The Iron Wraiths rule Savannah’s underground. More than just a motorcycle club, something like the mob, they’re the number one game in town for everything from guns to gambling.
Madisyn Jayne Reynolds was continually responsible for her older brother, Zeke, and this time wasn’t any different. The only thing that mattered was getting him out of the hole he’d dug for himself. She’s all bravado, but underneath it all, she’s terrified, and offering herself as payment for her brother’s debts wasn’t what she’d ever had in mind for herself.
Synister was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he didn’t exactly follow the typical climb to power of the rest of Savannah’s elite. His mind is always on more important things than the status quo, and he’s climbed the power structure his own way.
When a sassy blonde girl walks into his club’s underground card game, he’s all ears to see how she’ll wrangle her brother out of his clutches. One word makes him think she may be worth the trouble she’ll cause.
“Madi? What the fuck?” my brother demanded indignantly.
“I mean it, Zeke. Get off your fucking ass and let’s go, right now!” I didn’t have to force the venom into my tone. It was naturally occurring by this point. I had so fucking had it with my brother and the fact that he was here right now. With the Iron fucking Wraiths!
“Madi, get the fuck out of here. What are you even doing right now? Are you crazy?” Zeke demanded. He had gotten up, replacing the biker’s hand on my arm with his own.
“Specter?” a strong voice asked – a deep baritone with a rich timber that seeped out of the shadows at the side of the room. I almost didn’t see the man until he slipped off the top of the low cabinets against the wall. He’d been half-sitting on them, and observing the poker game. Where I hadn’t been super afraid at Specter of the heavy hand, this man made me freeze like a deer in the headlights, my heart stuttering harder than my voice had outside. Only there wasn’t anything indignant about this stutter. No, this stutter was one of fear.
Something about the way this new man moved, the way he glided in all that heavy black leather with barely a creak or a whisper, at how his heavy soled black boots barely made a sound against the raw concrete floor, and at how everyone, my brother included, froze at the sound of his voice, turning their attention to this man… well, it screamed that he was in charge. Not only did it scream that he was in charge, it telegraphed as clearly as a neon flashing sign that he was the thing in the room to be afraid of. Especially with how no one, and I do mean not a one of them, would make eye contact with him.
I swallowed hard and found my equilibrium as fast as I could as he stepped into the light. If we were going down, we’d go down together… idiot, I thought at my brother.
“Who’s this?” the man demanded, and his dark eyes fixed on mine. I steeled myself and gave as good as I got, meeting his gaze, and not backing down despite how my heart quavered craven in my chest.
“Madisyn, you’ve got to go,” Zeke demanded. My brother’s voice was tight with fear. I felt my mouth go dry, but I wasn’t about to give any of these idiot males the satisfaction of seeing me sweat.
“Madisyn,” I said. “Madisyn Reyn—”
“I just told you we don’t do names,” the first man, Specter, said, his shoulders shaking with silent laughter and drawing my attention away from the dark man from the shadows.
I snapped my eyes from him to the second man, the man in charge, as he took a further step into the light. My prey instinct told me to stay rooted to the spot, and not just that, but to not take my eyes off him. That taking my eyes off him could prove to be fatal.
Of course, with my fight-or-flight reflexes kicking in, gluing my gaze onto him, I had nothing to do now but look at him, and look at him, I did. He was older than me. Older than Zeke, too, but not so old any of his jet-black hair had started to thread with any silver.
He rasped a hand along the dark stubble coating his chin, his deep, dark, poisonous eyes flicking from Specter, to my brother, to me.
“Syn, I’m sorry. I don’t know what she’s doing here,” Zeke said, dropping his hand from just above my elbow and taking a step back. My rage at my brother went up a notch as he took that step away from me. Like, seriously? I come in here to save your ass from yourself, and at the first hint of any actual trouble, you just drop me like a bad habit? Just like that? God, he was being an asshole.
Specter clapped his hands onto my brother’s shoulders and dragged him back away from me, pushing him back down into the seat he’d vacated right in front of us at the table. My anger wavered, my fear and empathy nudging it out of the way at the spill of cards and poker chips atop the maroon felt.
With a bravery I didn’t feel, and worry that I did, I flicked my eyes to Specter’s.
“Will you quit manhandling people?” I demanded coldly, my vision once again distracted, returning immediately to the dark man, the man in charge, as he took another step in my direction and barked a laugh.
“I see something I’d like to manhandle,” he said, eyeing me. I snorted, taking a reflexive step back. “Maybe there’s a deal we could come to.” His grin was wolfish.
“Real original,” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.
“Madisyn…” Zeke’s voice was tinged with a mix of desperation and exasperation. It had me shutting my mouth with an almost audible clack of teeth at the sound of it. I looked into my brother’s blue eyes, a match for mine. They looked desperate for me to shut my mouth, shining out from under his messy mop of sandy-blond hair just a shade or two darker than my own. It looked as though he’d been gripping it with his hands and the realization of his disarray hit me like a ton of bricks.
I immediately felt an answering fear to his own swell in my chest as the man in charge rolled my name around in his mouth like he was tasting it.
“Madisyn…” he practically purred, and I felt queasy. I’d be damned if I would show it, though.
“And you are?” I demanded archly.
She hit all the right places for me – small, petite even, curvy in the right places with ample tits and a cute little ass, and those hips! I could grab onto ‘em and mm.
Looks weren’t everything, though. She was also going to be a bit of a challenge, that one. She had just the right amount of spice to her. I liked that… and a virgin?
At first, I hadn’t believed her, but then those cheeks had pinked up so beautifully. And when she wouldn’t look at me?
Not wouldn’t. Couldn’t, I reminded myself… Well, I could tell the difference. She stood there all false bravado, but her hands and the way she’d balled them into fists to hide their shaking had given her away. The more the conversation had gone on, that fine tremble in her hands had turned into a tremor, and then that tremor had migrated until she was full-on shaking. She stood there like a leaf in a fuckin’ hurricane and thought she’d had me convinced. I found that kind of fuckin’ adorable on her little five-foot-nothing frame.
She’d been all long blonde hair and wide blue eyes and I couldn’t fucking resist toying with her just a little… but when she’d tried to give as good as she got?
Mm, I was getting hard just thinking about it. I got rock hard to the point of pain, thinking about how I would be her first, and how my cock could be the only one to satisfy her if she was good enough, or until I got tired of her or whatever. The possessive dick in me really liked the thought of having a plaything that was all mine from the word go.
“You really think she’s a virgin?” Haint asked, smoke curling from his mouth to his nose like a dragon, where he sat back in his seat. He raised his eyebrows at me, his hair dark – almost black – his beard only lightly threaded with a few strands here and there of salt.
“Fuck yeah,” Specter said with a slow grin, and the table swept with a round of laughter like a wave in a whirlpool in eddies around the edges.
“We’ll see,” I declared. “Friday, after six.”
“Jesus Christ, you depraved fuck.” Torment’s shoulders shook with laughter beneath his cut.
“Coming from you, I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said, licking the rolling paper on my joint and rolling it the rest of the way, tightening it down with my fingers.
More laughter came from around the long table.
“I still think it’s bullshit,” Corvus glowered.
I smirked and said, “You want me to spell it out for you?”
He snorted. “Yes, please,” he said, unfolding his arms and reaching for his whiskey. He took a sip and stared me down, waiting.
“He’ll never be able to pay us. Kid is in way too deep,” I said and stuck the joint between my lips, feeling it bob and weave in the air as I sparked up my lighter and spoke around it. “I figured he might be worth keeping in our hip pocket until we could find a use for him, but he’s too fuckin’ weak. He would have crumbled – been useless for anything other than maybe a patsy at some point. That sister of his, though? She was interesting. She might be worth something someday.”
“You still should have brought it to the table,” Corvus declared.
“Yeah, well, you’re maybe not wrong about that, but what’s done is done,” I said. “Besides that, who all is really offended that I capitalized on this?”
All hands went up and I chuckled as they all went back down.
“Now a show of hands… how many of you, is that offense taken because you weren’t the lucky bastard in the right place at the right time to capitalize on it first?”
Every hand around the table shot up except Corvus’s, but eventually, he knuckled under to the peer pressure and his hand went up too.
I leaned back in my seat and laughed with him.
“You had me going for a minute there, brother.”
He shook his head, grinning, and said, “Ah, yeah, I do believe I did.” I knew better. Knew each of my men like the back of my own hand. Corvus liked to test the waters every once in a while, and I truthfully preferred it that way. It not just kept me on my toes, but it kept a lot of these other fuckers in check from doing it themselves.
I shook my head, grinning ruefully, and asked, “So, what other business we got to attend to?”
Text Copyright © 2023 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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