bagger’s old lady. You haven’t met him, he’s over in Afghanistan right now. We girls have to stick together, for sure. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Maggs and Dancer and the others to keep me sane.”
“I guess that means it’s my turn,” Maggs said. “I’m with Bolt, you haven’t met him yet either. He’s down in Kuna, at the prison.”
That caught my attention. Why was her man in prison? I felt for her, thinking about visiting Mom in jail. Prison had to be so much worse, and for longer too. I knew for myself that good people could do stupid, stupid things.
“My mom’s in jail right now,” I told her, taking her hand. “She’s going to get out in a few months though. Have you been on your own for long?”
“About two years now,” she replied, looking momentarily tired. “But we’re working on an appeal. I know everyone says this, but Bolt honestly didn’t do what he went down for, and we can prove it. It’s actually been kind of a big case. Every time there’s a hearing we have reporters come around like a bunch of f**king scavengers—there’s a big scandal about prosecutorial misconduct and mishandling DNA evidence. At least I don’t have to deal with it alone though.”
“Exactly,” said Darcy. “None of us are alone. And this isn’t all the girls either. This is just the posse I managed to round up on short notice. Between the Reapers and the Silver Bastards there are about fifteen old ladies, and we stick together.”
“What about those girls at the party last night?”
Em made a gagging sound.
“They’re definitely not family,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Bunch of sluts and losers.”
“Some of them are nice girls,” Cookie protested. “I met Bagger at a club party.”
“That was a real party,” said Em. “Not one of those drunken f**kfests my dad likes to pretend I don’t know about.”
“Whoever they are, they aren’t old ladies,” said Dancer firmly. “They aren’t like us, and you aren’t like them,” she added, catching my eye.
“And that’s why we’re here,” said Cookie. “We decided you probably need a break, so it’s ladies’ night. We’re going to take you out and show you just how much fun your new sisters can be.”
I sat up straight, shaking my head and leaning forward to set down my untouched beer. They might not understand my situation, but I certainly did. Going out to party was not on the agenda. Horse left me with orders and I intended to follow them.
“I don’t think Horse would like that,” I said. “He told me to make dinner, I think he was planning something…”
I trailed off as Dancer walked over to my purse, pulled out my phone and scrolled through the numbers, hitting one and putting it on speaker. It rang and then I heard Horse’s voice.
“Babe, what’s up?”
“This is your sister,” Dancer announced, flashing an evil grin. “We’re kidnapping Marie and taking her out tonight. You’ll just have to jack off if you get horny. She’ll be busy.”
There was a pause from the phone.
“Give the phone to Marie,” he said. “I need to talk to her.”
I lunged for it, but Dancer tossed it to Cookie, who jumped up on the couch to hold it out of my reach. “Too bad! I’ve got a cooler full of jello shots and a flask, so we’re gonna have fun fun fun! You might as well camp out at the armory tonight, stud.”
The girls all laughed, but I felt a little sick. I couldn’t afford to piss Horse off. They might think I was part of the “family” now, but I knew better.
“Put Marie on the f**king phone,” Horse said again, and the tone of his voice was not amused one little bit.
“This is Dancer again,” said his sister, grabbing the phone from Cookie and taking it off speaker. “You might as well give up, Horse. We’re going to take her, she needs a break and you’re a dick if you won’t let her have one. I heard what you did last night. Poor girl probably needs therapy after that. I promise I’ll take good care of her and drive sober. Find something to do that doesn’t involve shooting anyone, okay?”
Then she hung up the phone.
I stared at her, stunned.
“You can do that?” I asked.
“Hang up on Horse.”
Dancer burst out laughing.
“Oh, he’ll be pissed. He and Bam’ll probably bitch to each other all night. But we’re just going out for a little fun and he’ll look like a pu**y-whipped baby if he makes too big a deal out of it. And our boys may be pu**y-whipped, but they sure as f**k don’t want to look like they are. It’s all good.”
I wasn’t too sure about that.
“Time for shots,” said Cookie, hopping off the couch and walking toward the kitchen. The others pulled me to my feet and dragged me down the hallway, my phone left behind. Then the music started and things got a little crazy.