I was all smiles as I drove back to the clubhouse. How could I not be happy? I just signed a piece of paper that was going to change my life, the kind of change I had been waiting for for years and it was finally here.
But pulling into the clubhouse, I lost my smile. The guys were running around with serious looks on their faces, some of them carrying guns, and my heart sank into my stomach. What the hell was going on? I flew into my normal parking spot and jumped out. Smokey and Danny were strapping AK’s onto the back of their bikes.
“What the hell is going on?”
“Well, look who finally decided to show up,” Smokey joked. “You’ve missed out on a lot, sweetheart. Gearhead came back last night with a member of the Skeletors and Dusty finally broke some information from him.”
“We know where Jimmy is,” Danny piped in. “We’re heading there now to blow those fuckers into outer space.”
I felt my heart drop again, knowing that I was a member of the club. Should I be going with them? Part of me wanted to so I could put a bullet between Jimmy’s eyes myself, but then the other part of me didn’t want to go because I was so close to getting out.
Danny must have seen the look on my face and answered my thoughts. “No way in hell are you doing. Dusty wouldn’t allow it anyways. You just stay here and wait.”
I let out a nervous laugh. “Wait? Yeah, because that sounds like fun.” My hands shook as I looked around. Even though I was still pissed off at Dusty for the photo that was sent to me, I couldn’t help but think this might be the last time I saw him. Going in guns blazing spelled death with a capital D, and I was afraid for him.
When my eyes landed on Dusty standing next to his bike about ready to get on, I stopped thinking and let my feet carry me over to him.
He looked up from his bike at me, his aqua blue eyes sparkling as his features softened when I approached. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I knew deep in my heart that I’d regret not saying goodbye to him if something bad happened today. I had a bad feeling about it and there wasn’t a single thing I could do or say to stop them from going. This was happening whether I liked it or not.
I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him long and deep, devouring his familiar taste. Then I broke the kiss and whispered against his lips, “Come back to me.”
I sat there stunned as I watched Evie run toward the clubhouse and stand with Careen and Angel, who were standing there with worried looks on their faces. What the hell just happened? Just yesterday, Evie couldn’t even look at me, and now she kisses me and wants me to come back to her?
But I didn’t have time to think about that. I had a dangerous mission to complete today and I needed my mind sharp and clear for the task at hand. Evie would have to wait. Again.
I watched as Axel came out of the clubhouse and hugged Evie, guns ready as he strapped them to his bike and slid on. This was it.
Then one by one, we all rode out of the compound. The woman came into view in my side mirror before they slowly disappeared. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the moment. I had to clear my head before we went in.
We pulled off just outside of town and hid behind a cluster of pine trees as we waited for the sun to go down.
“So, here’s what I think we should do.” Axel pulled out an antique looking map as I realized it was an old map of the coal mine. “We separate into two groups so we can surround them.”
I would have liked to have more men with us, but we didn’t have time to wait for the other members to come from other chapters. No, we needed to act quickly or our window to get Jimmy would be closed again.
“Dusty,” Axel began, “take Aaron and Smokey and head around the south side of the mine. There’s an old coal chute you should be able to climb to the second level. Meanwhile, Gearhead, Danny, and I will storm in from the north side. It’s their only good way out. You guys should have plenty of cover on the second floor as you ran fire down on them from above. They will probably start firing back, making their way to the door on the north side where we’ll be waiting.” Then he looked among all of us. “Take Jimmy alive.”
I thought it was a good plan, but I knew how things like this worked. Nothing ever worked out to plan, but we would do what we could with only six men.
Nodding, Axel shoved the map back into his cut. We stood there for what seemed like an eternity as we waited for the sun to drop behind the horizon. When it finally did, I felt my heartbeat rise. I was nervous.
We left our bikes, wanting to have an element of surprise, and walked the long distance in the woods until we reached a clearing that overlooked the old mine. I saw some lights on in the main building, the one Vinny said they’d be as I scanned the surroundings for any men who might be out holding security around the perimeter. It looked quiet.
Axel nodded at me. “Ready for this, son?”
I nodded as we all separated in our two groups, making our way down the rocky hillside. It was completely dark out now and hard to see much of anything, but once we made it down the hill, the lights from the main building illuminated the area just enough to be able to see where we needed to go next.
I turned to Aaron and Smokey. “Aaron, go around back and check out the old chute and see how easy it is to climb. Smokey, go with him and check out the other side of the building while I stay here and keep this side secure.” They nodded at me before they turned and ran off.
Turning around to scan along the building, I was met with a man standing in the shadows. I pulled my gun up to shoot, but it was too late when the handle of his met my face with a crack. A sharp pain seared through my nose as I fell to the ground on my knees. The guy hit me once more as the rings of darkness closed in on my vision.
“Why the fuck aren’t they shooting yet?” I hissed over my shoulder to my men. “Something isn’t right.”
We jumped at the unfamiliar voice behind us as they raised their guns. Bright lights started clicking on one by one until the whole front of the building had turned to daylight.
We stood there with our guns in the air, only to find ourselves completely surrounded by the Skeletors, completely out-manned and clearly out-gunned.
“Shit,” I cursed under my breath. Looking around, I noticed we were surrounded by at least fifty men, one, in particular, made me want to start a gun war. Jimmy Dunken. He stood among the Skeletors like they were his brothers, a stupid victorious grin on his face.
“I think these two belong to you.” One of the Skeletors stated while he shoved Aaron and Smokey forward, making them fall to their knees in the center of the stand-off.
I felt my heart tighten in my chest. If these two were here, where the hell was Dusty?!
“Looking for this one?”
I whipped my head toward the familiar voice I hadn’t heard in years. Diego. My blood ran cold at the sight in front of me. Diego held Dusty by the neck while he held a gun to his back. Dusty had blood smeared on his face and it took everything I had not to open fire right then and there. Dusty was my son, damn it; blood or not.
“Let him go, Diego. This is between you and me,” I hissed.
Diego laughed. “You don’t think I know that, old man?” Then he gave me a chilling smile. “I figured this would be a nice touch. A son for a son.”
My mouth went dry as my hands shook. This was it, Diego finally found a way to drop me to my knees.
“You don’t want to do that, Diego.”
“Sure he does,” Jimmy stated as he stepped forward, pointing his gun at Dusty’s head. “And if he doesn’t. I will.” He laughed.
I looked down into Dusty’s eyes and for the first time in my life, I saw fear there. Dusty was a hard-ass and could always take care of himself, but at this exact moment, he knew he was going to die.
Taking a deep breath, I raised my gun in one fluid motion, pointed, and pulled the trigger.
The scene in front of me was like a slow motion video. The bullet went right between Diego’s eyes as he fell backward. Jimmy turned to Diego as his grip tightened on his gun, turning his glare to Dusty. Jimmy pulled the trigger just as Dusty realized what had happened and rolled to the side, Jimmy’s bullet missing his head by an inch. Then it was war. Bullets flew everywhere as the Skeletors and Wicked Saints began raining fire on each other.
I had never acted quicker in my entire life, but hearing that bullet before Diego fell to the ground told me I needed to react fast. I looked over at Jimmy as I saw his hand squeeze the trigger. I fell backward, feeling the wind of the bullet graze past my head before gun-fire erupted around us.
Grabbing Diego’s gun, I spun around to shoot Jimmy but found that he was no longer there. Where the fuck is that bastard? Standing to my feet, I dodged bullets while shooting a Skeletor as I ran through them. I wasn’t leaving without Jimmy.
Then I saw him. He was running like a coward, leaving his brothers to fight his fight as they fell to their deaths around them.
And before Jimmy could disappear into the old coal mine, I tackled him to the ground and began to pound his face in. I remembered Axel’s words: Take Jimmy alive. I would, but I never promised that I’d take him without a few broken bones.