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Owned: A Rough Romance by Piper Stone – Sample

Chapter One


“He’s going to kill me.”

Saying the words out loud made them seem real. And true.

And terrifying.

Oh, God. Oh, dear God, please let me get away.

Shivering, I glanced into the rearview mirror, praying to God I didn’t see any headlights. I knew they’d come after me, hunting like the horrible monsters they were. He had dozens of men working for him, horrible specimens inflicting anguish for even a single infraction. I had almost no chance of getting away, but it was an opportunity I’d been willing to take.

The waning light of the day created horrific shadows across the road, imaginary images of barbaric thugs with guns prepared to end my one chance at freedom. I knew the visions were merely premonitions of things to come.

Michael Capatelli would never stop until he locked me in a cage, punishing me for daring to defy him. No one ever disobeyed his commands for fear of severe consequences.

Especially his wife.

Correction, his almost wife.

At least I’d gotten this far, making it almost eighty miles. The wedding guests, none of whom I knew, were likely still feasting on shrimp and lobster, drinking themselves into oblivion. I’d been locked in my room all alone, awaiting my terrible fate.

A walk down an aisle tainted with blood.

I yanked at the lace surrounding my neck, the tight material suffocating just like the proposed marriage would be. The ugly fucking wedding dress was just something else Michael had forced on me. His decision for his bride to be.

A woman he already thought he owned.

His slave.

I shuddered again, trying desperately to figure out how to turn on the heat. The sleek Lexus with a console that resembled something from a rocket ship certainly wasn’t my usual ride. My poor Monte Carlo’s heating and cooling system had barely worked, the precious bucket of rust carted off like the rest of my real life. “You won’t need any transportation after our marriage,” he’d told me on the day my beloved car was dragged away from his pristine property by a tow truck. Frustrated I couldn’t figure out the expansive heating and cooling system, I slapped my hand on the steering wheel, fighting to keep from crying. How had I gotten myself in this position?

I knew the answer: one dark and stormy night over three years before when a stranger had walked into the diner where I was working. All rugged brawn with the most intense black eyes, a laugh that had enticed me enough to agree to going out with him.

I’d been such a fool.

Hell, I’d grown up around a father who’d been a cop. I knew a lying creep when I saw one. If my father were still alive, he would have made certain his fellow Boys in Blue had shown Michael the error in his ways. How he’d been able to fool me with his loving mannerisms and promises of a fabulous future together was beyond me. The man was pure evil.

I glared at the phone I’d also stolen from one of the housekeepers. Michael had stripped me of my own, locking away the few things I’d brought with me.

For a visit and nothing more.

Then he’d upped the ante, requiring me to stay. I’d taken the brunt of his wrath, his anger because I’d lied to him.

I would do it again in order to protect the ones I loved.

Thank God there was finally limited reception on the phone, although I knew it was only a matter of time before even that lifeline would disappear. I struggled to remember my sister’s number, my mind one big blur. Everything had been stripped away from me, including portions of my memory from his brainwashing.

You’re worthless without me.

You’re only good to be property.

The ugliness of his words remained.

Hissing, I concentrated as I took several deep breaths, finally able to recite the phone number in my head. “Please be there. Please pick up the phone.” There was no way of knowing whether she would. I’d managed to call Ashley once and while the situation with Michael had yet to turn completely nasty, she’d been able to tell something was wrong. I’d hurriedly given her instructions that I knew in my heart she’d followed. Now I could only pray she’d do exactly as I asked once again.

Just as expected and maybe as I’d hoped, she didn’t answer. When the voicemail kicked in, I could tell the reception was beginning to wane. I slowed down as I relayed the information quickly. “Ashley. I don’t have time to explain. You need to go now to that place you like so much. You know the one I mean. Don’t wait. Do it tonight. Please. Just…” The three beeps were the most horrible sound in the world.

The call had dropped.

Oh, God. Oh, please God. Would she understand what I meant? Was she still okay? Was she even alive? I couldn’t think any additional wretched thoughts. There was too much at stake. I glared at the phone before tossing it across the seat. I was now completely and utterly on my own.

As the rain began to fall, I tried to concentrate on driving. I had no idea where I was going, but at this point it didn’t matter. I just needed to get to somewhere safe. Safe. Was that even a possibility? Maybe Florida. Maybe Cuba. I knew very little about the state of Georgia, had only been down I-95 on my way to Daytona Beach what seemed like a lifetime before. Maybe I could hide out somewhere for a few days? Where? How? I laughed even though a single tear finally trickled past my lashes as I put everything into perspective.

I’d fled Michael’s perfectly decorated mansion only thirty minutes before the start of the wedding in a pair of high heels. I had no coat in freezing weather, no identification, and no money. I’d stolen a stranger’s car from under the valet’s nose, only managing to escape because the massive iron gates at the front entrance had remained open to allow guests to arrive.

If I wasn’t found by several of Michael’s bodyguards, I’d be arrested for grand theft auto.

All I’d ever wanted was a beautiful fairytale; a brave knight unafraid of fighting off the dragons in order to save the woman he loved.

Instead, I’d found an evil beast, ready to consume me.

All the promises had been lies.

All the poetic emotions had turned sinister.

But I’d refused to allow him to break me, which only pissed him off even more. Now I had to keep fighting. I wanted to live. I wanted to find a true hero, someone I could count on. I only prayed he was out there, ready to scoop me up into his massive, protective arms.

I needed to protect my little family.

Michael’s words burned into my mind as he’d stood in his perfectly coiffed three-thousand-dollar tuxedo, a cigar in one hand, a cognac in the other.

“Make no mistake, princess, you are my possession. If you attempt to escape, I will find you and you will not like the consequences. If you defy my orders, you will be punished. You will earn your right to indulge in privileges and I assure you, that will not happen for a long time. I will use you as I please. I will take you when I want, and do you want to know why? Because you’re my property.” He took a puff of his cigar, blowing the smoke in my face as he walked closer until I could smell the stench of his breath.

Then he smiled, his dark eyes flashing as he slowly lowered his gaze, sneering before once again looking directly into my eyes. “And princess. If you attempt to escape a second time, you. Will. Die.”

I was no one’s property. Fuck him. Fuck his wealth and influence. I didn’t care if I spent the rest of my life living in a little shack, I would be much happier.

Where were the windshield wipers? My hands shaking, I touched every apparatus as I tried to keep my eyes on the road. And the tears continued to fall. Concentrate. Breathe. I took several gasping breaths as I hunkered over the steering wheel, pressing down on the accelerator. As the shadows increased, twilight settling in, I did everything I could to calm down in an attempt to think clearly.

And the drops of rain pelted against the windshield.

I’d find a gas station and figure out where the hell I was. Maybe they would let me use their phone. And maybe the attendant will call Michael. “No! Stop it. Just stop it.” Yes, I’d been told several times that Michael owned everyone in the great state, his power mightier than any sword, but I had no proof, just the asshole’s bravado.

Drive. Drive.

I was finally able to take several decent breaths, even though my heart continued to hammer against my chest. You can do this. You’re strong. You’re a survivor. I said the words over and over again until the mantra stuck in my mind.

The flash in the side mirror was jarring. A vehicle. No. No. No! It was behind me. Following me. Catching up to me. Almost frantic, I pressed the gas pedal to the floor. I had to get away. I had to live. I had to.

Go. Go. Go. Go.

As I skidded around a curve, I continued to scan from one side to the other, trying desperately to find somewhere to pull into or another road. There was nothing but trees and black pavement, the darkness now overwhelming.

I was sick to my stomach, my pulse ticking in my neck. Several seconds passed. Then a full two minutes.

When I no longer saw the headlights, I held my breath, darting my eyes into the rearview mirror every few seconds. Maybe I lost them. Just a false alarm. “Keep going, girl. You can do it.”

When the lights popped up once again, closer still, I knew that I’d run out of time. There wouldn’t be anyone to save or protect me. There was no incredible knight on a big black steed, prepared to whisk me away to some magical kingdom.

There was only rain and darkness.

And danger.

My legs were shaking, and the windshield wipers couldn’t go fast enough. Please. Please. Wait a minute. The headlights suddenly disappeared once again. Oh, my God. Maybe I could do this. Breathing another sigh of relief, I eased off on the gas.

Then the car began to swerve.

“Fuck. Fuck!” Don’t panic. As everything shifted into slow motion, I managed to keep the car on the road, but as a headlight appeared coming from the opposite direction, I jerked the wheel without thinking. Then a second headlight. And a third. No. No… No!

A blasting horn.


Blinding lights.

Stop. Stop!


Chapter Two


What. The. Fuck?

The headlights blinding, I swerved the bike, barely avoiding a collision. What a freaking idiot. When the car directly in front of me made a hard cut to the right, slamming into the ditch, I eased off the gas. Shit. This was last fucking thing I needed. I was sick to death of interference. If the fucking shit-ass situation wasn’t bad enough, some asshole pretending they could drive like a maniac in these weather conditions reminded me why I loathed people.

And why I had no issue killing anyone who got in my way.

This was no different. Accident or not, the jerkoff would pay for wasting my time.

I wasn’t a man with a conscience. That had been beaten out of me a hell of a long time ago. I no longer cared about anyone but myself, and the odd tug at my humanity did nothing but fuel my anger. Not a single one of us could afford to be recognized, especially since I knew members of law enforcement could be on the hunt.

Kill on sight.

I knew their tactics with a man like me, scourge of the Earth and a menace to society. I’d once felt exactly the same way, but that was a lifetime ago.

I also knew there was a significant price on our heads, but if we were captured by the man calling himself El Capitan, the ending wouldn’t mean bullets through our brains. It would mean countless days of torment, turning our bodies into Swiss cheese. I was taking a significant chance that this wasn’t some kind of ruse to discover our location. Domingo Salizare had it in for the three of us real bad. We’d made both him and his operation look like idiots in front of their core men, something that hadn’t been preventable. However, that didn’t bode well for the lengths of our lives.

The fucking nagging continued swelling with me. I slowed even more, finally making the decision to double back, motioning to the others. I knew they’d be pissed, but they had no choice but to follow my lead.

I was the one in charge after all. Fuck ‘em if they didn’t like my decision. If this was some kind of asshole hell-bent on giving away our location, he would pay with his life.

As I pulled over, the men I’d come to trust did the same. Dylan was the good-natured one of our group, insisting there were decent people left in this world. I snorted at the thought. There were three kinds of people in my mind. Those who ruled the world with anger and violence, reaping the benefits from ripping lives apart, and those who allowed the shit to happen to them. Then there was me.

I’d once been a protector of humanity, actually believing in rehabilitation. Then I’d learned the hard way my thinking was nothing but a crock of shit.

Now I had no soul, was considered a dangerous criminal, incapable of healing. As if I was sick, contracting an incurable disease. At this point in my life, I relished the thought of what I’d turned into, completely transforming from the man I used to be.

Maybe I’d never actually been a good person.

Dylan turned his Harley in the opposite direction, blocking off the road to oncoming traffic. I cut the engine, jumping off my motorcycle, hissing as the rain turned into ice. Fucking fantastic. Heading through the rough terrain was going to prove to be treacherous.

The original plan was we would be able to get back to the cabin before the horrific storm rolled in. The decision to use my cabin had been last minute, but there was no avoiding it even though the timing sucked. I’d never wanted anyone from my current or former life at what I called my sanctuary, but there’d been no other option.

If we wanted to live in order to complete our mission.

I was angry at the interruption, my adrenaline running high. If the asshole who didn’t know how to drive wasn’t hurt, I was going to kick his ass. With Dylan’s headlights illuminating the wreck, I could see the driver was slumped over the wheel.

Aw, what a damn shame.

I hissed after securing my helmet, glancing from one direction of the road to the other.

“Shit. There’s no reception out here to call this crap in,” Wade barked as he jerked off his helmet.

“Yeah? I wouldn’t worry about that. If this is what I think, we’re gonna have to finish off what the road and weather conditions didn’t do,” I huffed, swaggering in the direction of the car, realizing just how damn slick the road actually was. A damn Lexus. Of course.

“You really think Salizare’s soldiers found us in this bum-fuck location?” Wade snarked, his usual nasty demeanor shining through. He’d loathed the idea of spending a single night away from his chop shop as well as sharing any kind of residence with the likes of me.

“We can’t take any chances,” I retorted.

“Let’s just see if anyone is hurt before you jump to any conclusions, Crockett,” Dylan commented. While I didn’t mind Dylan’s usual banter, I was sick of his second guessing me, as if he knew all about my past. I’d kept out of the limelight on purpose, changing my appearance in order to stay away from my former life. The last thing I needed was any additional crap that could highlight the crime we’d committed.

Then again, was it really a crime to steal from a simple thug prepared to introduce innocent people to a tainted super drug? I knew certain law enforcement officers would come to their own conclusions, sending the three of us away for a long time.

I moved closer, continuing to scan the area. We had enough weapons on us that we could hold our own, but I didn’t want to waste the ammunition on some dumb fuck.

“What the hell was the driver doing?” Wade snarled.

“Hauling ass from what I could tell,” Dylan piped in.

While it didn’t appear that the vehicle was badly damaged, the force of the hit was significant enough the driver and any passengers could be severely injured. I snorted and shook my head as ice pelted against my face. As Dylan and Wade moved toward the passenger door, I carefully pulled my Glock, releasing the safety before jerking open the driver’s door and shoving the gun inside. The single moan tore through me instantly, the woeful cry yanking out the protective side in me.

Fuck me. A woman.

Definitely not what I wanted. I took a deep breath, lowering the weapon even though I remained cautious. I’d known several badass women in my day, including some that could rip a man’s eyes out with fingernails alone. While the light barely illuminated the cab, I was shocked at her appearance, including the fact she appeared to be wearing a wedding dress. What in God’s name was she doing out here? I finally touched her shoulder with as much gentleness as I could muster.

“Hey, lady. Are you okay? You nearly ran us off the goddamn road. You should be more careful. The roads are already slippery.”

As she attempted to lift her head, a slight whimper rolled past her lips. She was shaking, likely from adrenaline as well as the frigid temperatures. Blood trickled down from a cut on her forehead, her mouth twisting as she attempted to say something.

“Whoa, what do we have here?” Wade growled with far too much testosterone. His hunger was legendary, a man used to quenching his proclivities whenever he wanted. I could tell he was ready to rip off her white dress, exposing the delicious prize underneath.

“Cool it,” I snapped, moving hair away from her face so I could get a better picture of her injuries.

This particular stretch of road was desolate, the only one leading in and out of the closely knit community, a handful of cabins and villas nestled sparsely in the woods. The dress alone indicated a richer neighborhood where the people turned their noses up at rednecks and hillbillies living in the dense forests of a real Southern town.

That gave me an instant dislike of her and there could be no trust. We had no way of knowing how far reaching El Capitan’s claws were. He’d been known to associate with several rich assholes who didn’t mind getting their hands dirty if it increased their wealth.

While that would put him hundreds of miles away from his waterfront mansion in Miami, I knew better than most just how far reaching his network truly was. I studied the almost pitch-black sky. With the temperatures expected to drop below freezing, the roads were going to turn to shit.

“What the hell is she wearing?” Dylan asked as he crawled into the passenger seat. “A damn wedding dress. Doesn’t appear she brought anything with her. No purse. No nothing. Maybe she didn’t like the caterer.”

“Maybe she’s a runaway bride,” Wade teased.

I gave them both a nasty look. “Can it. Miss. Can you talk?”

“Mmm… I don’t… Where am I?” She twisted her body, her long fingers struggling to release the seatbelt as she lifted her head all the way, gazing at me.

When I’d stopped, I’d anticipated some rich asshole in a tux, drunk off his ass and merely heading to another party. What I didn’t expect to see were two incredible haunting violet eyes, the kind that turned a man into a hungry beast. I was mesmerized by her beauty; soft lips meant for kissing, sun-kissed blonde hair, and the complexion of a china doll.

I was instantly turned on.

Fuck me. What the hell was I thinking? Yet I couldn’t deny my body’s reaction, my cock already coming alive.

When she noticed the gun in my hand, she let off a scattered shriek, now trying desperately to get out of straps holding her down. “No. No!”

“Whoa, she looks like she’s seen a ghost,” Wade said quietly as he began to search the car.

“Take it easy,” I muttered, sliding the gun back into my jacket. “I ain’t gonna hurt you. Are you all right?”

She took several scattered and shallow breaths, finally noticing my buddies. There was utter terror in those gorgeous eyes. “Help. Me.”

“Yeah, we’ll call you a tow truck. Doesn’t look too bad.” When she snaked her hand around mine, squeezing my fingers, I had a cathartic moment, the protector mode I’d thought shoved into some six-foot plot of ground rearing its ugly head. The touch was electric, shocking the hell out of me. Emotions rushed to the surface as well as savage longing, a thirst that could never be quenched.

Her exotic perfume wafted into my nostrils, the beautiful fragrance filling a dead man’s blackened soul. I could no longer breathe, my heart racing like it hadn’t in years.

“No, I…” Her mouth twisted once again, her fingers digging into me. I felt her anguish, a paralyzing terror that rushed into me.


“No. Please. Don’t call… anyone. Please. I’ll do anything you ask. Just… protect… me,” she struggled to say. “He’s coming for me and… And he’s going to kill me.” As her eyes rolled into the back of her head, her hand slipping away from mine, I made a ridiculous promise to myself, and one that might get me killed.

I was going to hunt down the fucker who’d terrorized her.

And make him pay.

“What in the fuck is wrong with you, bringing her here?” Wade challenged as he paced back and forth across the cabin floor. He was already on his second beer, his anger increasing.

“What the hell was he supposed to do with her, Wade? Leave her out there for some jerkoff to find her?” Dylan huffed. “You heard the girl. She was being chased.”

“Yeah? And the girl could be lying. We can’t take any chances right now,” Wade retorted. “You’re required to follow orders.”

“Enough,” I snarled, pulling the glass of bourbon to my lips. “You’re both required to follow my orders so just stay quiet while I figure this shit out.”

Dylan lifted his eyebrows, shaking his head.

Yeah, I knew neither one of them appreciated the fact I’d been put in charge, especially given they’d been with the Hell’s Fury for a lot longer than I had. When they both hovered around the girl like hungry vultures, my patience was on the edge.

“Why don’t you do something useful and get more wood for the fire?” I glared at Wade. He and I had never been friends, the week we’d spent in this wretched cabin not making it any better. However, he was one of the best men within the organization, his weaponry and tracking skills nearly legendary. Still, I refused to trust him entirely.

Then again, he felt exactly the same about me.

We’d remained alive following our guts and nothing else. I’d investigated El Capitan long ago, following his illustrious career. That had given me the kind of knowledge that had allowed us to fly under the radar, but my gut told me he’d increased his number of soldiers in his effort to hunt us down. Her appearance was far too out of the blue. Coincidences I’d learned a long time ago were never real.

Wade glared at me with venom in his eyes. “Fine, Sergeant. What do you plan on doing with her? Keeping her as our plaything? Now that I wouldn’t mind.” His guttural snicker reminded me how abrasive he’d always been with women. Very few could stand him.

“You’re an asshole, Wade. The girl is injured and you’re ready to feast on her like some slobbering fool,” Dylan snapped as he walked toward where I’d placed her on the couch, bending down and pressing his hand against her forehead. “At least she’s getting warmer and there’s no more bleeding, but I’m as curious as Wade is. What are you going to do?”

“What I intend is finding out exactly what the fuck the girl is doing here in the first place. I don’t care what I have to do in order to get the information out of her,” I growled, shooting Wade a nasty glare.

“That’ll work,” Wade answered, a sneer crossing his face. “But don’t forget women can be just as dangerous as men.”

Tell me something I didn’t know.

There was something incredibly mesmerizing about the girl, even though she was a flavor I’d never chosen before. She was far more beautiful than I’d been able to ascertain in the darkness, an air of sophistication and innocence drawing me in. With her blonde hair splayed out across the pillow I’d dragged from the bedroom, she also seemed far more fragile even than when she’d been bleeding in the car. And damn the wedding dress, like something straight out of a Victorian collection. While I might not know fashion, it was easy to see the dress was worth a pretty penny. Too bad it had been ruined during the treacherous bike ride back to the cabin.

Hell, we were all lucky we’d made it back in one damn piece. We were experienced bikers, but the weather had gone from bad to shit-kicking in a matter of thirty minutes. I had a feeling the weather forecasters had been wrong about the storm.

I found it difficult to keep my eyes off her and even though the ugly dress covered almost every inch of her, the sight of her voluptuous body was enough to keep my cock throbbing. Even having her cradled in front of me during the ride in an effort to keep her warm and safe had proven to be difficult, my hard shaft pressing into her the entire time. The friction had nearly killed me.

I forced myself to look away, instead staring into the fire. “You sure you rolled the car completely out of sight? If she is being followed, I don’t want the possibility of the asshole tracking us.”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Wade answered. “You really buying her story some guy is after her? Maybe she just got into a fight with her rich fiancé.”

Sighing, I clamped my hand around the glass, ready to smash my fist into his face. “I’m never wrong about sensing out liars,” I said, locking eyes with his. “She’s telling the truth. Whoever the girl is, she was petrified some asshole would find her.”

“That’s why she was driving erratically.” Dylan pulled the blanket up to her neck, tucking her in. I noticed how Wade snickered under his breath as he watched Dylan’s actions.

Yeah, I knew Dylan was the softie of the bunch, had always been. He’d hand feed a crocodile if he thought the damn critter was injured. Still, he had valuable skills of his own.

“Look. The truth is that we don’t know who she was running from and until we do, she stays with us. That’s my decision and one you’re going to accept. If she needs lessons to remind her of her place, then so be it.” My words seemed to boom into the open space and I was surprised neither one of them retorted. Maybe she was just the little princess girlfriend of someone who could actually do us some good, providing us with much needed cash. That would certainly make her valuable.

I was a man who believed in bargaining. I was also the kind of guy who took what he wanted. Hell, yes, I wanted her, craved to thrust my cock into her tight, wet pussy. There was no reason other than those incredible eyes of hers, stripping away a portion of my armor. Shit, I was just exhausted, or maybe antsy. The girl had presented complications. We were ordered to sit and wait until the new buyer was ready, all the pieces put into place. That could prove to be more difficult given her appearance.

I rubbed my eyes, laughing at myself. I had to think like an alpha. So what if she was freaking beautiful? I would use her as I did everything and everyone else.

In my way. My command.

My decision.

“Wade. Tend to the damn fire. Dylan. See if you can find her something else to wear. I can’t stand the sight of that godforsaken wedding dress. Makes me sick. There’s no such thing as innocence left in this world.” I noticed out of the corner of my eye the guys gave each other a certain look. They knew how I was, my temper often rising to the surface without predictability.

They had no right to judge me since they weren’t any better.

After all, we’d been labeled brutal, even savage.

Wade continued his hard stare for a few seconds, taking several pulls on his beer before slamming it down on the table right in front of her. “Fine. Have it your way, Crockett, but if this shit goes south, I’m kicking your ass.”

I watched as he stormed toward the door, yanking his coat off the hook. The man was a ticking time bomb.

The hard slam reverberated into the room, pissing me off even more. “Asshole.”

“Yeah, well, he’s likely saying that about you,” Dylan said quietly as he walked toward me, still keeping his distance.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“It means that you made a strange decision even for you. And impulsive. We can’t give a shit about anyone but us. You heard what Hawk told us.”

“Yeah, I heard,” I said half under my breath. Hawk had been the leader of the Hell’s Fury for almost twenty years. While our particular MC wasn’t the largest in the country by far, we were considered the most influential.

And the most powerful.

Men not to be fucked with.

Even the man in charge of the largest drug-dealing cartel on the East Coast kept a wide berth from our organization, as if there’d been an unspoken treaty. Hawk had merely been lying in wait for the right time, hitting the Cuban bastard where it would hurt the most.

This had been an entirely different kind of action, something he’d planned for several months. Our sacrifice of living on the run for a couple of weeks would cement all our futures in the club.

And all because of revenge that had fermented in Hawk’s mind for a half dozen years.

“Jesus. I’m no fool, Crockett. All you have to do is look at her, including that big rock on her finger and you know that whoever she is running from will use extraordinary measures to find her. If what she said was true, that this guy is gunning to kill her, then there isn’t an ice storm that’s going to keep him from finding her. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for a bloodbath. We had enough of that where we came from.”

I took a deep breath, her delicious fragrance still infiltrating my system. “What I know is that we’re required to keep our asses in this cabin until we get the call the buyer is ready. Now, do you want to go against Hawk’s command? Would you like me to call him and tell him you’re wavering on following his orders? Or my command?”

“Damn you, Crockett. You know I’m loyal to our club. I also have as much at stake as you do.”

Yeah, I doubted that. I’d never talked about my past. In truth, only Hawk knew even some of the details about where I came from. To the other members of Hell’s Fury, I was some hotheaded construction worker with a penchant for violence. What they didn’t know wouldn’t get me killed.

“All right. Then if we want to get back to our fucking lives, then we need to find out what the hell the little lady is hiding. Depending on what we learn, maybe we can get some money out of her.”

“What about the special package?” he asked, his eyes glistening.

I snarled, shaking my head. “It’s safe, but if she even attempts to look for it, we kill her. We protect it with our lives.” Our duty had been considered an honor amongst the rank and file.

Steal from the asshole in order to drive him straight into hell.

I was beginning to second guess my decision to accept Hawk’s offer. If this shit went south as Wade was concerned about, there would be no recourse. One or all of us would be dead. I’d made the impetuous decision hoping it would eventually land me the coveted VP spot. I’d been with the biker club for four years, the only place that I’d felt comfortable since my life had fallen apart. While I’d enjoyed being the sergeant at arms, memories of my former life had been crowding in more and more. Ah, fuck that. We’d been paid to do a job and that’s what we were going to do.

At least the forbidden fruit that had been offered to us would keep us entertained. That’s the only way I could think about this… gift.

He craned his neck, his eyes searching mine. “Okay, then what are you suggesting, that we use her as blackmail? Do you really want to cart her back to some ass-wipe who might hurt her?”

“I thought you didn’t care.”

Dylan let out a strangled huff before walking away. “You can be such an asshole sometimes yourself, great leader. I don’t care about her but as you said, the risk might not be worth the reward.”

I tapped my hand on the mantel, studying the licking flames. I’d built a portion of the cabin with my bare hands, enjoying the hard work and the solitude. I’d even planned on living here one day, although I was beginning to wonder whether or not that was actually going to happen. That was my concern. I had to focus on the here and now. All three of us had been through hell and back, barely getting away with our lives.

Whether or not the others realized it, we already had nooses around our necks. I took another look at her, watching as her chest rose and fell, lips that were blue when I’d carried her into the cabin now a warm rose in color. The shimmer on her cheeks made my balls tight as drums. I wanted this girl for some insane reason. In fact, I didn’t want to let her go, no matter the circumstances. There was no logical or sound reasoning left in my mind.

All I could think about was keeping her.

Fucking every tight little hole.

Shoving my cock into her wet mouth.

Even spanking her rounded bottom if necessary.

Christ. I’d turned into some prehistoric monster hungry to mate.

When was the last time I had ever cared about a woman? I took my time trying to formulate a directive that would make sense.

“What I’m suggesting is that she must have money or at least access to it. If she wants our protection, that’s fine. But everything comes with a price.”

Dylan let off a strangled sound, pretending as if he was choking. “You got balls, my man. What if the dude ready to capture her has power and influence? Hell, what if he’s connected to the same asshole we’re hiding out from?”

“I seriously doubt that Domingo is following some chick running away from a wedding to a rich asshole. That’s not his gig. He might live in a mansion, but the scum he has working for him are basic pigs from a trough. They wouldn’t know how to engage with the rich and famous.”

Domingo Salizare was a pig, but one with revenge on his mind.

He laughed. “What? You don’t think some of the pretty boys driving Ferraris haven’t branched out into other, more lucrative ventures? I’ve never taken you as a fool, Crockett. That’s one reason you were able to convince me to go in on your dangerous heist. We don’t know what we’re dealing with. The girl could be anybody, including Domingo’s main squeeze.”

As always, Dylan was the voice of reason. He was right. If she didn’t have money initially, perhaps we would wait until her fiancé made his move. Besides, even though my desires were brutal in nature, I reminded myself that I had the upper hand.

My decision was made.

We would keep her.

Use her.

Fuck her.

Then we’d let her go, but only after she paid a hefty price.

“No, we don’t, although I seriously doubt Domingo would allow his flavor of the month out of his sight. Still, our runaway bride will have two options,” I said casually.

Dylan polished off his drink. “I’m afraid to hear the details.”

“She can either have our protection, with the caveat that her body belongs to us to do with anything that we damn well please.”

He inched closer, the devious side of him shining through. I’d always known his aw-shucks cowboy exterior only held in the beast clawing at the surface. He was just as hungry as I was.

For the darkness of domination.

For the fulfillment of our true nature.

Now we had a chance to have exactly what we craved.

“Or?” he asked.

I swirled the bourbon, savoring the rich flavor more than usual. “Or we’ll make certain she goes back to exactly where she started from.” The man I’d once been would never have thought this way, but I had to get used to the fact I was never going back to that life. Might as well find some kind of pleasure from the new lifestyle I’d selected.

After a few seconds, he chuckled. “You’re one sick fuck, Crockett. Why don’t I find something our prize can wear?”

I nodded, studying the way the liquid glistened in the light of the fire, my vile thoughts remaining at the surface. My instinct told me our find was important, perhaps even more so than we would realize initially. The beautiful blonde with the killer body was somebody else’s prize and now we owned her.

She would endure filthy and vile things, forced to surrender to us body and soul. And if we broke her? I chuckled as I rubbed my hand over my cock. The ache continued but soon I would find satisfaction.

I turned my head slowly, the adrenaline pumping as I allowed my gaze to slide down the length of her body.

How delicious fate could be.

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