I pull my eyes away from the man I haven’t been staring at for the last thirty minutes. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. I take a sip from the warm beer I’ve been milking. I don’t stare at men. Never really have. Not since… I push that thought away, not wanting to go there right now. I have other things to think about.
I can’t tell you that it’s clear he got a haircut today. The sides buzzed short and the top left long, like a sexy ass mohawk. Even his beard is perfectly cut and combed. Just like everything about him. The tips of my fingers tingle just thinking about running my fingers along the side of his head to feel the fresh cut of his hair.
He’s broad and lean and looks nothing like what you’d think a computer hacker would look like. No cliché when it comes to Scribe there. He’s doesn’t look like someone who’d spent years working for the government. No, he looks like he spends half his life in a gym. A GQ model covered in tattoos if ever there was one. I don’t fucking know because I don’t think I’ve ever read the magazine, but I’ve seen the covers my sisters leave around. He’s definitely not something you’d see sitting behind a computer screen doing God knows what. I can barely check my email.
I’ve only met him a few times now, and even with the few words we’ve shared, I already can’t stand him. Or maybe it’s the fact that I can’t stand how he makes me feel when he’s in a room with me. The spark that hit me the first time I’d seen him. Maybe spark is underplaying something I’ve been feeling since I’d meet him. More like a ball of hot lust that’s burning me deep in my gut, making me itch. That has never happened to me in my life. It’s unsettling, and something I hadn’t planned for, and I don’t like when things don’t go to plan.
He is just so damn…charming, witty, smart, fucking sexy, and the world’s biggest flirt. Well, the last I’ve just heard whispers of. Because, fuck me if I haven’t been listening to anything and everything people say about him. Trying to soak it all in and pretend I don’t care at the same time.
There are jokes here and there about it, but right now I’m looking right at it as he leans against the bar, talking to a beautiful blonde bartender. She is exactly the kind of woman that I’d picture up against him. Under his arm. She’s tall enough to match his height and has curves in all the right places. Womanly. Something I’m definitely not. I haven’t worn a dress or heels in…I search my mind and come up blank. I don’t even have a womanly body. I’m more straight and lean and maybe have a handful of tit. I hadn’t given much thought to it until lately, which only further pisses me off. I don’t do insecure, but I’d caught myself just last night looking at myself in the mirror wondering if a man like Scribe would even look my way. That just burned.
Denim and Diamonds is where all the Ghost Riders like to hang out. That’s the club I’m trying to fit in with, and I’m hoping I’ll be getting news very soon that I’m now a prospect. I’ve been busting my ass to get this. I’ve never wanting something so bad in my life, and I knew it was where I belonged from the first moment I’d met my sister-in-law Mac, also known as Casper in the Ghost Riders. The only female member at the moment. Not only that, but she’s their Sergeant at arms and one of the best snipers that served our country. She put a lot of things into focus for me. Showed me what I’d been missing. This meaningless feeling I’d been walking around with. I know this could fill it. This is something I have to be a part of. Something I want to be a part of me.
I didn’t want to go into the police force like the rest of my family had. Well, the men anyway. I seemed to be the only female in the family who had a desire to play with guns and knives and run with the boys. I’d always been like that, even with all my sisters always trying to dress me and make me go on dates. I wanted to play with my older brother Vincent instead. Listen to him and Dad swap stories of their time on the force. I wanted a life like that.
Adrenaline. I love it; it makes me feel alive. But I’d never looked at a man before and had a dose of it shoot through my veins. Even though I love it when it hits, I don’t like it coming from a man. Even worse, a man like Scribe. He’s all kinds of wrong for me, and while I might be able to hang with the guys, I don’t have much experience really playing with them like that. Like I said, that spark had just never hit.
“Violet, don’t look so tense. You got this,” Casper, my sister-in-law says to me. I glance over at her. Like always she has her long black hair pulled up in a tight ponytail. But unlike her usual tight black tee, today she has on a loose shirt hiding her little baby bump.
She leans back in the chair next to me, scrolling through her phone. “Pres is going to call us in soon.”
I nod and look back out into the bar, watching everyone. Just trying to take it all in and do as Cas taught me. Watch everything and everyone.
“Who’d you hit first?” Cas asks me, leaning forward in her chair and putting her elbows on the table.
“Two o’clock in the blue with the goatee.” Cas smiles. “Then the one in red, three down to blue shirt to the right. Normally I would have said Red, but he’s got a few beers deeper, so he’ll be slower.”
“What about him?” I follow Cas’s line of sight and see a big motherfucker leaning against the far wall and watching two girls play pool. He looks deadly. Probably is with his hands, but takes a lot for a man that size to move, and I’ve got lots of time before he could get to me.
“He’s not carrying. He’d come later.”
She must like what I say, because she just leans back in her chair once again, going back to her phone.
I go back to watching. Pres, Lucias Houston, doesn’t let sweet butts into the club, so this is where everyone hangs when not at the clubhouse. A lot of locals know that, and this place is always crawling with women looking for a bad boy.
It’s a thrill I don’t understand. Or maybe I’ve just been around my father and brother too much. They treat their wives like gold. Like nothing else in the whole world is more important to them, and I don’t think that’s something I’m going to find around here. Even less so with someone like Scribe. Not that I’m looking, I remind myself. I’m not his type either, and he barely gave me the time of day when first saw him. In fact, he looked like he didn’t like me at all. Worse, I’d overheard him tell Pres I shouldn’t be here. Just my fucking luck. The first interest I show in a man in forever and he doesn’t even want to be in the same room as me.
The reminder has me tightening my grip around my beer bottle. How the fuck does he know if I belong here or not? He doesn’t even know me. Has no idea of what I’m capable of. The things I’ve done. No, not many know. That was sealed up tight. So tight I don’t even think Scribe could find it.
I glance over at him once again and see the blonde bartender throw back her head and laugh at whatever he just said to her. I have to fight an eye roll. I’m not sure if I want to roll my eyes at them or myself for even caring. Fuck him. I’ll show him how much I belong.
The bartender nods towards the door that leads to the back of the bar into the kitchen, and Scribe nods back, following her and making my stomach do a little nervous flip. God, I have to shake this. Whatever it is I’m feeling for him has to go, because it’s not going to work. At least not with him.
“Can’t go hating Scribe already,” I hear Cas say next to me. I turn to see her staring at me, busting me spying on him following the bartender into the back. “He can drive you nuts, but he’ll always be your eyes on the ground when you’re high in the hills.”
I study her for a second. I know her and Scribe are close, which makes sense with what she’s saying. When you’re the sniper, you’re always away from the pack, and someone has to feed you intel. And that someone would of course be Scribe.
For me, it had only ever been Cas when she was helping me train. Trying to teach me everything she knows for me to be as good a shot as her. I’m not, but I’m getting close, and the training is paying off. But there had been sessions where she’d made me sit in the hills alone for hours with only her in my ear and my gun trained on one spot. Until my body started to throb with aches and pains. I never knew being stealth could hurt so much. But having someone with you in your ear helped. Pulled you through the hours. And I’m guessing that’s what they had when they were serving together or when she did jobs for the Ghost Riders. I’m trying to fill that role now because Cas is going to be MIA for a little while. Can’t lie on your stomach for hours with a baby bump. Not to mention my brother Vincent would lose his mind if she was on jobs now.
I just smile like I don’t have a problem with him, but her eyes study me, and I have a feeling she can see through me. She always seems to be able to do that, and she’s been trying to get me to do it, too. Always be seconds ahead of people. If you can read them, you will be able to anticipate their movements. And seconds matter when you’re behind the scope of a gun. I don’t think my eyes are as good as hers, not yet anyway, but I’ll keep trying. Any little knowledge she’s given me, I’ve soaked it up. It’s what I’ve always done. With my father, my brother, school, and now her. I’m hungry for it.
I hear her phone vibrate, and she pulls her eyes from mine and looks down at it. “Let’s go.” She jumps up from her chair seeming just as eager as I am.
I abandon my beer and follow her out of the bar, hopping into my truck. Like Cas, it’s hard to ride a chopper with some of the gear we carry around, and we’d been training all day and my cab was full of all kinds of shit.
I follow her down the road for about a mile until we reach club property. It’s nothing like you’d normally think, with unkempt land and chain-link fences. They handle this place with care. You can see it. This is their home, and they take pride in it.
The front of the property has a brick privacy fence, and it makes you wonder what’s behind it. Cas pulls up to the gate, enters her code, and waves me to go around her as the double iron gate swings open. I pass through, making sure it doesn’t close on me. I drive through a tree-lined driveway that’s about a half a mile long to the clubhouse, an old farm that’s been converted for the Ghost Riders.
I know the property used to belong to the Pres’s father before he passed, then Pres took it over. I’ve spent hours out here on the land with Cas training me. The whole property is littered with buildings. Some of them are used for businesses, one of which Cas owns herself. A gun range a little off to the east of the property that has a public entrance.
I pull up to the main house, which is huge. A few bikes are parked out front, and I recognize one right away. Scribe. I didn’t even see him leave. I thought he was still in the back of the bar. I pull myself from the truck as Cas pulls up next to me. I follow her in and see only Scribe and Savage sitting in the main area where everyone normally hangs. Savage is sitting on one of the sofas looking every bit of his name, taking up most of the thing with his massive bulk. He has a hard look on his face like he doesn’t really want to be here. Scribe is sitting in one of the stools at the old wooden bar with his computer open next to him.
His eyes come straight to me when he hears us enter. Then he shakes his head. I don’t know how the fuck he beat us here. I figured he’d still be in the back of the bar with the blonde. I inwardly smirk that his time got cut short because of the meeting being called.
“Don’t start,” Cas barks, a slash of heat behind her words. I guess she knows too that Scribe doesn’t like the idea of my being around.
“She’s not ready.” His eyes run over me. I never seem to get the funny, flirty Scribe everyone talks about. I only ever get distaste. We all know why we’re here. I know they’ve been talking about me coming into the Ghost Riders, and today is the day I find out if I’m in. If I get a shot.
I try not to flinch at his words, keeping my face impassive. I don’t want him thinking he bothers me one bit. He’s just like the boy on the playground when you’re a kid. If they know they get to you, they’ll keep doing it. You just have to ignore them. Or just punch them in the face. That trick worked, too. I have a feeling I’ll be doing that one soon. “
You questioning my judgment?” I hear Cas say from behind me as I make my way towards Scribe. His eyes stay on me, giving me a look I can’t quite make out. Good, you should keep looking at me, because I’m the one coming for you.
“She’s going to get herself hurt. Maybe even killed.” His eyes shoot over my shoulder at Cas, then back to me as my feet eat up the distance between us.
“We aren’t going to let anyone near her. She’ll be miles out from danger.” Cas is standing hard behind my being here.
“Doesn’t matter,” I say, sliding up next to him, taking the stool next to his and turning to face him. His musky sweet scent hits me, and I didn’t know a man could smell like both at the same time, but he does. “I don’t need to be miles away. I can handle myself right here,” I tell him, looking him dead in the eyes. “You don’t know me.” My words are flat, brooking no argument. It’s nice to be farther away from your target, but I learned at a younger age that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to be close. Sometimes life just gives you the option and you have to learn how to protect yourself in that moment, and I have.
“I know a lot more than you think.” He glances at his computer, then back at me. “In fact, I feel like I know almost everything.” A small smirk plays at his lips, and I wonder if that’s a trace of the flirting I’ve heard so much about. Does he think I’ll turn into some blushing girl in front of him and bat my eyelashes? Not happening. Not for him. Never for a man who doesn’t think I belong. I may not know shit about men in this area, but I know how the men in my life treat their women, and I want that.
“That so?” I scoot a little closer to him, wanting him to know I don’t care what he thinks. That he has no effect on me, even if that’s a total lie. I want him to know that I’m here and I’ll be all up in his fucking space and this place whether he likes it or not. “Just because you went through my life with your computer doesn’t mean you know shit.”
“I beg to differ.” He leans a little in himself. “You finished college in under three years, spending hours up late writing your papers and studying, that when you can’t sleep you read Harry Potter, and you like to scroll JJ Watt’s Twitter a little too much.” He says the last part with gritted teeth. “You’re too young to be here.”
All the things he said are true, except the part about me being too young, but that’s unimportant. These are things he shouldn’t be looking at. My personal fucking business. Has nothing to do with this club. I get they need to know shit about me, but that is just a little too intimate. He doesn’t have that privilege. I haven’t granted him that privilege.
I also don’t throw in his face that everyone in this room was fighting in a war when they were 18. I’m 21. I feel my age is just fine and not part of this equation because I can do what they need me to do and that’s all that matters.
I reach down, grabbing the knife out of my right boot and slamming the blade down into the wood of the bar, leaving the handle sticking up.
“Shit,” I hear from the other side of the room, but I don’t turn to look to see who said it. Neither does Scribe. He didn’t so much as blink. Not even when I pulled out the knife.
“You can’t see everything behind that computer,” I tell him, pulling the knife from the wood, still looking straight into his eyes as I lay my left hand, palm down flat, on the bar, fingers spread wide. I start to unhurriedly hit the blade between each finger, slowly picking up speed. Moving my right hand faster and faster as the knife lands between my fingers, hitting the wood of the bar. I’m sure it’s leaving nice little nicks each time it hits, but I don’t give a fuck. Finally, he pulls his eyes from mine and looks at my hand. “Not everything is as it appears on your little screen. I think someone like you would know that, because most of you are nothing like you seem.”
“Jesus Christ.” I hear another voice from the other side of the room again.
Scribe’s eyes are now studying my hand, but I still keep looking at him as I move the blade between my fingers with quick ease. I know what he’s going to do. He’s looking for the right moment to grab my hand, and just when he goes to grab me, I pull back, making him jump. It gives me an opening, and I slam the knife right into the center of the keyboard of his laptop. The light drains from the screen.
“Stay out of my fucking business,” I say as calmly as I can. I pull the knife from his keyboard and throw it across the room to the dartboard next to the pool table. I hit it square in the center. “I can handle myself,” I tell him, leaning in so I’m only a breath away. “Even better when I’m close up.”