ESCAPING FREE (BOOK ONE)

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Chapter 28

DUSTY POV

“What in the actual fuck was that?” Axel stood in the hallway looking around with pure terror on his face. “Dusty.”


I nodded. “Gearhead just took off. I’m not pointing fingers or anything, but I’m pretty sure this was a direct hit from the Skeletors.”


Axel ran his hand over his face and sighed. “Fuck. Go after him and bring him back in one piece.”


I knew what I had to do, but right now, being on the road chasing after the very people who wanted all of us dead was the last place I wanted to be.


Nodding, I headed toward the door but stopped when I looked over at Evie. Her tear-stained face made my heart ache, but I knew I couldn’t go to her; she wouldn’t want me to. And right now, I should only have one thing on my mind. Saving Gearhead’s dumbass.


Taking a deep breath, I pushed through the broke and battered door and stormed over to my bike. I jumped on and tore out of the parking lot, hoping I could find Gearhead before they did.


But as the miles added up, Gearhead was nowhere to be found. I was getting irritated as hell and I just wanted to go back to the clubhouse to start cleaning up the mess. Then I’d have a cold one and try to put this day behind me. Today has to be one of the worst by far.


Reaching the edge of town, I knew I wasn’t going to find Gearhead, and the sooner I got back to the clubhouse the sooner we could put our heads together. I just hope like hell that the Skeletors didn’t already have him.


I stretched my legs when I got back to the clubhouse, glad to see that they had started the cleanup process. Plywood covered the shattered out windows while two mismatched doors hung in place where our custom-built ones once were. Pushing the doors open, I was relieved to see that the bar was pretty close to being back to normal, minus all the bullet holes in the back wall.


“Did you find him?” Smokey asked as he patted me on the back and handed me a cold beer.


I shook my head. “No, that bastard took off and I saw no trace of him whatsoever. I hope he knows what he got himself into, and I hope like hell that those bastards didn’t capture him.” I chugged my beer and then added, “The dumb son of a bitch.”


Smokey laughed. “That’s Gearhead for you. He’s always acting irrationally and getting his ass in hot water.”


I looked around and saw that only Smokey and Careen were here at the moment.


“Where is everyone?”


Smokey sighed. “Danny is at home resting while Angel looks after him. Aaron went to the lumber store to get some supplies, and Axel took Evie home. She was pretty shaken up, man.”


I could only nod. I honestly didn’t know what to say or do. Evie no longer needed me, so I was just going to sit here and enjoy this beer and not say a damn thing.


“I’ll be in the basement helping Careen bring up the rest of the stock to fill the bar. Yell if you need anything.” Smokey disappeared through the door behind the bar that led to the basement.


“How are you doing, hon?” Careen came out of nowhere, wiping down the bar as she made her way over to me.


I shrugged. “I’ll manage.”


“You know things will go back to normal tomorrow. Evie has been through a lot lately and just needs some time. I’m sure she didn’t mean to push you away like that earlier.”


She has no idea.


“Yeah, probably.” I went back to nursing my beer, hoping like hell that I could fix things between Evie and me once again.


EVIE POV

As I sat on the couch, Axel came in with a beer and sat down in the recliner next to me.


“How are you doing, kid?” He popped open his beer and took a greedy drink.


The room was silent and only one lamp illuminated the space. It matched my mood perfectly.


Shrugged, I replied, “I’m okay. I don’t know what happened to me when those bullets started flying. I felt like,” I paused, looking over at Axel, “I felt like I was back in that truck all over again, and I was almost waiting for a bullet to penetrate my stomach. It brought back all the memories from that day… of all the things I lost.”


Axel nodded. “You’re probably going to have that for a long time, Evie, but keep pushing forward. You’ll never forget what those bastards took from you that day, but at least you still have your life. We’ll always be here for you, Evie. The club and I, of course, will always have your back.”


As he spoke those words, I felt a ping of guilt in the pit of my gut at the thought of leaving. The club and this world was all I ever knew and walking away was going to be the scariest thing I’d ever done. Forget about the men I’d killed, forget about all the crap I’d seen and done for the club. What stressed me out the most was stepping into the world on my own two feet. I had no idea which way was up or who I could and couldn’t trust. I would be relearning life all over again without the club wrapped around my finger.


“Thanks, Axel.”


“I better head back to the clubhouse and see how things are going. Will you be okay here alone?”


“Yeah.” I nodded, staring down at the beer in my hands. “I’m just going to take a hot shower and then probably crawl into bed. I’ll be fine.”


“Call if you need anything. We’re only three minutes away.”


I nodded as Axel slammed the rest of his beer and disappeared from the living room. I heard the click from the back door shutting behind my dad.


Naturally, I took this time to work on my music, but after what happened today, I didn’t have it in me.


DUSTY POV

It was nearly midnight when I was able to finally lay my head on a pillow. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep the shit away, knowing I’d have to face everything again in the morning. But for now, I could get lost in my dreams. I had been dreaming about Evie a lot lately, and it was always peaceful dreams; an escape from reality.


But just as I was about to drift off into fantasy land, my bedroom door flew open and Smokey turned the light on. My eyes burned from the brightness as I sat up.


“Dude, what the fuck?” I barked.


“You’re not going to believe this,” Smokey choked out between his heavy breaths. “Gearhead is back… and he has a Skeletor.”


My ears perked as I jumped out of bed with excitement.


“What do you mean he has a Skeletor?”


Smokey grinned from ear to ear. “That son of a bitch pulled it off. I don’t know how, but he captured one of them. He’s got him down in the basement right now tied up to a chair.” Smokey laughed as he turned and stormed out of my room.


I got dressed as fast as humanly possible before I shoved my feet into my boots and stormed from the room. So much for some fucking sleep, but this was going to be worth it.


The basement was dark and dingy and smelled of mildew. It was the perfect place to torture this bastard for some intell, and I was so excited that I flew down the stairs two at a time. I was anxious to get my hands on this prick and get some fucking answers.


The guy was younger, probably in his twenties, with dark hair and tattoos crawling up his neck. Gearhead must have done a number on this kid already because he looked like he had been thrown into a wood chipper. He was a bloodied mess and barely conscious.


I looked around and saw that they had already torn off the guy’s leather cut and threw it on the floor. It was custom to destroy the cut of a captured prick, but they were probably waiting for Axel to get over here first.


“How the hell did this happen?” I finally asked as Gearhead spun around and grinned at me.


“He was a real bastard to catch, but I finally got him. Kicking and screaming.”


One look at Gearhead and I knew he put up a good fight. He was all busted up, too. They clearly went a round or two before Gearhead got the upper hand. I was a first hand witness to how hard he could punch.


“Any information yet?” Gearhead shook his head at me as I sighed.


I stepped forward as the kid looked up at me through swollen eyes.


“What’s your name, kid?” I asked, grabbing his chin.


“Fuck you,” the kid croaked out.


I couldn’t help but laugh and admire the kid a little bit. Even after all the beatings he’d clearly endured, he was still biting his tongue. Talk about loyalty.


“Listen, kid, the sooner you talk the sooner you get to go home to your shitty club.” I tried to keep my voice level as I grabbed a chair, spun it around, and sat on it backward before I rested my forearms on the back of it.


“I don’t know shit.” The kid’s voice was weak, but he was clearly trying to be strong.


“You know something. Everyone who wears a club cut knows something.” I looked down at the kid’s leather cut on the floor and saw his rank patch. “Tail-gunner, huh? Well, you obviously know more than you say because you’re the Road Captain’s second hand man.” When the kid looked away, I kicked his foot and brought his attention back on me. “What’s your name?”


I waited patiently as the kid looked at me, biting his bottom lip as fear swam through his gaze.


“They call me Vinny.”


I nodded. “Good. Now Vinny, what can you tell me about the Skeletors? Have they been involved with anything regarding the Wicked Saints?”


Vinny only smiled.


“Tell us, you fuck!” Gearhead punched him, making Vinny lose his smile as he spit blood onto the basement floor.


“How’s your kid, Parker?” The kid asked with a grin.


I felt all the blood in my body run boiling hot as my vision turned red.


“What the fuck did you just say?!” I screamed, slamming the chair to the floor as I grabbed this little prick’s shirt by the collar. “You have something to do with killing my kid?!” I screamed again as I shook.


Vinny kept laughing and it only made my rage swell. Nothing could stop me as I began to pound my fist into this kid’s face. Once. Twice. Three times before his body went limp in the chair.


Gearhead grabbed me, throwing me back. “Chill man. We need him alive yet! Fuck.”


I stood over Vinny’s limp body, my chest heaving as tears filled my eyes, burning them. Gearhead tried to touch me, but I shoved his hand away and stormed back upstairs. I was livid and felt sick. I stormed past the bar where Careen asked if I wanted a beer and kicked the back door open.


My heart hammered as I tried to regain some control, but I couldn’t. I screamed like a fucking banshee as I dropped to my knees.


What the hell was I doing here? The club had been my life since I was thirteen years old. Hell, probably sooner than that since my dad was a member, but looking back over the last few weeks, I couldn’t remember how I got here. Or, why I wanted to stay. The shit was really messed up and I didn’t have a single idea on how to fix it.


The back door creaked open as I blew out an irritated breath. Couldn’t I just have five fucking minutes alone?


“Son…”


Axel placed his hand on my shoulder as I bowed my head and cried, bringing my hands up to cover my face. Crying was weak, and I hated that my President saw me this way, but I couldn’t stop.


“I heard everything. We’re going to get revenge on them, Dusty. We’re going to get revenge on Jimmy.”


It never occurred to me that Jimmy had been working with the Skeletors. Deep down, I had suspicions but now it was confirmed. Why the hell would Jimmy work with the Skeletors? He was supposed to be a Wicked Saint. He could have followed in his dad’s footsteps and ran the northern chapter himself. So, why would he betray his dad? His club? His brothers?

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