For ‘Twelve Days of Freakmas’ I wrote a short story about Mace’s not so great Christmas. It can be found A here. That short story is basically the prologue to this book. I call it an Interlude, since it’s slightly shorter that my regular books (who tend to be quite long) and it’s not as focused on the club business as some of them have been. It will be call ‘Speed of Light.’
Here’s a teaser from the second chapter, when Mace for the first time meets Kathleen Keegan, the female lead in this book.
Mace yawned and then emptied the coffee cup. He was watching the employees they had at the garage working, but was planning on helping them out as soon as the painkillers kicked in. Officially all the members of the Marauders were hired either as grease monkeys at the garage or bouncers at the strip club. So, they all worked, but maybe not as many hours as a normal employee would, and after a night like the one he’d had the night before, they tended to start work a little later than the rest of them.
Mace had planned on taking a slow night, but he had ended up at The Booty Bank with Sisco, Tommy, and Bull. It had been a good, but he was paying for it with a splitting headache and a sore back. Lately, the sweetbutts attempts to show off in bed had fucked up his back. They were limber dancers, and he was fifty-one. Not that he didn’t like it when they made an effort, but sometimes a man just wanted to lie on his back and have a woman bounce on his cock until he came without anything more spectacular than that. Especially the nights when a man in his early fifties felt each and every one of those five decades in his bones—and his back.
With a sigh, Mace braided his beard and put up his hair before picking up his work shirt from the changing room at the back of the garage. He realized he’d forgotten to brush his teeth and did that before he knocked on Mel’s door.
“Come in,” she yelled, and he opened it.
She was on the phone, and he leaned against the doorpost with a smile. As always, Mel’s appearance was immaculate.
“Looking good,” he said when she hung up.
“One of these days I’ll tell Brick how you and Sisco talk to me when he’s not around.”
Brick was Mace’s president and Mel’s husband, so if it had been an actual threat, Mace would’ve been worried.
“He knows. We say it in front of him, too. As long as you’re not both in front of us at the same time he doesn’t mind. He feels defensive when you are around, though.” He shrugged. “Besides, I’m just telling you that you look good. Given the time you’ve spent on doing that, it should be noticed and complimented.”
“Sure,” she smiled. “How can I help you today, Mace?”
“Anything big coming in, or can I keep working on that bike?”
“Nothing booked. Got some cabs coming in tomorrow, though.”
They’d gotten the contract to service the local cab company’s cars. It was a good contract, but Mace fucking hated service jobs. They were mind-numbingly boring. Right up there with servicing the soccer moms’ SUVs.
He closed the door and sighed. He was definitely going to work on the custom bike job all fucking day if he had to work on cabs the day after.
“You’re late,” Tommy said with a big smile.
“I’m twenty years older than you, I have a fucking right to be more tired than you after an all-nighter.”
“I got up at six so I’d had time to hit the gym before work.”
Tommy had been in some super-special-force-crap-thing in the marines, and even if he drank and smoked an occasional joint, he was definitely their most fit member. He worked out all the fucking time, and he even fucking jogged! He never talked about his time in the marines, but Mace was fairly sure Tommy hadn’t been sitting on his ass. When he was still a hang-around, another hang-around had made the mistake of taking him up in the ring. They were all pretty good at hand-to-hand combat, but Tommy was definitely a step above the rest of them. The year before, he’d saved Mitch’s old lady with his sniper skills in a way that had impressed them all. Brick had turned to Tommy for some advice a few times after that, and it was obvious that the guy had advanced combat experience.
Looking at the thirty-year-old in perfect physical condition made Mace once again feel every single one of his fifty-one years, and he sighed.
“I hate you.”
“You work out.”
“I got to the gym and lift some shit while looking at the girls working out in there. Then I drag them off to fuck them.”
“They don’t work out,” Tommy laughed. “They go in there to show off, so you’ll drag them away to fuck them.”
“Still hate you,” he muttered.
The morning was slow, but it gave him a chance to take it easy until the headache had disappeared completely. After lunch, a Honda Fit pulled up outside the garage, and Mace hoped to god he wouldn’t be the one asked to work on it. He fucking hated those tiny bitch cars.
He changed his mind when the woman driving the car stepped out of it, though, because it was his kind of woman. A brunette in a white tank top and skin-tight jeans, and she was hot as hell. She looked at him with an arched eyebrow and a slightly crooked smile. When she started towards him, he realized that she wasn’t wearing a bra. It wasn’t the biggest pair of tits he’d seen, far from it, but still big enough to bounce nicely with each step.
Definitely his kind of woman, and he knew what that meant. Mace had a thing for rich bitches. He had no idea why, but each and every one of the women he’d instantly found hot as hell had been bored rich girls. It had turned into a joke among the Marauders, that if a girl instantly gave Mace a hard-on, she was a rich, spoiled brat on a mission to piss of daddy moneybags. It always ended in the same way, they went slumming with him for a while, saw the wild side, as they said with a giggle, and then they ran right back home to daddy moneybags. Mace was fine with that. It was a fairly easy way to end things without crying, running noses, and thrown accusation. It had gotten more rare when he got older, simply since the older he got, the less patience he had with giggling, slightly stupid girls. Then it was the thing with age. As he got older, the rich bitches who wanted to go slumming stayed the same age. Brick had jokingly asked if Mace was planning on fucking his way into the 21st century—as in girls born in the 2000s—as soon as they got legal. Since that seemed a bit sick, he’d decided to try to stick to women and not girls when he turned fifty.
This woman, because she was no girl, didn’t have the clothes to match his suspicions, but she gave him an instant hard-on. She was probably in her mid to late thirties. Possibly even early forties, he decided when she got closer, and he noticed the fine lines around her eyes and mouth. Her brown hair was cut in a seemingly simple shoulder-length hair cut, but it looked a little too perfect for being anything but expensive styling with a carefully done dye. She’d spent a lot of money on that casual look, and she was also smiling a little too wide for someone who just wanted her car checked out. The smile was the second thing that gave him a hard-on. It was lopsided—the left side went up, and the right slightly down—and Mace fucking loved lopsided smiled. They could make a dense girl seem sarcastic and smart. He didn’t think this woman was dense, though. There was a determination in her eyes and tenseness around her mouth that told him she who was used to getting what she wanted. He just couldn’t figure out what she wanted.
“Can I help you, ma’am?” Mace asked while drying off his hands on a rag.
“There’s actually two things I need help with,” she answered in a controlled, almost too low, and slightly husky voice. He was starting to worry that his hard-on would be clearly visible soon, because holy fuck, every single thing about her so far was up his alley.
“Okay,” he chuckled. “Does one of them include your car?”
“Yes.” She gave him another lopsided smile—he had a hard time deciding if the lopsided smile, tits, or voice was the best thing about her—and pointed at her car over her shoulders. “I just need it serviced, but I’m also a bit lost, and I need to get back to the G.O.”
“The Greenville Observer?”
“I work there.”
Mace subscribed to the Greenville Observer. Not because he was particularly interested in anything they wrote, but he’d gotten the G.O. every Wednesday, four times a month like clockwork, his entire life. If you lived in Greenville, you subscribed to it. His mom loved it, and despite being sick, she still read it cover to cover. When he was a kid, she’d discussed what she’d read it at great length during the Wednesday dinner—especially what she’d read in the family section.
It was a classic local weekly newspaper with extremely local news, which was probably why it had survived. To most people it held a lot more news value than a newspaper that focused on the political situation in Asia, Europe, or even the US. Washington D.C. was far away, and most people couldn’t care less what the politicians were doing there, but if the School Board was discussing the high school’s library books—now that was news.
Glenn, the guy in charge of the family section, had been on Mace’s mom’s speed dial, and he’d grown up down the street from Harold, the current editor. He knew who the other reporters were, too, and this chick, standing in front of him, did not fucking look like a reporter at The Greenville Observer. She looked like the kind of reporter who busted balls to get the news she wanted. She didn’t fit it.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
“Originally, I’m from Dayton.”
“Dayton, Ohio,” he smiled. He shook his head with a chuckle. “Okay, Dayton. I’ll give you a lift to the Observer. Get your things from the car.”
He didn’t wait for her reply and went into the office to get the keys for the van.
“What’s going on?” Mel asked when he leaned in to get the key from the hook next to the door. “Are you giving a customer a lift?”
“Big tits?” she asked without taking her eyes from the computer screen in front of her.
“No. Well… they’re nice, but it’s a reporter from the G.O. A new one.”
Mel looked at him with a cocked eyebrow. “And since when do you guys give a damn about the G.O.?”
“Since they hired a hot reporter with nice tits.”
Mel stood up and walked over to the window to look at Dayton. Then she shook her head with a smile.
“I know who that is.”
“You’ve met her?”
“No, but as opposed to most of you guys I take some interest in what’s going on in the world, and that’s Kathleen Keegan. She was a political reporter in Washington D.C. until about three months ago.”
Mace was mostly pleased that he’d pegged the bitch right. In this case it was probably more because she fit in about as well as a round peg in a square hole, and she obviously wasn’t from around, but when he thought about it, she looked like a hotshot reporter.
“What happened three months ago?”
“She went after a congressman from Michigan, and it turned out she’d gotten things wrong. Within a day or two, every rival news company turned on her and it became a manhunt. They dug up every article she’d ever written and ripped them apart. They never managed to disprove anything else she’d written, but eventually the company she worked for transferred her. I didn’t know she was here. I can’t imagine what she’s doing at the Observer.”
“A former hotshot from D.C. stuck at the Observer. Think I should mention her visit here to Brick?”
“Think you should,” Mel agreed.