Authors: Christine Feehan
Seychelle took a deep breath and stared at the door. The moment she had put her hands on the man and pushed him to move him out of the way of the truck, she had felt an overwhelming darkness in him. Her heart beat too fast. She couldn’t look away from the door. She didn’t react to men. She just didn’t. Women either. There was something terribly wrong with her. Until him. Until she saw him in motion, running across the street directly in the path of that oncoming truck. She didn’t know why, only that such a beautiful man couldn’t die.
Touching him wasn’t a good idea. Having him lie on the bed in a dark room with her wasn’t a good idea. Kissing him was probably the worst idea of all. He’d moved his hands over her lacerations as if he claimed them—claimed her. It hurt, yet she couldn’t make herself pull away. In some way she wanted him to do it, because she felt even more connected to him. The way he looked at her, touched her, was more intense than she’d ever experienced in her life. For the first time in her life, despite the fact that she was hurting like hell, when he touched her like that, even before he kissed her, she felt herself go damp with arousal.
It was a damn good thing she was never going to see him again.
Maestro glanced at his watch. “If we’re going to ride to Willits tonight, we’ve got to wrap this up now. Sorry, Czar, but I’m fairly certain the others are going to lose it when they hear her sing, so I don’t want to take the chance of missing out. We’ve got to move.”
For the first time in a very long time, Maestro was enthusiastic about a singer for their band. Keys, Player, Master and Maestro were outstanding with instruments, any kind of instrument. They had incredible gifts and spent time together jamming. They played at the bar Torpedo Ink owned and occasionally at the parties the club threw. They’d been looking for a singer for some time, and Maestro didn’t want to lose the opportunity with this one, which meant she had to be good.
“You need me on the ride?” Savage asked. “Thinkin’ about heading to San Francisco tonight.” Which meant he was going to beat the holy fuck out of someone—most likely a lot of someones. If he didn’t do something soon, he was going to lose his mind.
Czar looked him over. “Yeah, go with them, Savage. Diamondbacks sometimes show up at that bar. I don’t want a war, but we don’t take shit from anyone. You in control?”
Savage shrugged. Hell no, he wasn’t in control. His brain was looping like mad, demanding action while the monster in him demanded blood. So no, he wasn’t all right. “Just fine, Czar,” he lied. He’d been lying so long about how he was doing, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d told the truth.
Absinthe flicked him a glance. Shit. No one fooled Absinthe. He was a human lie detector, and just by the look on his face, he knew Savage was talking bullshit. Savage turned abruptly and stalked out. He didn’t need to hear or see any more. He was hopefully going to beat the crap out of a Diamondback. Once he did, the entire Diamondback club would be out for blood—his blood. Just the thought made him feel better.
He swung his leg over his bike and jerked on his gloves. Willits was only thirty-three miles away, but the road was so filled with curves that it took most cars about an hour to drive it. He’d straightened the road out more than once and made it in record time. He wouldn’t be able to do that this time. He was going to have to listen to his mind totally losing it while he made the run to the bar to hear some bitch sing while drunks tried to pick each other up with the same tired lines.
His brothers fired up their bikes, and, pipes roaring, they set off for the bar in Willits. He didn’t give a damn about a singer, although if it was important to Maestro and the others, it was important to him. He just didn’t give a flying fuck who she was. There was only one woman he was interested in. She crept into his thoughts night and day.
He swore under his breath. She was already there. He could taste her in his mouth. On his tongue. Her tears. They were golden, the finest wine, champagne. Hell. Four weeks and she hadn’t gone away. He shouldn’t have kissed her. He’d known when he did it that it was a bad idea.
The wind helped for a few minutes, and then she was back, winding herself around his insides. His gut had been in knots since he walked out of her hospital room. He could have found her. Code was the best on a computer. He could track anyone down. He knew he had no choice but to ask Code to do a search, because he was going to be a first-class pussy and find her. He had to, because he was going out of his fuckin’ mind. First, he had to make sure it was safe for her, and that meant a trip to the fight club and maybe a visit to one of the hard-core underground kink clubs after that.
“Shit.” He shouted it to the world, let his protest rise to the tops of the redwood trees. He’d set up some kind of addiction just with kissing her, and now he couldn’t resist her. He shouted it again, because the thought of touching another woman was abhorrent to him, and that was a very bad sign for both of them.
He took the curves on autopilot, never a good thing when on a motorcycle. His body and his bike moved together, man and machine, wind in his face, but it wasn’t strong enough to blow him clean. Nothing was. Nothing would ever be. He loathed his needs. He loathed himself. Most of his brothers were damaged. They were even broken. They just weren’t damaged, broken and programmed to be monsters.
Absinthe was riding behind him and suddenly moved his bike up to ride beside him. Absinthe took the next curve with him, side by side, coming near a drop-off, dangerously close, riding in perfect sync with him. That brought Savage up short. He wasn’t about to take one of his brothers with him because he was being deliberately careless. All this over a woman. Absinthe had a wife. A good woman. Savage liked Scarlet. Respected her, and he respected few people. Torpedo Ink was his family, and Scarlet fell into that category. He took that very seriously. Nothing could happen to Absinthe on his watch.
He glanced at Absinthe and nodded, letting him know
he was paying attention again. He knew he was going to ask Code to find Seychelle. Code could break into the hospital computer records and get her address easily. It would be a piece of cake for him. Savage would hate that his brother would know Savage wasn’t strong enough to stay away from her. Hell. He dreamt about her every fuckin’ night. She not only invaded his thoughts during the day, but he found himself fantasizing about her all the time. She wouldn’t let him go.
It was possible, even probable, that if he saw her again, she wouldn’t have the same effect on him. A month had passed, and she wasn’t lying in a hospital bed, hurt. She probably wasn’t that woman. She most likely was really completely different than he remembered. His dreams and fantasies had colored his memories. He hoped like hell that was the case.
Frustrated that she’d crept into his thoughts again, he clenched his teeth and focused completely on the open road. He’d been doing that a lot, just allowing his thoughts to turn to Seychelle and not letting himself enjoy the moment. His bike had been saving him more and more. That and the fight clubs in San Francisco.
They parked their bikes in front of the bar. They’d been there half a dozen times but didn’t come often. Torpedo Ink owned their own bar, and they kept to themselves for the most part. The others went in. Maestro was eager to have the band hear the singer. Savage didn’t give a fuck about the singer, or whether or not she was good. He did give a fuck about his club, and he was responsible for their safety. He needed action to drain off the pent-up fury that kept building and building until he thought he might explode. That wasn’t what was best for his brothers, so he had to keep his shit tight. In check.
Rage was white-hot, smoldering inside him, so deep no one looking at him would ever know it was there. He looked cool on the outside. He carried himself with complete
confidence and wore an expressionless mask. Still, he gave off dangerous energy, and most people avoided him, which was a good thing when the devil was riding him so hard.
He took his time pulling off his gloves while he straddled his bike. He was giving himself time to look around the parking lot, noting every vehicle there. Savage was able to map out areas in his head, like grids on charts, placing each car, truck or bike exactly where it had been, even months later. He rarely forgot even the smallest detail, and he practiced every single day. That was automatic, to map out territory, not to miss even a hint that something was off. He memorized faces. Names. He could recognize a bike he’d seen once and know who rode it.
He walked around the outside of the building, noting escape routes, windows, exits for employees. At the moment, none of the Diamondbacks were at the bar. That wasn’t unusual either. They didn’t tend to frequent this one. He skirted back around to the front entrance and made his way inside.
It was crowded far more than it had ever been the few times he’d been there. Several women turned and looked at him, two smiling an invitation, swaying to the music the band was playing. Worst band ever. The drummer was actually behind the guitarist on the beat, and the keyboard player lagged completely. He didn’t understand how Maestro and the others could take the shit music. All four had incredible ears, and anything not in tune just about drove them insane. He had a good ear and it was killing him.
He looked the two smiling women over. They wore tight jeans and tanks, boots and heavy makeup. He knew the type. They were looking for a rough ride, a biker they could take home so they had bragging rights. Neither knew what rough was, but the blonde might do. He ignored them both and walked toward the stage. His brothers had a small table set to the right side of it, mostly hidden in the shadows.
Then the singer’s voice cut in, and he stopped dead in
the middle of the room with people pressing close all around him. His heart clenched hard in his chest. He refused to rub the spot, refused to give in to the need. He would recognize that perfect pitch anywhere. She was singing, not speaking, but it was that same melodious voice that haunted his dreams. Seychelle Dubois.
He stayed still, not wanting to be seen, allowing the other patrons to move around him. The bar was dark, and many couples or groups of women were dancing. He slipped behind the row of tables and leaned against the wall, his gaze fixed on the woman who had all but ruined him this last month. Savage studied her. She was under the lights and he could see that her skin looked soft and invited touch. Her mouth was generous. Made for sucking cock—his cock. She was shorter than he remembered, but he’d only seen her on the ground and in a bed. She had curves. Real curves. The kind of figure a man could hang on to.
It was hell. It was heaven. He felt as if he was actually a real man, not a walking killer with no emotions. She was in a short little burgundy cocktail dress that hugged her hips and emphasized her small waist. An intriguing glimpse of skin showed between the halter top and the tight skirt. The top clung to her tits. And she had them, full and round.
That damn top was open down the middle, showing enough skin, showing the lacerations that ran up the side of her body—the ones that belonged to him. The dress was short enough to show the deep wounds crawling up her leg unashamedly, all of which belonged to him. Those tits, that dress: he’d like to say they were what made the blood pound through his cock so hot he was afraid he’d burn up. He wasn’t the only one either. Damn her. If she were his, there would be hell to pay.
He hadn’t believed his body would react to her on its own, not once she was on her feet and not crying on the asphalt, but he was hard. Steel. Titanium. He wanted to take his dick out and jerk off, just watching her. It wasn’t
normal for him to react like that to a woman, but he knew it was those lacerations, the ones she’d suffered on his behalf. The ones that were his.
His parents had been murdered. He’d been taken, along with his brother and two older sisters, to a brutal training school in Russia. Those schools were supposedly to turn young boys and girls into assets for their country. The school he was taken to was run by criminals, pedophiles, allowed to do whatever they wanted to the children. In reality, no one was supposed to survive.
Two hundred and eighty-seven children were taken to the school over the years. Only nineteen survived. He was one of those nineteen. They had been taught, above all else, to have complete control over their bodies. The experiments conducted had been designed to stamp out the natural libido in all of them. It had worked, until now. Until Seychelle.
He watched her, his heart doing some wild hammering and his stomach tying itself into tight knots. It was crazy how his body reacted to her. The feeling was addictive. A rush. Hot blood rushed through his veins, and little whips of lightning flicked his groin until he was full and hard and so uncomfortable, he was afraid he would embarrass himself. Sparks of electricity seemed to be flashing over his skin. He was alive when he’d been dead for so long. Inside. Outside. She crawled over him. Into him. Found a home.
That voice of hers didn’t belong with men who couldn’t play their instruments, men who were jacked up on drugs. Leaning against the wall, eyes half-closed, he could still see the golden notes scattering across the ceiling and sliding down the walls, building a net over the room. She spun magic. The crowd couldn’t see it, but they inhaled it. They drank it in and they reacted to it. It was as if the more they breathed in those golden notes, the more they needed.
He wanted his reaction to her to be because of her voice, but he knew it wasn’t. He knew it was her. He’d tasted her
tears. She’d given him pieces of her soul when she took the fall for him. She’d let him kiss her. That had been a mistake. Tasting her at all had been a mistake, but he still didn’t have to make this one. He could walk out now, but he knew he wasn’t going to. He knew it was too late.
There was no way to save her. He didn’t even want to anymore. Not when he could feel like this just looking at her. She was better than any alcohol he’d tried to drown himself in. Better than any drug. She was real. That face. That mouth. That body. Those fuckin’ eyes and her voice, whispering to him. Tempting him.
He stayed still, never taking his gaze from her. He watched her body sway and then undulate to the music. She was sultry. Sexy. She was a sinful temptation. The light played over her, one moment spotlighting her and the next bathing her in shadows, nearly mesmerizing him when he caught a glimpse of those lacerations up her leg and thigh and then along her breast.