One More Ride (Night Riders Motorcycle Club Book 3)

BOOK: One More Ride (Night Riders Motorcycle Club Book 3)
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.

 

One More Ride copyright @ 2015 by Kathryn Thomas. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.

 

Book 3 of the
Night Riders Motorcycle Club
trilogy

CHAPTER ONE

 

Despite the chill of the desert night air, Lauren’s body was dripping with sweat. As her hand gripped the bars of Blake’s spare bike, her heart thumped wildly in her chest. Her body moved with the bike as she worked to keep up with the club. Blake was still in her sights when the bikes started to round a corner. He started to slip away from her point of view when Lauren rolled her neck and hit the gas harder.

 

Not happening. I gave him my word.

 

Turning with the curve in the road, she started to pass the other members of the crew until she found herself at Callie’s side. The redhead winked under her helmet and fixed a curious smiled to her face.

 

“So you really are in this for the long haul?” Callie asked, voice mingling with the wind that whipped over their bodies and the sand and stones spraying into the air.

 

“Where else would I want to be?” Lauren replied.

 

Callie offered no answer to the question and focused on the way ahead. With nothing but the silence and the roar of the engines hitting her ears and flooding her mind, Lauren knew that there was someplace else where she could go. Where she
should
go. Whether it was the law or the Demon Dogs that caught up with them first, she was in more danger than now than she had been at her night on the auction block. Casting a quick glance over her shoulder, she felt sure that she saw strange bikes not belonging to the Night Riders or the flash of red and blue sirens. Which was the worst fate? She had received a taste of the Demon Dog’s treatment. Even with Eric and Nate dead and buried in what had to be shallow graves, Wayne still breathed. And there would be a price to pay for the club’s most recent transgression. Only thing to do was make tracks and hope that they couldn’t be traced.

 

Speeding away from Callie, Lauren found her way back to Blake’s side. Leading the charge, he barely registered her presence until she raised her voice to capture some of his attention.

 

“So what’s the plan?” she called out.

 

“You having second thoughts?” Blake asked as he denied her his stare and started to turn another corner. Following his lead, Lauren managed to catch up and hold her own with him. When he started to pull away from the group, Lauren kept up the chase. For a second, the bike rocked in her hands and under her body. Fearing that she might fall, she felt a hand on her back. Startled by the touch, she turned and saw Trent steadying her in her seat as he gave her a quick nod.

 

“Easy,” Trent cautioned. “Think there’s been enough fatalities for one night.”

 

He moved his bike towards Blake, and Lauren slowed up some as the dust swirled under her eyes. The man was right; no way was she going to become one more unmarked grave in the wild stretch of desert sand. Keeping pace with Callie again, Lauren looked furtively over her shoulder and found the woman’s ear.

 

“So what now?” Lauren asked. “We go underground or something?”

 

“Listen to you,” Callie teased. “You picked up some of the lingo right quick.”

 

That was a good thing. Because if she did this, and despite the pictures from her past that still invaded her brain, there was no way she could go back. Not after what she had seen. And the way that Blake made her feel.

 

“Callie?”

 

“Something like that,” Callie answered as Lauren fought to keep up with her pace.

 

“But what happens if—”

 

“One turn at a time, honey,” Callie said. “Let’s just get where we’re going first.”

 

Wanting more, wanting to know what or if there was a Plan B if the worst came to pass, Lauren forced herself to swallow those fears down. She was better off here than if Blake had never staked his claim when Eric wanted her for something far darker. There was no way to know if she would even still be drawing breath if she’d fallen into the Demon Dogs’ hands. No. No this was better. Better for her and far better for…

 

Grace!

 

Riding away from Callie, she drew nearer to Blake. He pointed out a possible route with Trent at his side. Shouldn’t Paul be privy to this conversation? Where was he now?

 

Looking back, she failed to find Paul’s face among his crew, and the thought of that scared her more than all the maybes and potential possibilities. Had they already fallen into the wrong hands, and was it just a matter of time before the wrong men caught up with them?

 

Twisting the bike away from the crew, she heard Callie’s voice calling after her but tuned her out. If there was trouble, she needed to know. Blake needed to know.

 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Callie called.

 

Lauren kept moving away from the others. Twisting around that same corner that she had just passed, she heard every motor starting to grind to a halt.

 

“Lauren, hold up!”

 

Even the sound of Blake’s voice didn’t give her pause. Let him blast her afterwards, punish her as only he could. Despite the danger all around them, she made her mind look forward to that, and the thought that a part of him would be grateful for her investigating whether something happened to Paul and Grace.

 

At the sight of Paul’s bike resting against the side of the road, Lauren hit brakes hard and skidded into a stop. Hopping off with more skill than she knew she possessed, Lauren abandoned Blake’s spare bike and rushed towards the pair of them in the sand.

 

“Paul?” she cried. “Are you okay?”

 

He quickly twisted his face to hers, and Lauren gasped at the sight of the dried blood caked about his cheek. At least the stream of crimson had stopped; that was something. His eyes focused as soon as he saw her.

 

And he shot to his feet with a cold glare.

 

“What the hell you think you’re doing?” Paul challenged.

 

Trying to meet Grace’s eyes as her head hung against her chest, Lauren was startled by the feel of Paul’s fingers around her arms. His hold was firm but far from threatening, and Lauren met his eyes as he spoke fast.

 

“Keep up with the others,” Paul said. “We’re right behind you.”

 

“Doesn’t look that way,” Lauren said. “How is she? Is she okay?”

 

Lauren looked past his arm and called out Grace’s name as Paul held her back and shook his head.

 

“She’s fine,” he swore. “I’m not going to let anything happen to her.”

 

Catching the crack in his voice, Lauren pushed away from him and fell to Grace’s side.

 

“Are you alright?” Lauren asked her friend. “Grace?”

 

The girl was like a zombie. Breathing and muttering something that almost resembled words as she held her body closer. Alright? Far from it.

 

“This… this is a mistake,” Lauren started.

 

“Mistake?” Paul echoed. “Only mistake is you—”

 

“For Christ’s sake, Paul. Look at her! She needs help.”

 

“And I’m going to give it to her.”

 

He leaned down to push her off the ground, but Lauren pressed her palm into the air and motioned him away as she took Grace’s hand in hers.

 

“All the way out here?” Lauren asked. “Can’t you see how scared she is?”

 

“I told you that I’m going to—”

 

“It was self-defense, Paul. She did what she had to do. Any cop worth his shield will—”

 

As soon as the words started to trip out of her tongue, Lauren clapped her hand to her mouth and shook her head furiously. But she was too slow. Grace appeared to register her utterance, and her eyes went wide as she grabbed Lauren by her hair and tugged hard.

 

“I’m sorry!” she wailed. “I’m so sorry! Please don’t send me back. Please!”

 

Lauren tried to ease Grace away from her, careful to cradle the girl’s back as she kept flailing against Lauren, against the night, and against the memories of the monster that was her father.

 

“I didn’t mean it, Grace,” Lauren said. “No one’s sending you—”

 

Before she could finish her statement, Grace curled her fingers tight and crashed her fist into Lauren’s eyes. Blinking under the pain, Lauren fell to the ground and felt Grace slipping away from her.

 

“Grace, don’t!” Paul screamed.

 

Peering through her fingers, Lauren saw Grace charging back down to the road, back to the scene of her justifiable crime at a mad pace. Paul struggled to keep up, and Lauren added her voice to the chorus calling Grace’s name.

 

“Grace, wait!” she cried. “I was wrong. I was—”

 

Her voice came to a halt at the sound of a motor completely revved up. Lifting her eyes, Lauren saw Blake’s body come into view, his frame bathed in moonlight as he brought his bike to a stop just before her fallen form. Kicking away from his chopper, he regarded her carefully for all of a second. His lip slightly quivered, and he started to kneel at her side when he held back.

 

“Thought you weren’t turning back?” he asked.

 

“I’m… I’m not,” she started. “Just wanted to make sure that Grace was okay.”

 

Together, their eyes moved down the road, and Lauren held her breath as Paul managed to wrestle Grace from fleeing farther away. His tackle was tender as he brought her body to the ground, but she still pounded his back and kicked at the air.

 

“Bang up job,” Blake said.

 

Lauren started to hang her head in defeat when Paul caught Grace’s face in his hands and gave her no choice but to meet his gaze.

 

“Look at me,” he pleaded. “Grace, look at me.”

 

Paul endured a fresh series of blows, but he kept his hands on Grace’s chin until she seemed to tire herself out. As her chest heaved and her arms still shook, Grace’s fists came to rest at her sides, and she spoke softly.

 

“Don’t,” she whispered. “Don’t send me back. I’m… I’m so sorry.”

 

“So am I,” Paul confessed as he gathered her into his arms. Holding her close, he ran his hands down her back, and Lauren was finally able to release a sigh. Was she okay? Hardly. Maybe she never could be. But at least she wasn’t running anymore. That was something.

 

“Come on,” Paul said as he brought Grace to her feet and lightly kissed her tangled hair. “We need to keep moving.”

 

As they drew closer, Grace shuddered when she saw Lauren on the ground.

 

“Grace, I—”

 

“Why are you here?” Grace asked, the clouds starting to leave her eyes.

 

“I… well…”

 

Before she could finish her thought, Grace looked to Blake and seemed to tap into some unknown strength as her lips parted.

 

“And you… you should keep her close,” Grace said, her voice flat but sure. “You wouldn’t want to lose her. Would you?”

 

Blake said nothing. Made no move. Paul brought Grace back to his bike and kissed her gently as he climbed up behind her. “Don’t want to lose you either,” he whispered. “Let’s get going.”

 

The two men exchanged a curt nod before Paul got on his bike and sped off with Grace planted firmly in his arms. As the dust of their path hit Lauren’s eyes, she felt Blake step closer, his hands clenched to his sides as he spoke slowly.

 

“What Paul said. Keep up this time.”

 

Rising to her feet, Lauren felt as if she could strike him, but she held back. He had his point, and they had already wasted too much time. She had wasted too much time.

 

“You know I can.”

 

Their eyes locked, and Laruen felt his hand coming close to her face. Ready to settle into his touch, he suddenly pulled back and mounted his bike again.

 

“Then show me.”

 

Ready to ride beside him again, she was prepared to head to the front of the pack whenever Blake deemed it the right move.

BOOK: One More Ride (Night Riders Motorcycle Club Book 3)
13.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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