Here’s a teaser of my latest work. Release date, synopsis and cover coming shortly.
Make it Right
Nightshade MC: Book One
Amelia Mason clutched the steering wheel hard as she passed the familiar welcome to Detroit sign, the stark white background and plain blue letters fit the city as it was now. Sure, there were neighborhoods that had managed to stay whole or were being painstakingly rebuilt but huge chunks of the city remained dead or dying.
Crime was rampant and for the most part uncontrolled. The Mayor had recently made statements that home owners should be armed since they were essentially on their own. There wasn’t a day that passed when she didn’t worry about Fiona and Taylor. The past four days had been more than worry, they’d been filled with terror as no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t reach her sister or niece. The final straw had been when she called Fiona’s job only to be told that she was fired because she’d missed two shifts.
That just wasn’t like Fiona, she was always responsible. Amelia had been in her car and on her way, running on pure adrenaline for the first hour or so with just her purse and cellphone. It was on her first stop for gas that she realized she needed someone who could get to Fiona faster. After several scrolls through her contact list she’d finally called James. He’d grown up down the street from her and surprised everyone when he’d applied to the police academy. He’d risen through the ranks and was now a hot shot detective.
He’d been surprised to hear from her, a little hesitant at first but once she said why she’d called he’d said he was on it. They’d talked half a dozen times since then. There was no trace of Fiona or Taylor, Fiona’s mini-van was parked in the driveway, the lights and television had been on. There were dirty dishes in the sink waiting to be washed and the alarm wasn’t on. Chopper, Fiona and Taylor’s dog, was no where to be found.
Amelia began to drive faster the closer that she got to the house. She’d prepared herself for some sort of home invasion situation but the two of them simply vanishing was something that she couldn’t get her mind around. Fiona was the sweetest person in the world. She never lost her temper or said things that she later regretted. There was no one who would want to grab her.
Hundreds of things rushed through her mind; articles that she’d read, movies she’d seen, true crime books about brutal awful crimes gave her lots of material to worry over. Were they being tortured? Were they dead already?
She took the turn onto her street and immediately slammed her foot down on the breaks. Her tires screeched and she stared with a combination of anger and shock at the row of motorcycles at the curb in front of the modest home she’d grown up in. “Son of a bitch. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Amelia punctuated each word with a punch to the steering wheel. They were not supposed to be here. She couldn’t deal with them being here.
A car came up behind her, laid down on the horn so she drove forward, pulled into a spot one house down and just sat there staring at the soft glow of the lights on in the house. Tears burned her eyes and blurred her vision but she blinked them back. There was no time for them. No time for her to sit in the car freaking out either.
Fiona was missing. Taylor was missing. Everything else needed to take a backseat, even the fact that her ex-husband and his brothers were there, waiting right inside for her. After several deep, supposedly calming, breaths Amelia grabbed her purse. She reached her hand inside until it settled on the heavy weight of her gun. Regardless of what happened when she walked through the door, one thing was clear. This was going to be an interesting welcome home.
She used her keys to open the front door, stepped inside and listened as the four men standing there went silent. Amelia slammed the door. “I don’t recall inviting any of you here.”
“I invited them,” James stepped into view, obviously coming from the kitchen with a mug in his hand.
“You invited them?” Amelia focused on James. “You did the one thing that I asked you not to.” She’d begged. She’d pleaded. He’d promised. Before she fully registered what she was doing, her hand was in her purse and her gun was out and pointed at James. “You asshole.”
“Honey, put the gun down.” Royal, the president of Nightshade MC, spoke with a slight chuckle to his voice. “Not a good idea to point a gun at an officer of the law, even if it is just Monroe. Why don’t we all sit down? Have a nice talk?”
“Talk? I don’t want to talk to any of you. All of you can get the fuck out. Now.” Amelia’s voice was shrill. Adrenaline coursed through her.
“Put it down.” Amelia’s head snapped to the side at the sound of Danny’s voice. A tremor went up her spine and her stomach clenched tightly. Apparently he was still one ballsy fuck because he grinned as she turned the gun on him. He was as handsome as she remembered, maybe even more so because he was growing his beard longer like he always did when winter was approaching. His blonde hair was long, tied back so she couldn’t see just how long. His eyes were exactly the same, a perfect peaceful blue. “No one is here to hurt you. We’re here to help you.”
“I called the Detroit PD for help, not the biker brigade.” It took effort for her hand not to shake. Her whole body wanted to shake. It had been seven years and a divorce since she’d seen him last but there was still a part of her that wanted to run to him. What the fuck was wrong with her?
“We can’t help,” James spoke up. “We’re understaffed and overwhelmed. There’s no way I get the green light to work a case like this. There’s nothing to say that Fiona didn’t just leave; until there’s proof otherwise, my hands are tied. Their hands aren’t.”
No, Nightshade rarely had their hands tied. More often than not, they were dirty and she didn’t say that in judgment, it was simply the truth. Amelia considered what James was saying, she realized the truth of it and lowered the gun. “Why would you want to help me? You divorced me, remember asshole?”
She remembered and it was a sharp stab to her heart. All of this was. Seeing the faces of men that she’d known and trusted gathered in her house because her family had vanished was actually making it hard for her to breathe. They had been her family, her friends. Well not Train, Train had never been her friend, in fact he hated her on first sight but she’d still trusted him. Ace caught her eye and winked. It was all she could do not to smile back at him because she knew he was seriously close to bursting out laughing.
“You are family, Amelia.” Royal held up his hand to stave off any argument that she might have. His age showed more now but Amelia was sure that didn’t mean he was any less fierce. He certainly wasn’t any less handsome. “Fiona and Taylor are family as well. We’ll find out what happened. I give you my word on that. Now, put the gun away before I have to take it from you.”
It never occurred to her to refuse. Royal wasn’t known for his patience or for being warm and cuddly. One word from him and any man in the room would disarm her without hesitation if their President asked them to and that included her damn ex-husband. She shoved the gun back into her bag and turned away from Danny. The reality of the situation was starting to kick in. Like it or not, she needed Nightshade. And she sure didn’t like it. All eyes were on her and she knew that she needed to do or say something. Amelia cleared her throat. “I know that you are a man of your word Royal, thank you.”
“There is no need to thank me. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for family. You’ve had a long drive here, I imagine that you’d like to get some rest.” He motioned and she saw Ace and Train start to head for the door. “Danny will stay, make sure you get settled in.” The announcement drew a loud laugh from Ace which earned him a smack from Train who was next to him.
Danny stay and settle her in? No and no. “No.” Amelia shook her head. She might have to accept help from Nightshade but she didn’t have to accept being alone with Danny. She glanced at him, saw that he looked much more pleased about Royal’s announcement than she did. Amelia looked away just as quickly, focused on Royal. “I don’t need anyone to stay with me.”
“I have to disagree with you. We don’t know what happened with Fiona and Taylor, if they were taken, you could be taken.” There was a logic to his reasoning. Being on her own could be dangerous but so could being with Danny.
“I’m not Fiona, I have a gun and I know how to use it.” Amelia protested. “I can take care of myself.”
“Be that as it may, it will ease my mind.” Royal came close to her, reached out and took her hand. “Your old man stays with you.”
“He’s not my old man. He divorced me.” Amelia felt Royal turning her wrist over and she tried to yank away from him but he was strong. He pushed back the stacked leather bracelet she swore and ran his thumb over the letter branded there.
“That’s a piece of paper. Doesn’t mean shit to me. This means something to me.” Again he ran his finger over the D. “Obviously it means something to you or you’d have covered it up. He stays Amelia.” Royal clearly wasn’t open for further discussion. “Now, go and get some rest or find some food. I’ll come over around lunch tomorrow. We’ll talk more.”
It wasn’t so long ago that she’d been involved in the Nightshade world that she’d forgotten what it was like. Essentially, Royal chose not to recognize the divorce so she was still Danny’s old lady to him. Anything that she said or did would be a reflection on Danny and if she got out of line, he’d be the one to pay the price. It shouldn’t have bothered her. She shouldn’t have cared what happened to him. He hadn’t cared what happened to her. “Fine. Whatever. Take him with you.” Amelia motioned to James who had been silent since she’d pulled her gun. “I’m going up to bed.”
Falling face first onto the mattress sounded like a great idea and was probably all that she was capable of to be honest. Her body was starting to feel the effects of the drive, her wild mood swings during the ride and once she arrived hadn’t helped. Amelia moved up the steps on autopilot, up to the third floor and the bedroom with sloping walls which had been hers since she was a teenager.
She wasn’t prepared for the memories which overwhelmed her when she stepped through the door and she certainly wasn’t prepared for the fact that Fiona had kept everything exactly the same as the last time she’d been there. It had been two years since she’d come home. Once she’d found out that Danny finally had a release date she’d refused to come back. Fiona and Taylor had come to see her instead, the three of them crammed in her shitty one bedroom.
“I do not need this shit.” Amelia tossed her purse on the bed, made sure the door was locked and then stripped down to her panties and tee shirt. She turned on the lamp next to the bed and turned off the ceiling light. The house was quiet but she could hear the sounds of Danny moving around downstairs.
It was a familiar sound, one that brought her a sense of comfort that she hadn’t expected. What the fuck was wrong with her? It had been seven years since she’d been served with divorce papers while he was serving a five year sentence for manslaughter. She’d tried to visit him several times after and sent letters but he refused all contact. Finally, after about three weeks and numerous bottles of tequila, she’d signed and mailed the papers, packed up the Jeep and left. Just the memory of it brought tears to her eyes, she blinked them back.
Danny’s footsteps were now coming up the stairs. Seconds later she heard the knob turn. “Amelia, open the door.”
“What do you want?” Amelia kept her voice steady even though it took effort. She grabbed the pants that she’d taken off only moments before and slipped them back on as she considered going for her gun.
“I want to talk and I’m not doing it through a door. Come on. I can break it down but that’s just going to piss Fiona off when she comes back but it’s up to you.”
Amelia knew damn well that he’d break the door down, it wouldn’t even take much effort on his part. She moved forward, unlocked the door and yanked it open. “What?” In that instant she knew that opening the door had been a mistake. His hand closed around her wrist, his fingers were less than gentle as they shoved her bracelet to the side. “Don’t!” She yanked as hard as she could to free her hand as he went to bring her wrist to his lips. “Damn it, Danny. Don’t.” He did it anyway. The feeling of his lips against her skin was too much, with a burst of strength she hadn’t expected she was able to pull away. “Get out.”
“No. We need to talk.”
“That wasn’t talking. That was touching. Don’t touch me. You lost all right to touch me.” Amelia could still feel the press of his lips against her skin. Her body apparently remembered it too because there was a warmth spreading through her that she normally only achieved after a bottle of wine and some quality time with a battery operated toy.
“I get that you’re pissed,” Danny walked over and sat on the bed. “So go on, let me have it. Hell, you can hit me if you think that will help.”
Pissed? Let him have it? Hit him? Did he really think that it would be that easy? Of course he did. It was typical Danny. Really it shouldn’t have even surprised her. “You really think me hitting you and throwing a fit is going to make anything better between us? One day I’m visiting you and the next I’m getting served papers? Fuck you, Danny.”
“It was a mistake. I fucked up. Is that what you want to hear?”
“No,” Amelia replied, there was no keeping the emotion out of her voice. “Can you just go, please? I’m tired.”
“I can see that,” he rose from the bed, crossed over to where she stood. “Don’t flinch away from me. I’m not going to hit you. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“It’s too late for that.” Amelia had to look away from him. “Please go.”
“You know me. You know that I’m not going to do that but maybe we’ve talked enough for tonight. You are tired, I can see it.” His hands were gentle as he cupped her face and made her look at him. “Come on, don’t cry. I hate seeing you cry.”
“Should I laugh? My sister is missing. My niece is missing. And if I want to find them, I’ve got no choice but to deal with the devil.” The second that the words were out of her mouth she realized that calling the club he loved the devil might have been a sure way to start a fight. Better a fight than a fuck, she realized that they were heading in that direction the second he started to touch her.
“Better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.” He pointed out, his hands still holding her face gently. “We will find Fiona and Taylor. We will find out what happened to them. You know that, right?”
Amelia sighed. “I know but I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to see you. I don’t want to see you.” She couldn’t see him or keep being close to him like this. “So, I’m going to ask you again to please just leave. Go downstairs. Please.”
For a second she thought he was actually going to go. He lowered his hands, his eyes on hers and Amelia looked away. She had to. Instead of stepping back and leaving, he closed the distance between them and wrapped his arms around her. Amelia felt her entire body go tense. She could smell him, the raw and powerful scent that was a mixture of the leather of his cut, the scent of the road and underneath all of that it was just him. It was too much combined with the feeling of his arms warm and strong around her. There was a split second when she had to choose to either relax and give into him or fight. She chose to fight, even though he was much stronger than she was. Her hardest attempt at shoving him off of her barely budged him and only succeeded in them being even closer than before.
“I promise that I’m not going to hurt you again, Amelia. I promise.”
Amelia felt anger joining in her emotional free for all. “You promise?” It must have been the anger that gave her enough strength to actually shove him back some. “And why should that mean a thing to me? You broke every promise that you ever made me.” She let the anger roll through her, let it remind her that no matter how good he smelled in that moment he’d hurt her. He’d been cruel and callous. He’d thrown her away. Made his disposable. And now he seemed to think that a few hugs and some bullshit lines were going to make that better? It was insult on top of injury.
“Will you let me explain?” He tightened his arms around her, pulled her back to him. “Let me make it right.”
“Make it right? There is no making this right, Danny.” Amelia pushed at his chest again and this time he nearly lost his grip on her. She wasn’t sure if she was glad or disappointed that he’d held on. “I’m only here because of Fiona and Taylor. If they hadn’t vanished, I’d have never stepped foot in Detroit again. When they come back, I’m leaving. I’m never coming back.”
“Seems like you’ve got it all figured out. What’s so impressive about Pennsylvania?”
“How do you know where I was?” Amelia was tired of struggling, tired in general so she stopped and just let him hold her. It didn’t mean anything. It didn’t change anything. It was just easier. She was too tired to fight, even with him.
“James told me. Just for the record, if you hadn’t been on your way here I’d have been on my way to you.” One of his hands moved down to her lower back. “Fiona would never tell me where you were and believe me, I asked. Asked Ace to look for you but he said that he couldn’t find anything. You’ve got to believe me, I wanted to make what I did right.”
Amelia did believe him and that belief softened something inside of her. Of course, Fiona wouldn’t tell him where she was and not mention it to her. Danny was an off limits topic, one of the few that they had between them. “I hate you. I really hate you. You know that right?”
“Yeah, I know.” He sounded sad about it. He leaned in to brush his lips against her forehead.
“Stop it, Danny. Just stop. I told you, once this shit with Fiona is over, I’m gone. That’s how it’s going to be.”
“There someone you’re heading back to?” There was a note of jealousy in his tone. It was no real surprise because he’d always been that way.
Something began to tingle inside Amelia, a restless feeling rushed through her entire body and it was only with conscious effort that she didn’t move closer to him. They were on a slippery slope, one they’d been on thousands of times before. If they let themselves fall down it now Amelia knew that she’d be plagued with regret. She should have told him there was someone but she couldn’t bring herself to lie. “No, there’s not.”
“Why do you care?” She found anger beneath the tingle. He had no right in the world to feel possessive of her when he’d thrown her away.
“Why not?” He repeated and his grip on her tightened. “It never feels right, does it? Being with someone else, comparing them even though you know that they’re never going to even come close.”
“Do you have someone?” Amelia wasn’t sure that she was ready for the answer. There was never a shortage of willing women hanging around Nightshade. They were called pass arounds. Some did it for the rush, or at least that’s what they claimed. Others did it hoping to land the white whale and become an Old Lady. As far as she knew, none of them ever had.
“No one special,” he replied.
“So just fucking the pass arounds, huh?” Amelia felt nauseated at the mere thought of them. She could clearly remember the ones who’d been around, the ones who would throw themselves at Danny basically in front of her, the ones who would try to make her think it wasn’t for the first time.
“I won’t lie and say I haven’t. I do have needs.”
“Yeah, I remember that. I figure that you’re lucky your dick hasn’t fallen off just yet or has it?” Amelia regretted the words as he pressed his hips against hers and she felt the evidence of his arousal. “Danny.”
“Now that’s how I like to hear you say my name,” he leaned in and Amelia saw the kiss coming. She could have turned her head, stopped him but she didn’t. Instead she just rode the wave of warmth that flooded through her the instant his lips touched hers. There was an electricity between them, there always had been. She’d never been able to deny it even in the dark days after the divorce when all she had left of him were the memories.
There was no doubt as to who was in control of the kiss, it was him. It was almost always him and Amelia remembered just how much she’d missed his touch and how much she’d missed him. Her body trembled and she pressed against him, desperate for more contact. Desperate for him. She whimpered when he pulled back.
Amelia could only imagine what he was going to say and she knew that there was only one way to keep him quiet. She stretched up, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. If her actions shocked him, he didn’t show it. Danny took control of the kiss, moving her backwards until she felt her legs bump against the edge of the bed.
He lowered her down gently, still kissing her and Amelia let herself give in to everything rushing through her. There would be time later to think and worry but for right now, she simply wanted to feel. A whimper escaped her lips when he pulled back from her, the loss of his lips and the comforting warmth of his body against hers only made her want him more.
Danny reached for the waist band of her pants and hooked his fingers beneath them. “Lift up.”
Amelia didn’t need to be told twice, she lifted up and watched as he drew her panties down as well. The room was getting hot and she knew that it had nothing at all to do with the temperature. It had to do with the way her body was suddenly on fire for him. She sat up, pulled her shirt over her head and threw it without a care for where it landed.
“Look at me.” Danny stood in front of the bed. Amelia looked up, met his eyes. “I love you.” He’d never spoken those words easily, Amelia knew that. Emotion rose in her throat because despite everything, she still loved him too. She would always love him, there was no way around it but that love didn’t change the facts.
For what seemed like forever they just stared at one another. Amelia started to become hyper aware of the fact that she was naked while he was still completely clothed. “Relax,” his voice made her jump. “I’m not stupid Sweetheart, I know that you’re not going to say it back but that doesn’t change the way that I feel about you.”
Amelia feared that he was going to keep talking, that she’d start to come to her senses and stop things before they went any further. This might be a mistake. In fact, she was sure that she was going to regret it but that didn’t matter. She was just about to say something, she wasn’t sure what, when he was on her again.
She’d expected him to be forceful but instead he was sweet. His hands moved slowly over her skin, touching spots that she’d forgotten she had. “Danny.” She said his name impatiently, reached up to run her hands over the leather of his cut. Her fingers traced over his name. She’d sewed it on with her own hands.
He shifted, pushing her thighs open wider so that she was completely exposed to him. Amelia felt her body start to tremble as his fingers moved over her skin. Only the sound of their breathing filled the air until he reached the junction of her thighs. And then his fingers were inside of her and Amelia thought that she might die from the pleasure.
She thought that she heard him chuckle but she couldn’t be sure. All she was sure of was the pleasure spreading through her and the feeling of her fingers digging into his arms. He was still fully dressed, the rough denim of his jeans pressing against her. She could smell the leather of his cut. Fuck her, she’d missed him. Missed this. Missed them.
His mouth claimed hers as he pushed his fingers deeper. Amelia bit down on his bottom lip as she felt her body begin to tighten around him. “Oh. Oh.” She tore her lips from him, gasped for breath as the orgasm hit her with the force of a speeding train. Through the haze that her brain was enveloped in, she heard Danny chuckle as he pulled back from her to get undressed.
He’d just hung his cut on the hook on the back of door when a phone began to ring. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” With obvious annoyance he dug into his pants pocket and pulled out a flip phone.
Amelia knew he was going to have to leave before he said another word into the phone. It was obviously club related. It didn’t matter how turned on either of them were, how close they were to being together or, if memory served, even if they were in the middle of the act Nightshade came first.
“Be there in ten.” Danny slid the phone back in his pocket. “Babe, I’ve got to…”
“Go.” Amelia replied. “I know the routine.” And maybe the routine had saved them or at least her from making a choice could only be followed by pain. Regret was setting in along with shame that she could so easily fall back into the routine of being with him.
“I’ll come back as soon as I can. Keep the doors locked. I’m going to make a call, get you some company.”
“I’ve got a gun and I’m more confident of my ability with it than the ability of whatever prospect you could possibly send.” Amelia informed him. “I can handle shit myself.” She needed to remember that just as much as she needed him to know it.
“It’s not a prospect, it’s Paco.” He crossed over to her, pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Try and behave. I know how the two of you get when you’re together.
“Be safe.” Amelia closed her eyes as she spoke. Just how many times had she said those exact words? She’d lost count but could clearly recall numerous nights she’d said them and then stayed awake with worry and wondering to keep her company. Danny was gone by the time she opened her eyes and once again she was alone.