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Reckless (Skull Renegades MC, #7) by Knox, Elizabeth (1)


It’s hard to wake up from a nightmare if you aren’t even asleep.

-  J. S.


I should have foreseen this at some point, that Rafael would never truly be rid of me. A million thoughts run through my mind at what Kyle said to me tonight. Now we find out he is fighting for his life – bc of an act of harm done by a common enemy, the cartel that wants me back so badly. I don’t understand why, though. I’m nothing but a girl, the daughter of someone who used to work for Rafael. I didn’t know much of my father’s work, but I wasn’t a dumb little girl either.

My friends would quietly whisper when they didn’t think I was around, and I would hear them say that my father works for the snake. That is what we call Rafael in Mexico, The Snake. I’ve heard stories that the cartel didn’t used to be so bad, but when Rafael’s father died and he took over, things changed for the worst. I wonder now if I even want to know what it was that my father did, or if it would make a difference. It wouldn’t, make a difference that is. Things happened in the way that they were supposed to, or so I like to believe. I like to believe The way I see it: that there is a higher meaning for the horrible things I was put through, but at the end of the day there is absolutely no meaning behind it. There is only one thing, bloodthirsty hunger and the man who holds it all: Rafael Ramirez.

I open my eyes, pulling my blanket closer to me as I stare at the purple painting of a mustang that hangs across from my bed. I’m not a big fan of horses. Never really have been, but the symbolism of a meaning of the mustang fighting for her freedom resonates with me. In a way I guess we are the same. It’s ironic though, that I found my freedom as I was sold like a toy. I was terrified the day Reed purchased me, coming from Rafael I had assumed the worst. If only I had known back then what I know now, that I’d never feel more protected in my entire life. Not only by the club, but by Pain and Chaos too.

I care for the two of them deeply, however they lied to me. They didn’t tell me something that I should have been made aware of. It’s odd that I’m not angry with Reed, I’m angrier with them over it. They should have told me, and it was wrong of them to hide it from me, especially considering this has everything to do with me. Kyle flat out said that I’m the problem, that the cartel is coming after us because of me. Why did no one take a moment to consider I needed to be told about it?

I close my eyes, and every time that I do tonight I only see one thing. The night that everything changed replays in my mind. I jolt myself off the bed and pace back and forth in the small confines of my room. Never do I want to see that night again, no matter what I do...I never want to see it. It’s the worst nightmare I could have ever imagined but the thing is that it isn’t a dream, it was my life.

It still is my life.

I walk out of my bedroom, careful as I can be to remain unseen as I make my way to the small bar we have in the main area. Luckily, Trick seems to be passed out on the couch and Enzo is snoozing away in the big chair a few feet away. They don’t matter to me though, I’ve only come here for one thing, and as I kneel behind the bar and open the cabinet, I breathe a little easier when my eyes land on the bottle of tequila.

I wrap my hand around the nose of the bottle and open it, hopping up on the counter as I take a heavy swig. At this rate I don’t care who sees me, it’s not going to change how I feel or stop me from finishing off this entire thing

“You’re nothing but a piece of trash. You only matter because I decide when you do.” His voice is heavy in my mind. I take another drink, drowning out the pain of the memories that have decided to resurface at the worst time ever to resurface. In my heart I know that no matter how much tequila I drink, nothing will ever drown out the pain that I experienced that night. There is no time for living in the past, only the future. My mother used to tell me that so much as a small child. I just wish that she was here now to tell me whatever it is that I need to hear. She always had a way of knowing just what to say to make me feel better about whatever it was that I was going through. If she were still alive she’d know what to say. I have no doubt about it.

“Tequila won’t make it feel better.” Chaos suddenly comes into view. I don’t know how long he’s been there but I don’t really care. I’m really not in the mood to talk to him right now.

“You’re a preacher now, hmm? One who gives advice that he can’t even follow?” I snip out, rolling my eyes at his hypocrisy, and taking another long swig. I revel in the way the tequila burns as it settles in my stomach. “We all have our vices, Chaos. Tequila is just mine”

“And heroin is ours.” I stop what I’m doing and look at him, immediately searching his hands and arms, but when I don’t see the track lines I only wonder where else they could be. “Relax, Mar. I haven’t used and neither has Pain. I think he’s just sleeping or some shit”

“Now is not the time to joke,” I tell him, my body feeling warm and fuzzy all over. This tequila always kicks in fast which is why I drink it. For a little bit of time it allows me to escape my own reality and forget about whatever it is that hurts me.

“You should know better, I don’t joke.” He’s right. Chaos doesn’t joke at all. He actually has no sense of humor, which might be a bit odd to some people but for as long as I’ve known him he has been as dry as a tumbleweed. It is just part of who he is.

“We couldn’t tell you, Mar, as much as we wanted to. Reed wouldn’t give us the okay, and that’s that. Now I’m sorry but I’m not gonna be standing here begging for your forgiveness or some shit. You gotta accept it.”

When I first came here I never understood the way that they do things, how one man determines the fate of the club, makes all of the decisions and hopefully they’re the right ones. Now after being here for years, I understand far better than I ever expected. I bring the bottle back to my lips and take a few big, burning gulps before setting it next to me on the counter. I survey around the club, noting Trick and Enzo are still passed out before I look back to Chaos.

“He haunts me when I’m awake now. All I hear is him,” I admit, wetness welling behind my eyes. I don’t want to cry, but I never have much choice in the matter.

Chaos takes a few steps closer until he’s between my legs and his hands cup my face. “He’s not the one haunting you. Your fear is. And one way or another your fear is gonna lose, Taquita.”

I nod, placing my forehead against his chin and let out a soft laugh. “You know how much I hate it when you call me that”

“So? I love those things. They’re small and spicy just like you, so you’re my little Taquita. Get used to it.” Chaos lowers his hands to my neck and tilts my face up to look at him. This stern man may be just that, but I see so much more when I am with him. I don’t see the mask that he puts up in front of anyone else. I see him for the big heart he has behind his concrete armor. I push myself up on the counter until my lips hit his, kissing him with a tenderness that we both need. His lips flutter over mine, tongue darting in my mouth, owning my body in the way that he only knows how. He’s always so rough and closed off, something that I understand greatly, but even the guarded ones can be sweet sometimes. I am just thankful that we can rely on each other when we do.