Lonely Souls (Book 10)

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19

Church

First she'd called me her man, now she was referring to my family as her own. My heart swelled, then it clenched when the tears started to stream down her cheeks.

Finding Claire must have fucked with her. It could make sense of why she didn't like to cook or be in the kitchen and I understood. There were some roads I still wouldn't drive down, even now.

"Ali was the only one to comfort me at the funeral!" She looked up at my baby as both cried.

"We were giving you space!" Gina shouted.

"No, you were smoking weed behind the church and talking about me, you fucking morons!" She snapped, "That's what you were doing and don't even fucking deny it! Mom had to do the cover up after her own mother's funeral when the cops caught you!" She slammed her hand down on the table again and pointed to my daughter, "Ali! A little girl who didn't even know me, comforted me!"

"We comforted each other." My baby began to sob.

"We did," Chloe's voice softened as she smiled at Ali, "And this crew, these guys-," she turned back and nodded to the front door where my men stood, "They have been here every day to help me restore my Grams' house. They haven't called it a dump, or said that it was dirty, they've been here every step of the way."

"Ali has been giving me cooking lessons. She got me back in the kitchen, because Church didn't want me eating out all the time," She turned to Gina, "But not because he's worried about me getting fat for eating too much."

"It is pretty hot to watch you kick back a half a pound burger and fries," I chuckled, "Just ain't healthy for ya' is all."

"Exactly!" She shouted, "To him, it was all about not clogging my arteries! Why?! Because he genuinely cares about me."

"These guys came into my house because they heard me yelling and were worried I was getting hurt!" She flung an arm toward the guys, "Ali even came up with this dinner to help me, because she knew that Church was here, waiting for me to get back with my bike."

"Church," Her voice softened as her brown orbs met mine, "Who is trying so hard to keep his cool right now, because I shouldn't have taken my bike out after I was warned not to."

"She took the speeder out again?" Smokey gaped at me, "When?"

"Today." I spoke coolly, as I leaned back in my chair and swigged my whisky, "She's been sneakin' off on it all this time. Found that out just a bit ago."

"You know what it means, Church." He gave me a tight nod and pointed look.

"Oh, I do." I downed my glass.

"Is there something else going on here?" Gina asked her, "I know you haven't had much experience with guys, but this-."

"They're a biker gang, Chloe." Noah snorted and it took everything in me not to lean over the table and slam his fucking face into it.

I felt the crew step forward, but when Ali started laughing they chilled.

"Incase you haven't noticed," Chloe tried to hold her laughter back, "These guys came to protect me. Three of the men that you see standing in my doorway are cops, one is a firemen and the other two are from the old crew that my Grams and Gramps started."

"Claire?" Noah scoffed, "You expect us to believe that she was involved in this?"

"You only knew her as your maid and housekeeper, before that, she had a whole other life. Here, with these people!" My girl shouted, "There are men and women in this crew and they all formed a friendship. This was her house, her club and they respected her!"

"And the men we lost who liked to ride speeders, loved her." I ground my teeth together, looking between them all, "Which is why I don't like my girl on one."

"You're a Dom aren't you?" Noah scoffed at me and I almost lost my shit.

"I live by the rules that were created by Claire and Bruiser," I bit out, "I'm just waiting for your pansy ass to leave, so I don't have to put you in your fucking place, punk."

"What the fuck did you just say to me?" Noah leaned forward to glare at me, but I didn't flinch. I wouldn't make the first move. I had too many cops on my crew and I knew better.

"I didn't stutter," I spoke clear and slow, cool and calm as I sipped my whisky, "We live by rules and laws in my club. You get an Ole Lady, you respect her, you treat her right. You don't fuck around on her, you don't treat her like shit and you don't leave her to take care of your fucking kids while you run out."

"Are you seriously giving me relationship advice?" He gaped and pointed to himself, "You know nothing about me."

"I know your type, and I think someone needed to give you advice long before you fell into the whole fucking game and accused me of being a Dom."

"Respect." Noah scoffed, "That's why you're seething that she was speeding today?"

"We have rules for a reason!" I shouted, "If you had to peel a one of your own off the pavement because they crashed their speeder, you'd understand! I will not be pulling her ass out of a ditch!"

"Back down, Noah." Gina warned him.

"Fuck no!" Noah scoffed, "This fucking jackass thinks he can tell me how to live my life?! He knows nothing about me!"

"I used to be you!" I shouted, "I know the damage that a fucking speeder and cheating on your Ole Lady can do!"

"We lost three good men on speeders in one day," Sparks put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed, "Jake's ole man, Chloe's Gramps and Church's ole man," Chloe gasped and I met her eyes as Sparks added, "Bruiser, Hustle and Breaker were racing and hit a slick spot. One you can't see at high speeds. We don't know exactly what happened, but they lost control and went down. Years later, we lost my baby, Sarah."

"Because I turned my back on the no speeders rule." I knew from the tears in Chloe's eyes that she understood now, "The point is, we don't do speeders for a reason. The speeds are too hard to control, even for experienced riders and they're even harder to repair."

"She was on a speeder." Chloe whispered, looking to Ali, who was a sobbing mess.

"Jake and I'd been the last ones working on it." I told her, "So they took us in, thinking we had something to do with it."

"She was upset and she got on the speeder, I shouldn't have let her go." Ali spoke quietly through her tears, "Sh-she said she'd be back."

"Your mom eventually cleared both of 'em." Smokey told her, "There was no foul play."

"I was out fucking around on my girl," I told Noah as he stared at me with wide eyes, "If I'd stayed home, in my place, with my girl she wouldn'ta gone out that night to find me and she would've followed our laws. She wouldn'ta taken her speeder out and she'd still be alive."

"Who found her?" Gina asked quietly.

"I did." I looked back at Noah, "Comin home from fucking another chick."

"And now you're fucking our cousin." Noah scoffed and I stook so fast that the chair flipped in my movements.

Smokey grabbed me, pulling me back as Sparks spoke calmly.

"They call him Church for reason." Sparks told him, "He's not the same man he used to be."
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