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Chapter 1 – Flint


   “You coming out or just going to sulk all night?” Casper asks.

   “I ain’t sulking,” I mumble.

   “Right, what would you call it, then?” he says on a laugh.


   Hiding. Which sounds fucking worse, so I keep my trap shut and let Casper think whatever the fuck he wants. I ain’t no pussy, but shit if I want to be out there celebrating right now. Okay, I do. But I fucked up. Big enough to know it, just don’t want to admit it out loud. I said my piece, and now I’m living with the consequences.

   “You think you’ll ever get tied down?”

   I move my eyes off the computers and side-glance Casper as he doesn’t take my earlier hint to get the fuck out. Instead, he sits his ass in the chair next to me. Really need to get rid of that chair. I brought it in here more to put my pizzas on and maybe prop my feet up since the desks are covered with surveillance stuff and there’s no empty space for snacks. It wasn’t intended as a welcome wagon, but fuck if the brothers don’t see it that way. Instead of enjoying the solitude of computers and beeps, I get random brothers who are tired of shooting the shit with other brothers out at the bar coming in here and yapping it up. Just ’cause I’m here doesn’t mean I ain’t working. I survey all the club’s goings-on and properties from this one room, and it’s not like I can farm this work out to just anyone.

   When I got recruited by Hounds of the Reaper, it was because of my skills on the keyboard. Same reason I was in the military. Was even getting courted by a few alphabet groups too. That was before I said “fuck the man” and came out here to the literal middle of nowhere, Kansas. Now I get to do what I want, even have a say in what goes down, but still get to watch the screens. I have a few brothers who help occasionally, but with tonight being a subtle engagement party for a certain lucky couple, I took the shift.


   “Pretty sure Chains and Bulldog said the same things seconds before their old ladies wound up in their laps.”

   “Whatever, man. You looking to get tied down?”


   I fully turn my head and stare at the crazy bastard beside me. “Really?”

   He shrugs as he stretches his legs out far in front of him. “Why not? Don’t know the future. And besides, seems like the safest bet.”

   “For what?”

   Casper shrugs as he folds his arms. “Say you want one, and the Reaper makes it clear you ain’t getting one. Say you don’t and see what happens. Not saying it’s foolproof, but it might explain a few things around here.”

   I snort at his logic. “Pretty sure none of the brothers have ever been aiming to get an old lady.”

   “Yeah, but plenty of vamps trying, and not one has been moved to that title.”

   I roll my eyes. “You’re talking vamps. Dick suckers don’t really rank high on the Reapers give-a-shit list.”

   He shrugs again. “I’ll take the chances I have based on the data presented to me.”

   Fucking snipers. They can be given all the intel in the world, and they still come up with their own jacked-up way to see things, be it how they kill and still sleep at night or how they get laid. Then again, I’ve only known the snipers in the club, so maybe they ain’t all crazy like Casper. I ain’t planning on meeting any new ones anytime soon.

   “Whatever, man.”

   He only grunts at my attempt, once again, to annoy him enough to leave me the fuck alone. Can’t a man just get a bit of fucking solitude anymore? I like the brotherhood, when it’s on my terms. In a fucked-up way, I guess I forced this on my terms. If you consider me being a jackass and putting an old lady and a brother in danger, then keeping myself away from the rest of the club and forcing them to come find me my doing.

   The alarm going off has both me and Casper leaning forward to assess the threat. At least he’s better than more than half the brothers. He ain’t asking me what’s going on but giving me the time to pull the feeds as I need to.

   “Perimeter breach. South entrance.” I speak as I type.


   “Infrared only shows one body signature.”

    “I’ll go check it out.”

  “Like hell. The boot on your foot doesn’t come off for another week. Sit tight, princess, watch me, and guide me and the boys through it. We got this.” I send the alert to the brothers, knowing full well each will check their phone instantly as the red strobe light starts blinking inside the compound.

   “Fucking hate General,” Casper grumbles, but the fact that he ain’t doing nothing more than inching closer to the monitors as I palm my gun and slide it into the back of my pants has me grinning. Guy has been a royal bitch about being out of commission since he got shot. And since General, a brother, is his primary doctor, Casper hasn’t been allowed to overrule him.

   Of course it helps that Prez told him if he injured himself again and delayed the boot coming off anymore—because that has happened, twice—he’d be pulling prospect duties for six months. No one wants to go back to grunt detail. You do it once for a reason.

   I head to the bar, nodding at Jumper, Atom, and Domino as I pass so they understand they’re with me on this. I’m making my way to the VP, already knowing what he wants to do. Ain’t surprised when I hear him voice it.

   “Need you to go get Princess from the bunk and move her to my room. I’m sure it’s nothing, but I need you both together,” he tells his old lady beside him.

   “You go with them,” I say in a firm voice, leaving nothing to be questioned. Not that he listens.

   “Like hell.”

   Yeah, I knew he wasn’t going to like me telling him what to do. Not sure if it’s because I’m contradicting the VP or doing it in front of his old lady. Too fucking bad.

   “I got a debt to pay, and I ain’t about to let anything happen to anyone I owe it to. Me and the boys will check it out. Scans show it’s only one person. Can’t see for shit this late at night, but body heat confirms only one person. If it’s him, then we’ll get him. Either way, not chancing it. Stay with your woman. I got this.”

   I hold his glare, but the nod he gives me as he leads his woman away is more relieving than I’ll give credit to. Rarely am I at odds with a brother, especially one in power who can toss me out sooner than I can say “Reaper.” Him taking me for my word holds a lot of water that I might not be entitled to right now, but I’m taking it.

   I nod to a few of the other brothers on the way, and each knows what to do. We ain’t expecting trouble like this, but there is a threat against the club that we know of, and there’s always a chance of another threat from a silent enemy. We try to keep our enemies in check, but things can happen. Can’t predict everything.

   The boys are waiting for me at the back exit. They’re scanning the surroundings, but they didn’t see what area we need to focus on. As I turn on comms with Casper in the control room, I head to the back door facing the mountain. Okay, it’s a hill. But it’s a hell of one, and the rocky terrain makes it damn impossible to navigate. Especially since we added to that terrain just to increase the difficulty. The rocks and trees are very thick, and anyone who gets down it will be lucky if they don’t break their neck. Of course, that’s half the point as well.

   “They’re about forty yards at your two o’clock,” Casper states. “I’ve killed all the lights in the area. I’ll turn the floodlights on from the club once you get close so we can hopefully blind them enough while you assess.”

   I say nothing in affirmation. We’re a team, a damn good one. We trust one another and the plan. Our operations run as smoothly as they do because of it. Anyone got a problem with that, they speak up. Otherwise, shit stays quiet.

   “In three, two, one,” Casper counts down.

   The lights flash behind me, and I see the shadow I’ve been tracking for the past ten seconds stagger back and cover their face. My gun is pulled, as are the other boys’. No one gets the upper hand on the Hounds. No one.

   “Hands up.” Atom takes point as the club’s acting enforcer with Casper being out of commission.

   “They are, dumbass. Or did the light blind you like it did me?”

   I’m super glad she’s blind, ’cause no way do I want to let on that I find that funny as I involuntarily smirk at her words.

   We walk closer, and the boys fan out enough for the light to show us our intruder. A runner, if the lack of clothing has anything to say about it. She’s small, but no idea if it’s from being fit or not, as she’s covered in more mud than I thought was possible.

   “Check her.” Mud is a good way to cover things up. Done it myself.

   Her head snaps to me as I bark the order. “For what?” she asks me, but I ignore her.

   Atom says nothing as he hands his Glock to Domino and moves close. It’s professional and quick, but a part of me doesn’t like it. No fucking idea why.

   “Clear,” he announces.

   “Were you seriously checking me for weapons?”

   No one answers as Atom steps back and takes his gun back. No one lowers their gun either.

   “Um, okay, so obviously I’m not in the right place here. Can someone point me to the exit, ’cause I would like to get off the crazy train I’ve stumbled onto.”

   We continue to say nothing. As a tactic, most of the boys and I learned early in life that silence is the worst for an enemy. The guilty fill the silence. All we got to do is just wait it out.

   “Right, okay, how about you tell me what’s going on? Scratch that. I don’t want to know. See, I didn’t see anything. Promise. So I’m just going to go.” She takes a step forward, and our safeties come off.

   “Don’t move,” Atom barks.

   “Seriously? I promise I have no idea what’s going on. You don’t have to kill me or threaten me or anything. Just let me go, and I swear you’ll never see me again.”

   “How’d you get here?” Domino questions. Another tactic: keep her guessing on who’s in charge.

    “I… I don’t know.”

  “The truth will get you out of here alive, sweetheart,” Jumper draws out.

   “That is the truth. I think I hit my head or something. I just woke up back there and started walking toward the lights I saw before they went out. If I had any idea I was walking into this, you can bet your sweet ass I would have taken my chances climbing the hill.”

   “Still no one else on the property. Sweep is complete. Party’s over, and the place is locked up. Law wants them brought in,” Casper huffs in my ear, and I can hear his irritation about giving orders and not taking them.

   Fucking snipers. Always want to be in the fucking middle of everything. I actually prefer the sidelines. Less messy.

   “What’s your name?”


   “I asked for your name.” I really hate repeating myself, especially to chicks.

   She just shakes her head, and I sigh in frustration. Fucking great. This is probably just some chick wanting dick for the night and thought sneaking in was the way to get it. Now she’s going to play this dumb shit.

   “Are you that stupid that you don’t even know your name?” The boys chuckle at my joke. I ain’t in the mood to play nice. “Obviously you ain’t that bright if you think coming down that cliff was a wise decision. So tell us your name so we can get you the fuck off our property and make sure you stay that way.”

   “Well, I don’t need brains to know you’re a jackass. And before you get your tighty-whities in a twist any more than they already are, I’m not apologizing for calling you that. You obviously have no common decency when you see a woman in distress, but whatever. Your mom must be so proud of you.”

   Okay, call me a sick bastard, but insults are kind of hot. I mean, not always, but coming from this chick, something has my dick starting to take notice. The mud is caked on, but she’s got boobs, and I do like those. And the fact that she isn’t cowering and crying on the ground earns her a point or two in her favor.

   “Before you ask again, I can’t tell you my name because I don’t know it. I’m sure I got one, but I have no fucking clue what it is.”

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