“Yeah,” Horse replied. “She’s got an email. He’s a smart little f**k, he’ll be waiting for her to reach out. Might be able to use him to feed the Jacks information, offer him a way out. We have a shipment we can afford to give up for an ambush?”

“We got something coming through in a couple of weeks,” said Grenade, the LeGrande charter’s VP. “You leak it, we can set things up. Might not be bad to hit them back at the same time. Send some boys down to Cali, raid ’em while we ambush up here.”


“Not a bad idea,” Picnic mused. “Guys from Roseburg could do it. Thoughts?”

“I like the idea of turning him,” Deke replied. “Take it from there. I don’t want to send men down unless we’re sure we’ll catch the Jacks off guard. Could be a bloodbath otherwise.”

“That settles it then,” Picnic said. “We need a vote? Any opposed?”

Nobody spoke.

“All in favor.”

Assorted “ayes” echoed around the room.

“That’s settled then,” said Picnic. “You guys staying tonight? Got the girls pulling together food and shit already.”

“Sounds good,” Deke said, grinning. “Eat and drink while you can, boys. Got work to do tomorrow. Fuck with us and we will f**k you back!”

“Hell yeah!” someone yelled.

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Church was over. Time to party.

Horse didn’t plan on getting drunk, but it felt good to kick back with his brothers. Em’d brought shit for Marie, which he took upstairs after church. He’d grabbed her some pizza and a couple of beers too, and spent half an hour sitting with her. But she didn’t look at him, didn’t kiss him back when he’d tried to get close, so he figured she needed some space. Hell of a lot to process, he got that.

Downstairs things were getting crazy—always the case when charters got together, particularly when blood was in the air. Didn’t get much bloodier than the Devil’s Jacks. Tonight wasn’t a family party either, something Picnic made clear when he sent Em packing after she dropped off Marie’s things. Horse grinned, thinking of her. Poor kid, at this rate she’d be fifty before she found a man.

As he sauntered into the main lounge, a girl wearing a miniskirt and thigh-high fishnets, along with a bikini top so small it defied physics, brought him a beer, reaching around his waist and rubbing her boobs against his arm. Some chick from the Line, he couldn’t remember her name. He gave her a pat on the ass, then shrugged her off. Sweet butts and strippers, place was crawling with them, hospitality for the visiting brothers. Horse chugged the beer and handed the cup to another girl as she walked by. He wanted a word with Ruger before things got too crazy.

The man wasn’t in the main lounge or the meeting room, so Horse headed back toward the office. They kept their records there, at least the official ones, and Horse stored the legitimate business accounts there too. It was convenient and would make things efficient if they ever got served with a warrant. Just for fun, he’d filled a couple lockboxes with shady-looking paperwork and decoy overseas account numbers—he liked the idea of some cop blowing his wad if he found them, then spending months trying to put it all together. Horse opened the door to find Picnic pounding into a woman face down on the desk, his pants around his ankles, her hair pulled back like reins.

“Getting an early start?” Horse asked, smirking. “No wonder you wanted Em the hell out of here. You’re a perv, you know that?”

“Get the f**k out unless someone’s shooting at us,” Picnic grumbled and Horse laughed, closing the door and heading back toward the shop. Ruger was a hell of a gunsmith and he did his most sensitive work back there, away from any curious eyes at the gun shop. If the visiting boys needed hardware, that’s where they’d find it. Horse threw open the door and saw Ruger at his bench, holding up a fully automated assault rifle, one of his specialties. Several of the brothers stood around, talking shit, while one of the Portland men reached for the gun.

“It’s a thing of beauty, but not exactly practical,” he said, laughing as he hefted it. “Can’t see this in my saddlebags. Like something out of Thunderdome.”

“Yeah, I know,” Ruger replied. “But these dumb-fuck militia dicks can’t get enough of ’em. Think they’re all Rambo or something. ‘Master race’, my ass, I make a fortune off those idiots.”

“Ruger, got a minute?” Horse asked. Ruger ambled on over.

“What’s up?”

“Marie’s upstairs, and I’m thinking about security for the next few days,” Horse said. “You got any thoughts on that? I know manpower’s limited, and I’m wondering if we wanted to rig up any extra precautions.”

“Already ahead of you,” Ruger said, flashing a smile. He flicked his lip ring with his tongue as he grabbed a laptop from the bench, popping it open. The guy looked scary as hell with his tats, mohawk, chains and piercings, but around technology he was more like a little kid at Christmas. Ruger popped open the security control panel for the clubhouse on the laptop, and he clicked on a multicolored layout of the armory and surrounding property. “See here? We’ve got the cams and basic motion sensors, of course, but I’m planning on putting in some new stuff around the perimeter, right here. We need detection, but I’m also worried about manpower. I want to rig some traps that we can trigger by computer or phone if we need to. I know we can’t count on the electronics a hundred percent, but we can only spread ourselves so thin. This gives us more options.”

“Can we put something outside her room?” Horse. “I know it’s not a top priority, but I’d like to keep an eye on her. Just in case they buy off one of the girls or something. This probably won’t come down to a frontal assault.”

Ruger scratched his head, considering.

“I can rig something up for you,” he said. “Won’t be until tomorrow. After I fix the guys up back here I’m ready for some pu**y. Speaking of, you sure about yours?”

“You sayin’ I have a pu**y?” Horse asked, crossing his arms and cocking an eyebrow.

“Don’t be an ass**le, you know I meant your girl upstairs. I get that you’re into her. But she knows his life is at stake and we might be the ones to kill him. You might want to consider the possibility that she’s working with Jensen on this. She’s only human, Horse.”

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