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Adler (The Henchmen MC #14)
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He decided it was time to retire, settle down, become something nice and tame. Like an arms-dealing biker in some town called Navesink Bank. He could get behind that lifestyle.
He’d anticipated a lot of things. Drinking. Brotherhood. A little action peppered in here and there to keep things from getting too dull.
But there was one thing he hadn’t planned on.
A woman moving in across the hall from him. The way something within him recognized something inside her. A past. Secrets. Darkness. Hidden behind thick walls, impenetrable shields, and a biting sort of confidence.
He damn sure couldn’t have prepared himself for the sudden and uncharacteristic urge to force his way into her life, get her to open up to him, feel comfortable enough to give her all the dark and ugly parts of his past. And – dare he even think it – plan a future with her.
You know… if she would stop disappearing for weeks at a time without a clue as to where she was going…
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There was a new girl across the hall from my apartment.
Well, technically, Adalind’s apartment.
But she was shacking up at Ward’s place.
So this place was technically vacant.
I mean, full of her shite still, but I could deal with the frilly crap.
And luckily, the landlord didn’t care who stayed there so long as the bills were paid.
So it was my place for all intents and purposes.
The compound was great. I crashed there when I was too ass-faced to drive anywhere, but as a whole, I had gotten enough of being trapped in small spaces with a bunch of men in my life.
So I needed a place to escape to.
The Ritz it wasn’t, but I was one of those weird fucks who found the sound of street fights and whacked-out stoners on the street below almost soothing. The fuck-ups, those were my people. You knew right where you stood with them. No bullshite.
“The fuck is this?” I asked the empty walls, picking up some green roller thing from the drawer in the bathroom, snapping a picture, sending it to Addy.
– The fuck is this shite? For your lady business?
Addy – Omg how could that ever be for my ‘lady business?’ It’s a jade roller for wrinkle prevention. Why are you always breaking into my apartment?
– It’s not breaking in when I have a key.
Addy – It is when you took a mold of my key when I wasn’t looking, and reproduced it.
She had me there.
Totally stole it out of her purse when she and Ward were getting it on in his office.
Sure, it was alright for him to do that.
But could the rest of us?
Not unless we wanted a lecture from Daddy Ward about it.
My oldest friend in the world – and until recently, my only – but the fuck never did have any sense of humor.
Just Lysol your desk and move on, y’know?
I lifted the roller, rubbing the cold stone under my eyes and across my forehead, not entirely convinced the fucking thing did anything, but it felt good regardless.
And that was when I heard it.
Right on time.
It made me a bit of a stalker to even notice that there was any kind of rhyme or reason to her morning schedule, but what can I say? There wasn’t enough excitement in my life since I settled down. Became an arms dealer. I had to get my jollies where I could.
And this chick across the hall was up at seven a.m. as she had been every morning since she moved in.
And despite it being the witch’s tit of winter, she was planning on going for a run.
With not a damn thing better to do, apparently, so was I.
I had barely gotten the opportunity to notice that she had a great ass before she disappeared down the side of a building.
It wasn’t until it was too late that I realized she’d done it on purpose.
To catch me off-guard.
A forearm cracked across my throat out of nowhere, cutting off my grunt and all of my air as I was slammed back against the unyielding brick of the building, head hitting with a jolt of pain as I finally got to see her.
I’d seen her, of course, coming and going.
But never up close.
Never more than a back view or a hint of profile.
Never like this, in all her glory.
She was beautiful but in a brutal, determined way. Like tree roots breaking through concrete.
She wasn’t much of a thing, five-six and compact, though not exactly slight or curvy, more athletic with a jut of hip, a nice rack heaving under her long-sleeved black shirt, and curvy legs clad in… jeans?
“Why the fuck are you following me?” she snapped, easing up just enough so that I could respond.
“Why the fuck are ya running in jeans?”
“I think my You’re a creepy ass stalker question trumps your fashion one. Answer me, or a little breathing trouble will be the least of your problems.”
They shouldn’t have, but for some reason, those words sent a jolt of desire to my cock.
Maybe because of who made the threat.
This fierce ass Latina chick with her wavy black hair, almond-shaped, dark eyes, and killer self-defense moves.
Maybe she trained at Jstorm, Cash, and Lo’s gym.
I’d ask, but Lo would get that look in her eye. And from what I heard around the club, when she did, fuckers started dropping. Not dead. No. But just as bad. Into committed relationships.
Couldn’t have that woman weaving her love magic shite on me.
“Figured it was beautiful weather for a run.”
“It’s eighteen degrees and drizzling ice water.”
“You’re in a t-shirt.”
“Your hair is wet. You aren’t out for a run, you’re following me. Why?”
“Can’t a man risk frostbite while looking for some exercise without being attacked by some hot chick with an inflated ego?”
Her eyes narrowed at that. “Inflated ego. Bullshite. I could feel your eyes on my ass since you fell into step behind me.”