It was probably a good thing that Marsh dragged us back to the clubhouse. Guitar Fucker had been buying Tinker drinks all night, sitting next to her between sets.
If he’d tried to stick his tongue down her throat, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to hold my shit together. Of course, once we left the bar my imagination took over, and damned if it wasn’t already pretty vivid when it came to my curvy landlady. She’d been wearing bright red lipstick. Would it be smeared around his cock by the end of the night?
I’d have to hunt him down and shoot him.
Only reasonable response under the circumstances.
• • •
Things got worse when we reached the clubhouse. Not only was I tense as fuck, but I realized that the only men out there were Marsh’s people. Cord’s faction—the original brothers who didn’t like Marsh—hadn’t showed their faces all night. Either Marsh hadn’t invited them or they were planning something. Either way, the split was coming. Maybe soon.
Part of me thought we should pull them aside, maybe see if we could recruit them to our cause. On the other hand, they were the ones who let the situation get this bad in the first place.
We spent the night drinking and playing cards while Talia and her friends kept sneaking off to do more drugs. Marsh was so tense that he punched one of the prospects when he was stupid enough to win a hand at poker with a bluff. The Nighthawks’ president kept muttering about Hands, and how we all needed to look out for traitors.
I swear, his eyes followed me when he said it, too.
At least Talia wasn’t giving me too much shit—she was too busy hot railing meth with her girls in the bathroom. Around three that morning, Marsh got a text message that pissed him off enough that he threw a chair, screaming, “Shut the fuck up and play poker, you fucking losers!”
Throughout it all, the girls were getting wilder and wilder, several of them doing stripteases on the bar—all under Talia’s direction. By four, she decided Sadie should pull a train in the back room, and most of the guys followed her back there while I sat against the wall, nursing a beer that’d long since grown warm.
Shit got real at five, when Marsh pulled out a gun and told us to hand over our cell phones. Said he didn’t want us warning the traitor. Didn’t like that idea, not one bit. Fortunately, I kept mine locked and clean. I also kept an extra burner hidden in a secret compartment on my bike—along with a spare piece—but that wouldn’t do me much good if I couldn’t make it out of the building. The other bikers’ eyes widened, but we all handed them over because what else were we supposed to do? I honestly didn’t think that up until that point, most of the poor dumbasses he’d drawn into his net had a fucking clue how serious this was.
Now they knew.
Around seven that morning, Marsh sent three of the women out for food. Then he spent the next hour pacing and muttering, alternating between staring at his phone and glaring at the rest of us. The whole damned clubhouse was like a pressure cooker, slowly building toward some sort of violent explosion.
I needed some fucking air.
Marsh had assigned a couple of his thugs to watch the front, telling them to stop anyone from leaving—comforting, that—so I headed out back instead, where a six foot fence topped with razor wire surrounded an area about half the size of the clubhouse. In the center were a fire pit and some broken-down picnic tables. Talia had told me they liked to have bonfires out there, but not even the Nighthawks were willing to risk a burn at this point. Smoke from the wildfires filled the air, and it was getting worse every day.
Leaning against the back wall, I closed my eyes, wondering what Tinker was doing. Had she gone home with Guitar Boy? Fucking hell, I’d gut him. He didn’t get to touch her. Nobody did. Totally rational thoughts, bro. That’s when I heard a soft sob. I followed the sound around the side of the building, where a young woman had curled up against the wall, knees tucked against her chest. She flinched when she saw me. Hair covered her face, and between that and the dim light I couldn’t see much of her.
“You all right?” I asked. She nodded, refusing to look at me.
“Yeah, just a rough night,” she said, her voice familiar. It was Sadie—the same little bitch who’d ratted me out to Talia at the apartment building. Fuck. She’d gone into a back room with half the club, and now she was here. Not good.
“What happened?” I asked, wondering why I cared. She’d caused me a hell of a lot of trouble. But this didn’t sit right—the Reapers were supposed to be controlling our support clubs and she was just a kid.
“Guess,” she said, sniffing as she burrowed her head deeper into her arms.
“Things got rough with the boys.”
It wasn’t a question, and she didn’t bother answering.
“You need to leave this club behind,” I told her. “Talia’s not your friend, Sadie.”
Her jaw tightened. “I’m not ashamed of myself.”
“Never said you should be. But you’re obviously not happy, either. The Nighthawks aren’t good for you—none of those men will ever treat you with respect, or make you his old lady. Get out while you still can.”
Sadie scooted away from me, still refusing to look up. “I didn’t ask for your opinion.”
“Sorry to waste your time,” I said, running a hand through my hair. Fuck it. So much for doing the right thing. Still, I didn’t like leaving her this way. “Let me know if you change your mind. Might be able to help you, okay?”
She didn’t answer.
“Hey, Coop! You out here?” a man’s voice shouted.
“Yeah,” I shouted back, heading around to the door. One of Marsh’s newer hangarounds—Rome—stood waiting for me.
“Marsh needs to talk to you,” he told me, swallowing and glancing back toward the clubhouse. I raised a brow in silent question. “This isn’t right, Cooper. You saw how strung out Marsh is? Now he’s saying we all have to stay with him today. I’m supposed to work. I can’t afford to lose my job over this.”
“Stick close to me,” I said. “We’ll see what we can figure out.”
Rome looked relieved, although I wasn’t quite sure why. Not like I had any fuckin’ power in this situation. I didn’t know much about him, but he was young and I got a decent vibe. Like Sadie, he’d fallen into something way over his head. We headed back inside, where things were getting even more fucked up. Marsh stood in front of the door, arms crossed over his chest, glaring at everyone in the room.