ESCAPING FREE (BOOK ONE)

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Chapter 31

EVIE POV

I had been trying to keep my hands and mind busy while the men were gone. It wasn’t working, even as I helped Careen out behind the bar. Cleaning and inventory weren’t doing a damn thing for me. Neither of us spoke a word, but we were both constantly looking at the clock as the needle continued to move without a single word from anyone. It was late and I was beginning to panic.


Angel was sitting at the bar, nursing a whiskey and staring at the clock too. Then we heard the music in our ears as several motorcycles headed into the parking lot.


Careen and I ran around the bar as fast as we could with Angel right behind us. But as we ran outside, my heart dropped. The men looked battered, bloody, and torn up.


“What happened?” Careen was hysterical as she ran to Smokey, checking him over.


“Danny’s hurt. We need to get him inside.” Axel was a big man and had a hard time fitting on his own bike, let alone having Danny on it with him. But when a brother was hurt, you did everything you could to get him to safety.


Angel ran to them, tears streaming down her face. “What happened, Axel?”


“Gunfight. Diego had Dusty at gunpoint. I had to do what I had to and it got ugly real quick.”


My heart sank into my stomach as I looked around and didn’t see Dusty with the guys.


“Where is he?” I bit my bottom lip as I tried not to freak out. Where the hell was Dusty? Was he hurt? Oh my God, was he dead?! I wouldn’t think about that, though. He’s okay. He has to be.


“He’s taking care of something,” Axel replied. “Help me get Danny inside. He’s been shot.”


Angel was a mess but she was a strong woman as she helped Danny off of Axel’s bike before the three of them headed inside.


I stood in the parking lot as all of them walked inside the clubhouse. I would stand here until Dusty came back. Nobody was telling me anything and it was starting to royally piss me off.


“Evie!” I turned to find Careen yelling for me from the front doors. “I need your help in here!”


Sighing, I turned and ran back inside. All I could do now was pray that Dusty was okay and would be home soon.


As I entered the clubhouse, I felt sick all over again. Danny was lying on the pool table with his cut draped over a chair and his shirt cut open as Angel worked on his bullet wound. There were bloody rags and bottles of vodka near him. Danny was screaming out in pain as Angel dug further into his wound.


Then I saw Smokey at the bar, blood on his forehead as Careen dabbed at the cut on his head with an alcohol soaked rag. He winced in pain at the sting from the alcohol but held steady.


My head was spinning as I circled around and found Aaron and Gearhead sitting at a table, also bloodied and out of breath. This was a complete nightmare. My knees buckled but right before I hit the ground, strong arms wrapped around my torso and held me up. I looked over my shoulder and into Dusty’s familiar aqua gaze.


I sobbed out in relief. I had almost lost him tonight and I had a feeling that he was actually dead. But now seeing him here in the flesh with his strong arms around me and blood on his face, I couldn’t help my emotions as I let them free.


“Evie.” His strong, deep, raspy voice surrounded me, and at that moment, I knew I would alway love him no matter where life took me.


Seeing him all bloodied while my family and brothers were covered too, made me realize that I was making the right decision to leave. This life wasn’t healthy and the sooner I got out the sooner I would be able to put this bloody mess in the past.


Spinning in his arms, I cupped his face. “You’re okay?”


He nodded. “I’m fine.”


“You’re a bloody mess.”


He gave me his half grin and nodded. “Yeah, that’s true, but I’m alive.”


I pulled him close as I buried my face in his neck and sighed. He was truly alive and well, no matter how battered and bloody he looked.


Then Axel interrupted everyone as he stepped away from Danny.


“Listen up!”


We all turned toward Axel, who had taken off his leather cut because it was covered in blood. I looked my father over and was thankful to see that he didn’t even have a scratch on him. He might be covered in blood, but it clearly wasn’t his.


“The Skeletors are all dead.” The room went quiet as everyone took in Axel’s words. “We should be able to live in peace now, brothers. We can move forward in the club and put blood and guns behind us.”


As much as I loved to hear this, I knew it would only be a matter of time before something else popped up and caused our club to be right back in the circle of blood and guns. I wouldn’t hold my breath.


“Danny is going to be okay, so let’s all have a drink, shower off, and get some rest.”


I noticed Axel and Dusty shared a strange glance before Dusty stepped away from me and grabbed a bottle of whiskey from behind the bar.


“What was that?” I asked.


“What was what?” Dusty took a long pull from the bottle before he offered me a drink.


I shook my head. “That look you share with Axel. Is there something you want to tell me?”


Dusty stared down at me for a long moment. “Can I get a shower and some rest first?” His voice was flat and sounded annoyed.


“Fine.” I went to walk away, but Dusty grabbed my arm.


“Don’t walk away from me again, Evie.”


“Or what?” I hissed.


His glare darkened. “Or we’re done for good.”


I held his gaze as a small chuckle came out. “We already are.” I ripped my arm from his grasp and walked away. Fucking asshole.


DUSTY POV

Damn, that woman is stubborn as hell! I can’t win for losing with her! And now that she had walked away, I had a feeling in the bottom of my gut that we were truly done this time. Fuck, I’m sounding like a broken record, aren’t I?


I took a pull from the whiskey bottle again before I slammed it down on the counter and walked back to my bedroom. A hot shower was at the top of my list.


As I stood in the steaming hot water, I watched the crimson-colored water go down the drain and couldn’t help but think about Evie all over again. I had lost her and I didn’t have a clue on how to win her back. Anger filled me as I smacked my hands against the shower wall, leaning forward to press my forehead there.


I had no fucking clue on how to fix things between us; if they were even fixable.


EVIE POV

I knew I should have gone to my dad’s house, but now that all of the Skeletors were dead, I didn’t feel like I was in any danger. Instead, I headed back to my apartment and sat on my couch as I let out a sigh. My phone rang and the thought that it might be Dusty made me irritated. I ignored it for a moment, but one glance at the screen told me it wasn’t Dusty.


It was the unfamiliar number from before. I hadn’t entered Milo’s number in yet, but I knew it was him. Why the hell was he calling so late?


“Hello?”


“Oh,” he sounded confused, “I didn’t wake you did I?”


“No, I’m always up late. How can I help you, Milo?”


“Well, I was going to leave a message because I knew it was late and I should have waited until morning, but I was too excited not to call you. I spoke with Limelight Records and they are thrilled that you’ve signed with us. We would like you to be in Memphis, Tennessee two days from now. We have set up a condo for you so you don’t have to worry about that part of the move. We want you to jump right into the music.”


I heard everything he had said, but it was difficult to let it sink in as I just sat there and stared out the front window.


“Two days?” I swallowed. That was really soon. A lot sooner than I had anticipated, but I knew that it was going to happen sooner rather than later. I had two days to say goodbye to my old life; to Dusty.


“Is that a problem?” Milo asked, sounding a bit disappointed.


“Not at all. I was just thinking is all.”


“Perfect. I will call you tomorrow so I can give you your plane ticket and information on what to do when you land.”


I nodded, biting my bottom lip as I remained quiet. My emotions were heightened as I thought about the small amount of time I had to finalize things here. This was something I’d wanted for years, but now that it was actually here, I was afraid. Everything I had done was orchestrated just right so I could leave, but as I sat there and thought about everything, I wanted to cry. My entire life was about to be turned upside down and I would be alone with my decision.


“I will talk to you then.” I finally said as Milo confirmed the time he’d call tomorrow before he hung up.


I sat frozen on the couch as I dropped my phone onto the coffee table. This is it. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to get away without anyone knowing. And how I would say goodbye to Dusty. This was going to be more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I thought I would be able to easily walk away from the life I hated, but it wasn’t going to be easy at all.

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