Authors: Jenika Snow
Evernight Publishing ®
Copyright© 2016 Jenika Snow
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Editor: Karyn White
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The Brothers of Menace MC, 8
Copyright © 2016
Tank adjusted the baseball cap on his head, left the club, and walked toward his Harley. He had his keys in one hand and his new cut in the other. He was a fucking Patch, a member of the Brother of Menace MC, and damn did it feel incredible.
The blood rushed through his veins at the thought, at the knowledge he was part of something now, included in a bigger picture. He’d never been what others considered a “good guy”, but the club didn’t expect him to be. He could be exactly who he was, and they’d pat him on the back for it.
His focus was on the keys, his thoughts on his future and what this all meant, when a sound had him stopping in the middle of the parking lot. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and he scanned the lot, knowing someone was out there because he could
them. Most of the brothers had already left, but there were a few who’d stayed at the club in the spare rooms because they were too drunk. Their Harleys were parked off to the side, and a few vans and SUVs the club used for runs were parked over in the back lot.
As he moved his gaze along the darkened area, back and forth, picking up anything that was out of place, he stopped and looked over at the gate that blocked off entrance to the club. He couldn’t see anything, but he still felt as though he were being watched, that he wasn’t alone, and he always went with his instincts. They never steered him wrong.
“Who the fuck is out there?” He reached behind him to the small of his back, felt the butt of his handgun, and pulled the piece out. Holding it at his side, close to his outer thigh, he waited to see if anyone would respond, if they were dumb enough to come at him.
He heard nothing but the sound of cars in the distance, and of his own steady breathing.
“You seriously fucked with the wrong guy on the wrong night, motherfucker.” Hell, it was always the wrong night if someone crossed him, and he didn’t give two shits about it one way or another.
It was a few more seconds of nothingness, but then he scanned over the gate once more. That was when someone stepped out of the darkened shadows on the other side of the fence that blocked off the club. His body tensed from the threat, everything inside of him coming alert. It didn’t matter that there was a gate between them. They’d been sneaking around the club, and that wasn’t going to fucking happen on his watch.
He placed his finger on the trigger, his body primed, and adrenaline moving through him.
“You better make yourself known if you don’t want to get fucked up, and by fucked up I mean getting bullets blasted into your body.”
“It's me, Brendan.”
The voice was feminine, soft, but he heard her nonetheless, and recognized her instantly. She stepped further into the swatch of light that came from the streetlamp, and everything in him stilled. He took his finger off the trigger as his baby sister became fully visible.
“Lila?” He put the handgun at the small of his back again. “What the hell are you doing here?” He hadn't seen his sister in months, and it wasn’t just because she’d been avoiding him, but because he’d been so fucking busy with the Brothers and all the drama that came with being in the club. She came closer to the gate, and he did the same, as well. It was then, as the initial surprise at seeing his sister filled him that his whole body resonated with shock at what she cradled in her arms.
Standing there alone, one duffle bag hanging from her shoulder, and her other holding a tiny, but squirming bundle of blankets, was his sister and her … baby.
He looked between Lila and the baby, not sure what to say. She hadn’t looked pregnant when he’d seen her all those months ago, but he figured that didn’t mean anything.
“Lila? What the fuck is going on?” Opening the gate and letting her in, it took him a moment to look at her again, to pull his thoughts back to reality. Tank pulled her in for a hug, but was mindful of the little person she carried. “What is going on, Lila?” he said again, never before feeling this kind of shock.
“Yeah, I know,” she whispered and chuckled humorlessly, sadly even. She pulled back the blanket slightly away from the baby, a newborn at that.
Tank pulled his gaze off the sleeping baby and looked into his sister’s face. Lila was ten years younger than his thirty-five years. She was the “accidental mid-life” baby for their parents. He’d always looked after her like she wasn’t only his baby sister, but also his child, in a sense, because she always tagged along with him. Their parents weren’t the best at taking care of them either. It had been them against the world, and he’d always made sure she was safe, because she was the only good thing in his miserable life.
Although he wanted to yell at her for the fact she’d kept her distance for reasons unknown, shake some sense into her that they were family and he’d kill and die for her, he just needed to get her off the street and make sure she and the baby were okay.
“This is yours?” Maybe it was a stupid question seeing as she was carrying it, but he had to make sure. He couldn’t tell it if was a boy or girl, and the dirty white blanket the baby was wrapped in looked like it had blood on it.
“Yes, she’s mine,” she said softly and looked at the baby again. She covered the small body back in the blanket, and the baby squirmed, making this little noise. “Her name is Faye.”
Faye. My niece.
Fuck, my little sister has a baby.
He was an uncle. That had him smiling, but his happiness faded at the situation, and the circumstance that brought his sister here, in the middle of the night, with a baby wrapped in dirty blankets. “Let’s get you back to my place and we’ll talk about what in the fuck is going on.” She didn’t argue, and he was glad about that. He didn’t have the patience right now to have her trying to say things were okay when they clearly weren’t.
He couldn’t take her on his Harley for obvious reasons, so he took one of the club SUVs. Once they were in the vehicle he was mindful of the fact he didn’t have a damn car seat. Lila held the baby as he took the back roads, and he made sure to drive well below the speed limit. It felt like his bones were going to tear through his skin at how tense that ten-minute ride was.
When they got to his place Lila was already out of the car before he could help her. He grabbed her duffle before she could argue, and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He led them inside, still reeling over the fact his sister was here, and the fact she’d been pregnant and now had a baby.
“Sit down,” he said in a gruff voice and pointed at the kitchen table. “You need to get something to eat.” He had a lot of questions, and the more he thought about them, the angrier he became. Whoever had gotten her pregnant clearly wasn’t in the picture, and that had him seeing red.
“You’re pissed,” she stated matter-of-factly.
He didn’t say anything for several seconds, but then glanced over his shoulder at her. She was smoothing her finger over the baby’s bald head, a smile on Lila’s face.
“Please don’t be upset,” she said and lifted her gaze to him. The baby started fussing and turning her head to the side. Lila started rocking the little girl, and she quieted. “I hate that you’re upset with me.”
He exhaled loudly. “I’m not upset with you, Lila. I’m pissed at what the hell is going on, which to be honest I have no damn clue what that is.” They stared at each other for a moment, and the silence surrounded them. “You clearly can’t turn to the guy that knocked you up—”
“Brendan,” she said in a tense voice and knitted her brows.
“What? It’s the truth.” He exhaled and ran a hand over his head. “You hungry?”
Lila smiled and nodded. She relaxed against the chair.
As he started making her something to eat, he thought about how in the hell this conversation was going to get rolling. He wasn’t upset with her, but he was at the situation.
“I’m sorry I’ve been distant these last few months. I guess I was in too deep, couldn’t see clearly, and I didn’t want you to be disappointed.” She looked down and shook her head. “I didn’t want to bring my troubles into your life, but now that I have Faye I can’t pretend that I can do this all on my own, Brendan.”
The defeat in her voice broke his damn heart.
“Lila, you are my life, and it’s always been us against the world. I hate that you thought you couldn’t come to me with any problems you had.” He felt like a damn asshole. “I know I’ve been in deep with the club while I was prospecting, and I should have never made you feel like you couldn’t come to me.”
She shook her head and gave him a genuine smile. “I’m glad you found where you want to be. It looks like you’re in good with your club, and even patched in. I’m happy for you.”
He turned from the counter and set a plate with a sandwich and chips in front of her. He grabbed a glass of milk for her, and then sat down across from her.
“Can I lay her down on your bed?”
He nodded. “Of course. Down the hall and last door on the right.”
“Unless you want to hold your niece?”
He shook his head right away. “I’m all thumbs, Lila, you know that.” He shifted on the seat, feeling nervous and uncomfortable all of a sudden with the thought of holding such a small, fragile little person. “My room’s in the back, last door on the right,” he said again.
Lila smiled. “She won’t break, Brendan.”
He cleared his throat in response, and sat up straighter.
“Maybe when you’re more comfortable.” She stood and left the kitchen, and he sagged against the chair. He didn’t know why he was so nervous about holding the baby, but the risk of him being clumsy with such a tiny person scared the shit out of him.
Lila was gone for a moment, and when she came back she sighed heavily as she sat down. She looked so damn tired. The silence stretched between them again, and as Tank leaned back in the chair and stared at his sister, the time that had passed between them seemed to fade.
“It’s really good to see you, Lila.”
She smiled and nodded, but didn’t respond. She looked down at her hands, but Tank didn’t push her for information on what was going on. He’d get it out of her eventually, but this was clearly hard for her, and he wanted her to talk to him when she was ready.
When she lifted her head and looked at him, the pain on her face made him furious. Someone had made her feel like that, and he’d find out who it was and break every fucking bone in their body.
“I’m in trouble, Brendan. I’m in really bad trouble, and I don’t know what to do.” She started crying, and when he went to go over to her she shook her head, wiping her tears away. “I’m fine.”
He sat back down, his hands tight fists on the top of the table. “What happened? Who fucked with you?”
She breathed out, leaned back in the chair, and said, “I got involved with a wannabe MC. I thought I was in love with one of the members, thought we’d be together forever.” She closed her eyes and shook her head again. “I was a fucking idiot. I thought he loved me, too.”
Fuck, Tank had a feeling where this was going.
“He was so possessive of me at first, and when he told me he loved me I really believed him.”
Tank tried to control himself and sit still, to just listen to her.
“I got deep with them, like became really into the club, and everything else kind of faded away. It’s why I hadn’t seen you in so long, why we hadn’t spoken like we used to.”
He grunted at that. They’d been close while growing up, and although he knew she’d been in Thorne this whole time, he hadn’t known she was involved with an MC. “What MC, Lila?” He didn’t know of any club in Thorne County, so unless they were brand new they were not legit.
Her eyes started watering again, and he told himself he needed to speak softer with her. She was clearly fragile right now, and some soon to be dead motherfucker had done this to her.
“I don’t even think it’s a real MC, Brendan. They had cuts and patches, had bikes, too, but they are all about hurting and degrading women. They called themselves the Draco MC.”
He’d never heard of them, but from what she was saying he doubted they were legit. “Then why the hell did you stay so long?”
She wiped her eyes and sniffed. She hadn’t touched her food, and he pushed the plate and cup closer to her. After she seemed to reluctantly take a bite of the sandwich and drank some milk, she started talking again.
“Because I thought I was in love, Brendan. I’ve never been in love before, and I guess my brain and heart got mixed up, and I ignored the warning signs right in front of me.” She stared right in his eyes. “And because I was a fool.”
He scrubbed a hand over his face, feeling the stubble covering his cheeks. “It’s okay, Lila.” He reached for her hand and held it as she cried harder. “Keep telling me what happened so I can fix it.” His fucking heart was breaking in two.
“I don’t know if it can be fixed, Brendan.”
She was the only one that called him by his given name, and it felt good, like being home. He was Tank, would always be Tank, but having Lila here meant his family was back in his life.