Horse shook his head.

“Marie can’t lie for shit,” he replied, pinching the bridge of his nose, feeling tired. “And even if she was, she doesn’t know a damn thing. Couldn’t be his source of information.”


“If they’re talking, she wouldn’t have to be his only source,” Ruger replied, his tone reasonable. “He might be using her. I don’t think she’s screwing you on purpose—”

“Oh, she’s definitely screwing me on purpose,” Horse replied, deadpan.

“Fuck you,” Ruger replied, grinning. “You know what I mean. She’s the victim in this situation and she believes in her brother. She tells him about your day-to-day life, he puts that together with a couple other sources, could add up. You don’t tell her about club business, but she sure as shit knows when we’re on a long run. All the women do. Fuck, for all we know he’s on Facebook with them or something, pretending to be some chick they know. You get enough old ladies talking about their men being gone, it adds up.”

“Shit,” muttered Horse, shaking his head. “Never thought of that. This is a pain in the ass, you know that?”

“Ya think?” Ruger asked, rubbing a hand across his tattooed scalp and the short buzz of his mohawk. “So you want cameras on her. Sure you don’t want something inside the room too?”

“Nope, don’t want your sick ass watching us f**k,” Horse replied. “But I do want to check on her, make sure nobody’s lingering, trying to get to her. You know what I mean? Oh, and a GPS on her car. Want to be able to find her. Make sure she doesn’t see you, want to keep her safe, not freak her out more.”

“I’ll do it tomorrow. Right now I need someone sucking my dick, and unless you’re planning to share your old lady, I got higher priorities than this conversation.”

Ruger grinned and Horse laughed, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing it hard enough to leave marks.

“Touch Marie and I’ll cut off your balls.”

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“Yeah, right,” Ruger replied. “So much for taking care of your brothers, you cock-blocking bastard. Talk to me tomorrow and I’ll set it up to feed to your phone, along with the computers.”

“Thanks, man,” Horse said.

The party was raging back in the main lounge. Two girls were bumping and grinding each other up on one end of the bar, and a third served up body shots in the middle. Duck, the filthy old pervert, sat back on a couch with a barely legal redhead eating out his mouth with her hand thrust down between them, working furiously. Picnic caught Horse’s eye across the room, apparently finished with his important business in the office. The man gave a chin jerk, inviting Horse to join the Portland and LeGrande officers at his table.

“Interesting times,” Picnic said as Horse grabbed a seat. “Deke tells me the Portland boys are itching for this.”

“Glad for the excuse,” Deke said. “Jacks’ve always been trouble, we all know that, but they’ve been working up on us for a while. Nothing too overt, always just this side of what’s acceptable behavior. Wearing their cuts on our territory, dicking with support clubs, that kind of thing. There’s a group of them that’s set up near Brooklyn Park. They’re just camping in some shitty rental and doing their thing like they think they’re citizens or something. I know two of them are going to school at PSU, if you can believe it, and they aren’t doing anything for us to call them on, besides existing and being general ass**les. No respect.”

“They’re up to something,” Horse replied as yet another half-naked girl set a beer down in front of him. “They always are. Shit, if it was us, we’d be up to something.”

They all laughed, knowing he was right.

“My thoughts exactly,” Deke replied. “And since we’re the ones losing shipments, I’m thinking there’s a good chance the leak is close to home. But no matter how much we check on the local guys, we haven’t caught them doing shit. I wanted to ask you about this Jensen guy. How good with computers is he? Do you really think he could hack in, pull stuff from our home computers, that kind of thing?”

“Yeah, he’s good,” Horse said. “Guys like him are why I do the books on a laptop without a wireless card. Lock it in a safe, back it up once a week and keep that backup in a different safe. That’s the only kind of computer security we can really trust.”

“That’s what I thought,” Deke replied. He tugged on his short, black goatee, shaking his head. The Portland president was a big guy with long, black hair he kept in a ponytail. His arms were covered in full-sleeve tattoos, and the rumor was he operated as national’s unofficial hit man. Horse didn’t doubt it for a minute. “We find him, we have to get rid of him unless he hands us the Jacks. Even then, might have to get rid of him.”

Horse nodded, knowing the truth of it. Fuck, this was gonna kill Marie.

“If it comes down to that, can you make it an accident? Maybe in a couple of months?”

“I can,” Deke replied, glancing over at Picnic, who shrugged. “Gotta tell you, I’m a little concerned about your commitment on this one, Horse. You seem more worried about your girl’s feelings than someone f**king with the club. We got a problem?”

Horse shook his head.

“No problem,” he replied. “This is my life, I know that and she knows it too. Just hoping to walk out alive and still keep my old lady. We all make sacrifices. Hoping mine isn’t bigger than it needs to be.”

“Good to hear,” Deke said. “I’ll keep that in mind. Make our lives easier if the Jacks killed him anyway.”

“That’s the truth,” Picnic said. “But don’t count on it—they’ve never done anything to help us before, doubt they’ll start now. Wish we had better control over the timing, but it’ll be good to take them down, especially given your situation, Deke. But that’s enough business. I know you boys had a long ride today. Time for some hospitality.”

Picnic glanced around, spotting a couple of girls standing not too far away. He whistled, calling them over.

“Take care of Deke and Grenade for me, will you?”

They smiled and obediently moved toward the visiting charter officers. Picnic looked at Horse and cocked an eyebrow.

“You planning to partake tonight?”

Horse shook his head.

“Got something better waiting for me upstairs,” he said. “Giving her some time to settle in, get used to what’s happening. That’s all.”