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Book II – Her Brother’s Keeper

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Fate introduces people at both the right and the wrong times…

So it is for Maren on the absolute worst day imaginable. When all hope was gone, and she was whittled away to little more than tears and despair, up walks Nox, an unlikely hero to save the day. Maren is about to discover that sometimes the good guys wear black, and there are times that the lines between good and evil blur beyond recognition.

Nox is a bad man with a heart of gold, or so it seems. It also seems that Maren has captured that heart with her wide, tear-filled brown eyes. Nox never saw himself going for jailbait before, but that’s just what Maren is, all woman trapped in a seventeen-year-old package. Still, what he wouldn’t do for her, including taking on the unlikely role of keeper to her unruly preteen brother. This mess could end beautifully or in some serious time spent behind bars for Nox, but sometimes, it’s worth risking it all.

Nox

I couldn’t help myself, I glanced back the girl’s way again.

She was a knockout, but you’d never hear me say it out loud because can we say jailbait? The girl couldn’t have been much older than sixteen or seventeen. Her long, chestnut hair in a braid over one shoulder looked glossy in the buzzing overhead lights. She didn’t wear makeup and she didn’t need to, either. She had a natural beauty and surprisingly flawless skin for obviously being a teen.

I watched her key something into the register and incline her head with some serious grace to indicate that the woman should try again. I watched as the checker waited, those wide brown eyes a little too wide, for the predictable outcome.

“I’m sorry, ma’am…” she began, and the woman exploded at her.

“What’s the matter with you, are you stupid or something?” I blinked, and the checker tried to stammer out an apology, tried to remain professional and all, but the blonde out of a bottle wasn’t having any of it.

“Seriously? You’re doing it all wrong, I have money in that account! You’re stupid or something.” She crossed her arms over her saggy titties in her low-cut leopard print top and I wish like hell I were joking about that. “Get me your manager, you stupid cunt!” the woman demanded and she was screaming at the checkout girl who’d gone completely red in the face, her eyes welling and tears spilling over and that was the point that I’d had enough.

“Yo! Who you calling a cunt you two-bit, crack-headed, trailer park bitch?” I demanded and took a menacing step in her direction. “It’s fucking Christmas! Who talks to a kid like that on Christmas? Look at her!” I barked. “There’s no reason for you to be nasty to this girl when all she’s trying to do is help your skank ass. Now, you’re wasting her time, you’re wasting my time, and you’re wasting all of these people’s time,” I said flinging an arm back to indicate the jammed checkout line. “Personally, I think that’s enough. You damn sure ain’t gonna waste her manager’s time on top of everyone else you’ve put out. Now, get the fuck up out of here!”

My explosion set off a round of cheers and applause behind me; the trailer park bitch grabbed her wallet and stuffed it into her rhinestone and fringed black leather purse. She made a noise, tossed her hair that seriously if I had a match, it would have gone up worse than Michael Jackson’s hair during that Pepsi commercial disaster. Before she turned on her patent leather heels in her fake ass leather leggings and clipped towards the exit she shrieked at me “Fuck you!” I glared at her the whole damned way, it wasn’t below me to whoop her ass. I didn’t think that she could technically be classified as a lady, and the club might just let it slide.

And the girl? Well, fuck. The next thing I knew, she was around from behind the register and bawling into the front of my cut, my arms held out as I looked down at the crown of glossy brown hair, wondering what was happening.

Maren

He’d crammed nearly four hundred dollars into my hands just before he’d left, and I’d been stunned, staring at his back as he’d walked away, the image of the heart wrapped in barbed wire seared into my memory. The Sacred Hearts, his jacket had proclaimed, he was one of them and I’d been confused. I mean, bikers weren’t typically nice guys, were they? I thought if they had those patches on their backs that they belonged to a gang or something. Of course, it wasn’t like I would ever find out or know without ever talking to one of them, right? I’d found the internet as a research option less than helpful for this sort of thing because it seemed that the motorcycling community was just as divided as the rest of the world on the issue.

So, I’d kept an eye out in the intervening week, on my way to and from school, and to and from work. I hadn’t encountered anyone with the same club affiliation since; though I wondered if that was due to the cold and the snow. I raised my head from where I was pouring soup into two mugs at the roar of machines out on the street. It sounded like a lot of them. Probably more than I had ever seen in one place.

“Maren! Maren, come quick! They’re pulling into our driveway!” Sage called from the living room. I rinsed the grease off my hands in the sink from plating the sandwiches and I hurried out of the kitchen. I stepped quickly through the living room drying my hands on a dish towel wondering for the thousandth time, like every time I heard a motorcycle, if it was him.

Those lightly colored eyes, so pale a gray as to almost not even be there had bored into mine and… I don’t know, it was like he’d communicated with me, without having said a word.

“Sage, get back here! Don’t go out there!” I frustratingly sighed. My little brother wasn’t listening to me, hadn’t been listening to me like at all since our dad had died. Like now, he already had the front door open, to a man in black leather on the other side, fist poised to knock. I swallowed hard at his appearance. Black gloves with white skeletal finger bones printed on the backs. He had one of those matte black half helmets on; his eyes indiscernible behind black wraparound sunglasses. The lower half of his face was hidden beneath a bandana, printed much like his gloves with a leering skull that overlaid his face beneath perfectly.

He looked down at Sage and his muffled voice asked, “Is your sister home?”

“Why, you here to kidnap her?” Sage asked. “Because I would totally love that.”

Text Copyright © 2016 A.J. Downey

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, 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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