Just what I liked. Sitting around a table across from the rest of the club, with our thumbs up our asses.
That wasn’t how I usually operated my Steel Cobras. We were fierce. Made big plays with high risks. Kicked ass and took names.
But we sat there now, giving each other stupid looks, because no one wanted to admit it. We didn’t know what our rival motorcycle club, Hell’s Fury, was up to.
They’d been quiet for the past few weeks, ever since we offed Blaze, their leader, and tore them new assholes. They’d run for the hills, crying for their mamas.
But their silence was suspicious.
“I tell you, they’re planning something,” Phoenix, the VP of our club, and my best friend, said. “We need to act. Crush them. This won’t be over ‘til they’re all dead.”
Easy for him to say. He’d wanted to destroy our rival club ever since they’d snapped up his girl, Olivia, to use for bait. They nearly killed her. For the last two weeks, he’d been preaching No Mercy when it came to Hell’s Fury.
His bloodthirst was beginning to spread. Now Jet, Phoenix’s little brother, and Drake, both officers in the Cobras, were starting to echo those sentiments.
Which meant I, as President of the Cobras, needed to shut this shit down before it got worse.
I held out my hands as the men raged around one another, jumping off their seats, at each other’s throats. I didn’t raise my voice. I found that I didn’t need to. “Men. Sit the fuck down.”
Phoenix—also known as Nix—was as loyal a motherfucker as there could be, always listening, respecting the club. Once he sat his ass down, the rest of the men fell in like dominos.
I pulled up off of the chair I was backwards-straddling and took a drag of my cigarette. I moved to the front of the room in the warehouse we’d recently moved into as our clubhouse. For the past two years, since I’d become president, we’d been having the meetings at my house. That all ended about a month ago, when Hell’s Fury decided to pay us a little unfriendly visit.
A month later, and I was still pulling bullets out of my fucking hot tub.
The warehouse was good. Quiet. On the end of the pier in Aveline Bay. We could park our bikes out there, make all the noise we wanted, and not have to worry about the Fury sneaking up on us.
“Guys,” I said, pacing in front of them. “Just because they’re quiet doesn’t mean they’re not planning something. And we can’t just go in there, guns blazing. They showed us they had the numbers. Even if they’ve lost half their guys, they’re still bigger than us.”
Drake shook his head. “They’re planning something. But we need to strike while their numbers are down and put an end to them for good.”
Hart looked up from his computer. “I haven’t seen any chatter at all online. Not a single one. But I don’t want to dare think they’re done.”
“Hell, no, they’re not done,” Zain said. “They’re biding their time. You can bet on that.”
I looked at Zain, who was holding his side, having just recovered from a serious gunshot wound. Zain was one of the newer members of the club, but a man I could trust. He had the most intelligence on Hell’s Fury, because he’d almost been a part of them. That was, until Blaze fucked him over by stealing his girl. After that, he came to me. Though I’d kept his dealings with the Fury secret from the other Cobras, I trusted his point of view on them.
“Right. But it doesn’t mean we got to go out and fight without knowing what we’re up against.”
“Yeah, it does,” Nix said, not looking up from the text he was thumbing in. I’d bet a thousand bucks he was texting his girl Olivia. “We get ‘em now, while they’re weak. We made the mistake last time of not stamping them out, and they grew. We need to take them out.”
“I’m not running out there blind,” I said. “We need to know what we’re dealing with. Come on, assholes. Let’s vote.”
They all gathered in the circle.
I said, “All in favor of retaliation right now. Show of hands.”
Nix, Jet and Drake all raised their hands.
“All for waiting it out until we got some real info?”
Hart and Zain lifted their hands. I raised mine to join them.
“Three v. three. But the final call goes to me.” As president, the final call always went to me. But I needed to know where they stood.
I looked them over. Jet had a face that could do no wrong. Hart was our tech guy. The babies of the club. “You two,” I said. “I want you to go out and snoop around. Go to their clubhouse, and the places they usually hang out. Ask questions. See what you can find.”
They both nodded.
“I’ll call church again later this week, and we’ll make a final decision then,” I said, standing up. “All right. That’s it. If no one has anything else, I’ll talk to you all later.”
They stood up and started to disperse. I called Nix over as he was pulling his leather jacket over his thick arms. “How’s your girl?”
He lifted his chin, baring the tat at his throat. “Liv? She’s good. But you know her. She’s out for blood when it comes to the Fury.”
I smirked. “That’s why we like her.” I flicked the ashes of my cigarette away. “You moving in with her now?”
“Man. You’ve gone soft. Never thought I’d see you fucking whipped.” I shook my head. “Who am I gonna go out Friday nights with?”
He crossed his arms. “Hunting pussy? Last I saw, you didn’t have to hunt. I thought all the gingers in the world just lined up for you.”
“Nah. Not just that.” I waved him off. Still, I was bummed I wouldn’t have him on Friday nights. Of all the guys, he was the one I could chill with.
But those days were coming to an end. I knew they would—Nix may have talked a good game, but he’d wanted a woman, and found her.
Easy pussy—that was what I wanted, and that was what I’d always want, ‘til the day I died. I might’ve been thirty now, but I showed no signs of change on that front. I had too much else on my mind with the Cobras to deal with any of that.
Which reminded me. I really could’ve used some easy pussy right now. My muscles were tight with tension. It wasn’t one of the best times for the Cobras. We’d almost lost a few men after the skirmish with the Fury, and I wasn’t so stupid to think this was the end. Something was brewing, and I needed my club to be safe.
Phoebe. I’d call Phoebe.
I told Nix I’d see him later, then got on my bike and took off down the pier, toward home. I drove past The Wall, our local watering hole, but was too tired to even stop in and hang with the other Cobras I knew would be there. I went straight home, still thinking of the Fury.
We would eventually rumble again. It was only a matter of time.
I rode up to my house overlooking the Pacific and the garage door opened automatically to let me in. The guys had joked once that this was my own Bat Cave, and I liked that. That was, until the Fury ripped it apart a few weeks ago. I pulled off my helmet and walked into the living room of the darkened house. The carpet was ripped up everywhere, and the furniture covered in tarp and piled in the center of the room to allow for painting. So I navigated around the mess, turning on lights as I went.
I strode into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and pulled out a Coors. Taking a swig, I put my phone on speaker on the center island and dialed up my interior designer.
She answered on the first ring. “Cullen?”
“Yeah baby,” I said. “What’re you doing?”
“Nothing much,” she said. “I’m—”
“Then you’re doing it with me. Get your ass over here.”
I ended the call and frowned at the stack of mail brought in from the housekeeper. Decided to ignore it. Phoebe would be over in ten, probably, in some little get-up that she’d bought at the lingerie store with lots of ribbons and lace. As if I cared about any of that. She was a hell of an interior designer, a hell of a good fuck who was up for anything, and she had red hair.
She’d be good for what ailed me.
Other than that, I didn’t give a shit.
Yawning, I climbed the stairs up to my bedroom, ripping off my t-shirt so I could change into a different one.
As I did, the doorbell rang.
I looked at my phone. Three minutes. Phoebe was just a few doors down, shacking up with her doctor husband, but that was a new world record, even for her.
I reached for the door handle and pulled it open. “Hey, baby, you excited or—”
I stopped. It wasn’t Phoebe, with her pale skin, hair all done up, dressed in her hot little outfit.
The only thing the same was that this girl’s hair was red.
She was probably the only redhead whose name I’d never forget.
And she was holding a kid.
My eyes went from her big blue ones, to the baby, and then back to hers again. I couldn’t find the air to breathe.
“Oh fuck,” I said.