I followed Katherine out of the police station, fighting back the urge to shiver. It was like an icebox in there. As if facing down cops wasn’t bad enough without the bonus discomfort of being covered head-to-toe in goosebumps.
I paused just outside the door and let the Texas heat wrap around me like a blanket. The sun sat low on the horizon, but even as it set, it burned with an intensity that drove away my lingering chill within seconds. I closed my eyes and turned my face toward its warmth, reveling in the fact that I wasn’t behind bars. Engines revved at a nearby stoplight. A gentle breeze brushed past me, carrying the scent of freshly cut grass.
I took a deep breath of freedom and turned to face my savior. “High five?”
Katherine lifted her hand. “High five.”
We smacked our palms together and then headed down the front steps. Movement caught the corner of my eye. I turned to see Jakob push up from a park bench beneath a nearby stand of trees. Instead of his Kings jacket, he wore a loose, sleeveless leather vest over his black t-shirt, the MC logo emblazoned on the right breast. I felt like a fool for not seeing the similarities between The Kings’ and The Specters’ patches sooner. Where the skull in The Specters’ patch wore a skullcap helmet, the one in The Kings’ had a broken crown perched on its head. Otherwise, they were exactly alike.
Jakob emerged from the shadows of the trees out into the burnished gold of the dying day. I swear the darkness clung to him for a heartbeat too long, like it didn’t want to let him go. He paced towards us with that particular gait that was all Jakob, long legs eating up the pavement, his focus lasered in on Katherine and me.
“How’d it go?” he asked when he reached us.
“As good as can be expected,” Katherine said.
“She’s being modest,” I told him. “She destroyed Officer Sanders.”
“Poor guy,” Jakob said, but I could tell from the slight lift of his lips that he wanted to smile.
Katherine checked her watch. “Okay, I need to get going.” She turned to me. “If anyone from Kearny P.D. contacts you, direct them to me.”
“Can do,” I said. “Thank you so much again.”
She smiled and squeezed my arm. “You’re welcome. We’ll talk soon.”
We said goodbye to her and watched her climb into her vehicle. A few minutes later, she waved as she pulled out of the parking lot. I’d vacillated between including her in the conversation I needed to have with Jakob or not including her. Ultimately I decided against it. She might need plausible deniability if The Kings did anything with the information I had. Well, thought I had.
I turned to Jakob. “You remember that guy you stared down when we were checking into Magnolia?”
I thumbed toward the front door. “He was inside. I’m pretty sure he’s the one pushing for charges against me, and the more I think about it, the more I believe he’s involved in all of this.”
“Why’s that?” he asked.
“For starters, he has to know that guard is fake. Who else besides a manager would have the power to bring in gang members and cover everything up from the inside? And pressing charges against me is kind of a genius move, as much as I hate to admit it. It might throw any testimonial or accusations against them into question.” I waved my hands in the air and let a little insanity slip into my eyes. “That crazy chick is just making shit up to get out of assault charges. What grand conspiracy, officer?”
Jakob turned toward the police station. If he’d had superpowers, the intensity of his gaze would have set in on fire. “Did you get his name?”
I dropped my hands. “No. I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that I recognized him. Do you know him?”
Jakob glanced back at me, a little furrow between his brows. “Maybe. His face is familiar, but I can’t put a name to him.”
“Want to wait in the car until he comes out so you can get another look at him?” I asked.
He shook his head. “We can’t. We have to go to Daniel’s for a cookout.”
“He called while you were inside and invited us. Made a point to remind me that you told him you’d like to go over for dinner sometime.”
Damn my past self. “I don’t want to leave Gran alone in a strange place for too long.”
Jakob stepped close and put his hands on my shoulders. “I get it, but we have to go.”
I stared up at him. Shit. He had that intractable look on his face again. For some reason, he really thought we needed to go. Whether it was because he didn’t want to piss off his gang leader, or because something was going on between the two of them after all, I had no idea, and I didn’t like that.
The need to question him about this was strong, but I pushed it down and did my best to remind myself that it was none of my business, and I’d already gotten Gran and me into enough trouble by involving myself in The Kings’ problems.
“Okay, but I have to call Gran first,” I said.
He nodded and let me go.
I called Gran as we pulled out of the parking lot. It turned out she was fine. She’d roped Jennifer into watching her favorite telenovela with her, and the two of them had spent the past couple of hours chumming it up together. I tried to ask a couple of leading questions to check in on her mental state, but she rushed me right off the phone. Apparently, the last episode had ended on a cliff hanger, and she and Jennifer were both antsy to start the next one.
“Here, talk to Liam,” Gran said.
I heard muffled noises like she was passing the phone off. “Love you too!” I yelled. That woman.
“Hey,” Liam rumbled.
I put him on speaker, and together, Jakob and I caught him up on my visit to the police station. I made sure to openly hero-worship Katherine.
Liam chuckled. “That’s nothing. You should see her in a courtroom.”
“No offense,” I said, “but I’d rather avoid that.”
“Fair enough,” he said. “Jakob, we need to put someone on Magnolia to tail whoever this manager prick is. Choose a new guy you trust who won’t be recognized.”
“Already on it,” Jakob told him.
A loud noise echoed over the phone, followed by rapid-fire Spanish.
“I have to go,” Liam said, sounding rushed. “They started the next episode without me.”
The line went dead. I looked from the phone to Jakob. His dad was nothing like I imagined he would be. Proud of his son, willing to stay up late and watch telenovelas with his wife and my gran, and all while simultaneously heading up one of the country’s most dangerous motorcycle gangs.
Daniel and Eva King lived outside of town in a large two-story home set back in the woods. They must have owned a decent plot of land because the closest neighbors were over half a mile away. Good thing, otherwise someone probably would have called in a noise complaint.
Music blared from the backyard as we pulled up, so loud that I could hear it even over the rumble of the car’s engine. Twilight had given way to dusk during the drive over, and the external floodlights were on, illuminating a driveway crammed full of motorcycles, muscle cars, and trucks. It looked like over half of The Kings had turned out.
Jakob parked a few hundred feet away from the house and cut the car lights. We rolled up the windows, muffling the sound of the thumping bassline.
“You ready for this?” he asked.
I turned toward him. “For my first King party? Sure. Can’t be much worse than a rowdy shift at the bar, can it?”
The look he sent me said it could. “You’re cute when you’re naïve.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Har, har.”
He reached out and tucked a stray piece of hair behind my ear, then slid his hand around to cradle my neck. The pad of his thumb was rough against my skin as he rubbed it back and forth. His gaze fell to my lips. “I’m glad you didn’t get arrested.”
“Yeah?” I said.
His hand flexed, drawing me forward. “Yeah. It would have been harder to break you out of there than it was to get you out of Magnolia.”
I smiled at the joke. He didn’t. Shit, he was serious. Note to self: never get arrested.
He leaned down and brushed his lips over mine in the ghost of a kiss. “Why did you change?”
I glanced down. I’d tugged on a pair of jeans as he drove and then slipped my dress off overhead, torturously slow. He’d almost wrecked the car. Now I wore a low-cut tank top that put my boobs on full display.
“You don’t like the new outfit?” I asked.
His gaze dropped straight into my cleavage. “I like the outfit.” He dragged his eyes back up to mine, slowly, like he didn’t want to look away. “Why are you avoiding the question?”
I let out a breath. “Jesus, you really aren’t into small talk, are you?”
He shook his head, his thumb still sliding over my neck, lips tantalizingly close.
“I changed because I didn’t want to deal with ten thousand questions from shitfaced bikers about my scars.”
“You’re here with me,” he said. “They won’t bother you.”
The sheer ego of that statement. My God. Trouble was, he was probably right.
I shrugged. “I’d rather not risk it.”
He nodded as if he understood.
“What happened to your leg?” I asked him. I’d been curious about it since our first night together, and thanks to the intimacy of this moment, I felt like he might actually answer me for once. Our voices were low. It felt like we were in our own little world inside the car.
“Shrapnel,” he said. “An RPG round hit the rooftop I was repelling onto from the helo, and I took a big ass chunk of steel to the thigh. Carved the muscle right out.”
“Does your leg hurt you?” I asked.
“Not always, but yeah,” he said, nodding. “And it doesn’t help that I hyperextended that knee landing hard on another mission and tore every tendon that runs through it. Surgery helped, but the leg’s still fucked.”
Just like mine. “Hopefully we never have to outrun anyone.”
He pulled back a little, gaze boring into me. “Do I look like the kind of man to run?”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh, my mistake. I forgot who I was talking to for a moment there. I’m sure you can just flex at our enemies, and they’ll swoon at the sight of all that rippling muscle.”
He cocked a brow and shot me an arrogant grin. “Worked on you.”
“Temporary insanity. Now are you going to fucking kiss me or what, Jakob?”
In answer, he let out a low growl and dragged me out of my seat. I swung my leg around as he spun me and ended up straddling him. He leaned up and captured my mouth in a hot, searing kiss that didn’t last nearly long enough. I gasped as he pulled away, my lower lip pinched between his teeth. He bit down, hard enough to hurt, and then kissed me again to soothe away the sting.
“One of these days I’m going to figure out what to do about that mouth of yours,” he said, pale eyes flashing in the dim light.
“Don’t lie. You like my mouth.” I slicked my hands up the hard plane of his chest and laced my fingers behind his neck. “You like that instead of bowing and scraping like all your cronies, I call you on your bullshit.”
His eyes met mine in challenge, but he didn’t bother denying it.
I leaned forward and brushed my lips against his ear. “There might be one thing you could do to shut me up. It’d be pretty hard for me to talk around that thick cock of yours.”
He gripped my thighs and ground up into me, demonstrating just how big his dick was when fully aroused. “This cock?”
I rolled my pelvis into his thrust, careless of my aching hip. I loved that he was already hard and ready. There was something so primal and powerful in driving another person half-mad with lust. Jakob had the same effect on me, and I didn’t even want to know what it would do to his ego if he found out.
He thrust again, the friction of our jeans sending a jolt of pain-numbing pleasure scorching through me. I let go of his neck and shoved his shirt up a few inches so I could unbutton his jeans. I wanted that thick cock in my mouth. I’d been thinking about it since he’d gotten me off earlier. How soft would his skin be? How long could he last before he –
A set of headlights flashed over us, and we both stilled, remembering where we were. Holy hell, I’d been about two seconds from dropping down to the floor and sucking him off right here in the car. Anyone could have walked by and seen us. Jakob had told Daniel that I was a private person, and by chance, he was right. The thought of getting caught giving him head was like getting dumped into an ice bath.
Jakob pulled me in close and turned a little as a truck rolled up the driveway, shielding me with his body.
“I totally forgot where we were,” I whispered into the side of his neck.
The truck moved past, and we were dropped back into darkness. Jakob eased back into his seat, his arms loosening around me. Those headlights just ruined my night vision, and I could barely see the flash of his teeth as he smiled up at me.
“I have that effect on women,” he said, tone dripping with smugness. It was the same line he’d used on me the other morning.
I gripped his beard and held him still. “Don’t act like you didn’t forget where we were too.”
“I remembered,” he said. “I just didn’t give a fuck.”
We stayed like that for a minute. I wanted to kiss him again. I could tell by the way he gripped my thighs that he wanted to kiss me too. But we didn’t have time to start anything right now, and if we did, I might lose what little self-restraint I still possessed and let him fuck me in the backseat, to hell with witnesses.
Jakob tugged my hand from his beard. “The sooner we go inside and make the rounds, the sooner we can leave. Ready?”
“Oh, I’m more than ready,” I shot back. In my mind, I saw him spread out beneath me, naked and straining. I was so turned on that I ached with need.
Jakob’s fingers dug into me. “You keep looking at me like that, and we’re going to end up naked in public.”
I dropped my head to his shoulder, trying to get ahold of myself. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
He let go of my thighs and slid his hands to my ass. “Don’t ever apologize for looking at me like that.”
He swung his door open and climbed out of the car, holding me up with one arm. I clung to him for a minute, relishing in the feel of the muscles bunching beneath my hands, and then unwound my legs from his waist. He steadied me as I slid off of him. I took a measured step back, putting space between us that I desperately needed right now.
You’re in the driveway of Daniel King, about to walk into a house full of drunken criminals. Get your shit together.
I straightened my clothes and tried not to stare at Jakob. He really was a big son of a bitch, and between the whorling tattoos and the clinging darkness, he looked more like an actual specter than a King. His hand dropped to his jeans, and my gaze snapped right back to him as he readjusted himself. I must have had a sadistic streak because there was something about knowing he’d been hard for me at least twice today without relief that made me want to torment him a little. He turned away and reached in to grab his jacket from the backseat, and while his back was to me, I pulled my hair out of its messy bun and combed my fingers through it.
He shrugged his jacket on and locked the car behind him. Together, we headed toward the house. I reached up and started braiding my hair as we walked.
He looked over at me as we passed into the golden nimbus of the floodlights, gaze dropping straight to where my fingers were finishing the plait. “What are you doing?”
I tied the braid off and pulled it over my shoulder. “Giving us something to look forward to later.” To drive the point home, I wrapped it around my wrist and tugged.
Jakob swore, with feeling, and dragged me into the house.
Copyright © 2020 by Navessa Allen
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.