“Baby,” I whispered to a still sleeping Rachel.
“Hmm,” she let out an adorable grumble as she turned to face me.
“Are you coming to the clubhouse with me?”
“No.” Her voice was laced with sleep, making it sexier.
“I’ll be there all day. You can take the truck if you want to come see me.” She made a noncommittal noise. Kissing her cheek, I left her alone, naked in our bed.
Staying in bed with her sounded like a much better idea than going to the clubhouse.
It was a good thing I had a truck otherwise she’d be stuck at the house whenever she didn’t want to go with me. Living in the city she’d never needed a car before. Things were different out here.
I took the long way to the clubhouse, enjoying the wind blowing in my face as I rode.
Brenda was still making breakfast when I came in. Bless her. She hadn’t had sex with a single brother since the pregnancy scare. I was a little worried she was going to abandon us all together.
The guys would starve.
A chorus of “heys,” and “prezes,” greeted me as I slid into the booth with Hawk and Bender.
“Your girl knocked up yet?” Hawk asked.
“What? She’s allowed to ask if I can’t get it up but I can’t ask if you’ve knocked her up yet.”
He had a point.
“Yeah. We need a future president around here,” Bender said.
“Guess that means we need a future Vice President and future sergeant at arms,” I said pointedly while grinning.
That shut them both up.
I smirked. Bender gulped uncomfortably. The thought of an old lady made him break out in hives. But those were usually the ones who fell first. Hawk just had a forlorn look on his face. I hoped he found someone soon.
The rest of breakfast passed in silence. Neither of them dared say another word.
As Brenda and some new soul sucker I hadn’t yet learned the name of were cleaning off the tables, Hands came running in to the clubhouse, dragging Liza in behind him.
“Everybody here?” He shouted, pulling Liza to him with his arm around her waist. He looked around. Not everybody was here but he continued anyways. “Liza is pregnant!”
“Again?” Hawk shouted.
“Jesus. How many is that now?” Bubbles yelled.
“Four,” he said proudly.
“His pull out game sucks,” Liza said. Everyone erupted in laughter while Hands looked proud by the fact. “I need a drink,” she said, clearly less enthused by the pregnancy than her old man.
“In seven months, baby,” he cooed at her, wrapping her in a hug. She huffed, leaning up into his ear. His face paled to an unhealthy shade of white as she whispered in his ear. Pushing him away she walked towards Brenda.
“What’d she say?” Bender asked as he sat in the booth with us.
“That if I want to fuck her again after this baby is born I need to get a vasectomy.”
Bender laughed so hard he falls out of the booth.
“If your pull out game was better you wouldn’t need one,” Hawk deadpanned.
“My pull out game is fucking fine.” He wanted her pregnant. He wanted a whole damn football team’s worth of kids with her.
I finally understood it. I wanted the same with Rachel.
“I can’t with you whipped fuckers,” Bender said before finally pushing himself off the floor and sliding back into the booth next to Hawk. Yeah. He was definitely next.
He’d have an old lady before Hawk. It was always the ones who seemed to want it the least.
Hawk and Bender were gossiping like high school girls and I was ignoring them when Seal walked up to the table. Bender slid away after he was finishing whatever gossip he'd been spilling.
“Boss,” he said, sliding into Bender's now vacant spot. He slid me a file. “New security detail request.” I looked over the file. Dangerous shit.
“We’ll need to vote it.” He nodded, already knowing what I would say. “Who you want with you on it?”
“Tank and Echo.”
“Those two enough?”
“Church!” I yelled Hawk pulled his burner phone out texting the guys who weren’t already here.
In less than fifteen minutes all the guys were here and I was sitting at the head of the table.
“Seal’s received a security detail proposal,” I began. “I know we usually don’t vote on the security details but this one could potentially bring heat to the club. Seal?”
Echo pushed some buttons on his laptop screen and flipped it around so it was facing us. “This is the daughter of Eduardo Gomez, the overthrown president of Mexico.”
“The federales can’t protect her,” Seal said. “Corruption is so deep there she doesn’t know who to trust. She’s got a place to go in Canada but she needs outside help getting there. Our help,” he emphasized.
“If we do this,” I started. “It could put us on the radar for multiple cartels all over Latin and South America who rely on their corrupt governments.”
“The girl know something?” Diesel asked.
“Everything,” Seal said. “She’s not planning on doing anything with the information, but she’s a loose end for them either way.”
“Expendable,” Hawk said darkly.
“Security company is separate from the club,” Bear said.
“It is. They’ll do the job with no signs of the club on them. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be made.”
“How long will it last?” Hands asked.
“Two weeks tops,” Seal answered easily. Eighteen heads nod around the room.
“Profit margin?” Hawk asked.
“Gig pays a shit ton,” Seal said.
“Usual split for the club. We’re the fourth party. So we get twenty-five percent. Seal, Tank and Echo each get twenty-five percent.”
“What exactly is a shit ton?” Diesel said on a laugh.
“Even million,” Seal whistled out. They were already sold. Money was theirs greatest motivator.
“Vote it,” Diesel said enthusiastically.
“Aye,” I said. We go around the room and not a single nay is called.
“Set it up,” I said to Seal while hitting the gavel on the table.
Excitement for a big payout carried my men energetically out of the meeting room.
They would go crazy tonight before the op started tomorrow.
When I finally made it to the bar, I was surprised to find Rachel sitting in a booth with Megan and Liza.
“Shouldn’t you be working?” I asked, sliding in next to her. Turning her head she kissed me quickly, completely ignoring my question as she listened to Liza list her pregnancy symptoms.
“You’ll be next,” Megan chirped.
The look on Rachel’s face would be comical if it didn’t hurt a little.
If I had my way she’d already be pregnant.
She didn’t say anything.
Clearing my throat, desperately trying to save face, I repeated my question. “Shouldn’t you be working?”
“No. Chrissy is in court today. We have a new client tomorrow. I just came to see if Megan and Liza wanted to go shopping. The house needs some decorating.”
I couldn’t argue with her. The space was sterile. I’d barely lived in it.
“But then we got distracted talking about babies,” Megan said, steering the conversation back in the direction she wanted it to go.
I didn’t mind the subject matter either. What I did mind was how uncomfortable the topic made my girl.
“Here,” I said, holding my credit card out to Rachel.
She stared at it as if it was the most offending thing she’d ever seen, like the card itself was actually offensive to her.
“I make my own money,” she said, her voice dripping with annoyance.
“It’s our house. We can share the the costs.” She rolled her eyes at me.
Sliding closer I forced my body against her, my lips against her ear. She squirmed and I was too aware of Megan and Liza staring at our exchange.
“Roll your eyes again at me baby. See what happens.” My lips moved against the shell of her ear as I spoke, causing her to shiver.
“What are you going to do?” She said. I’m sure she meant for her voice to come out challenging, but it came out a weak whisper, barely loud enough for me to hear.
“I’ll bend you over this table and spank your pretty round ass for everyone to see.”
She gulped. “You wouldn’t.”
I wouldn’t. Nobody should see the way she could come just from a spanking other than me.
“Try me.” She didn’t need to know that I wouldn’t do it and from the way she was clenching her thighs together something told me she wouldn’t mind it all that much.
She’d like it.
“Take the card. Put everything on it. You can pay half the bill.”
This was ridiculous, but apparently it was a matter of her pride. Being an independent woman and all that. I admired her for it. She could carry half the load if she wanted, but never more.
Someday we’d share a bank account anyways so this would be even more ridiculous.
God I needed to put a ring on her finger.
And a kid in her.
Fuck, what was happening to me?
“Have a good time,” I said, turning her head and stealing a kiss before she could argue further. “And I’ll remember your eye roll for later,” I promised her darkly. Her breath hitched. I was a smug bastard but I loved the way she reacted to me.
With a smirk on my face I got out of the booth and headed to wear Hawk and Bender were sitting with Seal and Tank.
I heard Rachel puff out a breath as I walked away, followed by Megan and Liza giggling. She was cursing me under her breath as I walked away and I fell more in love with her in that moment.
Once I was seated, the group of girls finally got up to leave. Rachel’s full hips swayed provocatively and she tossed me a sultry wink before walking out the door. I groaned while my guys laughed at my expense.
Discretely I signalled one of the prospects to follow them. Joe may be gone but I was still paranoid about her safety. Even if she was perfectly capable of defending herself.
“Just wait you fuckers. Someday you’ll meet a woman who brings you to your knees too.” Four scoffs went around while I sipped the beer that magically appeared in front of me.
“Anything else we need to know about this security detail?” Hawk asked.
“No, but we need to talk about Bear,” Tank said.
“What about him?”
“He’s getting reckless,” Tank said.
“Very,” Seal emphasized. I was silent as I waited for further explanation.
“The strip club is supposed to be neutral ground. But he started shit with some prick frat boys from the college. Yeah they were fucking tools. But still. He nearly drew his piece on them.”
“Damn it!” I pounded my fist on the table. “Why am I just now hearing about this?”
“It’s been a busy few weeks,” Tank said. “And you’ve been distracted,” he let his sentence trail of.
“Are you implying my girl is messing with my ability to lead?” I nearly growled at him.
“No,” his hands were up in a complacent gesture. “Not at all. Jenny, Joe. Shit. It’s been a rocky few months for everybody.” I nodded, allowing him to continue. “And I thought it was a one off.”
“But it wasn’t,” Seal continued. “I was riding with him the other day. Some mom in a minivan on her cellphone cut us off. Dumb bitch was on her cell phone, simultaneously yelling at her kids in the back seat while trying to weave through traffic. She cut Bear off, nearly knocking him off his bike. I get why he was pissed. Truly. I was ready to lose it too. But she was a woman. We were on a crowded street. There were kids in the car. So I kept my cool. Bear didn’t. He tried pushing the van off the road, cutting her off repeatedly. He could have killed himself or her. Worse, he could have killed one of the kids in the back seat. It’s not their fault their mom's a shitty driver.”
“How do you want to handle it?” Hawk asked.
I had a soft spot for Bear. He was the only brother I would have ever approved being with Jenny. This wasn’t like him. Her loss was messing him up.
“I don’t know yet. Is he here?”
“He’s got Roxy in his room.”
“He’s been with a different soul sucker every night.”
Usually it was Spade who was the man whore. My guys, although not celibate tended to make repeat performances with the same girls. When they got bored they'd jump ship to another. I took another long sip of beer, contemplating my options. He was grieving. I couldn’t imagine the crazy shit I would start to do if I ever lost Rachel. Just the thought made me nauseous.
“Three strikes. If something else happens I’ll take action. Hawk, make sure he knows he can’t fuck up again.”
“You got it, Prez.” Hawk grinned like a kid on Christmas morning as he pushed Bender out of the booth so he could stand. I didn’t know what it was, but the guy got weirdly happy when he was able to interrupt other people having sex. It was a new thing since his self imposed celibacy act started.
Maybe if he wasn't getting any nobody could?
Luckily he was smart enough not to interrupt me and Rachel. Not without good reason anyway.
Bender, Tank and Seal left the booth leaving me alone until Hawk came back. He nodded, indicating the message has been delivered.
Most of the laughter in the club died down when Rain walked in. Things had been tense with her and the other soul suckers since Rachel put her in her place.
Just the memory of it was enough to have me swelling in my jeans.
I hadn’t told Rachel because I didn’t want her to worry unnecessarily but Rain hadn’t backed off on her advances. Obviously, I’d turned down every single pass, and not nicely. But she was relentless.
I should toss her out on her ass, but for some reason I didn’t. She’d been loyal to the club for years. But she was running out of chances.
Her eyes were trained on me as she walked through the clubhouse. I didn’t have to be looking at her to know that. My body reacted with revulsion. The complete opposite of what happened when I felt Rachel’s eyes on me. Hawk snorted and I knew he saw whatever it was I was actively avoiding looking at.
She was anything but subtle.
She was also only like this when Rachel wasn’t around, which wasn’t often. Thank God.
I lifted my hand, my universal signal to Brenda that I needed another drink. Hawk lit a joint and passed it to me, sensing my unease. I took a hit, inhaling long and deep before blowing the smoke out.
In minutes I was calm, able to ignore her presence. Brenda set a beer in front of me. “You need to put her in her place.”
“Not your place to say Brenda.”
“I like your old lady. I’m not going to sit back and watch you let Rain ruin it because you didn’t send a clear signal saying back the fuck off.”
If Brenda wasn’t Brenda she’d be tossed on her ass for speaking to me like that.
“Have I really not been clear?” I asked her seriously.
“To everyone else, yes. But not to her. You let Rachel knock her down a few pegs. Which was a pleasure to watch,” she said with a smirk. “But she’s so dumb she needs to hear it from you too.”
Hawk was doing his best to hold in his laugher as Brenda spoke to me like I was a child in need of an education.
“I’ll take it under advisement,” I said sweetly. She rolled her eyes at my mannerisms before taking the empties and heading back to the bar.
Him too? “Seriously?”
“Yupppppppp,” Hawk drugged out his word.
“How do you figure?”
“She still looks at you like she’s got a chance.”
“Then why doesn’t she know that?”
Pulling out my phone I texted the prospect who was tailing the girls.
Me: everything under control?
Prospect: I don’t know what your creditcard limit is boss, but your girl is surely testing it.
Some combination of groan and laugh escaped me. I knew her game. I told her to use the card. And apparently she was.
“Trouble. 4 o’clock.” I looked up at Hawks words. Sure enough, Rain was making her way towards our booth.
“Can I speak to you Blade? In private.” Her barely there clothes were not appropriate for the cooling weather.
“You can say whatever you have to say right here,” I told her, avoiding looking directly at her.
“It’s too crowded.” I recognized the candor of her voice. Sickly sweet. She was playing at something. “Your office.”
“Out of respect for my girl, I won’t be alone with you. So Hawk can come with us.” Her face fell but she recovered quickly.
“Don’t trust yourself around me?” She asked, batting her eyelashes.
“I don’t trust you.” She gulped at my words. Hawk stood first and lifted his arm, indicating she should head towards the office. He followed her and I followed him, thankful he put his body between me and her.
Rain didn’t sit. Hawk still had his body in the middle of us.
“Speak,” I barked out at her.
“I miss you,” she cooed, unashamed by her words or the fact that Hawk was there to hear them.
He looked decidedly uncomfortable. Seeing this, Rain pushed the boundaries further. “I’ll prove it to you. He can watch. I know how much you enjoy that. Or he can join,” she said trying to make her voice seductive.
Before Jenny died, before Rachel, I would have taken her up on that offer. But I wasn't the same man I had been.
“I have an old lady, Rain. Cut the shit before I put you out on your ass.”
“There’s no way that goody two shoes is giving you everything you need.”
I chuckled darkly. “The fact that you would call her that only proves you’re delusional. You don’t know her. Apparently her telling you to back off wasn’t clear enough. So here’s the words coming from my mouth. Back. The. Fuck. Off. I was never yours. I never will be. If you make a pass at me again or so much as breathe in my old lady’s direction so help me. I don’t care how long you’ve been loyal to the club. I’ll toss you out on your bony ass without even blinking. This is your last warning. You hear me?”
I was yelling at her by the time my speech was over and she was finally cowering away.
“I hear you,” she whispered, her voice bitter with emotion.
Her high heels clanked along the floor as she scurried out of the room.
“Clear enough?” I asked Hawk.
“You’d think. But only time will tell.”
I followed him out of my office, closing the door behind me. Sitting back in the booth, I sipped my beer, patiently waiting for my girl to get back so I could find out the damage she'd put on my credit card before I took her home and did what I’d wanted to do to her since this morning.