The only way the system was reliable when it came to Tiffany Dempsey was in failing her. Once again, it’d done just that, but this time, she wasn’t about to accept that nothing could be done. This time, she went to a source outside the law for help. She’s gone to the Sacred Hearts MC, a club whose reputation for bloodshed and violence precedes them. It’s a gamble she’s willing to take; desperate times call for desperate measures and she’s never been more desperate than she is right now.
Zeb joined the Sacred Hearts by way of a second chance when he thought he had none. He’s determined to do right by his club and himself by changing his ways. So, when Dragon, his president, asks him for help, he doesn’t hesitate. He’s more than happy to give the pretty little stripper with the scarred up face a second chance of her own. The way he sees it, a survivor like her has more than earned it.
Neither Tiff nor Zeb expected that this protective detail would be anything other than a strictly business-like arrangement, but the two find quickly that they complement each other in just about every way. Maybe, just maybe, it’s what Dragon had planned. After all, the president of the SHMC is sort of crafty like that.
“Wait, you like him as in like him, like him?” Delia was staring at me, agape.
It had been three days since he’d stayed the day in my apartment the first time and he’d stayed every day since, except we still hadn’t had sex. I wanted him, and I knew he wanted me, but what he was giving me was far more important right now. What he was giving me was an intimacy I had craved for a long time, yet hadn’t known with the front part of my brain that I’d needed.
He held me. We talked. Sometimes he just listened, sometimes I did, but it was a bonding that I think we both needed. A friendship that was definitely going somewhere, but one of the things I needed was my best friend to accept him and the only way that was going to happen was if she got to know him like I did.
Unfortunately, the closer I was growing to Nik, it felt like the further away I was getting from Lia, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t hurt.
“Come meet him,” I practically begged and Delia rolled her eyes at me but followed along reluctantly. Of course, that was probably because I had her by the hand and was towing her out the door past Zeke and across the back lot to where Nik sat bundled on the back of his bike.
“Hey,” I said softly, smiling.
“You must be Delia then?” he asked, and held out his hand to her. She eyed him suspiciously but took it and gave it a solid shake.
“Yep, I’m the best friend,” she declared.
“Nice to meet you.” He gave her a smile that I increasingly was finding to be disarming and asked, “Join us for a bit of brekkie?”
“A bit of what?” she asked and laughed a little.
“It’s what Kiwis call breakfast,” I told her.
“Sure, but for us, it’s sort of dinner time for us, isn’t it?”
“True, but Nik and I have been going to this diner with really good breakfast food that starts up around this time.”
“Maybe another time,” she said. “I’m meeting someone.”
I blinked, taken aback. Delia was my best friend, we shared everything about one another’s lives. How did I not know about this until right before? I rocked back on my heels, surprised to feel more hurt well up and I immediately overruled my heart with my head, thinking to myself Delia is her own person with her own life apart from yours… Besides, you haven’t exactly been forthcoming about Nik. Of course, there was a reason for that. Delia, while having her heart in the right place, was also pretty judgmental about the Sacred Hearts as a whole. It made it hard for me to want to share.
“Don’t look at me like that, please?” she asked softly. “It isn’t like that.”
“Like what?” I asked back, frowning, my sixth sense tingling. Why would she put it that way? She read the look on my face clearly and sighed.
“I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to worry.”
Oh, that was rich! Now I really wanted to know just who it was she was meeting up with.
“Why would I worry?” I asked, and now I was like a dog with a bone.
“Cooper called,” she hedged and I felt myself scowl.
“You’re going to meet up with Cooper Roth?” I demanded.
“Like I said, it’s not like that,” she said quickly. “I was suspicious, too, but he swears he just wants to catch up.”
“Conveniently, after three years and right after Silas is released from prison?” I asked. “Yeah, no. I don’t believe that for a minute, and you shouldn’t either, Delia.”
“I’m with Tiffany on this one, Girl. Sounds sus to me,” Nik chimed in.
“Nobody asked you,” Delia snapped at him defensively.
“I asked him,” I said shortly, suddenly angry and feeling pretty betrayed. “I asked Dragon, and he asked Nik. I went to them and asked for their help. I need them to watch my back and here you are, my best friend, and what do you do?” I demanded, thinking to myself you stand there and put a knife in it.
Text Copyright © 2018 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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