It was just another day of running around doing bullshit errands for the club. I wasn’t really annoyed and I truthfully didn’t mind doing this stuff. I had just woken up in a shit mood for some reason and couldn’t seem to shake it. It seemed like every little thing was getting under my skin. Maybe I needed to eat. Or a nice ice cold beer. I’d been walking around all day like something crawled up my ass and I swore if one more person asked me what was wrong, I was going to punch someone. For some reason, it felt like there was something just beyond the horizon. And not something good. But I couldn’t even begin to think of what it might be.
Things had been going pretty smoothly for the club. I really didn’t have anything to complain about. That said, I wasn’t about to drop my guard. I was too smart for that shit. I’d been around long enough to see how things could go wrong and I was determined not to let anything happen on my watch.
I was on my way back from the garage and the humid heat from summer in the south was sweltering. I already had sweat soaking through my shirt from the short walk to the clubhouse. I knew it would take a while to get used to living on the coast, but damn, I couldn’t see how people could get used to this. I shrugged it off as I thought of grabbing an ice cold beer.
Yep, that was where I was headed when a silver BMW came barreling down the narrow path. I stopped, moved back a couple of inches so not to get clipped by the side rearview mirror, and tried my best to see who was inside. A flash of blonde passed by and that was about all I got. Well, I could also tell that it was a woman. Huge movie star like sunglasses covered half of her damn face.
Who the hell was this chick driving her fancy-ass car down the dirt path to the clubhouse? She was definitely going way too fast.
She didn’t slow down as she passed and didn’t even give a glance over at me. I knew it wasn’t like she didn’t see me.
I tried my hardest to not let the B-word slip from my lips, but come on. Fancy as fuck car, platinum blonde hair that was clearly not natural, and not one ounce of concern for my safety, well that only said one thing to me.
“This should be fun,” I mumbled as I jogged after the car.
I didn’t know who this chick was or what she was doing here, but I sure as hell was going to be the first one to find out. No one fucked with my club or my brothers. As Enforcer, I was the one to make sure of that. I was there to lay down the law and at times, keep the brothers in line. Sometimes things would get out of hand, it was to be expected, but I always did my best to keep things around here as calm as possible.
“Can I help you?” I asked the moment she opened her door.
One leg popped out and a heeled shoe planted itself into the dry, dirt lot. The heel so high and thin I was worried that it would pierce right through the dirt and Miss I Got Money would go tumbling to the ground. That was the reason I stepped up closer so that I could catch her when she fell.
But to my surprise, the woman planted her other foot on the ground and stood with the kind of grace I didn’t think existed in real life. Her delicate ankles didn’t wobble. Her knees didn’t look like they were going to give out. But strangely, mine did. Like for some reason, my body felt the need to bow down to this chick.
My eyes raked up her long, thin legs. They looked so smooth and so soft that I practically had to hold back thoughts of running my fingers over them to see how they felt. My gaze danced over her modest dress that flared at the waist and flowed down to right below her knees. She was built like a twig with okay sized tits. Enough for me to cup and play with. Her neck was long. Her chin jutted almost in defiance, which had me smirking a little. Her face held delicate features. Well, from what I could tell anyway, because half of it seemed to be covered by those ridiculous looking sunglasses. Ones that she hadn’t even made a move to take off.
Yeah, that B-word was still right there on the tip of my tongue.
Though I couldn’t see her expression, I could feel the disdain for me coming off her in waves. This fucking chick thought she was better than me. I hated that shit. She didn’t know me. Just because I walked around wearing a leather cut and rode a motorcycle didn’t mean I was scum. Or maybe it was the tattoos that covered both of my arms. Either way, I didn’t think I was such a bad guy.
Her arms crossed over her chest and her hip jutted slightly to the left.
“I’m looking for Brand,” she said and her voice was sweet but had a hidden edge to it.
Now, why the hell would this woman be here looking for him?
Things just got interesting.
“You have a name?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest much like she had.
“Laurel,” she said and there was something in her tone that said I should have known that.
The name did nothing to me. If I knew who she was it didn’t register. But whatever. I gave a small shrug and held back an aggravated sigh. There was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. And by the way I could feel her laser-eyes on me even though they were covered by those damn sunglasses, I did the same thing to her.
“I’ll go find him for you,” I said still eyeing her like I would be able to figure out the answers I was looking for.
I popped into the clubhouse and found Brand right away. No surprise he was there hanging out with Chris. After I told him that some chick was looking for him, I followed the two of them back outside. I not only needed to make sure everything was alright being I didn’t know this person, but I was curious as all hell too.
I could tell that Brand didn’t recognize her and there had been nothing there when I’d told him her name. There was also something a little off with him. It was like his head wasn’t really right there at the moment. I wouldn’t doubt that it had something to do with his new shop helper that he’d hired a while back. Cami, that was her name. Dude was head over heels for that girl and I wondered why I hadn’t seen her around recently.
Once we stepped outside, I hung back a little. Laurel had her hand up trying to shade her already covered eyes from the sun. That huge fucking ring she had on her finger was like a slap in the face. I mean, like really. How could she even hold her hand up with a rock that size weighing it down? I kept my eye roll to myself. I almost pitied the dude that had given it to her, but then I imagined that he was probably just like her—stick a mile long and shoved all the way up his ass.
What the hell?
I knew I was being a little harsh but for some reason, I couldn’t stop the judgmental thoughts from zipping through my mind. Maybe it was the fact that she nearly ran me over. Or that she didn’t even seem to give two shits that she had.
“You looking for me?” Brand asked and I could hear the slight confusion in his voice.
“Brand? Wow, I can see why…” Her voice trailed off as she gracefully removed her sunglasses and slipped them on top of her head. That stupid rock seemed to catch every single beam of light and all but blinded me with every movement.
There was something there as she stared him down. It was almost like she was taking him in with some kind of awe. Sure, Brand wasn’t a bad looking guy, but I couldn’t understand why she didn’t hold the same disgusted sneer for him as she did for me. Brand and I weren’t all that much different from the outside. Ya know, if you took away his boyishly charming dimples and in need of a trim hair.
My hand automatically ran over my buzzed head. I had enough hair there that it tickled the skin of my palm. And for a split second, I thought about growing it out.
How come this chick made me feel a little insecure and question myself?
That was some dumb shit, right there.
I was quite happy with the man I was and I had never had a problem with that before. A scowl overtook my face as I snapped back to their conversation.
But the words faded to the background as I looked into her eyes. They were focused on Brand but I had a feeling she was trying her hardest not to notice me. That thought alone made me smirk. But it wasn’t that. It was the light silver color that almost sparkled with a hint of sky blue.
So this was Cami’s sister. Now that she’d said that, I could see the resemblance. Though, Cami didn’t hold herself like some rich, the-world-owes-me girl like Laurel did. Cami was more down to earth and I liked that about her.
Those girls were Bensons. You couldn’t turn a corner without seeing that name on something. Anything from commercial property lease signs to hospital wings named in their honor. They were old money around here and it showed. The kind of people that I generally tried to stay away from. Not because I had a hate for people that had pockets so deep they never ended, but because people like that generally looked down on me and my brothers. We weren’t in the same class. Matter of fact, to them we had no class. So, I’d learned a long time ago it was best to just not even look their way.
“Okay, first,” she said after Brand had barked at her about where Cami was. Her spine lengthened like she wasn’t going to take shit from him and I had to hold back a chuckle. It honestly didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t going to let a dirty biker talk to her that way. “Lose the macho man stuff. I came here on her behalf, even if she is not aware of it. Take it down a notch and let me talk.”
Then she painted a picture of what Cami was going through. I felt a little bad for Cami and once again it seemed like she was trying to protect the club.
Cami had been at Branded In Ink the night that some fuckers decided to shoot up the place. Luckily, the shop was closed for the night, but it still sucked that Brand and Cami were there. Cami came out unharmed, just a little shaky. And in my opinion, she’d gone above and beyond to protect Brand when the cops showed up and hauled his ass to jail after planting cocaine in the shop. Cami went as far as to grab Brand’s gun from where he’d tucked it away and hid it on herself even though she hadn’t been so comfortable doing that.
It sounded like Cami’s parents had cut her off. And she had avoided Brand because she was afraid that her parents would follow through with some threats they’d made to come after the club. I had no doubt that they threw all of their connections out there just to prove that point. Cami had stayed away from Brand because she didn’t want to bring that on the club. But I say, fuck that. We could handle ourselves. And fuck her rich parents for doing that to her. Their own damn child. I just couldn’t believe how people could be sometimes.
“If you are the man that she’s talked to me about, then you must care about her deeply. And I have to be honest, I’m a little surprised that it was me that had to come here and tell you all of this.” She made sure to punctuate the important parts of what she was saying with a sharp tone.
“How did you even find here, princess?” The question came out of my mouth with sheer amusement. Also, I hadn’t meant to say the princess part. It seemed that my filter was starting to slip.
But by the way her head tilted to the side and her eyes narrowed as she looked at me, it was clear that I was getting to her. And for some reason, I found myself liking that fact.
I readied myself because I knew she wasn’t going to let it go. In fact, I was so ready for her to put me in my place that I was almost holding my breath. Fuck if I could tell you why though.
“Well, Mr. Chip-On-His-Shoulder-Too-Good-For-Me-Biker-Guy, I went to the tattoo shop because she told me everything and the scary guy in the vest told me to come here. And because I love my sister and hate to see her falling into the dark hole she’s been in the last few days, I put aside the fact that I might get my heels dirty and drove here.”
Damn, something about the way she said that had me itching to get closer to her. To pin her to the wall and show her just how much her bold attitude affected me.
But that was all wrong. She was a taken woman and I didn’t fuck with that shit.
Brand caught her attention again and as she looked back at him, I saw her features soften. There was no hiding how much she loved her sister. She’d do anything for Cami, even if it went against her parents. Something about that shot straight to my heart and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d seen a side of her that maybe she kept hidden.
“Cami is scared that our parents will cause problems for you and… this,” Laurel said after explaining that Cami hadn’t come to Brand because their parents had made threats against the club.
“Motorcycle Club. Say it with me, princess, Mo-tor-cyc-le Club.” I broke it down for her real slow like.
“B-ry, shut the fuck up,” Chris said and I bit back my chuckle when he looked at me half-amused and half-pissed on Brand’s behalf.
Brand and Laurel went back and forth a few more times trying to work out what the hell was going on. While I cared because Brand was a brother, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Laurel as she spoke.
Then Brand was off without so much as a look back. I silently cheered him on because I knew he was going to go get his girl. Chris walked back into the clubhouse and I stood there for a long moment studying Laurel. Her eyes watched as Brand peeled out of the lot. Then she looked back at me for a moment. There wasn’t even six feet between us but for some reason, it felt like too much space.
She blinked as if she was clearing her mind from whatever thoughts were going on in there. I kind of wanted to know what they were but wouldn’t dare ever ask.
Without a word, she spun on her fancy heels and started walking back to her car. And just because I couldn’t let it go, I snapped to and rushed around her. With a wicked smirk, I opened her door just as she reached her car. She paused before getting in, keys gripped tightly in her hand that came to rest on the roof of her overly-priced vehicle. Her other hand, the one with the ridiculous rock, clenched the top of the open door frame.
“Thank you,” she said in a tone that told me the words were spoken only because she felt the need to be polite. I held back an eye roll.
She started to duck down, then straightened back up, her eyes blazing fire as she looked at me.
“It wasn’t easy for me to come here,” she said and I stood to my full height, only towering over her by a few inches. “And not for the reasons that you more than likely have running through your head. You don’t know me, so I would appreciate it if you don’t look down on me for the last name that I happened to be born with.”
Somehow she had stepped out of the open door space and was only inches from my face now. She still held a sweetness in her anger and I think I admired it right then.
“It has nothing to do with your last name, princess.”
“Then what? You don’t know a thing about me, yet you seem to have such disdain for me.”
“You nearly ran over me in your stupid car and didn’t even notice,” I gritted out stepping up to her so we were nearly chest-to-chest. “And I can see it in your eyes. You look down on me because I’m a biker and I belong to… this.” I waved my hand in a mocking manner much like she had a few moments ago.
“You are the most insufferable man I’ve ever met,” she said, her eyes pinning me with a burning fire. But I couldn’t tell if it was hatred or something else.
“You are the most stuck-up woman I’ve ever had to deal with,” I growled low.
“You…” I waited but nothing followed. Was that supposed to be an insult?
“Yeah, me,” I said and at this point, I was so in her face that her back was pressed firmly against her car and she had nowhere else to go.
Then it happened. One little movement that broke me. The tension so thick between us that it almost overshadowed the electrical zing all around us.
She licked her bottom lip. It wasn’t missed by me. And I would have bet she wasn’t even aware that she’d done it. But as that little pink hint of her tongue poked out, I could think of nothing else but knowing what it felt like gliding over my own.
My head ducked down, my lips so close to hers as my arms came up and caged her in tighter to the side of her car. I paused briefly once my bottom lip barely grazed hers. I wasn’t going to take if it wasn’t wanted. But how I fucking wished she did.
There was a sharp intake of air from her before her head tilted up enough so that our lips met.
Then it was chaos as we both fought to control the kiss.
My body pressed closer to hers. Her hands attempted to fist my short hair while my hands got a mind of their own and latched onto her lower back. Her hips bucked into me. And because I couldn’t help it, I pushed back into her, letting her feel just how hard she made me.
I nipped her bottom lip then slid my tongue between her parted lips. I was lost. To her. To the kiss. To something that I knew I had no right taking joy in.
We broke apart and it wasn’t even a second before I saw her world crumbling behind her eyes. Her dainty hand came up to touch her swollen lips and that moment her face started to harden. I backed up, letting her go because trying to work this out, whatever the hell it was, would have done more bad than good at that moment.
She quickly slid into her car, turned over the ignition, and sped away.
With a sigh, I looked around to make sure no one had seen what had just transpired. The place was clear and I was grateful. I definitely didn’t want to talk about what had happened with my brothers. I sure as hell didn’t want to admit that the kiss I’d had with Laurel had been a life changer. Which only led me to thinking about Brand. I wasn’t going to fuck up things further for him.
So as I walked into the clubhouse, I did everything I could think of to forget that it had even happened.