Marcie has always lived her life right. A pillar of her community, a savvy businesswoman, a picture-perfect citizen despite a few bumps in the road, she never imagined what it would be like if it all came crashing down. She also never imagined that it would be one of the notorious bikers from around town that would set her back on her feet and put things to rights.
Dragon has been The Sacred Hearts’ fearless leader since the club’s inception. He has loved and lost harder, than any member and has had no intentions of ever trying to find love again. Of course, never say never, because that is when things tend to prove you wrong.
In this final installment of The Sacred Brotherhood series, two broken souls are mended proving salvation is there if you’re only willing to reach for it.
“Well, ain’t you a mystery?” I muttered, thinking back to the woman. She’d been older than Cell by, like, a lot, but younger than me. Probably late forties, early fifties, if I had to guess. Her hair, while copper, had that color of deeper copper that said good salon dye rather than natural, and didn’t have the stiff quality of most natural gingers’ locks. It’d tousled with the wind and had lost, ruffling in the breeze and sparking fire from the glint of the sun on it.
She’d been willowy and light on her feet, dressed like most conservative white women around these parts, in jeans that’d looked like they’d seen an iron and a simple western blouse. She had brown and worn-in cowgirl boots on her feet as she’d dashed across the sweeping drive through the cemetery to her car, a modern Honda CRV.
I stood for a long time staring at the marble gravestone of our most-recently-fallen brother and gave a grunt. I had a feeling I knew who it could have been, but I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. I let out a gusty sigh and stared over the stones of my brothers, through the wrought-iron fence at the back of the white marble stone that was my wife’s.
I hated that our visit had been cut short, but another, stiffer breeze carried with it a breath of rose scent and I knew she was tellin’ me to go. She knew I loved a good mystery, and this one needed solvin’ before I could let it go completely.
“See you around, boys,” I muttered and went back around, stopping at Tilly’s plot to leave behind the photo of our grandson.
“Be back soon, baby. Promise.”
I froze. Which was funny, because he froze too, just inside my little one-woman-show of a salon door. Except, where adrenaline and a little fear coursed through me, he had a cock-sure attitude painted on his face; one eyebrow slightly raised, lips curved in an amused smile. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to be intimidating or not, but he was.
Well, when it came to the attitude, two could play at that game and I did. Raising an eyebrow of my own and standing a little straighter, I asked in my sweetest retail voice, “Can I help you?”
“Lookin’ fer a haircut if yer available,” he said.
“I’m available,” I said, my curiosity winning out. He ducked his head in a nod and came around the counter back to my work area. He took off his coat with the faded and dirty patches all over it, the smell of burnt tobacco wafting over. I wrinkled my nose at the offending smell of old cigarettes and was glad it was behind his back. I still wasn’t sure why exactly he was here and it felt awfully like I’d invited a venomous snake into my home – even though I didn’t live here.
Still, I had to figure if he knew where I worked that quickly, he knew where I lived. It wasn’t exactly a stretch. I watched him hang his coat on the hook by the mirror of my station and met his dark eyes in that mirror. He stepped over and settled into my chair.
I licked dry lips and said, “I’m going to tuck your collar, if you don’t mind.”
“I ain’t here to make your job harder, you just do what you do, Sweetheart.”
“Why exactly are you here?” I asked, rolling the collar of his black-and-red checkered flannel shirt under. I made sure it was tucked securely over the back of the faded black tee shirt he had on underneath it and pulled a fresh drape off the neat stack of them I had on a shelf between my station and the next. My salon had three chairs to it, but I worked alone. I didn’t need another stylist to make my bills or the rent on this old place, but I still had a “Help Wanted” sign in the window anyways. It wasn’t a struggle, but it was still a bit tighter financially around here than I liked, some months.
“I told you, lookin’ fer a haircut,” he said and I braced my fists on my hips and arched a brow at him over his head. He chuckled and settled in.
“Now, I know you aren’t trying to bullshit me none,” I told him, my Kentucky accent thickening.
“Nope,” he said, grinning.
“Good, ‘cause y’ can’t. I’ve raised two daughters as ornery as me and y’ can’t bullshit a bullshitter. I’ve seen and done it all.”
He laughed at me and waved me down with a hand saying, “Wouldn’t dream of tryin’ to get one over on you, Mrs. Lanham. Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“It’s ‘Ms.’, thank you very much. I ain’t been ‘Mrs.’ anything going on three years now. Ever since I caught my girl’s daddy cheating.”
“Good to know,” he said gently.
“So what’s your name?”
“They call me Dragon,” he stated, carefully looking me up and down in the mirror in front of us.
Text Copyright © 2018 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, event, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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