Wicked Embers: Rebel Souls MC #1

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10.0 Rachel

“What Now?” I asked, looking at Nathan. But my question was directed at any of the three men in the room with me.

“I need to fucking sleep,” Hawk was the first to answer me.

“Me too.” Nathan was the only one who hadn’t spoken. He was leaning against the table, head down and I knew he was running through every possible scenario in his head.

Stepping into his personal space I put my hands around his neck, using my fingers to dig into the knots and tilt his head up. He was exhausted. “Let’s go to bed.” He nodded once before sweeping me into his arms and carrying me upstairs.

I didn’t know why he constantly felt the need to carry me everywhere. I didn’t hate it. I actually quite enjoyed it but I protested anyways. He silenced me with a chaste peck to my lips.

When we finally got to our room he set me on my feet and stripped me naked. He was too tired to even let his eyes pass over my naked form. I didn’t wait for him to peel of his own clothes before climbing into bed. Settling behind me, he pulled my body close, completely wrapping himself around me. It took less than thirty seconds before he was snoring in my ear.

I had no idea what time it was when I groggily woke up. Nathan was already gone. The sheets were still warm so he couldn’t have been gone for long. Showering quickly before pulling on a pair of leggings and an oversized hoodie, I then made my way downstairs. It must have been late because the bar was already full and the trays holding breakfast were nearly emptied. Chrissy sat with JJ, Annie and Jamie. They must had gotten there this morning.

None of the brothers were there. It was only soul suckers, old ladies and hang arounds. “Hey,” I called to my friends while they slid over to make room for me in the booth. Brenda, like the angel she is, appeared out of nowhere with a cup of coffee and a platter of French toast. It wasn’t pancakes, but blessed were all carbs.

“Morning,” Chrissy said. She was looking a little worse for wear. But based on the giant hickey on her neck, it’s JJ who put her in that state and not the latest developments.

“Have you seen Nathan?”

“They’ve been in church all morning,” Jamie answered while taking a bite of bacon. I nodded before starting on my own breakfast.

They were discussing Rain and Stacy. I wondered if it would be okay for me to go in since I already knew everything anyways. But I didn’t want to overstep.

Thankfully I didn’t have to contemplate long because the doors to the conference room opened up and the brothers came pouring out. When Nathan didn’t appear, and neither did Hawk, Bender or Echo, I figured it was okay for me to go in. “I’ll be back,” I said, abandoning half of my breakfast before heading towards the conference room.

The door was open and I didn’t bother knocking before walking in. They were speaking in hushed voices, passing a joint between the three of them while Echo had a sigaret between his lips. When he heard my footsteps approaching, Nathan looked up, a smile immediately covering his handsome face. “Morning, baby.”

“Hey,” I said back, kissing him and plopping myself down in his lap. “Is it okay that I’m here?” My question is directed at Hawk. He trusted me with private matters; he even told me about his ex Sammie, but when it comes to club business I’m still at the bottom of his trust list. He would be the type to not want his old lady to know anything. I sent up a quick prayer for whoever that poor woman ended up being.

“Yeah,” he answered.

I didn’t ask anything, but waited patiently for one of them to start talking. It still felt like that were communicating, some secret biker telepathy from years and years of being friends. I could do the same thing with my friends, have whole conversations without even uttering a word.

“I’m lifting the lockdown,” Nathan said.

“Already?”

“Rain is after you.” His words sent a shiver over my body. “And Stacy Summers. We don’t have anything concrete but we’re operating under the assumption that they’re working together.”

Hawk and Echo exchanged a look and I knew Nathan was giving them some type of facial cue from behind me. He took a deep breath. Whatever he was about to say, I wasn’t going to like it.

“You’re still on lockdown.” Turning abruptly I glare at him.

“Excuse you?”

“You can come and go as you please. But there will be a brother with you at all times. And not just a prospect. A ranking member.”

“So one of you three?” I clarified.

“Or Hands or Bubbles.”

“But Hands has enough on his plate with Liza’s pregnancy.”

“What are their ranks?” I really should know this but with everything else going on I hadn’t been paying much attention. I knew Bender was sergeant at arms, Nathan’s third in command.

“Hands is Secretary of Treasury and Bubbles is Secretary of State.”

I should have known about Hands. He’d asked me to help him with the legitimate books, the only ones I was allowed to touch. Nathan’s orders. In any other circumstance I would have figured it out. “Secretary of State?” I asked, unfamiliar with the term. Clubs tended to all have the same rolls but based on history and heritage had different names. “As in the same thing the Secretary of State Does does for America?” I asked a follow up.

“Yeah. He’s the go between other clubs. He always tries to make peace,” Nathan said. “He’s got connections in all the clubs around and with lots of local and federal law.”

“People love talking to him,” Hawk laughed.

“And my friends? If they’re after me couldn’t they go after them?”

“JJ won’t let Chrissy out of his sight.”

“And Jamie and Annie?”

“I’ve got Seal with them until further notice.”

“He good with that?” Nathan understood my question and I hated that I even had to ask it. It shouldn’t matter that they’re in a relationship but I wouldn’t risk their safety because of somebody with a small mind.

“Yeah. And he needs the distraction.” I furrow my brows but don’t ask for clarification. It’s probably got something to do with the security detail he took. They were gone nearly two weeks longer than they were originally supposed to be. All I knew of him was that he was dishonorably discharged from the Navy and that Nathan trusted him. The last part was good enough for me.

“Okay.”

“Let’s go home,” Nathan said. Standing from his lap I let him guide me through the bar out of the clubhouse. The bar had already significantly decreased in crowdedness. JJ, Chrissy, Jamie and Annie were already gone. I made a mental note to text them later.

I must have been distracted for too long because Nathan attached the helmet to my head for me and fastened it. He climbed onto the bike, letting me settle in behind him, holding him close while he tore out of the driveway, dust flying behind us as he pulled on to the road.

He wasn’t riding towards the house. When we pass the sign indicating we’ve left town, I tapped his chest three times. Nathan opened the throttle and increased the speed. The feel of the wind in my face was freeing. Therapeutic. The literal breeze in my face blew all of my problems away.

Nathan rode for longer than we’ve ever ridden together. My thighs hurt from squeezing his legs and I was thirsty when he finally took a turn down a hidden road. His speed slowed significantly as we got into thicker and thicker trees.

“Is this where you kill me because I know too much?” I joked when he parked the bike under a big oak tree.

Instead of answering he rolled his eyes at me dramatically.

“Where are we?”

“You’ll see,” he said taking my hand. He pulled me through the trees on why seemed to be an old path. It wasn’t well kept. I wouldn’t have worn these cute little booties if I’d known he wanted to go hiking.

The one time he doesn’t decide to carry me.

“How much further? I’m not in the right shoes for this.” Stopping abruptly Nathan looks down at my feet and then to my eyes.

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly before sweeping me in to his arms. This time I didn’t even pretend to protest. A few yards further Nathan stepped out into a clearing, overlooking a cliff. We were up high and the view of the valley was breathtaking.

“How’d you find this place?”

“When Hawk’s dad was president and expecting heat from the law or another club his mom and mine would bring us here for a picnic.”

“Did that happen often?”

“Once or twice a year.”

“Do your parents know about me?”

“Of course. They knew as soon as Joe took you.”

“Why haven’t I met them yet?”

“Dad is retired. He’s not required to come during lockdowns since he’s not an active member. With everything else going on, it just hasn’t been a priority. But it should be.”

“It’s fine,” I said, waving him off. “I was just worried you were hiding me from them.”

“Why would I do that?” He asked, pushing a lock of hair out of my face. I was sure i had the worst helmet head.

I shrugged my shoulders. “Maybe they had different ideas of who your old lady should be.” I’m talking about Rain. Please let him get that without me actually having to say it.

His hand roughly grabbed my chin, but his touch is delicate. It was usually like that and the combination never failed to send shivers over my body.

“There has never been, and there will never be, anyone else for me but you.”

His eyes, green with flecks of grey bore in to me, holding my brown ones like they’re his prisoner. I wanted to look away, feeling too exposed, too vulnerable, but he refused to release me. There was so much emotion he was trying to communicate. The prominent one being love.

“Why did you bring me here?” I cringe at my own question, especially the bitchy tone I said it in. He was being open and honest. Raw and real. And I was bordering on being a bitch. It was a built in self defense mechanism. One that had been building for more than fifteen years. “I’m sorry,” I said, casting my eyes downward.

“Sometimes I feel like every time we move forward, you unconsciously take a step back.”

Letting out a frustrated sigh, I pulled his lips to my own. His kiss is guaranteed to bruise my lips, rough and claiming. Unfortunately he didn’t take the bait for long. With a reluctant sigh he pulled away. Pressing his forehead against mine his eyes are full of unspoken questions.

“We both know you can’t be half in with me.”

“I’m not,” I defended myself immediately. Too quickly and he noticed. “I’m not,” I said softer this time. “I’m terrified, Nathan.” He went to speak but I cut him off. “And don’t say you won’t let anything happen to me. You can try your best and I know you will, but we both know you can’t guarantee anything. And even if it weren’t for the dangers that came with the club, I could get in accident or hit by a bus. So stop. Pushing people away is my defense mechanism.”

“I won’t let you do that to me.”

“Good.”

“And if you try I’ll grovel at Jamie’s feet for her secret. You haven’t pushed her away.”

“Not for lack of trying. She’s just stubborn.”

“So am I.” He kissed me deeply but quickly before pulling away again. “I brought you here because we haven’t been on a date in forever.” That’s when I saw him holding one of his saddle bags in his hand.

I didn’t deserve this man.

Nathan walked closer to ledge, setting a blanket out for us. Methodically he pulled food out of his bag. “Chicken salad sandwiches, some chips, sliced fruit and veggies and of course,” he grinned widely as he held up a king size pack of Reese’s. He also pulled out a bottle of water and a diet soda.

Sitting on the blanket he leaned against a large rock, pulling me between his legs and sitting me in front of him. We ate silently, listening to the sounds of nature around us. This was the most peaceful thing we’d done since we got together.

“Tell me something about you I don’t know,” I said munching on a chip.

I felt him tilt his head, contemplating. “Before I realized what my dad did, what the club was, I wanted to be a firefighter.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Jenny set fire to the kitchen once when she was like six. She thought she was big enough to make hot chocolate on her own. Mom never made that packaged crap; she was old school. She melted chocolate, and mixed in the vanilla, salt and some sugar and then added whole milk and more cocoa powder until it was a nice creamy mixture.” He paused, lost in his own memories. “She must have seen mom do it hundreds of times. She woke up in the middle of the night and because she was a big girl, she wanted to calm herself down. Luckily the fire department got there in time, but that’s why the bar area and kitchen are so much newer than the apartments. Dad woke me up and carried me downstairs even though I was like nine. I was a heavy sleeper,” he chuckled. “When I came to, firefighters were everywhere. I thought they were superheroes.”

“Tell me more about her,” I said softly. He rarely talked about her, but her death was what put him in that club and in my life.

“She was so smart. She could have been a lawyer or a doctor. She hated the club. When she was still a rookie, she arrested me. Have I told you that?”

“I don’t think so but I think I’ve heard the guys talking about it.”

“She took me down with ease and I was so fucking proud of her. Her first love was Bear.” I racked my brain. I knew the name.

“Big burly guy?”

“Who else?” He laughed. “She left him because she couldn’t handle the life.” He was quiet for a moment before continuing. “I wish you could have met her. She would have loved you.”

“I wish I could have met her too.” His arms wrap around me and squeeze me gently.

“I miss her everyday.”

I wasn’t not sure how much time passed but the silence is calming. “Did you ever want a sibling?” He asked.

“Not really. I have Jamie. She’s my sister.”

I felt him nod in understanding.

“Jamie once said you picked a boring job because of how you grew up. What did you want to be when you were little?”

“I wanted to be a flight attendant.”

“Really?” He sounded surprised.

“I wanted to see the world.”

“Have you been lots of places anyway?”

“We take an annual girl’s trip. We’ve been to South Africa, Thailand, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Costa Rica.”

“Lots of places. Expensive places.”

“We have a planning party. We drink lots of wine and eat tons of food and scour every travel site and blog we can find for deals.”

“When this all blows over, let’s take a trip.”

“The President is allowed vacation?”

“Hawk can be in charge for a week or two. Maybe it could be a honeymoon.” My throat dried as I tried to swallow at his words.

“We’d have to be married first.”

Dear God. Is he proposing? I hope so. No. I hope not. It’s too soon.

“I know.” He didn’t say anything else about the topic. Butterflies erupted in my stomach at the thought. He’s definitely planning something.

I wanted him to propose. As crazy as it was. But I wanted it to be in a time of peace. I don’t want to get engaged or married with this nonsense of Rain and Stacy hanging over us.

His hands rested around my waist while my head fell back against his chest. I could feel his steady heartbeat against my back, and my body moved up and down in time with the expanding of his chest as he breathed deeply.

The sunset over the valley was magical. The sun dipped behind the mountains in the distance, letting the moon rise. When the last of the clouds were turning from pink to red and the sky turned dark, Nathan started to clean up our mess.

“Ready?”

“No,” I replied. He smiled at me; it was his I need an explanation smile. He had it frequently. “We’ve just been removed from everything all day. No drama, no friends or enemies and club politics.”

“I know. We can come back here.”

“I’ll hold you to that.”

“Hope you do. And next time,” he said, leaning his body against mine and pushing his mouth against my ear. “Maybe I’ll bring you here at night. Fuck your tight little pussy, take what’s mine, right under all the stars.”

I fought hard to suppress a needy whimper.

I lost.

He smirked before taking my hand and leading me to the bike. I wasn’t sure why we couldn’t just stay and make his words actions.

He must have taken the long way here because it took us much less time to get to our house than it did to get to the clearing.

The rest of the evening continues in blissful normalcy, something completely abnormal for us. While I changed the bedsheets and started laundry Nathan vacuumed the living room and cleaned the kitchen.

Domestic paradise. Truly.

We never get to do anything this normal. I learned that Nathan liked to whistle while he cleaned and that he rolled his eyes at the commentary on ESPN. The entire night I couldn’t help the soft smile that played on my lips.

Of course the danger was still there. It wouldn’t ever go away completely. But I pretended it wasn’t there. Denial, denial, denial.

Unfortunately, denial hardly ever worked. Nathan’s phone rang, combining with the sounds coming from the television. “Yeah?” He said when he answered; he already sounded annoyed. “I’m on my way. Send Bender to my house.”

He was already on his feet and putting his boots on before he hung up the phone. “There’s a problem at the clubhouse.”

“What problem?”

“Details are sketchy. But blood has been shed.” My face pales at his words. “I’ll call you when I know anything. Bender is on his way here. Close and lock the door behind me. Don’t open it for anyone who isn’t him. If anyone comes who isn’t me, call me.”

“Okay.” He kissed my head.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I called to his retreating figure. When he closed the door behind him I locked the door like he’d said.

I was glad he didn’t ask me to go with him. I didn’t want to and I wasn’t in the mood to fight about it.

“Nice touch locking the door,” a falsely high voice I didn’t recognize called from behind me.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t work when someone is already inside.” That voice I did recognize.

Turning I came face to face with Stacy and Rain, both with evil smirks on their faces.

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