The road has always been my escape. Even before I got my motorcycle license, I just loved being in my car, letting my head zone out while I drove around and listened to music. It’s peaceful when you’re alone with the road, but it’s also a reminder that I am well and truly alone.
I try and tell myself that I prefer it that way – that my mom is a sad, pathetic, miserable woman, and Marcus is a lying son of a bitch. Why would I want to be around either of them when I could be out here on the highway?
After I got a few hours of sleep at a hotel near the airport, I got up and decided to go for a ride. I was intending to get some breakfast, but that reminded me of breakfasts in bed with Marcus, so I skipped the exit and kept riding.
I’ve made my way up highway 77 and am cruising around near Lake Norman when a group of motorcycles comes roaring up on my ass. The kind of loud-ass roaring that only a pack of Harleys can produce.
And glancing in my rearview, I think they’re wearing leather cuts as part of an MC.
I stupidly put on the Kings prospect cut when I left the hotel with nothing on underneath it. So, either it’s a club that has a beef with the Savage Kings, or worse, the Savage Kings themselves.
Two of the bikes pull up in the left lane next to me, helmets over their heads, hands gesturing to the exit coming up. Their engines roar, and then they cut me off in the right lane, leaving two more Harleys on my ass.
Well, I guess I’ve got to pull over voluntarily or they’re going to run me off the road!
I follow the two men in front onto the next exit ramp. They turn right at the intersection, so I reluctantly do the same, pulling in behind them when they stop on the far side of a busy gas station.
And fuck, if these guys demand the cut back since I’m not really a prospect for the Kings, then I guess I’ll be riding back to Charlotte topless.
My heart is thumping a mile a minute when the bikes behind me pull up to block me in, and everyone kills their engines.
I debate whether or not I should take off my helmet, but when they all climb off their bikes and hang theirs on the handlebars, I do the same.
“Can, I, ah, help you all?” I ask.
“You Teagan Allen?” one of the guys who was riding up front asks when he walks up to me.
“How did you…”
“I’m Kent Blake, president of the Charlotte chapter,” he says as he holds out his palm and…smiles warmly at me. The patches on his cut confirm he’s telling the truth. “Your father was my best friend.”
“Oh,” I mutter as I shake his palm. “I remember my dad mentioning you. I’m, uh, sorry you lost him.”
“That’s my line. I’m sorry you lost him before you really had a chance to get to know him. Roy talked about you all the time. He swore you would be the first female prospect for the Kings as soon as you got your motorcycle license. We thought he was full of shit, but here you are.”
“No. I’m not actually a prospect,” I admit to him. “And there’s no way he ever said that.”
“He did,” one of the other men chimes in from behind me. “He wanted to be your sponsor.”
“But I was only sixteen when he taught me to ride…”
“Yeah, well, he had high hopes for the future,” Kent replies. “He said your momma was loosening her grip a bit, and he wouldn’t stop talking about how much you took after him. Too bad he never got to see you all grown up and a prospect for the Myrtle Beach Kings! He loved the bike rallies down there. We went to them long before they even had a Savage Kings chapter in the city.”
“I’m not actually a prospect,” I admit to them. I can’t stand them talking about all this, thinking I’m something that I’m not. “It was a misunderstanding.”
“Maybe you should answer your phone more often,” Kent says with a grin. “They came to a unanimous vote this morning. So, you’re officially their prospect.”
“Marcus is waiting for you back at the clubhouse,” he tells me, an even bigger surprise.
“Yeah, Marcus De La Cruz from the Myrtle Beach chapter. You know him, right?”
“Uh-huh. I know Marcus. I’m just surprised that he’s here. He voted to approve me for prospecting?” I ask in disbelief.
“He did,” the other guy says. “I heard him on the telephone, giving his proxy to Roman, their president. Roman apparently said he didn’t need to call a meeting. Something about only needing Marcus’s vote to make it happen.”
“I don’t believe it,” I mutter. “I thought you all were pulling me over to take my cut.”
“The cut is yours. It won’t be easy to earn your patches, but I think you can handle whatever the members dole out over the next year or two,” Kent says. “Bet your mom hates it, though.”
“You know my mom?”
One of the four men laughs; but when Kent glares at him, he covers it up with a cough.
“I do know her, quite well, in fact,” he responds with a grin he tries to hide by glancing away.
No fucking way.
There’s no way my mother would be crazy enough to get involved with another King.
“I thought she hated all bikers, especially Savage Kings,” I tell him, or at least warn him.
“She does, but she’s been tolerating me in small doses, all thanks to you actually.”
“After you had been gone for a few days without talking to her, she asked if we all could keep an eye out for you on the roads.”
“Then she called him every name in the book before he finally figured out a way to shut her up,” another guy adds.
I would laugh at the story about my mother if I weren’t still so angry with her for keeping my father away from me.
But for a few seconds, I try to think about what I would do if Marcus knocked me up and then didn’t want to be with me, only be a part of the baby’s life. It would hurt so fucking much, but I would like to think that I’m strong enough to handle that for my kid’s sake.
Still, I don’t know for sure, so I guess I should try to forgive my mom eventually. It won’t be today or anytime soon before I can let go of the anger of not getting to spend as much time with my father as I wanted to. As he wanted to.
“He really loved me?” I ask the men, even if it is a pussy-assed question.
“He did,” Kent says without a hint of judgement. “More than anything.”
I scoff at that. “Even the club?”
“Yes,” he says without hesitation. “It nearly killed him when your mom told him to stay away from you. He thought about turning in his patch, but we all told him nothing was going to change that stubborn woman’s mind. It wasn’t the club she hated but his entire lifestyle. I think he believed her too – that he wouldn’t be a good role model for you. Guess they were right since you’re following in his footsteps.”
“He wasn’t a bad influence,” I reply. “I just thought the club was his priority; that’s why I’ve been so mad at him for so long.”
“I hate he never got to set the record straight,” Kent tells me. “But I’m glad we get to do it for him.”
“Yeah, I appreciate it,” I say with a smile.
“And I’m not Roy,” he adds. “He was a good man, but one hell of a womanizer. I won’t screw your mom over, no matter how convinced she is that I will.”
“That’s good, I guess.”
“So, are you going to follow us back to the clubhouse for a drink before you go back to Myrtle Beach?”
“Yeah, I guess I will,” I agree, even though I’m not sure I should ever go back to South Carolina.
As promised, Marcus is waiting inside the clubhouse, sitting at an empty table when we walk through the door.
He’s on his feet a second later, coming for me.
“You’re okay,” he says with a half-smile and what sounds like relief.
“I do know how to ride a motorcycle,” I remark sarcastically.
His shoulders slump underneath his cut. “I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant, I would’ve been worried about you if you were on a bus or a train.”
“Because you think I’m too weak to take care of myself?”
“No, Teagan. I worry about you because I fucking love you,” he says gruffly.
My chest tightens at his confession, but it’s not enough for me to get past his betrayal.
“Did you hear me, baby? I love you and I’m not going to hold you back. I had made the decision to call Roman and change my vote before Kent told me that your father wanted you to prospect. How could I object after that, huh?” he asks. “Come back to Myrtle Beach and prospect with the Kings, even if you don’t want to be with me.”
Biting down on my bottom lip as I consider the offer, I finally tell him, “I’ll have to think about it.”
“Good,” Marcus says, face looking relieved. “Thinking about it is better than a flat-out no.”
I do want to be part of the MC, part of the legacy my father left behind, even more so now that I know he thought I would be the first female to get her foot in the all-male club’s door.
I’m just not sure if I could handle seeing Marcus all the time without giving in to him. Giving someone that much power over me is dangerous.
“I’m sorry I hurt you,” he whispers. “I’ve just never felt this way about anyone before.” He starts to take a step closer to me, but I put up my palm to stop him, and his shoulders sag even more. “Maybe I don’t deserve another chance. But you lied to me too, Teagan. If I can forgive you, then I hope you can forgive me.”
“It’s not even the same and you know it!” I shout at him.
“A lie is a lie, right? Don’t pretend that you didn’t come to my house and fuck around with me for any other reason than to try and change my mind about letting you prospect.” He puffs out a non-humorous laugh. “You didn’t really want my hands on you, my mouth between your legs, or my belt. I tried to break you, I did. But you wouldn’t give up no matter what I did, not until you got what you came for. Instead of hating you for using me, I started falling for you and your stubborn as hell strength. And I think you felt more for me than you’ll admit, even though you tried not to care about me.”
I shake my head to deny it.
“Why else would you try so hard to make me happy if you didn’t give a shit about me?” he asks.
“Making you happy was all part of getting what I wanted,” I lie.
“Oh yeah? Then why did you keep it up even after I gave you the prospect cut?”
I open my mouth to dispute that statement, but I can’t. Marcus doesn’t wait for my response.
“I know I don’t own you just because my name is tattooed on your ass. You have to be able to do what you need to do, and I want to be there for you. Not because you need me to protect you, but because I care about you.” Then, he just walks to the door saying, “Let me know when you’re done lying to yourself and are ready to admit that you care about me too.”
I think he’s right.
I was so angry at him, that I forgot that I kept the act up because, well, it wasn’t an act. I wanted to be with him, to stay with him, to make him happy.
I wanted Marcus to keep me.
I wanted to be his more than anything else.
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