Vengeance RoadBy: Christine Feehan
Breezy Simmons leaned against her pickup for a moment, staring at the large building that housed the Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club. Her heart beat so hard in her chest she was afraid she might vomit. The world spun uncontrollably, and she quickly leaned down, putting her head between her legs, drawing in great gulps of air. She caught a glimpse of two men on the other side of the compound as her head went toward the asphalt, and she didn’t recognize either of them. That made her pounding heart sink.
She couldn’t possibly have the wrong club. This had to be them. She was running out of time and options. She slowly righted herself and took another cautious look around. The two men stared at her from across the parking lot. She was careful not to look at them too long. She didn’t want them coming anywhere near her. She needed to get in and out very fast.
The Torpedo Ink compound was extremely large and had a high chain-link fence surrounding it. There was even razor wire up on top of the fence, making the place look like a fortress. The rolling gates were wide open, and she’d driven her truck right inside, parking as close to the clubhouse as possible. She deliberately left the door to her beat-up pickup open and the engine running. Hopefully, no one recognized her, and she could get in and out of the building quickly, once she asserted these were the right people, the ones she was looking for.
In the early morning hours, the club was just beginning to stir. Clearly, they’d partied hard over the weekend. In the enormous side yard, the one with the beautiful ocean view, she could see embers in fire pits glowing as the breeze stirred them up. A man with his back to her watered them down with a hose. He wore a tight tee and jeans, but no colors. Still, she knew this was the home of the club that called itself Torpedo Ink. She sent up a silent prayer that this was the one she’d been looking for.
There were empty bottles strewn around the grass and on the ground to the side of the building in the wide expanse of open field. Cars, motorcycles and trucks were scattered around the parking lot, although no one parked where the club did. Their motorcycles were lined up neatly and a prospect watched over them. He sat on the curb looking at her. She was parked too close to the precious bikes, but she didn’t care—other than it had drawn the attention of the prospect.
Another long line of motorcycles was parked a short distance down from the clubhouse and a prospect watched over those bikes as well. He looked at her without much interest, which indicated to her that these bikes belonged to a visiting club. He wasn’t as interested in protecting the grounds as the one closest to the clubhouse.
She had to get this over with. Just being in such close proximity to an MC made her sick. The fact that she knew what went on at the party made her even sicker. That this might be his club, and she had to risk running into him, made all that far worse.
Breezy squared her shoulders, dragged the envelope off the seat and turned all in one motion. The prospect was on his feet. If she knew for certain this was the right club, she would have thrust the letter into his hands and left, but she was guessing from a process of elimination.
She purposely hadn’t kept track of him, especially when she’d heard, a year after she’d left, that eighteen members of the Swords had set up the international president for assassination and had, allegedly, wiped out a number of members and then disappeared. She knew who those eighteen members were immediately and knowing them, she knew it was possible when others said it wasn’t. She’d run as far from the life as she could and now she was pulled right back in.
The parties. The violence. The utter disregard and disdain for women. She shut that down fast and walked with brisk, purposeful steps to the club. She yanked open the door and went right in. It smelled just the way she remembered. Booze. Sex. Weed. Her stomach lurched. God. God. She couldn’t stand walking into the clubhouse, let alone anything else.
The common room was enormous. One side held a long, curving bar, in the center of the room were tables and chairs, and the other side had several couches and armchairs. Sleeping bodies were everywhere. A woman picked up bottles and put them into a garbage bag, dumping paper plates in along with the other trash as she moved through the mostly naked bodies strewn around the floor. She glanced at Breezy but didn’t say anything. She kept picking up trash as if on automatic pilot. Breezy remembered what that was like. She could have been that woman.
She didn’t recognize any of the men that she could see lying on the floor or slumped in the chairs, and her heart sank. She paused by the bar, her gaze going from one face to the next. Half-naked or naked men and women were draped in chairs around the room or on the floor. Most snored softly, but one woman was busy going down on a man with wild blond hair and ice-blue eyes. Three teardrops were tattooed at the corner of his eye like ice drops dripping down his face.
He slumped in a chair looking almost bored, his eyes at half-mast as the woman knelt at his feet, her mouth busy while another woman kissed her way up his chest. Across from him, a second man who looked exactly like the blond, obviously his twin, watched, his fist around his impressive and somewhat intimidating cock. With a jerk of his chin, the one with the teardrop tattoos indicated to the woman kissing his chest to go to his watching brother. She immediately dropped to her hands and knees and crawled between the thighs of the other twin.
It was them. The right club. The men she had searched for. She’d found them. She recognized the twins and her heart kicked into overdrive. How could she not recognize them? They were gorgeous men. As cold as ice, but beautiful. The one with the tattoos, Ice had been his name, suddenly lifted his gaze and met hers. Her heart stuttered at the recognition she saw in his eyes.
She slapped the envelope onto the bar. “Give that to Steele.” She turned to go, her gaze sliding around the room once more.
At the sound of her voice, three women stirred in the far corner of the room, their sleeping bodies pushed aside by the man who lay under them. The movement drew her eye. He half sat, shoving at the dark hair spilling onto his forehead. It was thick and wild, a little out of control. He blinked drowsily at her. Her heart faltered. Stopped. They stared at each another, her stomach lurching.
Breezy threw dignity to the wind. She ran. Fast. She heard the sharp whistle following her, but she had already flung herself into her pickup and thrown it into reverse, foot stomping on the gas pedal. She pressed down hard, and the truck roared as it backed all the way through the rapidly closing gates. Men poured out of the clubhouse, she could see them through her windshield when she glanced at them, but they were mostly naked, and the gates had closed behind her with a loud clang. She was on one side, the side of freedom; they were on the other, those gates holding them in. For once, luck was on her side.
She backed straight into the street, thankful it was so early and there was no traffic. Throwing the pickup into drive, she nearly spun out of control as she overcorrected before straightening out and taking off toward Highway 1. She had a plan, just in case, and she was grateful she’d made it. Her entire body trembled, so much so it was difficult holding on to the steering wheel. She did so, her knuckles turning white.
Why did it hurt? He’d made it very, very clear she was nothing to him. Another club girl. No, lower than that. A whore. One her family pimped out. A drug mule. Nothing. She was nothing. She’d thought he was her world, and all the while, he’d been plotting to take down her family’s club. She’d loved him. He’d used her and then thrown her away, shattering every dream, every hope she’d ever had.
Her vision blurred, and she swiped at her eyes, furious that he’d made her cry again. That he could make her cry again. She’d cried enough tears over him. The liar. He was just like all the others in the clubs. Women were nothing to them. Nothing. They used them. Humiliated them. She’d been born into that life, but she didn’t have to stay there. She wasn’t that girl. Not anymore. Not ever again.
She pulled off onto the little narrow dirt road she’d scouted earlier, just in case she was recognized. She knew they’d come after her; after all, she was the daughter of their mortal enemy. She drove the truck as far down as the narrow road allowed, right into a thick grove of trees. The track had long since been abandoned and it was overgrown with shrubbery, vines and trees. She parked, hastily got out and covered the pickup with the branches and vines she’d cut earlier in preparation.
When she was positive the truck couldn’t be seen from any angle, Breezy crawled through the driver’s window, reached into the back and pulled a blanket around her. She couldn’t stop shivering. Even her teeth chattered. She let herself cry, but she did so silently, and she told herself she wasn’t crying for lost dreams or heartache. She had so little chance of being successful and yet, she had to be. There was no room for failure. None.
She closed her burning eyes and leaned her head back against the seat, trying not to think about Steele. She didn’t know any other name for him. She’d only known him as Steele. She should have realized that if you’d been with a man for a year and he hadn’t told you his given name, he wasn’t into you. But she’d been young and desperate, and he’d been the white knight. She’d been so stupid. She hit her head on the back of the seat multiple times wishing she’d been smarter. Wishing she’d been born into another family. Another life. Wishing time hadn’t run out on her.