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Crossroads: Book 1

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Elena Cochran begged her father to take a safer job after nearly being shot to death. They end up in a small town of Georgia on a secret she doesn't know about. For her protection, her father hired the president of a motorcycle club unbeknownst to her to be her 'bodyguard.' Elena only knows of him being her annoying, hot, tempered neighbor, but everything about him intrigues her. With all he has gone through and has seen, Michael (Red) Gilbert believes he has no heart - just a pesky organ in his chest. He's sure that he's damned to Hell and there is no hope for him. Michael is supposed to protect Elena from a man who is closer to him than he realizes. Consequently, the only other person she needs protection from at the crossroads, is him.

Romance / Action
4.8 25 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Reader’s discretion is advised.

This is meant to be an entertaining, mysterious, fun story of love, betrayal, and dark family secrets.

Constructive criticism with suggestions and examples for improvement IS strongly encouraged as I am new to this writing world.

Happy Reading! I hope you like the story!


“Jace! I told you not to do this! I knew it was dirty money – the damn cops are all over us!” I yell at my right-hand man. We always have each other’s six when shit hits the fan, but he can be so stupid sometimes.

“Can’t believe you, man! You wanted to go on a drug job without me, knowing I can read people better than you!” I shout at Jace over the gunfire. “Undercover cop, really?” I continue my ridicule over the bullets flying in the air and other men yelling profanities at the cops on the other side of the door. The whole damn cavalry is outside our motorcycle clubhouse, ready to shoot every single one of us over some dirty traced cocaine - the deal I didn’t want to do in the first place.

“It was a detective!” Jace cries out, like that somehow changes things. “I’m sorry!” he yells while grabbing some guns from behind our kitchen counter. He tosses me a Glock .21 - I have ten rounds. I’m sure of it. Holding the familiar hard polymer in my hands, I notice that the doors are beginning to fold in. Jace, me, and the rest of us barricade ourselves, armed and ready to fight. They could take us, but we aren’t ones to roll over and become their bitches. We’re waiting until they come bursting in to retaliate. In the meantime, we just let them continue shooting the place up.

Diving to hide from gunfire on the floor behind one of the couches, I peek around to make sure my brothers aren’t getting shot. So far, they’re all okay, just hiding, waiting. There’s a pounding in my chest. I should be used to this sort of thing. I get shot at a lot - it’s the price I pay for being the club president. Some tough decisions have had to be made, and sometimes that means playing God. There’s not a lot of pride in the choices I have made, but they have been made, nonetheless. I live with the consequences.

Speaking of consequences, I want to hand Jace over to the cops out of spite to put a stop to this maddening raid. God knows he needs to suffer some consequences for being so impatient. I glare at the blue-eyed idiot as he hides behind the end of the counter in the kitchen. He is shaking like a rattlesnake. Blond hair is flipping off little beads of sweat onto his pale face.

I don’t turn my men in.

More shots fire, the sounds vibrate throughout the building, peppering all our belongings with holes. The gunpowder and lead fill my lungs. There goes my lovely couch, coffee pot, wine bottles, and the loud explosion of glass fills the room. Shit – my flat screen sixty-two-inch television. Damn cops!

Stupid Jace. If he just waited for me to do the transaction, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

The firing stops, the cops must be reloading. It’s our turn, suckers. I start to signal, but then there is one shot. The sound is deafening. Immediately, I know something is wrong.

Searching the floor from the ground behind a tattered couch, I see Paul. The organ in my chest stops. Paul is shot - he is only nineteen! Fresh out of high school. He had a tough childhood. I remember when Paul first came to us in search of brotherhood. Out of all the prospects I’ve witnessed, he was the one that proved himself the most. We accepted him with open arms... now he’s shot.

I stare at his long, lean body -it is limp on the floor, covered with bullet fragments and shattered glass. Screaming out his name, I rush over to him. He’s still breathing, but blood is pooling in the center of his chest. I scream for our medic, but the cops entered our clubhouse and are now tackling each of my men. Taking off my shirt, I press it down hard on Paul’s wound, letting the thick warm blood soak into my shirt and my hands.

“You’re gonna be okay! You hear me, Paul! Stay with me!” I feel hands grab me. All I see is red. Whipping myself around, I straddle and beat the man with a badge. The feeling of his cheekbone and nose crunching, watching as a couple of teeth leave his mouth, seeing the blood smear his face gives me tremendous satisfaction. Even though my knuckles burn - I can’t stop. I don’t want to stop.

Two sets of hands grab me to pull me off the fool. When they stand me up, I fight to get out of their hold so that I can attend to Paul. I yell at them to check on my brother, but they ignore me. He was just a kid, had his whole life ahead of him, and unlike me, he had a heart. When they snap the hard, cold metal around my wrists, they force me to walk out. The organ in my chest leaps a bit when I see paramedics enter the house.

Before I know it, the cop car I’m jammed into takes me right to the precinct, and placed in a jail cell, picking at the skin around my busted bleeding knuckles. I’ve been in jail cells before. The iron bars, the hard, cold benches, and the smell of stale sweat is nothing new to me - except they could never hold me before. Assaulting an officer though – yeah, I won’t be leaving here for a while. Damn pigs. Stupid Jace.


“Michael Gilbert a.k.a Red.” The smugness oozes out of the damn officer as he strolls up to my cell. Still studying my bloodstained hands – Paul’s blood - I say a silent prayer for him. I’m not sure why I pray. My mother, maybe? She would always drag my ass to church while I was growing up. Lord knows, she still prays for me on her knees. She most likely sheds tears every night for who her son has become.

A small pang erupts inside my chest at the thought of her... it’s been a while since I’ve seen my mother. Slowly, I lift my head and rest it on the concrete wall behind me and glare at the pinhead.

“Someone wants to have a little chat with you,” the pig sings. The guy motions for me to come up to the door, opening it, he snaps cuffs on my wrists. The guy is shorter than me, rounded, probably from eating out every day. I debate whether to pummel him and run for it. Something tells me that it won’t end well, seeing how a few more cops enter the jail area.

The cop grabs my arm to lead me towards the interrogation room that I know all too well. The door opens to a room with the same black tile floors, three white walls, and a large mirror that takes up the fourth wall. I notice they added a camera in the far corner - that’s new. The douche walks me to the center of the room, where an aluminum table and a matching chair awaits. On the other side is a second chair, but it has some padding on it.

The man with the badge takes me to the aluminum seat without the padding and forces me to sit. My back is bitten by the ice-cold temperature of the chair, making me jump forward– suddenly, I miss my shirt. I left it with Paul.

The cop instructs me to keep my hands upon the table as he attaches the cuffs to a metal bar in the center. I sit there in silence as he leaves, staring into the mirror in front of me. I know it’s a two-way mirror, and someone is probably standing on the other side, watching me like a pervert. Lifting my middle finger, I give whoever is on the other side the bird.

Minutes later, a decent-sized man walks in wearing a uniform with a golden badge signifying that he’s an investigative detective. Great. He’s in shape, no beer belly, or much fat around the gut like the others around here. Gripping a manila folder in his hand, I see strained brown eyes with dark circles under them. His dark hair has some greyness that has sprinkled their way in; the man also has a thick dark mustache. With hesitation, he pulls out the seat in front of me, letting the obnoxious scraping of the aluminum scratch the tile floor before he sits. After staring at me like he knows all my dirty secrets, he throws the folder down and opens it. Looking, I know it’s my portfolio; the first thing he pulls out is a document with my name on it.

“Red.” My eyes dart back up to him at the mention of my road name. “You have quite the record here. Quite the reputation--” The detective has a faint southern accent. Odd. Before he continues, I cut him off.

“Awe, you know my nickname, and I don’t even know who you are. I’m flattered,” I state coolly with a smile.

Without missing a beat, he introduces himself as Elijah Cochran, Detective Cochran. I nod my head. He removes a picture from my file and places it in front of me. I don’t look at it.

“Do you know who this is?” He motions towards the polaroid.

Not looking, I tell him, “No,” while keeping my eyes on his. My fingers find themselves picking at the ripped skin around my knuckles again. My mind reverts to the cop that I nearly killed and Paul...

“You didn’t even look,” he lowers his voice into a frustrated growl.

I glance down at the black and white photo. Crap. I know exactly who the man is. Marcus. I give my best poker face while repeating my answer.

“No.” Marcus is the devil incarnate. He is even more ruthless than I am.

The detective fidgets with the corners of the file and informs me, “I once heard a rumor that he sold his wife into slavery. Do you know why?” He leans back in his chair.

“Because she didn’t do it for him anymore. So, Marcus sold her after beating her to a pulp.”

I roll my eyes. No new information there.

He leans over the table, interlocking his fingers, and says, “He has two sons. Did you know that?”


“One is Paul’s age. Word on the street says that this man is training his son to take over the drug business.” He tells me with a strained smile, “he’s a drug lord.”

The drug lord, I want to correct him. Marcus also buys and sells women on the side. The devil’s prodigy has killed three of his men for just looking at him the wrong way. Of course, Detective Cochran probably doesn’t know that.

I have dealt with him, not by choice. I wasn’t in a position to say ‘no’ because he threatened my mom. Working for him once was enough. Annoying as he is, he keeps trying to get me to do little things for him here and there, but I continuously decline. To get him to stop dangling my mother’s life in front of me to take those jobs, I have moved her away from this God-forsaken town.

Detective Cochran locks eyes with me while pointing a finger on Marcus’s face in the photo. He warns me, “I’m only going to ask you one more time...do you know who this man is?”

“No,” I repeat.

Fantasies of murdering Marcus a few times have commonly filled my imagination. He is a sick bastard. I don’t think his mother ever loved him. Demented as he is, I know better than to cross him. There is no hesitation at all for him when it comes to taking someone’s life – whether it’s a man, woman, or child.

Detective Cochran slams his fists on the table; it barely makes me flinch out of the memory of Marcus. He takes out more pictures; photos of me with Marcus scatter between us. The content shows the side of my head, but anyone can still tell it’s me. A picture, in particular, is of us, shaking hands. I recall that day. I scrubbed my hands in the sink with scalding hot water, ridding my first layer of skin cells from his touch. “You’re lying!” The detective’s nostrils flare.

Well, I’ll be damned.

I lean back into the cold chair, letting it bite on my hot skin. A small humorous smile stretches on my lips because this guy can read people too. I thought I had the perfect poker face. I should work on that more.

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