ESCAPING FREE (BOOK ONE)

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Chapter 26

DUSTY POV

As I sat with the guys at the bar, we discussed our next plan of attack as I calmed down over a few beers.


After reaming Aaron out for not being with her inside the store, he apologized to me and I knew it wasn’t his fault directly. Who would have thought Jimmy would come after Evie in the middle of a busy grocery store in broad daylight.


“I know a guy that sells goods to the Skeletors. I can see if he can be my eyes,” Gearhead offered.


I shook my head. “We can’t trust him. He might tell the Skeletors that we’re looking for them and then they’ll really lock their doors tight. No, we need to be smarter than that. We need to figure out how to bring them out into the open.”


The guys all looked at me with a nod. Then we heard a noise and looked toward the hall, my hard expression softening when my eyes landed on Evie. She looked fragile with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.


“What are you guys talking about?” Her voice cracked, which only made me want to get to her even quicker than my feet carried me.


I wrapped my arms around her. “Are you cool?” I cupped her face before I lightly kissed her lips as she nodded. “Can I get you something?”


She nodded again as she looked at my lips. Oh. That. I couldn’t think straight when she looked at me like this.


“Evie,” I warned.


Turning on her heels, she shook her head and headed back down the hall. Sighing, I went after her and shut the door behind us.


“Hey.”

She shook her head again as she stood there and stared at me.


“What’s wrong with me?” She whispered as tears welled up in her eyes.


Her words punched me right in the gut as I stepped forward and put my hands on her arms. “Nothing is wrong with you. Why would you say that?”


Her gaze moved up to mine and I silently scolded my dick for reacting. Fuck.


“I’ve been throwing myself at you and you don’t even want to touch me. You don’t want me anymore, do you?”


What the fuck? I was confused by this outburst of emotions from her. She was the one who wanted to end things. She was the one always walking away from me, but I’m the bad guy now?


“Believe me, I still want you.” My voice was deep and husky, filled with desire. “See?”


I grabbed her hand and cupped my dick with it, stopping when she wrapped her hand around my painfully hard erection through my jeans.


She sucked in a breath and looked back up at me, desire floating behind her gaze.


“That’s how badly I want you,” I whispered, lowering my head until I was centimeters away from her lips.


“Dusty,” she breathed, pushing her chest into me. “I…”


Her nearness was almost too much for me, and I didn’t let her finish her thought before I slammed my lips onto hers. She moaned into my mouth as I pulled her tightly against me, enveloping her, possessing her, and owning her.


Then someone burst into the room and interrupted us. Smokey.


“Dusty! We have to go. We’ve got a lead.”


I groaned as I pulled my lips from Evie’s, seeing them swollen and red from mine made me grin.


“Dusty,” Smokey urged.


“Yeah! Give me a fucking minute!” I snapped before I lightly kissed her lips again.


Turning to leave the room, I cursed Smokey out for interrupting us. Now I had a painful erection in my jeans and no time to relieve it. Fuck.

~~~~

I was horny and cranky, and those two emotions never mixed well with me. I left Evie to find Smokey, hoping like hell that this lead was fucking worth it.


“What’s this lead you’re talking about?”


“Some Skeletors just rode through town. I figured we could try to catch them before they left.” The smile on Smokey’s face told me that he was ready for a fight.


It had been months since anything really exciting had happened around her, and I could tell that Smokey was ready for some danger. We all were.


“Prospect! Get your ass over here!” Smokey yelled for Aaron before he ran over, wiping the grease from his hands. “Suit up, kid. Us big boys are going to show you how to handle business.”


Aaron’s eyes lit up as he dropped his towel and ran for his bike, starting it before I could even slide onto the seat of my own bike. Kid was excited, I’ll give him that.


The familiar rumbled between my legs was just what I needed right now. I needed a clear mind for what we were about to do, and riding on the open road tended to do just that.


Smokey took the lead out of the lot as I followed right behind him, catching Aaron out my peripheral vision behind me.


As I followed behind Smokey, I couldn’t help but wonder where we were going. These roads weren’t familiar to me.


Then out of nowhere, two bikes flew past us. I noticed them wearing Skeletor cuts and my heart skipped a beat. There they are! I shifted gears and flew toward the bastards on their bikes.


But then a van came out of nowhere to my right as I noticed the side door sliding open. Two men in ski masks knelt there with AK-47’s in their hands, pointing right at me and Smokey.


“Fuck!” I shouted as I laid on the brakes.


It was too hard, though. Aaron slammed into me from behind as our bikes and bodies crashed together. Metal on metal screeched all around us as pain seared through my body. When I finally came to a stop, I could taste the blood in my mouth as my right eye went blind from the blood dripping into it.


The sounds of gunfire erupted as I whipped my head toward the sounds, blinking several times so I could see. Smokey wiped out on his bike, too, flipping end for end.


My adrenaline pumped through my veins, but not before my vision blurred and finally went dark. I laid my head back on the concrete and closed my eyes, feeling all the pain radiating through me.


EVIE POV

I sat at the bar with Danny as Careen served us drinks, making us laugh with her good sense of humor. I knew she was doing it to lighten my mood, and even though she made me laugh, I still didn’t feel any better.


Especially since it had been hours since Dusty and the guys had left. Where the hell were they? What the hell were they doing?


And just like that, my questions were answered. The clubhouse doors flew open as I watched in horror as Smokey, Dusty, and Aaron came in. Smokey was holding Dusty up, who looked like he had been hit by a fucking truck, while the other tow looked just as bad.


“What the hell happened?!” Danny barked as he pushed up from his stool.


I panicked as I jumped up and ran to Dusty, touching him all over to make sure he wasn’t too badly injured.


He winced harder the more I touched him. “Talk to me. What happened?” I grabbed his chin and made him look at me.


“The Skeletors happened,” he coughed as Smokey released him so he could take a seat.


Aaron took the other seat, rubbing the blood from his face with the bottom of his shirt.


I watched the horror on their faces as I tried to stay as calm as I could, but they were covered in blood and dirt.


“Are you hurt? Do we need to call Angel?”


Angel, Danny’s wife, was the club’s personal doctor. Angel had studied medicine in her early days and tended to the men without having questions from the authorities and hospital staff.


“Already did that,” Careen answered as she walked over with clean towels and a bottle of whiskey. She handed them each a towel and stepped back.


The amount of blood on them, and now on the towels, made me a bit queasy. Hell, I should be used to blood after all these years in the club, but I wasn’t. Killing two men myself, you’d think I would be fine, but I’m not.


“What the hell?”


We all turned to find Axel storming down the hallway.


“What the hell happened to you guys?!” He shouted.


“They came out of nowhere,” Smokey choked out. “Those mother fuckers had AK’s and luckily they were bad shots, or this could have been a lot worse.”


My blood ran cold as I looked down at Dusty again, re-examining him for bullet holes, and thankfully not finding any.


“Dusty laid on his brakes to avoid the shots and I crashed into him,” Aaron began, “Probably a good thing he did, too…”


Axel nodded. “How did you get back here if your bikes were destroyed?”


Are you kidding me right now?! They were a bloody mess and almost died, and he wants to know how they got back here without their bikes? What in the fuck!


Dusty coughed before he replied, “It wasn’t easy. Aaron and I finally got our wind back and ran into an alley before we circled back around for Smokey. We got to him just in time because the van had circled back around and was coming for us again. We ditched back into the alley and ran until we found a place to hide. It took forever, but we walked back here, making sure to stay out of sight.”


“Good man,” Axel praised.


I was livid. How was all of this happening right now? When did our club become this?! We had done charity events and ran into the occasionally bad shit that involved taking someone out to keep them quiet, but never do I remember so many hits on us from the Skeletors. I wasn’t even sure why we all hated each other in the first place. Axel had always just past it off as two clubs butting heads over money and territory, but I didn’t believe that anymore.


“Dad, may I have a moment with you?”


“Can’t you see that I’m busy, Evie?”


“Axel,” I warned.


Sighing, he turned back toward the hallway. “Make it quick.”


I followed him down the hall and into the office before I slammed the door shut. Axel whipped around and glared at me.


“Stop slamming my goddamn doors!”


“Tell me what the fuck is going on,” I demanded.


“You know what’s going on as much as I do. I didn’t even know they left the compound.”


I shook my head. “That’s not what I’m talking about, Dad.” He searched my face as his brows furrowed in confusion. “Why does everything bad around here that deals with guns, blood, and death always circle back to the Skeletors? You haven’t told me everything. Two clubs like ours don’t kill each other over small amounts of money and charity runs.”


Axel sighed as he sat down in his chair, looking defeated. “You’re right. I haven’t told you everything. I didn’t want you stuck in this web.”


“I’m the daughter of an MC President, and you didn’t think I’d be stuck in the web? What’s going on? Tell me everything. Right fucking now.”


“It started many years ago. Right after I got patched in and before you were conceived. The Skeletor’s leader and I were best friends, and when I joined the club, he wanted to join too.” He ran a hand over his face and blew out a breath. “But at the time, our President denied him. He said he was too much of a pussy. Anyways, several years had gone by and I met your mother and we fell in love. But it just so turned out that Sally was Diego’s old lady first.”


“Diego is… the Skeletor’s President now?”


Axel nodded. “I had no idea at the time, and then your mom got pregnant with you and left Diego for good. Of course he was fucking livid about it and we battled it out. I won, obviously.” He grinned. “And then when you were around five, he joined the Skeletors and they became our rival. Diego turned them against us. Anyways, Charlie and Charlotte were coming down here with Jimmy so he could join the club, but on their way here, Diego found out about it and sent his men after them. They tried to take out their entire family, but only killed Charlotte.”


My mind flashed back to the time when Jimmy came here for his mom’s funeral. The time we had become so close.


“Well, we all wanted retaliation, and we just so happened to know where Diego’s son was heading that particular day and well… we took him out.”


I inhaled a sharp breath. After all this time, I finally knew the truth. My dad killed the President of the Skeletor’s son. Of course he would be angry, who wouldn’t be? But that was our life; an eye for an eye.


“And that’s what’s been going on this entire time? Revenge?”


Axel nodded.


“You killed his son,” I whispered as I sat down.


“Well, that’s the thing,” he paused as I whipped my gaze up to him, “Dusty actually killed his son.”


Shit. It all finally made sense to me now. Dusty had been away at the time of the funeral to learn how to be a man - in Axel’s words - and to be sworn into the club. Axel brought him with to exact revenge on Diego without having the blood on his own hands.


Dusty’s first murder.


No wonder why he was so distant and such an asshole to me during that time. Finally, some real fucking answers.

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